Thursday 12 May 2022

Nina Walker, "Blooming"

Nina Walker is a third-year student and Leicester University. She enjoys writing, rug making and Ray Bradbury’s short stories. She’s been writing poetry since she was sixteen when the only person reading it was her mum. The dream is to be published eventually. 

Nina performed the following poem at the Creative Writing Student Showcase at Literary Leicester in March, 2022. 

About the poem 'Blooming,' by Nina Walker

The following poem was inspired in part by my paternal grandmother Wendy Walker, who worked in the hosier industry that was huge in the Midlands, as well as an article I read about the disgustingly long waiting list for people in this country needing cancer treatment. Since my grandma died of cancer during 2020 the two seemed thematically close. I wanted to try and get across the sense of loss I feel when I think about my grandma and the industry she used to work in. 'Blooming' is part of a larger collection I hope to publish about England’s past and how it affects our understanding of the present, as well as how we can come to love such a deeply troubled country.


The alley behind Debenhams sells discount granny bras 
And I want to cut off my hair
Watch the threads slip down the drain
One by one

I keep reading about our collapse
Makes me sick, stomach full of all this bile
So I eat cleaner

But I still feel rotten, soft like a pear gone brown in the middle
Soft like the skin round a lump
Growing plump
In the glands in my chest
An anxious spasm

The city is not our friend
Doesn’t recall our names like a bad teacher
Fumbles with our futures like a bleeding pen
Blubbering like the lady behind Debenhams 
Or on the market 
With her cheap elastic bloomers 
When I’ve lost my job and my hair
I hope she’s the only millionaire 

Something about these people with their day jobs and money makes me feel faker than tan.
I can’t carve away at the pain we’re all stuck to like plump blue bottles
Can’t make work mean more than pennies counted
Can’t remove the tumours

We work till our fingers can’t pick out the stitching anymore 

Till they’ve worn us out like Primark trainers 

My grandma worked with her hands 
Just like the woman did
But a tumour took my nan and a tumour is taking the woman too
But it's not in her body
So I can’t cut it out

The tumour is barren 
Stripped us of our tools 
Left us arthritic 
So we send our projects abroad to children with quick fingers 
Blank eyes

Your nan will live
Or not
They don’t really care if she makes a living 

Never mind the back alleys and soft flesh, it’s our conscience we should be searching.
If this country was a dog I’d shoot it out of mercy.

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