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

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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

shambles

tell me it was all just for the thrill of it
nothing else
the way he held your hand first
before ever seeing it
and it was late, closer to dawn than
your bedtime, so that
even reality had fallen asleep

how there was daylight, even at 12am
the rain searing steaming skin
hummingbirds swirling like autumn leaves
and there was no space to dance but so much
to pray

he presses his hand against your chest
watches it beat
against a glass door, you blink
flirtation written across your eyelids
and he is reminded
of how close you are to the edge, how easy
it would be
to fall

it hits you like spiked punch the next morning
you, flying
with one helium balloon tied to your wrist
you, falling
with his hand on yours
you, hurling dirty laundry with a detached tongue

come with me
if we abandon enough train tracks we’re bound
to end up somewhere familiar
if there is a road that never ends i’ll whittle it down with you
there is nothing pretty about
a crying girl, ever
no matter how soft, how delicate

just call it a mess and we can start cleaning up
call it quits and we can finally move on – stop
calling

leave a message and i’ll get back to you

 

tell me you enjoyed it in the moment, at least

this is not who we are

in memory of the 2019 christchurch mosque shooting victims

how easy it is
to undo something we have spent
a generation building
a white man spends 17 minutes
shooting
prayers in a mosque

and i am five years old again
cuffed by
go home, go home, go home
alleyway chants echoing
military footsteps

my mother
prying out the accented machete burrowed
between her teeth
and me, learning to love
daffodils
the sun
honey

how many times have i called this place
home?

the room sags
beneath something heavy
i light a candle but the flame
stumbles
on gunfire thickets
i purge all the glass from my room

let me tell you about release
hours spent
throwing thrashing fish back
into the ocean
a grown man
crying
at his mother’s funeral

come, come
my hand has to find a way to yours
fingers pressing together until
vessels anastomose
the sky
stretching hues
to become the water
until there is no horizon
there is no break

say you won’t ever forget this
say you will draw hatred an asymptote so it can never reach us again
say one day you will love something so much you’d kill for it
almost

building a home

first, tell me about missing home
my fingers aching to graze piano keys
so instead, they find ways to keep busy, like
taking hot baths, soaked into rose petals
brushing every strand of hair, and lacing it back
wrapping around elixirs of tea and
finding melodies in all the jasmine and apricot notes

and then, about finding home,
dusty bookstores, my fingertips kissing these spines
that still hold, even after bleeding all these words
being opened and read, over and over
and i think, i must have had a life here once
the way i still let them in, even after all this
somehow still standing, still verbose

then finally, about building a home
gathering the memories that blaze
melt them into wax, and pour them into glass jars
light them in the early dawn
flickers percolating the shadows before the sun can
i let the liquid run through my veins, to the tips of my fingers
carry it with me everywhere i go

and so, like this, i am always home