life, poetry, prosetry, Uncategorized

Unfolding

ccc9963b759d8bfec58b054edd59e343

Time unfolding, holds

emblems, signatures

as hair caught in

boar brush

smells still of her

the nape of her long neck

bearing sound

tugging through until end

before light has pushed itself

past dim cloud line

warming her hands a little

just enough

just enough.

Where she was

there are now white washed walls

clean and no longer redolent

of those hours, those years spent

would they know if they touched?

The plaster, holding some memory

or reverberating solace

how her wrists looked

playing piano in silent day

with open windows to bird call

hushed by her haunt.

Would they know, if turning

in sleep they saw through half opened eyes

a murmur of her, crossing the room

one black pearl resting against

her warm throbbing neck

how much of us remains

when we are gone? How to

evoke, conjur, return to

remain, stay just one moment more

by her side before

vanishing and eddying across

cold river with the sound only

of onyx oars spent into depths

her hair trailing, thick mist

veiling before long lost

only the sound occasional

a splash or dip into darkness

and then the ache sets in

like a hole unable to be covered up

or crime undone

everywhere she was

now absent in terrible

emptiness, we keen to recall

in desperate hour, when moon

is hidden behind glowering cloud

she walks the earth and is no longer

traces of ourselves built into effigies

I reach and I reach out and still

she is always further

the smell of her in my mouth and nose

the taste of her against my

broken arms

feeling like she were whole

even as she is ether and starlight

I sense her against me in gloaming dusk

moving with agitation, mocking life

forcing a cry

beseeching time and tall trees

hidden faces in darkness

their green heights impossible

as her return

she is gone and still

the clock ticks

orange cat whiskering through high grass

outside, watching with yellow

eyes, birds overhead, out of

reach

out of reach.

Within me a glassed place of a place

cast in silver, in bronze, in clay

the shape of her

a flute, a goblet carrying fresh

spring water as benediction on

hot day, her voice stroking me

from the marbled abyss

she cannot stay, I pull on the

scarlet thread it comes loose

and unraveling her skirts, her

soft blouses, the perk of her breasts

against my mouth, urging, reddening

nipples swallowed by cries

our hands interlinked

blankets and sheets disarrayed

by motion, moisture, light and dark

her candle throat thrown back

devouring a sanctuary of

secrets and thirst

she opens for me again and again

my fingers breathing her need

we are leaves fallen from trees

made into earth and grown

against the cherry tree staining

our lips sweet and bitter

for love is found in mercy

and grace, her sinew and

hunger, baptizing memory

I hold her locket with a slice

of her dark hair growing old

in want, a touch no more

as if she never painted these

walls or grew round cheeked

beneath me, her laughter

caressing the corners with

silver, we sleep our hands

linked beneath thick covers to

keep out Winter and by

Spring I am watching

crocus urge upward

through northern dark

soil, their fragile mouths

opening to sun as once

she took me into her

one by one

til all of me

was found

and

now

without her weight

against me, shy

smile coming from

beneath long dresses unbuttoned

shining hair, falling on

wrinkled sheets

the smell of her still in

my center a thorn

as I stand by the

window its metal latch

open and cold

to my

skin.

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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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prosetry

Life As We Know It (Now)

Fortnightly overdoses and falling asleep in the bath

Ridiculous wine descriptions and tattooed knuckles

Antiseptic and anticipation

Disappearing acts and swapping house keys

Superglue and frozen teeth

A stolen bottle of mustard and an Irish funeral

Forgetting and failing and faking and Fuck Forever-ing

Rusty kisses and missing the last bus

Betting slips and 56 missed calls

Vanilla vodka and the First Casualty of The War

Coffin shopping and cryptic crosswords

LSD and the ghost of Keats on Hampstead Heath

Tampon strings and sewing machines

Vaping and scaffolding

Tinned peaches and bascule bridges

Hugo Boss shirts and serial killers

A shelf-less bookshelf and ignoring aeroplane safety demos

Swimming to Mexico and believing in angels

3-day stubble, you’re bang in trouble, double up for £1

Pinching each other because we aren’t entirely convinced that we’re alive

Marriage proposals and morphine dreams

Rhetorical questions and infinite eggshells

Spying on the neighbours and eating jam doughnuts with a knife and fork

Lordship Lane and waking up with two black eyes

The United States of Shock and Dismay

Blonde on Blonde and accidental asphyxiation

A pint of daffodils and the view from the bell tower

Blood tests and a ouija board

Perjury and the 4-hour Happy Hour

Grey hairs and burnt toast and wondering what the hell it’s all about


Originally published 24th February 2017

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poetry, prosetry

Now You Are 71

In the darkness I swayed, numb and unsteady in platform heels, outside the place where you used to live, looking up at the window where so many hours were spent smoking, people-watching, daydreaming, counting how many motorists weren’t wearing seatbelts.

The lights were off: there was no one home.
This statement can be applied
to the apartment and your brain
in your final days.

I tried the gate:

locked.

Wriggled a shaking hand into your old mailbox:

empty.

Looked for the label with your name

taped next to the buzzer for Flat 1:

gone.

With my heart in my throat
I turned and walked away
into the warmth of the pub next door
where so many friendships were made
where your laughter once roared
where memories were shared
of you, an extraordinary man,
and glasses were raised
to you, my darling Dad,
on what would have been
your 71st birthday.

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Uncategorized

Foliage

adult backbone black and white dark

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Ever notice?

It means nothing to them?

those girls with peaches and cream, café au lait, peau de couleur foncée

their lush hair, plump calves, rosy cheeks

kiss us like they mean it with open mouth, little inquiring tongue

force of two coming together, chests heaving in sync

who knew straight girls could give so much in the heat of a moment?

unhooking bras, peeling underwear, knowing they’ll be kissed where

their boyfriends press with lack of ardor

for we girls are midnight foxes, we stay in places others only visit

fleetingly

complaining of neck pain, jaw pain, inability to know the ins and outs

oh we know the ins and outs, we know the inside curl and the convex

like a well drawn map

they pull their panties down for us so eagerly, we’d be fooled into thinking

they were of our same kind

save the removal of warmth, after all is reached and swept

beneath damp sheets for memory to play. Saying;

Goodbye, Bon Nuit. I must go now, it’s getting late, he will wonder why

I’m not at home with dry underwear

perhaps even opening herself to him, that very evening to atone

for her strung up, hidden outside pleasure

such is the girl who cannot love other girls and yet

finds only release in what they might know and give

surely one of the same mold knows, the key a little better

willing then, to bend and contort, stay for an hour in one position

without complaint

her breasts making dents of thin cotton, her fists curling like words out loud

the nape of her neck, slick and wet with her urge

she doesn’t reciprocate, her kind never will

she’s the impossible beauty, a girl who loves girls seeks

unattainable, disinterested, sinking to the floor in shame at

the concept of trading places

she’ll give you the time it takes to make her cry out

leave an imprint of her body against your mattress

the ink and glow of her skin a permanent reminder

she’ll never be one of you, nor wish

to lend you her heart

only her glorious body and all its angular expressions

only those afternoon moments

when he hasn’t pleased her or she

longs for your brand of deep caress, how you know

what to do to make her moan

fingers against fingers, thighs, hips, buttock

she is every shape of lovely from her arching neck

to the indent in her pelvis where she lets you stray

and play such secret music

things never to be admitted or spoken aloud

when you meet in public you are two women

buttoned up and indifferent like bleached wood

betraying nothing of her torn blouse or

the slide of her stockings from willing legs opening

how she pushes against you to enter her

fill with longing the bursting pulse within

you want to tell her you have loved her since

first meeting

when rain brought her to the library and shyly

you asked if she needed a towel and she replied

no I like to get wet, it never rains enough

her eyes grey and huge, like lamps in darkness

you think of teasing her hair from perpetual dampness

on her thin arms and how flung back they resemble

an instrument to be ravished

how you curl around her with your ardor and pressing

deeply fulfill your own needs against her loveliness

not shared, without return, a woman who will

pack herself away and leave by mail

like an unwritten postcard she is blank, unwilling

to be spoken

you stay in silence afterward

her breathing ragged, gasping you want to hear her

say I love you in every way, especially how you

set me alight with your touch and every time you

kiss me with your full lips I moan even more for

the core of your very heart

Lorsque tu résonne jusqu’à mon coeur

tu capture mon esprit pour le faire voyager

these things of torment

to a girl who loves other girls

and falls for a woman who is already

moving away

merely using your hands and your mouth

as if plucking leaves from a deciduous tree

to see if indeed they will

fall and stay

on the ground

 

Standard
fiction

SCUM*

They are cooking a roast dinner. She is rifling through the drawers, searching for her favourite knife, and he is behind her, smashing some meat with a mallet.

“Carrot,” she says, to no one in particular.
“What?” he shouts over the thuds of hammer on flesh.
“Oh, nothing. I was just thinking aloud,”
“About what?”
“About these carrots,”

He stops.

“What about them?”

She has been good today. No outbursts, no tears, no troubling comments, no injuries, no nastiness. She has washed her hair, and brushed it. She has been writing a lot. She has had a glass of wine. Hopeful of her good mood, he anticipates an observation about the carrots’ phallic nature; perhaps even a dick-size joke, a cheeky comparison, the carrots being tiny, himself being too big.

“Carrot,” she says again, picking one out of the bag and inspecting it.
“Yeah?”
“Carr-ot.”
“Why are you pronouncing it weird?”
“Car-rot.”
“Is that how they say it in France?”
Ca-rrot.”
“Why are you saying it like that?”

He stares blankly at the back of her head, mallet in hand.

As she turns to face him, her knife catches the light.

“Carrot,” she says, slowly, “sounds like a blend of ‘garrote’ and ‘carotid.’”

Potential For Violence enters the room and stands between them. The three of them share a long, tense twenty-seconds together in the tiny kitchen.

“Oh gosh,” she says, suddenly, “I think I’ve been watching too many true crime documentaries lately!”

She laughs, eyes down, embarrassed. She replaces the knife with a glass of wine and sips with a wide smile.

“Yep!” he says, relieved, remembering why he loves her, “sounds like you’re right, babe,” he quietly places the mallet down on the counter, “so let’s watch some comedy on the box tonight then, shall we?”

Potential For Violence leaves the room as quickly as he arrived.

“Sure,” she replies cheerfully, and goes back to skinning the bright orange cocks.


*Society for Cutting Up Men

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prosetry

The Dream House

I should’ve realised that we weren’t going to make it on that sunny June afternoon when we were wandering around that big empty house in Essendon. Your eyes, those topaz stones I could never get sick of studying, were watching our future children playing in the garden (a boy first, you’d insisted, then a daughter). Your own face was childlike that day, so full of excitement and hope. You were babbling, saying things like, “Can you see yourself cooking me dinner in this kitchen?” You were envisioning a future that I couldn’t imagine, let alone see.

I tried. I wanted to want it too. All I really wanted was you but if having a kid or two was what I needed to do to keep you then that’s exactly what I’d do. But I was terrified. I was terrified of a tiny version of us growing inside me. Panicking over my sudden assumed role as “wife and mother” with no time to write, no room to breathe, no space to be. Internally screaming at the prospect of relentless mortgage payments. Fearing that our babies would inherit my sadness or my madness or both. Worrying about hypothetical meals not being served on time, accidentally murdering my orchids, forgetting to pick the children up from school and never getting used to the absence of silence. Frightened that I would be forever stuck in a life that isn’t truly mine, but reasoning that it’d be fine because I’d be stuck to you. Did I even really want you forever, or had I tricked myself into wanting what I was supposed to want? Had I merely deluded myself by dreaming someone else’s dream?

As I wandered around the house alone, I quietly considered which room I could end my life in if I chose to, assessing which fixtures I could hang from and wondering what the freestanding bathtub would look like with red water spilling over its edges. At least the crimson flood would complement the nursery which we are going to paint lemon yellow.


‘The Dream House’ is a rewrite of an earlier work.

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life, poetry, prosetry, Uncategorized

Our dark house

feet tattoo

Photo by James Ranieri on Pexels.com

Step high into your shoes remember 1997

religion is in the wind and the climb of dark

you swoop around me like fabric and rage

we dance in weave with each other my eyes are

closed and see

how you want and how i want and how neither of us

shall never get what we need

i am loose shouldered and my hair is indigo in

the winter time where people close their doors and

you hammer me open against cold grass

lattice clocks pressing their time

henna tattoos, a marriage of dark and light

the sight of you in circled moon glow

our motion and our resurgence

the way young bodies climb and fall against

the future

bare feet on splintering wood you say

look how your shape echoes against that glass

and you take a photo in your mind as I hear

the fast train we missed, rushing past

leaving its tossed exhaust

I held your head in my arms you talked like

people do after they are spent

we pretend we know everything when we know

nothing

whirling silently in space

the fabric of the world is torn and gaping

like clothes ruined by a furtive need to

be pleased against rage and sadness

proffering bouquets of need hidden behind

retreating shorelines

it is the chemical of your blood and mine

swirling behind our eyes lying to each other

and the stones are hard even when you

spread a blanket on them

just like you said it would be mama

gathering my hair and watching it fall like

words cut from meaning against shadows

breasts that hold their secrets press against

the burning beneath

and the world is raining

and we are missing

cut out silhouettes

rubbing their imprint

in memory

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life, poetry, prosetry, Uncategorized

Burning without fire

close up photo of red candles

Photo by Aloïs Moubax on Pexels.com

Last night I scalded myself Mama and as the boiling water ran down my arm

I saw you through the pain and you were smiling and everything was wrong

how you are alive and yet gone, how you exist and yet don’t, how I was never right

and somehow always mistaken

If I don’t come from you then who? My mitochondrial existence and all the women before us

seem to pass into memory and then detached, by our severing

every day I wake and I think of you and then I remember

you’re not thinking of me

What tenderized my heart so? Pounding it until it cried out

I know it’s futile and still I yearn

What compelled it to continue beating even after the obvious?

I loathe that about myself and I love that about myself

I am like a ship in a bottle, you cannot figure out how I came to be

full and whole, encased in glass and yet

I am neither full nor whole, but hungry and drowning

a featherweight, a word, something you created and then said

no you can take it back, I don’t want it any more

(I never did / I pretended / it was the mask of a mask in a mask)

and so I went far and nowhere

near and not close

wondering what will come first? The last loss of you, or the first diminishment of

my eternal want?

Who am I kidding? With endings there remain

more scabs to pick off, prayerful knees and bowed heads

no amount could achieve

forgiveness or whatever it is I need to be to

change everything that cannot be changed

so I watch myself and you

I watch nothing and no one

empty their expressionless pockets into water

watch the colors of us turn dark and indistinguishable

as if we’d never been and I am not sure

where or who I am without you

like a glass blower who stands on the quayside

wondering if

the boats will come today

marking the horizon with their

dusky forms

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