Messy

I remember our bodies sweating like sea lions

Simmering under the southern heat

Both full of bar food and dark rum from the night before

You drank enough for the both of us

But then you always did

I remember amber stained fingers from your Marlboro reds

Pawing at me

Curves purring

Tenderness ripe

Your hand melting upon my swollen stomach

Comfort deadened your weight

I crawled under you

Towards the sunlight tickling my toes

To fill up again

On something

I remember you stirring

Emerging from the airless pit ploughed by drunken words

A promise of eternity uttered

Yet hours evaporated

Forgotten

And empty longings coated our lungs

Our mouths were dry

For we’d swallowed all we could give

I remember watching smoke escape you

That first cigarette of the day

Rousing euphoria

I was never able to awaken similar pleasures

You wouldn’t allow me to

I remember we never cleaned up

A sink full of midnight cravings

Half eaten pancakes from 4am proposals

“Ask me again in the morning”

Well morning came

And bitter coffee softened the beaten shadow

Clouds of knowing

Knowing the rain would fall

To disperse such words

Never to be heard again

I remember the permanent current

A chaos never ceasing

I remember falling deeply in love with our mess

Mirroring untamed gardens

Seeds sown by others to grow wild within

I remember your divinity

But I was numb

Bursting with an excess of salty tears

Smudging the ink as we wrote our story

I remember the ending

Waves crashing

Eroding the chalk my bones were now made of

My survival depended on it

I cleaned up.

The Tree and Me

FullSizeRender

“Stop! Look at me”

How sternly he spoke, the old crooked tree

“You’d just pass me by

With no thought as to why,

All the whispers you hear

As you draw yourself near

To us old, lonely trees

You can hear us say please,

Please listen to our stories

We’ve so much to share!”

 

“I’m sorry”, I replied

See, I’d not thought of why

As I’m so busy walking

I’ve no time for talking.

I most often I find

To talk slips my mind

And all through the day

I just seem to ignore those who get in my way.

 

So I said to the tree…

“I don’t walk through these woods to notice the birds

Or to wait for the breeze to carry your words

I take little notice of flowers in spring

Or the feathers that fall from a pigeons wing.

I can’t see the fairies that live in your bark

And the lure of their glow as they brighten the dark.”

 

“HA!” said the tree, “you can see to great lengths

To witness our world, what a marvellous strength!

Most humans will miss the beauty you see

And you are, after all, stood talking to me.”

I thanked the tree for being so kind

I guess he was right, I was not so blind.

“Come rest in my shade as the sun blares his heat

And take some weight off those travelling feet.”

So I did, I rested and we spoke some more

About the trolls and the fairies and forest law.

 

“Can you hear me?” a voice that came from afar

“Sure” I replied, “But can’t see where you are?”

“It’s me!” said the dog as he bounded our way

Looking as if he just wanted to play.

Yet it seems I was wrong, as he needed to pee

He cropped up his leg and aimed straight at the tree.

“It happens a lot” the tree did not care

“They all pee on me, from the deer to the hare.”

The dog perched himself in the shade next to me

In silence we sat, to just breathe, just to be.

The dog then said, “No-one hears what I say

My keeper, he walks the same way each day.

Yet I like to roam around places unknown

But I can’t as my keeper would curse and then moan.

So I ran from his sight to explore places new

What fun that I did as I’ve now found you!”

 

The story continues as next came a horse

“I seem to have strayed from my usual course”

This pleased the dog

“Come sit in the shade

This friendly tree made

We’re talking of nothing,

The best topic of all!”

 

So, the dog, the horse, the tree and me

We talked as you would over afternoon tea

Is it weird I can talk to a dog, horse and tree?

That I understand them and they understand me?

 

Three men cycled by, not a care in the world

Their wheels churned the mud as they skidded and swirled.

Up popped a worm, at first sight she looked sad

But her cheeks, they turned red and her eyes, they turned mad

“What’s this I hear?

I’ll make myself clear

I don’t like the sound

As you pound on the ground

It disrupts my day

I don’t like it that way!”

And so said the tree…

“It wasn’t me!

Twas was the cycling three.”

“Ah” said the worm

“I see.”

 

The next thing you know

There are 5 in this show

And we all sit and chat

About this, about that.

 

The time soon came for the dog to go home

His keeper came by and gave him a bone

“I thought you’d run off, so I got you a treat

Let’s make our way home and I’ll cook you some meat.”

So off they went, and the horse, he went too

“If the sun were to set, I’d not know what to do!

It’s warm in my stables and I’ve so much to eat

I’ve people to brush me and public to greet”

So off he trot, his head held high.

“It’s you, me and the tree” said the worm to I

“But I’ll have to go soon as it’s getting too hot

If I stay here too long, I’ll go crispy and rot!”

She buried herself in the Earth, digging deep

It didn’t take long before she fell fast asleep.

And so said the tree…

“You’re more than welcome to stay here with me

It’s free in these woods, we don’t charge a fee”

Such words, they are truly hard to resist.

 

So I stayed with the tree as the sky painted pink

Not haunted by worry or reasons to think.

How perfect this moment, how perfectly free

I’m so glad that today I made friends with a tree.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Broken

 

There’s no smile to fake

No branded pill I can hourly take

It is what it is, like the death of a star

The empty tank in a travelling car

Time, they say, it takes a lot

Gobbling moments, losing the plot

Fuck this

Fuck that

Wipe your feet on the welcome mat

Home? A place to dry these bones

To close the curtains and turn off my phone

My nails are bitten

The poems are written

What more can I do

But wait.

Those Days…

 

When your thoughts resemble the chaos in space

That dark, exploding, frantic place

You’ve no-where to crawl, no corner to hide

No choice but to scream through the scariest ride.

 

When tears soak your skin and you rub your eyes raw

When your smile lines don’t work anymore

When your favourite place is the cold, hard floor

You’ve no boundaries of self, no guidance, no law

 

When the moon howls deeply to our prayers of night

To invite hidden fears from the pit to the light

When the lion, the tiger, the bear and the Hawk

Drum hard on your ear as they roar, as they squawk

 

Those days when we dive with no thoughts of how deep

To call on all demons to dance as we weep

Those days come around like a punctured wheel

Those days I shan’t love, I shan’t laugh, I shan’t heal.

 

Those days when the flame in our heart simmers low

A spark still remains as the embers still glow

Through the dark comes a promise of morning sun

And our two halves of broken will glue back as one.

 

Death of a Storyteller

crumbs death of

I wanted to write a story of woe

Where love rides the storm, through the rough and the low

Let’s make it dramatic, man plays away

And I’ll set this scene on a hot, summer’s day.

 

As the sun shines bright, the lovers drink tea

Her fear steps up “what the hell’s wrong with me?”

“It’s been many weeks since you last kissed my head

You’d do this each night as we’d cuddle in bed”

 

He scoffed and he shuffled, as how could he say

To confess that he no longer saw her that way.

You see he’d found love with somebody new

His wife, once she’d heard, would be broken in two.

 

Let’s move to the kitchen; he tells her the news

“I’m sorry my love, you’re no longer my muse”

“I gave you my life!” Her heartbreak pours out

“You’re a low life, disease ridden, scaly trout!”

 

They fought for two hours, then three and then four

They ignored concerned neighbours who’d knock at the door

Her fury ran deep, taking charge of her wheel

She’s out for his blood for her life he did steal.

 

“You wouldn’t bloody dare!” he screamed to his wife

His whole body shaking, his face to her knife

“I’ll kill you, I will”

She said with a shrill

“I’ll fry up your eyes

And cut flesh from your thighs”

 

She screamed and she cursed as he ran to the door

He prayed on his knees, “I can’t take anymore”

But then neither could she as her wits were at end

For what was left, nothing worthy to mend.

 

With one swift pound,

He fell to the ground

He pleaded, “Just wait”

Please, tell me my fate?”

 

His pallor was grey as his eyes stared at me.

Should I write his escape, ‘ this rat, he breaks free’?

See, I mean not to kill this cheating man

I’d made no intention; death wasn’t my plan.

 

Yet now I was wishing his blood on the floor

He feels the pain I can’t take anymore

To watch blood drain from his cold, lifeless heart

So he’d nothing to give to his muse, to his tart.

 

But the blame was neither on her nor him

The pain that I felt rose from someplace within

So that day l left his heart pumping strong

And I packed my bags to move swiftly on.

 

For the story I write was the old tale of me

I was the wife, the Mrs, the her, the she.

But that day something died and those labels died too

So my story starts here as I write something new.

 

 

 

 

Next Life

next lifeI’m sat here thinking as clouds pass me by,

That one day my body will pack up and die.

But its not so depressing, not so much as you think

I could fly in my next life, be purple or pink!

I could wear candy clothes that feed hungry birds

Express only love and much kindness through words.

I could dance on the sea and I wouldn’t fall in

Make my own drum out of tree bark and tin.

My hair would be silk and my skin velvet soft

And my house would be glass, from the basement to loft.

I’d never see war but if anger did rise,

They’d fight with balloons and throw strawberry pies.

Each tree would talk, a sweet greeting for all

The flowers would sing through the springtime to fall.

The sun would shine bright on each winter’s day

From morning till noon we’d do nothing but play.

But the best thing of all would be meeting the souls

Who once lived as humans or hamsters or moles.

Their next life is bright and cheery I bet,

A freedom for all, not owned as a pet.

I cherish this life but I no longer fear

The end of this life… and the next to appear.

Supermarket Sweep

A shop assistant told me off the other day for sitting on the floor in isle 6 at the supermarket. It’s against shop rules apparently, to sit down when you’re bored of searching for everything on the very specific shopping list you’ve been given by your obsessive aunt.

“You’re not allowed to sit here,” said the guy wearing an apron. His nametag was scratched but I could make out he worked at the fish counter as he smelt like as open tin of tuna that hadn’t been refrigerated. As far as I’m concerned, I’m not doing any harm just sitting here, minding my own business. I just wanted to assess my next move in this busy store and rest my legs in the process.

“Really, you’re going to have to get up. Where’s your mum?”

I suppose it’s fairly normal to assume that when a 14-year-old girl is sitting on the floor in a supermarket it’s due to her rebellious nature towards her mother who has most probably walked away in humiliation.

My reply was monotone, “She’s dead”.

After these words left my mouth I realised this could also be another presumed reason for my collapse on the supermarket floor. It could be that I’m inconsolably upset that my mother has died and due to my underdeveloped coping skills as a teenager, I’ve come to the supermarket to vent my pain and seek the help of strangers. This wasn’t the case for my sitting on the floor, I just wanted to rest my legs because when you’re 14 food shopping is boring. It’s most probably boring when you’re an official adult too (I’m not sure what age you can stamp yourself an ‘official adult’ as Aunt G still cries if we run out of digestive biscuits and she’s 58).

“Shit, I’m so sorry. Are you Ok?”

Am I Ok? I don’t know the answer to this question, I seriously don’t.

“Not really”

“Do you want me to call anyone? Does your dad know you’re here? I can call him from the phone in the back office”.

Wouldn’t that be incredible, if this guy could just call my dad using a special phone in the back office? Imagine if this phone was so miraculous it could dial into a part of my dads mind, a part of him so deep it’s heard nothing but a death tone hum since my mum died, 6 months ago. This phone could tap into his maternal psyche, wake it up, inform it that my behaviour has become so out of the ordinary that I’ve taken to sitting on supermarket floors. Undoubtedly his awareness of my current behaviour would draw him back to London, even if it’s purely out of curiosity (he’s a nosey bugger). Even if he wanted to go someplace else, like Dorset or Cumbria or the highlands, I’d happily jump on a train and meet him there. Dad always wanted to live in Cumbria. He had this idea about buying a farm, even though my mum was vegan. He said that he’d raise the cows with so much love that when it was time to send them off to slaughter, they’d be the happiest cows on death row. Mum was obviously disgusted by this idea but liked the idea of Cumbria so they’d often talk about moving there and buying an old farmhouse with plenty of cats and no cows. Dad still asked if he could have a shed to make cheese in, mum agreed. She later told me that he’d never actually do it, as he can’t even nail a banister to the staircase wall, even though she’s been asking for two years now. Her exact words were ‘how the hell is he going to manage sitting in a shed, churning cheese when he can’t even hammer a few nails into the wall… dumb idiot’. We never did have a banister. You also need cows to make milk but dad really was a bit of an idiot, most of the time.

I felt this was an appropriate time to explain my situation to a stranger. “My Dad’s living on a barge in France and he doesn’t own a phone. I suppose he could be anywhere by now but we’ll never know. Well not unless he sends one of those pigeons with a message tied around his neck but my dads never handled birds so he wouldn’t have a clue what to do”.

I didn’t move, I know I should have, just to break the awkwardness. The shop assistant who’s name I couldn’t make out, well he looked puzzled and rather worried I might cry or something. He smiled and nodded sympathetically but said no more to me. He beckoned to his colleague who was reducing the price of bagels with his red sticker gun.

“I think we have a situation here”.

This is not a situation.

I believe screaming in public is considered ‘not the done thing’ but I bet my whole £20 savings that many have contemplated, even fantasied about screaming the house down more than they’d like to admit. Lets say if you get to the post office and the queue is so long it’s out the door, then you see there’s only one member of staff in service and the parcel you’re posting is for someone who has their birthday tomorrow so you have to post it as you made them a promise. This scenario has never happened to me, however that doesn’t stop me from imagining it could induce a frustrated scream and maybe even some swear words for good measure. I was now beyond just resting my tiered legs during a shopping trip.

Maybe I should create a situation.

If I hadn’t felt like screaming before I was observed as a ‘situation’, I sure did now. I wanted to empty my lungs like they were full of lethal fumes and only death awaited if I didn’t release immediately. I could feel the well of rage filling up, my tears patiently waiting for the red light to flow purposefully down my cheek. Powerful electrical currents possessed my feet, pulsating, taunting me to stand up powerfully and swipe the shop assistant across the face with my right hand. My right hand was getting ready, preparing for war.

The shop assistants were not fuelling my battle imaginings; the sticker gun was not enforcing primal instincts to attack! One instructed, “I think we should get the manager over”

War had begun.

I crossed my legs and swung forward, hauling up my body in one heroic movement.

I am a warrior!

“She might not be right in the head”

I am a warrior!

“Kid, you’re going to have to leave the shop”

I am a warrior!

“Kid, say something, you’re being weird”

I am a warrior! Except I’m not a warrior at all, I couldn’t talk, my tongue felt bigger than my mouth and my right hand numbly remained at the side of my hip. I then did something that would make my Aunt G proud. Something that completely negated all the sadness that rose so abruptly inside of me. Something that pushed the rawness of my pain deep inside my tummy to live with the night terrors and panic attacks. I smiled at the shop assistants and picked up my basket, in one carefree motion.

“Where do you keep the tins of tuna?”

Goddess With A Unicorn

#1. My first Encounter with Mama J

So when one is born they have no say in their surroundings, this is an unfortunate disadvantage that hinders… the unfortunate. Some love where they’re born, if I was born near a beach and the sun shone 90% of the time, I’d wear a smile morning, noon and night. I’d also love a house with a porch, covered in night-lights and a swinging chair by the front door to chat to all the passers by. A house like this wouldn’t work where I live because people look at me funny when I smile at them. I also swear I was born a vegan, I hate milk and love chickens, I’d rather see them alive than dead. Yet each Friday my dad would feed me chicken. Apparently a kid’s opinion isn’t worthy of serious consideration, all thoughts are believed to be a ‘phase’; something a kid will grow out of when the next phase is encountered. Kids go through so many phases but my hating milk and wanting-to-keep-chickens-alive phase stuck. I was glad to have my dietary requirements accommodated when I went on hunger strike at the age of 8. This is exactly why every girl needs a hippie in her life. A straight talking, takin’ no shit, nature lovin’, herb drinking kinda woman. Mine is Mama J.

Sometimes you meet someone who shines brighter than others. Once you’ve met those shining stars, you want to take their picture, stick it on your mood board and hope their presence stays in your life forever. Mama J is my ruby in the sewage swamp and she’s vegan too so the heavens must have brought us together.

I met her when I first moved in with my Aunt G. She was sat on the concrete steps that led up the main door of the house. Mama J lives in the basement flat, just below Gene’s flat on the ground floor. The main door of the house is painted black; it has a small carving by the letterbox that says ‘RL & GK 1982’. This is evidence enough that no paint has touched this door since that poetic inscription. I’m guessing the whole building, inside and out, hasn’t seen a retouch pre 1980.

She was smoking a cigarette as I stood outside the house for the first time, about to move into a flat that I’d never visited and live with a woman I’d met three times in my life.

“You must be Gene’s niece”

Unfortunately, yes.

She put out her cigarette to help me move in, even though the burning tip hadn’t reached the yellow filter. I knew she was a good egg as an abrupt halt to your addictive pleasure is not an easy task and most would continue until every last pollutant fume was drawn out of the death stick.

Aunt G just stood at her front door watching as we clumsily manoeuvred my entire life shoved into one suitcase up the stairs.

Aunt Gene is a self-diagnosed agoraphobic; she has a panic attack if she leaves the flat. Unless it’s a Sunday as she goes to early morning mass each week. When I question as to why she can leave the house on a Sunday but not pop to Sainsbury’s to get the weekly shop her response goes something like “possessed by the devil are those who willingly choose to buy ready-made mash potato and additive fuelled Angel Delight”. I love Angel Delight. If I’m doomed to hell then at least I’ll go with bright pink insides and chocolate memories. However, she has been diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and had 6 counselling sessions to help her overcome her fear of germs and people who don’t believe in Jesus Christ. I’m not sure the counselling sessions did much other than convince her that all psychologists are God fearing as they tried to convince her that not all people who eat ready-made meals are evil. According to Aunt G, they are the sick ones, not her. Needless to say, she doesn’t have many friends.

On the day that I moved in, Mama J told that if I ever needed anything, I could just knock on her door. I did need something 20 minutes after Mama J left me with Aunt Gene on my first day. I knocked, just like she said I could and I now have Angel Delight at Mama J’s every Monday, Wednesday and Friday after school.

The Boy Under The Tree

He sat under the Eucalyptus tree at the bottom of our communal garden. He was intensely focused on his fingernails, his breath was slow and his gaze did not wander. He forcefully pressed the nail cuticle into his mouth, biting hard on the skin. His gaze focused forward, not looking at anything in particular but concentrated on this surprisingly mesmerising nail biting activity. I’m sure he’s going to make his fingers bleed.

I too had red and puffy skin around my cuticles from picking my fingers so I was very aware of the satisfaction this self-harming habit brought on. He continued to nibble at the same spot on his finger for longer than was comfortable to watch but I continued to stare at him out of my kitchen window all the same. He then went on to bite his fingernails. Then he moved onto picking the dry skin from the bottom of his feet.

Boys are so unapologetic about their primal grooming behaviours. I live with my Aunt Gene and her pruning habits are pretty disgusting but at least she attempts to hide them behind the bathroom door, although I always find toenail clippings and blunt, hair infested razors on the side of the bath.

Boys are so proud of how smelly their poops are at school. If a girl spends longer than a minute in the cubicle… “Gross, she must be doing a shit, couldn’t she wait until she got home?!”

I’ve never seen this boy before, I don’t recognise him from school and he doesn’t live in any of the four flats in our London townhouse. His clothes are really odd too. He’s wearing a pair of brown shorts, they look like leather but then the heat of this summer’s day may be affecting my eyesight. Who wears leather shorts in mid August in a heat wave, actually who wears leather shorts, full stop? His chest was bare apart from what looked like a piece of thick string draping from his shoulder to his hip, it could have been a bag strap but boys don’t wear bags.

I consciously make an effort to lesson my judgements of others (I think it’s impossible to make no judgement as I would never willingly approach a naked man walking around the supermarket unless I was carrying a spare pair of mans pants but that’s not something I often keep in my jean pocket). Plenty of judgemental comments are catapulted my way at school, as I don’t own any matching socks and my white school shirts get washed with the darks. Aunt Gene shows no colour prejudice when it comes to putting a wash on. Her choice of only wearing black comes from her belief that it’s the only colour to compliment her complexion and she doesn’t have to worry about choosing what to wear in the morning. Of course it’s my fault that school enforces such strict uniform policies. Its my fault that she can’t afford two washing cycles to accommodate whites as if she wasn’t lumbered with me after my mum died and my dad bought a Barge and disappeared, she’d be living the life of riley. So, consequently I have grey shirts and I’ve picked at the seam of the bottom of my trousers to hide one sock black and one sock grey.

The boy is still picking at his feet and I’m still staring at him out of my window. The decision I make at this very moment could be life changing. My options are as follows:

  • I approach the boy with a plate of digestive biscuits, offer him counsel should he seek it.
  • I approach the boy with a plate of digestive biscuits and he kills me with the knife he’s hiding in his man bag.
  • I just ignore him.
  • I don’t take him any biscuits and shout at him from the comfort of my window. I tell him he’s sat on our property illegally and if it were legal for me to own a gun, I’d be within my rights to shoot him. (I wouldn’t shoot him. Last time I accidently killed a spider I was so mortified I wrapped it up in one of Aunt G’s black socks and had a little spider funeral in the garden. No one questions a missing sock)

I didn’t partake in any of the above although I did stay at the window and shout down, I decided not to mention a gun.

“Hey, are you ok?”

Boys don’t like complicated questions.

He stopped picking his feet and looked up.

He smiled.

“Hey”

His teeth are perfect.

“It’s a nice day, why don’t you come down and join me under the tree?”

Scenario 2 could become a reality; he’s inviting me down to kill me. I go anyway.

I’d highly recommend sitting under a Eucalyptus tree in the sunshine, it’s a very pleasurable place to be. His name is Josh and he’s two years older than me. He doesn’t seem like the murdering type and he smelt of lavender, which struck me as bizarre as boys don’t smell of flowers. When a boy does smell of a botanical garden it’s very comforting and deadens the anxiety of being slaughtered by a carving knife.

He told me he’d come here to see me.

There are many instances in my life when I believe myself to be going mad, especially as living with Aunt G is so unpredictable and her behaviour often makes me question my own. The insanity in our flat pours outside the four walls, flooding my thoughts as I attempt to merge with society. Merging doesn’t seem to be my forte. I’m a walking breakdown waiting to happen. Aunt G’s insular take on life and her OCD tendencies are infesting the air that I breathe each day. It’s too late, that toxic oxygen has invaded my blood and all I can do is observe her murky force pumping around my body. When a boy you don’t know tells you he’s sat under a tree in your garden because he’s waiting to see you, well this is one of those bite-me-on-the-butt-insane moments that you knew would encroach your existence at some point or another.

“Would you like to come in for a digestive biscuit?”

“I don’t think I like digestive biscuits and I like sitting under this tree with you”

Well colour me happy, I was glad of his response and if I’m honest with myself, I don’t think I like digestive biscuits either.