sockets

plugging the fingertips
into
sockets of suffering
sends an electric current straight
into the heart
pain into the palms and soles
and cynicism into the brain
you could ask
how do I solve the global problem?
not only now
do the eyes see,
but the heart feels
and where do we draw the line
between selfish ignorance
and hopeless engulfment?
thinking positively
does not stop
children being abused
or wars from breaking out
but neither does
drinking the mercury of suffering
what do you do with the anger of injustice
when you see it everywhere?
cut it off, the discarded stem of a vegetable?
become the righteous adjudicator
of opinions?

neither
do much to
keep the homeless warm
or the vulnerable safe

mostly
I wish I could eat the pain
of others
mostly
I wish I could
disappear my own

perhaps the best thing I can do
is turn it into compost

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the dirt

women, the balm
balm for my wounds
seamstresses of my heart
blood in my blood
those men never related to me
they just wanted my eyes wide
and my mouth wide
maybe I wanted their eyes wide too
or maybe I just wanted a new father
but they are not in my blood,
like you women are in my blood.
come, warriors
on the other side
of the world
inside a phone screen
or ten tube stops away
come,
over bread and oil,
or cigarettes
or creating –
you warriors,
you make my bones strong
and my mind agile.
let me do the same for you
and let me stop apologising
for needing you
you pearls,
you islands,
you sisters.
cry,
and I will cry too
and we will
lock our fingers together
and keep growing out of the dirt.

snow

little moon baby
eyes like mine
deeper than black holes
telling tales of destruction
her hand rests on my hip
and I would never compare her to
a doll, but
the words to describe someone so
precious and delicate escape me
her skin is snow
so how do I melt when
it’s mine that is warm?
we will never understand us or them
those beasts of brawn and hair
they fill the holes but don’t heal
I wonder if I want to love her
as I wish I loved myself

pore

I peer at all the constituent parts
and touch them pore by pore
feeling for which are more
pleasing to the eye and the mind
I wonder why it
is so unacceptable to be imperfect
in mood or mind or
visual appeal
I wonder what it is like to
be free from your own jagged scrutiny
my face is so covered with labels
I try to peel them off
but they leave trails of glue and whiteness behind
I wonder
is it more of a crime against
my fellow man
to let go or cling on?
and why is it
that no love given ever seems enough?
shapes hang over the questions
that have no answers
and so I dream of what it would be like
to be the honest accurate whole

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.