Where is my language
and why can't I speak it?
It's being replaced
with a haze of Spanish eyes
and olive skin
casting shadows across itself
in the mid-morning sun.
I would be one
to remember the days
of what I could say,
words integrate,
binding my tongue to the roof of my mouth.
Colder, colder, migrating south,
hold my hand and tell me
it will be alright.
I wanted to know how the bird in flight
felt to have its feathers washed from its body,
how the decaying leaf
felt to be buried in snow.
And now all I want to know
is how it would feel
to be the world's smallest organism.
How it would feel to divide, divide,
roots so shallow I can't find my feet,
swept away by the smallest rush
of pins pushing against my body.  
How it would feel to be torn apart
in the name of science -
would I still be beautiful
if my ribs were inside out?
Would I still be beautiful
if my heart bloomed like the winter flower?
Would you love me if I could be anything,
a wasteland with a clear surface,
water being poured down the drain?
If I was a sequence,
the number of steps before the next system over,
would my DNA align just enough
to make me reflect you?
I'm hapless,
lethargic,
entirely theoretical,
and I'm counting the number
of substitutions I can make
before I no longer exist.
What will it take to wipe me away?
How many cells do you have to remove from my spine
before it is no longer my own?
I used to want to feel
the air breathing with me,
to know what it is
that makes the water love the earth so dearly.
Now all I want to feel
is soft skin on my hands,
the curve of my waist as I sleep,
the skin pale under the sheets,
beauty sighing from between my blue lips.

~~ Still going strong. ~~
Scarlet Keiller Dec 2017

Hands brush the tears from my cheeks.
Hollow hands with hollow bones
that are supposed to belong to me.
My hands can create works of art
so beautiful that my eyes can’t keep up,
they can play the piano and dance
and run themselves through someone’s hair
when my heart is too afraid to speak.
My hands hold a pen like it’s life support,
they revel in the words flowing from beneath
sharp fingertips, they rejoice in the silence
of those who hear me speak my poetry
the way it’s supposed to be spoken: aloud.
My hands are works of art and yet I feel nothing
when they touch my body. They are cold
and numb and I feel nothing.
It only feels good when they hold sharp objects.
Not to my arm or my throat, just between my fingers.
I enjoy the fear of pain it instils in me.
My hands hold a knife the same way
they hold a pen. It keeps them alive.
The only thing that warms them up
is the danger of blood
pumping through my veins. Naive I may be
but I dance like the seductress
with blood draping itself over my skin
and desire burning behind my eyes.
I know what I want when I look at him,
dancing to the music,
inhaling and exhaling smoke like perfume.
I know what I want when his leg touches mine
and I feel the anger blazing inside me,
the anger blazing bright and wild
that I never want to let go.
I know what it feels like to burn alive
when I see his eyes looking elsewhere
and my hollow hands reach desperately
towards the darkness, reach desperately
towards his hollow face.
I find myself swaying to the music of the shadows,
my hips tracing the ocean’s waves,
my eyes glancing upwards with erotic charm
through lowered eyelashes.
I know what you want when I look you.
I see the lust behind those umber eyes,
it drips from you and you bite your lip
as I approach you.
You bite your lip
as I hold your face in my hands.
You bite your lip
as I allow your arms
to trace the waves with me
until I’m the one biting you.
Biting you so you can’t get away,
so that you’ll never want to,
because the feeling of my teeth on your skin
is one you’ll never forget
or get again. Because no one knows how to use blood
as a weapon or sex as a tool quite like I do.
No one knows how to bite you quite like I do.
I know what you want when you look at me,
you want my hollow hands which come alive
on paper, music, paint, to touch your skin
and taint your soul. You want me
to coat you with oil and destroy
your feathers, to pluck the beak
from your mouth. You want me
to make you human
and trust me, I will.
Just you wait.

Scarlet Keiller Dec 2017

I think I might be losing my steam.
It wasn't obvious to begin with
but over time, I began to see things,
hear things, that weren't there.
Patterns in the movements of eyes,
whispered insults from strangers
in dark streets, drifting
in front of my eyes like that steam.
It became all I could see
until I was blinded by white,
it was so dense that even the grey fog
couldn't compete. It should be easy
but I can't tell you how it feels
to have dry eyes and a sobbing heart,
how it feels to have such acute pain within
but to be unable to get it out.
It feels the same as nausea does,
a sickness that will go nowhere,
a pain that cannot be dislodged,
a bullet in the spinal cord.
When I think about love and me,
I am the sickness, I am the pain,
I am the bullet. I am the blindness
crawling into your peripheral vision
and turning everything white.
I am the death you fear and the bitterness
you see when you look in the mirror.
I am the steam, burning and burning
until your eyes are gone
and I'm no longer the only one
who lost their mind.

Scarlet Keiller Nov 2017

Hands fidget under the cover of darkness.
They reach and burn, so willing
to tear each other apart
their fingertips brand their surface
into the earth
to revel in the blood pooling beneath them.
I can feel the touch of Paranoia
on the back of my neck,
can hear her whispering a melody
of broken bones and twisted branches
pulling at my skin. The bitter bile
seeps from her mouth when she kisses me,
promising that the sweet relief of loss
will never come back to retrieve
what it so eagerly forgot.
There's a fire burning, eating her eyes,
dissolving the tip of her rotting tongue as she sings
and lingering, dancing, on her skin.
Her hands could be music or taste
dwelling softly on your lips
but they are the thunder of broken
chords, the discord of dying
wolves howling the same song, decade
after decade, to moonless skies. Hatred blooms
in dripping clusters beneath her feet,
biting my heels and twisting
until they find my spine and pull, pull it
into the depths of the earth, replacing it
with acidic vines which poison
the flesh of my body and leave me,
blind, waiting for the paralysis of death.

Scarlet Keiller Nov 2017

I went back to my secondary school recently
just to see what it was like without
me in it. I still saw the blue, cheap flooring, rooms
with wooden panelling that definitely
wasn't wood. I still saw ill-fitting shirts
and teachers scowling at boys wearino green
for that girl who's never going
to look at them. I still saw big kids,
too young to be so old, falling into a naïve
love and thinking it's forever.
I could still see the traces
of my clumsy hands
dropping ink all over the floor of the hall,
the streaks where I desperately tried
to clean it up before anyone saw.
Lockers still lined the walls,
only the stickers that had once covered
mine were gone - the only colour
in that hall, the shock
of red in a sea of grey,
had been taken away.
Teachers walked through the halls
to poimt their fingers at herds
of giggling girls but they didn't stop
to smile and talk to me
like they used to. Maybe
it was the change of hair,
or maybe it was just
the next generation of names
erasing mine from their memory.
The next generation of hands
pulling red stickers from old doors.
Soon, hard-soled feet will wear down
the floors and those black trails
of ink will be removed, all of my fingerprints
and scars will be buffed out, scuffed out.
The paintings I left to be exhibited
will be replaced by newer, better ones
by younger students who offer more,
the halls will be filled
with new faces who don't look
quite the same. They don't laugh
quite loud enough or smile
wide enough - they are more vague
and distant than memory
ever suggested.

~~ Goodbye, Hometown. ~~
Scarlet Keiller Nov 2017

I was told my skin was like the sky,
I was pale and overseen but with freckles
that gave the stars a run for their money.
I could be as beautiful as an untouched field of snow
if I tried.
I could be as beautiful as fire and danger...
if I tried.
If you looked close enough, I could be beautiful,
but I'm not.
Nobody wants to feel dry, cracked skin
beneath their soft hands.
Nobody wants to see weak, pale skin
squirming away from them in the dark.
Truth be told, my surface is the blister in your mouth
that never leaves your mind.
My skin is the birds flying into your windows
again and again, trying to see what's inside.
My skin was the snow once, white and clean,
but now it's foul and well-trodden, past
the footprints and soft sheen of melting ice
and into a beige sludge lining
the pavement beneath your feet.
My body is as cold as they come
and yet snow could never sit on me for very long
so instead I'm dripping and damp,
the feeling of wet hands touching
rough paper. What I do to skin
is what fire does to literature,
destroy and destroy and destroy.
It's as if every mark on my body
is a word waiting to be annihilated
and engulfed by smoke. It's as if
I tried to be ice and winter
but instead, I'm burning alive
and I can't get out of the skin that's on fire.

Scarlet Keiller Oct 2017

The garden was overgrown now. Cold hands
traced flowers of dusk and brooding darkness,
hands which so willingly lingered
on the fractured, broken hearts
which beat so feebly between breaths.
A carved, angled smile
cast minute shadows across a face, vague,
etched into the surface of smooth,
painted flesh. Eyes are always there,
drifting smog, glaring
with colour swirling over skin
like oil on water, dragging beauty
into the depths of the ocean
along with all of Nature's grace.
Hands, needles, they left a crude,
ugly taste that coated lips like dance
dripping from the drunken limbs of children.
Talking, mumbling - something
about the dying robin
singing the same old song to the trees,
season after season. Poetry.
A brooding sadness echoed along
fingertips, the stained fingertips
of an artist, and a haze of blue smoke
seeped from a mouth, choking it,
stealing the language from between its teeth.
There is a storm flickering in that gaze,
midnight burning ivory to the music,
falling into a fire of burning leaves.
Red.
A painter
but the eyes were always the masterpiece,
black and evil and filled
with all of the dread and loneliness
and stars, stars so bright they flash
when you close your eyes. Stars so bright
they are desperate and afraid
and jagged, calling out to you,
begging you to never forget them.

~~ For Lewis. ~~
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