In January, last year, I made a decision to cut the toxic people out of my life. I thought it would be easy... But it took me a year to learn what poison really meant and who they were. I’m not very good at grudges, or spite; always forgiving, seeing the best in people; looking for their side of the story. Although my skin is flecked with welts from hurts that came before. And I trust with great difficulty. But once I hold a hand, I hope it will catch me if I fall from great heights, without a parachute. Or if I get swept up by a current and lose myself under the water. But last year I slipped (or maybe I was pushed) I fell and I just kept on falling. It felt like I was drowning. Until it hit me - like a train at night - that some people are only passing through; taking in the view from the bridge. As if, by will, they could make it theirs. This year, I learnt that to find an antidote, first I have to relearn who I was before the poison.
in a pan –
heat and pressure building higher
than the cosmic oil can handle. Pan
spinning; spilling coins of carbon.
Star-tinged fabric stretches across
the empty bed. Where
did I go?
One week has passed
since remembrance sunday – and today the
bombs are screeching again; somewhere far to the East they cry.
I wonder, are they more sincere
in their falling
than the tears staining red poppies redder on dark
suits at cenotaphs.
In history lessons they taught us of war
as an effort
(trench foot/ rations/ no contact until a telegram telling bad news arrives/
dogfights/ air-raids/ work/ darkness/ fascism as a has-been/ fear)
War is not an effort for those who inflict it
war breeds on apathy
on ability to press a button
at a distance and turn your head away from the brightness
of a screen.
When the furnaces were lit,
and the darkness began;
when they were taken in school, home, work
and pushed against the wall;
when they has to choose
between running from home or death;
a cry of despair
and warning to humanity
broke the skies above Europe
above the Earth.
Now again, they are tinged red
with smoke as morning tries to answer the
How loud you have made your bombs
that they can overpower their voices, that tear
through history? When will the wind whisper
I missed you,
before we even started moving together. From the first
time that you kissed me, when you
that you had been avoiding the fires in my eyes; from
the moment we changed from
possible to probable, I wondered when you would depart.
The way you left me after we made love
– raw and humming,
tingling and shaken by incompletes, whilst
you lay next to me,
chasing your breath –
forever echo the way that you would leave eventually, marching out
to face the world. The
space where I saw you last
was your sacred place. Out in the grasses,
woodsmoke staining your hair, you moved with many tongues
and planned to change the world. You never faltered,
aware that this
was your battlefield.
There, on the burned out streets, anxious,
I asked you for a kiss. I broke from manoeuvres,
wild, reckless, needing comfort. It disturbed you,
as if I had asked you
to join the police force,
instead of the resistance.
Some of us are born soldiers
we know, from the time we develop our identity
– precisely: cutting our hair, memorising
passages from books –
that we will surrender
to a battle of our choosing. My battle has always been
of the damp and sunbaked earth;
of looking into eyes unguarded;
of words and
how we might use them to reach out across the sparse places.
Sitting, cross-legged, inside the wardrobe.
Your breath sounds like the sea,
somehow it is sweeter to know,
than all the words that cascaded you recently.
Panic is a funny thing, fluttery.
in the days you have spent –small –
there is nothing soft, only jagged
curiosity. It is hard to forget
what left you hollow. Here there spins a small, dark creak.
The day that you start to swim soon will be.
Space to breathe is all
that you have ever needed to claim.
This place is yours to keep,
inside your chest there is a cave
where you are supported, when you leap.
Dreaming is best when we
dream of what we deserve – fall
in love with yourself, you’ll always be caught.
Your world is held by a tree.
dust my skin. This
room is growing,
trembling arches of plaster
– for the first time –
that two substances,
bound for so long, might
just be alienable.
Today hurts, it
comes in screeches, reminding you
to take action.
The centre cannot hold
the aches which fold
has come to chase a future
and be defiant
or just ready to face the stars.
Say goodbye. I can’t
help collapsing into you.
You whisper my name.