if i make it through this winter
then i can learn to live alone
my tea grows cold while i hold it
talking to your ghost
hurt past the point of healing
comfortably numb, but always bleeding
i’d swallow my tongue to keep from speaking
living with your ghost
count your lucky stars
before they’re plucked from the skies
like ships capsizing in the night
like astray cat’s eyes
as we careen from green hills
with purpose and pride
driving through the night
diving into rising tides
count your lucky scars
if you live long enough to heal them
before you’ve even noticed
you’ve outgrown your bed of roses
you’re holding onto omens
keys to doors that never open
you place faith in the wrong gods
black cats hold mass in your street
you let strangers steal your faces
you hear cracks in concrete speak
cross your heart and hope to die
or count your lucky stars
i wish i could be buried in the winter
with the bones of the old hounds
below the broken windowsill
in the garden of my old house
where we grew sunflowers
where i lay through the summers
beneath the swaying branches
wishing i were someone else
home is a hell you keep to yourself
home is a hell you carry
you keep the key to hell on your belt
and you meet me here after work
it’s cold so we sleep with our clothes on
i say mean things until the conversations ends
we sit in silence and wish i were dead
you place your vases neatly on the lower shelves
i let the flowers arrange themselves
we talk over coffee as if we’re old friends
we sit in silence and wish i were dead
biting, split, bleeding, brisk
cracked lipped kisses with our
vicious morning breath
enamour me, as if the words burn
on the tip of my blistering tongue
i'm so full of stifling love i've begun
bursting at the seams,
i want to be back between those
freezing cold sweat soaked bedsheets
with frostbitten feet, chattering teeth,
cold hives the size of icebergs,
i find it hard to breathe
in the sweltering heat because
you make me blush
we play cat’s cradle
with the red strings
tied around our fingertips
and think maybe they got tangled
in the branches of the sycamore trees
that line the street you grew up on
or got caught in a knot of tin can telephone
wires that wind from windowsill to
windowsill across the avenues you
learned to ride a bike on.
if we lift the pinky strings
to our ears, i pray we’ll hear
the same kids whispering
whatever secrets and rumours
they’ve picked up from bathroom stalls.
i don’t believe the hearsay, or ghost stories
there’s no such thing as destiny
but i wish i could trace this red string
tied around my fingertips
and find you on the other end.
from my car in motion i saw
some shivering silhouette
with a soft glow like
the last drop of sunlight
breaking on the horizon
or a black cloud with a silver lining
head in hands, weeping into their palms
on the opposite end of a short tunnel
for a fraction of a second
and i was green with envy
over all of their emotion.
sick to my stomach of the apathetic
reluctancy to feel anything worthy of tears
if i could throw it all up,
and let it cover my skin
like a sick filled spit fountain
or acid rain
then at least i’d feel disgusted.
melancholy eyes glaze over
the old honeycomb wallpaper pattern
and the mottled ceiling, paint peeling
noting every crevice in your new apartment
my consciousness dips in and out
of every nook and cranny, catching
fragments of the conversation.
you should always be the centre of attention.
i'd tried to entertain the notion, you'd noticed
my eyes in the ceiling and ushered me back
to the boring evening tea room with a gentle
fingertip or two pressed to my wrist.
do you wish you were somewhere else?
would you read my tea leaves and tell me,
what does the future hold for us?
sticky kisses for the missus just
to prove that i'm no wuss
and if it tastes good enough for you
it's good enough for me too.
don't you miss the blissful ignorance
chinese whispers and rumours
written on the tarmac in chalk
for the wind to pick up
and carry on to other schoolyards
eat lots of pineapple, it'll make you taste good.
did she eat ten a penny aniseed sweets for me?
she seeps liquid liquorice
that binds my teeth in a bittersweet grimace
stretching from ear to ear. she hates the taste
and i hate to share my just desserts.
innocence is a burden that burns
like empty lungs, and no breathing in
again until i get what i want,
bad enough to make the children
want to **** themselves. when they want
sticky kisses before bedtime.
don't waste your breath
telling me to get better, talk ***** to me
don't hold your breath
hoping i try to help myself.
if you're going to hold my neck
hold it a lot tighter than that,
don't forget to push down
on my windpipe with your palm,
we're wrapped up in these bedsheets
because i want you to hurt me.
i want to see the rope burn on my wrists glisten
where it's begun to tear away at my flesh
and i like to feel real tangible knots
when i'm ******* in self loathing.
i struggle to find the line between
lovesick and depressed or
being a *******. what's the big difference.
either way i wake up with bruised
blue lips and oxygen deprivation,
and fresh linens wet with singeing liquids,
and a pain in my stomach or lungs that means
i'm still breathing slightly.
i wanted you to **** me.
seven shades of **** and puke
stuck to the soles of my shoes,
eight days straight drunk before noon.
new flat, new friends,
all blowing smoke and jostling me
through musky basement staircases
into dismal dust filled rooms.
where you're waiting for me with
this heavy fog that clogs my pours and follicles
making me feel dumb and unclean.
making my words wet and sticky,
they cling to life unyielding,
falling at my feet, falling short of expressing
their own inadequacy.
and i shuffle uncomfortably around
in the puddle of my words. they
stick to the soles of my shoes like puke,
and the stench summarises me perfectly.
please never tell me like father like son
every male role model i had
has killed someone once,
before or after i was born.
i didn't know. growing up
i had inherited a disposition for knife fights
i didn't have long arms, i had bulging veins
but i loved to see my blood spurt,
my red mist is going to stain your teeth
breathe it all in while i writhe in pain.
dear daddy save me. show me compassion.
show me we're capable. or call me weak.
i dream of empathy through the light
of a lead pipe. use it to bruise me and
cave in my head.
learning my father has killed people was difficult, but he is quite lovely really.
it's a slow burn, easy to ignore
you're slowly sinking into
the teeth of your bedsprings.
you don't hate the sun but you
don't remember asking it to rise.
you enjoyed last night but tonight
it might not be so easy to fall asleep.
and if it is then you've not left your bed
for the best part of a week,
it's been one of the worst weeks in
you don't hate the night but you
don't remember asking the sun to set,
your eyes have just become
accustomed to the light.
you're slowly sinking into
the teeth of your bedsprings.
you're not even eating, you'll lose
all strength in your arms
and when you want to get up
and you want to shower
and you want to eat
and you want to feel clean
and you want to breathe fresh air
you'll be trapped in your mattress
with the bedsprings wrapped around
your spinal chord.
it's a slow burn, it's easy to ignore.
i want you to know
when you don't write back
i fill in the blank pages myself
and you say terrible things.
i write 'til white paper turns black and
every word drips with the vindictive
spit that rolls right off your tongue
like it's natural. like you're filled to the brim
with venom, and it spills from the tip
of your fountain pen.
and then i remember when
i receive a letter that isn't laced with
my insecurities, there's not a bad bone
in your body. i see you smiling
and all the venom drains from your teeth.
i remember why i'm so scared
of losing touch.
write back soon.
augustine, what have you done to me?
i should feel wildfires without guilt
i should tremble on the cusp between
wishing i could be entirely consumed
and wishing i could erupt.
we should shiver without fear
of melting retribution.
god can hold the candle that drips
hot wax on my nape,
i don't believe they hate what they create.
augustine, you've made me unclean.
we spend hours smearing acid between two
bodies, don't we erode our impurities?
struggle between religion and human nature
i just want to be invited to the funeral.
i'll buy a new suit. sunday best.
take the train to london
by myself. take some time to reflect.
stand at the back if that's better
i'll probably avoid meeting your family
because i'll still feel guilty.
about romanticising my own suicide
and telling you death was beautiful,
when i knew that you were just as unhealthy
as me. i was a black miasma.
noxious laughing gas.
i'll bring flowers for your coffin
if they survive the train ride.
the last thing i said to you was
how i felt like falling in love
so i could cultivate a broken heart
and finally **** myself,
you were always one step ahead.
you're never too young
to have dead friends.
we take it in turn to read
every headline and obituary
just in case you turn up
while the police are out searching
for your body.
we tracked you to a train station
at five fourty five am this morning,
we'd spoken on the phone
for as long as i'd known you
but now dial tones don't
i'm almost certain every photograph that
you ever sent was of a different person
so who am i supposed to miss
and which face will i mourn?
i believe my friend killed themselves this morning. going to be hard to digest. it was a complicated relationship but they helped me through a lot.
i like to see how far the razor
can reach underneath my skin
before i pass the callouses
and slip into my bloodstream.
i'm a fountain of youth
with leaks and bruises
where the years come seeping
out slowly. and if only you'd notice
you could grab hold of it
and squeeze the life right out of me.
perhaps into a glass flask and burner
and let it bubble away on your workbench
find out why it didn't sit right inside me
and how you can harness its energy
so i can give back to the earth
instead of ******* all my days away
playing with my blood.
i'll split my ribcage
to show you how i work
if you promise not to laugh
or look repulsed.
i'm so used to cutting you open and
stretching your very heartstrings
to relieve a little tension
without you even asking
that i can create that incision blindfolded,
but when i need sutures
for a lone rose coloured ****,
i ask and you're gone.
i'm prepared to rip my ribcage apart
but you have to get a grip
of the knotted pulpous mess my organs have become
over decades of neglect
when they erupt from my chest
and sprawl at your feet.
your cherry lip gloss packs a punch.
i never wanted to sober up
from that punch drunk lust.
prom night while i lie on my left side
i hear tinnitus flirting with my right ear
she breathes into me heavily
the memory that you've been here and
i'll never feel pain like that again.
so i'll bite into my own lip until i come to understand
that wet metallic sensation
and the throbbing skin that
open letters left to gather mould
but i'll still lick the glue on the
underside of the envelope when i
muster up enough guts to send my reply.
then i'll write to you
about the fungus that grows in my lungs
and the days that i've been coughing up blood
because if you're worried about my health
you're sure to write back soon.
i resort to dead flesh and scarlet chests
to get the slightest hint of affection,
sometimes it works and it's worrying
because you really shouldn't care about me.
we spilled my thoughts
into a thousand coffee cups
across your bedroom floor and
we drank them all.
all that night i stared through your skylight
searching for a constellation big enough
to describe us.
when the ice breaks beneath our feet
will you wake up next to me
in the hospital bed?
with an intravenous drip in
your forearm again.
the aroma of ammonia perforates my
limbic system and emotions and memories
just gush into me relentlessly,
sheer bliss funnels through
the corridors and chemical stores
and finds its rest in my room.
the walls are moist with dopamine.
my bones could break with the weight of
this happiness and it'd only drag on
i'd wake up laughing and it made
hospitals remind me of my childhood and the smell induces an awkward blissful nostalgic feeling.
i left the party.
everything felt better when i got some
running water underneath my feet
and felt the brisk winds kiss my rosy cheeks,
the only thing i need brushing up against me.
looking down i found
the riverbeds and arches were laced
with fleeting reflections of fireflies.
i'm missing the meteor shower tonight
sitting in the village square i come to
when i'm sick to my stomach of staring up
and not seeing a single twinkling light.
because pollution has plucked the stars
from my city's night skies.
there's a street corner over a city or two
where we could see falling stars perfectly
in the graveyard or by the nelson monument.
somewhere much more romantic.
how by chewing wildflowers
til your tongue turns numb because
you're enamoured by the way it sounds
when you slur your words.
your gums turn black and
when you smile all i see is
pips and petals stuck between your teeth.
oh you're so pretty.
you're a real loose cannon, tendrils
tethered to every orifice and
every breath smells a little more
like the grim reaper is sleeping
in your mouth. i can see he's
making quick work of your gums.
but it works.
better that than he move into your chest
or burrow any further
in your head.
roses are red but
romance is dead, so what use
is counting petals?
whether they come in waves
or they come in cascades,
let your emotions wash over you
or you'll float through life only seeing what's on the surface
i breathe in the feeling of inadequacy
because it's fresh and it's crisp
and it's the most bittersweet taste to grace my lips
when all i breathe out is stale air.
my head hits mahogany while i wait
but when my screen radiates light
and the beams bounce off
all of my off white walls
you illuminate my world
millennial love story
feel free to knock out a few
of your sweet teeth,
so you can get down to business
drinking this bitter bean juice
i keep screaming that it's just. not. smart.
if you keep cutting ties, you'll never get a job.
for one thing,
short ties look unprofessional
you'll not make much of an adult
without some more support
you need to put yourself out there
and find it on your own
the real world is scary
if the window cleaner would dig a little deeper
and you were less blinded by the shine of my bleached teeth
i'm sure it would be clear
skim the surface of the body,
still completely overwhelmed.
feel inclined to dive inside,
reside upon the brim.
lily pads meander in
the tear gland of my eye.
i had sought to feed off that
which preys into the autumns
and was myself a parasite,
a meagre knot of pond ****.
in birth i wake
with an overbearing taste
of salt in my mouth.
people are the worst,
i don't want to be one.
but misandry is misdirected
a lack of perspective.
people are the persons
that make up the waves
of eyes and mouths
that i wade into in birth.
and one gentle tide will
wash upon the shore,
that carries me to sea
and i'll be willing to go.
i was assured in birth
sitting down in the shower
cliché but appealing,
if i could feel a fraction
of the feelings that they're feeling,
the things i've been hearing since
the day i grew ears.
looking for reasons to love yourself
in someone else's clothes.
every year that passes
i've managed to convince myself
was just another mid life crisis,
because i'd be overwhelmed
with another fifteen, twenty years
or how long can a person last
convinced they'll find a romance
that distracts from how they hate themselves.
— The End —