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Aug 2020 · 83
Scarlet Niamh Aug 2020
I spend too long thinking about words.
About what to say, when to say it,
When to get the words out of my head
That choke me, suffocate me,
Put me in desperation,
Sadness, need, greed.
I shove them down my throat and hope
They will keep me going for a while.
I consume my language quick
So I can't move or breathe or see,
Words filling me from tip to toe.
On a vacant breath I will spill into your mouth
My poetry and lust, predate upon
Your silence. Know that this is just
Almost over.
Jul 2018
Scarlet Niamh Aug 2020
Sticky trappy honey, I am a fly -
Hungry, greedy, drowning in you.
I would like to see you again.
I think about your mouth
More often than I can laugh away.
Your eyes and limbs linger gently
After I leave for the night.
I noticed the slow peel of your eyes
Leaving mine, the reluctance and weight
Of the motion. Is this not in my head?
The touch of your hand brands me,
White hot metal flaring against my wrists.
I think about you when I'm alone,
Can hear your accent tilting
Over the shape of my name.
I stand close to you and look at my feet,
Go home and write about you
Like you're someone else.
Aug 2020 · 59
Sn n napping
Scarlet Niamh Aug 2020
Shifting panes,
I drop the channels,
We are an island.
Stranded, docked horizons.
I think I was once better
than I am now.
You asked me where I was
but I don't remember,
but I don't,
except for the body somewhere between
my hands and my shoulders.
I wish I was being eaten alive,
teeth on my shoulders again as they were,
as they were a hundred times before.
I think about you all the time,
cry your name into the sheets,
snapped under the weight of it, of all of it.
You keep touching my hair,
circles on my knees,
but I think I'm a distance
scuffed over and over onto the walls.
I can't bring myself to move.
Hazy nights again,
I don't know where I was, how I got here.
I wish I could kiss you quietly
with no avail, no consequence
or release,
but you touch my hands and I'm away again,
somewhere far away inside.
Raining all the time,
unstable, agitated,
it always keeps me close to you
Nov 2019
Aug 2020 · 58
Scarlet Niamh Aug 2020
Discarded memory pursues and abandons,
a sour scent falling
through an empty room.
Tired, unwanted, I rest within
grieving borders, edges crumpled
in agony. Pillows cradle heads,
and lights go dark to hide their shame.
Staring into the darkness of a blank
wall, I clench my jaw.

Forgotten, repressed, are the details
of what happened, swimming now
in viscous history. Yet still
the pressure, fear and betrayal,
bellow through with agony.
My tongue passes my lips
to taste familiar salinity,
I am blinded by red walls
and boxes on the floor.

Did I really lose an island?
A bloom of flowers?
I can recall a light, a youth,
something I had before.
But I am now
isolated, guarded and hostile.
The water is gone,
I am lost in the dry sand.
Apr 2020
Aug 2020 · 69
It's starting again.
Scarlet Niamh Aug 2020
Sunday morning, dark and grey,
Coming home from December.
I can feel myself wasting away.
Look down, the skin is a mystery,
All I see is the history.
Too much history.
For a moment, I forgot.

The ******* the furthest right,
Skin too thin and preciously white,
She was in the hospital.
I want to be that way.
Six and half a dozen,
It was all a bit of nothing
Until my bones started breaking
For no reason,
No reason at all.

Too far from home,
From what I know.
Not the hands touching me,
Every night from before I was ready,
The trauma in a bedroom
Hanging icy on the air.
A name on a label hanging hanging
Icy on the air.
Packaged hands waiting
Behind university doors,
A kind face telling me to come in
As I hesitate in the open door.
Do I remember the way,
Can I really run faster?

I don't see him anymore,
Not since summer.
We sat on the shore,
I almost hated him,
Hated myself instead.
It never takes long.
There must be something wrong
With me.
Went home to the city.
I didn't sleep.
Jan 2020
Aug 2020 · 65
Scarlet Niamh Aug 2020
I stared at her all night
before she came to speak to me.
No such thing as lost time.
I imagined what it would be like
to kiss her, and despite her anger
I knew she would come.
I didn't have the taste on my lips
but it filled my mouth the same way
it always did. She had her head
in her hands on the beach that day.
I couldn't stop staring.
Like a dream that is endless, relentless,
she laughs on the doorstep and waits
to be invited in. She walked me home,
held me close for a time,
but left me alone again.
Excitement clings, her bones strong
against every edge of memory,
every nerve and eyelid.
Every line on my hand follows
the curve of her thigh,
deafening and beautiful.
She makes me small and insignificant.
For a time, I was in love.
Aug 2020 · 129
March 24th, 2020.
Scarlet Niamh Aug 2020
Everything is uncertain, and has been
for some time now. Panic on the air,
we rush across an empty city
in a daze, hoping we didn’t forget
the important things. I left
the freezer on. The taste
of dust in my mouth, I forget
what day it is, am consumed
by the stress of curfew, distance
and isolation.
Aug 2020 · 43
Teeth Trace Skin
Scarlet Niamh Aug 2020
When your teeth trace my skin,
and lovers' worries seem to disappear
beneath tides of lust and gin,
I am most myself.
Sweet daffodil memory
tied between eyes shut wide,
seep in, soft nectar.
The branches twist through me
and sway to the flow of your breath.
Children fawn over one another,
crashing and tilting all
through the darkness. You leave
a honeysuckle trace, bittersweet
and barely tangible.
You always have to leave,
but still remains the scent
woven through my body.
I close my eyes and drink in
the sweetness all around.
It lingers between my eyes.
Jan 2020
Aug 2020 · 83
Good Things.
Scarlet Niamh Aug 2020
All good things
They tend to fade
Leave you reeling
It’s no simple feeling

Like some silly coincidence
It flutters in the distance
I never saw you again

They prayed the night you left
I stood under the temple lights
Never felt a thing
Waited for you to come
Through the heavy doors

The trees won’t speak
Not like they used to
Your alto song whispers
In the forest that festers
With the age of you
The age of you
Dec 2019
Aug 2020 · 42
Light Pollution.
Scarlet Niamh Aug 2020
Far on my right, I can feel a sense of presence
lurking between your eyes.
You make me sort of crazy.
I feel like an insect in the moss,
ethereal worlds all around,
choking me, enveloping me,
whirling every other direction in the tangerine wind.
I fall into you every day.
7pm again and I don’t remember the date.
The bright of your eyes is whizzing away,
trees are peppered like windows with spray
by citrus scents blooming under a Scottish sky.
Your head always fits into mine,
we’re dancing and I hear the tune you’re singing inside,
an echo, a little breeze, subdued and quiet,
vaguely entering the room.
Echoes in the hallways, these walls hold no place.
Your arms around me are a city,
loud, relentless,
a ring of light pollution
hanging around restless sleep, tapping feet,
all of this just another haze
or darker phase come to take me away
from this place I have grown used to.
Paranoid and half-dreaming,
I'm not sure if you're somewhere behind me,
always writing love songs,
or if you're still only stringing me along.
I wait like paper under needle
weighing down the rest, nerves float into my chest
and I didn't hear what you said to me
in the breaks between the strings.
I am sometimes stuck,
motionless and out of sync,
suspended in the air we breathe.
I dream of living within you,
of how it would be to see the lonely tree
from your eyes,
the one with the leaves that emerge from nothing.
I think you also feel done in like a winter glare,
cold shadows going nowhere.
I think you know what it is to be a shard
of the blue, unwatched and unknown.
I only feel alone when I'm with you.
I know it's the same.
Dec 2019
Aug 2020 · 43
Scarlet Niamh Aug 2020
I didn't dream of you in particular
but there were flashes of you everywhere,
racing through my mind.
Snippets of poetry unspoken, unwritten,
I know they are lucid and true
somewhere. somewhere.
I wish I had asked you to stay,
for when I lay without you
I swarmed with unknown desires,
pulled you close inside and for the first time
since before valentine's, I slept the entire night.
And I wished so vividly for the ocean sound
of swelling breath to linger, gentle and fleeting,
in the warmth above my lips,
hearing again you whispering my name,
fingers tracing histories on my thigh,
sending shivers down my spine
Nov 2019
Scarlet Niamh Aug 2020
I don't feel much when I'm with you,
But it's a lullaby that will do for now,
A lilting swaying song bowing at the knees,
Stuffy and overbearing.
I'm a line hanging on the horizon
Endless, muted,
You chew me up and spit me out,
Viscous paper foaming on the tarmac,
A receipt glued to the window,
Discarded next to bins
With a plastic ocean,
And I'm floating away,
Further and further from you,
On a whisper of cellophane
Lulling me to sleep at night.
Lurking in corners, I sit foot under foot,
Dreaming of wider eyes.
Less to offer is all I want for myself
And us becomes them, something else
That I don't think I want anymore
As long as I can have someone to hold me,
Someone that my heart breaks for
Twice daily like clockwork
Oct 2019
Aug 2020 · 57
Scarlet Niamh Aug 2020
I shovel the endless yellow ocean
and I am the rug, the floorboards,
opening and closing beneath quiet feet.  
Skipping stones and drifting tones, the world is quiet
and uneven, full of meadows and sadness.
Children jump through the bright haze
like lovers to conclusions, heavy with dulcet words
and poetry. I watch their edges blur
as they ricochet off one another
and I can barely remember.
neither here nor elsewhere; I am okay,
a feather on the waves. Something of a memory
shifts across the surface, glinting on my tongue,
and leaves again faster than before.
Woven with the wool resting on your eyes,
I am sure that your bonds are my bonds,
but skin is soft and isolation climbs underneath it.
I am a horizon endlessly unravelling
and you are an echo of a distance I can no longer recall
Nov 2019
Aug 2020 · 47
Nov 2019
Scarlet Niamh Aug 2020
Limbs on my limbs, back to my back,
fingers dancing everywhere.
The hair on my arms is tall.
I don't know what it means
that last night I dreamt of you standing
in the cold, October night, breathing smoke,
that safety lives in the weight of your head
on my shoulder. Whispering into my ear
all of the beautiful things your heart feels,
I am lonely and unseen. That heavy feeling
only seems to fade when it's your heart
beating next to my heart. I almost love you
in the dim lights, the taste of a name written
between your eyes, the way I loved her,
recklessly and without abandon.
I see your eyes shining so bright,
so close to mine,
and I wonder how the world would be
written in your broken verse.
Splinters and thorns, I split apart.
I leave over and over again,
I no longer remember the way.
Aug 2020 · 46
Scarlet Niamh Aug 2020
Crooked, narrow heart. Blazing bright,
right through the gaps and slats
on the way to the rippling waves
of breath. Eyes are tilted in laughter,
discreet and unassuming.
Subtle glances, warm skin,
touching again.
Magnets on a countertop
Fistfuls of skin.
I can't get close enough.
Deafening quiet eyes looking into me,
nowhere to go except into you.
Mar 2020
Aug 2020 · 54
Scarlet Niamh Aug 2020
Eyes closed in darkness,
burning and twisting feelings
call to me.
That dance we do when we're together,
childish and insecure,
soaked through
from the blue, grey, blue.
We watch it rolling,
dull, heavy and silent,
in the intermissions,
eyes open and breath fast.
Our bodies flutter closer
in confusion,
My feet won't meet the earth.
Two eyes beam and glimmer
in the dirt, a deep,
white blindness, and they scatter me
all at once, render me wild
and impatient.
Lonely birds are quiet,
The mountains are consumed
by an advancing sky.
Nothing is singing.
Trees echo over a white world,
limbs crawling over the earth,
a single cry playing on repeat
until it slowly fades away.
Oct 2019
Aug 2020 · 40
My father. Dec 2017.
Scarlet Niamh Aug 2020
I wait for the lights to turn down but they burn my eyelids.
I hear animals scurry into the darkness that I am waiting for.
Aching limbs, strained eyes, tension,
The soothing words grind between my teeth patiently.
I wait to be grounded, by the soil in my toes
Or the light passing between my fingers.
The time filters away, washes my feet with tenderness
And begs me not to go back to the city.
Although formless and absent, it sings sweetly
And reminds me of my loneliness.
Maybe I will stay for a little while longer
Archiving my old notebook.
Scarlet Niamh Oct 2019
I am an aroma trapped in the haze,
So sweet and friendly like the taste of decay.
I know that I am sciatica and sage,
Reminiscent of an older age.
I feel like a cherry tree falling apart,
Season after season, a forest of art,
And candles burn in the bottoms of hearts,
Chocolate and smoke on the steps in the dark.
I can taste the fire on your mouth
And all the birds are flying south
But I can't bring myself to look at you. Not now,
Or maybe ever,
Because through this earth we've come together
And how do I know that two birds of feather
Can fly over mountains and valleys and heather
Without falling apart? Words over eyes,
I am blinded by the sun in the sky.
I was fog and shadow 'til you parted the vines
But what if this feeling that I had tonight
Is just your voice ringing in my ears,
Tinnitus, words that carry my fears.
The taste of your name is wild and fierce
Like the rowan or rose or stacks on the piers.
I am tripping and falling over all that is clear
In the water. So cold.
So cold, I have nowhere to go.
I am drowning in a world of all that I know.
I no longer have a place of my own,
I remember the scent of your laughter and prose
And I am all alone.
I am devastation, like sorrow and lies,
And I will crumble and wither until the reprise
Yet, despite your mouth being so close to mine,
I don't know what the touch of your hand implies.
I am lesser than you.
The shadows are warping, the valleys are blue.
My tongue is caught on the taste of the yew,
The water is rising like prayers on the pews.
Collapsed and free, I'm tumbling through
The oceans, the ashes, a lark full of rue.
Oct 2019 · 270
Blue Grey Blue
Scarlet Niamh Oct 2019
Two days have passed since I last dreamt of you.
Lights appear before me and my eyes glare,
oceans, diamonds, blinding brightness filling me
to the brim. Eyes closed in the darkness,
I feel those heart feelings calling to me
once again, burning and twisting
in that dance we do when we’re together.
That blue, grey, blue mist,
heavy as the silence upon us; we watch
it rolling closer in the intermissions, eyes open
and breath fast, bodies fluttering closer in confusion.
Lonely birds are quiet and unnerving,
and nothing sings as the mountains disappear
into a lilac sky, white limbs devouring the forest,
edges of trees echoing through the blank earth.
I hear you bouncing and gleaming in the blindness,
that deep, white blindness, and you scatter me
all at once, render me wild and impatient.
I see your hands in her hair, shadowing
Josephine, the colour of your skin rippling
through the room. How do I tell you
that I am a dead end and you are a valley?
Petals on the river, in my hands, my feet,
I feel you leaving
all over again.
Sep 2019 · 758
Scarlet Niamh Sep 2019
The sun is in her eyes as she glides
through the trees, her hair tangled
with ocean, and she is extraordinary.
Looking at her, I am stranded
in that musical way, only a leaf
floating on a wide, wide river.
She swims beneath.
Miles away, I hear the winds reciting
her name, and even in September, she is a summer
watching the rains appear, reappear,
birds flocking in confusion.
I close my eyes and line the pages
with constellations, see the stars murmuring
on her forehead. Gold glimmers
in front of her eyes, my eyes,
and I am no one, nowhere.
Aug 2019 · 298
Breaking at the Stem
Scarlet Niamh Aug 2019
I came from the old times dancing on a
hillside which toppled into lakes, tipping
down into endless valleys of green and
blue, my hands in the palms of a stranger.
I kissed him under fog as the oil rigs
skittered across the water, finches swooping
to protect their young. As a laughing melody
hummed between us, electric and satisfied,
I felt our hands shining so brightly in
the darkness around. I sang an old song
in the woods and it echoed back to me.

Roots run deep and wild. At first they lay quiet,
toes buried in moss, and I wondered if
the leaf felt my touch as silken, smooth as
water, or jagged as the stones beneath
it. And then they were livid, raging, boiling
under the surface as I stood above
screaming water, churning the earth from the
edges of the river, eating away
at the land I was bound to. Desolate
and sodden, I faltered on the borders
of my home town, longing for the heaviness
of salt to catch on my tongue once more.

And then I changed, or grew, and forgot what
it was I had lost. Now, looking down upon
empty forests, I no longer remember
the song they are singing, yet I hear the scent
of a dead earth, the sound of a mushroom
breaking at the stem. Lying on lamenting
sands, I feel a droplet land on my cheek
and, for a moment, feel a whisper
of home. Carrying my feet from the meadows,
I'll mutter softly, singing my melody alone.
Aug 2019 · 384
Scarlet Niamh Aug 2019
How I feel, it's a sin, longing to be
something I've lost again. I can't find your
eyes in the crowd, yet the burn of your hands
still lingers on mine as our fingers reach out
across a breath of wind, desperate, calling
through the abyss, calling to be heard.
Blundering and old, I have begun to
long for you in that ancient, harmonious
way, mouth wide open, feet swinging
high above the ground. In between wisps of
dreams, I feel your hands in my hair telling
me all the secrets of the world, dark eyes
shining through the confusion. You
unravel me and leave me glowing on
the horizon, my body turned to ice
under invisible hands. Your trickling
words weigh me down, stick to my skin like tar
and feathers, itching. In silence, I can
taste the ghost of you on my tongue, honeycomb
bursting between my fingers. You crumble
before me, sugar on my limbs, but I
can't get the bitter taste out of my mouth.
I feel you echoing over my skin
and, for a moment, the warm of your breath
blazes on my lips. And then we fade,
dissipate, cold hands grasping at the sheets,
whimpers bouncing over the grey waves.
Jun 2018 · 1.3k
To the Bone
Scarlet Niamh Jun 2018
To the bone I am becoming,
losing track of what I wanted to be,
I'll find myself being pencilled in
with grayscale tones painted over me.

To the bone I am becoming,
break my fingers, my limbs and my soul,
you'll touch me as you wish, burning me thin,
'til I'm fragile - no parts of a whole.

To the bone, I am becoming,
even though I'm desperate to try,
because all I can taste is your hands on my skin
and bitter and dark was the fight.

To the bone, I am becoming,
I'm addicted to losing control.
My bedroom is littered with matchsticks and gin,
To the bone
To the bone
To the bone.
~~ Trying, failing, rinse and repeat. ~~
May 2018 · 458
Scarlet Niamh May 2018
Vulnerable years gave me sound advice
and I turn it over in my mind.
The advantage of sadness took my voice,
crumbled it,
sealed away my words
and left me to become unusually communicative
in my own reserved ways.
I understand that I maintain habits of a curious nature,
that I make you the victim
of sleep, preoccupation, hostility.
I know the secret griefs of your wild, unknown hands.
The way you love me
is laced with plagiarism and gesture,
filled with opposite alphabets and slurred speech.
I may be destitute and old
but my skin will weep for you,
my body will be soft,
my words will linger like syrup
in the cracks of your palms.
After an unknown point,
I won’t care what I’m made of.
Judging you is constant waiting and infinite hope.
I am certain that my decency will become snobbery,
that my tolerance will fade
and I will become impatient.
East from here, west from here,
is the sun – uniform, under intricate attention.
If I am the unbroken chain
of successful gestures,
my body is but betrayal
waiting to be unearthed.
Will my repulsive nature
disturb your peace,
the way you rest so unattainable, so beautiful?
What foul dust floats in the wake of your limbs,
so close to the useless sorrows of younger men?
It was a prominent, descending tradition
of pride and fault.
You were supposed to look like him,
a delayed man from long ago,
the centre of the world.
You bubble and boil and brood
and I make you restless
in a warm, wide season.
Too warm, too wide.
~~ She had bright eyes and a low, thrilling voice. ~~
Mar 2018 · 533
Scarlet Niamh Mar 2018
I remember the morning being bitter,
harsh wind bruising my forearms,
skin prickled and rough.
I had cruelty within me until I saw you
and my body shifted in time,
dimensions warping
around my self,
the fabric of space
weaving around my body.

Steel beams tremble under the weight
of you. Eyes, effervescent light
making the shadow beneath me
midnight grasping the earth,
pulling it into an embrace.
My heart jitters at the scent, the memory.
I cannot forget the sun in my eyes
blinding me, the sound of the ocean
seeing the city for the first time.
Now there are waves rushing against
the window panes, sand piling
at the front door.
You got what you came for
yet you never want to leave.
I think I can still breathe you
if I remember the line, the rhyme,
the way you held mine as your own.

Something about my history haunts you.
I will be heard.
You will feel heat you never knew,
have black spots in your vision
for the rest of your life,
the shape of my fingers tattooed
on your shoulder.
Hearts will blister, birds will sing,
I will fall in love over and over
until I have used up
every atom, every cell
blooming in a dark corner.
They can believe that happiness
is a dying song
but it screams

its way from beneath the earth,
explodes, blossoming and blossoming
into colours that don't exist,
feeling you never touched before.
It quakes and shatters and convulses
in the dark
but tells those who are lost
the way home,
tracks my hands to guide the marks
of my paint on the page.
Language, rhythm,
trace my body
and love me to the grave,
keep me in my place,
whisper to me
who I should love, who I should worship.

You. Always, only you.
Old eyes, you feel past lives
crooning, cocooning your arms
and breathing in your scent.
You know how to find light,
you know how to make my eyes blur,
to make me adore the world I see in prisms,
shifting angles. I love to an extent
no one will ever understand.
I love to an extent
that I am apart from the world.
I feel the joy of the planet,
fell in love with sight and transparency
long ago. Colour sighs
for she is weary, lost to war
and dust, but I will never forget
when she danced in the air,
illuminated particles, infinitely suspending them,
freezing them in time.
I remember how she laughed
when she stained your face yellow,
creeped into your eyes,
golden hours
spent on nothing at all.
I remember morning warmth
drenching my limbs in beauty,
breathing softly
to the whisper
of your heartbeat.
~~ It has been a while. Ah, am I glad to be back. ~~
Feb 2018 · 492
Scarlet Niamh Feb 2018
The ice was thick on the hill
but I don't remember being afraid,
only the warmth of my breath
on my frosted tongue.
I had put my feet against the ground,
hopped from place to place,
prayed to the earth
so She would forgive me,
but winter is unforgiving.
I remember the smell of wet soil, rot,
the snapping of twigs
as I fell backwards.
An eternity
all at once,
the boiling sky blurred, rolled,
my limbs calling
for the silence,
my spine meeting stone and fury.
Agony, relief,
sliced me open.
I remember trying to stand,
how my feet wouldn't move
even when I pleaded with them,
begged them
to forgive me.
How black blood is
when it pools in your eyes,
how hot
and itchy, molten,
against your eyelashes.
It doesn't hurt
when your lungs fill with blood,
it feels warm.
Like a mother comforting you,
screaming for help,
asking why she wasn't told,
grasping the arms of doctors
and patients.
Losing patience,
too much blood on her hands,
it felt like thistles, weeds,
reclaiming my skin
and repossessing my breath.
Drag me under a blanket of moss
and cherish my open wounds -
I created a valley of red,
crimson, so bright
they all fell in love with me,
my namesake.
I contracted, clotted,
but there was still blood within me.
I was still alive
yet no bleach could remove
the stains from my surface,
it left its mark
in scars and the dark
and all that remains
is two eyes peering
at me.
~~ How it felt to fall into nothing. ~~
Jan 2018 · 674
Scarlet Niamh Jan 2018
Where is my language
and why can't I speak it?
It's being replaced
with a haze of Spanish eyes
and olive skin
casting shadows across itself
in the mid-morning sun.
I would be one
to remember the days
of what I could say,
words integrate,
binding my tongue to the roof of my mouth.
Colder, colder, migrating south,
hold my hand and tell me
it will be alright.
I wanted to know how the bird in flight
felt to have its feathers washed from its body,
how the decaying leaf
felt to be buried in snow.
And now all I want to know
is how it would feel
to be the world's smallest organism.
How it would feel to divide, divide,
roots so shallow I can't find my feet,
swept away by the smallest rush
of pins pushing against my body.  
How it would feel to be torn apart
in the name of science -
would I still be beautiful
if my ribs were inside out?
Would I still be beautiful
if my heart bloomed like the winter flower?
Would you love me if I could be anything,
a wasteland with a clear surface,
water being poured down the drain?
If I was a sequence,
the number of steps before the next system over,
would my DNA align just enough
to make me reflect you?
I'm hapless,
entirely theoretical,
and I'm counting the number
of substitutions I can make
before I no longer exist.
What will it take to wipe me away?
How many cells do you have to remove from my spine
before it is no longer my own?
I used to want to feel
the air breathing with me,
to know what it is
that makes the water love the earth so dearly.
Now all I want to feel
is soft skin on my hands,
the curve of my waist as I sleep,
the skin pale under the sheets,
beauty sighing from between my blue lips.
~~ Still going strong. ~~
Dec 2017 · 619
Scarlet Niamh Dec 2017
Hands brush the tears from my cheeks.
Hollow hands with hollow bones
that are supposed to belong to me.
My hands can create works of art
so beautiful that my eyes can’t keep up,
they can play the piano and dance
and run themselves through someone’s hair
when my heart is too afraid to speak.
My hands hold a pen like it’s life support,
they revel in the words flowing from beneath
sharp fingertips, they rejoice in the silence
of those who hear me speak my poetry
the way it’s supposed to be spoken: aloud.
My hands are works of art and yet I feel nothing
when they touch my body. They are cold
and numb and I feel nothing.
It only feels good when they hold sharp objects.
Not to my arm or my throat, just between my fingers.
I enjoy the fear of pain it instils in me.
My hands hold a knife the same way
they hold a pen. It keeps them alive.
The only thing that warms them up
is the danger of blood
pumping through my veins. Naive I may be
but I dance like the seductress
with blood draping itself over my skin
and desire burning behind my eyes.
I know what I want when I look at him,
dancing to the music,
inhaling and exhaling smoke like perfume.
I know what I want when his leg touches mine
and I feel the anger blazing inside me,
the anger blazing bright and wild
that I never want to let go.
I know what it feels like to burn alive
when I see his eyes looking elsewhere
and my hollow hands reach desperately
towards the darkness, reach desperately
towards his hollow face.
I find myself swaying to the music of the shadows,
my hips tracing the ocean’s waves,
my eyes glancing upwards with ****** charm
through lowered eyelashes.
I know what you want when I look you.
I see the lust behind those umber eyes,
it drips from you and you bite your lip
as I approach you.
You bite your lip
as I hold your face in my hands.
You bite your lip
as I allow your arms
to trace the waves with me
until I’m the one biting you.
Biting you so you can’t get away,
so that you’ll never want to,
because the feeling of my teeth on your skin
is one you’ll never forget
or get again. Because no one knows how to use blood
as a weapon or *** as a tool quite like I do.
No one knows how to bite you quite like I do.
I know what you want when you look at me,
you want my hollow hands which come alive
on paper, music, paint, to touch your skin
and taint your soul. You want me
to coat you with oil and destroy
your feathers, to pluck the beak
from your mouth. You want me
to make you human
and trust me, I will.
Just you wait.
Dec 2017 · 547
Scarlet Niamh Dec 2017
I think I might be losing my steam.
It wasn't obvious to begin with
but over time, I began to see things,
hear things, that weren't there.
Patterns in the movements of eyes,
whispered insults from strangers
in dark streets, drifting
in front of my eyes like that steam.
It became all I could see
until I was blinded by white,
it was so dense that even the grey fog
couldn't compete. It should be easy
but I can't tell you how it feels
to have dry eyes and a sobbing heart,
how it feels to have such acute pain within
but to be unable to get it out.
It feels the same as nausea does,
a sickness that will go nowhere,
a pain that cannot be dislodged,
a bullet in the spinal cord.
When I think about love and me,
I am the sickness, I am the pain,
I am the bullet. I am the blindness
crawling into your peripheral vision
and turning everything white.
I am the death you fear and the bitterness
you see when you look in the mirror.
I am the steam, burning and burning
until your eyes are gone
and I'm no longer the only one
who lost their mind.
Nov 2017 · 352
Scarlet Niamh Nov 2017
Hands fidget under the cover of darkness.
They reach and burn, so willing
to tear each other apart
their fingertips brand their surface
into the earth
to revel in the blood pooling beneath them.
I can feel the touch of Paranoia
on the back of my neck,
can hear her whispering a melody
of broken bones and twisted branches
pulling at my skin. The bitter bile
seeps from her mouth when she kisses me,
promising that the sweet relief of loss
will never come back to retrieve
what it so eagerly forgot.
There's a fire burning, eating her eyes,
dissolving the tip of her rotting tongue as she sings
and lingering, dancing, on her skin.
Her hands could be music or taste
dwelling softly on your lips
but they are the thunder of broken
chords, the discord of dying
wolves howling the same song, decade
after decade, to moonless skies. Hatred blooms
in dripping clusters beneath her feet,
biting my heels and twisting
until they find my spine and pull, pull it
into the depths of the earth, replacing it
with acidic vines which poison
the flesh of my body and leave me,
blind, waiting for the paralysis of death.
Nov 2017 · 321
Scarlet Niamh Nov 2017
I went back to my secondary school recently
just to see what it was like without
me in it. I still saw the blue, cheap flooring, rooms
with wooden panelling that definitely
wasn't wood. I still saw ill-fitting shirts
and teachers scowling at boys wearino green
for that girl who's never going
to look at them. I still saw big kids,
too young to be so old, falling into a naïve
love and thinking it's forever.
I could still see the traces
of my clumsy hands
dropping ink all over the floor of the hall,
the streaks where I desperately tried
to clean it up before anyone saw.
Lockers still lined the walls,
only the stickers that had once covered
mine were gone - the only colour
in that hall, the shock
of red in a sea of grey,
had been taken away.
Teachers walked through the halls
to poimt their fingers at herds
of giggling girls but they didn't stop
to smile and talk to me
like they used to. Maybe
it was the change of hair,
or maybe it was just
the next generation of names
erasing mine from their memory.
The next generation of hands
pulling red stickers from old doors.
Soon, hard-soled feet will wear down
the floors and those black trails
of ink will be removed, all of my fingerprints
and scars will be buffed out, scuffed out.
The paintings I left to be exhibited
will be replaced by newer, better ones
by younger students who offer more,
the halls will be filled
with new faces who don't look
quite the same. They don't laugh
quite loud enough or smile
wide enough - they are more vague
and distant than memory
ever suggested.
~~ Goodbye, Hometown. ~~
Nov 2017 · 368
Scarlet Niamh Nov 2017
I was told my skin was like the sky,
I was pale and overseen but with freckles
that gave the stars a run for their money.
I could be as beautiful as an untouched field of snow
if I tried.
I could be as beautiful as fire and danger...
if I tried.
If you looked close enough, I could be beautiful,
but I'm not.
Nobody wants to feel dry, cracked skin
beneath their soft hands.
Nobody wants to see weak, pale skin
squirming away from them in the dark.
Truth be told, my surface is the blister in your mouth
that never leaves your mind.
My skin is the birds flying into your windows
again and again, trying to see what's inside.
My skin was the snow once, white and clean,
but now it's foul and well-trodden, past
the footprints and soft sheen of melting ice
and into a beige sludge lining
the pavement beneath your feet.
My body is as cold as they come
and yet snow could never sit on me for very long
so instead I'm dripping and damp,
the feeling of wet hands touching
rough paper. What I do to skin
is what fire does to literature,
destroy and destroy and destroy.
It's as if every mark on my body
is a word waiting to be annihilated
and engulfed by smoke. It's as if
I tried to be ice and winter
but instead, I'm burning alive
and I can't get out of the skin that's on fire.
Oct 2017 · 360
A Storm
Scarlet Niamh Oct 2017
The garden was overgrown now. Cold hands
traced flowers of dusk and brooding darkness,
hands which so willingly lingered
on the fractured, broken hearts
which beat so feebly between breaths.
A carved, angled smile
cast minute shadows across a face, vague,
etched into the surface of smooth,
painted flesh. Eyes are always there,
drifting smog, glaring
with colour swirling over skin
like oil on water, dragging beauty
into the depths of the ocean
along with all of Nature's grace.
Hands, needles, they left a crude,
ugly taste that coated lips like dance
dripping from the drunken limbs of children.
Talking, mumbling - something
about the dying robin
singing the same old song to the trees,
season after season. Poetry.
A brooding sadness echoed along
fingertips, the stained fingertips
of an artist, and a haze of blue smoke
seeped from a mouth, choking it,
stealing the language from between its teeth.
There is a storm flickering in that gaze,
midnight burning ivory to the music,
falling into a fire of burning leaves.
A painter
but the eyes were always the masterpiece,
black and evil and filled
with all of the dread and loneliness
and stars, stars so bright they flash
when you close your eyes. Stars so bright
they are desperate and afraid
and jagged, calling out to you,
begging you to never forget them.
~~ For Lewis. ~~
Oct 2017 · 410
The Shrouding
Scarlet Niamh Oct 2017
My father's obsession became increasingly apparent
with every visit I made to him.
The clocks, their hands,
their beautiful, twisted fingers
dancing to the co-ordinated sound of
ticking - he couldn't take his eyes from them.
Over the years I began to see
his irises shifting like clockwork,
miniature minute hands
beating at the doors,
They are knitting,
knitting a fabric so tight it's a shroud,
pulling it over his head and waiting
for him to sink into the waters of embalmment.
Epitaphs, mad men entitled to nothing.
He formed the millions into gears,
expectation of a smooth, working machine
which he could grasp in his fingers
and hold up to the ***** sky,
moving, scurrying,
ticking. A better place, or so it seemed
to him, where men didn't speak in tongues
and life answered
to something beyond chance.
It was different when he first came here
but then so was he,
it was a version that made more sense.
A version where black birds with missing
feathers patrolled the skies,
where he ran his hands through his hair
to leave straggled clumps between his fingers -
balding velvet. He forgot
so much more than he had remembered,
even me. Eyes still glazed white
looking right at me, he was cold-limbed
and vacant and filled me with a filthy,
cruel hollowness that takes
and takes, relentlessly, for no gear,
or system, or rhyme, will pull
the books from the shelves. I won't find
a ransacked home with shattered furniture
and broken glass littering the floor,
only a clean, aching, vague room
that is blue and sterile and so empty
it leaves trails of goosebumps
along my arms and burns its way
into my dreams in the depths of the night.
I won't find you crying over empty photographs,
only a shell,
staring, dead, at the whitewashed walls.
~~ Exhume me from the burden of memory. ~~
Oct 2017 · 505
Scarlet Niamh Oct 2017
Something inside me is like a blade
sawing through a nerve,
jittering with the harshest of sounds:
a crash of instruments so horrendous
it pulls the teeth from your skull
and plucks the nails from your fingertips.
Why am I broken? Why is there nothing inside me?
I tried so hard to love, I loved you
the moment you danced for me
that September night, yet I'm fading away.
There's a plastic shell filled
with the thin liquid of my soul
and I'm seeping out through the cracks.
Soon there'll be little left of me,
only the slightest trickling of leftover fluid
which managed to elude the cruel, thieving hearts
who took me for their own. Where will I be
after your hands brush the surface of my cheeks
and try to fix the many fractures in my body?
I'm going to be left alone and afraid
in the dark at the end, regardless
of who looks at me with light in their eyes
tonight. All of them are the same
when the clouds fall around my mind
and I'm blinded by acid rain
burning the eyes out of my head.
Oct 2017 · 572
Scarlet Niamh Oct 2017
It's dark beneath my skin
I'm shivering
          Shivering from the
My skin is falling from my bones
                    and old
Stone fingers turn to dust
Wooden teeth leave splinters
          Like jagged
          tracing my skin
                    in the night
Transparent eyes
                    with sugar
                    and white
Black blood pouring
          From my mouth
                    like literature
It's here to stay
          All of it
                    is here to stay
Coat your hands in tar
                    feel tears
                    on your hands
                    on your heart
Keep your eyes closed
                    you want
          to see me
I'm here
          Ready with
                    my lips
          and my chest
Oct 2017 · 358
Scarlet Niamh Oct 2017
If you listen, you might hear the patter
of children's feet as they run
to their fathers' arms.
You might hear the croon of infants
babbling through the darkness,
or the sound of love and laughter
coming from the gentle gaze of young lovers.
You might hear the ocean, ringing its bells
and floating on a wall of noise.
If you listen, you might hear honesty,
singing a song of home - small alleys
leading to the beach, lined with seashells
and memories. You could hear it.
But you won't.
This place is quiet in a way
that sets your teeth on edge,
so quiet that it is thick with undetectable
white noise. There is no soft sigh of sleeping
loved ones, no gentle waves or rolling pebbles.
Only quiet. Quiet. Quiet.
The feeling of never finding home,
or never finding feeling at all,
it's a sound. If you listen, you just might hear it.
Oct 2017 · 331
Scarlet Niamh Oct 2017
She is winding her way in front of my eyes,
dancing and weaving ivory linens around my neck.
They look like fog and I can't remember,
can't remember the touch, or taste,
if it was your soft hands holding onto me
that October night. I can see my eyes,
so blue - were they always this murky
and dull? There was something between
them, is it commonplace to have a comma
in a full stop's place? Clumsy.
I hold onto my mother with weak, calloused
hands, calling her name. What was her name?
I don't know her face. I only know the fog,
the **** fog, and I can't remember-
why can't I remember? I want to know
the call of the damp, apologetic starling
who pecks holes in the sun so he can ride
with the circus. I want to know my hands,
rough like glass over the furrow of your brow,
but the far away tomorrow is coming for me
and I know that I won't remember
my name, or trace, or the reason
my lips rhyme with the seasons,
in time to save me becoming the fog
which stretches itself over my eyes
like soft, ivory linen.
Oct 2017 · 378
Scarlet Niamh Oct 2017
Autumn frost seeps in through the cracks
In my bedroom window.
It follows the footprints left behind
By summer, still blooming
Vivid green and burning orange
On my fingertips.
I open my eyes again
But it's all just grey.
Grey rain and grey hands,
Grey fog dripping from my frozen throat.
It's a depression that's cured
By the singing sun;
My skin hasn't seen the light
In decades. Blue broken skin
Burnt by ice and bruised
By the desperate hands of winter,
Trying to grasp me
With all of the gentle laughter
That comes with summer's warmth
And instead leaving thick, black
Marks upon my skin,
Marks which are fading to
I held hands with the sun once,
Felt her power and grace,
Her hair swept across valleys
And wove itself with golden leaves
But now it's matted
And falling out at the roots.
Her skin is pale and thin
And she's plucking the eyes from her head
As my limbs are encapsulated in ice
And I'm greyer and greyer...
And I'm gone. All gone.
~~ My toes are numb and falling apart from the cold. ~~
Oct 2017 · 383
Scarlet Niamh Oct 2017
Is his mixed up dream a long, long journey:
noisy, jolting, terrifying? He remembered
a wind cold against his ears, for the first time
the chill was sweet. But night was coming.
The sun was behind clouds - was it clouds,
or was it shelter, smoke rising red? Words printed
on muslin curtains, just like a house.
Steps to the back door, a canvas screen fastened
to cheerful fire burning on the grass.
He turned and fled. Pattering feet behind him
fell in a heap, what? what? what?
No alarm, no cross-over. He filled the ***
from the warmth of the fire. Only vaguely
had he admired the damp, apologetic starling,
who was pecking a hole in the sun
to ride with the circus. Quite right,
lucky he found the far away tomorrow.
~~ Love is a sycamore flying free. ~~
Sep 2017 · 346
Scarlet Niamh Sep 2017
Unwanted words
keep spilling from my mouth
and I can't escape them.
They cling to my surface,
twisting and seething
every time I reach
my pathetic hands
towards you.
Why did I even bother?
I knew from the start
that I was destined
to fail,
that there was nothing
worth dwelling upon
in my cold blue eyes
and numb, emotionless
smile. You
were my youth,
my everything,
but you were gone before I had you.
You're a wingless bird
flying further,
further away from me,
the beginning of summer
in the middle of a blizzard.
~~ So that's what it feels like. ~~
Sep 2017 · 336
The Tsunami
Scarlet Niamh Sep 2017
There is a wire tap inside his mind
which pulls the waves in and over
the shore, fast. It floods
the earth and leaves his skin
pale and waterlogged, blue from the cold
and bloated with decay.
When the wall of water hits and the screams
of many tired, sad people can be heard,
the sinking city of Venice will crumble
away into the sea, leaving jagged,
splintered rock jutting from the ocean
like strange stone blades. In the silence
of receding water, I hear the cries
of a newly orphaned child and see
a small silhouette standing over the body
of his father, satellites still speaking
to the microphones in his dead brain.
The tide laps at his splayed limbs
and the water pulls him back
towards the ocean while the boy screams,
wailing as he clutches the cold, limp hands
and begs his father with tears and fury
to come back to him.
~~ Tsunami, 4/4 ~~
Sep 2017 · 397
The Impact
Scarlet Niamh Sep 2017
On impact, he screams his empty, chilling
scream and cries as his gritty exterior
is washed away by the icy shoreline.
The water seeps in through the cracks
in his skin and burns as it touches
the many fires of hell which dance
so brightly behind the vivid
brown of his eyes. Skin so rich
it's like a painting, the deepest
greens and most intense blues
embedded within his surface. He
is molten with beauty and fear, his hands
laced with the pain of generations.
He was a man of lava and he thawed the lady
of ice, but he is being turned to stone
by the monster she became.
~~ Tsunami, 3/4 ~~
Sep 2017 · 423
Scarlet Niamh Sep 2017
Why can't I sing like they do,
the way I'm supposed to?
There are a million melodies
trapped within me,
like golden dust of darkness
blazing with gilded sparks
in the depths of my bones.
I've had enough
of this wretched game,
where I follow the line
leading to the bullseye,
trailing steps bigger than mine
and falling into dusk
with nothing left in me.
It's time for me to open the doors,
for me to shine with a light
as bright as yours.
I can feel it in my chest
as it tries to force its way out,
craving the best
sounds I could make before,
when I was alone.
I need to sing like they do,
to sing like I'm supposed to.
I know within
that it's what I'm fated to do,
to consecrate this ground
with music only I can make.
~~ Nothing is coming out of me, no matter how hard I try. ~~
Sep 2017 · 473
The Split
Scarlet Niamh Sep 2017
As the waves separate and leave him standing
alone on his small rock
in the middle of the ocean,
he lets out a sigh of deep,
haunted sadness. The fractured earth
is sending harsh, jagged lines
of rending sound out
and into the open. Children play
on the line of the shore
and dance in the joyful waves
greeting their toes
as they push their feet
into the wet sand.
He watches the giant wave approach them,
the fear cloud their happy eyes,
their laughter instantly merge
into a harmony
of pure terror.
He watches them run,
for the false safety
of their mothers' arms.
He shudders his cold,
rattling breath and waits
to see how long
it will take this time.
~~ Tsunami, 2/4 ~~
Sep 2017 · 550
The Tremor
Scarlet Niamh Sep 2017
Somewhere in the deep ocean
there is a tremor, a shake,
the initiation of something
intensely destructive and cruel.
The waves move away from him in giant
ripples from where the underwater plates
crash and collide with his dark body,
sparking up and exploding
away from him, from each other.
He holds the earth together
until the shaking strain
corrupts his limbs
and he shudders, sending jagged
shockwaves through the earth
and into the inky water
surrounding him, out
towards the unexpecting land.
~~ Tsunami, 1/4 ~~
Sep 2017 · 326
Scarlet Niamh Sep 2017
Have voice from between silence and authority,
so that reassuring quick compulsions as you destroy
and attack can last. None of the silent and empty men,
or boys, believe in living memory, only
in the evening dusk and foggy morning.
I thought about everyone else, kept away,
in my cold considering of the sun and night and helpless
sound. Away but in an awful time, back in circles,
lost as ever and wandering in a helpless way.
There was a stranger by the grass and I could see
his eyes, quick and cold and hard. I was seeing my senses -
sight, smell - and a faintness seemed to topple away
and leave me alone, where there were no strangling men
or *****, far-away wildernesses. Foul and torn, a cruel
face with no eyes hit the bone and screamed a breathless,
lungless scream, as though the whole place had stood up,
******, and left. I should have died.
Noise was coming from hard men's voices, white burning
and white flesh, when they saw and called out to them.
Rasping on the thorns, I understood that the boy,
and everything else, was like an acorn falling
from the oak tree. The man left and I went slowly
rolling into the choice I was choking on.
~~ Bitter perfection. ~~
Aug 2017 · 315
Scarlet Niamh Aug 2017
Some days when my feet hit the ground
and my heart passes by another
I feel a glimpse of warmth,
an inkling of something better
than what I have become used to,

but I am a mountain of ice
in an eternal desert. I have become barren
of all life and love, entirely forgotten
in a realm of fiery beauty.
There is no one who can see me, why

can no one see me? People only find
me once they have become lost
and forgotten, once the breath leaves
their body and the spark abandons
their eyes. I have been buried

alive in the deep hills and left to drown
in earth, left to rule a disturbed, haunted
land which makes every inch of my body
and every twisted landscape in my mind
ache for something more than this wretched life.
~~ Solar System, 10/10 ~~
Aug 2017 · 334
Scarlet Niamh Aug 2017
There is water all around me,
water pulling me down
and filling my lungs with ice.
Oceans surround me and I can no longer
see the ground, why can't I see
the ground? I'm wrecked,
so destroyed that I can't even breathe
anymore. I have been beaten
and fractured by the powerful waves,
hitting me with such speeds
that my mind was knocked
from my body. I had a core of love
and now it is an ever-expanding
cavern of hollow, black weakness.
Soon, there will be nothing
inside me except the cold burn
of the wind
and there I'll be,
completely and utterly
~~ Solar System, 9/10 ~~
Aug 2017 · 385
Do You?
Scarlet Niamh Aug 2017
Do you feel it?
Do you feel my rotting soul?
Do you even remember the tight skin
splitting at the seams when you looked
at it? I'm lying underneath the cold,
dark sheets with black lines shifting
beneath my surface which twist
themselves into a deep haze
and force my head under the water.
Your hands of ice trail and burn
their way across my mind and tear
their way through my ripped
paper body before I bolt upright
to the sound of your rattling breath
quickly fading into the slow night.
~~ I don't think there's much of me left in here. ~~
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