Maypole 1 final
Maypole diagram 1 (Barber’s Pole)

The group of tenants

from different countries are trying to think about May Day. How shall we make our demands? How to speak to the government, who’s got a line? How to speak to each other? Aren’t we just making demands to the sky, and doesn’t it feel like prayer? Why didn’t we ask for everything last year?

hold a great gold stone. Not a ring, or a metal, but something made out of paper with a hideout of flesh, which overall peters out. Salt, not Peter, and when the gates aren’t open your key is a wine bottle stopper, is a cracked tooth for beer shown up at parties, your jewels are made of wood, for goodness’ sake, shut up and don’t go home, about your business, which is a front organisation for labour, and some of its best returns are Saturn’s.

My home is where

we prepare, with all these testimonies, a submission to the Government on the impact of the virus on people in the private rented sector. We are preparing our submission to phrase it it in the most persuasive terms, from which their policy response will claim to be derived.

I cook and clean and care and I discover medicine. All our dreams, allantoin, all our muscles, allicin, all our protective spells and sayings, lignin, all the recipes we’ve invented, tannin, all the softest surfaces we can find, lanolin, all our dried and bleeding edges, paraffin, all our locking the door on desiccated evenings.

A house is an absurd place to struggle for a new form of life

for a plant who usually gets watered in the street, something soil in a reverberating shout, and how the people who watch you get to see what spears the demonstration holds up. ACT UP. FIGHT BACK. An absurd place to struggle, though many have tried it; most of those who have tried it have had no choice but to try it there. But to try it here. But to try it there.

when your tongue is tied to a landlord. The table is laid and set for us; we cannot refuse to eat. We cannot refuse because there is no other table. Or you have to steal the ingredients for your own table and build another table out of this table-time. Through morning I will read at my pleasure, empty shelf where rent had to be paid so books couldn’t be bought. Empty, but there’s enough memory in this phone and room for nudes. So red and soft I photograph my home for someone else.


Gloria Dawson (b. 1985) lives in Glasgow. Work can be found in Datableed, Zarf, Amberflora, para.text, Poetry Wales, algia, and the upcoming anthologies ‘Writing Utopia’ (Hesterglock Press) and ‘Anthropocene Everyday’ (Dostoevsky Wannabe). A pamphlet, circlusion, is available from Zarf Editions. Gloria organises with Living Rent and Glasgow Mutual Aid and, like Harvey Milk, wants to recruit you.

TENANCY is a MAP project in twelve parts, presenting new work considering what it means to occupy somewhere–or something–temporarily. The project is curated by Helen Charman, MAP Commissioning Editor.