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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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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fiction, life, poetry, prosetry, Uncategorized

her inferno

suicide-in-art-rosie--high

a voice

something still alive

someone trying not to scream

they make a sound that could only be described as an

oral ache

stretch of sinew, wide mouth, no noise, neighbors hear

nothing

there has been too much pain for sound

still tears come, when you think there could be no more

nobody knows, nobody knows, nobody knows

behind well constructed facade, beneath masks

the woman with her head in the oven

probably wrote a decent poem before she expired

smoothed her apron down, sent her kids to school

before turning the dial high

her own sounds of anguish and the hiss of gas

a sigh of sighs

the postman can knock on the door and you can open with a bright

false smile and he will think to himself as he departs, she is such a happy

woman always with a nice thing to say and a bright grin, I wish my wife were

half as content

close the door, gather the rope, sling it securely

the same woman who turns the dial high

prepares her demise with thoughtfulness

she is tutored at deceiving

sickness overwhelms her and she is on the floor tearing at herself

watching from ceiling, a woman unravel and be unable to re-knit

she feels in her solar plexus, in her very marrow, the scourge of loss

she can’t stand it, she can’t stand it, she can’t stand it

the idea time assuages pain, is a falsehood

hers is a road that will always be wet with tears

her eyes are closed and she is imagining how it is some of us

never stop hurting and others can brush off betrayal like lint

walk on unperturbed.

in the silence of her house, the clock in the hallway unwound

she feels the walls closing in, the very sky descend

all her madness like balls of yarn, have no where to pretend

they are okay

she is demented with hurt

voiceless, personless, no-one to reach out to

her arms are cut again and again with the switch of abandonment

she was once someone’s baby

she was once someone’s love

lapsing into unconsciousness in hot overflowing bath

crimson for her unshed horrors, streaking clean floor

did not need to use her own hands in sterile afternoon

washing line blowing emptiness like fallen maps

now she is dirt and dust and a woman without bones

she is sinking into the soft hiss of gas escaping gratefully

if she had the courage she’d light a match to guarantee

her inferno

she left one last message on one last machine

lost in time and the rolling hours curling their faces to the wall

her tinny voice breaking and crackling over distance

saying goodbye without saying goodbye

for even in death she pretends

everything is okay

and when you come home at 6

the table will be laid, your shirt for tomorrow pressed

hanging like a specter

its loose arms waving

in mute appeal

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life, poetry, prosetry

Broken Mirrors

I’ve broken 4 mirrors this year.
If superstition is to be honoured
I will still be reaping bad luck long after I am dead.
All these broken reflections,
what is the universe trying to tell me?
The obvious: ugly, imperfect, Picassoed girl,
from a broken home, with broken bones,
who breaks bottles and spirits and noses and promises.
But too obvious.

The first humans thought that their reflection
was their actual soul, their other self.
I know that mine is damaged:
I went to a spiritual healing centre
and it was just like an AA meeting, everyone sitting
in a circle, talking quietly and drinking shit coffee,
except when I walked in, everyone stopped talking and stared
like I was Satan in a mini-skirt.
A lady quickly ushered me out, without touching me.
“Oh dear,” she said. “Your aura is dark, a dark, dark mess, a real mess.
You’re in trouble.”
She made me sign a contract,
promising not to release my negative energy
onto anybody else in the building,
not to break anyone else’s spirit,
like my badness was contagious
and could ruin others.
I asked if the others had signed a contract
promising not to break mine.
She laughed and said, “No, dear.
You can’t break something that is already broken.”
I said under my breath, “That’s not strictly true,”
and we walked down a dark corridor and she said,
“Hurry. We have a lot of work to do.”

The Romans believed that it took 7 years for life to renew.
I was disappointed on my 21st birthday when I didn’t feel like a new person.
I don’t believe I’ll see my 28th. I don’t want to.

I read a story once about a girl like me
who was at the end of her metaphorical tether
wishing her neck was choked by an actual tether
when she accidentally broke a mirror
and that was it:
the straw that broke the camel’s back,
the mirror that shattered the girl’s last shard of hope.
She was petrified at the prospect
of 7 more years of badness
so she succumbed to the tether
and hanged herself from the back of the bathroom door,
the shards of her other self, her soul, the mirror, scattered all about.
I can’t remember where I read this story.
Oh, I do remember: I read it after I had written it.

Of the mirrors I’ve smashed this year
I’ve kept the best shard of each,
hoarding them, hiding them
around the flat, my secret accidentally-formed knives.
My favourite one is a menacing hook shape,
long and sharp and fits right in my palm with plenty to spare
so I can make controlled slashes, if I want to,
like if there was an intruder say, I could give him a perfect Chelsea smile
and be pleased with my work.
These secret shards are not my weapon of choice
but it’s nice to know that they’re there
and sometimes I take them out and hold them and stare
into a piece of my soul, a section of my face,
and become anxious (because the image is always one I don’t recognise)
but pretend not to be (because this “reality” tells me that the face is just me).

If I use them for damage, before I hurt myself
I look into my eyes and marvel at how wild and unfamiliar they are
and I can sometimes talk myself out of it, but it’s hard
when I can see that my eyes are, for once, so clear of fear.
It’s like snorting a line off a mirror.
You see yourself with a note up your nose
and look into your own eyes
and say inside, “What the fuck are you doing, girl?”
but then you blink and sniff and do it off a DVD case for the rest of the night
because you don’t want to face your self ever again.

Seeing yourself in that moment before you do something bad:
that’s the real you.
And only you will ever be able to see the real you,
through your own eyes, into your own eyes, with your own eyes.

I went to buy a new mirror.
At the counter I asked the guy,
“Would you mind just opening the box for me and checking that it’s not broken, please?”
“Sure,” he said, struggling to open the taped edge with his bitten nails.
“Thanks, I appreciate that. Imagine if I got home and it was broken, hahaha,” I laughed,
painfully, because I’m British.
“Yeah, imagine! Hahaha,” he laughed, because it’s his job.
“That would be just my luck,” I said.
“Yeah, the start of your 7 years of bad luck!”
My face must have changed because his did too.
“Look, it’s not broken,” he said, marking the perfect surface with his greasy fingertips.
“Amazing, thank you so much,” I said, wishing I could swap it for an unmarked one, but it was too late and that would be too awkward and I was already sick of this man and his fingers and he hadn’t even touched me.
I told him to save the trees and not print a receipt.
I walked home and took the mirror out of the box.
It was cracked. The 5th broken mirror of 2018.

And thus began my 35 years of bad luck.
I shan’t complete 7 on this earth,
and don’t intend on bringing the outstanding with me,
but it would be just my luck if it transpires that even the dead can be unlucky.

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life, poetry, prosetry

Glinting yet unswept

jump

you and I

were never meant to age

or get sick

or fall apart like a moth will when you

touch its wings, rub off the magic

you and I

were supposed sway in the assurance

of that hot gaze we both had

it was as if the world were stopped

on its axil and only we two remained

entwined around the other like long grown ivy

from the first moment it was that way

affixed by some kind of telepathy where

even as the storm attempted to separate

we always came back

like magnets repelled and attracted

will find their centering

when I looked up

you were my first thought

in every aspect of life

I lived with you

to imagine this has shattered like a glass

unable to be mended, leaves behind shards of itself

glinting yet unswept

to prick the foot of unsteady walker

a reminder of what is fractured

what cannot be saved

I never thought it possible, to rinse you from my heart

or that I could truly exist without you

hinging my world

but there are some violences

there are some moments too ruined

and my shame in not knowing earlier

how long you had given me up

that undo even the strongest bond

so now, when I feel alone

I do not find myself yearning for you

when I wish to be touched

it is not you I imagine or want

when I cry over us

it is not with a full heart

or even bitterness

but something cold and twisted

that cannot quite remember feeling

it has done the unimaginable

and stopped calling out for you

(One Promise

when you had spent

eight life times and

nine nights

ten turns of moon

one promise

convincing me I was

yours

to want to throw myself

off the bridge we often walked

when your eyes told me

you had given up

was it presumptuous

when you had spent

all my life and half of yours

teaching me love

and its poetry

only to decide when something died

and kill it

headless and bleeding

there in the street

where pointing

people gaped and wondered

who is that girl

climbing the rail?

where is she going?

there she falls)

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life

Alien

“Do you want this top?” I asked, holding up a wisp of metallic fabric by its spaghetti straps. “I don’t have the tits for it.”

“Er, I won’t be able to wear any nice tops like that for while,” she said, “…you’re going to be an auntie again!”

I stepped back and looked at her belly.

“What?”

“I’m 18 weeks pregnant.”

I paused for slightly too long.

“Oh my God, congratulations! I’m so happy for you!” I said, kissing and hugging her, careful not to squish the little life inside her.

Shit. Now I have another reason to stay alive.

“Wow guys, you’re going to have a new baby brother or sister,” I said to my 2 current reasons for staying alive. “Are you excited?”

“Yes! I hope it’s a girl. We heard the heartbeat yesterday and it was like whoosh whoosh whoosh and it moves around so much like it’s dancing!” said my niece, barely able to contain herself.

“Wow that’s cool. How about you, little man?” I said to my nephew.

“Mummy has an alien inside her tummy,” he said, looking at the ground, clearly fuming at the reality that soon he won’t be the baby anymore.

“Ewww, I know, it’s kinda gross isn’t it?” I said, expressing my own true thoughts under the guise of kid-speak. He nodded earnestly.

I looked at her bloated stomach. There’s a little life in there, I thought. How peculiar.

Another reason to stay alive.

It’s so strange how women walk around for months with little lives inside of them. And how women can have something growing inside of them for weeks before they even know it exists. And some women grow a whole human inside of them and have no idea until it starts screaming at them from the toilet bowl.

I will never have children.

I briefly considered that the alien might be an Einstein or it might be a Hitler.

Another reason to stay alive. To see how it turns out.

I suddenly felt annoyed. How could you? I feel bad enough about leaving these 2 little humans, now I have to hang around to meet and fall in love with this alien too? Stop giving me reasons to stay alive. I don’t want to.

“When’s it due?”

“Early Feb 2019.”

Fucking 2019! Next calendar year! I have to stay alive until next year?!

Maybe this little life, this little alien, will be enough to melt my cold, dead heart. But I don’t want it to. I don’t want any more reasons to stay alive, I don’t want any more reasons not to leave. I am so selfish. But that’s just one of my reasons for wanting to go. And one of the reasons why I’ll never have children.

A new target.

I stared at her belly. It houses another magical being that should be enough to make me fight my diseases. But I already have 2 magical beings and though I wish they were enough, they are somehow not. They disappear when I take a knife to my wrist, they can’t shout as loud as the voices that visit me at night, they don’t see me cry like a child, they don’t pull me back from the edge of the platform, they can’t cancel out years of pain and they can’t erase thousands of bad memories. I wish they could but they can’t. It’s too much to ask of them. I realised this while I was staring at my sister’s stomach and telepathically asking the alien, “Are you going to save me?” No. No one can.

“I’ve got a new target then,” I said.

I live by targets. My last target was April 15th 2018. I reached it. I have been living targetless, and terribly, since then. Now, at last, a new target. One I’m not sure if I want, but one that I know I need.

Another reason to stay alive.

Another target.

Another alien.

“Can’t wait,” I smiled.


This is my 100th post for Hijacked Amygdala, so I’d just like to take this moment to thank all of our readers for the love and support you give us – your continual kindness is so very appreciated ♥ and may I also say what a pleasure and honour it is to share this platform with such incredibly talented souls. Long live HA! xx

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poetry

the safety of virgins

I don’t know if Daria Argento is guilty of sleeping with an underage boy

whether it was against his will, statutory rape

or both

but I know it is sad when a #metoo movement spokesperson lets everyone down

though is it the way of fallen heroes in this country, to redeem themselves

there is a hypocracy to thinking

if a man has sex

it can’t be against his will

I know that’s not true

my first boyfriend told me

a girl who sat on a window ledge

made him in her bed

and he felt fallow and diseased

as she at 22 and he 14, rode together

not long afterward

he turned Goth and slit his wrists

the bitchy girls at school taunted him

with cat-calls of ‘you cut the wrong direction fuck head’

and I dated him out of empathy or sympathy

or some kind of thy

because I couldn’t imagine wanting to die and being derided for my failure to succeed

I could feel the welt of scar tissue on his boy wrists

also I know

there is something safe

about virgin men

I liked the comfort of

being the first and not a bed notch

it occurred to me later

I may not have been searching for virgins

but a different gender altogether

though at the time it was a divided world

of normal and dykes, fags and queers

I did not fit into any category

so I played with boys who were untouched and so damn grateful

that’s where I learned what I like

is to be needed

even if the need

is fleeting and superficial

that was better than being

a girl shoved aside for the next

there is something grateful and tender

about boys who lose their virginity

and become men in your arms

I liked how they didn’t carry disease or pre conceptions

I liked how I knew I wouldn’t be their last

free to lend them the tenderness of one night

before pretending with day

nothing had transpired

we seek to be whole and inviolate

we want love and feel alienated

by the emptiness of our role

when love is unsafe we turn

to a time before where

young boys do not scold

(La Fin de Chéri)

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