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MereCat Apr 2016
“if i was an object i would be a sprung board from the floor of a ballet studio
i’d specialise in brushing dreams above themselves
unravelling heartbeats
and the stitching on ballet shoes
once tired
you’d cremate me
but i’d have the history of pine forests in my grain"
MereCat Apr 2016
You can never skip an opportunity to call yourself that
Because you’re your ma’s son:
Didn’t get caught up in the tool shed
Got spiked through with the hooked art of repeating yourself instead

Should I feel insulted then
That these cracked, digited fringes
These rejects of your diminutive anatomy
Are how you love me?

You love me with the unvoiced, unexplained idiocy
Of fingers that make Mexican waves
To one particular song
And lure mine to come dancing too

You love me with the whorls where you keep your DNA
Counting the concaves in my skeleton:
Explore them, soothe them
Wonder if you made them

And I think you fear that
If you ceased to trace me as I grew –
A carpenter sifting through the age rings in my spine –
I’d only feel the dislocating vagueness
Of an absence too menial to be mourned.

But I remember different:
I remember your hands like leather,
All heated and scratchy from your pockets,
Unhooking the problems from my mouth.
And how the weather’d teethed on them,
Gnawed away chunks down around the cuticles
Until they were dry and scarred like February –
February getting lost in its own bleak cavernousness

They stir the rag in the shoe polish,
And the burnt spoon in the bean tin.

I used to try to pinch them
But my nails were too soft
And your palms too crusted
But when they tell me “thick-skinned”
I shake my head and think
“No, beautifully cack-handed”
MereCat Apr 2016
Wish I could love you enough to lie
And say
Sometimes words are not big enough to express the things that drown them
Translation: I love you
But it would be disingenuous of me to negate our negligence
With the pretence that it constituted something purer,
Or happier

So instead I will tell you that I am sorry
That this half-formed thing
Constructed from your womb
Cannot be grateful enough to negotiate the crevices
Of where our conversations don’t quite join up

And I’ll breathe this sorry
In the way I thank you for each lift to ballet lessons
Each ounce you help me to retrieve
Each starvelling tear you leech from me
Each good day you wish me
Each good day you will ask me for
Each finger you raise to close the gap
Between our two magnetic fields

Sometimes words are not big enough to express the things that drown them

Translation: I never meant to break the umbilical cord
MereCat Aug 2015
Trying to find
Profound things to say
About the escaping day
Swimming like those bubbles
You blew as a kid into the garden sky
About endings and capture
And letting pretty birds fly

The sky folds into grey
Peach slashes between ceilings

He names each nook and cranny of the coast
As it shuffles imperceptibly closer
“Ever thought of sailing places?”
And just like that
Father to eldest son
He p
The sea into him

“Sometimes it good to be home”
She says of the chalk cliffs
And the purplest of greens
Bruising the horizon
Like the boat that I wrote this from, I'm not quite sure where it's heading
MereCat Jul 2015
Dear God,

Do you want me to be grateful
for the way the clouds curl around each other
like ringlets falling from a hairband?
Because I will be, if you want.
And if I tell you the truth
I think I’m going to have to be
because I can’t find any other thing so beautiful.
I’m looking at the world through a view-finder
and I can’t find much that’s pretty these days.

My calf is pressed against the calf of a girl
who I considered for years to be a best friend of mine.
She felt empty
and so she inflated herself with
hot air and “banter” with no meaning.
“***** Please” and “Ohmygod” and “*******”
spew from her awkward, Christian mouth
and I wonder whether she scooped her insides out
like pumpkin flesh
and inserted somebody new there in her place
like a candle in a jack'o'lantern.
Somebody who doesn’t have the time for me.
So I give up on our small talk
and decide not to interrupt her mobile phone;
I feel the back of her head like a headache.

“Mum’s sweated off four-hundred-and-seventy-six calories today”
she tells me and I ask her how she knows.
“She’s a got a tag thingy, you know. I have too.”

I can’t bear the sound of calories.
They are nails on all my chalkboards
and they are the wrong-footed *****
that tolls in church.

I lower my gaze to the absent-minded mother
whose fingers climb into her pram
to draw circles on the baby’s scalp.
She stirs my thoughts with them.
I think I’ve come a long way since
I started this prayer,
since my eyes hit the clouds.

Someone once told me that the thing he hated above all else
was greed
because greed is a bonfire that hungers without ever feeling full.
And who reminded me that
power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

We got the greed we hungered for.

And it corrupted us absolutely.

For it is by greed that the ice caps
are sweating off more calories
than the girls in their gym shorts.

It is by greed that they cannot rest
until they have peeled their thighs far enough apart
and by greed that they’ve been lured into the propaganda store
to buy themselves diets.

It is by greed that we cannot look our world in the eye
and greed that necessitates the use of a microscope lens
to distance us from the damage we cause.

It is by greed that we underline the little problems
to cover up the big ones
and it is greed that enables us to find offense in the weather forecast.

It is greed that has shrunk my values into a cage of bitter ribs
and greed that provoked my self-righteous verbal slaughter
of that friend I no longer know.

It is by greed that we started deciding that land belonged to people –
that finders were keepers, as long as they were white –
instead of the earth it consists of.

It is by greed that we doggedly avoid breaking our routines apart
to fit other factors into them.

It is by greed that righteousness
and ******
fall into step
on the path towards a religion that God can’t condone.

It is by greed that fascism and communism
eclipse one another and meld into one.

It is by greed that the old woman opposite
refuses to share her seat or even her smile
with a human under the age of thirty.

It is by greed that kids have bullets in them
and mothers are shot full of infection
and the water runs dry
through the dripping tap we didn’t fix in our bathroom.

It is by greed that I sit on a bus
and shift my problem onto our backs
with my view-finder.

And yeah,
I still see some beauty when I look for it
but I see beauty like a picture postcard
that an angry kid took a hole punch to.
It got so torn up but we refuse to put it under a light
in order to avoid seeing just how many gaps we’ve made.
Recently I’ve noticed this postcard’s
got too many holes in it to be able to see
what the picture once was.
There’s more absent than present
and, sure, we’ve still got our itty-bitty blue-sky-days
between the punctures,
but the grime and the guilt seeps out
like the air we drove our dreams on.

What a mess we inflicted, I think.

There’s a ceiling light in our toilet that attracts flies to it.
They fly in and burn up
and the lamp bowl fills with insect corpses
until you can’t see through them anymore.
We’re like that.
Flies go suicide bombing
and ***** things up
with the clutter they leave behind them.
as long as the dead stay in their graves,
they don’t bother the rest.
We look up at the ceiling
and don’t change the lightbulb.

How many people does it take to change a lightbulb?

We like looking at our world from the atmosphere;
we observe it from the internet,
believing that we stand on the moon,
too far away to touch the gashes we’ve torn.
We don’t like looking at the way the blood runs;
we tuck it under our fingernails instead
and hope no one holds us accountable.

When I come home I snap at my mum
because I am so struck by the brokenness of what I’m dealing with
that I cannot have her ask me how my day was.
Because I cannot complain about the weather
but I need to
because our family conversation is not big enough
to grapple with the magnitude of the genuine complaints I have.
Because I cannot simply tell her that I hate America
or feel comfortable praying her this prayer.
So I tell her “OK” and she rolls her eyes at the kettle.

So I’ve got my dish-cloth heart
and the rain starts to spit at us
with tears that are heavy enough to weep the things I can’t shed.

Wash me clean, rain… heaven… God,
because most people put ***** dishcloths in the bin
not the washing machine.
my thoughts on the bus today
MereCat Jun 2015
he weeps in that subtle way
whereby the crumbs of grief
shaken from his eyelids
are caught by his thumbs
and his head shakes
like a kite chewed by a tree
he's all trembles and tremors
and he quakes
like his body breaks
when tectonic plates collide
he surveys the carpet and the shoelaces
the way that all librarians know their places
the books return to their stands and their spaces and
he keeps his fear in the crook of his tongue
and eyes hook him like bait
that's there for the taking
he pulls with veined hands
at the ashen strands of his afro
they've seen more years evaporate
than they've seen tears
because his eyes and sacked and
the corners of his cornered collar
escape his clasp as he cracks
among the shelves
like dropped eggs
and window panes
and dancers' legs
and weather vanes spun too hard
he gets a should touch like
a stroke through the wire of a rabbit hutch
and he sits beside closed ears
that pretend to listen to the clutch of his fingers
on his forehead

he leaves and they rearrange the chairs
remove the water glass
and erase the marks
of where his heart has passed
Exam study leave means that I was in the library this morning and I was upstairs looking down the stairwell at the help desk below and I saw this.
MereCat May 2015
She’s yours for a song
So little to ask
She’ll offer you smiles made
Of paper and glass
She’s yours for a song
Too perfect to miss
All she is charging is
Two bars of one kiss
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