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AFFECTIONS MUST NOT (poem) - Denise Riley - United Kingdom - Poetry International
 
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AFFECTIONS MUST NOT
This is an old fiction of reliability

is a weather presence, is a righteousness
is arms in cotton

this is what stands up in kitchens
is a true storm shelter
& is taken straight out of colonial history, master and slave

arms that I will not love folded nor admire for their ‘strength’
linens that I will not love folded but will see flop open
tables that will rise heavily in the new wind & lift away, bearing their precious burdens

of mothers who never were, nor white nor black
mothers who were always a set of equipment and a fragile balance
mothers who looked over a gulf through the cloud of an act & at times speechlessly saw it

inside a designation there are people permanently started to bear it, the not-me against sociology
inside the kitchens there is realising of tightropes
Milk, if I do not continue to love you as deeply and truly as you want and need
that is us in the mythical streets again

support, support

the houses are murmuring with many small pockets of emotion
on which spongy grounds adults lives are being erected and paid for daily
while their feet and their children’s feet are tangled around like those of fen larks
in the fine steely wires which run to and fro between love and economics


affections must not support the rent


I. neglect. the house