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.

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neighbours

01 18

I stood still
for a time
and in between my toes and
up around my thighs
grew bindweed, tightly
slowly
and see,
in our gardens
where we exercise
an illusion of control,
we are always taught to rip it out.

rip it out from precious rose bushes
and pleasant camellias
placed and planted with such intention
and purposeful beauty
(just in view of the neighbours). 

the weed.
we stamp in anger
as it chokes our chosen stems.
we pull in frustration
wondering when the fuck
the bindweed will stop
coming back
again
and again. 

fools.
do we not know
that bindweed too
produces delicate flowers?
so intent on the singular
growth of our choice,
that we cannot accept that
even the choking weeds, too
in their growing
have their blossom?

alas,
it covered my body and I watched in
a sort of hopeless wonder.
for the first time
I noticed the papery blossom
and a tear fell from my eye.
in its beauty, though
I let it revel a little too long
and it strangled my
blackthorn bushes
and attracted flies that disturbed my fruitbowl.

beautiful
but
if it grows up to my eyes
and blinds me
what use does it have?
maintenance,
maintenance.
I won’t anguish over the weeds any longer.
I will allow their flowers and
their lessons
but I will not stay still enough
for bindweed to penetrate my
navel and
nose and
mouth and
eyes.

I think this
suits me and the plant well.
an understanding.
and a new chrysalis of gratitude
for the others that grow
in my volcanic soil

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.

pairs

pairs of eyes
(mostly blue, one pair brown, one pair hazel)
I looked into wishing for
eternal love
unconditional, magical love
I begged them not to leave mine for
a single second.
so, well, when I saw the girl
in the mirror, I spat at her.
she stared into my skin
taking in every blocked pore
and said nothing but “I’m sorry”.

not good enough!
I said,
and I spat at her again.

I locked the door
looked down at my feet
jammed cotton wool into my ears
and when the outside light burned in
(at about four o’clock)
I shut the curtains, too.
not good enough! I said,
and I hung a scarf over the mirror
so she couldn’t look at me any more.

it hurts, I said.
it hurts so much (I gripped my knees and
rocked like a child fallen from a climbing frame).
I looked over to the mirror and its scarf
and I couldn’t see her
but when I picked the cotton wool from
my right ear to replace it
I heard her whisper from behind my improvised
iron curtain.
“I’m sorry”, she said.
“I’m sorry”.

well, I went back into the outside light
after a little while
but still I avoided her in car windows and shop fronts
and mirrors
and oddly metallic hand-dryers and sheets of foil and ice
she caught up with me eventually, though.
and by habitual force
I cleared my little throat ready to
gob right at her, the insolent bitch.

she was still saying it.
“I’m sorry”, she said.
“no time for that,
I’m on my way to
meet a blue-eyed surgeon who’ll fix my pinholes and chips and
prevent that nasty infection from returning to my
badly sutured wounds”.

she said nothing

then

“I’m sorry”, she said.
“I said no time for that!”
and I lifted my hand to silence her

wait
what
she reaches back delicately
she doesn’t grab me like the last blue pair
nor shout like the first blue pair
she doesn’t scream and hit like the brown pair, either

I stare down at my own hand, and shuffle off
to meet the surgeon
but I begin to wonder what would happen
if I looked at her a little more often

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

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.

star part II

read part I here

I wrote once
a little while ago about
a burning hot star that
scalded my palms and
blinded my eyes
I wondered why I was
so paralysed by its beauty
and so afraid of its power
I plunged my hands into it then,
not knowing how to harness its purity
I gilded my fingers silver
and skinned them to the bone

stars are all white gold
and full of dreams
but they don’t travel through galaxies
and now that I understand how to
work my telescope,
instead of staring into the light
with bare-eyed fascination
I can see that the star, so far from
my breathing earth
is burning itself into static death
going out in a blaze of beauty
that will suck the life out of every
little thing around it

I look away from the endless sky
and down at my feet, tempered in their
little leather boots
and see the leaves swilling around them
I see the pearls of dew drops glisten
and grass growing through cracks in the pavement
a sparked single match lights a
wood fire somewhere to my left
and I realise that a burnt-out sun
a thousand light years away
could never warm my healing hands
could never captivate and delight my eye
the way my left-hand fire could