The Angels – Michelangelo
When I get to heaven and the angels ask me, ‘how was it? All that time on earth?’ I’ll say, ‘fuck, it was tough.’
When you look into my eyes and question why I don’t believe, I’ll ask you why you need to. Let’s put aside our arrogance for one evening. You put your flesh on my flesh and remember that it contains no knowledge, nor power, nor eternity – it’s just flesh. The beauty of our flesh is what makes the angels sing the songs that we will never understand until that day. So love me now that you can, and leave me only when the angels separate us.
Remember when I could’ve drowned in my tears but you stayed afloat,
So I listened to your silence to soothe my soul,
A knowing nod that meant I was still royalty
No matter what anyone else said; you’d slay my judges.
My safe place. Now that you’re gone I’m drowning.
What do I do with the enemies that rob my confidence?
Now that I can’t feel your everlasting pride in me.
My safe place, where I never had to be anything
Because you already knew my potential, my pain, my needs.
God, bring him back to me, so I can hold his hand,
So he can hold me.
I fall and there is no comfort.
My life in pills. One pill, two pill, three pill. Six months’ worth please. No, I don’t smoke (obviously I do, bitch, don’t judge me). Will I die (won’t we all)? But no baby right? Will it still make me not have a baby? Wait, I want a baby. Goodbye eggs. Scrambled please. Blood pressure’s fine. Weight the same. Everything’s the same, day after day. Pill after pill. Monday, Tuesday…
Friday 13th October.
They say it’s an unlucky day.
But how can it be unlucky when she was born that day?
Even though she went too early it will always be the luckiest day ever.
I love you, Mummy.
Last night I saw you on the verandah and everything was okay.
They say such birds don’t fly by night but along you came.
I should have known. You’d never left me alone before.
Rock of ages, Ancient of days, My Grandaddy.
Where to find you now? Amongst all of the chaos and confusion
Of endless days. Why, perched on the railings of the verandah
With Mummy and Gran chattering away about times gone past,
Spurring on my tomorrows.
I hear your laughter and I stop the crying.
There’s no need for tears when we’re all together,
Gathered like this on the verandah.
Your presence is the gift of the night, and so I dream.
The Broken Column by Frida Kahlo
The simultaneous love and hatred of life
The beauty of melancholy
The ownership of low self esteem because trying is too difficult
The disorientation of a passing moment
The will to begin again
The terror of depression
The quickening of time
The knowledge of the past and its shadow over tomorrow
The don’t look back
The draining of all creativity
My broken column
Your miserable hanging face. Just want to hook a bag on your mouth to show how much you drain me, make me angry and disgusted with life. Like, cheer up for fuck’s sake… Can’t believe he ever loved you. Can’t imagine how distressing that climax must have been staring into your weeping eyes. How distressing it was for me even imagining it when I was forced to look at you. Looking away. Running away. Getting away from your morbidity. The stench of death. All over my whole fucking relationship. What a waste.
No words. You took my first words. I remember that, can’t forget that. Blood on the leaves. Murder of the Springtime. No more nursery rhymes for me. Blood on the sheets. Wounds of history. An unnatural inheritance through your bloodline to me. Blood on the car seat. Stolen jewellery and things like that, like choice and dignity and myself. Blood from you. ‘All stabbed up’. Blood on me. I don’t want your blood on me. I don’t want your blood on me.
I DON’T WANT YOUR BLOOD ON ME.
Close the entrance of your mind and open the exit. Get lost in you. Harden your heart and love in freedom. Entirely your own.
I said, ‘I walk this alley every morning amongst the dead mice and the butterflies’. And he said, ‘I walk this alley every night when the mice are skittering and the butterflies are nowhere to be found….and I’ve never seen you’.
I used to wonder, late nights wondering about my children. Now I wander through your thoughts freely. I am the reunited part that was parted from you at birth. Naked as the day you were created, there is no need for hiding nor explaining. I have no ears to hear nor eyes to see; I simply am the spirit that is you. I know you’re thinking about all the things you could have said, well you couldn’t. Human lips. Human time. Human flesh. I used to think of all the things I should have said. Human lips. Human time. Human flesh. Remember when we tried to look at each other and only caught glances. Hot tears that burnt with longing and missing and misunderstanding. Remember when you held my hand and it wasn’t long enough. There will never come a time now when time is not enough. I never feared death because leaving was only returning to my beloveds. Before I was there or wasn’t there and now I’m everywhere.
Dedicated to Andre and Hayley and all the other children of eternal mothers.
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. 1 Corinthians 13: 12
Cold isn’t winter. Cold isn’t that freezer that holds your meat. Cold isn’t the man that had his heart chilled as a child and never melted again.
Cold is her body that they all want to fuck as she walks down the road, and her thoughts that taste bitter to the air that surrounds her.
She is the ice at the mountain point that breaks midnight. Nothing darker. Nothing colder. Nothing more relentless against the warmth of daybreak.
Give her a crown and a torch. And let her be.
I want a liar
I want you to pretend
Don’t tell me about any other
Love me as though I am the first
Leave me as though I’m the last
(message from a survivor).
Like Shula, I think about cutting the ribbon sometimes. I imagine the oppression of life and then I remember that it’s real, that it’s really happening to me. Maybe the world wouldn’t be better off without me, but maybe I would be better off without the world. I thought it would get better but that is the deceit of hoping. I believe I deserve better and everybody tells me I do, but it never happens. There has never been a day when I haven’t been trying and yet I have attained nothing.
I don’t blame individuals anymore. They are characters in one great story of brokenness and pain. Now that I’m 27, I wonder if it is worth continuing. I couldn’t write anything better than the tale that has already been told about me. I’d like to rest please. What I am is no surprise – I was always destined for disappointment. It’s in my nature to want a certain thing that I would never be able to achieve. It was in my childhood and my abuse and the deaths. It was already laid out: and now I’m just lost in the unfolding. I’d rather be a shell, brain dead, deceased, anywhere frankly, but here, trapped in this body, in this world, with this mind and heart and all the passion. It is impossible. I am entirely impossible here. And I have no hope anymore, not a drop.
Take my money. Take my brain. Take my spirit. Take my connections. Take anything of any value to me, for it is worthless to me where I long to be.
I don’t think you’d know yourself even if yourself turned up at the door.
‘But, Grandad’, I said, ‘we’re all lonely old men’.
I have been all things. I have kept my body pure; I have opened it to all debauchery. I have employed wisdom; I have been foolish. I have chosen love; I have chosen hate. I have given generously and I have kept to myself. I have watched a man who smoked and drank and swore and lost his temper live to 100 and I have seen a baby die. I have been all things and seen all things and known all things, and I can say that there is no justice. Nevertheless, I have made it my purpose to win.
Thanks for everything and nothing,
Lost in subliminal messages you can’t see you’re sending. A figment of your perception. A conclusion you’ve drawn. A woman blocked out by your ego. A wanted person. A haunted house. A length and distance. A traumatic event. A shadow. A mood. A painting.
I am like the sea
I go in and out
Led by the moon
Please forgive me, I’m a man.
Please understand me, I’m a man.
Please respect me, I’m a man.
Please defer to me, I’m a man.
Please don’t challenge me, I’m a man.
Please don’t try to control me, I’m a man.
Please oh, I’m a man.
What have we become? When the sun no longer shines on these parts.
Empty and vacant are the inner thighs, dark from waiting.
Where were you when I needed you, tomorrow?
There used to be somebody beside me.
Now you are the hole, the something missing.
My throat dries and the vacancy hurts my stomach.
You make me sick to think of, so I don’t.
I don’t know what it all is anymore.
You have thrown me,
And now we are not what we are.
Remember when we were unborn and we thought about all the ways we were going to break the cycles of our parents? We were unflinching. We were going to transform the world out there. Even if bad shit happened to us, we were going to take a bath and look ahead. Being tangled up physically in somebody else’s body, isn’t the same as being mentally controlled by someone else’s thoughts and actions. Yeah. We were more than foetus'; we were the future. Stronger than what had gone before, better DNA than our predecessors.
Remember when we came out and they looked at us and they were like: ‘she looks just like me.’ Little did they know. Yeah. Little did they know.
Take me back to that place.
Happy. Happiness. Happy. Happy people. Happily. Happy man. Happy woman. Happy. Happy children. Happily. Happiness. Happy. People happily. Happy. Happy. Everyone happy. Happy.
I look at happy people.
I am the carcass
But he is the prey
Devoured by my flesh
I don’t mind death
When it keeps him living
In the folds of my soul and spirit
He feasts on my remains
I saw you on the train. In the reflection of the window. From Exeter to St Erth. The entire time. You didn’t even know I was looking. I was looking for someone to love. I was looking for someone to destroy me. I knew you’d understand about art and all that. Look at your rings, look at your eyelashes, caked in black make-up, and a nose ring. You didn’t know what to do on the train as much as I didn’t. You’d chosen to be wistful, just like I had. I could share my soul with you. Your face was timeless like all the English roses that had lived, wilted and died. Your lips were pronounced, soft, if soft were a colour. I wanted to kiss you. I couldn’t bear to touch you. I wanted to be you so I could be assured that being someone else wasn’t too different from being me. Even though you were white and young and unlike me in embellishments and clothing.
I saw your face up against the red cliffs and the water and the clouds. I wanted to hold your hand and imagined us walking along a beach sometime. And then you went to sleep. Of course. Lost in dreams even more treacherous than English living. You’d wake with an anxious bang. I’d be there to hold you, to reassure you that it’s just a change in scenery and hormones and life – it’s what it does to you, makes you feel disjointed at times and scared, even though you are the bravest person I’ve met, and I haven’t even met you yet. We will make love one day before you disappear into a memory, just like a picture I once drew of my reflection in a train window, from St Erth to Exeter. My red-headed beauty, my love, like mine, like my very self.
Does anyone write about me when I’m not looking, when I too am being self indulgent in a train window?
You got off at Newton Abbey; not St Erth. I imagined you lasting longer than you did, the image more than it was. You weren’t the girl I saw in the reflection. You were not me nor mine after all. You weren’t even beautiful. And so my eye-line is vacant, again.
Me: What was the secret to your success?
Her: A lot of failure.
Buying a candle never felt so difficult.
Lighting it – a shot at perfection.
I need the light more than the darkness does.
10,000 horses galloped by, each with your face. The hooves I’d heard hounding me for 10,000 years. And the face, one face that had come to me in 10,000 guises. All lined up, all of you, one of you. I took aim. 1 shot. 1 arrow I’d waited to fire 10,000 times on a night like this, by the light of the moon. By the light of the moon’s face. Face to face with 10,000 horses. With one horse. One face. Face to face with you. Face. There can only be one face.
you know, just wonder, you know, about you, about you know, how you feel, you know, about me.
And the squirrel looked at the nut, and the nut said, ‘why are you crying? Just eat me’.
Living in the shadow of future failure
I wish someone would test out tomorrow for me…
And they call her the sweetest stone you’ll ever find,
An intimidation in the soil around her.
Breakable yet never breaking.
What is the secret to her mixed elements? Contrasting yet not confused.
You never expect her tears. You never anticipate her fears.
It is a privilege to hold her and to wonder if you can bear the strength of her vulnerability.
If anyone can…
I think I like these mad men
And then they act mad
And I’m like
That kind of sex gets into your head and into your body, makes it difficult to think or move.
I accidentally bought your laundry detergent and now I smell of you everyday
I see a particular shade of freckle and I remember your nose
Shakespeare is dead but you’re the black man that makes him alive
Marriage isn’t so abstract when I connect it to you
You are the one I want to cuddle
I look for your bright eyes in the darkness
Lord, give him to me.
The one hiding behind your cross.
You know it’s only a matter of time before his nature betrays him.
I’ll look after him.
Won’t try to control him or keep him.
I’ll let him be everything you made him scared to be.
Nothing’s going to happen to him.
Life is full of extremes. Love and Hate and nobody cares about what is in between. But I do. I care about mediocre people. They perplex me and vex me and if I could get my hands around a mediocre person’s neck…They are thieves and vagabonds dressed in nothing, but splendour.
Her mediocre face looks up happily, eyes bright behind her mediocre skin. She has no cause for happiness and yet it is the privilege of her mediocrity, not to see it. And he…a waste of what could be, a not quite, a worse than mediocrity. I can’t look at mediocre people, standing tall and unashamed. I cover them in my criticism and yet it is my curse to see them all the same.
You call me cruel knowing that if things got nasty so would I. I won’t do anything specific to hurt you; only leave you. Leave you like you left me. Leave you like you never imagine I will leave you. It will hurt. The waiting with hope wavering into depression. Feeling, thinking, that I don’t care, don’t remember. That will please me, you hurting. You could call me cruel now that things have gotten nasty and so have I.
‘I’m sick. The world submits. We bitches rule. Okay!’