When I Wished For Horses
A poem by Cinderella for Patti Smith, Godmother of Punk.
When I wished for Horses,
I meant the kind that at a needle’s touch
courses through your mind in ragged beats
not trotting the streets in quiet clips and clops,
the kind that only stops
for a second to gasp a gulp
of air to growl its presence.
None of these charmed mice announcing
a princess has arrived at the palace.
This is not the fairy godmother I had imagined.
With Patti by my side,
we’d stride into the ballroom.
Calling card a twelve inch square,
with a shake of that black hair she’d spin
the vinyl magic held within
and then join in and sling
her wings over her shoulder like a blazer
(that’s her curtsey).
We’d hold the dance floor at our mercy,
amaze her staring crowd
with the same tracks I have blaring
loud in my headphones as I shine
my sisters’ shoes with polish.
I don’t want to hear them whine
and gossip any more about that girl –
the one who started spitting slugs with every word.
My godmother would never call that a curse.
She’d turn one into a sound engineer
the way she transfigures a verse
because I don’t need a footman
for my plan.
See, it’s not the ball I’m headed for,
that tedious trail of chequered floors.
Patti knows places dancing’s more than
left step, right step, twirl –
boring as my chores –
and where’s a girl to hold
enough guitars for touring
in a pumpkin made of gold?
Really, I could have kept my rags.
These layers of lace will drag – me – down
as she teaches me to leap across stages
so swap me a pair of braces for this gown.
I’ll kick off the slipper to dance
barefoot through the town,
kick up the glitter
into their eyes.
If I’m going to rise
from these cinders,
I need a fairy who can sing
a new set of wings
onto whatever song she forges.
That’s the godmother I meant
when I wished for Horses.
Mostly Emmy does pictures for other people’s words but sometimes she writes and performs her own. On the internet she lives at emmyingle.weebly.com; in her head she lives in a fairy-tale forest; in the real world she lives in Lancaster where she is slowly stumbling her way through university.