Sophie Fenella is a poet and performer from London. She has showcased her work around the UK at venues such as The Roundhouse, The Royal Festival Hall and has previously been long-listed to be the Young Poet Laureate for London. Her poetry has been published in numerous websites, anthologies and magazines including The Rialto, Magma and New River Press. 

The Rich Nothing sees Sophie Fenella create a time capsule of loss, love and grief all transported and transmogrified into powerful snapshots which are often arresting, sometimes surreal, but always pertinent and provocatively fresh. 

The Rich Nothing by Sophie Fenella

Poetry pamphlet – 33 pages


Taken from The Rich Nothing

Ghost Talk
Almost eaten, my mother’s hand 
- tight-spun fist - knocks the table
as she whispers, he’s here
with closed eyes and mouth
chewing baked potatoes, drowning
in butter, melting cheese.
Mother is speaking to the dead. 
Oh Mother, what did you do
to make this knocking sound?
Knock to keep the absent, 
knock to break the door, 
knock to stop the crockery 
smashing on the floor.
Knock to lighten the granite air
warm the house where ghosts walk,
swallow silence, after I leave.
Break the silence Mother,
with psychic knock.
The knock of the dead, 
the damn knock of the dead,
is the reason my mother 
worries the lonely wall,
when the kitchen table 
is a great big apology
and we sit chewing carbs.
There is no reason why 
my mother knocks rustic tables
like a priest in myths
or deeper stories than this. 
But there is an explanation why 
I feel my witch blood boil
with the sound of the knocking dead;
knocking is my way 
of apologising to my father
who would hate the fact that
he only breathes in my dreams.
The most important moment 
of grieving is the bit when 
the ghost becomes personable.
My mother watched the ghost walk
through the kitchen, as arguments 
widened her eyes, and for the first time 
I saw her as a child 
brushing soft palms 
on my five year old brow.
Neither of us could explain why 
the hallway rocked when the ghost
turned up in the kitchen 
with his hairy arms, orchestral laugh, 
and meditative smile,
which looked like my father
except faded, his colour
running out, the soft crease
of his smile the last potion
in our twisted spell.

No Sugar
I don’t like eating    in the morning   when waiting for emails       
hoping for a sign that tunnels aren’t endless            mornings 
are welcome   but when I am sandwiched between heavy metal 
back beat   tissues             and red rimmed eyes      ignoring 
the littered train smudging peripheral vision   and its reminder 
of today    I think about all the food that has been eaten     on trains      
in between conversations about the city and its history     
(water pumps     war)    and remark on how well the air 
is dealing with labour   smelling toothpaste to keep me awake
I could be unconscious     I could be swimming with Beyoncé
on an island made entirely of the dinners I have forgotten
to eat    and the nights spent making arrangements with the ceiling
to keep me stable      to keep me from falling into a half asleep
mess        with my forehead pressed on the window      
unable to relate to the train         that doesn’t notice the warehouse
          screaming       or the factories pouring smoke
on the cotton sky       like a drunk father spilling beer on his shirt     
I have a fist full of hard             and the girl next to me is eating 
a boiled egg       yellow mouth                 she clenches her teeth     
her eyes glaze                she is naked        from the waist down    
I’m not supposed to speak to strangers       but     I see words 
on her dew pink bottom lip     she doesn’t know how to come
            to the dinner table           we both sit in silence
and understand the cold stick of a bathroom floor     and red sky 
kisses blue        and I hold her hand

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