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Billie Manning


You will die. You will die, and everyone will leave 

you, and all the terrible things you have imagined 

will fly into being like crows from your mind 

and you will die. But there are so many trees. 


Every time you choose, you will choose wrongly: 

between jobs, and lovers, and places to live, 

and desserts and people to make babies with, 

and you will die. But there are bumblebees. 


You’ll go mad after taking bad LSD and believe 

your hands are made from oranges and your mother 

is a pear, and you’ll miss delivery on your new blender 

and you will die. But there’s never not the sea. 


And you’ll fuck it all up and everyone will be angry 

with you and the three-month-old baby you nannied 

will become a man and he will hit and hurt and bleed 

and he will die, too. But spring comes, with its leaves. 


You’ll be late every time and your heart will drop like a stone, 

but in the morning, after dark, the sun will march 

riotous into your room, bold like so many brass 

trumpets, oh, those beautiful, loud trumpets and trombones.



Billie Manning is a writer and facilitator from Hackney, London. Having grown up writing, she eventually graduated from tweenage Harry Potter erotica to poetry and prose that has nothing to do with puns on the word ‘wand’. She teaches poetry courses at City Lit and is a Barbican Young Poet 2019-20.

Her work uses the personal moments of joy and hurt she experiences as a woman and a person to create understanding and connection within an audience, and sometimes to diss her exes. She thinks storytelling and its ability to bring people together is the most important thing in the world, no matter what form it is in.

Read more from Billie on her website.

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