Mabel

Her name was Mabel Cross
And she smoked cigarettes
Grey bloomed between her lips
And bruises wore her neck

She smiled at me once
When I was in the dinner line
And I spent three days replaying it
In the cinema of my mind

She kissed me there, in the real one
Halfway through the matinee
It was the saddest war film
We got heckled to behave

She made romance in the silly things
And love in every room
We fucked everywhere in her house
And on the grass below the moon

She kissed me in the falling dark
With sand beneath our legs
I had on all my finery
Dress pressed and lipstick red

We tasted salt of open sea
And breeze tousled her locks
We spent the night under the sky
Collecting shells and rocks

She led me to the ocean
It was cold and froze my legs
She told me she would warm me up
But then kissed me instead.

I told her she’s my darling
And she said she loved me too
Perhaps that’s what this ‘being’ means
No one else, the world, and you.

I Don’t Think Cupid Met Us

I wish that you would hold me,
As dusk brings the end of day,
And all my aching troubles,
Would get up and fade away.

Like shadows they would leave me,
Cast long in evening air,
But then you switch the light on,
And the shadows go elsewhere.

Darling, reach inside me,
There’s a storm behind my eyes,
I’m trapped in life and body,
I’ve grown crooked, to despise.

Take the fire out, leave me empty,
And kiss the stars goodnight,
I will blur the lines of emptiness,
Or calm behind the eyes.

If you held me I’d die happy,
I could pass soundly in my sleep,
I just need to think that if I did,
Over me you’d weep.

And I’d look down from three feet up,
And smile softly too,
That I didn’t waste twenty years,
But when you leave I know I do.

The Change I Never Wanted

I don’t know if I trick the world
With kind words and smiles aplenty
But I have looked inside myself
And seen that I am empty.
 
If I sink my hand into my skin
And show my white ribs bare
Break open bones and break the cage
You’ll see there’s nothing there.
 
Two tobacco lungs like corridors
Surrounding an empty hole
A blackened pit, a blot, or stain
For a girl without a soul.
 
I don’t know where it went at all
If it was stolen when I slept
Or if the lonely ache was too much to cope
And so got up and left.
 
But I woke up one cloudy morning
To the birds and woodland chimes
And my body was heavy with emptiness
And a blankness to my mind.
 
I work through seas of rain and fog
Can’t see straight, can’t navigate
My map is wrong, the road is gone
Where could I have gone so wrong?
 
And I sat down on the gravel
And let the darkness take me home
Not the one I lived before
A relic of a time now long ago
 
The shadows are my blankets now
And one room remains my cage
I can’t fathom feelings – joy or life
Or aching sadness, rage.
 
There is nothing here any more.
I have no words left in my head.
There’s medication in the dining room
I might off myself instead.

 

Friday Night Mistakes

[while a lot of my poetry handles themes of mental health I feel this one may be particularly triggering for those with experiences of abuse and trauma, so if you have felt discomfort reading things with such themes in the past, I’d recommend against reading this]

I’ll get drunk, I’ll be naive
I’ll choke on shots you won’t believe
How familiar this all is to me.

This downwards spiral down to hell
What percentage’s this let’s take a smell
Yes, yes this will ruin me nicely.

Poison, bottle, down the hatch
The world is blurring what a catch
This whole ‘existence’ deal is

I want to scream I want to die
I want to drink I want to cry
I want you to give me a single reason why.

So kiss me hard ignore my no
Put your hand around my throat
Take me back to places I don’t wanna go

It’s your face I see but not your eyes
Is that a frown is that a smile?
Do you shout my name in anger or in rage?

The tarmac’s hard against my knees
Tear me up, I want to bleed
I want to know I’m real now.

I’m halfway here I’m halfway gone
It’s not just the alcohol
It’s the Elsewhere that has taken me so long.

You get it now you’ve cottoned on
I don’t know why it takes so long
For the shouting yes the shouting to start

Let’s walk away let’s leave the rave
Just beat me to an early grave
I’ll be quiet now I promise I’ll behave

Smile at the taxi man
I’m here enough I know I can
I promise babe he won’t suspect a thing

I’m not nervous please look past my shakes
Tomorrow I’ll cry for my mistakes
But the moon’s still up and the world is different now.

We get out here panic sets in
My heart hammers hard as you break my skin
I see myself fall apart on the floor

A broken toy a damaged good
I’m so fucking weak I knew I would
Ignore me please this crying isn’t me

Okay so maybe I don’t enjoy all this
But it helps me see beyond the mist
It grounds me, helps me, if you will.

Those words this blood it’s what I know
The cries, the pain – I call it home
So if you enjoy it I guess it looks like we both win.

I’m the drum you beat and here it starts
There’s an empty hole right in my heart
It won’t last long but for an hour I’ll feel full

No, I don’t know how it got this bad
Therapy and pills, six years I’ve had
But for the pain that’s left I medicate myself.

Summer Wine

A line of kisses down my front,
The stitching from my head to heart,
Where you live amongst the scarlet,
As if I knew you from the start.

Your skin’s the shade of fresh milk,
The top – the froth beneath the lid,
Spoiled, with bruises like,
The fruit the farm hands hid.

If your neck is peach your hair is lemons,
Squeezed for the finest lemonade,
Tart – not bitter – the colour of summer,
For dizzy dreams beneath the shade.

I lay beside the fallen trunk,
Delirious from pollen and drunk on wine,
I’m in heaven when I’m here with you,
Wishing for a stretching, endless time.

But your eyes flutter open, widen still,
Push willow leaves behind your ear,
I’m sorry, I really should get going
Into the evening light you disappear.

Our Epic

Rest easy my darling
Let the earth part ways for you
Like the Red Sea or Galilee
And the storm you’re working through.

Don’t look to angry rain clouds
I’ll be your shelter if you ask
The sturdy trunk of an oak tree
From a time that’s come to pass.

Let my arms hold you like branches
Like the boughs of blossom bare
And lush green leaves and berries please
The smell of Autumn there.

I’ll stay with you through rainfall
And every storm of spring
I’ll stay through scorch and desert heat
Hardship, years, everything.

There’s a light at the end of the tunnel
So watch your step and mind the glass
I’ll hold your hand along the way
These times will come to pass.

We will one day reach an opening
And sun will simmer on your skin
We’ll sob into each others arms
We made it oh we made it

The Prettiest Plot in the Graveyard

[I wrote this as a song, but you can read it as a poem too if you’d like]

 

Maybe a daffodil will grow from the cracks of my skin
Blooming just adjacent to my lips
I hope the buds stay open longer than my eyes
I hope that moss will cover my closed lids.

Bury me between two sturdy tree trunks
A willow or an oak with bluebells there
Crawling up the bark to reach the heavens
In an intimate, a longing kind of prayer

Gardeners will guard my grave like angels
I’ll take dirt stained jackets over wings any day
The clean, bright world above has always scared me
But I know I have to go I cannot stay.

There are things I cannot tell you so let the questions die with me
Don’t wonder why I’m going all too much
I’ve told the answers only to the September wind
Don’t listen to its whistles, feel its touch

Plant roses round my gravestone til you can’t see it anymore
I want to commemorate the living more than me
No one’s ever happy thinking about dead girls
So please hide it – I don’t want the world to see

I want their eyes on nature and on beauty
On the curve of crimson petals and daisy-grass
I may be gone but keep my inch of the world pretty
And through seasons and through years I will last.