I read from my seventh gay YA novel of the year as the central line whirls by my skull
scraping away the buried sensations
looking across the pockmarked platform
to year 8
the boy who I kissed in secret in the changing rooms
suddenly looked like death on the school pitch
since the passes were now higher harder and tackles less friendly
without words exchanging I think maybe then he knew our practice wasn’t something we could repeat
that the risk of pretending to be as much of lover a boy can was too adult too real for lunchtime escapes
maybe then my feet knew his retreating frame in the summer heat was an unconscious betrayal my heart failing to reach out and soothe his agony when the metal studs flirted with his skin
and he’s looking up at me like a salve like some sort of safe haven leaving him on the astroturf to bleed alone
and in that moment
I reach out across the lines to try to smooth out his face and tell him he will stand
and his smile will make the pain yield
and his hands will hold another boy
and will not be left alone
I pull my hand back to let him rest at last
and the train pulls in.
"Are you still there? Are you still listening?"
"its not like i've typed out our conversations many times before.
the things we said in days previous, couldn't live too long inside of me
so my fingers got used to pressing against the easily bruised keys of the phone screen until every tap kept telling
lightly and with love.
its seeing the
criss/crossed markings like nautical charts. laying out the gorges and gaps ahead for us, why couldn't there be another way
i thought to set sail with your spirit
clutched tightly to my chest.
"i don't think so."
i loved a boy
like you wouldn't have wanted me too.
i've since found
its very sad
to love a man
like the way you do.
you placed the tip of your tongue
in the spaces between my teeth
like a criminal
steals their way to safety.
was it for fear that the words spoken earlier
would catch up
and lead you away to read your rights
while I watch.
tapping my incisors, molars
taking count of the refuge you thought
would be offered unconditionally.
the door would have been opened
but for the threat of force
battened down the hatches.
granted, taking this loss
than expected. couldn't have been the sort of guy who asked for permission
sort of happens.
i am taking a little breath before the next break so speak now or
forever hold my hand
you were doing so well
so was I
we are falling
without a plan to land
forty steps in the town church to spire height.
we ran away
watching pigeons roost.
sawdust settled on stained glass.
sat with the stigmata in the pit of me.
your eyes aloft
to the beams where Christ
the beauty in a man.
boys wish would it grace them.
i did not think to ask you if you felt the same
i did not know how.
withdrawing from a near-fatal embrace
how does it feel?
to brush precariously
at the edge of something
to find the void
greeting you instead.
curled at waist height
to the belt loops of jeans
or smushed into pockets,
waiting for another
chance to extend again.
there in the throes of night
unclenching, reclenching fists lay,
will the next time will be different
how will it feel?
body like a Hoplite,
raised from the dust to lay the land-
ashen spear and heart,
trunks of armour clad legs
growing into the clay coloured Earth
these lyre-heartstrings taut with longing.
a browbeaten Myrmidon,
watch, as the breath of Zeus escapes
concave with muscle
Olympus itself exists within those crevices.
i lay offerings,
ambrosia soaked spoken word
at the under-flesh of your calf
laying beside myself
in hope the whispers bestowed to you from the Fates
on the eve of Troy
mean less with your lips, pressed to wine, against mine.
made for times of sadness,
when listened to
in the sunlight.
“have you ever felt love?” he asked
last one for the night
like an atmosphere.
in the communal
mountains of concrete
brown brick office blocks
blockaded high street shops
council housing kingdoms.
taking potshots at metal
goalposts slicked with
the rain and scabbed spray paint
till the olders kick us aside
basketballs in hand
for freethrows from the poverty line.
love like marble
too cold and rich to touch
in fear that it’d turn out to be *****
like two boys
looking at each other for too long
can leave stains no amount of febreze can air out.
i still can’t sleep in your arms
but you never stop searching for me
all there is left to do
myself be found.
I grew up in East London. This is how I want to commemorate my leaving it.
he who reaches into
the core of a heart
abcdefghijklm(full of words)abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz
opqrsabcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyztuvwxyzabcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyzabc(too scrambled to say) abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz
abcdefghijklmnopqrstuv(in a misguided)abcdefghijklmn
to decipher what this meant to you anyway.
kiss your neck
the scar tissue
heartbeating kind of love
lock your fingers around my legs and lead me someplace
you can say goodbye in
no strength to
initiate it on my own
lead me somewhere
i can’t leap at your throat in supplication.
two people embracing
on the potholed curbside,
a car splash-zone
risking the ire of the overzealous
on the off chance-
they remember what it meant
to cling onto someone else
heart rooted firmly in another.
drinking coffee always
leaves mixed emotions on the tongue. picking corners facing away
from the baristas
so they don’t see
what a delicate hand and some warmth can do
a book of poems
written by hands now holding
whether the stanzas
still wreck havoc with your heart.
can my lips can reach you through the useless pages.
poetry written with ghosts
can only haunt who caused
the poet to suffer.
to navigate by
charting the dreams
i snatched from opposite side of the bedroom
“The blue grass stuck to my skin-snakes like to pretend to be vines-I saw you writing-I was so happy-we lived together-you burnt the rice-i had to clean it up-you looked happy-couldn’t get to sleep-hurt my head-didn’t dream today-didn’t happen again-why do you ask-i can’t remember-don’t really care-they
don’t mean anything-
left on open waters
without a sky full of stars
drifting away from land
by the waves.
-you came back
to give rest to this fatigued relationship
in hope there was a chance to sleep
without the ghosts whispered into your side of the bed
running their fingers along somebody spineless-
i can stretch across the length of the bed now
and not feel guilt.
like rescue has arrived
in the form of a goodbye ~
like it was worthwhile
suffering to better appreciate my own smile.
the ones who stray
are as important
as the ones who stay
saw a smile
caught on the c h a n n e l s
of the WiFi
like w a v e s goodbye
I want to be
Where the wind starts
to be devoid
of movement in the dead
as the person I love
leaves the bedroom in a moment
and feel for the first time
my air leave skin
instead of caressing against mine.
seconds, feels-like-hours of breathholding
to feel for the millionth time
the whirlwind currents of your touch
letting the slicing wind escaping my core
scar you in jokey-but-serious words
and the accepting
the whispers over a lake
you choose to
soothe me down into silence.
I wanted to be at the null point
of atmosphere zero
but we cannot be without the wind
and you didn’t want you to feel alone.
i am yet to place
a name to a face,
the ripples of your voice
in any of my module choices
you're a deciding factor
and i'm going through them all
digging through lecture capture.
i warned you.
to underhandedly procure
in a dubious midnight heist
is a violation
of the “Pillow-Talk Three Truce”.
there are no second chances
quilted coalition you concocted.
by daybreak, after a night of unrepentant tickling, kissing, or any some such
perhaps my arms will be laid down
in a show of piety.
to be the
little spoon by the afternoon.
the name I’m calling in the night
is the ghost of yours.
against my lips.
whispered in the witching hour
alone in the dark,
to summon something
floor to ceiling windows
stacked two upon two
capillaries bursting with office work.
neon signs and patina streaked doors
opening up valves at lunch times
Pret A Manger bloodletting.
final call at The Angel
heralding the end of the work week
teams of cleaners flush the system
to restart for the following Monday.
heart grown over hard leather
still living on something dead,
hands extended out for holding
“im just hoping to be enough” you said.
draw, across my collarbone
the length of your tongue.
all there is to taste in your mouth, is home
and all i am is chewing gum.
calling a lost lover
to begin to head on over
this bedroom was only a boarding gate
and this bed your layover.
the window vibrates
overhead roar, unceasing rain
thunder oppressed sun.
My 500th Poem! Thanks for all your support x
You replied you were afraid.
“i didn’t ask for all of this love-
-and yet it’s still not enough.”
while scurrying in the underground
he walked like the caves connecting
the city was his birthright
like the current in the earth grounded him
the roaring trains
his adoring subjects
what a moment
brushing past a subterranean prince
glancing at granite jaw
his knowing smile
hands that could have carved a space
out of me.
i turned away as
to see the darkness of the tunnels
peering back at you on the platform
taunting you to jump
was not a commitment i could make.
as i went digging through the aisles
looking for my next haphazard meal
looking up from the sickly beige floor
two boys stood there smiling.
Brown floppy hair and freckled faces
the pair of them
greener eyes than the
basket at my feet
all lips and teeth grabbing themselves at the wrists.
to playfight in the pasta section is a pure
display of affection
to grin at another boy crouching down
like something famished
to learn that people can feed you
with nothing but love.
kiss me so the vines in my veins can snake out to hold you
i should have pleaded for a longer sentence
at least we’d be talking.
slicing my tongue against your shades of pastel
in hopes of seeing what being instagram famous is like
finding that internal "like/subscribe/follow" spot
tasting influencer on your breath
painted nails trailing my cheekbones for something more tangible
wristbones that angels would have fallen for
my e-boy lover
whispering how you love to perform
your face afterwards dejected
as the camera
i saw your collarbone like a
drowning man see’s the surface.
i urged to break it.
between out lips as the kisses become longer
intake of air to keep the love/boredom/sympathy/pity
this is snuffed out in the hope of something tangible
THE TIME WE SPENT WAS BORROWED ON BAD CREDIT.
1. We both knew this
2. I didn't care
3. You saw this ending
4. An end that wasn't even fair
so now i'm not speaking and yet you still fight
cause you know that means i would win,
i would be right.
"if i was still dating you, THAT would have been pity.
be grateful i left when i did."
i haven't seen you stay in one place for more than a few days,
like laying some roots will result in some catastrophic meltdown
like being noticed will cause sirens to scream out
"i want to be wanted, i want to be wanted, i want to be wanted".
isnt this the point, to pop up shop and take what little charity those
who know what being loveless is like can provide. in short bursts a heart can be mended, the wounds sewn up and put up for sale like a clean bill of emotional health.
till the view begins to stagnate and the bones of all the half-healed ex-lovers begin to ache inside, the embers of a burnt out husk in the chest smoulders with the promise of "it'll be better elsewhere."
"they might want me elsewhere." "someone will love you elsewhere."
time can lighten the crushing loss of another.
Two lovers standing
parallel on a street
late in Shorditch
graffiti came billowing
out from their ankles
spray painting their distance
like a gap in a kiss
could paint murals.
could the night
drift out somewhat longer
the stars went back for
a second round of drinks
like my lips barely scraping another’s
was a reason to keep drinking.
without the sounds of the clubs
Spotify playlist leading me home
i would have lost myself all over again
in some boys arms
and into the caress of the street come morning.
not willing to leave the house past 8pm
is a sign of ageing beyond ones years
as if a call to the dance floor
was a medicinal checkup that one swallows
without tears or complaint, to inoculate the soul while
dancing with your taste on my body.
to not come down with your memory.
I wanna do
anything you wanna do
like my god honestly
I want some more pics of us
how’s the day going?
I don’t know how you feel knowing
this love is one-sided and it’s
But babe i’ve done all i can
you have to tell me
what’s your plan
like my light
our moment of time
everyone feels sorry for us
it seems that all Love is,
is finding the snippets of those who once
in the bodies of strangers and hoping
this time it will be reciprocated.
i understand the Greeks
When they wrote of boys
turning to men as
“in the flush of their strength”.
as if the tides of youth,
had burst it’s banks
flooding childhood, like the Mycenae
coulda let you hold me close,
love saw something deeper I suppose.
we measured the time
by what infatuation took us
Year 7 was flittering
8 was unfounded
9 was groundbreaking but
10 was changing
Year 11’s love might still be reigning.
you never forget those 5 years.
even if you'd like too.