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

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tomb

in the late london skyline
the real london skyline
the landscape buzzes with the lights of
a hundred rooms
not the billion-dollar investments
nor the phallic financial monuments
not the architect’s stone wonders
nor the flags of palaces
no, in the real skyline
stand a hundred homes
stacked in squares and rising
above that bridge-road.
a hundred mothers
a hundred children
a hundred rooms belonging to
kids you sat next to in dusty assemblies
a hundred kitchens that
could be full of anything at all
maybe some with an excess of plastic bags in
a larger plastic bag
maybe some with new mixer taps
maybe some with letters in a dishevelled pile on the table (have you seen my letter from the hmrc)
maybe others with letters pinned orderly to a cork board (I put up your letter from the hmrc).
in the blocks for hundreds
only a few lights remain switched on
at this ungodly hour.
the mothers and the rest now asleep
the stacks loom dark
but promise life
with the lights left on in kitchens and stairwells and bedrooms.
yet
among them
splitting the sky open like a great
glaring wound
effervescent with hot bubbling blood
stands the great black tomb in the sky
the great black fucking tomb in the sky
the great burnt shame in the fucking sky
it seems bigger, somehow
than the breathing blocks around it
that make so well this skyline that I love
it seems bigger.
this carcass
this ode to death
this ode to greed
should be full of us,
full of life
full of joy and sadness and ambivalence and
shit dinners and good dinners and irritation and
nights in front of the tv and
parties that go on too long and
noisy upstairs neighbours and
neighbours that never make a sound at all.
but instead, now
this ode to greed
this ode to murder
this ode to a community’s hellish grief
this ode to their screams of anguish and injustice
this ode, it
cries it’s message into the city.
and the blistering corruption of death
coats us all.

so pay attention
because we live
pay attention
because they rest in ash
pay fucking attention
and hold onto your humanity
dig yr nails into it’s flesh and don’t ever
let it go
pay attention.
to what happens
pay attention.
pay attention.
(don’t forget them)
pay attention.
pay attention.
and dismantle the chain reaction
of tired decisions that
lead to the destruction of our humanity
pay attention.
and don’t
you ever fucking forget them
don’t you ever
forget how they rest in our skyline
pay attention.
pay attention.

devotion

what do I remember?

not the nights I stayed in alone, for fear of encountering something worse outside.
not the nights I spent talking to empty, strange men online at four in the morning.
not the nights spent asking google the same panicked questions over and over again til my eyes blurred and the sun came up.

pain has a way of getting away from you. this is the brain protecting you, you see. childbirth hurts, a fucking LOT, but women do it all the time, repeatedly. no pain, no gain. was there e’er a truer cliché? no, probably not.

for all the nights of my life I’ve spent saddened, alone, anxious, defeated (and there’s been enough); recalling the pain now is dull and old, even only days later. but the nights I’ve spent screaming with laughter, forging friendships, exploring things I love, making even the tiniest of bonds with people sat next to me on creaky old couches? those nights are clear as pealing bells in my head, whether years or days or decades have passed. joy remains. always.

life is a pointless piece of shit, but that’s no reason to waste it. that’s no reason to cage myself in a four-walled prison of my own making. I stay awake late anyway; if I’m going to be tired, I might as well be fucking entertained.

I’m not a disease, I’m not a disorder, I’m not a diagnosis. sometimes things will be bad, because the brain gets tired, the brain goes wrong. but it always gets better. it ALWAYS gets better.

the inner monologue, the one that tells me I am too fat, too ugly, too stupid, too unstable, too broken. that voice is the disease. me; beautiful, strong, smart, singular. I am not those thoughts. I dare now to answer them with petulance rather than acceptance. I dare to tell myself that I’m wonderful; to offer myself the same love and devotion that I wish so often would come to me.

we must love ourselves. we must not neglect ourselves. we must take care of ourselves. one of the most wonderful aspects of humanity is sharing, communicating, bonding. but I alone inhabit this particular sack of mobile meat and bones, as you do yours. we are truly alone. if we cannot even fall back on our love of ourselves when everything around us turns to shit and the world lets us down, then where can we fall?

don’t fall into nothingness. embrace yourself and treat yourself with the kindness you readily offer to your lovers, your friends, your pets. you deserve it.