Emily Cotterill is a Cardiff-based poet originally from Alfreton in Derbyshire. Her pamphlet The Day of the Flying Ants was part of Carol Ann Duffy’s Laurate’s Choice selection. Emily has been published in a variety of print and online publications, including Poetry Wales, The North and The Waxed Lemon. She's currently working on a first full collection about celebrity, storytelling and pop culture.
I have loved coal,
like a teenage girl loves an older guitarist
with a rough black smudge of eyeliner.
I have built my life on it,
screamed down decades for it,
COAL NOT DOLE – bared my soul for it,
but old women gossip about the pit.
I know the world has had enough of it.
Coal – with its head full of history,
strong arms, filthy engines, heavy,
the small town sex of it.
Broken bodies, white knuckle wives,
the silence of canaries – has risen
from slag heaps and pit heads to thick air
spluttering into anyone born
late with an old miner's lungs.
I have loved coal but recently,
when I sit in the fresh place built
on the scar of my grandfather’s pit,
I have loved birdsong, greenspace,
the safety and hope of it –
wind turbines, rising white beacons,
sharp armed, slicing clean paths
to a future.
The Greatest Punk Album
In The World Ever (Disc 2)
I am consciously, consciously
picking up women: to carry
in my pockets, to throw at
rough walls in moments
when something might make
them stick. I have lined my
back teeth with Viv Albertine,
replaced my extremities
with Patti Smith. I have built
a soft curve around a sad razor,
there’s blood in my mouth
that’s familiar. I do the things
men do, just better. I have
swapped my memories for the
future, but when I whimper,
hear Debbie Harry scream.
Slag: A Change of Climate (Illingworth)
The Greatest Punk Album In The World Ever (Disc 2):
exclusive first publication by iamb
The Cheeseburger Love Song: The Day of the Flying Ants
At the window is a woman you have loved despite your diet,
gorged on the look of her with the guiltiest parts of hunger.
Her deft hands dance on the wax wrap paper, forearms
flecked with a hundred spitting oil scars. The fast food tattoo.
She is always here, and you suppose that she remembers you,
from her un-kissed acne years and all the warm paper bags between.
You, who would surrender your torso to the drive-thru window,
to take her by the faded polo-shirt collar and to have her.
Her lips would have the cherry pink taste of market stall gloss,
her mouth drenched in free fills of fountain cola and the thing is,
she has seen you, all your faces in those repeated flash cars.
She could make you in a minute. Plunge your heart and her hand
into the deep fat, feel nothing. You are ruined, crisp and bubbling.
She scrunches your wrapping, she throws you away.