human error

we meet after everyone else has gone home
you, repeating the words of a thousand men before you
the silence, cleaved by predawn
thrusts through my un-shut blinds
i open my mouth to catch a breath
but there is only your tongue, whittled
down to a red flag

i cannot ignore the incandescence blooming from each heartbeat
which means something is rooting for us
you trace my silhouette and i hate that my spine tingles
blame it on the mercury retrograde if we must
or the saturn return, whichever is more chaos

look at us
naked bodies and glass shards tangled
in egyptian cotton sheets
your ego, engorged
and me, lying bare without feeling vulnerable
maybe this is foreign enough that our bodies won’t recognise it as wrong

i dress in a wine slip
and you slip out before the dawn
that this could be something we regret later
we all slip up, we all slip up

if the sun didn’t see it, it never happened

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i owe it to myself to stop loving you

sometimes i wonder what would have made a difference, if anything
if salvage was something you had long since tucked away
a bone china plate snared in the jaws of a tempest
the sizzle of our silence splintering the glass-bottom bridge

tell it like it happened
how i held us like a crumbling basilica
but you kept your hands behind your back
my pleadings droning like background static you could not make sense of
i try myself into an infinite loop

some days i am still kneeling at the altar
some days it still hurts to be touched by fingertips

if my heart wasn’t bound by veins i wonder how high it would have flown for you
if my tongue wasn’t tethered by a frenum i wonder what i would have said to you
maybe if i had a second life i could have tried again
but just once, i want to be something that doesn’t wait
rain that falls before the clouds are full
stars that outshine the sun in broad daylight
let my last image of you be your silhouette morphing into an omega

see, people talk about regret all the time, about squandering
and taking things for granted
but what about the girl who loved, and knew it, and acted on it?
who cherished every second and never wanted to let go
she, who still ended up on the floor
what then?

yet still, they smile

the single mother-of-three with a week-old messy bun opens her mouth
and i see enamel carcasses, moth-bitten
gnawed away by a decade-long meth addiction
anxiety grinding down her cusps into tetrominos
that bite when trying to fit together
last month she almost killed herself
and the shadows have continued to skulk in her sulcus
yet still, she smiles

the elderly pensioner with a rusted walker opens his mouth
and i see pink gums on pink tongue
twenty-nine teeth harvested already
only three still left out in the cold
something dark has creeped into the gums, loosened them
a canine quivers in the breeze of a shaky breath
tongue withered from a cornucopia of medications
yet still, he smiles

the prepubescent skeleton with wrist scars opens her mouth
and i see teeth penned behind a row of barbed wire
bulimia licking clean the backs of her incisors
the ‘last’ kgs before goal weight caught
at the back of her throat, too far back for fingers
peer pressure burning a chasm into her palate
panic attacks burrowing a home in the fissures of her molars
yet still, she smiles

to jump-start a soul

still thinking there is horizon for this all to end softly
i visit the beach at daybreak
weigh myself into the sand
that the high tide may not sweep smooth instantly

i want to be the first thing the sun sees today
as if in four billion years it has not seen anything more interesting
than a fizzled cut-and-paste job
almost laughable, how hard we try to matter

at night, taking the darker way home
my mother’s warnings strapped like a straitjacket
whispered, tucked behind each ear
but how I miss the way my heart races like it still cares
how similarly our bodies deliver in fear, and in love

the first time i forgive myself for being alone
it is so cathartic
the next time i am left behind
i mistake it for an exorcism

i repent myself into the empyrean

hey universe
give me a memory so warm my body will char if i remember it for too long
show me a journey that stretches so long it may as well be forever

the next time i say i love you
it will be the split second before a gamma-ray burst
i do not want to hear your reply

over the rainbow

tell me, do you ever think of her?

the first time, in red
rusted light grazing her shoulder blades to reign ruby
cheeks veneered sangria wine
rimmed with acetaldehyde
the apples already bitten into
the roses blooming, and you prick your finger
but how it doesn’t hurt, not at all

then the best time, in yellow
and it was dark but oh
how the golden hour folded into her locks
debussy could have written a symphony about this
leconte de lisle, an epic
her laughter, honeyed citrine
pirouetting like young sunflowers

or even the worst time, in blue
robin’s egg-shell eyes cracking, dry
but you could already see how
neptune would stamp down her cheeks
the forget-me-nots severed from your lapel
tossed into the marsh next to p. icarus’ powdered wing
low tide, sapphire smile washed empty

and then the last time, in grey
you wait for it all to fade to monochrome
beg for quits as the thunder climaxes
she lets you, and you leave
her behind, in a cloud that spits
droplets of lead, torrents of stone
you wonder how long she took to make it out from the smoke

maybe she never did
maybe she is still trying to find a colour that doesn’t bleed back to you
somewhere, on the other side of the rainbow

and i think somewhere, tonight
she is thinking of you too

dorian gray

because the scent of inebriation
served over synthesisers meant nothing
had changed
because you were right in front of me
and i liked the acute angle my head takes to reach your lips

because i wanted to

you reel in the tension
stretched, between us like a violin string
and we bump fragile hearts like fists
you kiss me like the brakes are broken
and we’ve just glimpsed the end of the road
maybe if we condense enough us into the next few seconds
your fingers tangled in my hair will become a road map
my hands splayed across your back, wings

darl, i am so tired of being the gravity
in a lullaby of helium
for once i want to be the climax
nothing else, a mistake
we don’t ever regret making
hold a switchblade to the throat of consequences
even if we never leave
the sunlight zone
even if i wake up the next morning drenched
in dampened silence, and somewhere
someone
renames me janus

quick, before the crows come home
paint a picture of this and display it deep
in an abyss sheathed with loose lips

i don’t want to remember it
but i don’t ever want to forget it

scheherazade

hey love
the last dregs of daylight are lifting from the water
so release your body from the dimmed pool and
distil yourself into the air again
i know it’s cold, but at least
you are breathing once more

i’ll set the table for two, so then we can sit
eat, and forget
we are waiting for another
there is a new duvet on the bed, sleep now

love, why do you always come home broken?

let it be known that we are patching things up
only how we know best, hammers in our mouths
nails in our words
i read the voice in my mind hoarse

but o, how it aches to be so young
to be the colour of dawn breaking
all that i am loved by and
all that i love
running parallel

say you’re still fighting, say it like you still want it
how dare you near the finish line andante
how dare you ask for love while he still holds you close

i want to forget everything about you, save
how alive you made me feel that november evening

hey love, aren’t we all a little messy at times?

ask to love me again someday, tell me
it will all be different,
i want it to be different
when i drew myself back
it wasn’t because i wanted you to grow wings
but because…

love, maybe i can find the words for it someday

for now, buy me a notebook from every city you visit
i will write all about it one day
i will tell you a story so long
there won’t be enough places on earth for it