anderson

I am like the east-end once was, too
not like you, in your old-world charms
more a smouldering widow, more like

whitechapel in the wartime. fieldgate street
burning, the collapsed fifty shilling shop and
gaping blank holes in the rows of houses.

visibly, you can see
that I am missing a few bricks.
I am a city, vibrant, of violent scars.

I still stand, despite iron girders
hanging off me like balloon strings
they are heavy, you know-

but she tells me that if I take them off
well, the whole damn thing will fall down.
and life is worth it, even if it is a siege.

I clatter and moan and whistle in the night.
I know you darling-
I know you forget your Anderson shelter

even exists, when you flutter your eyes and
get squelched tight in the peat bog.
you should go, you should go.

I don’t want you to die here
on my street-
I don’t want you to become a hole in the row.

I am a war
I am telling you. a total war-
and you will wish for peace

once you have seen past the
pretty pinny I wear, the dust-scarf
in my hair-

I know, I remind you
of something you know.
but I am not that-

just an itchy glow.

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hole

I watched him die
slowly
six years,
three quarters of my little life
I watched my mother die
next to him
although her body did not decay.
I watched her
ripped apart by love
spit and stamped on by love
I watched her clean up
puddles of love’s vomit
heard her drown in it
wailing for release.
the cries of grief are not made of rocks or sand.

I watched my brother
my sister, die
over the years to come
and I watched myself die, too.
how could you expect us to live
after seeing what life can do?
the rancid stench of sickness
stuck heavy like petrol in our air
the honey of hell
dripping off our tongues.
and what could be done?
we could not ask
Mother for help
because she died that night
just after he turned into yellow stone
she died as his mind bled out his ear
as his eyes, still blinking, became foreign
she died as she fed him (dutifully)
raised us (dutifully)
cleaned him (dutifully)
stacked supermarket shelves (dutifully)
told everyone he was sick and dying (dutifully).
and so it was that she died,
dutifully.

all those little deaths will kill you,
eventually
and you only realise when you ask yourself to love
and there is nothing but a dried up hole
in your heart, where love is supposed to live.
then, the fleeting offer of degradation
seems prettier than the promise of forever.
“you fools don’t know that forever will be what kills you!”
screams the hole, the little mouth
such a loud voice for something so
extinct.

what if he dies those
long little deaths
before my eyes,
dragging me down to hell
as my father did to her?
and I, the fool in love
will I sit dutifully as he dissolves and churns, alone?
a whole life’s sacrifice for love,
only for him to die on me?
my
this psychology is so complex
withered roots tangle and kiss in my
little mouth of little deaths

learned the lesson that love is pain
love is death
love is grief and anguish
and put my theories to the test more than once
proved tout a fait
so suffer, screams the hole.
good reason dictates life is worth it,
suffering only a lesson
just neurons and nerves
but good reason cannot answer to
fear that feels bigger than all of existence
to pain that sets my face on fire,
turns m limbs into twigs and
my breath into acid.

but will you die on this hill, girl?
will you take that left fork
and cut off you arm
to stay alone, safe?
it’s what they all sing about
love, love, love.
and I know now that life is lovely
at the very least
and that good reason
it dictates love is not
always loss.
but I have to feel it
to believe it.

I have to open that gate
oil the rusty hinges
find a compass through the noise
and chatter of death,
let my feelings marry my reason.
life is not living if
controlled by fear, after all
and maybe it is a bird that I need
to string to my wrist
and guide me home.

concussion

04 11 18. on fear

I must destroy my fear
to live in waking dreams.
I must discard my preoccupation
or I will never fly.
I must be bigger,
stronger, with freedom
or I will never win my
mind’s competition
I must destroy my fear
or it will destroy me.

I don’t live in a cage
anymore, not much.
I don’t want to be precious now
nor delicate
I don’t want to be that
child hiding in the airing cupboard
controlled by ancestral anger
that doesn’t belong to me.

I want this life to be mine
masteress of fear
no more men living in my head.
I don’t want my rallying cry
to be “I can’t”, not now.
I don’t want to be the girl
going gentle into that good night
withering and twisting in the dark.

I want to be like me
feeling it all,
getting better all the time.
how will I destroy my fear?
maybe I’ll have to cut my hair
burn my bra,
wear a bin bag
get a concussion
commit with reckless abandon.

and maybe once that’s done
maybe then
I’ll lie naked in the forest
so the soil can absorb my worries
and the spiders
can get in my clothes,
say yes say yes
say yes
darling do it
would you please.
just say yes and try
for the sake of our joy.

destroy your fear
and don’t let it be the
thing
that kills you
anymore.

direct messages

16 01 18

my compassion
kindness
is my gift.
to myself and to you
I see the child in your eyes
maybe I know now
what kate bush was singing about.
the fearful child
wears your masculine flesh
like a costume
I see through the suit
and I see who you are.
you hurt me, and
I will step away
but I will still
give you with the
kindness that you shut out,
that you have shut out
for so long
to survive the cruelties of the earth.
you fill the holes
of your soul with dirt
and pack it in tight
like that’s not going to attract worms.
darling,
they’ll eat straight through the heart you
claim you have.
stop talking to yourself in stories
destroy your cold cynicism
in the fires of existing
you can do it darling,
you can do it.
take off that rotten
costume you wear.
bleed into the days and nights
for as long as you need to.
I send you compassion,
down the length of my arm.
now please,
get the fuck out of my DMs
and don’t you dare presume
to sexualise my kindness again

itch

05 09 18

you bit me all those years ago
sucked the blood from my heart
permissively, engorged your own
and I scratched away fervently
not letting the scab heal.
I scratched and scratched
until a little hole was formed, junkie-like.
I know better now
you bloodsucker, poison-leaver
heart-fucker
but I cannot unscar skin and muscle.
you are my permanent injury.
I abstain from scratching
but the itch still remains
potent,
as it ever was.

neighbours

01 18

I stood still
for a time
and in between my toes and
up around my thighs
grew bindweed, tightly
slowly
and see,
in our gardens
where we exercise
an illusion of control,
we are always taught to rip it out.

rip it out from precious rose bushes
and pleasant camellias
placed and planted with such intention
and purposeful beauty
(just in view of the neighbours). 

the weed.
we stamp in anger
as it chokes our chosen stems.
we pull in frustration
wondering when the fuck
the bindweed will stop
coming back
again
and again. 

fools.
do we not know
that bindweed too
produces delicate flowers?
so intent on the singular
growth of our choice,
that we cannot accept that
even the choking weeds, too
in their growing
have their blossom?

alas,
it covered my body and I watched in
a sort of hopeless wonder.
for the first time
I noticed the papery blossom
and a tear fell from my eye.
in its beauty, though
I let it revel a little too long
and it strangled my
blackthorn bushes
and attracted flies that disturbed my fruitbowl.

beautiful
but
if it grows up to my eyes
and blinds me
what use does it have?
maintenance,
maintenance.
I won’t anguish over the weeds any longer.
I will allow their flowers and
their lessons
but I will not stay still enough
for bindweed to penetrate my
navel and
nose and
mouth and
eyes.

I think this
suits me and the plant well.
an understanding.
and a new chrysalis of gratitude
for the others that grow
in my volcanic soil

daughter

2017. excerpt from a song 

my brother’s your other
I would have had your daughter
I’m not the tiny creature
you think I am
I’m the big bad wolf
incubus succubus
evil eagle pecking out your eyes

I could have stayed and laid
there forever with you
forever with you
you leak out of my eyes
like a traumatic head injury would
I could have stayed and laid
there forever with you

I don’t know what
I want from you
but I know I don’t
I don’t want you