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Patterson Jul 2021
I am 22;
staring at the mismatched cups
arranged in my kitchen cupboard,
wondering if I'll ever have great big matching sets
of plates, bowls, forks, knives, spoons
and cups

I am 22 and in love,
wondering how I got so lucky
-throwing myself backward,
through time,
to the person standing at my front door
one whole year ago.
Heart-hammering in their chest,
a fresh-cut key in their hand,
still raw with heart-ache:
An empty flat,
and a new life
behind a locked door.

I am old enough now
to recognize the shifting cycles;
to know that every August
is painted rose gold like setting sun
-and to know that February
cannot claw and tear at my ribs
lest I let it.
I am old enough to know
that I can start over -
without fear, without shame.
But young enough to leave bigger things
to chance:
these are answers I don't have

And I don't need to.
I am 22,
brewing coffee in chipped cups,
planting kisses on a forehead,
arms, hands, sides, cheeks, lips,
dancing and jumping
when the world lifts around me.
I am 22,
and the world lies open before me.
I moved into my flat on July 4th in 2020, and though I am miles away from America, I felt that same spirit of liberty. To this day I view July 4th as my emancipation - my fresh start. And life has only gotten better since that day; September came and I fell in love, December came and I said it out loud for the first time. And since then I've only been growing and finding my feet in the wide world.
I am genuinely happy, and though heart break left me raw, I wouldn't change a single thing.
Patterson Jun 2020
There is something undeniable about this new aesthetic:
Barefoot and barely presentable
as I slow-dance in the kitchen at 3am
Nobody but me, my shadow and a gentle grey kitten who patiently watches me pour another cup of coffee.
I stir in cinnamon,
a taste that's heedy and all too sweet against the roof of my mouth.
So strong it makes me want to gag,
and yet I sing under my breath:
old tunes I have no business remembering
and lullabies brought to me on the wind
[singing] all you have is fire
-and the place you have to reach.

My mother wanted a girl she could put together like a jigsaw.
A girl who would sit still and patiently endure
the effort it took to construct
the perfect plat, perfect updo
perfect winged eyeliner, perfect blush
perfect poise, perfect dress,
Perfect daughter.
Instead she had me
a muddled and confused thing
with a tangled mess of curls and eyes that couldn't quite look away.
Something with ***** fingers that knew the give and take of every leaf and blade of grass
something that couldn't sit still on creaking church pews
because for all the beauty they pursued, she'd seen the unmatched grace of rolling thunder
and the indisputable life of the ocean.
While other girls watched the boy chase the girl to a perfect kiss
she worshiped the women who took up their weapons and refused to keep their peace. - A child raised on a steady diet of Victorian poetry, Greek myth and poison. Stitched together with images of Artemis, Scottish women and a heathenish name.

My mother would lead me in prayer each night before bed, hoping against all hope to change what was in me. But my father made me wonder if I could be a knight one day, taught me to sing their vows of honour and justice during those ungodly hours when sleep was far.
The hours when his blood called to us both in its ancient tongue. The hours where his stories became my Bible. The hours when the smell of lemongrass and rain filled the house.
The hours when I would be barefoot and dancing in the kitchen
Barely presentable yet undeniably free.
It's 12 June and finally I am starting to come to better places. Finally I am beginning to sleep without sleeping tablets. Finally I am beginning to do what's best for my mental health.
Patterson Jun 2020
There is broken stone under my feet,
toppled pillars, their carved surfaces
reduced to dust now filtering through
the stray rays of light.
The windows now wide open
like wounds, like the skies and seas.
This fallen cathedral is a signal,
this is holy ground
you may never tread on.

These ruins are my birthplace,
the dying light, my mother.
These stones are my bones,
the fractured columns witness
my recreation.
I am new,

And as I open my eyes for the first time,
the wind fills my lungs and kisses my lips.
And I am in love once more.
I am in love with the light
breaking through the clouds,
in love with a warmth
that I've never felt before.
In love with the seas beyond my walls
and the ivy beneath my feet.
I am in love with life
and what I am slowly becoming

Fiercely in love with the breaking
and the tearing: the shedding of old skin.
And I am happy
I am wild
I am free

I am home
May 30 - and now I began to come to terms with who I am and the power I have within me to recreate my life.  The ruins I once believed myself to be can be made into something lovely
Patterson Jun 2020
I would claim that I've been lied to
say that I have been wronged
tell you that I didn't deserve it.
But I did.

I was born with hooked claws
and sharp teeth. Black eyes
and a scaled hide
the chains around my neck clink and tap
against the spines I've grown
If you look close enough I'll sprout horns
perhaps lightning will crackle
in the corners of my mouth.
Can you see me for what I am?
A miscount, a fatal error
something bound for hell mistakenly wrapped
and hidden in human skin.

I still smell like smoke, and I still taste like war
I deserve no mercy and kindness will **** me.
What a stupid thing I have been,
to convince myself that I was anything other
than a car crash and a hurricane
In human skin.
My sin was to love and break with the same hands
to admire that which I would defile
and to trust those who promised sanctuary.
Under the guise of friends
they penned my story,
gave me my name, cast my role:
A Villain
A devil
And so I'll stretch my blackened lips
run my tongue over my teeth
and smile with the tears running down my cheek.
"hail satan"
March 28th and already I wasn't feeling like myself. Already I was feeling like I deserved to be treated this way. Unlovable and dangerous. But now it's June 18th and I'm beginning to accept that making a mistake doesn't make you a monster. Needing help doesn't make you an inconvenience
Patterson Jun 2020
There is so much you don't know
as I wring my hands in my lap,
helpless and pinned beneath your glare.
And yes, I call it nothing,
because that's the only word I can think of
that won't cut my tongue
when it falls out of my mouth the way tears creep down my cheeks.

I held her hand and felt her strength wane.
I saw the fear in his eyes,
whiskey bottle half glass, half self-loathing.
They stutter in a corner.
She looms at my door.
The phone screen lights up.
My heart aches.

You fear a million things
that have never come close enough
to hurt you.
But darling, I fear myself,
because I turn against my nature
to love those who have tried to drown me.
Their hands are still wrapped around my throat
when, exhausted, I collapse
into the cool embrace
of my crisp sheets.

And then I rise again,
tug on my boots and lace them up tight,
shoulders squared like I'm off to war.
Not a wrinkle left on my shirt, my sheets, my brow -
there is so much you don't know.

There is so much you don't know,
about the trembling in my voice
when I answer the phone.
About the shake of my fingers
when my mind tells me to run,
yet I walk further down the corridor.
There are things I can't explain
about captivity because you've known home
to be warm, to be held by a mother.
To be swept clear of sharp words
and weaponized walks
against which you simply want to shut your door.

She wishes she'd aborted me.
He hides the plate he broke and I take the fall for it.
My muscles ache.
He pushes himself over the edge.
They waste away in hospital rooms.
Dark corners frame their eyes.
Nothing is wrong.

"Enjoy home and drive safe"
I say and turn to walk back upstairs,
mentally crossing off the days I have left
before I can't say no to another
"are you coming home this weekend?"
I don't complain about weekends
left alone in an empty house, silent,
because I'm used to it.
Because this silence is far softer
far kinder.

Darling there is so much you don't know,
so much I cannot explain.
So much I cannot show.
But I am weak, I am shedding, I am hurting,
I want nothing more that to hear
that sometimes it's okay to not be okay.
And still it echoes back to me:
Say nothing.
Patterson Jun 2020
I still care
I care so much it hurts.
I care so much that it rips me up inside because I know that you're not okay. Not sleeping. Not feeling. Not smiling anymore.
I care. And that's why it burns when there are no texts. Why my heart sinks when you feed me empty responses and half-truths.
I feel like a ship untethered in the heart of a storm. My sails stretch and tear. My mast bends and breaks. The ropes and knots unwind and come undone, whipping about, wrapping around my wrists, my ankles, my throat.
I care.
I still care.
I care enough to drown. I care enough to stand in your place in the heart of the fire. I care enough to scorch my hands if only it'd mean that I could hold you and tell you that you'll be alright.
I care too much. Even when you push me further and further away. Because the harder you push, the harder I push to stay.
I refuse to give up on you.
So keep pushing. Keep hiding. Keep running. Keep lying. Keep making me feel like ****. Keep telling me I'm worth nothing. Keep shutting me out. Keep me at arm's length. Keep breaking me. Keep your secrets. Keep away from me.
And see if I care.
See if I give a ****.
Because I do.
I wrote this on March 20 - and at the time I was feeling off balance and like something was up. A little later I would know for sure. And hurt like mad too.
Patterson Jun 2020
"I'm okay" "I'm okay"
whispering to myself, hanging upside down
tears dripping down to my toes
when I break down mid stretch.
"Just breathe darling"
I coach myself, nearly rocking back and forth
on the wooden floor
while the clock reads 12
and everyone else is asleep.

The muscles wrapped around my chest
and my back draw tighter still
-like piano strings:
they wait, poised for the merest sound of footsteps.
And the air doesn't quite find my lungs
my mind won't come off high speed
and I thrash through piles of *******
to find the water-stained, warped, ripped notebook
and a gaudy pen.

Then I begin to scribble, compose,
quietly wail and rage
as stroke for stroke
I map out my traumas and my guilt;
            slowly tattooing my hurt
            like poetry on my skin.
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