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Daisy King Oct 2017
Love like a butcher knife. carved out, and blindly awake
as the star alive in the sky. pointing north.
A cadillac with a massacred paint job, bad orchestras,
hollow at the heart. Good riddance. you hear that?
We can cultivate careful flowers and preserve hands
like clay or lake water; delineate what I know -
all the missed calls, together trying to suspend grief.
I liked that version best. On the day before the war I woke
to forget safe, forget someday, to forget all I have done or can do.

Take memory of us as children, pale backs to the open air,
unhinged and split down to the unsolved sum of their parts.
Language is out of whispers, out of dental floss, out of spines
and I want it gone. the gossip of eyes. Your face healing,
becoming wider, slicker, something peculiar, mystifying.
Chipped paint, my broken toes- here, eeriness is terrifying
and irresistible. We’re made into animals, into streets
then shadows, our ghosts finally unravelling in gilded seams.
The sun creeps down haunting myself from within,
heart yawning open, wider with each passing moment,
your empty promises of bones or something like that.
and your hands open, larger each time twisting away.
shuddering yellow as butter, as wheat field sadness,
right there in a parallel universe where this isn’t quite natural.

We were sheltered in spiderwebs, rundown by motels
with blasted neon. My brain has become a fuzzy blank.
I am sick of cries from the mouths of birds being poached,
colossal grief in the sky, grey slabs of meat, banality, lawyers,
a gesture, a mouth bruised for air, the thing you feel
teasing at the sutures, the faraway planet. We never get it,
maybe something close, but always something else:
a variable, some otherworldly energy blast from a hero’s eyes
and the high sinister jagged moon looking down on night
demanding that it hides different versions of itself.

We recited stories of dragons everyone knows and pretends not to.
The only thing I know is to be gentle, to be flaky, and too quiet.
There's floral wallpaper in a steamed up bathroom
and this sadness - the kind of fear of seclusion, window
on a ruinous heart, carrion catcher, sleep in the pits of reddened 
contaminating poetry about love and bicycles, that 1920’s echo
in your empric mouth. I remember the laughter of people long gone,
an old whisper to an old friend, “Shhh, don’t ***** them."

Fear is not one to reason with. Time zones in clumsy prayer.
How the mondays folded in on  birds, my willingness to spill blood
at every opportunity. Don't think about faraway fragile nests
and the whole dizzying unfair gentleness of it all.
It's 5 AM and what’s left is the delirium to pry dawn open.
An evanescence of being. Short-lived, sweaty. a shadow to carry
though it's smitten loud and an endless maw of your affection.
Suddenly, it’s summer. Suddenly, I’m unremarkable.
My heart getting weighty with the demolition of stars.
Daisy King Sep 2017
When she understood her first game of chess.
When she was runner up.
When she swam in the sea fearlessly.
When she heard the words I Love You struggle from his mouth.
When she landed on the ice and didn’t fall.
When she shut the door and was brave.
When she was sad because someone else was sad.
When she was happy because someone else was happy.
When she fell asleep on the train and travelled far beyond what she knew.
When she went elsewhere and came back.
When she learnt to identify fox gloves and two distinct birds.
When she read about what Katy Did because she’d been told to, and what Katy Did Next because she wanted to.
When she felt beautiful and invisible and good at his birthday party.
When she got an upgrade on an aeroplane and fell asleep with all the leg room.
When she broke a bone in a playground in Egypt at night.
When she protested for peace.
When she photographed them smiling.
When she walked calmly across a stage.
When she made a statement about double standards.
When she was eloquent at the dinner table.
When she decided to let it go.
When she said goodbye and looked back.
When she said no and meant no.
Daisy King Jul 2017
Going to and from somewhere not far,
I pass a couple of children on scooters
shouting, Ice Cream!
from across the street.

When I dare to raise my eyes to look out
instead of down at my shoes as I walk
I instantly see faces of strangers,
crying- Eyesore. I know they are right.

But nobody is selling what I want.
It does not seem producible.

It is not a house on a corner, the size and charm
of a dormitory, with window treatments.
It is not those shoes my sister likes with the red soles
or sunglasses my mother likes with the diamonds
or the endorphins or the caffeine or the career ladder.
I do not covet Ice Cream, the biggest or best thing,
and I don’t have romance for pipe dreams either.

That is someone's else’s dream,
unexceptional, formless, but probably fulfilling.
I hope I am never fulfilled.

In my hand there’s a digital map that orients me
in a roundabout. I am a breathing oscillating blue dot.
I can’t get anywhere from here.

Why do I not want Ice Cream or summer dresses?
Why do I not want to be out on the town, meeting new people?
Why do I not participate?

I watch people on television, traveling.
I am so scared.

I listen to Neil Armstrong radioing from the moon.

I scan the transcripts over and over of
Earhart circling Howland Island:
We are unable to hear you
to take a bearing.

Intermittent despair- what can you make from that?

I look up to see the sun caught in the tail end trail
of a jet. I wave:
Do you hear my signals.
Please acknowledge.

And then all my thoughts are frostwork and blue
with parachutes and windows on walls
and I am filled with clouds and I can’t see.

We cannot see you.

Now I know I begin and end with images,
how far across this field can my voice spread out,
extend and reach in singing, in screaming?
Daisy King Jul 2017
Rapidly the crows started circling under clouds,
the winter dropped it’s hemlines,
wind chimes started hanging bones and teeth
where feathers were now too fickle.
I whisper to you from a distance
who whispers to me from just below.
You went missing from my dreams.
I couldn’t recognise their forms, their frenetic
and frenzy, their motion and melancholy,
I drew the world in shades of cry, you cut me out
and walked away. The black and white figures
floating like paper planes or glued on snowflakes,
origami flowers, ornamental place settings.
You were always somehow both the paving stones
beneath my shoes and the endlessness of sky
rolled above my head, a canopy sprinkled with stars
blown from your knuckles like snow.
This is not a morning song because the sun isn’t going to rise
on this land anymore, it’s seen enough of daylight
and there’s nothing you can do about it.
This is called growing up. This is called a learning curve.
A wake up call. A character building exercise
that requires some demolition before you begin.
No one can tell you if the darkness has come to stay
or if there is an exit route. Is there anybody there,
treading the waves in this night-time sea.
I hear your voice, I hear the stars coughing
quietly at the back of heaven, I hear the lampshades sigh,
the picture frames, the paperweights, the rain gutters.
Were you up there with the birds, like you hoped you
someday might be, although I hope this doesn’t mean
that you are dead. There’s a finality to being dead,
everyone just accepting the empty space that holds
your shape, the vacuum you once breathed in,
trying to move on and trying to forget the presence
of that loss, trying to forget it ever happened
or you ever happened- that you never died,
so never lived. Nothing else quite has that same
brutal symmetry that is maddeningly unequal
on one side. Dark and light. You can’t have one without
the other, yet light is filled with shadows,
and war and peace. War is a permanent state of
losing when you are supposed to be winning but
with so much losing all the time, you accept some
victory wherever you can, and then peace becomes
an arbitrary thing, a concept, a Utopia, a fairytale,
and war both real life and the stuff of fiction,
both their problem and on your doorstep.
It won’t be war or darkness that kills us.
It will be the forgetting of things, letting them
drift away and not being able to remember
them being with you still. Parts of yourself
start getting chiseled away, you are whittled
down to slimmer sets of variables, the situation
tightening around you, the doors closing, more
dead ends, more walled up corridors,
and this time, only one escape, no trap doors,
to loopholes. Hands you used to hold, you forget
who they ever belonged to. Words you used to
speak sounding now just like silence.
Wishes you used to make greying the glow
of wishing entirely until you are left with
just bones, an empty bottle, a melted candle
and a broken fountain. Those little games
you used to play with yourself, those superstitions
and fantasies, the make believe, the Peter Pan,
they become cumbersome and painfully false,
the skin they are in hardening to cold plastic.
You are already an overexposed and underexposed
and wrongly exposed photograph and you
haven’t even grown up that far yet, you still
have further the go, nobody to show you the way.
No wonder I got lost. And I have never been good
at orientation. So I found a place for my head
in the sand, and listened to the sound of the sea
in shells, the glimmer of fish, the sea monkeys
we released into the Wiltshire stream. People
want to fill the world with silly love songs
and goldfish and miniature castles. Four seconds,
flash and it’s gone, it’s a whole new world.
The sand got in my eyes, in that dust bowl of
papery scratchy anxiety, attrition against my skin,
dry and eating away at the edges of me,
until I start to collapse on myself. I should have
worked on making my skin thicker, or growing
a stronger backbone. I brace myself with wishbones
and wish that you were here, or I was anywhere
with a star to point me in one way and the moon
to change the tide, for planets to align and the poets
to smile on my fortune, write me a perfect sonnet.
Where are you now? With a dagger and a pack of
sandwiches and sardonic smile, flint stone eyes,
shadows on your heels. Where did the time go,
is it under my pillow, and if I slept right through it
how am I or was I ever supposed to know?
The clocks hold hands, the faces slip just slightly
out of position, the hammer on the nail one more time,
the forest fire that used to be contained in an ashtray?
I hear you, are you out there somewhere
swimming. Quiet now. Was it you I heard, or me?
Daisy King May 2017
Being free to leave and not being ready.
Crying (some good will come of this).
Hearing another human cry.
Actual growth and the grief in it.
Impatience growing here.
Fate, if there is such a thing- having other plans.
Recurring attempts to build character.
Inherrent corruption.
For the sake of argument.
Tastless excess.
Exhausted Christmas lights.
What crossed my mind.
A language nobody else understands.
What costs you when it's arbitrary.
Indistinct goodbyes.
Daisy King May 2017
There are frozen birds in the garden,
trains stranded in the downpour,
flowers missing from the bouquet,
boots left standing by the door.

There are papers soaked on the front step,
well wishes clinging to the trees,
a sort of pleading in every word 'no'
and consent absent in every 'please'.
Daisy King May 2017
We'll stay at home, together but alone
but for the mornings that crumple on the floor,
like waste paper printing headlines on the ceiling.
We'll stay behind the door, afraid to wander
in uncertainty, parallel to busy roads,
the voiceless excursions,
the plans for long soporific days in expensive homes
and fresh-aired kitchens filled with frying pans.
Without direction, the answers all lie behind.
Ask me the question; I'll try and make up my mind.

Elsewhere the city men all crowd together,
either not talking or talking about the weather.

The clarity in eyes that bless the walls,
The understanding in a dull gaze on the walls,
sprawling time packed up into a box or a fist,
hurrying on tiptoes everywhere the sunlight falls,
tripped up in the garden, an inevitable descent,
and oblivious to the clock-face, the crimson crepuscule,
disappeared again into the rushes. No one knows where it went.

But it doesn't matter what's been done.
The eyes, still and still clear, don't recognise time passed,
don't realise what they may have missed.
It will end in the same place that it had begun,
nerves tight around the second try as tight as the last,
no space for thoughts of new starts or possible debris,
not one thought for broken hearts, for the people we cannot be.
We'll share this absent-mindedness, between
the clutter of conviction and certainty,
and practicality and potentiality,
and other matters on which we can agree

Elsewhere the city men, all crowded together,
are not talking, or talking about the weather.

And if we are going to fall apart, then we will do.
Our facades will fracture, our fallen faces,
our lost grip on graces, our black and our blue, our lost places
in the queue. We create words for the fears we cannot name.
And although our landscape erodes with the years,
the cage is the same. The scenery is new,
but what we call history will happen again,
so how can there be anyone but ourselves to blame?
Break and build, create and burn,
the pride follows the fall when pride has taken its turn.
A poem intentionally written to mirror T.S. Eliot's The Love Song of Alfred J Prufrock', but it didn't precisely achieve what I'd hoped, yet something else appeared
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