Amanda Weeks


amanda-weeks-smiling-and-leaning-on-bench

Poet – Amanda Weeks

Amanda lives in Pontypridd, South Wales with husband Carlos, four-year-old son Travis and a cat called Rita. She began writing eight years ago when, at 27, she decided to pack in her job as a collector, invent a pile of A levels and study creative writing and drama at university.

She has had several short stories published in anthologies. She has written for The Pontypridd Observer and Buzz! magazine amongst others. Her Welsh-language screenplay Catastroffi was broadcast on S4C in 2006, and she’s had a further two screenplays optioned to Tornado Films. She is currently writing a novel, and attends John Evans’s Fiction Factory on Monday evenings. She is currently working as a supply teacher at Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhymni. Previously, she’s worked as a drama tutor for First Campus and as an actress.

Note: Amanda won 3rd place in the 2007 Welsh Poetry Competition with her poem – Space

Poems:

Friends

My true friends are happy for me
But not you. You smile at me
Then curse me in the pub,
Thinking you won’t be found out.
You bought me wine
And a pretty card, wishing me well
In my new home,
Then told everyone it’s too big,
Badly designed, bad choice of décor,
And too far away from Pontypridd
And the Spar shop.
And who do I think I am?
And how will I pay the mortgage
Or council tax, and manage all that cleaning?
It’s as though you want me to fail,
You want my home to be repossessed
Or the big bad wolf to huff and puff
And blow my house down.

You were so much happier
When I was on minimum wage
In Somerfield. Writing thesis into the early hours
While you had the luxury of sleep.
You came to see me every Saturday at work
And tell me how sorry you felt for me
Working weekends and smelling of cheese,
Wearing that awful turquoise overall
That accentuated my large hips.
I said it was only temporary,
That one day all my hard work would pay off
And you told me I was wasting my time.

When you decide to work as hard as I have
And put in all the hours
And buy a big house in the country
I’ll be happy for you.

Netball

I must have really hated netball
To fake illness and a note from my Mam
On the few Thursdays that I attended school,
And sit in a dingy changing room
That smelled of damp, thrush and verukas.

I must have been really crap at netball
To prefer looking at peeling paint
And stains on the ceiling,
Counting cracked, dirty floor tiles
Covered in ancient bubble gum and toenails.

I must have been really lazy
To sit there with a bag of homework
That needed to be done, but never would be
And books that I’d never read
And rotting fruit that I’d never eat.

I must have been really bored
To rifle through blazer pockets
Not looking for anything
Just needing something to do
Rather than vandalise the bogs again.

I must have been really stupid
To not know about you and Rebecca
Until I found your stupid note
In her pocket, next to the polo mints
Which I later pissed on and put back.

I must have been really stoned
To go to your house late at night
And throw a brick through your bedroom window
Hoping it would land on your head
But only getting your feet.

You must have been really worried
When you thought it was Paul the Pusher
Who broke your foot with a brick
Because you owed him money for speed,
So worried that your family moved away.
Oh, well.

One of Them Days

Ever had one of them days
When you wake up really early
Then go back to sleep
Then wake up again
Then go back to sleep
Then wake up late and think “fuck”?

I had one of them days today
And thought about phoning in sick
Then thought better of it
Then decided to phone in sick
But then thought “fuck it”
And went to work late.

My boss was like “do you want the sack?”
And I thought about how shit it was
But also about the fact that it’s an unemployment blackspot
And I was like “Well I do and I don’t.”
And he was like “That ain’t good enough”
And the fucker sacked me.

So I thought about getting revenge
By setting the fire alarm off
Or scratching his Mercedes
Or telling his wife about him and Ann-Marie
But in the end I just stole his stapler
And made an appointment at the DSS tomorrow.

I hope tomorrow’s not one of them days
When you wake up really early
Then go back to sleep
Then wake up again
Then go back to sleep
Then wake up really late and think “fuck”.

Ponty Baths

In the eighties, the school bus would drop us off in town
And we’d head for the open-air baths.
We’d be there until it closed at eight
Get chips from Gim Hong’s in Mill Street
Then walk home in a gang.
It was where we socialised, met boys,
Caught colds and got sunburnt.
Then some cunt at the council
Closed it down
Said it was too expensive to run.
The following summer we sniffed gas
There was nothing better to do.
I feel so sad to see the old baths
Crumbling after years of neglect
Japanese knotweed growing inside it
Where we used to swim, so carefree.
Razor wire is wrapped around it
To keep people out.
But it doesn’t stop the rats.
I wonder if they have as much fun
As we used to. Hope so.

Rumours

They said she was a witch
The old woman at number forty-nine,
So we never played ball near her house
Or chased her cat.
The crowd outside the chip shop
Moved when she appeared,
She never said “excuse me”
Like everyone else.
When I fell over, running past her house
She heard my scream.
I shivered when I saw her
And dreaded the torture that
She was bound to give me.
I couldn’t run and couldn’t shout.
“That’s foot’s broken,” she said.
She helped me inside, sat me down
And gave me her phone.
Whilst I phoned my mother
She put a bag of frozen peas on my foot
And stuck a lollipop in my mouth.
“Don’t tell anyone I was nice to you, mind,” she saidL.
“People think I’m evil and I like the peace and quiet.”
Now, as I try in vain to finish my script,
Kids running up and down the street
Shouting, spitting and swearing,
I’m half tempted to start a rumour
Just like old Agnes did.
Then maybe they’d fuck off.

Scrubber

From the minute I wake up
I can hear her sweeping brush against the pavement
And wonder how many particles of dirt
Have settled since the last cleansing exercise
Eight hours ago.

Then she moves on to the windowsill
The paint faded through constant rubbing.
Next is the turn of the lamppost
All graffiti is executed
And Goldie the labrador’s piss is bleached.

Her windows, already gleaming
Are wiped to within an inch of breaking
Nothing must spoil her view of the street.
She needs to see if litter is dropped
Or blown from less clean terraces.

The ice cream man parks outside
And she watches like a hawk.
Once, his predecessor dropped a wafer
She is on tenterhooks until the van

And it’s unruly customers have gone.

She waits for her husband to come home
Through the back door
He’s not allowed to use the front passage
For fear of spoiling the carpet.
But he doesn’t come home, so she cleans some more.

Space

He left a space.
Never knew he was a “he” until the post mortem.
The little life. I never saw his face
A tiny body. A huge space.

He left a void.
It couldn’t be filled with drink or drugs
Believe me, I tried.
Six months’ gestation. Eternal void.

He left guilt.
Was I wrong to decorate his room,
Buy a pram with matching quilt?
Three pounds, two ounces. Heavy guilt

He left despair.
A freak with bad insides
A child I could not bare.
Neo-natal death. Life of despair.

He left me
Alone with my bottle and pills
And people saying it wasn’t meant to be.
A wanted son. He left me.

Tanked For The Memories

Down and out on all-day bender
I recognise your voice
Before I even turn round.
“Oi, nutter!” you call
“Pint of lager and lime and a packet of cheese and onion?”
It’s as though we saw each other yesterday
Not fifteen years ago.

We drink and laugh
At funny things we did together,
Talk of the places where we used to mosh
All of which demolished now,
Replaced by the New Cardiff,
A place we can’t afford to live.

We reminisce about the music we loved
Now called “old skool”
And the musicians we wanted to be
Now called “veteran rockers”
And feel old. And long to go back
And listen to Anthrax.

You laugh at the make-up I wore
And joke that my skirts resembled belts
And mock my taste in boys.
You seem to remember everything about me
Except one crucial thing
“Why did we stop being friends?” you ask

I pretend I can’t remember
I don’t want this good day ruined,
But you had a new girlfriend called Donna
Who didn’t like the fact that you had female friends.
When I phoned you, upset, you asked me not to call again
For fear of upsetting Donna. Fifteen years have passed.

I’m glad you didn’t end up with her
And that your new woman has no problem
With you having female friends.
Theoretically, we could be friends again,
Realistically, I can’t be arsed.
But thanks for the beers, Neil.