apples

scarecrow,
you cruel bastard.
you never scared the birds away.
the little sparrows used to line up
on your tattered jacket sleeves
and they’d sing into your false ear.

they should have been frightened.

I had a field of fruit trees.
I put you in there, amongst
the bright green granny smiths.
they were mine. they were mine.
the birds weren’t interested, but
acid poured out of your rotting guts of straw

it burnt holes in my crops.

you did not do your job,
you cruel bastard.
you did not protect my apples at all.
apples are not supposed to bleed
but my neat orchard was broken
and awash with a clotted red river.

you were not the last, either.

I got better at making scarecrows
no thanks to cruel bastards
or bad fruit that stewed on my tongue.
I don’t need a cruel blue doll
like you around any more.
I have covered the orchard with electric nets.

the birds die, but they come anyway.

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fingers

somehow I know, already
what you have inside your hand
safely kept in your gentle fist

two seeds of an amethyst flower
common, but still something so precious
they rattle inside your fingers

and leave their dust behind
saturating the lines in your skin,
turning your scars a little black and dirty

the clock has not been ticking long
dear, but I know that these seeds
of purple and white

are what you are going to give to me.
despite my prior protestations
and yours, I know that they are mine.

you cannot explain why you would
trust me to keep these valueless, precious things
of yours. neither can I,

but somehow you have the talent
to make me feel like I am a mother of the earth-
damarian queen, growing your seeds into crystals-

when I thought I was a sea of fire,
who turned forests into barren deserts of ash
and homes into burning rings of hell

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.

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.

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.