The first time I met you
sat behind you on the bus
I could feel dark waves
surrounding you,
you were drowning in black waters 
somewhere deep within yourself.
Bright empath, I reached out my hand to draw you in
kept you like a black diamond
sparkling in the light of my flame.

I was your safety,
but not enough.
Through small acts of mutilation
you slashed a portrait of yourself in reverse
each glowing scar a bloody flare
launched to an indifferent sky
screaming for rescue.

Whatever shame that had come to live
coiled within you
clutching tentacles curled around your entrails
was tightening its grip on your heart
It was growing every day
I think it had been there, embryonic
since you were a child
and took root as others fed it.

In old holiday photos you showed me
disgusted by your fat child body
you took up space
but now you practice the art of disappearing.
Life offered you no sustenance you could
taste for real, while others gorged,
you took empty bites
ribs a cage, each one counting off
years remaining
until your final, perfect
disappearing act.

You burned with hot with hate
you despised the selfish,
anyone who hurt me.
you couldn't resist giving of yourself,
you would have poured yourself into glasses
a little sparkling liquid for each friend
and bid us farewell with a smile
if it could have been that easy

Like the sketches you drew
teetering on a precipice of perfection
and concentration
dying was an art too
for you, it could be no less than perfect.

Six minutes is all it takes
to kill the suffering forever
to suffocate.

What must twins feel when the other dies?
You stayed close to me
and I knew you were just the length of a rope away.
You appeared in unusual places
a dark corner of the only gay bar in our town
a phantom in a smoke machine cloud.

Then I stood alone in the street
staring at the space you used to take up
mascara streaks
leaving you another voicemail
as thought you could hear
"How can you just disappear
when my heart is still so full of you?"


As the summer slides
from my hips to my thighs
I cannot tear myself from thoughts
of your wild-cat eyes.

How your hands would caress
with such deftness and
traversing my 
buttresses and valleys
as one who has known a land 
before memory began
not a step 
you find my secretive
sun-filled glades
bring forth lakes
where once there were none
til the whole mountainside
crumbles and trembles.

I was trying to remember
the first time I said
I love you.
Humidity and a summer night
and sweat of bodies
pressing together
ecstacy taking flight
opening up every pore of pleasure
every tingling
sensual receptor.
My reserves of sadness
a sea-glass jar of tears
shattered on the rocks.
I wanted to be carried away on 
that tide of yours
so I clung to you
asked you never to leave me.

If my words are playful
yours are masterful
you take dun threads of reality
and spin phantom worlds
that I want hide inside
flee from the mundanity
that we both despise
you're a composite 
of contradictions
somehow there's truth
in your lies.

How to not be together?
When we're quantum particles
and one's actions affect the other
even at a distance that
only the light of the most distant star
can traverse.
No one can explain this poetry of physics:
how when you stub out your cigarette
at the polar end of the city
the cold ash comes to settle on my heart;
how as your eyes close
I fall asleep, 
and dream of you
and when the hot core of your doomed star
burns out
not a spark of your energy will disappear
but will elide into other forms
maybe I've already had my 
fair share of your light
lending my moon 
its sensual glow

Why can't I let you go?


(CW childhood sexual abuse)

There's things I can barely bring myself to look at,
but if you ignore a body decomposing upstream,
your water will still be tainted.
Every mouthful that should restore you,
will sicken and corrupt you.
Until it becomes impossible to live.

In your victims, you found
the erotic thrill of power.
Control and desire satisfied.
But the body was not enough for you,
you wanted conquest of the mind.
I played the part you scripted for me so well
Like I was born to be the predator's kill.

You started small, set me challenges
I was a child so keen for praise,
begging to be deemed worthy.
I wasn't allowed to be a minute late,
for our secret rendez-vous
Else I disappoint you.
There was a satisfaction
in punishment and reward.
And I did the best tricks,
became your prize puppy.

That summer you took a biro,
pushed up my skirt
and etched your name 
onto the pale fat of my thigh.
You chose me. And I believed I was found,
Like a convert bathing in divine light.

Your claim on me swelled, like a cancerous growth
You bit my virgin face, as though you wanted to consume me.
For days I examined that bruise with glee
Delighted that I could be delectable
enough to be a worthy appetiser.

In the dark cinema,
Watching a children's cartoon film
You lifted my body on top of yours
slotted your penis into me
as though you had the right.
I loved the powerlessness of being owned.
I get aroused writing about it now,
so how can I believe myself the victim?
your ultimate dominion over me,
was to make me complicit

Once your claim on me,
ran right through my flesh,
like an indelible water mark,
or a seaside stick of candy,
you no longer had to use proclamations 
of undying love, to keep me 
bound to you.

Maybe one night
you had picked me up from the sofa
and thrown me onto the floor
like so much dirty laundry
but later it would all be OK,
if you would
manoeuvre my small body
into position
to penetrate 
my tightest place
and I could tell myself,
through the pain and tears,
streaming down my face:
At least you want me now.

When you decided you'd finished
you delighted in your, 
masterful final act.
Your pleasure was in control,
in your power to evoke tears with a single word.
Gently you would caress the little bunny
until its body went limp, 
At this point you would crush it in your fist
feeling small bird-bones snapping.

You laughed so loudly when I 
wanted to know if you still loved me.
You were fascinated seeing me weep,
tears were just as erotic for you,
as the cries of pleasure wrenched from my body.
Now you said the meanest things to the specimen,
as the experiment neared its end,
you wanted to see if its muscles would spasm and twitch
like a dead creature shot through with electric.

My parents should have bought a small coffin 
And buried, in place of my body
some white roses
as that summer drew to a close,
because the child that had been there before
was nowhere to be found.

But instead,
they didn't notice I was gone
I got good at pretending to be her,
the girl who was there before.
Sometimes I did things she wouldn't have done
Like drinking until I vomited
Lying on the grass verge
outside the house.
Just keep your mouth shut, they said
tell boys you're a virgin if they ask.
If it was always him doing it to you
it's not as bad,
as you seeking it out.
For God's sake don't write about it on the internet,
what will people think of you?


When you were a curled up sprig of life
gestating unbidden inside me
Your urge to life was too insistent
Long months I tried to ignore you
until patient, determined germination
brought you feet-running into the world.

You appeared to be
a beautiful cutting of the same blossom tree
Yet your spirit is much stronger than mine
From the first day you were making fists 
And swinging them at the world.

Today we plucked daisies, scattered in a meadow
You wanted only those tinged with violet
I would crawl on hands and knees for you
to find your amythyst treasure
even if later,
you tossed your flower crown in a stream
with a maniacal laugh.

Once you fell from a tree, knees bloodied
You howled, not with the fear and panic of a normal child
But with indignation and rage, as you staggered to your feet.
You look pain and injustice dead in the eyes, 
No one can bend your will, 
you will bow down to no man
My small leader of the revolution.

If I give the appearance of resilience
It is only in the way pine sap hardens 
After you puncture the soft belly-fat of the tree
I'm a pine nut, that splinters underfoot.

But you, my tiny rebel
Let no one crack the glittering encasement
Of your abalone spirit. 
I tremble before the world,
but I see your child self
Stand up and face it, unblinking 
When you are a woman,
You will be a force formidable.


As the call disconnects
angry insults launched forth
with a bitter fury
come to settle like
thick riverbed mud.
I extinguish the light
waiting for my heart to stop racing.

Then, a silver coin
glinting in moonlight
traces a trajectory through the darkness.
It spins into the void
Plummeting down a well.
I follow its journey
See and feel its long fall
downwards and downwards
A painful tug of adrenaline
takes me with it
I can't stop the sensation of falling.

I am no longer comfortably attached
to my body.
Before we sleep
we research,
with the desperation 
of a condemned wretch
ways to stop the ageing process.
If all else is taken from us,
we will exchange anything 
to prevent this indignity.

They say the paralysing agent,
as it is forced into the epidermis
makes a sound exactly that
of snow crunching underfoot.

Can they give me a cure
for the degradation of my soul?
Can they freeze memories of the ways
my spring sapling body was bent
when it was still so malleable and compliant
so that I can shatter them
and crunch them underfoot
into tiny brittle shards.


Last night,
a whistling rang out
piercing the empty rooms.
I searched every dark corner,
like a lost child seeking its mother
searching for the source of my discomfort.

As the sun set,
withdrawing its bony fingers of gold
from my windows
I found myself in total darkness.
I took the bedsheets and shrouded myself
in self-pity.

Sleep gathered me up,
took me down to a strange place,
I dreamed that my blood flowed out
staining the bedsheets, 
as a beautiful rorscharch test.
Later they would bring you in,
ask you what you see? 
Is there anything you recognise?
Or is it all meaningless blots?
There are no right or wrong answers.

I dreamed you came back to me,
Tearing into the room, with love and angst etched
on your familiar face.
You would tear the curtains open,
let the golden dawn dissipate
this nightmare.
Use that voice you have, 
that can calm a dying beast.
Run your fingers through my hair,
like that first time I was sick.

When I awoke,
A grey light penetrated the derangement,
of my room for one
My bed sheets tied in tortured knots
like a grieving widow's arthritic fingers
my nightgown removed and lying on the floor
like a crumpled buttonhole rose
Discarded in the dirt.


Obsidian is the colour,
a darkness that reflects nothing but itself,
A haunted fun-house of mirrors,
a scream repeating forever.

Those obsidian shards,
plunge into your flesh,
as I thrust my tongue into your mouth,
a thousand entry wounds,
Christ-like; scarlet rivulets begin to flow forth,
I force the slivers in deeper, 
as I draw you in to me,
The glinting razor edge,
penetrates just to the edge of your heart.

I pull out the shards,
release rivulets of black-red
I know I'm causing you pain,
I can't stop.
You enfold me in the agony of desire.

You painted a portrait of me,
worked tirelessly on it for years,
the brushstrokes, sometimes delicate as a caress,
sometimes rough with desire,
or blurred by love torn tears.
The colours have amalgamated,
become grotesque.
You stuck me in an attic and didn't see the change.

The muse animates; a monster come to life,
she paints a portrait of you,
with a palette of earth and blood.
She is stalking you through these long days
Hating you and loving you,
in ecstasy and pain.


The word 'lockdown' in my language
has a more bittersweet taste.
In yours, it's a metallic grating of keys,
screams of death and life-agonies 
sweeping down ammonia corridors
to be swallowed forever by padding, 
for your own safety, of course.

My 'cloi' was more a retreat
suffused with incense. 
I curled up there, amoeba-like, as a child,
Inhaled faith and disturbed dust,
listened at doors, imagination proffering 
internal adventures,
that spiralled inwards,
like concentric whorls of coloured thread.

In that cloak of ancient ritual
My father swaddled me,
lifting my sleeping body gently 
from the back seat of the car
after a long, long journey through the night.

Today I have no God, no father,
Nor the other men I entreated 
to shape my formless clay 
into something more substantial.
I have transformed them into constellations of stars
Coldly indifferent and infinitely distant.
I observe them, but they don't see me.

Now I rename myself, Artemis the hunter,
I climb trees at night,
Outside the dwelling of the last man I loved,
My limbs twisting around branches
Foxes are my kin now,
more than my supposed kind.

The insouciant laughter that reaches me
From open windows, as she shrieks into the night
Is more alien than ovine birth-cries
those senseless and cruel tearings into life
that echo miles over dark hills
A portent of my agonising rebirth.



The signs read "In despair?"
Yes, I thought
under sodium Victorian gaslamps.
I crossed that famous bridge,
infamous for suicides:
those humans transformed from flesh
into small-print 
morbid curiosities
huddling as a footnote in a local newspaper
like the suicidal kid at a party
desiring nothing by to blend into nothingness
noticed only by those
cursed enough to see themselves reflected 
in soon to be extinguished eyes.

You took me to your house,
I needed to be led, supported
I was drowning inside myself.
The alcohol I carried within me,
might embalm my twisted entrails,
deaden for a moment the screaming inside.

I thought you had an understanding face.
The voice of a man-child.
Harmless enough.
You untwisted the claws of my fingers from
The thin plastic corner shop carrier bag
It tore.
I was tensed into the wrought iron of the suicide bridge
Immovable to give the impression of safety.

I understood too late 
The cold indifference of the bridge
An impersonal structure conducting human heat away
Passively a conduit of the extinguishing of universes.
It was not a form that a human being can be forged into.
Yet, my hands did not resist when you pushed your body on top of me.

Later, I carried on being a human,
my transformation into something metallic and durable had begun
I rejected the will to slip off the edge and be embraced by darkness
a soft and pure being
Now corrosion creeps over me 
and I oxidise a little more each day.

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