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.

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titanic

a girl
just as lost as I was,
reached out with
a perfectly manicured hand.
queen captain of the new Titanic,
weathering a storm you
could never know
(not even in your worst nightmares).
the lies of boys brought us together
brought us to a three-hour phone
conversation before we even knew
who we were.
that’s not how us damaged girls are
supposed to act, but
even then we knew where
our blood was best directed.
a girl,
with more beauty and soul than
you could ever understand
(or would deserve).
they should be the ones eating our pain
digesting it whole and
letting it fester in their rotten guts
but that
is not how life works, so on
and on we will go.
she does not need to prove anything
to you, but look how she
glimmers in the light as
a pearl
even when you try to cast your shadow.
fuck you,
we live.

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.

mirror

I saw her there, in the drunken mirror, reflected in the glass dirtied with smears of black and orange, fingerprints and hairspray trails. I saw her there in her purity, and I marvelled at every inch of her being; a drunken mirror, maybe, a dirty reflection, but one so pure and bright I could not ignore it.

a little woman, she stood there in black, peeling off her layers of wet clothing and laughing unfettered, until they were all laid out to dry. she stood twisted and I marvelled still, at each perfect fold of skin; where her thighs met her buttocks, and led down legs of gold and grey and black, to the gentle lines across her stomach, the creases beneath her ribs worn in from how she sat.

and she did sit, I knew, in the past; but now, she stood, and turned, touched her arms at their angles, one by one. more she touched and more I marvelled, at her skin so golden-bright and smooth, so proud with its pockmarks and scars and stains, bearing such a dreamlike contrast to the streaks of dark hair that danced so lightly on her back as she turned to laugh more, more, more.

I looked and sought her, perhaps only for a second, and saw so much that I had to look away as quickly as I went. what a thing of beauty, what wholeness she emitted in only a moment, I thought, I thought, I thought. I longed to touch her, to reach her, to smell her, perhaps forever, forever and ever more. in the mirror there was only a moment, but I learnt so much I felt tears prickling in the corners of my eyes. I wondered if I dared to look again, what I may see, if those paradises so absolute could possibly remain, of whether perhaps they existed only then, in that light, in that reflection, at those angles?

who is this, I asked myself, that can stand and turn and laugh so readily, so beautifully, so purely and freely, who can posses such vibrancy and gleam in nothing but a moment in a grimy mirror?

I dared, and I saw her again. staring back into my eyes, seeing me. she is. I am. and I soar past my years of hatred and coldness, my denial, my pain and pointless suffering, my self-loathing and denigrating. I am her, with the golden legs and soft stomach and black hair and curved ribs. I am her. I am, I am, I am, and I sink heavy into bed that night elated with the knowledge of the truth;

I am, I am, I am.

magic

how can you
ever repay
goddesses
who gave you life?
a debt so enormous
unending
and true
yet never once
expected.

woman bore you,
in her body
laughed in the face
of the foul
modern expectation of her life
her work
never finished,
as you grew and squalled.

she bore a life,
and watched it
destroyed by
things she
could never control.
with her own pain
a searing
knife in the heart,
yours, a thousand
needles in her eyes.

yet
she carried you.
she is not made of magic
she is a foundation
on which you built your
independence,
expected by all as
a cornerstone of life

life tells us
she is not made of magic
but look
deeply into her loving eyes,
and it is what you will see
plainer than cotton
clearer than summer sky.
her magic imbues
us all.

honey

your peaceful dreams
they dissolve
like sugar cubes in
below-average cups of tea

and your nightmares,
they stick to you
like hard golden toffees
stick to broken teeth

by now you should know
that sweetness rots your gums
and gives you gaping cavities
that are costly to repair

you may crave the
dripping satisfaction of syrup
in your little mouth
on your little tongue

but do you really want to remember
the honey trickling down your throat
when you are scrutinizing
the size of your hips again?

my darling, no
replace the lid of the biscuit tin
and be grateful that nobody
wants to see beneath your summer dress

stone

stone girl,
you look in the mirror
who do you see there?

do you see
the cracks
in your
nature

do you see
how you filled
them up
with technicolour?

stone girl,
you feel the storm
weathering your heart

I wonder
if you know
how implausibly strong
your barriers are

I wonder
if you feel
your rejections
of splintered wood

stone girl,
you brace the curse
of a compromise

the others
made of clay
could never know
your power

the others
so delicate
when mixed with water
glazed over

stone girl,
you were thrown
into the fire

stone girl,
you came out
at one thousand degrees

stone girl,
if only you could know
what you have defeated