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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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

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

demerara

he certainly looks a superhero,
defined in blocks of
masculine warmth and prowess
all wrapped up in demerara skin and eyes
but it’s not so dramatic
the way he holds his hand out to
cradle me in my fear
I shine a light to the sky when
I see a burning building in the mist
and he arrives on time
gently turning my face to the present
“darling,
a flame in the oven
does not mean the building burns”.
I don’t know whether to
call you brother or father
or both,
or neither.

neither.

my comrade in doubt and kindness,
I channel strength to you and from you.
your beautiful soul hurts, I
know it does, yet you
are the fireman hero
jumping into the fire despite the
smoke already bleeding in your lungs.
you are the human hero,
you are.
but this does not mean
that you must never be weak.
be weak, my friend
because you can
because you are strong
because you have me and us to
cradle your mind as
you have cradled mine and ours.
we survive always
you help me heal my burns
I see yours itching for ointment.
your kindness could
never be contained by pain.
expand and
let’s let go
and be the
delicate
strong
powerful
tangible
human
embracing heroes
that our children
always wanted to hold onto.

float

I know. I know
it feels so unavoidable after
all the things that have cruelly
unjustly happened to you
I know. I know
that it is so unfair how
you have suffered and trialled
and how it seems impossible
not to stand in front of the mirror
and cry at the girl there,
imperfect and scarred and
lost
I know. I know
how it feels to want nothing
how it feels for dreams to exist as
nothing but a dull black hum
how sleep is the only thing
that takes the edge off of your
jagged existence
but I know. I know
that misanthropy is not forever
it does not have to be your way
the purity of living is here
for you and you
do not have to drown yourself out
of being
you are bigger than the
sum of your tragedies
come to the healing pool
expect pain in every
new place you go
float on its salt waters
and throw your heart into life
again
because you know. you know
that whatever you have to fear
is not worse than
isolation and hatred.
survive, darling
I promise
you will love
your life again.

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.

new

I stood at the door to my new life
full of fear and tears
so desperate to find the key
under the piles of newspapers from 2004
that littered my desk
the smell of brass was a taunt
from morning til night,
knowing it was so close to my hand
but still lost.
then he came and shook me
awake at two in the morning
opened my eyes
“I am just
like you.
the papers are yours
they don’t belong to god
so get a
fucking move on”.
I found my key
and I walked into the
world that had been waiting
for me
I in my rarity and he in his
reminding each other that
our gifts of perception
are not gypsy’s curses.
my friend,
thank fuck for you
and here’s to our health.
my brother,
you’re more than a diamond
in a sea of glass shards