Bathroom Hymn

These moments – cold,
in the bathroom,
naked except for the blister plasters
and the indent across my ribs
from the new bra.

Before the eyeliner is scrubbed away.
Before I’m back to that flushed girl
with big dreams.

These moments – fresher
than the rest.

And in the end, always,
I’m churning everything inside me,
making pretty songs. But especially moments
like this.

Moments with clothes curled
on the tiles, with blue clarity,
the moments wondering if it matters
that my tits are lopsided.

Always poetry.

There are boys swimming in my head,
boys I once knew,
boys I might know,
girls I want to find. All
poetry.

Suds down the drain. Sponge on skin.
Every moment in every bathroom –
every grimy, cold bathroom,
stacks of them, in my head.

Holy baths and sloppy showers,
moments for renewal,
moments of dirty thoughts.
Underwear kicked off, inside out,
door locked so only
this moment
exists – here – in front
of the mirror, the same crooked
grimace, the same curious brows.

Moments of steam and condensation,
bed socks twisted together.
Cold weight of wet hair, always
the same cycle. Water
rolling down my back.

I am my own voyeur, in all these moments.

 

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Angel Verse

You: cheeks stained with opal drops,
lips smudged with ghost kisses.

Film star smoking in the dusk light,
wearing her wrap around coat and a frown.

Give ‘em hell and make them pay,
or cower beneath the blankets and shiver.

She’s a solid punch to the nose
but she does it so well you’ll praise her fist.

And she lets you take the stage for a while,
so she can watch you swing your hips.

Watch her through the frosted glass,
follow her through the demented nights.

Let her make you crazy.
Let her make you cry.

Swan Lake

My soft soul is too human
for this animal pain
that rips like a ghost upstairs;
uninvited but present, wafting and cold.

It presses a silk hand over my eyes
and drives a silver knife between my ribs.
It kisses my white lips
and forces its’ breath down my throat.

I can cry and I can fall
but can I love with a heart of glass,
full of shards that find comfort
only when bathed in my blood?

My soft soul is too kind
to this animal pain
that preens like a priest at the altar;
promising redemption and forgiveness.

It folds me inside out
and blows, gentles as a Sunday, on my hair.
It speaks in rich tongues
and the only translation I can find is red on teeth.

I don’t bend and I don’t tremble
but instead, I collapse, with my glass heart
shattered like dew drops
on a spiders’ web.

Letter to Henry

“I think they make it ugly on purpose,”
you said, and yet
“beauty is terror”
is always the mantra of the intelligent.
Live forever?
But why? What for,
to treasure the gift we’ve been given?
That smell of rot is a reminder:
ignore the aesthetics of the thing,
Henry, you don’t understand.
Life is fleeting, evil
swallowed up by love.
Henry, put down the books, you’re
dreaming.

Dreaming
Henry, put down the books. You’re
swallowed up by love,
life is fleeting. Evil
Henry, you don’t understand –
ignore the aesthetics of the thing,
that smell of rot is a reminder
to treasure the gift we’ve been given.
But why? What for?
“Live forever!”
is always the mantra of the intelligent.
“Beauty is Terror,”
you said, and yet
I think they make it ugly on purpose.

– a specular poem inspired by the character Henry Winter, from The Secret History by Donna Tartt.

self.

Your head hangs low as you sit up in bed.
It’s blustery and you have to wade
through mulch just to get to the door.
On the street now, every eye is averted, or oblivious,
to the cold grey fish casting you in it’s shadow.
The bottle clinks on the rocky shore,
holding you in its belly of slime.
You do not look up. Are you afraid
of what you might see?
Your thoughts have been scrambled,
pasted in the wrong place, a child’s first art project.
Begin the endless wait, with it’s sluggish pace,
until the wave hits, and you are lost in the depths.
Who bolted the window that has you trapped? The moon
is small, heavy
and eventually day breaks: cloudy,
a weight in your arms.
Who is watching you perform? Can they see the spectre
over your shoulder, the eyes at the trapdoor?
Remake yourself, a new outline,
copy your shadow but not your Self.
There’s miles to go -a hill to climb,
a cave to brave,
but know this:
whether you return or arrive,
you’ll find what you were looking for
with it’s glow and it’s light
and you will be warm
at last.


modelled after The Red Tree by Shaun Tan.

renaissance

she goes bump in the night –
dawn crawls closer and she shifts restlessly.
thud. thud. thud.

she is your heart, embracing rebirth.

she is claustrophobic, tired
of this cramped pit.
she aches for your sunlight. aches for your ocean.

she is the loose change that clinks in
your pocket she is the hair tie wrapped around
your wrist she is the goddess you pray to in
winter.

she stumbles through hibernation,
her silhouette presses the
filmy chrysalis, a sticky
kiss.

may she unfurl her wings, blow the shackles to
dust. open your ribcage, she reveals herself

Resplendent.

bowed

A corpse inside and out,
the glass fogs thick,
concave, ready to crack.
My neck keens and twists, but still –
there you are.

I eat my screams to nothing,
teeth marks embedded in my desire.
Permanence beckons,
tells me I can sleep if I wish, but still –
there you are.

Past skin, past bone – there’s
my heart.
Your ringleader and your acrobat.

Still it doesn’t know.
Still I wish it did.

cocoon

The ringed nostril
– crimson –
shiver and drop, exhale.

Stained sink,
scarlet stream,
snakes silver pipes.

I’m in the armpit,
the buttcrack of the Earth –
burrowing deeper during winter months.

I echo in every child’s cry.
I shudder in every pervert’s glance.

Run ragged, ragged girl,
in every slap of boots on pavement,
every whiff of dying chrysanthemum.

I am the fists beating me to a pulp,
embracing every blow.

Tonight

 

I can’t feel the bed sheets
and my head swims like an angel fish
bright spark in the deep dark.

my head spins in the quiet
and I can’t grasp the words around me
tempestuous mind in the pitch black.

(disclaimer: i was very drunk when i wrote this one. i don’t say this to promote drinking but rather to excuse the terrible quality.)

A Maiden’s Tale

A noble prince both tall and proud
knew he could slay the fiend.
He bragged and gloated nice and loud,
prepared to hear it scream.

The people begged him night and day –
the beast was roaming near,
but someone else was on the way;
someone the beast would fear.

‘Oh no, good sir,’ the maiden said,
‘this brute is mine to kill.’
She drew a sword, eyes fixed ahead
and leapt with spark and skill.

Its scaly hide and scalding breath
were dreadful to behold.
The prince himself now feared his death –
he knew he must be bold.

The maiden, though, was fast and true,
though it all seemed in vain.
Up her sword went, was jabbed straight through.
A hush: the beast was slain.