Chapati Wife with Charley Genever.
Chapatti Wife’s Bindhi, 2016
It never loses shape,
even when the two hairs at its centre
dance in the heat of the frying pan,
even when she offers it to the floor
and the pressure of her head
should smudge its symmetry –
it remains heavy with colour.
You watch two peeled onions
find their place on the chopping board.
When they centre, she invites you to sit
with her open palm – she must never speak.
She takes a knife, holds it to her braid
cuts off loose strands of hair
and they fall into the grinding pot.
She adds her mother’s sun-cracked heels,
the curve of father’s left slipper,
the belly wobble of her brother’s laughter,
sister’s home made perfume,
the o’s and a’s of grandmother’s necklace,
bristles from her neighbour’s broom,
and the moisture from your breath.
She grinds the mixture and cooks
until the centre of the pan
is an orb of red paste.
She pours a portion on to a chapatti
she had prepared earlier,
the rest is jarred and shelved
to last a generation of occasional touch.
She rolls the chapatti up and bows,
offering you the plate and returning
her creaseless brow to the floor-
she must never watch you eat.
There is warmth in your jaw,
maybe this is what it means
to have a wife give herself to you entirely.
My right tit, 2016
My right tit
is his favourite.
He can’t cum unless he holds it
like a baby tooth,
the end of a tape measure,
a lake in the rain.
He knows there is more to this
than his own growth.
An egg is a well-kept secret
a well-kept secret is a bottle of milk
a bottle of milk is a plump woman crying
a plump woman crying is a waterfall
a waterfall is the birth of a child
the birth of a child is a cuffed hand
a cuffed hand is a tree stump
a tree stump is a man in a tie
a man in a tie is graffitied propaganda
graffitied propaganda is a sperm cell.
Charley Genever is a poet, writer, and creative producer born and raised in Peterborough, and on 26th November 2015 she was crowned Peterborough Poet Laureate 2016. She holds a BA in English Literature and Creative Writing from Aberystwyth University, and since graduating she returned to Peterborough where she was successfully selected onto the Emerge training programme for emerging artists in Peterborough. Since then she has worked with and performed for Cambridge Junction, Apples and Snakes, the Fitzwilliam Museum, the Curve, the Green Festival, and the Roundhouse. Most notably she collaborated with The Poetry Society and Southbank Centre where she programmed National Poetry Day Live and also performed as part of the day. She has shared the stage and worked with the likes of John Hegley, Attila the Stockbroker, Ross Sutherland, Patience Agbabi, Joelle Taylor, Simon Mole, Benjamin Zephaniah, Mark Grist, Vanessa Kisuule, and Michael Symmons Roberts. She also regularly hosts open mic night ‘Pint of Poetry’, and produces her own quarterly spoken word night ‘Freak Speak’.
Watch Charley perform
To discover more of Charley's work see her website.