poetry

Pretty Ugly (Sorry, Baby)

Most days I do not
paint it. It remains a
blank canvas, hollow

eyes upon cotton
white, pale lips that
breathe a thousand

sighs, the nose
destroyed by powder
white, flecked with

freckles, I had an
affair with the sun
behind the back of

the moon and look,
another Friday has
arrived too soon.

Tonight I might
paint my death mask:
the blackest eyes,

the reddest lips
savour sweet cider
beg to be kissed

and find myself

again

ignored

again

dismissed

again

alone

hiding in the bathroom
mopping up
the mascara’d mess

that has bled
down shamed cheeks
I tried to look pretty

for you but I know
that I’m just pretty ugly.
Sorry, baby.

The made-up mask
is unconvincing
but what’s beneath

belongs to me
and it will only be
looked at properly

considered finally
in its tragic entirety
in the days after I die

and all you’ll have are hazy
memories of me looking pretty / ugly
(you should’ve looked more closely, baby)

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poetry, prosetry, Uncategorized

An imprint of harm

woman wrapped in plastic

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

glassy echo, reflecting

repulsion

There, at the turning of your lips

Words you want to say, willing still

Anger swirling behind dark eyes

They walk calmly

Anything but

Appearance is a veil

I saw you once

Unguarded

Without your battlement

The disguise lay strewn

With other stolen objects

Mere indents in a soft bed

Your madness at the surface

Like a Hydra you panted

For release and weapons

None heard this request

All of you is secreted within layers

No one can unravel

You divide and multiply in your apparent cruelty

There is a token of delight

A brand for some and your bequeathing

Some are not set on this Earth for kindness

They live by the stain left in their wake

An imprint of harm

Slow the leash trains unwilling

Gradual uncovering, sin takes her high chair

In the pit of things you writhe nude and tarnished

We make our own hell with toys of old

Those picture books of loss and shame, shackles for the weary

I could pick you now,

a yellow rose,

your nectar just on the verge.

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poetry, prosetry

Fruitcake

I don’t know if this ache is heartbreak (a) or cocaine (b) or my body physically manifesting all the mental pain (c) that my brain cannot contain & I am not the first poet to notice that these words rhyme & I won’t be the last fuckup to die of (a), (b), (c) or a combination of all three & I can’t keep doing this but of course I will because I’m  insane   a total fucking fruitcake   about to break  ill.

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Uncategorized

There are no rehearsals left, only curtain fall

As it grows dark

As the corners of today’s page furl

Empty rooms, homes without windows, drugs without users, a body untouchable, growing cold

As if alight sparing flame

Never to relive

Nor consume nor nourish

This terrible emptiness

As she feels the pain that comes afterward

Inevitable. Old. Crushing. Familiar.

She wants to run to you

But you’re long gone, if ever present

Diminished and relinquished

Pouring medicine down the drain, till needful of no refreshment

Even beauty turns to stone

Even love robs itself destitute

As lovers hate the very thing that made them burn

The taste in her mouth of ashes

Written across her brow in heavy stroke

The cross, the lentern, the falsehood

This room loses light as she gradually declines

On her knees, so many years without touch; lies in place of comfort

Words growing smaller and smaller

A shadow book within a grace freshly dug, till she can see no more but the internal crush of loss

She was an addictive personality who couldn’t get out of her mould, it stuck like gelo, that tendency toward

Melancholy and suicide

If you find her dead you can bet one of her vices is responsible

When she meets people who have not soaked their souls in cigarettes and vodka

Feeling more in the daytime bar than ever something clean and starched

Broken girl parts

Snapped in half before they knew how to stand up

Hers is a sickness, dances in pearls around her neck till pulled tight

Wanting the abyss of psychedelic music and dream of hashish

Intoxicate the pain, numb further urge to destroy what’s left

And push yourself inside me, join the sorrow dot by dot till we both burst

Such is the loveliness of sex in the fulment of grief

Replacing one pain with another small death

The telephone doesn’t ring

She doesn’t call or receive these days

The silence as palpable as the knife she carves her arms into ribbons with

They’ve danced this dance before

There are no rehearsals left, just curtain fall

Think of how it felt, long ago

Before the end, in the middle, lost now

The heaviness of her wanting is blunted by knowing

These people have only their irrevocable actions

Sparring with one another, the blood of first strike hitting white snow in masterpiece

Crimson against a hundred promises, a new form of murder

Sitting, watching herself go through the motions

Good girl who kisses her loved one, tucks in the bed sheets tight

Dreaming of broken glass down her throat, three grey birds and a fingerful of coke

The rage of impotence across flayed landscapes

That flesh and sinew long hung to cure, speaks nothing

Doesn’t forget the rebuke, even as forgiveness is yoked, chain on soft skin

To every ending

Time ticks down without mercy, and if she lives to your age

Just like you, setting the tableaux of your life, there’ll be nothing to say

But the horror of silence before deafening rain

Then she picks up her existing and leaves

Soon it seems, she was never there, just a handful of misspoken words and rage

Drinking clouds, the truth, spares the speaker

She has a generation of distillers and eyes that carry pain as if it were their child

Tonight she won’t be meeting you, she’ll keep on driving

There’s a drop off somewhere, she knows, a fateful road where the turn is sharp

And unexpected

Even for the most familiar driver

It takes a kind of control

She never ever possessed.

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life, poetry, prosetry, Uncategorized

Pas de capital

On monmouth street, the devil lingers

smells the blood of things to come

fingers dipped in black magic

cigarettes and hashish on a double decker bus at midnight

feeling muscles pulled tight from dancing for hours

they left their bloody conscience by the door, it stuck, it did not close

well at all

wanting sex and drugs and and end of time

condom wrappers litter festival floor like signets

her father invited different women each weekend to sample

his sorrow and she

climbed down drain pipes to go where all

kids without structure hang

an empty playground with burnt spoons and plastic needles

the boys there, let her be, they liked their meat less

tenderized

one year she read eighteen plays of marlow and

three anais nin, the latter had her wet and thirsting

but the bathroom door possessed no lock

wax your legs, but not your crotch, the feminists at

night-school implored, she was one of them but not

able to summon the desire to behave well

where do night birds go when they want to devour?

Different to everyone here and the same

a pulse urging movement, willing escape

fucking strangers without pronounceable names

tight buttocks, red hose, patent shoes, broken heals

against radiators leaving stripes down her thighs

such is the transpose and yield of hormones

one day you’ll look back & regret will not be what you see

sleeping on fur coats in the dressing room at 23.00pm

platinum hair on your lapel, can you survive her

blistering disregard or is it what you want?

Sitting cross legged eating tinned asparagus as he

jacks off to henry & june, the part where uma thurman

and her incredible triangular breasts, reach

lighting up blunts on promenade des anglais

grinding hips in la croix des gardes after the gates are locked

no protection, you’re already ruined thrice over

with someone who leaves you before they’ve begun

your grandmother is jarring jam from fallen fruit and she accuses you

of stealing her cigarette money which you did not do

you were out in the garden playing in the faraway tree

eating scabs and letting the neighbor undo your shoes

they fall like birds wings without bird into pond

once you drove your bike into that water and leaches

left their love kisses on your arms

like that boy who fed you clafoutis, calisson and cough candy

when you ran a fever and he sucked on your flat bosom

like starving tight rope walker

running down le suquet in search of brown eyed kids

to buy alcohol and pastille du mineur, danging white legs

and tanned toes into dirty water

one said; You are too flat chested I like them bustier

you smiled in relief, punched their thin arms and ran off

secretly desiring the older sister who stood silhouetted against

setting sun, darkness of her skin reflecting thrashing waves

like she had been born from the urgent depths

her lips large and angry with her age, gauloises yellowing

hardly smoked just flung from painted finger to finger

you longed to reach underneath her blouse, to

black lace, brown skin, white lines

on her dressing table, saints, glaring disapproval

she liked boys with mopeds, tight jeans, long hair

no matter how hard you tried you could not

interest her apathique boredom into desire

instead punishing yourself, with last minute trains to other cities

necking at le grand rex, with sour tasting boys

who supplied black smokes and soft necks

in the darkness of raspoutine snorting on her thigh

leading to empty windows and

the feel of late summer on clammy nude skin

he tells you to close the curtains, watching as you

turn, slender and warm, toward him and away

mother at la main bleue, her own lithe figure

sharpening history, walking into rooms without

locks, a family legacy.

In tenerrife they say without a tan, stand outside

too young for adults, too mature for boys

an urgent pulse, the stage a bouquet of bodies

a turkish man gives me a rose, says I remind him of

sissy spacek, I lend

a blushing danish girl my last pesos, she

returns an hour later and shares a lemon ice

her long tongue licking it between smiles

it’s midnight and the buses run by the half

in earls court where whores and rich men

laugh, knives on board better to walk

he’s holding me up, he’s holding me down

we create a child, we lose ourselves in curling throng

when I see him again, it’s ten years later

his black eyes have bags underneath, he looks like he’s

been carrying grief for the children of pont des invalides

to battersea bridge with green birds no longer there when

it was cold and her art in the water lost

nobody but I believed it happened

je n’ai jamais voulu être blessé. Je voulais être aimé. Violemment.

now she has a child and I ache to hold

onto that time with

both hands.

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fiction, photography

THE LAST DRIVE

Chris R-1-177 Image by Christine Renney

Watching the petrol gauge I wait and miraculously the tank is almost full. The motor turns and the radio comes to life; the disc jockey’s voice is loud and instantly familiar. I reach to switch it off but I fumble, making it louder and in order to deaden the banter I kill the engine.
Still a little flustered, I tug at the key but it won’t shift. It is jammed in the lock. I pull my hands away from the wheel and push back in the seat, convinced it is broken and that it won’t start again. I squint through the windscreen at the car parked in front and turning I check behind and find that the car, like the key, is stuck and I am trapped. I can’t move and I haven’t any choice but to sit and wait.
I could abandon the car and walk and of course eventually I will be forced to do just that. I don’t have any money and I have left my wallet in the house with the cash and credit cards, that for a spell at least would still work, but I won’t go back inside, not again.
Anyhow, I have fuel, granted it will only last for so long and take me just so far but it feels like enough and I want to make this last long drive and so I stay put.

I ease my foot off the accelerator and begin to slow down. The driver behind sounds his horn and I watch in the mirror as, gesticulating wildly, he pulls back. But locking his headlights onto high beam he edges closer and closer still until I can’t see. Squinting I lean close to the screen and I focus on a spot of light, the size and shape of a rugby ball that somehow, despite the glare, is managing to find its way and I follow.
I suspect that the road ahead is clear and he could easily pass, let me be, leave me to draw to a stop and abandon the car which, I suddenly realise, is what I intend to do but I don’t want him watching.
Slowly, ever so, ever so slowly, I come to a halt and still blinded I turn and peer through the rear screen. I suppose he can see me, my silhouette at least. I must be clearly defined in the bright and harsh blaze, like a convict exposed whilst attempting to escape, caught in that half crouch, uncertain as to whether he should still try for the wall or make his way back toward the cell block.
I shuffle around again and now all he can see is the back of the seat and the top of my head. I sit still, determined not to move, at least not before he does.

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poetry

Feels

Feeling nothing is still a feeling
so is feeling numb (i.e. feeling unable to feel anything)
I have a hard enough time trying to survive with feeling tangible feelings,
let alone non-feeling feelings that make me feel as if I can’t feel anything at all
and ‘feel’ does not look like a real word anymore
but it must be real as I feel its definition swimming in my brain
(an organ which, actually, cannot physically feel)
and I feel sick of feeling all the feelings
I am sick of feeling sick
Fuck feeling feelings
I don’t want any
I don’t want a single one

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