womb

to the other family,
the one who gave me all the
loveliest
warmest memories.
how do I thank them now
for their homeliness?
I never
wanted to go home –
whether creating
hard-hitting remakes of
the sim city newscaster on
your video camera, or
jumping off the climbing frame,
or getting chocolate
everywhere in the kitchen, or
getting all of you
round that glowing kitchen table by
the range cooker to
laugh at my jokes or
us getting all to
collaborate in a group impersonation
of a father ted scene

I never
wanted to go home
not from that womb of a place

sick

sick
sick
sick
for years, I couldn’t even type that word
let alone say vomit out loud
I trawled endless forums
full of people like me
so terrified of the power of it
that they replaced the latter half of the word
with an asterisk.
v*
like Voldemort
the bodily function that must not be named
vomit is not my fucking problem
fear is my fucking problem
and still now,
fifteen years after I hid in the living room
behind the itchy green sofa
listening to you moan as
mother and sister heaved you up
out of a stinking pool of chemo-puke
the smell permeating through the wall,
I am still sitting and fucking shivering
at the mention of a stomach ache
fear is my fucking problem
I don’t want to let it steal
any more hours from my life
I don’t want to spend hours cycling
through every single thing I’ve touched in
the last forty-eight hours
I don’t want to lie awake with
poisonous adrenaline pumping through my blood
I don’t want to.
I don’t want to.
vomit is not my fucking problem
fear is my fucking problem
I don’t want to lie awake
convincing myself that my
obsessive handwashing will save me
I don’t want to
explain to him why I stay up for hours
paralysed with fear
I don’t want to
explain to him that there have been times
I thought I’d rather die
than spend a minute with my head in a toilet
I don’t want to anymore
I don’t
fucking want to.
vomit is not my fucking problem
fear is my fucking problem
and I don’t want it
anymore.

prince

I used to think he was a prince,
and I wrote about him with diamonds
flowing from my pen.

I stared at him in wide eyed
wonder whilst he slept
in my bed, and I so wanted to
plant myself in his soil
and grow my smothering bindweed
around him.

I let the waves of
obsession and lust
wash over my heart,

and oh,
those waves were so
lovely for a time

(until they came crashing down
and I screamed for three
whole hours when I realised
he did not plan on falling in
love with me).

then he was gone and
I was powerless and
angry and consumed by
my need for his
royal validation.

“I hate you!
come back,”
I whispered into our letters,

and my pen flowed
not with diamonds but
poisoned well-water.

then time passed
and I grew and
flowered and blossomed and
shed my buds and became
an oak.

and
when he came back
(because that is what
always seems to happen),

he wasn’t a prince and
his hair wasn’t spun gold anymore.
he was just a man.

I wasn’t his arrow
and my burns had healed

no longer so susceptible to
drops of water and kisses.

I revelled in our connection
and nothing more.
I looked at him and he at me.

uncomplicated and free
and true in our humanity and our
normalcy and our faultery
and our fuck ups.

maybe now that I am a tree
and not a twining unwanted stem
I can be like this
and feel joy for its simplicity
instead of dissecting its
fragile meaning.

or maybe I will muse and see
that my desire for his turrets and towers
ebbs away with the moonlight
trickling down my thighs as
the lap of the warmest tide
goes out. 

we shall see, little prince.

virtue

she extolled unto me these virtues of purity
jesus’s little namesake, the girl who carried
all of the world on her tiny shoulders
she fell in love with my father because he
took care of himself and loved his own company
she created me and poured me into her mould
of self-flagellation and crucifixed guilt
I take responsibility for my childhood actions
somehow still believing I could have
controlled what I understood at the tenderest age
be merciful and meek, Jesus said
lie down in the dirt and open your heart for
those who scorn and deride you
be quiet, content and suffer, he said to the child
with the imagination gifted from heaven
or risk burning and writhing in the pit of agony
for all eternity and more, sin sinner.
well all children’s stories have a moral to keep
I suppose I kept those ones especially close to my
little heart and kind, and let them reave me deeply
all of us are bad by nature of existence, my Sunday fathers told me
only the good Lord can save your sinner’s soul, little beauty.
meanwhile, my father stayed in his shed, dying
of cancerous ravages, tinkering with boiler parts
fixing his stereo, and considering the Kew steam
engines that came on every second Sunday.
God, what have you done?
what tortured women are you trying to create?
I escaped out of that adult world I inhabited
that world of emotional torment and suffering and fear
into my own internalised mind fantasy clutches
swirling and whirling on the badness of my character
well
at least I had my dolls and their hundreds of outfits
there were no adults in their world to fuck things up

trip

six months of an acid trip
life is full of revelations now
little epiphanies woven in
to my days
threads so glittering wind
through the halls and
stairwells, turning
cobwebs and dust into
pretty paper chains

“girl,” he says
looking up from the ground floor
“why are you always so
guilty?
let go of that conscience, girl”

I say fuck
I always had the words to
describe myself but
I placed them on the page like
newspaper cutouts
a ransom letter to myself
I never glued them
down, so they blew away
into the wind
and I shut my windows hoping for
sense

I sink into my trip
but I’m not in a daze anymore
not a passive witness
not a powerless princess by
the closed window willing
my hair to grow a little longer
this trip is mine now
I embrace the others
that join me
and kiss the ones that
leave me to soar

and I don’t feel
a stitch of remorse
or pain
or shame
not anymore, girl

within

I am of him,
that’s for sure
this stubbornness
so ingrained, it must be
woven into my genes
somewhere near the ones
that gave me
eyes the size of saucers.
as I become who
I always needed to be,
I let him drift out
to the ocean to rest,
finally releasing the corpse
I’ve been carrying
on my back for so long –
I find a new set of
superpowers in my heart.
it beats like his now
and always should have,
really.
I was not to know,
but now I do.
and his spirit weighs nothing
no more than a breath

I let it burst

from within,

to taste freedom for

the first time in

twenty two years.

lace

god, I love you
I love you so much
I still love you from
my child’s heart
my impassioned child’s heart
that held no judgement
or fear of rejection

still the waves
of grief come,
softer now
leaving delicate seafoam lace
high on my cheekbones
instead of
throwing my body
bloodied onto the rocks

would that I could
whisper some magic to
shave a year off of my life
and hear you for five minutes
your picture is so still
it hasn’t moved in years
and I accept that
I can’t feel safe without you

but I still mourn
your love for me
and I so hope
it was as unconditional as I
remember
because hers never was