Tag Archives: poet

115.

Oh, please don’t read my private poems

Although if they were private they’d be
hidden in notebooks, like the worst ones
like the more offensive
like the thoughts you don’t want to see

And the more of my life is put on display
the more I relish a private arena
(kind of)
the less and more I want anyone to know me

I do want to be known, to be seen
and I also want space to be naked
although what’s the use
if I can’t publish what I learned afterward?

Keep out / do not read
but tell me my private thoughts are worthy

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114.

I don’t miss you
because I don’t dare
to let myself
because it would mean admitting
that you meant anything

I don’t know you
and perhaps that’s why
I cared at all; I only know
the surface of you
the things you tell everyone

There is nothing special
for just you and I
only anecdotes, conversations
in smoking rooms
a compliment here and there

The kind that you would give anyone
a look that you would give anyone
and they wouldn’t read it as I do

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112.

My body is decaying
and yours, too, let’s be honest
but I don’t care about yours
if we are to be truly honest

My skin without sun is paper thin
and at twenty-four I’m too old to be a prodigy
but too young to be let off the hook of living

How much longer do I have to
live by news cycles, by words, by numbers
feeling my body die
watching my friends
die

Constantly seeking validation
that will never be enough

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110.

How are other girls soft / where I am hard
How are they sweet / when I am not
I grit my teeth and clench my fists

I long for a boy to break my arms
to be tougher than I am
to challenge me to a fight

And yet not one has, not one can soften me
or crack my ribcage
to see if there’s a heart

The boys I have loved have been gentle
and they have been cold
the second one tried to drink my blood
I would baulk, but it’s the trying

It’s the trying, it’s the challenge
it’s that relentless, violent obsession
that could serve to get under
my skin

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b.

My grandad’s partner died

Seven days ago. Seven days and he didn’t tell me – for fear that it might disrupt my day to day, because he was worried it might upset me. And my grandad’s partner doesn’t incur much sympathy from friends or from family who find it so easy to say well, she wasn’t your grandma. But wasn’t she? My grandma died before I was born and so I knew Barbara from the time I was 3. That’s 20 years. What makes a grandma? Is a grandma someone who cooks you dinner, buys you gifts, holds you, watches TV by your side? Is a grandma someone who teaches you to knit and write and read and pretends that your projects are worthy of display? What about a woman who takes you in when your parents aren’t around, who adopts you from the horrors of home? Who enjoys your visits even when her mind is falling apart, even when she can’t remember how old you are or when you met or what breed your dog is. She wasn’t your grandma. Okay. Fine. My grandma stepped aside when my parents abused me, when I was hurt, when I was bullied. But Barbara she let me dress up in her jewellery, she lent me her childhood books, she let me sleep in their bed when I got scared. She acted as mother and grandma and friend when she didn’t have to; when nobody asked her or required her to step up. If that isn’t a grandma or better than, if I haven’t a right to cry and mourn her and write up her memory then I want no part in anyone else’s definition of family.

It happens to all of us; she’s better off. Said my grandad, the same strong, pragmatic man who waited seven days to tell me she was gone. But it doesn’t alleviate my sinking heart, my feeling that the pseudo-family I have built will drop away one by one until only my blood relatives are left.

And what then?

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107.

There’s a confessional air to the way I
spill every second of conversation, every detail
as if I’m purging myself of the sins in my head
as if the words matter
as if my actions, matter
when what matters is that I’m squirming
in my seat, breaking down every word
that I might one day need them
that I could fuck myself with a glance
with an aside, with my tension
on the days that I’m without you
and regretting what did and didn’t happen

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106.

For better or for worse
my obsession with success
with calendars and ticking clocks
has brought me here

I feel my body decay
month by month, day by day

And I can’t quite vocalise
what it is I fear
only that when I’m forty
I want to be happy

To not regret leaving friends behind me
to not long for
crowded halls
to say only I am relieved

That I had fun,
but I am glad I am here

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