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Jun 2015 · 474
Liquid Expression
Martha O'Brien Jun 2015
I can’t stop thinking about concrete words
when all that falls out of my brain is water.
Future thoughts, thinking,
I could never take you home
There’s mess and memory
times I had love that meant nothing
times I did nothing and meant love.
I had, once upon a time,
looked at buildings and saw them like words,
I could write something that stayed.
Now it all gets washed away with the tide
because there’s nothing to say
and I’m clinging onto dreams of solidity
when all I’ve got is liquid.
Jun 2015 · 2.8k
Martha O'Brien Jun 2015
I set fire to yesterdays
and watch my fire burn out.
I watched the last sparks dance in the darkness
and felt warmth from their flame,
I gained energy from their memory
they sang to me about what once was.

They are gone now; I am an ocean.
Cool and wild all at once, cold and uncontrollable,
calm and welcoming.
I do not fear the yesterdays.
I learn from their mistakes and embrace tomorrows.  

Claustrophobic no longer,
the embers made me stronger,
dark orange lit up the night.
These matches were not wasted
I can taste the future with anticipation,
with no regret for what I have burned away.
Jun 2015 · 2.0k
Martha O'Brien Jun 2015
I know I’m not the only one,
and I don’t mean like that song.
I know I’m not the first person to stand on this grass,
not the first person to ask
big questions like, “why are we here?”,
I know I’m nowhere near unique.
I come up with new ideas every week,
not one is my own,
and I know I’m no thief,
I’m just taking a leaf out of finished books
because it looks like I’m not alone.
Why have a photo in my possession
when someone’s taken it before?
There are so many more people like me
who see and have seen
the world like I do
so I shouldn’t feel brand new,
but these similarities only make things more intense.
See, it’s not pointless sharing a dream.
Looking at the same sky,
even Socrates is a relatable guy-
I’m not saying anything you haven’t thought
but maybe this is in words you haven’t heard before.
The company in history makes the moments fuller,
the laughs longer,
the impact stronger.
I know I’m not the first
but I’m certainly not the last,
when this moment has passed,
this moment of awe, of thought,
like a domino, someone else will feel it.
We breathe the same air so why not say the same prayer?
I’m not sad that I’m not alone.
That these thoughts aren’t always just my own.
I’m in pretty good company with the rest of history
and I’m happy to be living in a place
where people look out to space
and wonder what is there.
It’s just funny.
How that the most common feeling is being lonely
and we all feel it.
All of us at once.
It's a long one, but a spoken word! Listen to it at
Jun 2015 · 581
Martha O'Brien Jun 2015
There are leeches on the walls
and everything in this house is falling apart.
The souls, the old blankets,
the wallpaper and the book spines,
it’s all coming apart at the edges
like ripped fabric, seams undone.
Observing chaos, I feel ****** in,
I feel like falling, like subtle dust-
it cannot be seen until it is wiped away.
The covers in the corner stack up my thoughts
like a claustrophobic mind space,
30 centimetres from the ceiling.
Trying to sing but it sounds like shouting-
there’s an escape route through the bookshelves;
when I need saving I save myself.
At least it’s consistent, a mess I never notice;
a secret I don’t know exists.
Outside there’s always laughing, summer and rain.
Here, there are leeches on the walls.
And everything in this house is falling apart.
May 2015 · 371
Martha O'Brien May 2015
I want to grow all my hair so I can cut it off.
I want to fill up all these pages just to rip them all out-
I want popped bubble wrap.
I want to save up all my secrets just to share them all at once,
I want to wipe the dust off the shelf,
I want to make mistakes on the paper so I can scribble recklessly,
I want to live recklessly, but only once I’ve lived carefuly;
I want to throw it all away.

Living life to the letter is tiresome.
I want to be limitless.
May 2015 · 375
The Box
Martha O'Brien May 2015
This box was given to me for life.
Patterned with stained windows and pews,
I kneeled inside and obliged.
Reading material and jewellery,
I started to wonder if I enjoyed the stories;
I started to wonder if the beads suited me.
I knelt on routine like a crutch
words like precious comfort.
Now I break from those rules, I look past men
the lid is opened, and so is my mind.
Suddenly words seem ineffective
suddenly routine seems false.
I vow to stay outside of the box
I promise to live free of limits,
only, I left my soul inside those walls
when times get tough I must return,
I cannot tell if the box is safer
I do not know if I should call it home.
Martha O'Brien May 2015
A percentage and a number
memorised by heart, only
I’m trying to learn it, trying to grasp it,
voices screaming, rhyming,
this couldn’t be worse timing
my pen defies my head
screams grow louder until later,
later, in bed, pen to paper, later-
they’re gone.
Silent voices, not complying,
slowly dying off, when I need them they’re not there
imagination is bare
only needs to be distracted
to start yelling again.
May 2015 · 647
Martha O'Brien May 2015
I am sour.
I am the mould on the side of an orange
I am the face of a sickly sweet
I am the smell of dirt rising
I am the isolated fruit on the tree.
The smile on the end of a photo,
I am the one with the knot inside
bitter like broken taste-buds,
I am the sand in the tide.
It was an accident that the tip is so large
an accident to leave food out in the sun.
If I were braver, I could be sweeter
but I cannot shake what has been done.
May 2015 · 637
Martha O'Brien May 2015
“Mother, let’s go to the seaside”
she said and so they went
holding hands across the sands
trying not to get wet

“Mother, let’s go to the ocean”
she said and so they walked
at different strides into the tides
laughing aloud as they talked

“Mother, let’s run on the beach now”
she said and so she ran
her hair flying behind as she looked at the sky
straying away from the plan

“Mother, can we go home now?”
she asked but no one replied
she looked at her hand, empty, covered in sand,
and sat down on the beach and cried.
May 2015 · 396
Martha O'Brien May 2015
He laces his lies with truths
to make them more believable;
his normality is nocturnal
a screamer in the morning
a snorer in the night.
His separation is deliberate-
claims it is unfortunate;
his ideas are strong
a proud owner of his own mind
but unable to see that he
may lose it before long.
May 2015 · 959
You are not your body
Martha O'Brien May 2015
You are not your body.
You never have been, and you never will be.
And if you ever trick yourself into thinking
that you are anything but your mind
remember that your mind is modest
and wants you to believe something different.
A house is made a home by the people in it
and a car is only as good as its driver
so if the things that you strive for
are looking good on the outside
while your mind is plagued
maybe rethink; every day
that you spend stressing over a spot while
the acne in your mind is ignored;
whenever you’re bored of being you
and the way your hair falls
or the way you sound on phone calls,
you waste time because you can’t knock down a house
but you can redecorate the insides.
The way that you think and draw and write and read
is more important than your knobbly knees
or your back acne
and your creativity
is so much more
than the podge on your belly that you want to ignore
how much can I stress
that the size of your chest
doesn’t make the punchlines of your jokes
any less funny-
and you might think
that your frizzy hair and braces
will stop you from going places
remember that life doesn’t go in straight lines
so your hair and teeth don’t have to.
And if anyone you meet
only focuses on the way you look and speak
instead of the things you say and do
they’re not people worth talking to.
May 2015 · 457
Sticks and Stones
Martha O'Brien May 2015
The problem is, with
a punch, the bruising fades. Words
stay clear forever.
May 2015 · 819
No reply
Martha O'Brien May 2015
Hide behind
a thousand lies
and smiles and sighs
and blank replies

Rely on eyes
but sight is compromised
when the conversation runs dry
due to a stifled cry

Let things lie;
not scared to die
but as it’s shouted,
“Give it a try!"
it implodes and is left hanging

No reply.
May 2015 · 478
Martha O'Brien May 2015
She walks
like she can’t feel the wind on her face
and like her shoes don’t ache
and like it’s not about to rain on her parade
but I can’t even
hold down my skirt
from blowing and I know that I
squint every time there’s a light breeze-
I topple over like skittles in a bowling alley
and she’s standing like a rock
fighting against the waves that thrash against it.
If I wasn’t this
I could be that too.
May 2015 · 3.3k
Not Good Enough
Martha O'Brien May 2015
I have my soul trapped in a cage
I churn out the same pages of paper that I know will be popular
and I detach myself
from what I really am
and inside I’m yelling to stop the lies-
all the time I’m typing
I’m trying, I am
I’m writing on cheap notebook pages with a broken pen
to try and end what I’m killing off but
it’s a different kind of ******
where the survivors are not as good.
I’m writing before I know what I’ve written
within minutes I’m done, expecting the best
but I find myself ignoring the rest
finishing touches are for perfectionists-
the rawness is what I love but
I’ve never loved
a project like I’ve loved one
that comes after months.
It’s all a lie and I hate to say it but
I can’t even look.
May 2015 · 294
Grieving Process
Martha O'Brien May 2015
They said that she was unstable
because when those she loved
fell to the floor
for the final time she
carried on like it was okay.
They called her crazy because
she didn’t fall down in tears-
they said it was wrong that
she was living her life;
awful to think that she hadn’t died with them
that her mind was alive and she was alive and she was
rejoicing in the breath
that still occupied her lungs her
hate and her heart still present
her grieving just as strong but her
will to carry on was
born in the death
like a phoenix from the ashes
like a circle.
Martha O'Brien May 2015
Those people in the houses
dropping like flies-
we’re stuck in the middle
a steady eight, watching the departure lounge.
It’s written in the small print
when you meet a neighbour with a ticket to go.
There’ll be no more smiling in gardens
no more books on birthdays
no more chattering teeth
no more bells
on New Year’s Eve.
May 2015 · 633
Martha O'Brien May 2015
Fold back the corners of the sky
enveloped in black,
released in blue.
Fingertips touch the shine
rip through
poke holes in the blanket-
the dust is cloud,
the rips, stars
the accidents beauty
the sky;
May 2015 · 757
Martha O'Brien May 2015
Suddenly it’s public
and suddenly it’s there-
a domain of information
that I never wished to share, carelessly
dropped in a sea of confession
that accidentally washed ashore
the things I had forgotten;
questions I can’t answer,
codes I can’t crack,
memories I didn’t know existed,
I don’t want back.
May 2015 · 477
Martha O'Brien May 2015
White walls cannot weep;
their silence screams something stronger.
How many footsteps on these floors,
bodies in these beds?
How many conversations in these corridors,
emotions in these empty spaces?
Not a trace is left-
the chemicals bleach away our whispers of concern.
A pin drops
and echoes; still. A face turns
and moves and leaves
and we cannot be sure if it was ever really there.
May 2015 · 411
Writing in Secret
Martha O'Brien May 2015
I whisper my verses
I hide them away;
not everything is a story
that words can contain.

I scribble conversations
through floorboards in the night;
though the words on the page
won’t go out of my sight.

I tell people I’m writing;
they read my words while I’m there
they don’t know it’s a secret
that was difficult to share.

I can feel that you’re reading
and part of me wants you to ask-
though I’ve been writing in secret
the secret can’t last.
May 2015 · 430
Martha O'Brien May 2015
The night sky isn’t mine
yet it reminds me that I am alive.
I cannot hold it in my hands
or stick it on my wall
like a prized possession
but I can look up and remember
that I have so much left to discover;
to explore.
That someone, somewhere,
looks up at that same sky,
thinking the same as I do-
together we are connected
by a cluster of constellations,
that even though sometimes the clouds may cover,
even though the rain might beat down on my face,
forcing my gaze in another direction
that will never alter my perception-
the night sky is still somehow that magic connection
I’ll keep until the day that I die.
May 2015 · 541
You are a Fake
Martha O'Brien May 2015
I told myself-
you are a fake.
Your words do not take
as long to write
as others might
so while
you smile
at the words they say
don’t get carried away
because while your words came from the soul,
you never counted the measure, never had control,
there was never a rhythm,  there was never a rhyme,
there was never a certain length to a line,
and when you say it can be done
by anyone
you mean it-
feel it
don’t believe it’s at all unique
don’t deserve the smiles, don’t deserve the words
don’t deserve to be preserved on paper, pens,
stories with no end
the truth is I only write what I bleed
it’s why I only say what I mean
so if my thoughts aren’t always that deep
how many secrets
will I accidentally keep?
May 2015 · 381
Martha O'Brien May 2015
Am I any more than squinting eyes,
clothes on the floor-
any more than what I say,
can you read my thoughts?
Do they seep out of my eyes?
It seems I choose what falls out of my mouth,
but it all comes running out in the end
the circles and scribbles paint my life
black and white,
I wear another face on top of mine so I feel too full
but I can’t escape this alphabet cover.

Tickling under the surface of my skin
are words I long to say.
Tickling under the surface of my skin
are words I never will.
May 2015 · 782
Space's Edge
Martha O'Brien May 2015
This sky makes me realise
how near the edges of the world are.
This obsession with soul fills me like a glass of water
this rain pours out of the sky and I overflow.
I cry against lightning, the thunder yells back
we sing together, harmonise against the trapped space,
empty place;
boxes that confine, space and time, they say,
spread out infinitely, I only feel the finite
I see the might of what I could be
imagine the thunder being me
I just know I already am this storm,
hidden behind skin and bone.
I run until the hurricane is no more
until the thunderstorm stops
I write until these words leave my body
I write until I’m not so overcrowded
I write until I-
I write until-
I write.

— The End —