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Grace Jul 2018
I walk into the mirror box again and it’s as if my life
really is just an extension of my own metaphors.
I’m caught in the mirror maze, searching for something
in the mirrors at angles, but all I can see is myself,
my sad, stupid self, stretching on and on forever
with the same boring face, the same boring feelings,
again and again until I stop being able to make out the details.
Am I looking back at myself or am I looking forwards to the future?
Will it always be the same or has it merely been
the same since forever? I stare into the mirror tunnel
at all these selves repeating themselves,
forcing the years, the weeks, the days into the same strict patterns,
merely following the self that came before them, merely mirroring
the feelings, only doing it worse and worse with each new rendition.
It’s just me, I think, in the mirror box, caught up in myself
because I am selfish and horrible.
I’m selfish and horrible
and I want to turn my back on myself but
how can I possibly do that in the mirror box?
I meet myself over and over, and it’s just me,
in all this vast, repetitive vagueness, just me in
this long stretch of lonely unsettledness that surely doesn’t end.
I want to smash my own face in, so I close my eyes
and try to think, maybe, maybe, maybe, because I don’t
want to be this grey-cloud self forever. I can’t be, and so maybe,
just maybe, somewhere beyond all these selves
there’ll be a day when I’m down on the shore
and the sea will be calm and the sky will be
faded purple. Love will not sink down into nothingness
because in the cool evening air,  my heart will be full
instead of gaping and my mind will be at ease
instead dwelling on it’s own boringness
or entangling itself in own self-created sadness.
And maybe, I’ll have abandoned my book
and its pages will be dry because I won’t have been crying into it.
They’ll be no mirrors, just the ocean,
glinting like an amethyst cluster in the half light
and I’ll rest my head on the shoulder of the girlfriend
I'll meet someday and I’ll smile in this beautiful liminal moment
and nothing will be tainted by the dread of returning home.
We’ll kiss – on the shore – and rewrite it forever and
maybe the stars will fall out of the sky when I shake it and
all my trains will run on time and all the wounds
in the world will heal simultaneously.
It’s a moment surely stolen from someone else’s poetry,
but I’ve got to cling to something to avoid becoming
lost entirely in all this dark, intangible vagueness.
There’s got to be at least one imaginary moment
that isn’t just me, reflected over and over.
There’s got to be one moment that doesn’t stare
back at me from inside the mirror box.
here's another poem the same as all my others, just more mirrors and me, me, me but this time, there's some stupid, happy fantasy about a shore that will surely never happen :) might delete it, probably won't. anyway, thanks for reading - it means a lot :)
8.3k · Jan 2018
silly and frivolous
Grace Jan 2018
You know the type.
She's probably called something like
Isabella. Rosalie. Ginevra.
and you find her in the sort of novel where
she's outdone by someone called something like
Jane. Agnes. Lucy.
She's remembered in criticism as
Trivial. Silly. Foolish.
She's defined as Shallow. Vain. False gold.
She's analysed as the mirror, the contrast or the foil
and you're supposed to vaguely dislike her.
She'll reaffirm to the reader that the heroine,
whether she be plain or beautiful, is always, in the end,
Rational. Independent. Brave.
She reaffirms the heroine as someone who
learns and grows
while the silly girl is left looking at herself in the mirror.

The thing is sometimes I feel more like the silly girl,
the girl who needs a hand, the girl who reads books
and wants to believe the stories.
Sometimes, I'm looking in the mirror,
chest deep in my own trivial, silly little worries,
looking at the puddles not the lake, and I know.
I know I'd be one of the silly girls,
not the heroine, out there, just surviving.
I'd be one of those silly girls and I hate it - and yet
- what's so wrong with the silly girls?

What's so wrong with the girls who love themselves,
or love the wrong people or love their clothes?
What's wrong with the girls who are
brave but not rational,
independent but trivial,
selfish but practical?

What's wrong with those girls,
because I always find myself preferring
the Ginevras and the Isabellas anyway.
Basically, Isabella Linton and Ginevra Fanshawe are two of my favourite characters ever :)
Found this poem in the notes on my Kindle. I must have written it late at night, then forgotten about it. :) It's a bit lazy and silly and a bit different from other things I've been writing, but I decided to share it anyway.
I also can't believe that one of my most poems on here is me rambling about Ginevra.
4.6k · Sep 2016
- then on the shore
Grace Sep 2016
I feel at home in the liminal        in the space inbetween,
between past, future, reality       fantasy, this, that.  
In the liminal, the past and         future lap around me,
demanding waves that climb      high and share their spray.
The salt water clings to my          hair, stiffens it like straw
and I stay, ungrowing in              the liminal.
I live between thresholds             on the threshold
and sometimes the tension          tugs and tears and rips
my fingernails, my hair                my skin.
Thresholds are supposed             to hurt, to push, to compel
but it’s where I rest and               make my home.

The liminal does not rip me apart as it should.

It’s hollow in the liminal             a void that digs my insides
out. It’s a cave in there                 walls of apathy and dread.
My mind grows in on                   itself and I live in it,
where it plays in the                    liminal.
It cannot survive                          beyond the threshold
so I stay in the house                   where the windows are
clear and the doors                      are unlocked. Nothing is
keeping me in but                        myself.
I feel at home in                            the liminal, where the tensions
hurt and erode                              but it’s safe here,
or safe enough                               in the space inbetween.

I fear the sea and the tides so I stay on the shore.
It hurts but not as much as it should.
I noted down the outline for this on the beach yesterday. Beaches always make me feel a little odd. The beach is one of my favourite places to be, yet as soon as I step on to one, I start dwelling on everything that I've got to give up and move on from.
The title is from Keats' poem 'When I have fears that I may cease to be'
3.3k · Jun 2018
the hush hushed
Grace Jun 2018
I cant tell you how much the hush hush hurts,

the gaps,

[the deliberately left blanks]

the silences that make me scared of saying words out loud.


It's the switching of meanings that does it,

all the tip toe awkwardness

the swift, unconscious side steps.


It's the whole long stretch of silence,

the whole deliberate

accidental

hush hush of something I never even knew the name of.  


It's the casual,

forgettable

drops of slights

that I'm still turning

over and over.


It's a hush hush never intended to be malicious but

the quiet twists and tears

and so I can never tell you how much the hush hush hurts

because the silence keeps me hush hushed too.
Working through some things I guess. It's hard to address the hush hush when you know it wasn't malicious, just accidental or a result of a different time. I wonder if they even know about the hush hush? I wonder if they know they kept it? Anyway it's something I need to work through and poetry helps or something

Note: So we talked about the hush hush without words but it's okay, maybe it's how we do things best. And the hush hushed becomes a thing of vibrant, rainbow colours and it's lifting off my shoulders and I think in a glowing kind of way that maybe there's something in this that will be okay. And I wonder how you knew but for now it remains hush hushed because I can’t quite talk about it yet. I wear it instead, I wear my colours instead and maybe that speaks enough for the moment. (Fourteenth of September Two Thousand and Eighteen)
Grace Jul 2016
Today, I saw a person in front of me, their eyes on something else
and I took a moment to inspect them,
and then I realised it was myself.

There they were, wearing the clothes I had put on in the morning,
wearing the face I recognise in pictures
and standing exactly where I was standing.
But, they were not me – in that moment, they were not.
How could I be that girl, that women standing there in that shop?

The body inside is not that one I saw in the mirror,
the one who was looking a different way.
Inside, I’m more, I’m smaller, I’m darker, I’m paler and
I dress for them each morning, choosing from the clothes
not bought for them exactly,
but forced to match them, to meet halfway.
I knew it then, with a glance at the mirror person, nothing pretty would be bought today.

And it wasn’t.
Some days, it’s dungarees.
Other days, it’s dresses.
Some days, it’s shorts and leggings.
It all depends on who I’m playing as and
I’m sure that’s all okay, but then they say describe yourself in three words.

How can I describe myself, this person  I do not know?

So I go for the easy option and choose them from a list:
Quiet
Creative
Studious
And I suppose, that’s one way of putting myself into three words;
one way of putting myself into an easy to understand formula.

But it doesn’t cover it.
Three words don’t cover it.

Because really, I think I’m just an observer inside my own imagination,
an observer inside my own life and all these other lives inside my head.
I’m just the implied narrator of this person in the mirror
and all these others, who come and go in different places.

But then the girl in the mirror reminds me that tomorrow is my birthday,
a day to celebrate the fact I exist outside of my head
and then she touches a shirt, made of itchy fabric
and there’s life outside the overwhelming inside,
a life where I need to describe myself in three words
and fit into those three words and into that one person,
looking at something else, not in the mirror.
2.7k · May 2018
It's fine.
Grace May 2018
This is just a boring sadness;
a low-lying, flat sort of sadness,
just a grey sea on a drizzly day.
There’s nothing major going on here,
nothing monumental, nothing tragic.
It’s all just a bit blue round the edges.

This isn’t an explosive sadness,
it isn’t a torrent and it isn’t rock bottom.
It’s just a boring sadness that hums steadily
and it’s fine, really. It’s fine.

It’s just a sort of storm globe sadness,
willing to become tempestuous when shaken.
The waves rush, lightening darts, thunder bellows,
but it all happens behind glass.
And it’s fine, really, because it settles itself quickly.
The sea goes flat again and it’s fine.

It’s just a monotonous sadness,
the sort that makes life dull and hopeless.
It keeps you in your bedroom
and it ticks off the years and still,
you’re in the bedroom,
yet to have your first kiss,
your first heart break,
your first night out,
your first airplane ride,
your first concert,
your first car,
but it’s fine, because it’s a sadness
that comes down like a fall
of paper snowflakes and it’s fine.
It’s all fine.

It’s just a boring sort of sadness,
so you watch other people’s misery instead
and you wish you could spare them the pain.
You become a twisted sort of sadness covet,
a sadness thief, stealing sadness that isn’t boring,
stealing sadness that seems worse than your own
And it hurts you and makes you feel worthless,
all these bungled attempts to rob sadness
but it’s fine, really. At the end of the day, you’re fine.
It’s just another bit of boring sadness and you are fine.
'Well, all children are sad
but some get over it.
Count your blessings. Better than that,
buy a hat. Buy a coat or pet.
Take up dancing to forget' - Margaret Atwood

It's fine, just another quick poem about sadness, what's new?
2.4k · Nov 2017
Maybe on the shore again
Grace Nov 2017
Last night, I couldn’t sleep because
the dark and the blankets felt like guilt
and I couldn’t live as myself anymore.
I woke up in the morning anyway
and took a boat into the fog and found myself
on the island, walking across a cliff top into cloud -
walking into the unseeable, feeling alive.

-

So here I am on the island,
the fog – the symbol for that murky future –
is rolling in across the hills, across the cliff top
in one straight barrier.

I feel alive as I face the fog
and I stomp right through it.
One day, I tell myself,
I’m going to make it.
One day, things will be
different.
I just can’t see it yet.

I smile in the fog. I love the fog.

It clears and there’s the monument
that I’ve seen so many times before.

There’s the familiar at the end of the tunnel
it would seem
and I'm going to make it.

-

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here though.
It’s always going to be easier to face the symbol
as the I in the poem than as the I in the real,
facing the actual.

-

Back in the now, the fog has gone
and everything is blue and green.
I’m sitting on a bench below the monument,
remembering how a poet once walked here
and I really do feel alive today.

I stay on the bench in the blue and green,
quoting other people’s poetry to myself:

See, I’m sad because I’m sad. It’s psychic, it’s chemical.
I should hug my sadness like an eyeless doll
or just go back to sleep.
And I know there are promises I really ought to keep,
and miles to go before I get that sleep,
but aren’t the woods so lovely dark and deep?
And they are, but when it comes right down to it,
and the fog fails and the light rolls in
and I’m trapped in my overturned body
with fears that I may cease to be,
before I’ve had chance to write or love,
I must go to the shore of the wide world and stand alone and think –
and let there be no moaning there, when I look out to sea.
Let it just be sunset and evening star and one clear call for me.

-

I’m still sat on the bench, enjoying the sun
and suddenly I think

one day i’ll bring my girlfriend here
she’ll probably know of more exciting places
but i’ll bring her to the island
and we’ll sit by the monument
looking at this very same view

I find myself thinking in the future tense and it’s strange because
I don’t have any hope for beyond the now.
I’m still thinking I’ll probably be dead
and yet out of nowhere,
here’s the shift into a different tense
and the view of the end of the island
where it looks like it should plummet straight down
into the sea, but it doesn’t.

There’s more island beyond the end.

I sit on the bench, shocked at myself,
but I keep trying to believe that one day it will be different
and one day I will come here again,
with my girlfriend, whoever she maybe,
if she may be, maybe, please?

-

I come down from the cliffs and go to the shore,
to walk alone and think.

The sea casts gold and silver on the sand,
the sunlight gives puddles lilac halos
and I think maybe, just maybe.
Maybe, just maybe,
because today I feel alive.

-

The beach is a beautiful blue winter.
Winter, being the time of death,
blue being the colour of the endless sky and sea,
the colour of sadness and the colour of calm.
Beautiful, there because it is beautiful
and to nuance it further

The sea has left traces of itself
on the beach and I concentrate on those.
I look at the smaller elements
and try to forget the wide ocean.

The cliffs are crumbling and eroding.
The beach is rocky and ragged.
They are symbols for my own erosion
and my own weakness against the sea.

-

The beach is also real
and I walk on the sand,
feeling separate from everything,
feeling the possibility of everything,
feeling that maybe, just maybe.

I feel like something could go right
in this beautiful blue winter.

-

But this is also a liminal moment and while
I feel at home in the liminal      in the space inbetween,
you cannot build your home there.
The future needs a more solid base
and the liminal will eventually rip you apart.

-

I feel like a child here, but not quite.
I feel like an overgrown child
or a child in a too big body
or a child who knows too much about this world,
or an adult, who still feels inadequate.

I balance across stones, I jump puddles.
I don’t care anymore.
I’ll be the child or the adult.
I’ll be the I.

-

There is hope here, hope in feeling alive,
in curling my hand and imagining someone
will one day hold it.

For now, I walk across the sand and
look at the cliffs, the gold,
the lilac, the blue, the shipwreck,
the deposits of the ocean
and I write them down
into the notes on my phone
so I can turn them into poetry later.

I want to capture these precise scenes,
these precise feelings of being so alive
for the first time in forever,
of seeing the end of the beach and thinking,
maybe, maybe, some part of this will turn out okay.

-

The problem is,
I want it, this future, this something else,
and I think maybe it’s possible,
but I’m not sure I can get back on the boat
and carry this belief home safely.

Here on the island,
sipping at the brimming nostalgia,
breathing the blue winter,
living on the shore,
camping in the liminal,
it is all maybe, just maybe,
but maybe is a fragile word
and could easily get lost in the ocean.

-

I’m so caught between
wanting to end it all and wanting to survive it
and maybe it’s just the liminal moments
that make me want to live.

I pick maybe up off the shore
and tuck it into the pocket.

I have no idea if it will survive the journey back
but maybe, just maybe, it will.
The feeling didn't survive long, but whatever.

A long poem from a couple of weeks ago after a day trip.

The poems mentioned in this are:
- A Sad Child - Margaret Atwood
- Stopping by woods on a snowy evening - Robert Frost
- When I have fears - Keats
- Crossing the Bar - Tennyson

Alternative version with photos: https://justanothergrace.weebly.com/writing-blog/maybe-on-the-shore-again
1.9k · Apr 2016
Erosion
Grace Apr 2016
Every year now, I note the differences:
the changes in the stones,
the retreating car park and what
is new to the waves.
It is slight. You try to hide it by
presenting the same places and
lacing them with memories that
all correspond.
But you are changing.
You take new beatings, and I can't
help but wonder if we are alike.
The process of erosion has caught
us both, and year by year,
cliff by cliff, it's wearing us down.

It was always supposed to happen,
but what if you change too much?
What will happen when you change
irreparably, irreconcilably?
Even now you are only an
imaginary home, so defamiliarized
from the dream I demand.
I know you promised me nothing.
But I had a deal you didn't know about
and you've ceased to make me happy.
I can't help but be a little angry
with you for letting the
storm break you down.

But is it really you, or is it me
who has done the changing?
Is it not my eyes and my erosion?
Is it not the attrition and abrasion
and the long shore drift
that has welled up inside my own soul?
Is it you or I?
How can we know?
1.8k · Jun 2017
The Mirror Maze
Grace Jun 2017
I find you in the margins of old school books,
in the cupboard where I keep my old notepads,
in the stories I’ve forgotten I’ve written.
It’s all scraps of myself in rounded letters,
uncanny because it looks like me,
sounds like me,
but it’s you and it is you
but it’s like me too.

I’m opening you (and me) back up and I hate you.
I hate you, but here we are,
in the mirror maze,
all these mes and yous
in the endless tunnel of mirrors,
back to back, side to side,
caught in ourselves at every angle.
We’re all the same: We’re all so different.
None of us are good.

I hate you.

I hate you at every age,

Then reality splays, sprawls flat out in front of me, exams, money, work, decisions, tight nooses that bind me to life. Get your head out of the clouds, girl  *(2012)

at every stage,

Big smiles, A stars, clever girl, the anomaly, dry compliments, sand paper against my skin. Locked in, not a word, just a mind gone grey, a growing mass of dust that swallows the light and only allows for glasses poured half empty* (2014)

at every moment,

I don’t fit in, never have done, never will. I’m always one step ahead or one step behind. I’m never quite there. But no one understands. They say they do but they don’t. I’m different and I don’t like it but I don’t want to change because this is who I am and whatever happens, I have to put up with it (2012)

all your hatred, you happiness, your ignorance and your sadness

The scab peels and leaks. Too soon to heal, too late to undo the fall. Tomorrow, you’ll trip again and your skin will bleed but this time you’ll know where to find the first aid kit. (2013)

You make me sick.

The world was blue today, a metaphorical wish wash of tears and a meagre ocean. Ice cream dripped in depression, picnic blankets snagged on pebbles and the kite committed suicide on the telephone lines. (2013)

I hate the scraps you’ve left behind

I put bits of you in the bin. I put you out for recycling.
I donate you to charity shops and so you live on and I can’t get rid of you.
There’s no way out of this mirror maze,
no way to avoid the mirrors at angles,
no way for me to escape you or for you to escape me.

There are so many of you and I literally want to beat you all to death.
Oh, I hate you. I hate you.
I don’t think I’ve ever hated anything more than I hate you.
I hate the tone of your words,
I hate your stupid sadness.
I hate your happiness.
I hate your hope.
I hate the memories of your laughter.
I hate the memories of your fun.
I hate you for all the things you’ve done and
never had time to feel bad for.
I hate you in the photographs,
in the words, in the schoolbooks,
in the poems that I’ve shared,
I hate, I hate, I hate.

I wish I could smash up this maze of mirrors and you,
but then I’d only be left with myself
and I hate her too.
I think i overused the word hate in the poem tbh, but you know, it's a hateful poem. Experimenting with stuff...not sure it's working
Grace Feb 2018
I go outside to escape my self
and the end and the inevitable
and I sit admiring the night sky
until the stars become the scattered
words I’m trying hard to understand
but seem completely unable to.

I look up into that dark blue night
and I wish it was the ocean.
I wish the world was a fading purple
sunset. I wish the world was
the moonstone blue of the sea.

I’m drowning in the night sky instead,
in all this vast intangible vagueness.
There’s no edge, no shore to the sky,
just stars and then stars and then stars.

I want to be on the shore again,
feeling alive, feeling maybe, just maybe
there’s a little hope in the waves that
have always been able to comfort me.

See, the sea is full of lonely moments,
losing moments, shipwrecked moments,
but it is also the place of liminal on the shore
moments, meeting moments, happy, maybe moments.

But here I am, sitting beneath the sky, not the sea.

I came out here to escape yet all I’ve found
is the inevitable in all its dark, vast, uncontainable glory.
I look away because I don’t want to see it.
I look away, because now it’s the end,
I’m not ready to leave.

I gather handfuls of cold to my chest
and take it all back inside with me.
I dream of the ocean. I long for the sea.
Maybe one day I'll write something where I don't go on about the sea. Maybe one day I'll feel at ease with the sky. Maybe one day I'll write a poem that doesn't sound the same as all my others.
Maybe, just maybe
(probably not)
1.7k · Aug 2015
Afternoon
Grace Aug 2015
A blue tourmaline sky hung above,
Wispy grass stood steady,
Only swaying, occasionally,
To the song of the bush cricket.

He lay down in the open air,
And traced unseen words across the sky,
Ink forever wet, forever dry,
Unwritten poems, lost to the afternoon.
I may add more to this
1.6k · Dec 2015
Let me
Grace Dec 2015
Let me fall back into your heart,
And lie besides you
On this purple, diamond sea.

Let me unpeel your skin from your bones
And find again the love within you,
Running blue against your wrists.

Let me still visit like an old friend,
There to protect you
From those burning sienna skies.

Let me take from you the bottle, the dagger too,
For I will not let you
Lose yourself on these frothy, hemlock waves.

Let me, though I am dead, still beat in your heart,
For I will not leave you,
Until you too are ready depart.
One day, I'll stop writing about Frankenstein
Grace Dec 2017
It’s five thirty in the mirror maze,
and you’re all standing still,
surrounding each other at every angle.
There’s a way out but do we deserve it?
And the answer is no, no we don’t.
So we don’t try it and then it’s just you
and you and you in the mirror maze,
making yourself claustrophobic.
It’s hard to stand yourself in here
and it makes it hard to move.
We spend so much time alone together
that we begin to loathe each other
and then how can we get out?
If we can’t tolerate our self,
how do we leave the mirror maze
and inflict our self on others?
See, it’s better to just stab yourself
in the back three times over.
Let’s call it penance.
Let’s call it a lazy sort of suffering,
a selfish sort of punishment,
a sorry I’ve been such a bad person
but look at how much of my life
I’m wasting, look, I’m suffering now,
and I know I deserve this, I’m so sorry.
I understand I’m a terrible person.

We make no attempt to escape the
mirror maze that we’ve made for our self
so the life outside goes rotten.
It withers or it outgrows us,
and still, we’re standing in the mirror maze.
One day, I tell myself, I’m going to make it.
One day, things will be different.

But you can’t see it in the mirrors.
See, you’ve tried happiness before
and each time you find that beautiful blue winter,
that purple evening, that wide ocean,
you blink and you’re back in the mirror maze.
In the happy spaces, the mirrors put themselves back up.
Each perfect place and each perfect moment
becomes another mirror maze because we’re so stuck here.
You don’t deserve this. You don’t deserve this.
Why should you be happy? You don’t deserve this.

I hate you, we tell each other and try to turn our backs
on our self but you can’t do that in the mirror maze.
We ought to be sad. Why aren’t we sad enough yet?
It’s unproductive, it’s toxic, it’s pathetic,
all this self-inflicted sadness, but aren’t we
all supposed to hate the girl in the book
who refuses to be sad? I don’t know what to do anymore,
so today’s yet another day gone, six o’clock in the mirror maze,
wearing yesterday’s bad feelings because new ones don’t feel right.

I did writing prompts each day leading up to Christmas and one of them happened to be 'hate'. This was the final product - more of the same old sad poetry, more of the same old mirror imagery.
1.3k · Mar 2017
forever kind of girl
Grace Mar 2017
I always imagined you’d be the forever kind of girl. The girl to sit and shake her head at me when I threw stale cake out the window for the birds. The girl who’d lie down on the floor with me and tell me it wasn’t the end of the world. The girl who’d come in every evening and ask me whether I thought it was going to rain tomorrow.

I thought we were forever kind of people.

My mind turned too quickly to fairy tales and to the stories of first love that I always pretend I don’t believe in. We strolled arm in arm down a beach, off into the sunset, but it was a sunset scheduled between work, scripts, characters and miles and months apart. It was only the warm, sticky arms, the smooth fingers and the morning hair that turned it into a forever kind of feeling.

There were always clocks between us. You prized your watch above anything else and you let its hands turn and turn, conscious of every tick, every tock that came between us. You were waiting for the ending but I didn’t want to stop living in the story.

I thought our impermanence was permanent. We were living in forever in fleeting moments, in an hourglass continually turned round and round. I was writing us a forever kind of story that didn’t end with happily ever after because there was no final page.

You kept looking everywhere for that final page.

I kept it blank in my pocket. I couldn’t build you a house to hang your clock on the wall in, I couldn’t build you a fence or plant you a garden or bake you a cake to throw to the birds when we’d had enough of it. The only ending is the end of the world and I don’t think that was the ending you wanted me to write.

Maybe, maybe you were a forever kind of person but I just wasn’t a forever kind of girl.
(A prose poem. The speaker is my character Amelie, who I've written a couple of poems for before)
1.3k · Sep 2016
Sophie
Grace Sep 2016
He calls and
I do not answer
so it becomes
a red missed
call, a blot
of scarlet
like I’ve tried
to stick a
plaster on
a bleeding
knee too early.
He is probably
angry, like
the woman
opposite me,
tapping her
foot to the
vapid music
of the train.
I take out
my diary
and strike silver
through today.
It is over.
The day has
slid into
the envelope
of night.
This is another poem from my portfolio, this time about my character Sophie. It was inspired by Imagist poetry
1.3k · May 2017
I wish
Grace May 2017
We’re back to back and you’re resting against my shoulder blades
or your fingers are digging into my collar bones,
and you’re resting your mouth against my ear to spit in it.
Or I’m standing up and you’re kneeling behind me,
banging your arms on the floor until they break or
maybe you’re at my feet, tearing your face off
or you’re at the station, waiting for the train
so you can jump in front of it.
I’m just trying to have a normal conversation,
trying to smile and be interested and sound normal and good
and calm and happy and all those things that I should be,
and you’re right there, spitting in my ears,
scratching your arms off, breaking your bones,
leaning your head against my arm and murmuring,
I wish I was dead. I know, I say,
I know, I know, I know and then
I manage a nod and smile and a yes,
and you’re back at my ear, banging
your arms against the wall,
carving your chest out and
laying down on the floor
to break your teeth into the carpet.
I wish, you say, I know, I say,
I was, you say, yeah, I say,
dead, you say and I attempt a laugh.
1.2k · Aug 2016
-
Grace Aug 2016
-
My brain is a locked door
and I've misplaced the keys.
Nothing will go in and
nothing substantial will come out.
I've knocked and I've rung,
but all to no avail.
The only response is the letterbox
hurling out junk mail
and words I've used before.
I haven't written any decent poetry lately, so have a short little thing.
1.2k · Oct 2017
The Special Box
Grace Oct 2017
So you’re clearing out your room,
clearing out more of yourself,
because it’s the end of the world, isn’t it?
The end of an era anyway –
the end of the bad decision to paint
your room pink.
You never really liked the colour pink.
Your old room had been sunshine yellow,
that bright happy colour of raincoats
and welly boots and sunflowers
(and yellow was still my favourite colour
when i painted my room pink –
yellow rubber in my pencil case,
yellow bow in my hair –
a sunshine happy kind of child
but not really. i painted my room pink
just because).
You wanted the new room painted a shade
called jazzberry but you were told it was too dark.
You wrote in the card to your dead great grandmother
that you were having your room painted jazzberry
and then you didn’t.
The card was placed in her coffin and cremated with her,
and you experienced that strange sensation at the funeral
of not feeling what you were supposed to be feeling.
I should cry, you told yourself, I should feel sad,
but you had cried all your tears in advance
and you’d cried them all for dead grasshoppers
and the old house you were leaving behind.
(always the same with me, isn’t it.
tears over everything except the things that matter.
i’m crying on the floor over lino, over my bedroom,
over a dress that’s in the wash and not my wardrobe)
The new bedroom had wardrobes you loved,
mirrors you loved and hated and it was pink.
It was your safe place, the space that wasn’t
really made for you, but was the one place
in this world where nothing could get you
(except me and yourself, but that’s another story).
Anyway, let’s get back to the point.
You’re clearing the room out because it’s the end of the world
and you’ve been putting it off for three years,
but you’re a crumbly cliff and waves are strong.
You’ve been thinking of train tracks
and gosh aren’t you dramatic,
but you’re finally clearing your little self out.
The toys are easy – you keep a couple whose names you remember
(Tallulah, Alfie, Tilly, Phillipa, Clementine
//oh my darling, ruby lips above the water
and the dream of kissing your best friend
that will forever be connected to
oh my darling, Clementine//),
the clothes are easy – in fact,
it’s all easy when you start to let go
of that nasty little girl from the sunshine yellow
and from the pasty pink.
You bundle her off into charity bags and bin liners
and then you find it – the Special Box.
It was your treasure trove in an
orange Jacobs crackers box  so you open it,
thinking you’ll keep everything, and then,
well then it’s a box full of *******.
Not just ******* things that once mattered,
but real ******* – broken pens, meaningless rocks,
used rubbers, crumbled tissues, incomplete
gifts from Christmas crackers
(and how very like you and me – to keep
things that go in the bin. we cling
to the sadness and the guilt and the fear
just because).
You throw away your special box
and you throw away all your junk
(except your new junk –
every train ticket you’ve bought
since the First)
and then the room is empty.
Were you ever here, you wonder
(and what toys will you have to give to your children?
you get asked, and you say you won’t have any.
i won’t because how would i, for one?
how could i, for another?
how could i put them through all this?)
and then you remember, that yes,
you’ll always be there – sunshine yellow,
pasty pink, nasty little version of nasty bigger you,
but for now, you’ve cleared yourself out a bit.
The new room will be blue
and one wall will be papered with books
(and i see what you’ve done –
you’re using the imagery of your own poetry,
because it’s easier to live inside of your own imagery
than deal with anything else, isn’t it)
and maybe, you think and the others think too,
this is a good thing, the sign of a change to come
(but your Special Box was full of *******
and what other evidence do you need
to know that you will never change or move beyond this?
this is as good as it gets).
a poem (kind of - i don't know if this is really poetry or just strings of thoughts to be honest) that i wrote today. not my best but i'm back at uni and not doing poetry this year
1.2k · May 2016
Meetings
Grace May 2016
i.

I think meetings are like satsumas;
the skin
can peel
off in
tiny pieces,
your fingers will get covered in the juice
and you can spend hours picking off the white stringy bits
and then the fruit will taste sweet and it will be all worth it.

Or it peels off in one easy motion and it’s all full of pips or it’s dry or it’s bitter and that’s like meetings.

Meetings are strange because they can go on forever or they can be over in a minute.

Some people you meet everyday.
Others you meet once and never see them again.
My parents had the second type of meeting.
They met at a bus stop and my mother complained about the weather and my father agreed it was too hot and then he gave her his number and then she called him.
He became her window cleaner.
He moved in.
They lived in the same house.
They never saw each other.

Everything was terrible.
They never met again.
They drew up different lists:
Frankie, Rae, Teagan.
Genevieve, Emily, Jessica.
Somehow it became something else that neither particularly liked and the outside world didn’t much like it either. They locked the doors and I watched from the window.

Why don’t you go out? Don’t go out.

Everything was terrible.
Mother saw it on the TV.
Father saw it through other people’s windows.
But I can seem never break the peel.
It doesn’t come off in one easy motion
and it doesn’t come off in pieces.
It doesn’t come off at all.

But I am the girl from the cobweb;
I am the spider who stopped catching flies.
From the smell of gravy and soapy water to the kebabs and urban fox.

Meetings. Where do I begin?

ii.

Adrian Wren was wondering how many leg bones
it would take to build a wall around his house,
or rather round his old house.
The bones would have to go around the neighbour’s houses too
so he supposed it would take quite a lot of bones to go round all the houses.

He was writing an article about a murderer who kept the leg bones of his victims.
This was not a crucial element.
It was supposed to be about the murderer’s childhood,
in which the murderer was the victim.
The childhood did not answer the question: why leg bones of the victims?
The bones were building up in his head.
How would you glue bones together?
Adrian began typing;
the isolation and loneliness of being a middle child, the least favourite son.
The problem with being the victim.

It was actually kind of funny, when he thought about it.
Why a leg bone? Why not something smaller, that could be hidden?

Adrian wondered if the girl in the red boots thought about things like that. The girl who had knocked on the door of the too small flat to use his shower and borrow a cup.

Her shower,
she said,
kind
        of
            just
                   dripped.

iii.

Sometimes, I tell lies. Or not quite lies. Half truths. For example:
• These shoes belonged to a dead woman.
• Sea cucumbers can use their internal organs as a defence  mechanism.
• My cousin nearly died whilst attempting to eat a match.

I just want to tell something to someone but I don’t always have the real story, so I tell a not quite story. Or ask a not quite question. For example:
• What would life be like if humans had shells?
• Do we have shells?
• What do people living on mountains do with their faeces?

Right now, I’m looking at the flecks on the carpet, trying to find faces. Once, there was a house built above a graveyard and faces appeared on the floor. I wish there were faces on this floor. I wish I lived above a graveyard.

I live on the ground floor, above the bins. It’s interesting to watch what people have to put in the bins.

If only you’d concentrate on something important as much as you concentrate on that window.

But here’s the man from four floors away, putting his ******* in the bin. His clothes frown, his hair frowns, his whole being frowns. Frowns are like creases ironed into clothes, but who is the iron, what are the clothes?


*iv.


Adrian Wren was still trying to solve the riddle.
Most people thought they gave cryptic clues
about themselves but they were actually
just the conventional ones reworded.
This was a real riddle.
It was about her and it wasn’t about her.
It began with a J and ended with an I.
Anything could fit in between.

Jaci? Jessi?

She had a habit of appearing,
maybe at the bottom of the stairs.
Adrian was somehow angry at her,
just for being there,
sitting on the stairs,
picking a spider out of her hair,
walking out then coming back in as
if to test she really knew the code.
He was trying to write up an argument about people
on benefits but the space bar
keptgettingstuckandthewordsgotclumpedtogetherintonewwordsthat­noonehadanysuggestionsfor.

Jenni? Jodi? Juli?

Sometimes, he was certain she was trying to steal something.
Other times, she was one of those strange specimens
who attached themselves to another, because of an accidental look.
Mostly, she was just the girl in the boots without a name.

Jerri? Josi? Jani?*

Adrian found that the riddle hung
                                                             on
                                                             the edge
                                                              of­ the mind,
an itch which wasn’t really too itchy.

There were other things to worry about:
• Work
• Old things reopening
• Work
• Ignoring the phone
• Work
• A knocking at the door.
• Do you mind, if I come in – it’s just there’s this programme on telly and-

v.

Just tell me your name. He didn’t want to play this game.
Only, it was addictive, now he’d got started.
Now, it was a matter of having to know.
I gave you all the clues I’m giving, she grinned.


Joni,
Adrian said finally,
looking back at the screen
of his laptop.

vi.

Joni-Rae.
It was hyphenated because they couldn’t decide,
because they never really met.

Sometimes, people will call me Joan if they hate nicknames and Johnny if they can’t pronounce it.

Joni-Rae, but actually only ever Joni.
Begins with a J and ends in an I.
Does that still count, if I amputated part of it?
His middle name was nearly Ray too.
Adrian Ray Wren. Too many Rs.

I’m still looking for my middle name though. Does it mean I’m missing a bit of my meaning? Is there a bit of me I haven’t met just yet? Can we meet ourselves or only other people?
Thanks if you made it to the end. This was part of a writing exercise to change the form of a piece. I changed a piece of prose into a kind of poetry prosey thing.
Grace Mar 2016
Every morning, I wake up and tell myself to seize the day, and every evening, I'm still where I started: happiest when daydreaming, worst when living.

So I'm trying to write this out, as if it will help.
To write from the heart, or straight from the mind, as they say, but my fingertips and realm of feelings don't always connect to one another.
But here it is, How I Feel:
It's like an itching beneath my skin,
one I can't scratch unless
I peel it off and claw at veins.
It's a pain in the chest, that doesn't lift.
It's a restless sleep, half awake, half not.
It feels disgusting inside, like I'm tangled, mangled up.
It all feels disconnected. Like this Is Not Real.
Like the wires to reality have been severed.

It's the Big Cliche.
What can I do to make my feelings original?

I'm just smiling on the outside, to make it up to you,
to pretend, again, but I hold two conversations
simultaneously, one in my head
and another with you.
It feels like I can't move.
But I do and I don't want to.
There's a world out there,
but I'd rather be in my head, but maybe it's that which makes it all worse.
And yet going out only makes me feel more useless.

Look, how I've descended into whines and plain language. I guess this mind's just not poetic enough to make these feelings look pretty.

The problem is is that the problem doesn't go away.
It won't get better because I keep scratching at it,
it's out of my control because it will inevitably happen, there is nothing that will make it go away.

That double is. It's ugly. But how do I operate on language and make it work my way?

But these are excuses, everyone else's and mine too. Just stop worrying, as soon as you get on with it,
it will be over.
Smile, it might never happen.
(It has.) (It will.)

Yet here is the Problem, the Contradiction.
I don't know what I want.
It's wandering aimlessly, looking for approval and appreciation that I can't take when it's given. Everything feels tacky, everything feels bad.

Life's like a gift shop.
It only looked good when I was seven.

It's like being crowded, when nobody's near.
Don't touch me, don't talk.
I'm making monsters from all the bad I can find.
I'm running from the things I've made with my own hand.
I could explain, but take it as you will.
(Can you guess?)
(I bet you can.)

And these are just images I've described so many times before.
But they're the ones that stick like worn out phrases in conversations.
Dead metaphors.
It's like itching, like mosquitoes
have landed beneath my skin and are eating me alive.

I'm torn between wishing today was over or hoping it will stay to put off tommorrow. Just go with it, I try to tell myself and nothing happens.
Kind of experimented with this by writing at different times, in different moods. Not my best work, but I need to get back into writing poetry.
1.0k · Nov 2015
Skin
Grace Nov 2015
Today I have to crawl back in,
To indulge again in skin, slimy, loose,
Wrinkled saggy skin.
I could lift it in great handfuls,
Feel the muscles, the blood, the everything,
The clammy coldness beneath my fingers.
It makes me sick to the mind;
I want to crawl back out again and run
But there is nothing left to run on, to run to,
Only something uglier than this.
I want to claw it off, the itching in my arms. Scratching,
Scratching at raw flesh, raw muscle,
Exposed veins, all stuck beneath my fingernails.
It is disgusting.
It is inconsequential.
It’s skin.
We did some poetry exercises as part of my creative writing class and one of them was to write a piece in the style of the confessional poets. I tried, but I feel like I always use the same images when trying to explain these emotions.
989 · Nov 2016
Calm down: a short play
Grace Nov 2016
(This mentions suicide)

Scene 1

A university campus, just gone five.
It’s already dark and the moon is out,
distorted as though the sky has been
blocked out with a pane of frosted glass.
There’s something not right,
what with the moon and
the lack of light on campus.


I enter, running away.

I: I’m wondering how fast I can move my legs
without running. I just need everyone to get
out of my way. It’s too dark and the moon’s
not right. How rude am I?
How rude am I?
The shadows are walking – slowly –
too slowly, and I just need to get out of here.
I ran out of classroom, the first one out.
How rude am I?
I want to apologise for who I am as a person.
It’s too dark to be here, amongst the shadows.
The people are the darkness,
everything is the darkness.
How rude am I?

SHE needs to calm down.
The dark is nothing but winter coming on,
and it’s only in poetry that winter
symbolises death, misery and decay.
The trees are losing their leaves,
but there’s no loss if it keeps
them safe.
Campus is a dark place,
but
SHE needs to calm down
because it’s her who’s
made it haunted.


Scene 2

A hill, steep and sluggish.
I is still half running,
stepping into the road
and back onto the pavement
before the headlights can catch her.


I: It would all be fine if I could just get out on time.
Why do I need to keep running away?
I want to run.
(She was hit by a car, smashed a leg.
What happened?
I wasn’t looking, because I was rushing.
I just stepped out because I didn’t care anymore
because I just needed to get on the train.)
I hope I’m not making noises.
If the headlights catch me,
will I look scared?
What do I look like?

I crosses her fingers, still half-running.

The house is fine. The guinea pigs are fine.
It hasn’t been set on fire.
(What keeps you alive?
My guinea pigs.)
No, imagine everyone else talking about
all the things life has to offer.
(What keeps you alive?
Laziness.
Laziness?
I can’t be bothered to **** myself.
That’s all that keeps you alive?
Yes.)
No.
No. I wouldn’t do it anyway.
This self who talks like that is the fictional self
in my head, the one I want to sometimes be
who can talk about things
and get into these perfect situations
where she can talk about things.
You can’t look at the time until you get to the bottom of the hill.

Scene 3

A road, leading to the station.
I looks ridiculous half running,
as if the university is
going to grow legs and
start chasing her.

I can barely breathe
because she’s got ten minutes
to do a five minute journey.


SHE needs to calm down,
but cut her some slack.
The moon doesn’t look right tonight.


I: (I missed the train so I go up,
over the bridge and wait
for the freight train and then
I throw myself under it.)
I try to think how much it will
hurt but I can’t imagine it.
I won’t do it.
Nearly there now.
The moon doesn’t look right.

SHE really can’t imagine it.

I: Time to daydream.

I puts herself in another body
and goes about in their life
whilst her feet touch
the ground and her body
touches the air.
Her mind is
literally
elsewhere.


Scene 4

A station. The ground
is dusted with grit, ready
for winter – the practical
winter, not the poetic one.


Enter I. She finds her place on the station.
Her legs hurt.

The train is due on time,
and sure enough, it
curves round the corner,
lighting up the tracks.


SHE *really needs to calm down.
Well, you get prose poetry right? So why not play poetry?? (Because it's weird, that's why) I don't know. It came up in a seminar today that you can't put stage directions in poetry, so I had to try.
964 · Jan 2016
blue
Grace Jan 2016
my favourite colour is the shade of:
    -happy skies
    -wonderous seas
    -hyperthemic lips
    -and the depthless
     deepening void of
     disgusting sadness
925 · Aug 2015
Just close your eyes
Grace Aug 2015
You sleep in shudders,
In thundestorms and clouds,
You dwell in nightmares,
Unseen demons,
Wrapping you in shrouds.

You talk like madness,
You raise up ghosts,
You fear the monsters
Of children’s dreams,
Ever but feebly engrossed.

I hide your fears,
Behind closed doors,
I bring back summer in poems and
Repeat your favourite words;
An attempt to soothe the angered sores.

I fill others with your own lies,
A promise of better days,
Of words written in your own hand.
I deceive them of my cares,
Protecting your mind’s maze.

But still there are unhealed scars,
Quiet whispers and silent sighs
And I wish I could ease you
Into one night of rest,
If you could just close your eyes.
915 · Mar 2017
You know it
Grace Mar 2017
You hold them all at arms length
and hug yourself into yourself
and you stand there, so remote,
so angry that everyone backs up
behind the yellow line.
And you sew yourself up
and put yourself in the freezer
and you don’t miss it,
don’t want it,
until there’s wailing in your ribcage
and you’re sitting, looking
at your own reflection
and it suddenly hits you
how pathetic it is.
So then it starts to scare you
and you feel it, tossing
restlessly inside you
and you want it to go back to sleep.
But what are you going to do,
because it’s frightening, really,
isn’t it and you’re not going to do anything.
You know it and you know it,
and you’re going to end up so alone,
and you know it and you know
you’ve done it.
So then you think you’re in the brown space,
slipping between the folds of the real and
hasn’t anyone ever told you there’s only
so much air to breathe in the liminal?
But you know it and you know
you’re going to be so alone
and maybe you deserve it
because you made it
and you know it.
So it scares you and you
don’t do anything about it,
because what’s life anyway,
but a game of trying not to
cry into books at train stations.
I haven't uploaded anything in a while, so have a quick poem. I'm working on a collection for uni right now, so I haven't done much other poetry that's decent and can be shared tbh
901 · Jun 2016
Doctor,
Grace Jun 2016
I’ve got an ache that comes and goes,
an ache right on the brain.
Not a headache, a brainache,
actually inside my brain.
Sometimes, it makes it hard to think,
or do or talk and other times,
I seem to lose control of my face
and have to stop and think:
Did I smile right?
Then I have to test it,
shifting my mouth into something
that is possibly called a smile.
I try not to look in the mirror when I do it.
It’s hard you see, the mirror.
Can you be allergic to mirrors?
I come out in a rash when I see one,
and I can’t help but scratch it
and then it spreads.
It’s almost like going into shock
and I can’t help it, but I want to take
a knife to my face and slice it
into easy peeling strips.
I’ve tried painkillers and hayfever tablets
but they don’t seem to do the trick.
Did I forget to mention this burning inside me?
Actually inside, not my organs, but the cavity
within me. Sometimes, it will burn for hours,
though I’m not sure what keeps it going.
I feel rather hollow inside at other times,
and the measly kindling that makes me up
could hardly sustain a fire for long.
Oh, and then there’s a numbness in my arms
and in my legs. It gets worse when I go outside,
and I can’t quite decide if it’s really the floor
my legs are touching? Could it be something in the air?
Is there some kind of plant in season to explain it?
My eyes might be going too. I keep thinking
I’m seeing things. I’m not sure though, it’s probably
just dirt on my glasses.
But my balance and senses might be a bit off,
or maybe the batteries are going.
See, I can’t always feel the world around me like I should.
You know, just that feeling when you’re not sure
if life is real or not or if it’s just a dream or just a strange pointless
terrible fantasy someone had one day. You know.
Whatever it is, it’s doing weird things to my head.
Like I said, it’s an actual ache on the brain
and I keep catching myself calling myself the wrong name.
It’s not too much of an issue, but it’s a little confusing sometimes.
Oh, and did I mention the compulsive daydreaming
and the slowness and apathy and recurring wish to just die?
How long has this been going on for, you ask?
Let me see, I can’t remember.
A couple of weeks! No, no. Months. I think.
Maybe years. Yes, let’s say years, but I really can’t remember.
Yes, it has got worse recently.
Why didn’t I come sooner? You know how it is.
I kept thinking it would pass and I’m busy and – well,
Doctor, whenever I thought of coming I couldn’t help but ask myself:
Am I sad enough yet?
And the answer was no and is still no.
I want to be sadder.
You think you know what I’ve got? What? No blood tests,
no ***** samples, no examination? Not even –
Oh, you’re writing out a prescription.
Thank you Doctor, but it says here:
Smile more, worry less and enjoy yourself.
The prescription says to find the person I used to be,
and to avoid stress? Doctor, I don’t mean to doubt you, but –
Oh, okay, okay, I’ll give it a try. (But…)
Ah, and Doctor? One last thing. My kidney infection is back again.
Anti-biotics? Yes, those are the ones I had last time.
I’m sure they’ll do fine.
The doctor in this is no literal doctor, just wanted to make that clear. I wasn't sure if I wanted to share this and I might take it down again as it might be too personal. We shall see.
889 · Jul 2016
Amelie
Grace Jul 2016
This room is only substantial when
the light hits the clock face
and casts a second sun onto the ceiling,
its single eye unblinking,
tireless as time. It watches me as
I watch its handless face
from the floor of this weary, weary room,
for this is where I lie.

I am waiting for the light.
I am waiting for the third sun
to annihilate the window and the mirror
and the clock face. I am waiting for
my body to be cauterized, my hair to be burnt
and to vacate like a shadow
in the dark. I am waiting,  
for this is where I want to lie.

This room is no longer substantial.
The curtains are drawn, a thin sheet
to forestall the burn of light
I am waiting for. I sit at the desk,
as I wait, professing onto pages,
for this is where I lie.
A poem I wrote for my poetry portfolio this year. It's inspired by Anne Sexton's 'The Starry Night'  (http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/the-starry-night-3/). With my portfolio, I was experimenting with different styles of poetry to 'suit' the voice of the character the poem was about. This one is about my character Amelie.
885 · Nov 2015
Lost Summers
Grace Nov 2015
The morning smelt like one of those lost summers,
those bright mornings I remember as a child
before I understood beauty.
It tasted like the cool milk I’d sipped on the cusp of a promising day,
when the stern rebukes of my father could not dim
the power of the blue sky to lift my spirits.
Sadness barely grazed my knees as I walked on the dewy grass
for everything was a masterpiece I'd never examined properly.
The air was warm and golden,
and I was the knight or the lost hero and the afternoon was
set to be filled with imagination and friendships
that I clasped so dear.
But we were sitting on the wall of the Garden of Eden,
looking in and drinking in its beauty, but knowing,
behind us that a dark fiend lurked,
yet never minding to turn around to look properly.
It was when who we were was not quite tangible,
when the light softened the whirling confusion of growing and forming
and we could smile and laugh
and think never mind tomorrow, it's today.
Yes, for a moment, the morning smelt like a lost summer,
so quickly fleeting.
An attempt at prose poetry, not sure how it worked out. Inspired by Henry Clerval from Frankenstein :)
874 · Jan 2016
Inhumation
Grace Jan 2016
The sky was cerulean
Above the graveyard
Where unused toys
Were laid on the
Pregnant bump
Before the headstone.

An old man and his grandson
Watched the procession
From the hospital window.
859 · Jul 2015
Only burns
Grace Jul 2015
Is this what it is to love then?

-

To be forever in pain,

A fire burning in the pit of my stomach,

A smoke stinging at my eyes?

Is this fire never to be put out,

By the gentle touch of a beautiful river,

Never to be quelled by the loving hands

Of one who’s seasons change in time with mine?

-

Ah, but it must burn on,

For my love is not like others.

It is not the blooming, glorified sun,

It is the moon, hidden behind a cloud.

Neither is it the lively spring, crisp with newborn life,

It is the autumn, decaying leaves and approaching winter.

-

I am then to be spat on,

To be broken,

To be trapped like an infestation of rats.

It is the wrong love,

It is a snow shower in midsummer,

It is loving what is not yours to love.

-

Day after day I hear sweet words

Whispered or said in blossoming tones,

But they are not for me.

From those who I wish would whisper

Comes no word for they can never

Utter a single syllable to me.

-

And so must everyone but I

Feel the tender kisses of the sun

And find the first flowers

of spring laid on their pillow?

And shall I not bathe in the

Pale glow of a sublime sunrise or

Feel the passionate heat of a beautiful summer?

-

Ah, but I shall not.

I shall feel only the broken skin of hands in winter,

Feel the touch of a broken pine.

I will see only the angry stone of the mountains

And suffer the sting of the bee.

How brutal are the hearts of man,

Those stones I wish to crack.

-

Ah, what an impossible task it is that I have been set.

and I begin to wonder.

Was this love to love at all

or was it but a curse placed on me?
754 · Jul 2017
Encountering the mirror box
Grace Jul 2017
You walk into the mirror box and it’s like walking
into the imagery of one of your own poems.
You’re caught in the mirror maze, searching for yourself
in the mirrors at angles but all you can see is yourself,
back to back in the mirror tunnel, yourself again and again
until you can’t recognise her anymore.
Is it me? you ask and it is, but you’re still not convinced.
Is it just me in the mirror box, legs up to my chest, eyes closed
because I am horrible,
you quote, but you’re standing up.
You’re standing up in too many of your own poems, in this permanence
of your fleeting reflection which proves you are real but has become
so metaphorical that being in the mirror box makes you question
the possibility of yourself as this person who is being reflected.
But this isn’t a poem, I tell myself. I don’t live in the second person.
She tries to cast aside the metaphors for a moment to try on the clothes
but you’re stuck in the mirror box, in the nightmares of my own poetry.
I went into a changing room and it was all wall to wall mirrors, and it inspired this. I'm aware this is really self referential, but if you're interested, my poems 'The Mirror Maze' and 'Describe yourself in three words' (amongst others I haven't shared) play into this.
Grace Aug 2017
It was your name I fell for first.
An instant name crush when I saw it –
two names I’d never have considered putting together,
but how beautiful, how unexpected.

Of course I fell for you name first.
Names are so much easier to fall for:
all the possibility in Florence, its softness, its grandness,
all the temptation in the way Delilah slips off the tongue;
the potential for a story about a girl named Ilaria Winter.

-

I fell for your style next, then your hair,
then the way you introduced yourself with both names
and then the way you spoke in class.

I think I stared at you too often, and I’m sorry.
I didn’t think I was being obvious, and I hardly thought
you would notice (someone as boring as) me.

But you must have, and I’m sorry.
I’m sorry you talked to me for the first time at the station,
when the train was fourteen minutes late, the moon looked
strange in the sky and I was contemplating jumping onto the tracks.
I’m so sorry you spoke to me at the train station of all places.

Yes, train stations have so much potential for beginnings,
but it’s far more likely they’ll be about endings,
about the fleeting, the slipping, the moments of going separate ways,
the longing for home and the crying into books kind of moments.

-

(But thank you, thank you anyway, for talking to me and knowing my name
and complimenting my hair and my boots and my clothes.
I wish I could have told you I loved the way
the bow in your hair matched your heels but I couldn’t and I’m sorry)

-

How disappointing it is to open something and find nothing in it,
because that’s me and I’m so sorry.
Don’t judge a book by its cover, I guess, because I’ve had to be creative
with my front to conceal the dreary words of my pages.

(And maybe – most definitely – I’m reading too much into this anyway,
but I’m boring and nothing much happens in my boring life (because
I don’t let it and I’m sorry.))

-

But thank for trying (and I’m sorry, so sorry).

-

I just wish you wrote poetry because at least then I could attempt to compliment that.

(and maybe you do write poetry, but I guess I’ll never know, will I?)

(I’m sorry.)
Spoiler: it's mostly about me anyway. I don't know if I'll keep this poem up, but I haven't written anything else vaguely decent.
Grace Apr 2018
Sometimes girl of the First, when I catch a glimpse of you
in the mirrors at angles or in the scraps you’ve left behind,
I become convinced that I’m doing better.
I see you, in a moment of red faced sadness,
breathless from taking things too literally,
red eyed and pink from the constant six am to midnight days.
I’m better than that, I begin to think and then
I wake up on mornings like this one, aware of my own uselessness,
itchy with guilt and pulling at my hair as the impending sinks
down on me and I have no idea how I’m going to survive this.

So let’s go back two years, to see the girl of the First.
It’s March Two Thousand and Sixteen, and I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but
Every morning, I wake up and tell myself to seize the day, and every evening, I’m still where I started: happiest when daydreaming, worst when living.
It’s like looking up and expecting to see someone else but meeting your own eyes.
Except, do we really know our own eyes? Possibly not.
It’s like looking up and seeing my self, but off kilter slightly.
Seize the day? Now we just accept the flatness.

So I’m trying to write this out, as if it will help.
To write from the heart, or straight from the mind, as they say, but my fingertips and the realm of feelings don’t always connect.
Except they must do, you see,  because thirty thousand, three hundred and seventy six words later, you are still writing it out, as if it will help.

But here it is, How I Feel:
It’s an itching beneath my skin,
one I can’t scratch unless
I peel my skin off first and claw at veins,
but never mind that. You can adjust yourself
to this terrible tingling that plagues your limbs,
but you can’t get over the very real moments
of looking in the mirror and ruining all the skin
on you body, not for some deep or dark reason,
but just because.
It’s a pain in the chest, that doesn’t lift.
It’s called anxiety, or maybe guilt-ridden happiness.
It’s a restless sleep, half awake, half not. (What?)
It feels disgusting, like I’m tangled, mangled up inside.
It all feels disconnected. (Like this Is Not Real)
Like the wires to reality have been severed.
It’s like that cool suspension between believing yourself
to be the Worst Person In The Whole World Ever
and also so completely out of this world, that you don’t even belong in it.

It’s the Big Cliche.
What can I do to make my feelings original?
What can I do to make my feelings a little less self-referential?
Nothing. We’re in a mirror maze of our self, remember?

So I’m just smiling on the outside, to make it up to you,
to pretend, again, but I hold two conversations
simultaneously, one in my head
and another with you.
(Yes, today’s been alright)
(I wish I could **** myself)
(it’s been fairly good| I wish I wasn’t here anymore)
(and we’re back to back, and you’re resting against my shoulder blades
or your fingers are digging into my collar bones,
and you’re resting your mouth against my ear to spit in it.
I’m just trying to have a normal conversation,
but you’re leaning against my arm, murmuring, I wish I was dead)
(I know, I say, I know, I know, I know)
It feels like I can’t move.
But I do and I don’t want to.
There’s a world out there,
(a whole ocean)
but I’d rather be in my head (on the shore) but maybe it’s that which makes it all worse and yet going out makes me feel more useless.
There’s just nowhere that I want to be. My own head, my own daydreams are boring.
My room, my house, my safe haven, have become spaces I want to run away from.
But where to? There’s nowhere in this whole stupid wide world that I want to be.

Look, how I’ve descended into whines and plain language. I guess I’m just not poetic enough to make feelings look pretty, but then some feelings can’t be made pretty.
They can be made quotable to the point where we are all metaphorical.
Writing it out, making it unreal, as if it will help.

The problem is
is that the problem doesn’t go away.
It’s the inevitable vagueness. The only solution is the end of everything.
It won’t get better because I keep scratching at it.
I’ve been making my own monsters (read, problems) for years.
It’s out of my control because it will inevitably happen.
It is. It is. It does.

That double is. It’s ugly. But how do I operate on language and make it work my way? What can line breaks do? Surely, that makes it poetry?
Experimental, at best. But we’re useless remember, girl of First year?
What does it matter anymore? Nothing matters.
We’re never going to make it, so why worry about it being interesting anyway?

But these are excuses, everyone else’s and mine too. Just stop worrying, as soon as you get on with it,
it will be over. And now it is and you’re making four out of three
because now it’s the end, you don’t want to leave.
Smile, it might never happen.
(It has.) (It will.)
Smile, sometimes faking it does help.
If you can forget your sadness,
if you can dress it up,
sometimes you can delude yourself enough
to create pockets of time in which things might be
maybe, maybe, maybe, okay!
(I’m not making any promises though)

Yet here is the Problem, the Contradiction:
I don’t know what  I really want out of this.
It’s wandering aimlessly, looking for approval and appreciation that I can’t take when it’s given. It’s walking in circles to make time pass, it’s rewriting old poetry, to make time pass, it’s doing anything, to make time pass.
There’s nothing you want out of this.
(Sometimes, things can just be important in and of themselves,
but in this case, I mean you can’t make your dreams a reality
because you have no dreams)

Everything feels tacky, (Everything feels bad)
life’s like a gift shop.
It only looked good when I was seven.

(It’s like being crowded, when nobody’s near)
Just don’t touch me, don’t talk to me,
and I’ll  write bad poetry in the library
because I’m so lonely and
the library of first year is a
cold, damp space in your mind.
They build a new one and it’s
one of those spaces you can
convince yourself you are useful in.
Just don’t talk to me,
I’m so dull, but god, am I so lonely.
Life’s just a game of making time
pass in a cold, empty library,
crying into the books because
it’s too dark to read the words.

I’m making monsters from all the bad I can find.
I’m running from the things I’ve made with my own hands.
(Can you guess what I mean?)
(I bet you can.)
(And if you can’t now, you will do later)
(Frankenstein, over and over again.)
(At least I’ve stopped trying to be Victor)
(I’d rather be Ginevra, and maybe that’s worse)

I’ve used all these images before and I’ll use them again,
(And these are just the images I’ve described so many times before –
somewhere between the First and Third, we’ve decided to start rewriting our self)
but they’re the ones that stick like worn out phrases in conversations.
Dead metaphors (of me,)
and I’m itching
like mosquitoes have landed beneath my skin and are eating me alive.
I stand in the now, quoting myself. I know, I say, here’s the mirror box.
I’m making my own dead metaphors and my own personal clichés and
at what point did I get so tangled in myself? I have no idea how to survive
the world, so I make a labyrinth of my own poetry.
The girl of the First pulled this all together from scraps and notes.
She kind of experimented with this by writing at different times, in different moods, inserting new bits in and laughing at the reflection of herself, because what’s better than a nice a bit of self-depreciation to soothe all the guilt?
It’s not her best work, but she just needed to get back into writing poetry,
and to get back at herself.

I’m just so torn between wishing (today) was over or hoping it will stay to put off tomorrow.
I’m just so caught between wanting to end it all and wanting to survive it.
I’m just so torn between wanting time to pass and wanting time to stop.
I’m craving the shore again, but I’m desperate for (desperately afraid of) new places
Just go with it, I try to tell myself, let it happen, but the only thing that’s coming is the dark, vague inevitable and I think I’d rather run back into the mirror maze and back into myself.

Girl of the First, sometimes I think I’m doing better,
but at other times I think you were right.
It only gets worse.
I specialise in grotesquely long poems, making my own dead metaphors and attempting to avoid the future :)

From the girl of the First, back in March Two Thousand and Sixteen:
https://hellopoetry.com/poem/1576767/im-sure-youve-heard-it-before-but/
685 · May 2016
Aimee
Grace May 2016
In the fairy tale, Aimee was bad at heart,
a pretty shell that promised a pearl and
when cracked open, gave grains of sand
instead. It scratched the surface of the eyes
and misled; Aimee was just one of those pretty
Jezebels, cruel within, decorated without.
Her sister Aurore was the heroine,
a fatalist, who sighed her philosophy:
'What will be will be' and her patience and
good heart tugged her towards the coincidences
that always favour the light.
But Aimee was driven away by her own wickedness,
and had not the luck of the good.
All Aimee had was the face.

These are the kind of stories I am tired of because
I want to tell you that when Aimee was just a
small girl, she sat and watched her mother scrutinise
her appearance in the mirror. She watched as she
painted her face and knew then that she was just a painted
beauty, a kind that easily peels off. How little it
mattered though, as her mother smiled at her jewels.
Painted or true, her mother had succeeded through
beauty. So Aimee saw no good in the kind and the patient,
who suffered and accepted their suffering. She chose an
ambition called wickedness and she wore it like a petticoat
beneath the blue ballgown. Aimee was the kind of girl
to get what she wanted. Her mother had taught her
that her face was the only kind of fatalism she could follow.

I am tired of these fairy tales that give undefined shapes.
I'm tired of the dichotomy between the good and the bad.
I'm bored of the light always finding their happily ever after.
Just tell me the story of the dark and tell it properly.
I woke up at 5am and decided to write this... not my best, but it's a character poem, from the perspective  of my character Amelie (Amy) inspired by the fairy tale Aurore and Aimee
Grace Mar 2016
How have you been? I hope you’ve been well, but I’ve been thinking about how

A poem does have too much
person in it to be a tree.
Too many clichéd feelings,
too much sadness and inadequacy.
All of it pressed into words
that are too tight because
poems are always a size too small.
You’re right, a poem is nothing
like a tree.

I’ve been busy too, kind of, but I just want to say

Forget the miles,
and give me the woods.
Give me the dark and the deep
and the lovely.
I’ll leave the horse,
it’s better off without me and
I’ll imagine that the woods
belong to no one.
Just give me the woods
and the snow
and the hypothermia.
Give me the frozen lake.
I don’t want your miles
of tired positivity.

I think we were talking about faith last time, but I don’t think that’s quite it. You see,

I don’t need God
to do the battering.
There’s already something inside me
pummelling my cheeks,
leaving invisible bruises
and a lack of air in my lungs.
I don’t want to be ravished,
and besides, even this
monster won’t ravish me.

It really has been a while now since we last wrote

But nothing’s changed,
for the day I was born,
a week early, afraid
of being late,
I caught a glimpse
of the world and changed my mind.
I tried to turn back
but got a cord wrapped round my neck
and nearly choked.
They plied me out with pincers
anyway, wailing:
leave me be.

But I’m alright. I’ll be okay, don’t worry too much. Things happen and

Maybe after that,
I should have seen
that it’s not worth the fight.
Maybe it’s just lucky
I’m lazy.

I’ll write again, as and when I can.
609 · Sep 2017
a second reminder
Grace Sep 2017
I’ve spent a lot of time on this side of my island,
building my mirror mazes, my mirror boxes
and my mirror tunnels, and it’s just me,
walking into myself, looking at myself,
tripping over myself. It’s just me,
consuming myself in myself, just me,
multiplying myself until I cannot bear myself anymore.
It’s just me, at angles, again and again
and all I can hear there is myself.

I’ve spent a lot of time on those beaches,
lying face down in the sand,
filling myself up to feel something, to fill something,
and then I’ve half choked and washed it away with salt water.
I’ve spent hours trailing my fingers over the erosion.
I’ve spent hours searching for the ******* washed up on the beach.
I’ve spent hours lying back on the scratchy sand,
waiting for nothing to happen.

I’ve spent a lot of time breathing in the grey while
watching the murky ocean storm and spit.
I’ve waded into the waves and let the cold numb me
and I’ve made my home there and it’s not easy then
to get back on the shore. I’ve spent too long in the sea
and now I’m cold through and I want to be colder.
I spend my days crawling back to the mirror maze,
to run into myself and myself and myself, and I know,
I know, I know, it’s bad, but I feel safer here, with
the puddles I’ve made, the mirrors I’ve put up
and the cardboard cut out I’ve got used to.

But maybe, maybe sometimes, I ought to go
to the other side of my island. The side with the promenade
and the sea so clear I can see the rocks beneath it.
Maybe, I ought to go for walks in that end of day calm,
when the purple, orange air  stretches across the waves
and the sky and is so easy to breathe in.
Maybe, I ought to spend more time there, walking until
my chest feels so full that I have to stop and sit.
Maybe, I ought to spend more time sitting and listening
to the gentle sounds of that clear, purple sea,
until I feel happiness on my cheeks, in my ears, in my chest.

And I know, I know I’ll go back to the mirror maze,
I’ll climb back inside the mirror box and go back
to watching the grey stormy sea. I know I can’t make my home
in the purple yet, but maybe, maybe I can try visiting a little more often.
inspired by Star BG, by your kind words and your lovely poem: https://hellopoetry.com/poem/2117847/doorway-to-happy/
Grace Jan 2019
So I’m in the room, surrounded by vivid individuals,
with all their vibrant lives, with all the things they have to say,
and I’m in the room, but half removed, a blue-bland thing,
a flat, one-dimensional thing with fuzzy unholding edges.
And I think to myself, I’m going to end up so alone
because I am such a no-person, such a flat, empty space
of a person, such a flimsy, hollowed out sort of thing.
And in this room, if one person was to simply disappear
and not disturb the balance, then surely it would be me,
the non-person who lacks all substance, who is simply not integral
enough to leave behind some long-lasting, uncloseable void.
So I go into the other room and try to make myself whole
by becoming useful but still I’m that bland, hollow thing,
still am I that name-checked no-person with nothing to say.
And so I go outside to escape myself and the long, sad, empty inevitable
and I look at the lightless sky and think to myself in the cold:
I could unpick the thread of myself from existence
and all that would be left are two small indents
to be smoothed away with the sweep of a hand.
It hurts, so I look up to the sky and dream of the island
until I’m full of tears and then I mangle my no-person face
into a smile and go back to the room, and really,
I’m living okay. I’m living okay, I’m reminded,
because there’s nothing to be sad about today,
nothing you could possibly be worried about today,
you sad, empty-headed little no-person.
a little thing about a day
550 · Mar 2016
colour
Grace Mar 2016
blue
my favourite colour is the shade of:
    -happy skies
    -wonderous seas
    -hyperthemic lips
    -and the depthless
     deepening void of
     disgusting sadness

yellow
colour of my childhood bedroom,
you bright insipid lying shade of
promise
i can remember the image of you,
the way you looked in different lights
but i can't remember the
happy feeling of living under you

red
the colour of
-my stomping boots and
-the blood outside the veins
isn't it odd how it bubbles along the lines
strong colour
i feel you match my blue

orange
bitty juice
and sticky tables
and an empty plastic cup
peeling and peeling and hoping
what is inside won't be bitter
orangensaft
(you make me think of swimming pools)
(you make me think of being sick)

purple
nightingale poison
stained mouth
is it a plague or is it grape juice?
is it pain or is it pleasure?
purple, you sound as if you should be luxurious
but there's something cunning
and deceptive in your swirls

green
the colour of an island
-beneath a grey sky
-a patchwork of green scraps
-rugged and wrinkled
I uploaded 'blue' before, but I decided to do some more at 3am last night...
Grace Jan 2022
So what if I don’t die?

What if five years into the future,
it’s a warmer day in January
and my heart is still beating
and I’m breathing the same air,
placing my feet on the same ground
I’ve walked so many times before?

The end of the world is that bit closer
and I’m far too old for all the first times
but I still haven’t done any of the things
I was meant to do when I was ten years younger.

I’m twenty-nine, nearly three whole decades old
and nothing to show for it, bar the degree shut up
in the cupboard where I keep my obsolete jumpers
and the four hundred pages of poetry that reads like
one long suicide note that I couldn’t figure out how to end.

Perhaps there’s monotony; perhaps there’s pain and work;
perhaps things are simply worse;
I’ve gone easy sliding back into the disaster zone:
I’ve seen it happen all the time.

And so what if I don’t die and things go right?

I’m a real grown up person with a mind that’s ordered
and I do what I love and I’ve found someone to love
and we’ve somehow saved the world and I’m
happy, happy, happy.

It's a limp, ill-defined notion:
I cannot fill in the detail or
add in the words between the lines.
By which I mean it’s not real.
It’s not real, it’s not real.

So what if I don’t die and I’ve pinned all my hopes on it
and all I’m left with is the bland joy of spotting
the egret or the kingfisher when I’m out on my walks
or the bland peace of sometimes visiting the island
if only for the sake of recalling the days
when other futures still seemed possible?
sorry for not posting in many years; still here writing all the sad poems

— The End —