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Hatcham Social takeover: Chris Petrie | River's Edge

Hatcham Social takeover: Chris Petrie

November 17, 2015

Chris Petrie


HS: “Chris is a very focused writer and these poems show a real attention to detail. I was really pleased when she said she could give us some poetry. I think she shows a real timeless poetic understanding, but she writes with a contemporary voice. Here are two of her poems.” 


The Siliconcoated Tent

After Robert Frost


He’s like a tent with zipped walls of silk

stretched on stems of aluminium­alloytexture-1183736

that bend until the silk walls crease,

when every metal peg is so put in

to emphasise an equal pressure

in the clay slope where it is pitched;

if nylon guy­ropes stretching in the dew

make the tent slacker

still it holds its shape in any weather

so carefully silicon­proofed

that the first heavy drops of rain

roll off the impregnated silk like stones.

The insectry crawls along the flysheet,

lost, outside his hidden encampment.





A Word With My Doctor


I can’t sleep for the sound of my ears.

I think I can hear data in the air.

So, you didn’t think it was tinnitus.

Maybe it’s just the sound of distant traffic

In the street and in the sky.

Maybe I can hear high frequencies.

Maybe in a damp tent in the hills

I wouldn’t hear these dry noises.

What keeps you awake at night?

People like me, I suppose!

I realise people get sectioned

for hearing things. When I worked as an usher

(years ago now)

a woman wrote a polite letter

saying she loved the cinema

but could we please stop the government

calling her over the tannoy?

I don’t hear threats

but between the aeroplanes and the noise of the fridge

­ I know what they are ­

there are other noises.

I honestly believe they’re digital.

And I wonder if a text is going through my body

and another through his as he lies next to me

or if I can just, just hear and feel

a film being downloaded through us

by the upstairs neighbour.


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