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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.
Martha O'Brien Sep 2015
The cobbled stones aren’t what they used to be
got chewing gum trodden down
coke cans crushed in the gaps
tree roots popping through tarmac,
bus shelters and sky scrapers,
like no one knows where they came from except,
your grandmother, she says,
remember when this was fields,
she says,
we used to go out dancing,
and you think, those cobbled squares are dance mats
like feet tapping before chewing gum got stuck
and those pavements are playing fields
because ***** still bounce on the ground.
And she says
you probably don’t remember
but you think,
one day I probably will.
Martha O'Brien Oct 2015
I’ve finally felt that crawling cold
that creeps with every whisper
the shiver when they say
money doesn’t buy you love
the guilt that comes with half finished plates
the uncertainty that lies under pillows
that hides in pockets
the dazed wanders through days
nails bitten to the thumb
I’ve felt those shaking floorboards under my feet
ready to drop down
and I’ve looked into the ocean and seen its depths unknown
I’ve hummed tunes over worry
melodies through madness
to cover myself from biting wind that whips my cheeks
and stains my brain,
I’ve sat with a blindfold that I cannot take off
but I’ve still felt the ice, harsh, on my skin.
Martha O'Brien Aug 2015
We’ve got blood.
It runs through my veins, when I hold your hand,
it’s got you too.
I probably left my skin a little loose.
I never meant to bleed on you
I guess that’s just what we do,
sharing this space it’s impossible not to.
I don’t say a word and you have a reply
because the blood inside never runs dry
you know without seeing
and can see without saying
I’ll give you your answers you never needed
until I uttered them, and you’ll give me guidance
without really meaning it but it sticks.
Don’t clot now, we’re a river and a cycle
donate the love with a needle
see how we’re forever, not a choice but a given
enriching lives we’re living, because of course -
we’ve got blood
and its stains don’t wash off.
Martha O'Brien Jul 2015
In the middle of the night
I do not scribble
I let my thoughts settle
like steam on a mirror.  
They are gone by morning;
my mind is cooled.
I can trace my finger in the fog
when all is cool
suddenly the night arrives
and the words appear
clearer now, fading fast.
I change states too fast
from clear to freezing
and my mind gets trapped
in a block of ice-
it is only sometimes that the temperature is perfect
that the thoughts flow
like a river,
in a boat, sailing on them perfectly.
Martha O'Brien Nov 2015
Richard's always lived at number 52
With his buttoned-down shirt
and his laced-up shoes,
and the damp on the wall
where a photo never moves
and his mother and father and sister,
they live there too.

Richard's always lived at number 52
Even when the council
tried to get him to move
he straightened his tie
and he showed them the door
Old men don't bother Richard anymore.

Richard's always lived at number 52,
He told me once
he was born in the back room
On that same sofa where he lies and watches TV
his mother tells him she was 7 hours in agony.

Richard's always lived at number 52
Only last month's mortgage payment fell through,
so a van came with boxes
and took Richard's bed
and they took his TV and his fridge and his head.

Richard used to live at number 52
where music would play
and he'd hum his own tune
but now there's damp on the wall
and the picture's been moved
and Richard doesn't know who
lives at number 52
Martha O'Brien Jul 2015
Out of my hands, this is hot off the press.
The burning paper singes my hands
I drop the news on the floor;
I leave it for somebody else to find.
My brain cries out,
it is forever forced into corners
impossible equations with unbreakable solutions.
My mind asks a million questions,
my heart gives a million answers,
none of which I can follow,
it’s desperate.
And I see it.
And I feel it, and I know.
Whatever I do is wrong.
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
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.
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.
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.
Martha O'Brien Jul 2016
I cannot get a grip on the ladder
that dangles in front of me.
Somewhere else there’s somewhere different
and I’m hardly here already-
my feet are slamming and my brain’s tip-toeing
Trying hard to feel it but I’m up here floating
and my words do no justice
to how my boat is sailing
and I’m a girl overboard.
Among sofas and laptops and sunglasses and tan.
On pavements and lamp-lights and coffee and dance
all I can see are stars
but they do nothing to light the way.
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.
Martha O'Brien Jul 2015
There’s sometimes a space
between closing the door and turning on the light.
In the darkness I see tentacles,
I see bursts of evil, I flick a switch
and swear everything scary is under the bed.
Alone, I’ll run out of bathroom cubicles,
I’ll hurriedly wash my hands in the sink,
I’ll feel a face creeping up behind the mirror,
walk double speed down a school corridor
desperate for company, followed by a feeling
someone is watching.

On weekends I’ll wait at a bus stop-
a man with a cigarette stares at my skirt
I shift my glance sideways,
I stand next to the lady with the pushchair,
I grip my ticket fiercely.
I stare at empty bedsheets and covered walls
and wonder if the body will be gone soon, too,
I celebrate and **** the knock on the door,
I wait for the day it won’t come.
I spill out my words and wait for ridicule
I paint out patterns that shouldn't exist
I feel the silent murmurs of disagreement
I swallow down my pride and hide.

I hide away in my bedsheets so the monsters cannot get me.
I hide away at bus stops so the monsters will not get me.
I hide away from confessions so the monsters cannot get me.
As long as I cannot be courageous; the monsters will not get me.
Martha O'Brien May 2016
The stars linger a little longer tonight,
dancing in circles, the luminous light
pooling in puddles- I pinch myself.
I dance this shine away, the orange glow
of worn-out streetlights hitting the kerb
with nothing in return except the slightly blurred
memory I’ve got to give you before you go.
I write it all down, learn it off-by heart,
the way the light hits my hands when I skip in the dark
and yours too- I pinch myself.
The rain hits the windows and the door
doesn’t open; the stars stopped caring when
the night ended and the sun came out and then
no one cared any more.
I pinch myself at midnight when I hear your voice downstairs.
I pinch myself at midnight, because I know that you’re not there.
Martha O'Brien Oct 2015
I said I’d only ever struggle.
That fire would only ever mean trouble,
that I’d never strike a match
or leave a blaze burning,
I had accepted a simple fate of water and waves
of calm before storms,
watching fires from a distance,
safe from their burns,
their orange light a warning sign, burning bright and clear.
Now I see how my sea was all wrong,
I had never watched fireworks dance in the night
I had never read love letters by candlelight
I had not let light lead a way
or run through chaos
and now I don’t let my skin singe in spite
I am impossible to burn
I never saw a future of fire eating
yet here it is and I’m burning
I’m setting alight everything I never needed
and from the ashes, rising,
is everything I never knew I missed.
Martha O'Brien Oct 2015
I cannot tell if I am living on the edges
or sticking in the frame
without words to seep out
I don’t know what I need to say.
I wish you’d be a little clearer.
That I’d love a little more.
That eyes could open and close
without being ordered to,
that when truth comes out
it’s not like a trigger,
I don’t dodge the bullet
because it could be something bigger
and it could be something better
and I’ll need it instead of being bitter
about being trapped inside a frame.
Martha O'Brien Apr 2016
Don’t forget, we’ve got your eyes,
in albums, dated and neat.
Clicking, capturing what you’ll miss,
what’s unmissable,
framing the memories for us so
we’ve got them when you’re gone.
I can hear your laugh when I see your smile
but better still I can wonder why
you pointed a lens at a clear sky
and wonder why I do, too.
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 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.
Martha O'Brien Jul 2015
You, sickly sweet;
practical joke, chocolate onion.
You, you’re separate,
special treatment; VIP, though
undeserved, no different mud on your feet
than on mine.
A hundred times I’ve seen the lie
through pools in your eyes,
fools learn, but I’ve been fooled many times.
You, forget reading signposts
find your way on your own.
You, undisputed, impossible,
will not, will not, will not be told.
Child, scalded but so you say
never wrong, every time, full score set.
Martha O'Brien May 2016
OK, mostly.
Ticking over fine,
closer, yes, and no,
we can cut the grass, it’s alright.*
The flowers are permanent now
drooping petals replaced the next day,
the kettle’s always on-
we’ll have to find time to have a cuppa-
and there’s a certain silence at night.
There’s a voice missing, high pitched and incredulous,
filling gaps, tidying shoes
letters strewn on the floor for
things that never mattered before,
I suppose it’s just a waiting game.
We’re different and torn and changing
and sad and confused and lost and
*OK, mostly.
Ticking over fine,
closer, yes, and no,
we can get the shopping in. It’s alright.
Martha O'Brien May 2017
At seventeen I swore I’d never change,
this promise broken time and again-
the longer my hair falls out of my head
and the more I move and grow and
ebb and flow, can’t I be something a little more
Snap me back like a piece of elastic.
Pierced ears are something more than
a framed photo of defiance because
I won’t let these holes close up but
sometimes I wonder
if you’ve just moved to another part of the country.
Would you recognise me, if you saw me?
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.
Martha O'Brien Oct 2016
Told me your fingers go cold at the tips,
something about blood, blood spilled perhaps.
It certainly sends a shiver down somewhere,
maybe the alley behind the flats,
maybe just my spine.
I linger at the back of queues with my passport hidden
without baby steps to make my decisions,
wisps of smoke falling out of my ears,
grabbing onto cold hands, frozen memory.

Told me there’s a gap, somewhere,
where the blood won’t pump.
Something about memory
something I said, perhaps.
Martha O'Brien Dec 2016
Last Winter.
Coldest when its bitter letters
stuttered on the lips of the sender.
Someone told us that love
was the only thing that’d ever be enough.
The first and the last thing to feel.
I remember it’s moans that never came from wind
the snow that never arrived
the frost that hurt my fingertips, resting feet in someone else’s shoes.
The winter that we only just made it through
by the skin of our teeth, slid in through the doors-
I’m recalling this all wrong.
Last winter was a storm that didn’t end
and unravelled around us, a perverse blanket
that was never asked for.
We never asked last winter to come.
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.
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.
Martha O'Brien Aug 2015
I can feel a pull to something and I don’t know what it is.
Too often I’ve hidden behind my words
time after time
I’ve made rhymes I don’t mean
my mind has spilled without my permission;
something about it feels right
but my heart might be wrong.
I always wanted to lay out my feelings one by one
but they’re tangled like headphones in my pocket.
I’ve always been desperate for questions
but I’ve never given answers,
always felt a bit narcissistic
that one day I could do something fantastic,
and no one would be there to see.
I’ve never understood the meaning of the word “me”,
and believe me I’ve tried
always laughed at people hiding,
“finding” themselves,
I don’t know why I’m giving directions
when I’m more lost than ever.
All I need is to see, and to hear, and to touch and smell and taste,
to base life off what I do
instead of who I am
contradict my own plan, I’ll change my mind next week
but I’m running out of time, life is long
but it feels like winter,
like the days are getting shorter
and I’ll be this confused until I’m gone.
Martha O'Brien Feb 2016
I just love the softness
the silence and the smiles
the whispers and the fingertips-
soft notes linger in the winter.
It’s noisy, I know.
It always has been but lately it’s loud-
eyes peep through keyholes
and the embraces are laced with indifference.
I just love the silence
the whispers and the fingertips
the words that do not say love
but nonetheless mean it.
Martha O'Brien May 2017
The next book is opened and the dots joined
and meanwhile I sip my tea.
Fingers trace patterns in a fogged window;
teeth marks in chocolate that tastes like yesterday.
Meanwhile a fire crackles
and a jumper warms and a light shines
while rain soaks and ice freezes
and meanwhile,
someone else is little.
Someone else is breaking open at the edges
I stand on the edge of everything in my head
and at the same time I’m wrapped up tight,
meanwhile your favourite song plays
just as you pull up into the drive.

Stay a little. Let the battery die.
Martha O'Brien Jan 2016
The trees are green, the
sky is blue, I saw the sun
and knew it was you.
Martha O'Brien Jan 2016
We’ve held onto secrets like sweets
the last ones at the bottom of the bag,
I’ve held hands with mirror images
turned away from lies,
stripped bare of the stories in my eyes
I’m holding back butterflies
and turning over in bed
thinking of hands and smells.
I’m clutching at floating words
thinking of things to say
filling a silence with more.
I thought I saw the future in a teacup
I’m just tasting the past on repeat
it’s never quite the same but
it never really was.
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.
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.
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.
Martha O'Brien Feb 2016
There’s a smell seeping in through the walls;
lazy words aren’t enough for men of rock,
they crumble under pressure.
Flood warnings batter the windows,
the things we love stay inside, untouched-
we don’t care anymore.
Sometimes you just have too many pairs of shoes
and not enough room
sometimes you’ve got blisters on your ankles
and you need to go barefoot.
Nights before circle my mind
like bicycle wheels on a scrap heap
moving once;
useless now.
Martha O'Brien Jun 2016
Robert tells me over curry
I’m sick of immigration,
stuffs Masala in his mouth and
sips his cup of tea.

There’s a poster on the wall
above the table in the kitchen,
There’s a diner, people laughing,
and a jukebox by the side.

Robert loves the ‘50s,
the dancing and the smiles-
when Britain won a war and
only 60 million died.

The carnival and music
passes by his window
he dances and he laughs,
marvels at the lights.

And when his car gets a scratch
He blames them on the corner
the shifty looking bloke,
He should go back home.

Robert tells me over curry
We’re going down the drain
and romanticises a past
that hurt more than it helped.
Martha O'Brien Sep 2015
I really ought to know better, by now
that the river won’t flow if I tell it to
that the puppet strings can’t be pulled by these hands-
that they shouldn’t be pulled by these hands-
that the sky isn’t blue because I want it to be
that the clouds won’t cry when I want them to
that my wonderings aren’t like law.

Girls and boys won’t play with toys
and breathing figurines are no replacement
they ought to know better by now, about this
but so often do the puppet strings pull
and so often do I want to touch the handles
but I know better by now, I do.
Martha O'Brien Nov 2016
I’ll sleep tomorrow, or the next day, maybe.
Give me a call when the time’s done ticking-
ring me up when our food is done.
I’m clawing away at whatever’s left,
the edges of the wallpaper stay stuck
to the paste I dared stick my hand in-
I’m stuck here too.
Somewhere in between the foundation and the decoration
is me, somewhere else,
glued, layers weighing me down.
I’m lying awake,
with a headache, laughing,
because there’s nothing else to do.
Martha O'Brien Mar 2016
The wind whispers its secrets to the trees
while we are still. Still, on the hill,
resting on the blanket while our toes feel the grass,
just a dot on a map. A pinprick,
not enough to unsettle the water.
See that man in the red shirt with the blurred face
surrounded by green in the heat of the day?
It takes a while to find him, after you’ve traced my finger.
There’s no camera and no visions
no landmark over there, you say.
My eyes follow the blue in the sky over to the green
and that red. Where no one will see
what doesn’t matter;
that red dot that climbs is too small for memory
and he’s fading around a corner.
Quietly, I wonder
if the eyes in my head are enough proof.
And what mountain holds medals
for people who have no care for them.
Martha O'Brien Feb 2016
It’s impossible not to hear that bubblegum pop
and hate every word that comes after.
God, she chews like it’s nobody’s business
but does it through a microphone.
My eyes are screaming
in silent blasts-
What’s new? Shelley’s cut her knee
John’s taken up smoking
Emma’s stopped seeing that boy
and they tell me it’s all poetry and peace
there’s all meaning in the tragedy
silver linings lace the pain.
I’m waiting on the text that should’ve arrived last week
on the words that’ll stay unsaid;
I’m waiting for the train I can jump on quick
to a place I’ll feel just feeling
where everything simply is what it is.
I’m waiting
I’m waiting.
Martha O'Brien Jul 2015
In the middle of the ring of fire,
I yell and receive thick laughter.
As the flames around me grow higher,
I wonder how I am here, here again
dancing with the things I fear most, though,
afraid of my own skin,
I wonder if dancing alone would help.
Those who watch cheer at the bravery,
carry their own candles in the hope of feeling empathy
but these flames are only stories
the burns are fiction, you see
the fear and anguish can’t harm them
if they refuse to feel the heat.
Martha O'Brien Aug 2015
Sometimes I’ll be in the rain on a Sunday
with the wind in my face and my hair in my face
and the future in my face
screaming for me to run towards it,
but the fog is too much, the wind is too much
and I’ll want to stop for a moment, to stop forever-
The howl of the future turns into a song
the wind changes direction and pushes me on,
suddenly there’s laughing and lightning and love
there’s late nights and coffee and burning and sun
there’s music and dancing
there’s memories and forgetting
there’s all of it together
none of it bad
none of it good
all of it there
telling me to run, like there’s no other answer
like if I don’t it’ll only come faster
like if I smile it’ll only be better
so I put on my coat and I change up my face
and I run.
Martha O'Brien Jun 2016
The tadpoles disturb the water’s edge and we smile.
The flowers upon flowers laugh in the sun,
rabbits chase each other up on the hill
and flies buzz about the bin
bickering over the last slice of fruit.
The wind whistles over empty bottles
and the smell of damp mould rises-
I turn my nose up, the tap off.
We paint you yellow, and
Don’t you look neat,
clean and shining in the heat.
The birds sing and it’s somehow still silent.
The months have passed since the cold
and life began again in the spring
(for the other things).
Looking at you
it feels like only the beginning
with stupid words and unkind men
circling my head.
I look at you now and in pain I grimace-
at least the flowers that die off can be replaced.
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.
Martha O'Brien Oct 2015
There’s a grenade next door
that shouts and snores-
pulls its own pin,
leaves a blaze that it forgets by morning.
Sometimes there’s wounds that it leaves behind,
sometimes they’re mine,
but if I’m not the firing squad
I’m not taking the blame.
The fire stays low burning
it can add its own fuel
so I’ll stay low burning
and ignore the forest in flames.
I’ve tried buckets of water.
Sometimes, I’ve struck the match.
Nothing works so I only keep watching
silent, screaming, sound.
Martha O'Brien Mar 2016
If I lose my face again
if my smile dampens at the ends
my eyes don’t close at half past ten
know I’m still in here watching.

If my sentences trail away
if my words don’t match what I mean to say
if I don’t speak because I can’t explain
I’m still in here, waiting.

And most of all, if I’m the same
if you look at me and don’t see pain
if you’re proud I haven’t faded away,
know I still flinch at surprises
my soul still cries at night
know I’m trapped inside glass
everyone stares and I laugh
I’m stuck, and I wish I was hiding.
Martha O'Brien Dec 2016
The sounds that circle my head are cluttered.
Somehow still always frightening, the way
they flash and scream like thunder,
storm like winter, surge like warfare fighting
to be heard above each other, the voices
that circle relentlessly, cold and lingering.
Trumpet full-blast, bassline
vibrating, floorboards shaking, ears
popping amongst this scream of fears,
engines whirring, earthquakes and
volcanoes and eruptions ever-deafening-
except here.
Except now.
With you, the volume’s turned down.
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;
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