Four Poems
Helen Charman 

i.     Thin Girls

        waiting by the phone
        for referrals, if it happened
        to men / it could be happened
        at cash machines. Thin girls
        wait by the phone for the
        plummy voice of necessary
        steps / of reassurance / arm
        to shoulder. They don’t come.

2.     Pang from Pang

        Abolish the body! Flowerwise, falling
        only to save the shame of being seen
        to shudder, yes, she would far rather
        see you lovely than any army, yes but
        seeing you “lovely” is less likely by far
        than an image of you, flayed, unsure,
        even in this distinctly inglorious battlefield—
        “slain”— you still can’t keep your
        bloody fingers still. You’re not like a
        flower at all, you’re embarrassing, and we
        are all sick of the sight of you. Who can I
        taste on your lips like liquor? Lotus and
        Lethe on my lips like dew.

3.     The Roses of Heliogabalus 

        Violets and other flowers, or roses—they
        fill the mouth up all the same. The pipe
        sound streams clear despite the choking
        sound that muffles screaming. For those
        who ate, the meal was enjoyable. For those
        who drowned, their breath at least was sweet.

4. Angiogram

        Can you inherit
        My fat heart says

Helen Charman is a writer and a PhD student researching nineteenth-century maternity, sacrifice, and political economy. She teaches undergraduates at the University of Cambridge, and primary school children at the Hackney Pirates. Her writing can be found in Datableed, The Germ, King’s Review, Dazed and Confused, the LRB Blog and The Inkling Magazine.


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Hotel is a magazine for new approaches to fiction, non fiction & poetry & features work from established & emerging talent. Hotel provides the space for experimental reflection on literature’s status as art & cultural mediator. The magazine is bi-annual, the online archive is updated periodically.

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