Claire Booker lives near Brighton. Her poems have been set to music, filmed, displayed on Guernsey buses and Worthing Pier, and published widely in magazines including Ambit, Agenda, Butcher's Dog, The Dark Horse, Magma, The Morning Star, Poetry Birmingham, The Rialto, The Spectator, Stand and Under The Radar. She has been a Poetry Society Members' Poem winner three times, runner-up in their Stanza Competition, and Pushcart and Forward Prize nominated. She was awarded a Kathak Literary Award in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Her collection 'A Pocketful of Chalk' is out with Arachne Press. Her pamphlets are 'The Bone That Sang (Indigo Dreams) and 'Later There Will Be Postcards (Green Bottle Press). She has guest featured at poetry events in Margate, Birmingham, London, Dhaka, Brighton, Winchester, Manchester, Leicester, Maidenhead, Lewes, Tunbridge Wells and St Albans, among others and hosted Poet in the City's Drop-in at Waterstone's, Piccadilly.
MUSEUM OF CHILDHOOD The little dictionary lies open at A for Apple where it all begins. I want to turn the pages, but the vitrine is a border crossing; my ageing face, stamped on its glass and my papers way out of date. Moths have been at work along the faded pink of a rabbit’s ear. It’s swiveled to catch lost sounds. A big, red button reads: PRESS ME. So I do, and the little train clatters along N-gauge tracks – disappears into the papier-mâché tunnel. A long heart-skip, before it emerges still guarding its secret: the dark curved space, a pin prick of light dilating like an amazed pupil at the approaching world. Claire Booker Published in The Spectator (12th Dec 2020) QUAKE - SOUTH ISLAND His hair is light as cloud bleached by sea-spit, skin the colour of roast suckling pig – whittles a stick of green beech, smells strong: man sweat, Speight’s Old Dark, chewed cheroot. Says his father has plant-cunning. Herbs grow like family here; brother root, sister leaf hide and seek him under cob trees, rock mazes, wrap of meadow, guile of night. Best time to pick is with the ancestors beside you, the right knife, heart open to the magic. There’s true protection then, from faithless wives, kidney stones, tortuous births and the worst . . . He makes the sign of a jaw, tall as a lych gate - Great White. His father always walks behind to ward off such swallowings. But we’re nowhere near the sea; just scrub, flat as an open palm. Then he tells how the land can boil rougher than sea anger, shoot waves in concentric circles, hurling flotsam: brick, skulls, car bonnets. All you see are the fins, splitting seams. Last week they took a child, four months old, wrapped her in a white box with roses, lilac, forget-me-nots, winched her gently down into the jaws that cracked her. Claire Booker Published in Magma (Issue 53)
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