poetry, prosetry

Oh, Man

I don’t need you to kill any spiders. I can buy my own flowers.
I prefer to sleep alone. I have books for company.
No, you can’t read my poetry. No, I don’t write about you.

I am hard work and the end result may or may not be worth the effort but that’s down to your inflated expectations, not mine (I have enough of my own to deal with, thanks). / Rather than my favourite yellow roses, that I sit and watch die over a period of less than 72 hours, The One For Me would buy me a cactus: indestructible, quiet, steadfast, pretty ugly, unkillable. / The only thing that takes my breath away is a panic attack. / I cry over spilt milk and have a phobia of tomato seeds: concluding that I have issues with my mother, shoving coke up your nose and trying to get me to lie down on your sofa does not make you Freud.

I can’t afford to cook for two.
I will never be eating for two.
You will never know who I really am or what I really do.
I only bother to shave my legs for you.
I will break one or more of the following: Your…
a) heart b) nose c) bank d) spirit.

I wear my father’s old clothes: it’s too easy to conjure up his ghost, because I am him and he is me: I am dead to me: I refuse to live for you. / The Man of My Dreams is a man who reads: books, not The Racing Post. / I don’t agree when you call me pretty – luckily you say that rarely. / If you’re going to catcall, do it properly: your weak whistle succeeds only in eliciting further pity from me. / I can play Wonderwall on the guitar better than you can, even with my impractically long, elaborately decorated false nails. / Fancy cars will never impress me: walking is free.

I am wasting your time, just as you are wasting mine.
All these years and you still don’t know how I take my tea.
I dread every aspect of sex, though I talk about it frankly and frequently.
I never actually gave you permission to touch me.
Stop pestering me – needy isn’t sexy.
If you cared about me, you’d leave me be.

I’ve smoked JPS Silver for a decade. / John Player Special: John = what I call every man because a lot of the time, that’s his name, and because they always respond, because they’re all the same: / Player – Special = what every man thinks he is: / Jean-Paul Sartre = the man, the thinker, who I actually think about. / Silver, because it’s the only time a man ever comes second.

You think, by meeting me, you’ve won the lottery
but soon, all you’ll have left are rusty pennies (…you’ll see).
I will always have Bukowski.
I am happier by the sea but you won’t take me.
I don’t want your money.
I didn’t ask you to love me.
You are not a necessity:
I can turn you into a memory.

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Standard
poetry

Girls

GIRLS
splashy micro-hothouses
no humdrum engagements
styled heads
wild-card zing
inspired
offbeat
decorated
attentions jostling
More
is more
is more
is sex and pain
is tears and blood
and then
the bomb effect
the essential details
the newfound frankness:
“there will be more stories.”


This is an erasure poem made from words found on pages 63 and 99 of Vogue (May 2018, British edition)

Standard
poetry, prosetry

Daughters of descending dusk

Who was that girl, covered in cheap thrill?

the one who got so happy when you looked her way

who drew you paintings

kept your dirty shirt

pushed you on the swing-set even though we both weighed too much

days of over-size flannel and Doc Martens

Smashing Pumpkins versus Hole

you said I looked like

Ione Skye

you didn’t resemble

John Cusack

while the studious exchange students with excitement hangovers

wouldn’t climb out of their window and meet in the high weeds park

even by then I knew how to have sex in public without my skirt getting wet

who needed second base?

go all the way and work backwards

you weren’t the wrong choice were you?

wearing eyeliner and forgetting birth control

all then, a bad trick in adolescent undergrowth

slurs are girls with provocation

before social media calumny

dimpled notes

inking who gives the best head

who has the firmest … grasp

you have me laid open in your sweat shirt like a dissected stag beetle still able to feel its shell

sent me crayon colored tapes where you exulted my willingness

I sang on my knees like Marianne Faithful with a throat-full

thinking you filled me with more than noise

riding our bikes after, sore between the legs

slow were the socially awkward who did it right first time, soothing off their spectacles for CEO jobs

while we daughter’s of descending dusk

carved deep our error

in the inside of our doughy thighs

the days a road lay empty as a girl’s hands

saturating smell of popcorn

fantasizing backward to the beginning

illuminated by glow stars on the ceiling of his room

habits inching across failings

unfinished sympathies

how can a song collapse a heart?

wishbone shaping the way like Baba Yaga’s dance of skeletons

we who didn’t need food

ran ragged on empty

female cranberry bogs filled with ire and specter

and one day we were no longer young

staring down at boxes of cassettes and letters tied with pieces of the past holding up a manikin who could once have been us

now unsure in twilight of age

as time will betray all but deepest memory

adhering despite all attempt

to dissuade

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