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

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.

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

saul

you are jesus christ messiah
and I am saul of tarsus
I roam in the nowhere and
murder your blind followers with
daggers from my eyes and breasts
but still heaven
opens and your voice saves
me and gives me my name
and you don’t seem
to care much about my
past persecuting.
and as your transformed apostle,
oh –
I feel gifted to be the one
who waits
(as many aeons as it may take)
for you to wake from the dead.
for now,
I will accept simply the vision
of your resurrected body
in my mind’s sky
it sustains me more than
bread and honey
and appears, clearer
than the shimmering
glass eyes of the ones
we left in our wake.

sky

it hurts to look up to the sky
into that deep
perfect infinite blue of the universe
why do my eyes ache in the light?
I wait for an answer,
and turn towards it anyway.
the power of victim is strong
and sticky,
but I know
as the sun wrings tears from my eyes
that it is not more than the
power of truth.
the power of perfect is strong
and incorrect.
a vision of material attainment
burns holes in my soul –
and that is just,
despite the child’s protestations of
need and want and why.
new beliefs are delicate like
virgin shoots from the ground
and the galaxy eyes of newborns.
and samely, bring the deep
joy of reality.
I am still healing,
still connecting to the gratitude strand
that ties the experiences of cruelty together.
without loss
I could not be me
and the time that I screamed against
all that I was
is over.
into the stars, or the sky, or the eyes of
newborns, the fresh shoots of spring
or the dying leaves of winter;
I allow the ache in my eyes,
and I live.

lover

our friend with the red-haired
beard became my lover.
and like no other he
pushes and pulls me up and down
hills and planes.
I guess I spill my guts out onto
the floor more than he’d expect
and being so stoic and sweet,
I don’t know if he knows
what to do when a girl comes to him
holding out her own intestines.
but it doesn’t matter,
because my red-haired lover will
try anyway.
toaster’s broken,
fuck knows where to start, but
he starts.
that’s why I like him.
stoic and sweet and full of
practical advice and
reminders that life really
is not that serious, girl.
and when the sun comes out
and illuminates the flecks of
gold in his red-haired beard
god, it makes me feel sweet
and I revel as I feel his
elasticity sweat into my skin
and my softness dripping into
his open mouth.
lover,
I hope we don’t ever
step on each other’s hearts.

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