I’ve been working on a series of poems inspired by the Museum of Broken Relationships. Here’s one.


A Bike

2001 – 2007

‘I’d wanted a bicycle for ages and when started seeing Jerry – a cyclist – my interest really took off. We’d been married about a year and, tired of all my questions about which bike I should get, he said “look let’s just go to the bike shop and choose something”. We did, and he bought me a bike as an early birthday present. The night I found out he was having an affair I got on my bike and rode for an hour, crying my eyes out. As the relationship disintegrated I’d go for longer and longer rides… at the end through the most traumatic months of separation, the bike he bought for me became my saviour – a symbol of freedom and my constant companion. This is why I ride.’


The bike you bought

destabilised me.

You held the underside

of my saddle,

kept it level,

pell melled me

down hills.

You fixed the bell,

felt my tyres,

checked their tread.

Pumped up

I bounced hard,

double dipped

in potholes, flew

head over handlebars.

My tooth cut clean

through my lip.

Gritty knee’d

on the kerb

I licked my blood,

blotting my face

with your mansize tissues.

Claire Collison

About claire collison

Writer, photographer, creative facilitator, and breast cancer survivor, I am currently Artist in Residence at the Women's Art Library (WAL) My first novel was a finalist in the Dundee Book Prize, and my short stories and poetry have appeared in print and online. In 2015 I was awarded second place in the inaugural Resurgence Prize, the world's first eco poetry competition, judged by Sir Andrew Motion, Alice Oswald, and Jo Shapcott. This blog began as a space for words generated on my walking/writing workshops at the Mary Ward centre in Bloomsbury - Writing the City (WTC). WTC has since grown to include many other venues, including the Museum of Broken Relationships, the Barbican, the River Rom, Southwark Woods, Aylesbury Estate, and most recently, as part of Walking Women festival, An Intimate Tour of Breasts. I have worked with Kettle's Yard, Cambridge, as the recipient of the first Max Reinhardt Literacy Award, designing teaching resources; and for The Photographers' Gallery, helping school children develop visual literacy as part of 'Seeing More Things'. If you would like me to design a workshop or walk for you, please be in touch!
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2 Responses to mansize

  1. Leanne Davis says:

    This is absolutely beautiful. Gave me goosebumps x

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