life

Distilled

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There was not a single time when I was wrong,

only those moments where I was told as much,

so it became fact.

When they would crush my confidence so small

it could be squeezed

into a miniature Vodka bottle.

At night I would suck down that harsh liquid,

so they could compress dreams afresh tomorrow;

distilled once again into that tiny space.

Over the years the nights became longer,

that vessel became larger,

and I grew accustomed to the taste.

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poetry

It was that Pair of Boots.

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artwork by Francesca Strange

It was that pair of boots

Battered and bruised

That made me realise

I needed to have you,

 

Not the whispering touch

Of a finger crossing my back

Or the growing bulge

Of frustration and want.

 

But the coarse leather

And fraying laces,

That only a man

Who has bit on the thick

 

Belt of life, with

Bleeding teeth

And a bleeding ego

Would dare to don.

 

Give them to me young, ambitious

And stupid

And I’ll spit them out, like

Chewed out rubber toys,

 

But give me a man

Who knows better than

To be gentle, and

Fucks like he knows

 

You will not be

His last.

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fiction, life

THE SCARS

Chris R-1231 Image by Christine Renney

Trapped with insufficient light he tends to his wounds. Tracing with his finger tips, finding the hardened, healed and healing skin. The etchings on his arms are intricate, far too complex, and he can’t read them in the dark.
He clambers from the bed and sits on the edge and leans toward the window. Reaching out, he peels back the curtain and gazes at the road. It has been raining, in fact it is still raining. He can see it now, stalled just above the street lamps.
If he had something with which to write he would begin again, start afresh, but he doesn’t have a blade. Of course, there are other ways and he glances at the empty Coke can sitting on top of the nightstand. He could crush it and twist it and twist it until he had fashioned something, something pointed and sharp.
He stands and, turning, he moves alongside the bed. He stumbles in the confined space, steadies himself against the wall and feeling his way he grapples for the light switch.
He flicks it and in the harsh glare he sits on the floor. He looks down at his arms and studies the scars. He is trapped in a cube where it is too bright and he closes his eyes. And he won’t see the Coke can, not unless, not unless he decides.

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prosetry

Want

“What do you want?”

I want to chew on your bones

to go back and stop her from going to that house in Brixton

you to bump into me in Mexico

to read all of the books

to be adored

to be ignored

to un-sleep with 95% of the men I’ve slept with

to give you a philosopher in exchange for a photographer

to discover what it feels like to not be in constant pain

everyone to just fuck the fuck off

you to tell me that the collection of dead wasps in my hands look “good enough to eat”

to dance on the train tracks with you like we used to, in the dead of night, drinking a bottle of Veuve through a straw, wearing novelty sunglasses and fur coats, shouting the lyrics to Losing My Religion and running away from track engineers and transport police

to go to the aquarium and count how many of the stingrays are happier than me, with their fucking smug little faces and all their smiley pals

to ask you what happened

to be your sorry-ever-after

to stop becoming emotionally invested in things that have nothing to do with me

to change your mind

to be formally introduced to the monsters that live under my bed and shake hands with the devil who pitched a tent on my shoulder

to kiss your knuckles before they find my face

to kiss your knuckles after they’ve found my face

to never speak another word

to go back to that restaurant in Alicante where all the food was on little sticks and at the end you take your sticks to the counter and pay according to how many sticks you have and the manager didn’t know that I had hidden six sticks hidden in my pocket so I’d like to pay for the six sticks of food that I didn’t pay for at the time

to stop faking it

to say that all I want is world peace and the end of global poverty because that’s what everyone is meant to say but I’m not everyone, I’m a terrible human being, and even if the world became a rich, plentiful, beautiful utopia we would still find things to argue about and people would die of greed and jealousy, and we’d probably still be fucking miserable because too much is never enough, it’s always more, more, more

to check if our initials are still on that tree

to hear you tell me that I’m electric

to hide under the surface of the sea, so that you know where I am but can never find me

to stop loving myself “less than the potential of one more night going mental”

to eat the belladonna first and trust that you will eat some too

to see myself through your eyes

to pinpoint the exact moment that everyone got so fucking boring

to stop being so afraid of living

to stop being so afraid of dying

to stop being so afraid

to just… stop.”

“I meant what do you want to drink? Tea or coffee?”

Featured image source here.

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prosetry

The Retrogression of Self

ONE.

With every drink
comes degeneration

and every disco dabble
brings deterioration,

the reckless demolition of
a mind that thrives

on vague ideas of happiness,
promises of something better,

and desperate attempts to
experience whatever it means

to “feel alive” while being
mostly dead inside.

Devastation comes with freedom
and my worst version of myself

isn’t worth my immersion and
participation is what is commonly known

as “having fun.”

TWO.

Maybe some people
don’t suit fun or don’t deserve it,
but I simply don’t understand it:

my definition of having
a good time is as warped
as my vodka-vortex vision.

I have no hair to let down,
I ripped it all out.

I do not care for my safety —
everyone that I love is a stranger
to someone.

I smashed the tiles
that I was meant to dance on.

I spend half my life trying
and failing to order more drinks

for people who I don’t know,
with money that I don’t have

long after the bell for last orders
has rattled my rib cage

and leaving after the lights have gone out
and staying after the staff have gone home.

I feel gross and I know I am a mess,
but I pretend that this is fun,

that I don’t have a drink problem
that I don’t have a drug problem

that this is what everyone my age is doing,
that I DON’T HAVE A FUCKING PROBLEM ALRIGHT?

and I am an exceptionally good liar
(as all addicts are)

so sometimes
even I believe me.

THREE.

Do you enjoy it?
Do I enjoy it?

Sparkling powder on dirty cistern
on painted thumbnail
on shattered iPad
on kitchen counter with breadcrumbs
on dusty dashboard
on pirate dvd
on corner of stolen credit card
on someone’s wriggling stomach,

with banknotes
with unsuccessful lottery tickets
with a strip of the Evening Standard
with doctor’s notes
with fluorescent straws
with glass test tubes
with torn-up takeaway menus
with your brass house key,

up it goes,
up a nose that never asked
to be involved.

No

I don’t enjoy it,
not really.

Oh

but if you’re offering,
yeah, why not.

It would be rude not to.

FOUR.

I don’t want any of this anymore.
I don’t want to be like this.
I don’t want to fight
this person anymore.
I want to kill the bad half of me,
just strangle her while she’s in bed
with another stranger,
smother her silly
until she enters a sweet forever-sleep.
Oi, leave her,
just let her sleep,
she’s so tired.
She doesn’t want to wake up
to face the morning
Don’t let her wake up
and remember what she’s done.
Don’t let her.
Just let her sleep.

FIVE.

I fill the void with
two litres of cheap wine
and morph into a monster in a mini-dress.
Really though, one sip is all it takes
for the worst version of me to arrive,
uninvited, aggressive, ridiculous.
I want to strangle her
and I think other people do too.
Some guys do, in bed,
but I tell myself that’s different.

SIX.

“Something’s gotta change.”
“I don’t want to do this anymore.”
“I need to change.”

THIS IS IT.

And so I quit, cold-turkey it, miserable, isolated.
Usually something bad has prompted my decision
so I just hide inside and want to die.
And the change is bad,
and the change is good,
and the change is very good,
and then I go back to my old ways and it starts again.

RELAPSE.

I hear them mumbling something about leopards,
and spots, and dogs that can do tricks,
and how an addict will always be an addict,
and that I’m going downwards and backwards
and upside-down at an astonishing rate
and they mention spirals and catastrophes
and concerned and worried and disappointed
but I’m not really listening because I don’t want to
hear it,
I’m gorgeous and I’m laughing
standing at the bar
and knocking back another jar
all eyes on me
the version of me that’s the crowd favourite
everyone gets to see this crazy show again
and I entertain for free –
I don’t mention how much
my party-girl persona costs me
but fuck it
as long as we’re all happy
then that’s good enough for me

SEVEN.

The next day I always feel
more panic than shame:
it is dread, utter dread,
and fear at what I have done and said,
and it’s terrifying.
I try to push it out of my mind. “It’s fine,”
I say, “it’s fine.”
I forget that other people’s memories
work far better than mine.

EIGHT.

“Oi, Party Girl, why do you care so much about everyone else, but not yourself?”
“That’s just how it is.”
“Well, you should. Start caring for yourself.”
“Nah, I’d rather invest my energy in others.”
“But you deserve to be good to yourself.”
“The damage is done.”
“No it’s not, it’s never too late to change. You can turn your life around.”
“No I can’t.”
“Stop being so fucking pessimistic.”
“It’s like when people continue to put food out for their pet after it’s dead and buried.”
“What?”
“Like shutting the stable door after the horse has already bolted and run miles away.”
“You’re not an animal.”
“Oh, aren’t I? I know a few guys who would disagree with you on that one.”
“For fuck’s sake. Fine, I give up. Destroy yourself. But I’m not going to play a part in your death.”
“Oh, thanks. It is your round though…”
“No, fuck you.”
“Large chardonnay with a dash of lemonade please, darling.”
“No. Why do you do this to yourself?”
“Because vodka is cheaper than dialectical behaviour therapy.”
“What’s that?”
“And I get to hang around with you fine people.”
“You’re the most frustrating person I’ve ever met.”
“Why thank you, kind sir.”
“If you were a bloke, I’d probably have hit you by now.”
“You’re so sweet. No ice.”
“What?”
“In my spritzer. No ice.”
“Agh, okay, but this is your last fucking drink.”
“Fine.”
“For fuck’s sake.”
“Thanks, you’re a real pal.”
“We’re all worried about you though.”
“Hey, enough of that. Now hurry up and get me a beverage, there’s too much blood in my alcohol stream!!”

NINE.

It’s all fun and games until

it’s no longer fun?
it’s no longer a game?
you struggle to remember the last time it was fun?
you begin to think that drinking and drug-taking was never actually ever fun?

It’s all fun and games until you admit that it was never fun,
nor was it a game, but rather 12 years of socially-acceptable self-destruction made excusable because of my youth and troubled childhood.

“The fun stops here, kiddo.”

TEN.

Something has got to change.
I think that “something” might be me.


Featured image source “You will drink and drink till you die!” from The Windsor Magazine, 1902.

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poetry

Conceit

woman-vanity

Pursuing

humility

the groomed conceited, clamor for knighthood

vanity a sole dance partner, spin drama in owed woe

pucker up

hustle to the vibration, sculpt us eulogies

unlock our mirrors, we know fairy tales

this is a pomegranate, stuffed with deed

reasoned shadows waltz, poke the air with holes

cover our eyes in smooth

history

we are bright-eyed children of architecture

building castles for cherry pickers

stained in deed, over iced smiles we sit

on frosted cakes, pressured by consent

accidental tourists, in a ballet of archers

stick the boar

lance the sore

let it air

make us well

we

the sycophantic

mélange

abhor

truth in place, of vanity’s trend

strike a pose, raise your rasping rattle

here comes divining hour, riding the backs of stallions

lathered rich in public vitriol

clamor aboard wicker man, ignore what’s taught

thrive in greed, swim unfeeling

in unseeing we lose human form

our edges, our souls, conceit is a treat

best eaten late before conscience rises to envelop

our distaste for true

reflection

quote-Bruce-Barton-conceit-is-gods-gift-to-little-men-64422

  

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