Brainwork

Brainwork

Meandering around the back alleys of my brain

the dark accentuates the corners and amplifies the space

left for the odd socks, neglected ideas

like pennies that drop out your pocket,

falling between the car seat and the door,

the lost and found fashion of mismatched PE kit

and school pumps that stick to the gym floor.

The cleaners don’t come here, dust lies so thick

I could make a snow angel with it,

constricting rusty daydreams of the place’s potential

like an amateur home improvements TV show.

Being alone is not the same as being lonely

and though the air here tastes stale,

it’s comforting to be away from the restless nerves

my body becomes a slave to, under pressure

to play the game, this world’s trivial pursuits.

I think I’ll visit myself more often, being back some food

for the frightened mice who find solace

in this hideout too, maybe we’ll share a picnic,

finally sit across from our fears

and talk until we forget

which of us was taming who.

Here Lies Grace

Here Lies Grace

I woke up this morning and sensed the air

mingle with the spaces between my fingers,

the weight of your absence

like a twenty pound blanket I sometimes carry

as extra skin

when I long to feel less fragile

and more oxytocin, more real

and less repellent.

I round up my knees

to cradle the present,

give it the human touch it needs

in moments of discomfort so quiet

that I hear the birds outside my window

breathe in faintest echoes

like the words my lips speak silently

across an empty pillow.

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.

Solitude

Solitude

Quiet, dear mind,

when thinking breaks you apart

cascade your confessions onto this page

till you come away empty.

Feel, dear heart,

numbing the strain does not soften the break

fear not the flood of sensations

for with your rhythmic beat they will dissipate.

Presence, dear body,

one day you will feel at one with yourself

and your reach will be infinite;

here you can tend to your trauma.

Freedom, dear soul,

rest with expectation for the next adventure

and leave behind everything

that resists your balletic wandering.