poetry

One Way

Do I just need fresh air

Will I be better elsewhere

Or is it that

My lungs are diseased

That the problem is in me

That even with a change of scenery

The badness will stay with me

And I’ll be this way wherever I go?

There’s only one way to know

The answer to that:

Leave

And don’t look back

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life, prosetry

Lovely

I had three nosebleeds today, all of them highly satisfying, each one equally lovely.

I like to look at the patterns the blood paints onto the tissue as if they were Rorschach inkblots. Bloodblots. I say what I see because nobody is beside me to take notes or worry about what I say that I see (wasps, exploding grenade, apples, the Wisła when it flooded).

The free-falling drop of claret that lands on your newspaper at the junction of 21 down and 29 across. Such a lovely surprise!

The deciphering of the blood-blots, the eventual stop as the blood clots. It’s so lovely when your body chooses to remind you that you are alive, particularly when you yourself have forgotten.

The rolling of the tissue between your palms, forming the evidence of life into a neat ball, launching it directly into the bin in the corner, a lovely, clean shot.

The wipe of your nose with the back of your hand. The answer to 21 down written in red. The taste of rust at the back of your throat. Lovely.

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life, prosetry

On The Cusp

No bright light, no tunnel, no montage of childhood memories or “best bits”, no soundtrack, no loved ones, no dead relatives, no angels, no God. Just blood and guts and chemical reactions and la chamade and then             .

A freight train gradually slowing down, the application of the brakes, finally grinding to a total halt after a couple of miles. Careering forward towards that stop with no way to stop the stopping.

No thoughts. Inability to think about anything. Only able to feel your body in its entirety, the weight of it, its structure, how you [have always] live[d] inside of it. Heartbeats and skin and bones and muscle and fat and blood moving. You feel exactly where your organs are housed: they’ve always worked so hard without you asking them to and now they are slowly, slowly shutting down (over 1 minute? 10 hours? 2 days? you will never know and it doesn’t matter because time isn’t matter so it doesn’t die).

No control. You cannot think, so you cannot will your body to fix itself or will it to speed up the process. No cerebral functioning, at all, only corporeal dysfunctioning.

Feeling your body in a way that you have never felt it before. Such heaviness in your limbs. Your spine weighs a tonne. Your muscle melts off of you like ice-cream and then sets around you like concrete. Weight weight weight, the weight of your matter, and gravity keeping you tied down in whatever position you decided was your last, stuck in that way, feeling your body dissolve, feeling yourself falling off your bones. Unable to open your eyes. No thought to even try.

No sound, no background noises, no internal monologue, no voices, just nothingness, a vacuum, a black hole located in your centre, where your sternum ends, right between your floating ribs. No fight, no struggle, just being: you are in your body and it is slowing down, bit by bit, over an incomprehensible period of time, until it stops completely.

The brain does not go last, as we have been led to believe. The brain goes first. You cannot think, you cannot do. You just be until you stop [being]. The heart goes last. Dying is not peaceful or scary or wild or magical or painful. It just is. Like you just are and one day, you won’t be.

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prosetry

Red Flag

Overnight, Cordelia built The Ritz out of silk.

It was extraordinary. I’ve never seen a spider web so complicated, so stylish. Multiple floors, layers upon layers of intricate netting, stretching from one corner of the window to the other, with apparently solid foundations and an impressive roof that glittered in the sunlight. It was too big a space for herself alone and every day I expected to find that her family or her lover had moved in. But no, just a fly here and there, caught, I imagined, when I’d carefully crack open the window to let out cigarette smoke. I loved her. Even when I was alone, I wasn’t, because Cordelia was there in her castle of cobwebs in the corner, working on her art or dozing in her floss-like hammock, listening to me sobbing, or distracting me from stabbing my thighs with a steak knife by nimbly dancing across her silver threads.

How did I know that you weren’t The One for me?
When I saw the ease and total disregard with which you destroyed Cordelia’s mansion.

A thing of beauty, a product of hard work, pure, innocuous, a place of security, of safety, a home, built by nature’s magic, harmless. I told you not to. I said I thought it was pretty and I liked looking at the web and seeing how it developed and I had named the spider (as I name all insects that come into my home) and she wasn’t hurting anyone and I thought she looked pregnant so leave her the fuck alone. But you, with your pale blue shirt-sleeve, just wiped it all away, just like that, for no reason other than to remind me how easily you could destroy things that are beautiful and fragile. And with relish, too: your stupid smile when you wiped the remains of her life’s work onto my leggings despite my fury, you laughing when I jumped up to try and rescue her from the floor before you stepped on her.

It was a warning and I took heed.
If you could do that to Cordelia, what the fuck would you do to me?

(I have a new spider now, called Regan, and you are not allowed in my house ever again)

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poetry, prosetry

The Flies That Fasten That Shadow To The Ground

One thing is to be, another is to see, just the way I wish you’d see me. One too many phrases like that and they found themselves confused, adrift, and said my positions lacked grounding, something concrete, which in my head rendered cartoonishly into weighted feet sinking to the bottom of the Neva because, naturally, I like the facility of pseudo-homonyms and the presence and absence of consequence mixed with oblique references to macabre historicity. “You” can be anyone, so long as you’re an idea at heart with a questionmark head—how’s that, clarifying enough? I’ll start there, for want of any special introductions, transmitting these little vibrations to the ambient air no matter how “they” swing over “there.”

Speaking of specificity and tonewood, the server’s name was Azusa and she heard him say I don’t have any friends here, now, zero, he said, and in a split second the recognition, delicious and troubled, traversed her face. It’s like that when you read me, just that, word for word as if starting from scratch but tacitly knowing it all might as well be connected like how I’ve got four days off and you and I are right on time but twice removed. I should be overjoyed at those simple facts after three straight nights of deep sleep the likes of which just might make a person feel more settled and singular in their multi-selves. It’s not the qualities, anyway, it’s their fucking manifestation—how’s that for clarity and intention despite the maths and all that counting. The strength needn’t be audacity, the laughter needn’t be defense, the assertiveness needn’t be boisterous. These are the things we think about, independently, within and without definition, no matter what articularities we might share over dinner or through coffee or around spirits, here, there, later, now, so let’s stay in and eat some cheese and fish and a little drink and a little smoke and listen to music. A little. It’s only life so let’s have us an easy spectrum and see who we are where we land.


Originally published here on Art & Insolence. As some of you may have noticed, I’ve been “away” for a while. I hesitate to label this a return, but it is at least a reappearance. I hope you’ve missed me as much as I’ve missed you.

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life

30 Things To Do Instead Of Dying

Unorthodox coping strategies, distraction techniques and self-harm prevention methods that I have utilised when I’ve wanted to end my life but decided to stay alive:

1. Instead of punching somebody, scrub the shit out of your oven

2. Sign every petition on change.org

3. Give yourself a tattoo

4. Grab a cactus with all your might. Spend the following hour(s) tweezing the spikes out of your hand: it’s less of a pain, more of a major irritation. You will not be able to think about anything else, trust me

5. Reminisce on celebrity interactions, like when you touched George R. R. Martin’s beard in the lift, or when Tyra Banks approached you on a street in Barcelona and said, like Regina George, “You’re really pretty,” and you turned bright red and ran away, or the other night with that SAS guy off the telly with the laugh that didn’t reach his eyes, and wonder why these humans are rich and you are poor

6. Meditate by a motorway

7. Edit the Bible. Modernise it. Swap the names of the gospels, add topical references, update the 10 commandments. “Thou shalt not manspread on the Tube,” “Thou shalt get that bread,” “Thou shalt not be attracted to Ted Bundy,” etc.

8. Steal your neighbour’s cat: would kidnapping a cat be called catnapping? take a catnap. take some catnip. whatever, just… cat

9. Go to Poundland, pick up any random item, ask a member of staff how much it costs, be surprised when they tell you it’s a quid, repeat, repeat, repeat, until you are asked to leave

10. Tell young homeless girls that you were them once, that it doesn’t have to be forever, that it can get better

11. Go to a graveyard. Challenge yourself to find the oldest birth date and the oldest death date, and marvel at the curious causes of death that were engraved on Victorian headstones

12. Flirt with an old man, make his day

13. Get on a bus at the start of its route and stay on it until the end

14. Organise your carrier bag collection into 5p, 10p, 20p and £1 bags

15. Fall asleep in the bath: wake up choking on cold soapy water: your body won’t let you die right now so don’t even bother trying

16. TTT: tramadol, tequila and tomato soup

17. Dislocate your fingers

18. Throw your phone into the Thames. Throw your whole handbag into the Thames. Fuck it, throw your clothes and shoes into the Thames, JUST NOT YOURSELF

19. Start a fire

20. Find someone equally helpless and drag them to the nearest pub

21. Go to an AA meeting: shit coffee, free biscuits, great stories

22. Cut your hair (a bit of it, most of it, all of it, just chop chop chop (your hair instead of your arms))

23. Bet on a horse. You have to stay alive to see what happens, to see if you win. When the horse loses or dies, you’ll have a new thing to be angry or sad about

24. Pop your finger bones back into place (so satisfying)

25. Write a list naming everything and everyone you are afraid of, then eat it

26. Indulge in primal scream therapy on Hampstead Heath

27. Plant mysterious and/or sinister notes in library books

28. Revel in the fact that you are not a psychopath (yay you!)

29. Bake a cake

30. Eat it too


This post is in aid of Mental Health Awareness Week (UK)

I DO NOT recommend acting on the advice above (apart from perhaps baking and eating cake): the above points are just some things that I’ve done during severe mental health crises instead of self-harming or attempting suicide.

This is post was inspired by the coping strategies that the NHS recommend to me when I’m in crisis, techniques that (while they do help lots of people and thank god for that) unfortunately do not work for me. If one more health professional teaches me “how to count to 10” or tells me to “hold an ice cube” or “scream into a pillow” or “go for a run” or “do yoga” or “snap an elastic band on your wrist” I will snap. So this post is a response to the (ineffective and patronising) advice that mentally stable people give to unstable people when all they can feel is rage and sadness and hopelessness, and all they can think about is destroying themselves. Because sometimes breathing exercises just ain’t gonna cut it.

If you are struggling with your mental health or have any thoughts about ending your life, please seek help: from a doctor, health professional, family member, colleague, teacher, friend or even a stranger. If in crisis, call the emergency number.

Do not feel afraid or ashamed to ask for help. You are worth helping and you are worthy of life. If you know somebody who is battling mental health issues, reach out to them. Lending a sympathetic ear, giving somebody a hug or sending a simple text message could save someone’s life.

Let’s all be kinder to one another. Let’s be honest, patient, supportive. Let’s be good, good people, good human beings.

Mental illness costs lives. Kindness costs nothing. ♥

Click here for a list of International Suicide Hotlines.

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poetry, prosetry

’til Death

1. It looked like the scene of a crime and I suppose it was:
manufactured by a fucked-up mentality and fuelled by pity,
it was a crime against sanity, a crime of stupidity,
and now I’m gonna have to serve my time until one of us dies.

2. I’m stuck to you with claret glue but you are bad bad bad news.
I’m bad news too but you think I’m the best thing that’s ever happened to you.
That’s just one of the reasons why it was a fucking stupid thing to do.

3. Your dark red dabs remain underneath the fresh magnolia paint and I had to throw your jumper and my t-shirt away. It was a good idea at the time: the unification of two bedlamites, the formation of an everlasting alliance between the perpetually misunderstood, but the knife in the drawer and the scar across my palm reminds me that you do me far more harm than good. Blood smeared on our faces like war-paint and Eminem elected as our patron saint, how we laughed and thought we’d finally found our place in the world: together, against it.

4. “Dream Team, baby.” “Nightmare Pair, baby.”

5. Now that we are family, bound by loyalty, I can’t get rid of you. Well, I can. We always said we’d go out on the blades of glory and this is definitely gonna end badly. You think you’re Sid but, trust me, it’s more likely that you’ll end up like Nancy. Ah, God: it would be way too easy.

6. The problem with a blood pact
is that you can’t take it back:
you’ve got me as a friend
’til the bitter, twisted end.

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