Black book


men can gather bed notches and

this elevates them socially

whilst women of the same history

are sluts plain and simple


I am a whore

not because you tell me so

or for any notches or black books

but for the raspy feather in my chest

when it tickles

I gather up my fancy

and I imagine

all the rides I’ve taken

which is as far as I go today

given my propensity for not coming back

but there was a time

I let four boys into my room

not all at once or even

in the same afternoon

they were as different as

the rules for men and women

one I found ugly and angular

his penis was a sharp hungry thing

that burned the desire out of me

another was vain and glorious

a cheshire cat apt to lap his own cream

his was large and unwieldly and

whatever they say about size isn’t really true

it’s about what you can do with what you got

the third had a penchant for drugs

and redheads and he had the best music collection

and the prettiest member

but I will when I die

think on the fourth most of all

short and a little fat with a tiny prick

that boy knew the secrets to loving

and we climbed all night

on divine ladders to heaven

where I briefly told him I loved him

and he bruised my womb

with his insistence I was his alone

which sadly I never was

by then my counterfiet heart

had been scattered like confetti

I was no more able to trust

than a painted lady selling her wares

It was the cheapened version of me

I let hook herself out on a line and dangle

you do that sometimes not for attention

but the disgust you have for yourself

and all the smut that got you to that point

and all the grubby fingers that wouldn’t quit

invading your right to peace

by then I had no feelings other than

roll another one, turn the record up

come here and let me suck

that pain away

it seemed the perfect solution aside

knowing the world would brand me a slag

concubine at best

but there is it

like the condom filled trash

stinking and real

though if you get stoned enough nothing

lasts long enough to peturb

including grateful boys who give their all

and in that five minutes of bliss

you learn a thing or two about transactions

how they salve the pain you never reveal

how being abused can make you turn around

and do the very same thing

though they’d never understand why

molested girls will open their legs to strangers

it’s one of those sad dichotomies

that’s also got a gender inequality label

for don’t you know it’s not always

piss and vinegar

makes a young man rut and rut?

we’re all carriers of some brand of pain

and those damaged souls

recognize each other


1 a.m. on the Borderline

I leave his house without kissing him goodbye and hurry down the empty street. I hear him bolting the door behind me and I am glad to be alone.

I sit on someone’s garden wall and rummage around in my bombsite of a handbag for a working lighter before giving up and walking down to the bus stop, kicking the leaves up as I go.

I contemplate my desire to join the army, thinking that the army would be the best place for me, that they’d sort me out. Then I remember that I can’t join the army because I’m too mentally ill, I failed all the preliminary psych tests and they would never take me on even for office work because I’m a liability, a loose fucking cannon.

Plan B: become a florist. That’ll calm me down. But first I’ll have to prove that I can be trusted with scissors.

And so I stand there, on the borderline between Greater London and Hertfordshire, between sane and insane, between tired and wired, waiting for the last bus which may have already gone.

I shut my eyes with little effort: they are almost closed anyway, swollen from the crying. The mist helps. I make a mental note to ask my dad what the difference is between mist and fog but I probably won’t remember to do so as my brain is as good at retaining information as a colander is at holding sand.

All I can hear are faraway planes, fast trains and distant sirens. I wonder what tonight would sound like in 1916: deathly silence and the cawing of a crow. Perhaps, hundreds of years ago, I would’ve heard the stars shifting and the creak of the exhausted planet turning on its rusty axis. The rumble of a procession of boy racers in their souped-up motors jolts me back to the present moment and I remember that everything is awful.

Somewhere in the world a house is on fire. I can see it burning, I can see the family watching as their life goes up in flames. The children are screaming and the mother is weeping and the father wants to go back inside to rescue his Rolex. The smoke stings my eyes but that’s not why I’m crying. Not really.

The headlights of the bus appear through the fog and as I search for my ticket I am unaware that my dad has 19 hours left to live.