Dépaysement is a French word regarding the feeling of ‘being away from your origin.’
This room has four walls
set high, blank faces, sickly white.
They do not shut out
the shriek of a saltless wind.
I do not hear seagulls here.
How far are we from the coast?
That chunk of bottomless green quartz,
cloudy with a spectrum of broken shells, smoky-dark tendrils of seaweed;
waxy, bloated heads of baby sharks.
I grew up sea-side, Mersey-side; I believed in mermaids –
Not the pastel-shaded Disney sirens of Neverland, Wonderland –
But the dark-haired temptress, preening on the rocky banks of the Dee,
luring men to their deaths, hearts blooming
like the flame-tipped smoke stacks that lit my way
Like that winking light on an oil mast in the Irish sea at 1am, outside the pub
when we all wanted to take off our leather jackets,
rub off our blood orange, deep plum, black lipstick,
dive into that endless well
of stolen trolleys, abandoned boots, broken tiles.
I had my heart broken on the shores of the Sienne, bathed
in that soft violet blush of a streaky French dawn.
I cried in a tomb of a four poster bed, choked by its rosy glow.
I stood at the edge of the tide and tried
to be as deep
How far are we from the coast, again?
How far am I from home?
I cannot see around the wind, I don’t know
which way it is going to blow;
Only that it does not sting my eyes,
and when it goes, it only blows
Featured art by Kim Khaira for ISSUE #16: OTHER.
Betty Doyle is an 18 year old student, originally from Merseyside, studying English Literature and Creative Writing at Lancaster University. Her poems and short stories have been published globally, in America, Russia, the UK and most recently Belgium. In 2012, she contributed towards the anthology, ‘Catechism: Poems for Pussy Riot’, which later won the ‘Best Poetry Anthology’ at the 2013 Saboteur Awards. She is also a regular contributor to the American zine, Some Weird Sin. This is her first contribution to ISSUE.