Empty

His arms were as welcoming
as the outside world to a hermit,
as warm as that winter.
Hiss. Arms were as welcoming
as the inside of my arm when I carved it,
as cold as a fever.
Welcome. To the longest half walk
of half shame,
of half a dick fit,
and the other was lonely as fuck.
My tongue was swirling with the poetry
of a million virgins
taking it up the arse.
My lashes were so clumped together,
my blind side could tell I was crying.
My feet were so bloody
pressing on the pavement,
they looked like a sacrifice to
all of the men who said were Satan.
This is more than half lines full of pretty;
these are half lines full of dried cum,
of unpleasant filling,
of broken skin
in the corner of my lips.
This is more than Whitman with a limp
this is the pain of a twisted ankle
if one had twenty ankles
all twisted at the same time.
His words were as soothing
as iodine on a cut,
as calm as a storm.
Hiss. Words were as soothing
as a tongue on a cut,
as angry as a breeze.
Soothe. The longest night of the year
with the lack of compassion,
the lack of a voice,
the lack of a heart,
and the lack of the pills.

Denial

(Dan)

If the mirror on the back of my hand would be alive, it would cut itself in a precarious large and vastly inordinate x. A sort of cut that is not a letter, it is not worthy of inverted commas, it is not worthy of capitalisation. It  isn’t strong enough to yell or hit. It flows, as if part of a vein, as if constructed strictly as plasma and snakes, and as it slithers endlessly it whispers.

The quiet hurts more than anything else. When it says no

no

no

no

not maybe

but no.

The cross is more powerful than any foam around the lips in the morning or late afternoon when toothpaste tastes like the death of the night. The x pulsates like a dying lamp on the side of the street. The sentiment is thriving, seductive and so easy to accept. So easy to embrace, a skin of sorts, raw and bloody – it fits perfectly.

There is no way of calculating probabilities, there is no odds, there is no this or that prix viagra pharmacie. There’s the no, wielding the power of a thousand rabid horses willing to trample a colony of ants. There’s the no, wielding the power to chew slowly at one’s toes in a show of acceptance and consensual termination. It is the no of a million pills one should have taken and chose not to.

It is the whisper of every day.

The dripping of an oil lamp that will soon go out in desperation.

The no that follows a step behind and leads five steps ahead. The false sense of security, of wisdom.

It is when one is being buried alive in autumn leaves and insists that it is but a small July wind.

The x on the back of the hand seems to have attached itself to the forehead and it now lights the way deceivingly, a mere foot around the head. It attracts the mosquitoes of depression, of uncertainty and of pain. It burns the moths of the morning, the ones who forgot to leave home and hide. It makes reading apparently easy, but it kills the optical nerves with strain.

It makes one’s eyes close in silent suicide, never to open again.

It makes one forget there is a second hand and a second back of the hand.

A moment too late, there are two crosses, two of the large and barbaric cuts. It means one has cocooned in the no and it the no now has one.

It makes waking up a morbid denial of a denial of a denial and it makes one know not to ask about the no.

 

 

 

Half-paradise lost

I walked before crawling; I was told
many years later that sad people do.
I lost before fighting; I found out
many years later that sad people do.
I was sad when I was happy and I never knew
how close to the core of the Earth my heart stopped
when I started my descent.
“I drew my own eyes and they were sad,” I said.
“They were sad, my love, and I was crying.”
He was quiet, buried deep inside our mutual self
as one crashes in a mattress of lust and love
respect and the epitome of absolutism.
I failed before trying; I was told
in the mirror, mere minutes later
that cunts like me do. I laughed.
I’ve gone and spoiled the perfection
of unabashed symmetry.
I’ve gone and killed the legacy
I was to leave my children.
They will now have to gift themselves
to the world who moulded them.
Martyrs on the crosses of boxes
they tick at the doctors.
I fucked before I knew how to love.
I wish this was a lie, but I was told
many many years later
that old souls do.
Whether this stands as true
or falls into the lies I’ve been told
remains to be decided.
Peter was a sassy little white collar
standing there and judging me.
He told me in no simple words,
in the convoluted asswiped way
that saints have
that I was tripping balls.
When the sun set for the first time in my memory
I was young enough to wonder
and old enough for my eyes to tear up with the strain.
Someone grabbed my hand in the dark
I like to think it was him, but it’s been
one point seven fuckloads of seconds
since he stopped breathing
and started resting in an urn.
It’s been equally as long
since I’ve stopped living
and carried on as a shell.
I feel tired; the way tired feels
when it crawls up your arms
like an army of ticks waiting to bite
like a battalion of vicious termites
clawing at my wooden limbs.
I was tired before I woke up; I was told
many later that sad people are.
“I felt my veins today,” I said.
“They were like the branches of the oaks
I care so much about. They spread
like tendrils of the love I have for you.”
He smiled. I hated him those days.
“Do you know if you knot your veins together
you might have enough roads
to walk to the depth of my soul and back?”
“I’d drive,” he said. I laughed.
We fucked that night. We fucked slowly
the way lovers do when they’re written about.
We fucked in the middle of the bed,
where there was enough room around us
to build a home.
I was happy before I knew what happiness was;
I found out many years later
when it slid through my fingers
(the way time does)
that I can never get it back.

A bit after eight

We could be holding each other
or holding the other
or flying together
or staying in bed.
I could be cooking today
or you could be living tomorrow.
On your sill there’s no hate
no lack of embraces, or touches, or hands.
There’s a stubborn mosquito, an insect of sorts:
you tell me, I smile.
There’s something about you –
I’ve already said.
That cloud looks like a dragon, a church
or a wedding.
That dream looks like a handful
of heartache tomorrow.
You ask me, I smile, it’s nothing, again.
You tell me we could go, I start to imagine;
you tell me tomorrow we could be married
I laugh and you frown.
We’re so simple with faces, I know but a few.
You ask and I answer:
a whore
is a whore
is a whore
is a –
wonderful woman
after she’s eaten,
after she’s been given
coffee and fag.
You know me too well
I’m afraid, you ‘re dismissive.
You know me enough.
We could be holding the flowers,
cup them with nails.
I could be wearing them naked
tucked in my hair.
They could be wearing
my skin as a coat
I could be happy
when I’m growing old.

 

Togetherness

Sometimes you make me smile because you can;
it’s a power I haven’t given to many
and it’s a downfall I have yet to adjust to
and it’s a delicate shower in May when it’s too early to exist
too late to sleep and too vivid to catch.
Sunrises are fitful, bright and dull, with strokes
of bamboo handles glued to natural hair
often sold for quite a lot, and used for little more than
to apply expensive make-up over freckles.
My freckles ¬have sex, absurd orgies dancing on my cheekbones.
My cheekbones can pierce the heart of my lovers;
of their chests, when I try to cuddle them.
My lovers can nestle in the expanse of my hair
(I paint it red, like a sunset and a Bloody Mary)
when the world is real and cruel.
My poetry can go fuck itself, she said to me, and I laughed.
No, you vengeful bitch, you can’t –
let me stop you right there.
Let me stop me right here.
But my darling, wonderful man,
if words were to slide off my pages
off the occasional lazy pixel
into the hands of a carer
they would be mortified to find them mostly empty
void of charisma, or talent, or potential.
Sometimes you make me write for you;
it’s a failure I have yet to adjust to.
A rather good misjudgement, a room with no walls.
My hands, when they swim on your skin
could drown and I would still smile.
Climbing on the entirety of our sleeping forms
I find it hard to breathe.
My poetry is a house with a burnt foundation
paper walls
and a shining roof.
It hides me when I’m sober
and loves me when you won’t.

Eleven

My baby E,

For someone doing a writing course, this is surprisingly difficult to put on paper. Or blog. You know what I mean. I’ll blame the library computers for it. I can almost hear you saying “you dildo” to this. I can always hear you saying all sort of things in my head. I’m really glad you exist, so I can complain about how annoying it can get. Especially when I’m about to kiss that guy you said “No” about literally five minutes before. I’m really glad you exist, because schizophrenia with your voice in my head would be the worst.

I’m cheesy as fuck, blame it on my ovulation or potential pregnancy or whatevs. Blame it on the fact that you left me fifteen minutes ago because “Lidl shuts at 10”. Blame it on how lonely I feel, or how typing on this positively ancient keyboard echoes more than that one guy who always wanks in the library. Blame it on how much I love you and us. Blame it on whatever the fuck you want, as long as you accept it as valid.

I pray to whatever god I invent and believe in for the day that whatever we have, if it’s friendship, or love, or lust or the stuff of soulmates, I pray it doesn’t end. I pray I won’t fuck it up. I pray you won’t ever grow to hate me. I pray I will be a good enough person for you to always want in your life. I hope we can overcome anything and everything there will be to overcome. I pray we’ll always be like this, complete and utter balls dickheads.

If I could take all this feeling and bottle it up, I wouldn’t let anyone use it as a perfume, because it’s mine and mine alone. And you make it happen. Together with the frustrating moments when you’re just unreasonable and horrible, and I want to smack you and tell you I’m pretty and that’s all that you should care about.

If I could draw it for you, I would. If I could write it more accurately than this, I would. This feeling, this entire thing my heart does, when it hurts when you’re hurting; all this, this is now embedded into who I am as a person. Congratulations. You are in me. And not in a way everyone else has been in me, but in a deep (ha haa) meaningful way. There’s a reason the second we meet up I want to tell you everything, even if you’re tired or moody. I want you to know, because you validate me in a nonjudgmental way. Because you are everything I want and fear I’ll fuck up.

I’ve had this love before, baby. I’ve had it and it scares the shit out of me that one day it won’t be there anymore. Every single time you go passive aggressive, I get this feeling in my gut, like my entire life just drains away. And then I tell myself I can fix it. I can make it better. You can’t possibly understand what you mean to me, and how important this shit is.

And then there’s the fucking small things and the not so small things. I could write a book with our fucking stupid trips to anywhere really, and the way you knew I was upset so you bought me a perfume, because you knew I was completely out. And the lipstick, and the food, holy shit the fucking food. All of the food. And just the fact that you are tall enough that my tits fit perfectly under yours. And the way you do my hair, and use my shower and my shampoo (remind me to buy some, by the way). And that time on your birthday you wrote with a sharpie on my leg, which in turn meant that I shaved when I was drunk and long story short, I’ll have a scar that I’m gonna name after you. Speaking of which, the baby names. And dick talk and the way you just know what to do.

There are so many things I could be describing here, including the background of the endless lists of quotes I have everywhere. Just so no one forgets, “I can’t believe you hi-ed Gerard”.

But two particular things come to mine, and fuck off yeah, you made me tear up in the library. You said the most beautiful thing in the world yesterday, when you were using us as an example. Sidetracking, we are so married, it’s ridiculous. Like, we use our fucking friendship as an example for a functional relationship, which is astonishing, given our levels of co-dependency. But yeah, you said “If anyone took Jo away from me, I don’t know what I would do.” And I might have played it cool, and kissed the side of your neck and called you an idiot and whatnot, but every time I stop to think about something, I hear that in the back of my head. And it makes me happy, and it scares me as well, because you know how I’m not used to receiving gifts and have someone love me back in the same way and with the same intensity.

And then your fucking dream, and how fucking mental you have to be to dream that thing, complete with psychopath trying it on with me (check), and flying my fucking family there. But dreaming I was murdered wasn’t half as fucking heartbreaking as you not allowing my mum to take me to Romania, because this is my home, you said. And you taking my fucking ashes to Scotland, because Scotland is my fucking spirit animal. And your speech, and I don’t even care if you didn’t want people to know all this, because I am so overwhelmed someone cares about me like this. I am so desperately anxious and happy and terrified and proud.

I love you so much it makes me want to cuddle you at all times, while we eat pizza and doughballs (and you have milk, you freak what even) and watch shit on youtube.

And listen to Nicki Minaj, because we’re tasteless whores.

“You’re pretty!”

“You’re right!”

All of my love, drinks and Marlboros,

Jo

 

Ten

My love,

It’s been six years since we met. I’m sorry I didn’t get to write to you on the day, but you always said I should go and smile more often. Yeah, well fuck you. Congratulate me, I only had three panic attacks on Friday, I seriously think I’m getting better. It’s so surreal to think I’m growing old and you aren’t. It’s makes my skin crawl and my heart soar. It’s the sort of feeling you get when you forget something and you don’t know what it is, so the information just stays at the back of your head, waiting, prodding and making you want to to claw at your brain and get it out.

The age difference between the two of us was so beautiful. It made me feel safe and it made you feel… well, illegal is one way of putting it. I miss you, my love. I miss you every day and every breathing moment – that presence of the back of your head. I keep thinking what life would be if I stayed home that night. If I read a book instead. If I didn’t put stilettos on, or if I left home earlier.

I like to think I would have met you at some point. The sort of blind, almost religious love we shared is impossible to avoid, and I like to think that I would have met you a month or a year later. I like to think that things would have been different, and maybe you’d be here with me to celebrate the day we met.

If you can hear my thoughts, or read my words, or even remotely know anything about my life, you must fucking hate how much it all revolves around you. The same words, the same feelings, over and over again. Surely you can’t stand it anymore.

You shouldn’t have gone then, my love.

Always,

Jo.

Drowning

The first time she feels the little flicker inside of her, her eyes light up with an unspeakable desire for more. She remembers about that one time when it was raining and she was on the bus. She seems to have spent her entire life on a bus, hoping, waiting for the time to catch up with her and finally kill her. It had been raining for days and she was in a constant state of miserable, as well as finality. People were taking photos and she looked to her side, expecting a car crash. Rainbow. There was a rainbow, and the bus took a left. She said the lurch in her gut was because of it. She said it meant nothing.

The first time she feels the flicker inside of her, she remembers the rainbow. She thinks it’s childish and her mother would be appalled, but she cherishes it like she does few things. The second time she’s more prepared, she braces herself and as soon as she feels it, her mouth lifts in a silent thank you. In awe. In fear. A myriad of emotions, all running wild and brutal. She embraces it, because she knows at the end of the journey there’s happiness. There’s a little bundle of joy to cuddle, soft skin and a warm body. She sits and waits.

The flicker grows, it kicks now, it means more than a flicker. She knows from endless books that there will be a conclusion. There will be a climax, a finality, a big bang at the end. The whole new life shit, that’s what she thinks.

Somewhere along the line, she collides with the truth. She doesn’t gently probe it, test it with a toe. The truth is not a small pond she can soak her feet in. The truth, as she founds it, is an ocean. It calls to her, with the salty smell, the screams of birds and the death of a fish by the need of the other. It floods her insides and she thinks nothing could ever hurt more. She drowns in it, unable to keep her head up high. She swallows gallons of salt and along with it, fear fills every single corner of her being.

There’s no more time, she thinks. There’s no big finality. Yet she pushes forward, hoping against all hope.

When it happens, when the flicker turned being, turned killer, turned the biggest most important thing in her life, the tears finally fall. The ocean is subdued, no wind and no currents. It has become a river and it flows quietly in columns and columns of pain.

She drowns and surfaces and drowns again. She cries it away, because the being she’s given birth to is not a child, not a little pathetic cliché cherub.

The being she’s given birth to is the despair of falling in love.

Nine

My dear,

When I met you, you were extraordinarily handsome. We shook hands and I couldn’t help my smile: the weird, one corner upper than the other, my cheekbones more exclusive than usual. A raised eyebrow, because you trained your eyes on my left one, and it felt like you could read my the little barcode on the back of my brain, scan it and I would have to pay. You’d make sure of it. You see, it was a sort of I want to break free, because your hair shone in the shitty light, and it made me want to touch it. I’d seen you before but your bright eyes never caught mine. Then you spoke and I swear I was gone. The only way that could have been more poetic was if I had balls and dropped a hand to readjust. Alas, no.

When I met you, my dear, you were laughing. You were carefree and had such a beautiful filthy soul. You could drag me to and through hell. I like to think that if  I were her, you would have. I wasn’t, so you settled. Once. Twice. Again. Then a maybe, a nipple twist, a loose button, a drink, a hug, a quick word. Again. It was all over the place; we were all over the place. I was trying to love you and you had always loved her.

We bonded over that. I whispered the hate, you laughed with me. It was almost normal life, if I hadn’t been so fascinated, so unbelievably needy.

I can fix you. You know I can fix you. I can put the pieces back together. I can help. I want to. The deal would not be the blessed ten years, it would be you giving me what I need. Could you? Could you give me all I need so that I wouldn’t stray? Could you fucking love me like you love her?

I’m used to being people’s other one. I’m used to watch and judge and laugh and hurt a little when I see the people whose other I am with their loved one. You don’t love someone that much if you stray, do you? I like the cynical side of it. I like it because it’s real. It’s what reality means: you date or marry or promise or whatever the fuck you want, your loved one – the one you love the most, the most important person in your life -, well… they stray. They go and fuck that other one. They do it again, and again, and again, they invest; and not money, that’s the rookie version. No, they invest feelings, and they care, and still… they come home to you. Look you in the eye when they come inside you. They tell you they love you. But if they did, why look for something else? Why stray? They don’t love you. Not the same way they love the other. You’re a nice armchair they like to relax in every now and then.

Excuse me, my dear. I seem to have ranted quite a bit. You know I do that. But yes, if you could give me everything I need, I wouldn’t stray. Why do that? Do you understand how important this deal is? What have I told you every single time we spoke? I don’t date. I don’t commit. I don’t care. Well, shit.

Cause you make me do. Cause I want you to be okay. I want you to laugh and be incredibly handsome again, carefree and with a beautiful soul.

I’ll kiss it better.

Part lust and part love,

Jo.

Minutiae

You find her often when she’s laughing, the sound almost annoying, yet definitely drawing you closer. Her head thrown back in mirth, she always wishes she’d have the pearly laughter of romance novels. You watch her neither in fascination, like select few others, nor with slated eyes, wanting to bludgeon her head. You watch her knowing you shouldn’t, knowing it’s somewhere you should never ever fixate your eyes. You secretly hope no one can tell. You hope she doesn’t know.

She does. She turns around and sees you, and her entire face lights up. Your heart skips a beat; in joy or fear, it’s irrelevant. She lifts her arms to call you over and as she sits on the bar stool, her head fits perfectly under your chin. You wish she wasn’t so warm or so inviting.

She is. She is everything your significant other isn’t. She’s not beautiful and she’s not extraordinary, but in the common she shines like nothing you’ve ever seen. If you had half a brain cell, you’d know you’re so in love it should hurt.

It does. But you blame it on the unattainable. You blame it on yourself, the carelessness, the great debacle that your evenings are recently. She looks up and smiles, and all you can think is that you wish to god she’s smiling because of you. Or for you. Or anything that is related to you.

She does. You manage a tiny lift in the corner of your mouth. She tells you she missed you and you nod solemnly, to remind her of the gravity of that situation. Your eyes are smiling, your entire soul feels like smiling. It’s almost ridiculous how easy she can throw you off. It’s ridiculous when you realise the blandness of her being. It’s beyond ridiculous to ever think she’s bland. You know she isn’t. You hope she knows how special and unique she is.

She does. But she doesn’t particularly care. Not when you hold her close, as close as a friendship allows and tell her about your life. She’s fascinated with you, or so you think anyway. You try to never lie to her. You always try your damn best to tell her everything, and yet to leave out your significant other. You think she’d get upset. This time, though, you can’t help it. You tell her you kind of broke up with your significant other. You don’t think she will show any signs of recognition.

She does. Her eyebrow shoots up, waiting for more information. For an explanation. For her fucking heart to stop racing like a horse on crack. You know this because she told you once that when she’s too emotional, that’s the way her heart goes. So you explain, tell her anything and do your best to hide your disappointment when she’s not as excited as you’d expected.

She is. Her hand shoots up to pat your hair in place, although she knows it’s useless. She eventually looks you in the eye and tells you that as long as you’re happy, she’ll support you. Of course she bloody will. You’re important to her, she tells you. It’s nice to hear it. No one’s told you that in years. You tell her you were thinking of going away for a while. You tease her, of course. You ask her if she’d miss you.

She would. She tells you so. With a frown on, she hops down from the bar stool. She’s quite short, so you have to take half a step back to look her in the eye properly. She smirks, and finally tells you that she knows. She knows you’re not going anywhere. You wouldn’t dare leave her alone. She’s right, but you neither confirm, nor deny it. As she stands, you hug her from the side, your body engulfing her. You whisper her name, and she looks up. When you kiss her, both your heads bent rather awkwardly (yours forward, and hers as far back as it could go), both her hands holding on to your arm, you hope she’ll kiss you back.

She does.