The Permission Slip

Somewhere between a heartbeat monitor 
and a white house on the hill 
there is the writing. 
This is the year of 
Permission To Make a Mess 
this is the year that 
Bill has already left. 
We sit in chosen places 
one eye on the view 
the other on the door. 
She was a candy box 
where death roamed inside. 
How to give feedback in a nice way … how to … 
Smoking in the bitter cold 
after a bad review. 
The months pass 
in a line-dance of words 
moving like all of us beneath the clouds through outer space. 
That view again, so blue at the beginning 
is white by the end. 
Pages and pages blowing out over the ocean 
everything we wrote and read 
and those other pages too, unwritten and unread, 
all of them racing away like the clouds 
over our heads. 

Listen to MA Workshop 2003 read ‘The Permission Slip’


Tracey Hill, Caroline Foote, Robin Fleming, Rose Cook, Griet Dierckxsens, Matt Vickers, Josh Greenberg, Frances Samuel.

About this poem: Earlier this year I was asked to read at the IIML alumni event on behalf of my MA class 2003. There were 10 people in my year, and when I thought about reading at the event I knew that most of them wouldn’t be able to be there. But I wanted to somehow include everyone’s voice, not just my own, and so I emailed those I could find and asked them to send me one line inspired by their MA year, which I would then — with absolutely minimal interference — make into an ephemeral poem of sorts. This is the poem I put together, and perhaps it gives a small sense of our class. Frances Samuel.