Timeline

Timeline

I’m primary school age

and it’s pitch black outside

a man pulls me from under my bed

and shines a torch in my eyes.

(I’ve blanked out what happens after but I still feel those wandering hands)

I’m in my teens

and boys don’t care if I come

they just force my head down

and I choke till they’re done.

(When I start learning whose pleasure I’m good for)

I’ve started self harming

the boy I’m with doesn’t care

he just takes off my jeans

ignores the fresh cuts that are there.

(When I start treating myself how they make me feel)

It’s my boyfriend’s nineteenth

we’re at the pub and he’s pissed

he’s talking porn with his mates

and bragging about the girls on his list.

(When I start paying more attention to where my hair grows)

Now I’m locked in a room

and this guy is touching my thighs

when I tell my boyfriend ‘I was assaulted at work today’

why do I feel the need to apologise?

(When I quit my job and I’m blamed for us being skint)

Not till my best friend and I are twenty four

does she tell me about her brother

I want to get a knife

and stab that manipulative motherfucker.

(When she still has to spend every Christmas with him)

Now I’m having sex and this guy

shoves himself inside me and it hurts

I yelp out with the pain

but he carries on. I’m unheard.

(When it’s never about when I’m ready)

Let me introduce you to Alex

it’s our second date

I tell him no

but I guess that’s not how you stop a rape.

It happened three times that night

then it finally stops

when I tell the police

they ask me if I came and offer to ‘tell him off’.

(When the system doesn’t believe you)

There’s more where these came from

but by now you should have the message;

when is sex about respect for women’s bodies, a loving touch or gentle caresses?

What is society teaching young women

about their own worth

when research shows we describe ‘good sex’

as ‘without physical or emotional pain’ first?

I refuse to serve jail time

for acts of war I didn’t commit

there’s a wild woman raging inside me

and she will not let you hear the end of this.

Until it is the end of it.

Fuck silence, watch me break out into song.

To the Boy who Lives

To the Boy who Lives

To the boy

who fell asleep

on my bedroom floor

in too much pain

to lie next

to the one you adore.

To the blood

that you shed

for a sense of relief,

how your skin

bears the scars

of your numbness beneath.

To the tears

that we’ve shared

when you’ve scraped through the fight

-ing your thoughts

that say peace

is the end of your life.

To the courage

with which you face

the depths of your mind;

victory is in the living,

and my love,

you’re alive.

War and Peace

War and Peace

No one else glimpses him in the shadows

at the end of your bed

when you are trying to sleep.

No one else hears the screeching panic

heart pounding in your ears

when someone gets too close to feel comfortable.

No one else feels your skin crawl

as he claws at your hair

clammy hands nowhere, then all at once.

No one else smells his sweat

how it rubbed against your skin,

how it lingers.

No one else tastes the dry mouth

the fear

the residue.

No one else knows the innermost battles

of the mind’s armed conflict with itself.

Then they wonder

why you’re tired

but can’t sleep

why you have no energy

but don’t eat

why you just had a bath

but run another

why you’re home alone

but don’t want company

why you fell in love

but don’t want to be touched.

Call it what you want.

To me, it’s a love story,

between a mind and body

learning how to build and rebuild their home in each other

until, in the end, they make peace.