remember me like this

and finally, we allow ourselves to be seen in plain sight
spread our gossamer souls flat on the table
the fatigue i’ve hauled around for so long has finally alighted
our fingers close around something soft
we deserve this, after all the enamel we’ve drilled

i think about everything this girl has left behind
how sometimes my mind still plays your name like a staccato note
but it’s different now, it doesn’t hurt anymore
to not think about you, and i’ve still no idea how to love
but damn at least i haven’t stopped trying

and oh, how the years have passed, our ages in tow
leaving greener days behind, and
growing closer to something that may resemble adulthood
but god, the way we hold the world in our palms
in moments like these, will never change

whatever our expiry date is, we are far from it tonight
we blow out the candles but they relight again and again
i laugh until it fills up my entire body, and then some
until it is all i can taste in my mouth and every word
i speak is laced with something iridescent

so i curl up somewhere nondescript
listen to the oscillating voices around thread in and out
wrap myself in the tapestry of all our stories
coax out the writer who has hid in the wings all this time
and weave us all a happy ending

hey 21, when you think back
please always remember me like this

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one day at a time

how it pains the soul to care so much
about what it means to be flush
the butterflies in my stomach awaken a distant storm somewhere
left over, from another generation
handed down the left arms of a family tree

most days i am only a quarter of a millimetre off
but it is still too much, still a void
as long as we are not touching there is still a distance to catch on
one i endeavour to close, like a violin vibrato
straining to be nudged to the next semi-tone over

oh, how the bridges break as we build them
and i miss home in the strangest of times, always
the click of a boiled kettle, the chartreuse of last night’s tea dregs
sometimes i want to shout the world my secrets
hear them echoed back to me in a voice more resolute

we search for guns beneath an oppressive heat
waiting 8-4 for a sultry rain, but at night
only dry thunder rolling out like a red carpet
for lightening to transcend, down plunging canals
that lie somewhere mired in a vegetation of softened bone

bite together now, and tell me it doesn’t hurt anymore
in the space between your molars, where you ground away
words that should have been spoken, and find it somewhere within
to believe there may be something left for yourself after all this
love, take it slowly now, one day at a time

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

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