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heather mckenzie Sep 2018
i don’t think I found myself in the poetry, i think i am finding myself in your arms
under the gentle pressure of your fingertips and the velvet embrace of your words.
they think I found myself in the halls of the airport that it walked alone
i think i am finding myself in the kitchen of your flat, waiting for the kettle to come to a boil; in cups of tea nursed at the table and I hope that’s okay.
i sip in the same tentative manner that i reach for your hand in the dark; you may have the effervescent beauty of a tree in the autumn but right now i would like to lace my fingers with yours and be human together. i hope that’s okay.
you are like literature and myth; a deep and sprawling spectrum of contradictions and complexities. i feel like teiresias; blind and trapped within my own self-made cocoon of spiralling thoughts.
eyes closed i reach for your hand.
i almost miss my stop on the last train home spilling out sweet words about your everything.
her hair straight out of bed with soft eyes and parted lips, sculpted by aphrodite; carved from the finest marble i want her to pin me down,
to the bed, to reality-
her lips, to guide me
from her waist and back
to sanity. early in the morning
when she wakes up tangled in sheets
with her eyes peeking up over her phone,
soft smile on her lips.
the world stands still in the soft glow of flickering street lights like visible heartbeats, glowing and not glowing in tandem, and the windows are frosted along the edges; worrying a cracked lip between my front teeth i realise this may be the most I have ever thought about tea.
our fingers
tangle, grasp sheets or cheeks rosy
with first-kiss smiles. eyelids
you are butterflies in my stomach, fear and exhilaration, honesty and hope
you are
listening to the same song on repeat; your laugh is the song stuck in my head, every song i’ve ever loved,
the only song i want to listen to.
heather mckenzie Jul 2018
time is the best sugar-coater; retrospect is a master con-artist.
like sugar and honey and smoke.
like all the things that catch in your throat and make it that little bit harder to breathe
               like her lips on your neck in the dark when your tangled brain is permeated by the space between her thighs and the only constant is the soft hum of the speakers.
i only believe in astrology when she is answering my calls.
when my rising sign indicates that i will wake to the smell of her apartment
i believe in the tarot readings my friend gives me on her bed when i am underneath her.
                                  anatomical; catastrophic
a symphony of vulnerability and sapphic contentment.
i am not a connoisseur of intimacy, i take what is given to me
yet this
there is something about the way that she holds my gaze that makes me want to analyse her birth chart whilst she makes tea in the kitchen whilst we try and convince ourselves that our lives are only falling apart because mercury is in retrograde. (again)
the nights spent passed out whilst everyone else cuts lines on the breakfast table, the bottles in the sink and the side glances.
it was messy
were messy
i am a mess.
it’s smoking someone else’s cigarettes out your window and pretending that your thighs are not the pillow that i dream of resting my heart on.
i will ***** out pretty and soft words about your smile your mouth your tongue
when you’re around i hold my coffee in my mouth for just that little bit longer, long enough to stop me spitting out the fact that somehow you wind your way into every ******* thing that i write.
heather mckenzie Apr 2018
there’s something so deeply and inherently terrifying about romantic love and attachment; it’s like giving someone a neatly written postcard detailing all of the various ways in which they could take your heart and pick it apart into a heap of broken fragments.

it’s the fact that you were so agonisingly in love with your sadness that i became (always was?) an afterthought. it’s like mum always said, “you are powerless in the face of someone who doesn’t want to be helped”.

i wanted to soak my skin in your madness and chaos.
to take all of the mismatched jigsaw pieces of your mind and will them to fit together enough to love me back even a little bit.

one day that you will realise that they are just boys. they are boys with closed-off hearts and cynical minds. with their inherent need to drain and empty you of everything you have to offer; with the burning desire to be both fixed and left alone all at the same time.

i actively avoid thinking about the estimated number of minutes i spent trying to burn the imprint of your fingers out of my lungs.
oh honey, one day all these valiant notions of self-sacrifice are going to get you hurt; you won’t know how to tell him that you are in pain.
                                       that every time your knuckles brush against my lips my heart feels like it’s going to give up on itself.

i don’t know what to do with the knowledge that i am heartbroken over someone who is indifferent to my plight, someone who watched the cracks deepen and spread yet still chose to walk away. that’s the problem with feelings; you can’t simply pick them up and store them in a jar for later.

you left and i’m stuck with limbs which ache from the sheer weight of the feelings that i can’t shake.

with gentle fingers full of promise and parted lips you drew confessions from me that i swore would never come; you were messy and indignantly proud of it. your mess leaked into mine and for a few precious minutes we coexisted in our state of disarray.

your hands knew me far better than your heart ever did;

it must have been so dark up there, on the pedestal that i nailed you to. a martyr for your cause, i tried to tie your wrists to mine in a desperate fear of being alone again.

all i wanted from you was to coexist but you were never shy about telling me that, for you, that wasn't enough.
  Apr 2018 heather mckenzie
Sometimes when I drink coffee I find myself missing you,
So sometimes I don't drink coffee.
  Apr 2018 heather mckenzie
april w
What do I have to do
For you
To feel like
I’m good enough?

Do I have to
To you
My worth?

Who are you to judge?
Why am I still striving for your approval?

When I know
The truth is
I will never be good enough
In your eyes

But in mine
I am good enough

The kind of good enough
That can be better

The kind of good enough
That isn’t
As good as other people

The kind of good enough
That isn’t

Good enough
heather mckenzie Apr 2018
i did always say that perms don’t make good poetry; especially yours because honestly most of the time it was vaguely flat and misshapen. then again that was one of the first things you said to me; ‘in defence of the perm’.

that and a self-inflicted proclamation regarding your narcissistic disposition, so really all the signs were there; it could be compared rather dramatically to a romanticised act of self-harm.

as in, you didn’t really want to be loved or fixed but that didn’t stop me from trying; as in, part of me thought that by stitching up your wounds and healing your scars i could also fix myself.
                                           self-sabotage of the highest degree.
getting tangled up in someone else’s string is a dangerous affair, rarely do you ask permission; you throw yourself into their mess in the tangibly desperate hope that two negatives might make a positive.

that, in between all of the crying and pills and messy ******* filled nights; between the hazy afternoons wrapped up in borrowed sheets and sweat. that somewhere deep within it all there would be a flash of mutual comfort and understanding.

the kind of “let’s be a mess together and try and fix it all” thing that only actually exists in coming of age movies surrounded by cigarette smoke and electric house parties.

it’s a terrifying and debilitating thing to fall in love with the idea of what could have been; their potential. people don’t fall for the extremes and absolutes; they fall in love with the details,

           we lose ourselves and find each other in the details.

you will fall for the way he always licks his bottom lip slightly before he kisses you or the way he is so painfully cynical and innocently hopeful all at once.

it’ll be the small circles he’ll trace along the back of your hand with his thumb and the way that you’ll know you’re getting in too deep but will feel powerless in the face of it all.
so, you lie back like the pavement is sand and he is the waves that crash mercilessly down on you again and again and again.
the tide will change but the bruising will never stop,
his touch,
     his words will never be soft enough, at least not for you.

the next girl that tries; i wish you luck and i promise it’ll be worth it because maybe
perms do make alright poetry after all.
you don't deserve this but i'm going to do it anyway.
heather mckenzie Apr 2018
how bad can a good girl get?
                        that really is the question.
   ; it always starts with the apathy. it quietly slips itself in, the same way that you don’t really notice the sun setting until suddenly you look up and the sky is almost black.
it sets into everything it touches like smoke to damp clothes or blood to a white bedsheet.
                                         eyelids get heavier and exhales get deeper.
fingers and toes turning into sticks of chalk on a pavement; messy, incoherent patterns left in their wake; every little thing; the small talk, the feigned interest,
the reproachful gaze of worried friends and the number of hours taken to muster up the will required to go for a shower.
all of it, all of the time
wearing away at her chalk hands and feet; gradual erosion followed by the sharp snap as the pavement encounters a wall. dusty white remnants tell the stories of her efforts on the concrete.
                                                          like breakable stick of chalk in the hands of a child, it wore her down and down and away and away.
broken chalk; baring a striking resemblance to what may be incurred if a heap of bones were to be finely ground into a delicate powder.
                                                 and that is what the apathy feels like. like the process of gradual grinding and erosion until nothing is left.
      ; then comes the disassociation.
as in,
if my head starts to feel anymore spaced out will nasa try and recruit me for their next mission? as in,
did i just spend three hours making intense eye contact with the ceiling or did i imagine all of that?
       it’s the hours spent wondering if they would love you more if your ribs and hip bones were threatening to burst their way through the skin, or, if really, you are as inherently unlovable as rain clouds in july.
vacant eyes and hollow words, almost doll-like. but at the same time not at all.
dolls are beautiful, adored;
it’s addictive,
feeling lost and empty i mean; if everything feels like it doesn’t really exist, and you haven’t showered in three days then do your obligations to the world still exist?
if my head isn’t here then what else actually remains?
but this is how you learned to survive, you learned to hold your own mind and dress your own wounds.
                           she’ll treat you the way she wants someone else to treat her; that’s why she always wants to make sure that you’re alright. because no one ever asked her.
           and that, is how you know that it is getting bad again. but really none of it happens in that order or in steps; actually, it happens all at once, but isn’t that a lot harder to fit into a blank word document?
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