Ten Years and Counting

Ten Years and Counting

It’s like you have always been there,

tucked away in an inside pocket

of the back of my mind,

a fidget item for these hands to find

when my head disconnects,

under anaesthetic from the neck down

though I’d have rather felt the burning sensation

from your quick disintegration,

the pain as you were wiped away.

Now a small dressing covers all that remains

of how you stuck to my skin.

Nurture wins the genetics debate

for I won’t miss your DNA,

my colours never ran in the family.

Keepsake Scents

Keepsake Scents

The first time was all nerves and aftershave,

baking belief in an August oven

and you were the sweetest berries I found at the greengrocers,

handpicked from local fields in high summer,

grown amongst the aromatic lavender I adore

that once inhaled is addictive,

an attraction that can’t be ignored

and when absent becomes a lingering memory

of jasmine incense in the air.

Familiar, as passing cigarette smoke is to my lungs

and Charlie Red is to sentimental school days,

sunk into my breath with a king size bed

and too many pillows, your bare skin my insomnia,

your chest a soft redolence,

the taste of milky coffee

mixed with goosebumps from a frosty morning,

a book read with joy

beside the smoky sounds of a crackling fireplace.

How could anyone else have you when these metaphors are mine?

Sometimes our fragile eyes sting

with the fragrant force of being alive

but I need this interlacing perfume, your infusion on my mind,

like how the ground soaks in the rain after a thunderstorm

until the sense of home looks just the same.

Portion Sizes

Portion Sizes

Are we not

all simply people in pieces

giving out tiny pieces of ourselves

to others, who try to piece together

what was purposefully removed from the whole piece

they hoped to receive

whilst still breaking off just one piece of their own

as I try to regrow a replacement piece

for the piece the last person refused to return

because we all think we deserve

to keep a piece of a person

as justice for how another person

split us into further pieces

the last time we tried to piece together the puzzle

and will we not

all simply remain in perpetual wars

till we relinquish our lost and stolen pieces

and reach for the peace that’s really missing.

Amaranthine

Amaranthine

Half asleep, your lips dance from the palm of my hand to the tips of my fingers, then tucked under your cheek. You breathe deeply, soaking contentment into the pillow with three words on the outbreath and air I can feel.

I will stay here, sixty minutes spent in stillness but tuned in to every twitch.

I could stay here, write an essay from the ink on your skin.

Can I stay here, somewhere I can keep this?

If You Liked It Then You Should Have Given Me A Bit Of Space

If You Liked It Then You Should Have Given Me A Bit Of Space

I like spreading my legs.

I like spreading my legs in a star shape,

a cross in the centre of the bed marking it as mine,

no more nights of someone’s snoring and being pushed to one side.

I built this bed with two hands and a dollop of pride

because the instructions said I’d need four

but anything’s possible after a glass of wine

and no one tells a stubborn feminist what to do so I was going to at least try

and what else was I meant to do with my Friday night?

Newly single in a new city and asked out by the removal guy that moved me here

like going to Pizza Hut and then watching him watch football and drink beer

wasn’t enough fun in my life.

I think the added spice came from his use of the word ‘babe’

and the blonde-haired “nephew” in his photo library

(and with hindsight his likely blonde-haired wife)

but at some point we all need the lesson

of a sleazy van driver from Preston

and his eloquent command of language

for the way he described my ‘smashing capacity’

really squirted that orgasm right out of me

as I scream out how blessed I feel to be free.

I had so much to learn at 23.

Moving on swiftly,

now the new bed has been put to the test

but those squeaking springs can’t drown out the words he needs to get off his chest

as he asks me a question, mid-grunt, in the middle of having sex,

nor how my clear response was oddly heard as a yes

when the next day it’s followed by a Facebook relationship request

as I do my best to spend the next three months politely bullshitting my way out of the impending doom

of spending any more nights in his parents’ box room

whilst a 30 year old man plays C.O.D in his marvel pyjamas

and with a tearful hangover tells me he’ll stop drinking soon,

he just needs to move out and buy a house

and it leaves me to wonder if he’d have more chance of achieving his life plans

if he tried waking up before noon?

I don’t mean to sound rude

but all I’ve done to this point is get with guys who have the self awareness of a teaspoon

so no wonder we don’t make it to that ‘honeymoon’ phase,

you’ll be lucky if I see you past the first date

the way you complain all night about the job which you hate

and then tell me it’s never for a lady to pay for her share of the food.

Well no offence mate but I probably earn more money than you

and the way you’re anxiously drowning in WooWoo cocktails

I’d guess I’m better at managing it too.

And what makes you think I’d want to go on holiday with you?

I agree that’s a great deal to fly to Morocco but we’ve only met twice

and although you seem nice

you’re a bit overbearing

and I just don’t think we’d make the best pairing

and when you drunkenly tell me you can’t wait to bend me over

I think I’d rather take the risk jumping off the cliffs down at Dover

than go home with you.

I hear your sober apology and understand that you’re stressed

but that’s got nothing to do with it

and has what you said

ever succeeded in getting a woman into bed?

Now don’t get me wrong, long term relationships can be beautiful

but not with you because that unsolicited dick pic really wasn’t suitable

even if you did reference a hummus meme.

Yes I know I said I like sweet chilli flavour but I really didn’t mean…that.

I think I might just be better off getting a cat,

at least they don’t invite themselves round for a sleepover at my flat

and feign surprise when I ask why they’ve brought an overnight bag,

or stalk my Instagram back to last summer

to tell me that my legs in those yoga shorts are a ‘fucking catch’

because yes that’s creepy

and no, surprisingly, I don’t think we’re a match.

And is it too much to ask that I get a night to myself?

No it doesn’t mean I don’t like you,

it means that sometimes my space is paramount to my mental health

and the notion of being around anyone 24/7 is my idea of hell.

I’m not about to settle down

with your list of expectations that I’m better off without.

You know I watched my mum trapped in a marriage with three children and no power to get out,

so forgive me for having doubts

that being a wife and mother is for me,

in fact I can tell you it isn’t with absolute certainty.

I’m not spending my life doing school runs and changing nappies and cooking the tea

so if you want that type of relationship then it’s best we just leave it here,

you’ve got your boxes to tick and I simply refuse to be her,

and I think some people just want those things because they have a fear of being alone.

I might decide to build a life with someone but it’s my heart that will always be my home

because I built this bed with two hands and a dollop of pride because the instructions said I’d need four

but anything is possible.

Use By Date

Use By Date

The lioness sits down with the coward and asks him what the rush is. The heart is not a supermarket where you come to grab your essentials with a shopping list of expectations and presume you can stick it on a tab. You could have got it all for free if you had just stopped trying to make a meal out of me. Searching for the perfect recipe for something you’ve never tasted. Tell me I’m too much meat on the bone but complain that you’re still hungry and alone. Just the right amount of chilli but not enough kneading and god forbid that you leave me to prove that I could get through a bad day without you, that you might have to follow instructions when I could not have been clearer that I taste better with a touch of patience, not cranking up the heat till I evaporate in a cloud of steam.

Forgive me for speaking out of my vacuumed packet but I don’t see the magic in the trick of how you made me disappear.