Roxanne finds the people earning a living by running a market stall cheer and comfort her, the people paid to do so are never around when she's unhappy.


Roxanne

When I came here the Warden said: “Roxanne,
this house isn't really appropriate for you, but... “
Today I came down into the kitchen and put the kettle on,
got out a teabag and a mug, in front of Robert
and Robert took a pint glass, cracked in and beat two eggs,
then poured in all of the milk. I said: “Robert,
I need a drop of that milk for my cup of tea.”
and Robert gave me his green-eyed long-lashed stare
as if he was even madder than he is. He does this.
I cannot make Robert less selfishly mad, or more considerate.
So I shouted: “Robert, I want a drop of milk!” and Robert stared and said:
“You're mad you are.” And Daphne joined in with:
“Poxy Roxie! Poxy Roxie shouting!”
I hate it when they're this stupid and unkind. I know they can't help it,
it is insoluble. My brain starts tearing, blood pours through my skull.
Then Daphne bobs in my face and shouts: “Poxy Roxie wants a cup of tea!
Poxy Roxie wants a cup of tea!” shaking her red-tinted elf-locks.
She does it because there are no nurses so she can do whatever she likes,
I got so angry I wrapped up Dolly and took her off up the market.
I know the Warden will sort it out,
she'll treat me as if I was just as mad and stupid
as Daphne or Robert. She won't see
the human pattern in my wings, just the flying creepy-crawly.
Every footstep jarred and hurt the pavement, every dark-branched tree
took on that immediate urgent meaning, that distracting symbolism
that means you cannot look, so many messages are coming in -
tears running down my cheeks because I hadn't had a cup of tea -
crossing the road was scary, too many tears and cars and messages.
But even a doll needs love and comfort, just like me,
so when we reached the market safely I kissed and comforted my Dolly.
The road was choked with stalls, bright lights and people.
I kept having to stop or we'd have gone bump into shopping trolleys.
We threaded our way and reached our special fruit and vegetable stall -
it's our own especial stall, it isn't for Daphne and it isn't for Robert.
I showed Dolly its bright lights, pineapples, pears and red and white potatoes,
spinach bundles, southern peaches, cauliflowers all crisp and green and white,
and a rattle of walnuts, an avalanche of Coxes Orange Pippins into the scales.
We just stood quietly out of the way. The servers yelled:
“Six pounds a pound bananas, eat here or take away!”
One said: “Hello Roxie! Got your Dolly?” “Yes Mum seven grapefruit?
And four pounds of onions, two pounds please!” “Oh don't cry, Roxie!
Had another row in the house?” I couldn't help crying more. They said:
Not now Roxie. We're busy.” It never goes right for Roxie and her Dolly.
There was a new bloke serving, they explained, we heard them all:
“That's Roxie. Look at her, nursing that bleeding doll!
They've had another row in her halfway house.” “Hurt you, or damage the stall?
No mate, she wouldn't harm a fly. But you have to laugh.
If you didn't have a laugh you'd go fucking mad yourself!”



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