tiding over

to think there was once a time when
every soul was untouched, pure
how we could visit the ocean and not think of anyone
sleep in the waters without drowning

i think back to how he left her at the shore
let go just as the waves eclipsed
how most of her has since found dry sand
but a part of her is still searching for his hand

now i watch her visit the darkened beach
submerge herself, ankle-deep
fill her heart with every broken seashell
braid back her hair so the wind can greet her cheeks

listen – there is a crescendo somewhere in the distance
and it is coming for you; i can feel it
in the way the skies crack open cans of moonlight
sweeping all the shadows home

so i reach for her hand and ask her to love me
and for once she doesn’t look away
she draws close for a hug
and i feel my own arms wrap around me

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golden hour

so it’s true then, that anything can sound
casual, if delivered like a weather report
i think it might rain later and
i think this is it for us
you talk about sunsets and sunrises

like chatting about times of the day
as if they are only weather, and i wonder if i should nod
along, like i have not spent a lifetime
grappling for allegories, foraging
for metaphors to squeeze myself into

there is something heavy about carrying so many words
rearranging them, hoping to gouge out poetry
lugging backpacks of language to mountain peaks
cast them at the horizon
at clouds and lakes and the sun, oh

always the sun
i will be the first to watch it rise one day and
when a strand accidentally stumbles on the cusp of my scars
for a fractured second i will think of you
for a moment this light will belong to you

i picture you at the bar
november, hair flaxen from your single malt echo
before the sun vibrates to soak the sky
swathes me in a glow so soft i forget the metal
of your words, to realise

i have always been this golden

sleeping at last

instead of telling _ i miss him
i write yet another letter he will never read
say, i know this is getting old, i‘m sorry
but also kind of not
, because you are so oblivious
to the stack of envelopes beneath my pillow

how long? before you forget me like your high school french
perhaps there are a certain bulk of our memories
that must keep watch in this world
so the more you work to discard them
the more they are thrust into my opaque heart

but last night i dreamt of myself in ten years
she tells me about kisses in the rain, at the tops of ferris wheels
of single red roses at candlelit dinners
i will be written into these moments one day
and i will put down _’s pen, never to pick it up again

funny how, someday this will all seem so youthfully foolish
when falling in love won’t have hurt so much
there will no longer be a need for unsent mail
someday when we have found new bodies to fall asleep against
this can finally all be put to bed

red light

waking up, a head beside yours
(blame salome if you must)
and you know it was not a dream
him, hand spanning the length of your insecurities
and you, starving enough to accept even stale attention

afterwards, take two showers, one after another
vanilla and raspberry milk
scrub his handprints from your body
but your skin still wears like smudged glass
still smeared with cigarette streaks

woman, when did your love become so cheap?
waste tom ford on his goon-flavoured lips
a marathon body on his unwashed hands
phds on his patriarchal mind
he slurs that you’re pretty, and you tell him you love him

how many more needle pricks before the wound is stitched
how many more cheap thrills to hit your self-worth
look at you, so tired of the scratch of black lace
volunteering yourself as an answer
to questions he never had the right to ask

tell yourself you feel cherished this way
but i know you haven’t ever felt cheaper
he breaks in, and you thank him for visiting
letting them take you, have you, own you
never asking to stay, to be kept

call it selfless, if nothing else

something blue

If I could tell her one day she’d finally stop writing about him
Maybe she’d hate herself a little less for still missing him now

this winter i write you letters about us
and address them to the past
hoping you’ll read some
but knowing you’ll never see them

these secrets, that i tuck into my heart
which still beats so hard when i hear your name
i wonder if my next lover will unbutton my blouse one night
ask about the bruises gathered on my sternum

explain to me, how we fell at the feet of a breeze
when we had tornadoes backing us
ran out of words after a chapter
when we had planned to write tomes, because god

there have been so many since
but none whom i tell the moon about
none who keep me awake on summer midnights
counting stars up to your phone number

these outstretched hands are still so full, you know
with the love you wouldn’t take from me
tell me how to fold them in
tell me how to redirect it to myself

so if one day you see me on the streets, please
don’t call out, walk over to greet me
i will finally have learnt to breathe again, but
one smile from you will throw me right back into the ocean

i cannot entrust this heavy soul to buoyancy
there is not enough air left to find the shore
i cannot build a dam that will stand against you
i have to trust you to swim the other way

millennial pink

we sip vodka sunrises at midnight
you are one-hundred-and-twenty-two days from 18
and i, forty-seven
men pass and whistle at our cling-wrap skirts
and i have never felt more like a woman

you grab my hand and we sprint through the city
through red lights and intersections
baby giraffes in 12cm stilettos
it is so pretty to have a laugh that tastes like candy-floss
looks as unicorn as our frappuccinos

this night is about us – this month, this lifetime
it is an art you know, to wrap things around our fingers
even when are hands are full – darling,
we are so good at making our business everyone else’s concerns
the world at our feet, still learning how to kneel

everything is pastel now, soft of hue
the world bruises our rose-petal skin
with shades too vivid, so we close our eyes
build exposed brick walls and keep this oblivion idyllic
too busy feeling sorry for ourselves to ever apologise

the first time i let him kiss me, his teeth bite my lips
tells me it’s so soft, and i convince myself i like it
later, his licked words soil my white dress
leaves mud streaks on my ivory canvas
insists there is no point staying clean in a world so dirty

mama tells me soon this limelight will start to taste sour
the blue light will finally feel too cold
but for now i just want to dance like them
this mind is too feathered for grating ideas
and everything is lighter without thoughts, be thoughtless

it is exhausting to be anything but conventional, you know

dear daughter (+ video)!

dear daughter
when someone asks you what you want to be when you grow up
you tell them you are going to be the change that this world needs
some people will look at your pretty pink skirt and laugh
you see because apparently
some dreams have dress codes
some dreams have anatomical prerequisites

there will be days when you are afraid of your own body
when you tell them you are hungry, only to be fed brochures about losing weight
men will grab at your backside and try to pass it off as accidental
these same men who let loose whistles through licked lips like you are just another asset they own
their catcalls claw at any hint of exposed skin, your body a gift-wrapped present their hungry fingers can’t wait to dig into
and they call us gold-diggers?

you see, just because sometimes we like things that are pretty
it doesn’t make us delicate
you can be femme fatale in all your frills
poisonous in all your poise
vicious in every way that you are vivacious
when they answer your dreams with glass ceilings
you go ahead and stamp on them with your stilettos
you are not to be silenced by full stops, expiry dates, shelf lives
your voice isn’t laundry that can be folded and pushed to the back of a drawer
never apologise for speaking your mind because having too many opinions doesn’t make you a misandrist

and please, no matter how many chick flicks you watch
don’t ever be romantic enough to mistake blue eyes for the sky, or golden hair for the sun
guys will love the way your legs look in high heels
but only if they still stand one pay gap taller than you
remember, there are so many other things that will make your heart skip a beat
like prada handbags, chanel perfume
or what about… crushing an obstacle to pieces with your bare hands?

you know about fairy tales, right? of course you do
so let me put it this way
the next time a knight in shining armour holds out his hand
you tell him thanks, but no thanks
i am not a damsel in distress


Hey everyone! Towards the end of last year, I performed this poem at a poetry slam. It’s loosely based on something else I’ve written (Ode to Daughter). I truly enjoyed the experience, so I thought I’d share it with you all. Hope you like it!

Lots of love,

Mel xx