Walking The Streets Of A Guided Tour

Walking The Streets Of A Guided Tour

The human heart

in search of a hand

that will hold it when the ache starts,

sharp bursts that break apart

our cold exteriors, tearing a hole

through calm atmospheres.

Craving someone else just to be here

to hear us shatter

and understand our cracks in the pavement,

how we fall through the gaps out of fear

of losing something worth saving for later.

Clinging onto the bruises that might matter

as if they are clues mapped out on skin.

Wearing ourselves thin,

instinct starving by the second,

till we can’t tell where the road ends

and the souls of our feet begin.

The Body Keeps The Score

The Body Keeps The Score

At its best,

post traumatic stress

is that feeling of being constantly on edge,

like when your feet hang out the covers

and touch the monster under the bed,

except the monster’s still inside your body

and poised ready for attack,

you better not ever close your eyes,

you better not ever turn your back.

He’s hacked your nervous system

with a pistol to your head

which you’re convinced is loaded

so your muscles remain frozen

and you’ll spend years beating yourself up

for not trying to escape instead

and hating your body for how it can’t change

it’s natural, evolutionary response

to threat of death.

You can’t even simply control your breath

as the tightness in your chest

becomes a self-asphyxiation,

lungs compressed in hyperventilation

as something reminds you of your degradation,

as an act of supposed love and fun

becomes none of the above,

and this concept of ‘recovery’

battles with your constantly intrusive memories

like his hand on the back of your neck.

Then how he gathered up your hair

as you’re dripping in his sweat,

body weight forcing open your legs

stained with bite marks

that took over a week to fade.

Now you try and tell me

that there’s nothing to be afraid of,

that leaving my house is safe,

that I could spend a night at someone else’s place

without being kept wide awake

and sitting up with the light on,

heart racing, skin caked in fear

that something bad could happen here.

It might have been almost three years

but the monster is always near the surface,

rising when you least expect it.

There’s a red car there that looks like his,

there’s at least ten men his height

with his haircut in front of you at a gig.

You fantasise about killing him.

Triggers still make you physically sick

as your mind tricks your body into thinking

that night is still happening

and he won’t let you leave till the morning.

It took too long to stop self blaming

and exchange shame for its real name

of false imprisonment

but sometimes that reality is still too draining.

Sometimes when touched by a lover

you’ll react like you’re still being hunted

and you’ve got to stay in front.

It doesn’t bear to think of what would happen

if his hands caught up

and you know he knows where you live.

Your skin replaces sensations of pleasure with numbness,

it took over six months for you to come

with someone else’s hands over your pants

and over a year with penetration.

You’re an expert at dissociation

and though it’s defined as lack of concentration

you’re not sure you agree.

At first it took a lot of focus and attention

to leave your body

but now spacing out is easy,

so much so that you’ve forgotten what you did on Friday

or how you got that razor blade cut to your thigh,

it looks like it was painful

but you don’t remember letting out the slightest cry.

You can’t stand in the shower,

how can you wash and towel dry

a corpse

and you hate going out in summer,

that warm weather with skin uncovered

could only spell out danger

and you won’t eat on dates.

You’ve got no appetite, no sense of taste

and you’ve got to control your food intake

in case this gets to third or fourth base

and your anxiety belly gets in the way

and you lose your ability to say

that you’re not comfortable.

Because your mouth is bound

with imaginary sticky tape

and the last thing you want

is for him to know that you’ve been raped

so just fake how great it was,

rather than explain that these shaking limbs

are a stress response

to panic defenders wearing thin

and say you’d love to stay over

but you’ve got to get off home.

Make up some excuse

about forgetting your phone charger

or having other plans,

but really you just need to be alone.

Crawl into the hottest bath

and plaster over the cracks

where your past got passed the sensors

because you started to relax

in the arms of another man

and almost forgot that such comfort is banned

because last time you trusted someone

look what fucking happened

and do you want that to happen again?

Wouldn’t you rather spend your life

in a state of red alert?

You know what? No I wouldn’t.

Vulnerability is a strength

and this is going to fucking hurt

but I deserve better

than co-existing with this monster

and he’ll be gone but not forgotten

the more I write him into words

and now everyone in this room has heard

what you are.

I’m bathing in the medicine of self care

and whilst all you’ll do is shrink

I’ve got plans to still go bigger.

See my name in the paper,

my face on your TV picture,

on the BBC Breakfast news sofa

talking about violence against women,

about self love and recovery from trauma

and you can’t run from the truth anymore

as yours will eat away at you

and I’ll ruin your life the way that with mine you tried to.

I’ve chosen the method for your

slow and lasting torture

and each step I walk forwards

draws my pen closer to your slaughter.

Leftovers

Leftovers

What’s wrong? Can’t you stomach the meat of my raw words?

Why should I melt into pretty poetry

just to make myself heard?

Find different herbs to soften delivery,

heat them on the slow cooker,

turn down the temperature to a simmer,

my heart charred with this slow burner

till I feel as alive as a used piece of furniture,

one that supports the curvature

of your collapsing backbone

as you sink me ever deeper

into your salt and pepper flavours

and I’m sick of how your cooking tastes.

When I force down each mouthful

I’m chewing on hate

and this is too late to salvage,

no amount of running under the cold tap

would ever turn these ingredients back

into their natural state.

Yet here I am, and here I’ve fucking been,

I wait and wait for the texture to change,

trying to sieve through the mush in my brain

whilst I choke on this hate

that’s now starved of patience

from watching you carefully decorate this opera cake.

Repeated layer after layer

and I’m placed in the centre,

a showcase for the shop window display

and how much staying here do you expect me to take?

Your tongue spins sugar lies

made to sound like appreciation

but you’re a self-obsessed chef

dressing deconstructed plates with destruction,

spreading poison

with your rotting food and garlic breath.

You should have learned to savour this

but instead it’s death by leftovers.

Genesis

Genesis

On the first day

God created the ocean

so vast

she covered the whole earth

in a lullaby

of whispered waves

quenching the thirst

of Adam’s throat,

she was thanked

for the elegance

with which her soft heart

flowed through his hands,

how her eyes danced

to the timing of the sun’s rays,

how she held up the weight

of gravity.

Her innocence and beauty

striking

the creativity

of the artist’s brushstroke

and the writer’s myths of the sea,

how Neptune

claimed rule

over her currents

like something so wild and magical

could ever be harnessed

or the depths

of her labyrinth

known even to the Divine,

her full Being a shrine

to the thousands of species

she had blessed with life,

before Man dumped his waste

and expected her grace.

Threaten her children

and she’ll invade the land

till the transgressors

sink through her quicksand

and fishing boats drown

and even the saintly go down,

their prayers bloated

and turned upside-down,

where is their ‘god’,

to save them now?

Bow

as the tsunami she sends

destroys everything

Man so painstakingly built

as they wish

their gods of old

instead of marking the waters

as their own

had revised their views

and trained the nations

to respect her too

for every act

against that

which they do not understand

stands no chance

against a woman restrained,

whose powers

have been falsely named

from day one

as for Man made.

Reclaiming your Carte Blanche

Reclaiming your Carte Blanche

Give into

the feel of his hands

the touch of his lips

as they brush against your skin.

Give into

the love that your self

wants to give to you.

Sometimes giving in

is not about accepting defeat,

but embracing the goodness of something

that can give your power back to you.

Give into it.