Ashley Lily Scarlett 2015
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.
You are filled with growth; you are filling up in a way that rebuilds your entire viability, reconstructing at the same time as you empty the old ways.
~magazine, hand made, hand cut, hand pasted paper collage
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
And a bleeding ego
Would dare to don.
Give them to me young, ambitious
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
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.
“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.
Did you remember
the peach I gave you
in the morning
before I went to work?
Did you remember
when you lifted me up
and spun me around
in your tiny flat?
Quite possibly not.
And now you can’t
because you’re dead.
Never is the longest time.
image © Ashley Lily Scarlett 2013
text © Ashley Lily Scarlett 2016