We are not this script Though we act it well – and with vim

Jenny Lindsay is one of Scotland’s best performance poets, and the publication of her new poetry collection This Script has been BooksfromScotland’s most highly anticipated releases of the year. We’re delighted to share some of her poetry with you, and highly recommend you go to the This Script show when it tours around the UK later on in the year.


Extracts taken from This Script
By Jenny Lindsay
Published by Stewed Rhubarb Press


This Script


a part-univocal poem in and about ‘I’


Since six, it imprints in skin –

this girl script, this birthright which kills spirit

whilst timid lips twitch Shhhhh, girls

Swirl mildly within this

is itch in this skin, in this script


Misfits spit:


Whip nit-wits stingingly with livid riffs!

This script stinks!

It is shirt lifts. It is skirt shims with impish grins

It is slits pink, bikini tits. It is

pricks infringing with victim scripts

It is in birth til infirm

this script, this girlish mimicry…


Grim risk if girls wish trim bits within knicks!

If thigh-ripping thick skins in big biffs shirts

bits binding within rigid distinct ticks ID-ing with

script-ish wish-lists is inspiring? PFT!

It binds ‘I’ within slim-picking piddling limits!


Misfits flick digits. Fists twitch. Indignity fizzing.

Sighs rising.




Is it implicit? Is it ID?

This insipid script – is it simply right?

Writ in birth? Identity? Cis?

(is this msprnt??)


Kick it. Stick it in bins brimming with skin flicks!

High-five other ‘I’s!

Let a collective ‘I’ light up within winning shin-kickings!

Bitches, reclaim this script!

Be singing: one is not born, one becomes WOMAN!


oops… off script…


It’s illicit thinking, skirting kinship with siblings whilst

hissing indignity within isms splits ID from ‘I’s –

Schisms rip Twit’ring vigils

Timid girls flit, sighing:

Skirmish! Irk! Pitching in is visibility! Crisis-rid!





Kick it. This script?

It’s ‘I’ ridden

‘I’ is limiting

‘I’ is ‘I’ first

Tight-knit wiring gives wind chill


We are not this script

Though we act it well – and with vim

‘I’ stands still, individual,

while a collective head wricks necks tae listen.



 The Imagined We


We are never permitted to be human

poets, writers, journalists, whatevers

We are female poets. Women

writers. We are murdered women

We are statistics

We are problems to be solved

We are problems to be represented


Each of the imagined we who rises up

becomes us, whether we like it or not


Do not tear them down, sisters!

Do not tear us down, women folk!


It is not womanly of us, to us

to be at each other’s throats


not when they are our throats


not when sirens are the soundtrack tae our newsfeeds


or, we are slashed at the throat

We are severed heads weighed down with rocks

in bin bags chucked far from our bodies

our humanity shucked off

by default humans’ hands


We stand in the shower

The blood trickles down our thighs on

One of those days

One of those days

One of those days

Where we’re encouraged

Me time!

Me time!



Alone with chocolate!

Alone with scrummy bubble-baths in delicious flavours!


Misogyny Mud-pie and Mint?

Creamy Dreamy Cum-dumpster Froth?

Raspberry Coulis and Kool-Aid? Mmm!

Paedo Pear with Jojoba and Argan Oil



We plug it in all holes, don’t we?

We lean our heads on the tiles and

watch our blood plop and pool

because the plug-hole is blocked.


We imagine that an epic car-chase

followed by fist fights led us here to

this bleeding from a hidden wound –

and that we are renegades! We are superheroes!

(or perhaps functioning drunk anti-heroes)

We have trauma in our pasts and we are

Setting Things Right!


The Imagined THEM! The bad guys

have been left in pools of writhing regret!

Some of them have stakes sticking out of where

their hearts once were – some of them

turned tae dust in front of our eyes.


And we are bruised

We are injured

But we are alive


We are just temporarily crunched over

tenderised, bleeding from the fight

This script writes itself




In our silence…




Strings rise up

are soon accompanied by brass

as the camera angle switches

from our point of view

It starts at polished toe-nails that

sparkle through our bloodied feet

pans up smoothly – at the same speed

as that constant little trickle

The lens ensures a glimpse

of our shaved mound

There’s a sloooo

ooowing at un-suckled nipple


And then, our face

our face in tight-lipped defiance

close-eyed anger

and then a sudden SNAPPING OPEN!

Clearly, fierce pain inside


The scene ends with our fists

punching and then

pummelling the tiles

our strangled throats expleting

our knuckles bloodied too now

all this fucking PAIN!


At which an audience will cry:



What fighting spirit!

Triumph over adversity!


All those banished demons!

and the removal of awards.


Rewards limited tae a fist

smashing another fist

and being told it’s the fights against us

that make us who we are?


And that we must love the pain of this at all costs.


We must love the pain of this at all costs.



An Invite to your baby shower or your child’s birthday party

They don’t make them like they used to.

Don’t make women like yer Gran did.

Nor daughter’s like yer Ma did.

Or girls like this absence

in the shape of a child.


I’ll send best wishes. Maybe

I might come sip

awkward prosecco at the barbie,

get accidentally pished like

my ‘aunties’ did.


But never ask me of ideal worlds,

or if this choice is choice,

or look at me knowingly when

you hear I’m in love now –

there is no path but the one that’s walked.


This Hello, welcome to the world! I wish you wonder!

Joy! Nae Larkin!

is all I have to give at present.

This cradled hope, though

no gifts were asked for,

no gifts demanded.



This Script by Jenny Lindsay is published by Stewed Rhubarb Press, priced £10.99

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