Monday, 21 November 2016

Nothing's gonna hurt you, baby.

Drawn back to the basement of that bar, North London, cold January. I stood in the middle of the road, shell shocked, buses swerving to avoid me. Downstairs, I sang and lit up the room. He was there, frightened of me. The first time we met. Who was this woman, hard as a knife and soft as a petal, come into my world, to change it forever?


Now, another basement. Quiet but for the rattle of the wind through the chimney, and a distant church bell accusing time of each hour. I have tried to make a home here, somewhere peaceful after all the chaos. I don't get much time alone anymore, I don't get lonely. Sometimes I am appalled at the multitudes of world I've created, at all the lives I have lived. In Connemara the rain flattens the grass, the fog blends the ocean into sky, I look out and above through a slanted window. A sky bigger than anywhere else in the world. At the same time, all of the trains at King's Cross rush on regardless, and no one will look at each other, and no one will notice me, coffee in hand, blank-eyed like the rest of them. No one saw me touch the stones in the cemetery. Another day I dived into the still mirror of the Ladies pond, thought of drowning and shivered. One night in February, no one saw two drunk women, in love with the same dream, stumble through Islington in their winter clothes towards nothing. 

Thursday, 31 March 2016

I want to go where the dew won't dry.

And what now? Envision the sea in a bottle. What is there to do now? The woman with a wiley smile told you once that one day the world would know your name. But, there is no need to slot yourself ambidextrous around the whims of others anymore. Remember that even your own exhaustive limbs are limited. I can feel it in the wind. I recognise it, this sad excitement; palpable.
Felt before, moons ago, in a black felt coat on the edge of the Rathmines canal. That night gave way to fate more than most do, when a boy you resisted latched on to the small of your back, parasitic, and lingered in ways you couldn't have expected nor cared for. A cold walk through the night slinging his mother's bicycle. Felt then, undeniably, and recorded on your yellowed paper, a most defiant and brief manifesto: love is the answer.

Which is why, many vague rotations later, you regret nothing done it's name. Few then marked your leaving, and fewer still before that cast a glance at the door swinging shut behind you three months previously. This time you were careless. You gave away too many secrets and shared too many dreams, and now risk leaving coy fingerprints and footholds in memories you never meant to cloud in the first place. (Never tell anyone anything!) It's strange now. Full circle and the same place calls me back, a curve in the pavement, twilight on the hill. In a way I wish I hadn't shared it with anyone, my sad sanctuary. Tennyson on the bench in winter, dampening names of the deceased, lichens and palesun. As long as I gaze at Waterlow sunset I know what the danger is and know I did survive.

So then maybe for now I will be quiet again. I will get better at cooking and sleeping and self-care and take up yoga and greenery. Put pictures on the mantelpiece and poems under the bed and fall asleep contented in the arms of someone who cares (because somebody does, they do, there are no illusions.) Because there will come a time again, when the same three words laugh in my ear and lick my neck and taunt my name as I put my coat back on. An affliction, to so ceaselessly dive into dark. To kiss the wind when it touches my face, and to do what I've always done.

Friday, 29 January 2016

Light in my head, and you in my arms.

On loving:
when your knees give & fall to
feet - you are here.
Year later (short of 17 days?) unclear.
Place of symbolism/significance. Escalator. Love.
Full and exact. Gratitude, and yet
this illusion of stasis
(the gaining of knowledge, a life unraveling?)

A Man Vulnerable.

Frailty? Something to hold. Love me.
When I'm bent in half - love the
arc of spines the incline of hip-bone
to waist. I am delicate and learning. Stupid girl!
Stupid girl so full of whatever it is.
Liverpool street, and smile to yourself again.

hello, again.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

on a good day you can see the end from here

The ache is a delusion. Wide-eyed and manic-jawed by nightfall and clamping at my own cheeks until cool dawn - where calmness is only another delusion. Dublin accents lilt over smoke on the back doorstep and I am transported back to what I never wanted but could never quite let go of.

In you, I spend a year of loneliness. In you, I spend the mountains of a home I took for granted; the sea I tried to carry with me in a roseglass vial; damp moss and lichens climbing over limey walls in rainbreath. A bottle of sugarpills left at the station. A poem for a kiss and a leaf pressed in a book for comfort. When I climbed onto the deck of the ferry last November the sky was lilac (running away, again yes, damp in my mother's best coat - stolen in frenzy from it's hook on the back door.) I miss the world I held in porcelain, just as I craved this one then.

But here, after all, a hand finds my waist and I rain in technicolour. The light makes stripes across my thighs and my wrists fall limp in submission. I whisper the small death away again.

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Rainbows wept colour all over the street

I love you in the mirror, I love the first thing to touch the thinnest layer of skin stretched taut over my hipbones, the first thing to sigh at the pattern of dents in my ribcage. What happens to the ones who love with such conviction, did you know I loved furiously? It was a rage, it was the blank space, it was the way the grass tickled my ankles and tatttooed pink stripes into my calves. I am the handful of grey things, in the slant of morning, I am bending. Look! You wanker! I'm having a panic attack. What more could I do, darling, what more could I do? Here is all of the blood I own I poured it out for you. I don't expect anything else anymore. Somebody fold me up. Somebody carry me into a clean white space. Come back, where did you go? Come back.

Monday, 8 June 2015

And I love to live so pleasantly

Consider the logistics of beginning an affair with a significantly older man or sourcing class A drugs or starting a fight. Instead sidle to the bar and get ID'd ordering a straight Jameson and sit by the window and convince yourself it's enigmatic. Accept that nothing ever actually happens, but hangs in permanent suspension almost at eye-level until, blinded by familiarity, you just don't see it anymore. You are, after all, a middle-aged woman a month shy of twenty and absolutely nothing else, don't complain. When the day closes remind yourself you are better than this.

  • The one that cried through the speaker of your first cracked-Nokia and unsuccessfully called thirty-seven times after you hung up.
  • The one who cried into your hair when he knew for certain you didn't want him and you noticed the trail of ants crawling up the tree bark and wondered where they were going.
  • The one you flatly told to leave as the dawn clambered cold through the gaps in the wooden blinds and left stripes of light across your body.
  • The one who didn't cry at all, but stepped silently across the stained carpet and let himself out the back door. You lay still pretending to be asleep and spent the subsequent morning guiltless, scraping candle wax from the floor.
At least you've never cried to any man. Stretch and spring back. Resign to the fact that he doesn't love you but wonder why. You just out-masochist yourself every-darned-day dontcha hunny. Pause to notice the couples and families and almost-couples staring at you over g&ts and calamari and stare right fucking back, remind yourself you are perfectly fucking entitled to get a fucking drink on your fucking own, thanks. Turn away and breathe on the window. You did this to yourself, you did this to yourself. Solitude is just a skill to hone like any other, with every month spent alone you improve. You even know how to crochet now forgodsake.

June's Cancerian horoscope warns of change and advises patience. You check his too just in case but then try to read it backwards to counteract the alleged bad luck of reading someone else's horoscope (it only heralded a 'night out with the girls', advised preparations for an imminent 'buzzin party season' anyway.) Touch your neck self-consciously, you do it when stressed. You were a year younger and maybe skinnier and felt surprised by the unexpected safety you felt as he pulled you down and said your name to the hollow of your collar bone again and again like he was scared you'd forget it.

Notice the bartender's wrist as he passes your change, taut and slim and perversely hairless. Feel irrationally overwhelmed by every pair of wrists you've ever actively noticed and make a mental note to start finding other body-parts attractive (but, but, I'm attracted to souls, man.) That stupid boy with constellation-shaped freckles on his wrist, frail and cowardly, who kissed you six-stories high in the carpark and left you and never told you why. And by text! C*nt.

Talk to yourself in the bathroom mirror. It's been such a long time, you say, such a sad long time. Note with pleasant surprise how long your eyelashes look - self-absorbed slut, he probably doesn't even know what colour your eyes are. Cut your legs on the blunt razor and miss patches at the back. Rinse your blood down the hair-speckled sink. You're just vapid, glossy and false; a cup full of empty foam. That's why they always get bored in the end. Wow! There's zero calories in Nytol! The tap creaks. Breathe on the mirror until you become a blur. Rinse 'much love x' down the sink too. Speaking of vapidity. Love for what? Just bland and obligatory, a birthday card from Clinton's.

Sit still and wait for the next one.