next time I’m a wreck
at four am or whatever the time is -
a lot’s happened since I last checked -
your name won’t be the first
I speak into my phone
(tonight did have to be the first time
voice command decided to work)
but right now your tinny voice
is made of stronger stuff
than the boom in my chest
(don’t we both know there used to be an
L in there somewhere);
If you like we can pretend
this is chain mail
“If you’re reading this
somebody loves you!”
2. Look for answers not just from the places the poets tell you to look. Sometimes you’ll forget your glasses and stars are blurry and the sea is just the world’s largest public toilet. Sometimes you’ll find what you’re looking for written across the knuckles of your favourite guitarist, sometimes you’ll scream it drunk.
3. Sometimes time doesn’t heal everything and the only way to cure bitter tastes is to spit out what you can and take a bite out of something else.
4. You don’t have to choose between cats and dogs.
5. Wearing odd socks doesn’t make you more interesting, neither does having a deep reason for your tattoos, or having ‘A Drink’. Don’t worry that your socks always match.
6. If somebody gets out a guitar at a party and says “I haven’t played in a while, but”, leave the party.
7. Don’t get out a guitar at a party and say “I haven’t played in a while, but”. Just get better at playing the fucking guitar.
8. Handwritten letters, coffee shops, and drunken stints in back alleys are all very poetic, but you don’t make friends just to write poems about them.
9. Don’t be so scared of yourself. Go out on your own. (Take pepper spray.)
10. It was never, ever inevitable.
to fit me-shaped metaphor
into you-shaped holes
i set the puzzle pieces down
instead to blunt sides,
simple shapes, and words
to inconvenience the stars -
sunlight can but hope to win the battle
waged against this skin of ours
what if we are
all there is beyond -
to aspire to aspire
slipping, sleep -
I’d be happy were it me
behind the curtain, were I to see
in ruby red,
your dreams and, dread unchanged
but still clicking your heels.
this carry-me-along, it’s void
of centre, where’s my white dash then
where’s my tightrope?
More swimming I suppose, more muddy
through edgeless miles and stones aplenty
but lucky should they be marked.
I’d throw roses into the abyss, I would
if I could but find it
(that said, and all perspectives held to account,
perhaps this is
on a peak time tube, rising 7am out of the station and not
out of ashes,
I was always one for drowning my sorrows anyway -
All those wake up calls meant nothing to me then
as repeat performance means nothing to me now
but calling my name in a higher frequency
I wasn’t tuned to,
had to squint my eyes to see what blinded.
They always have opinions -
what’s a choice and what’s a dirty curse -
but I decided to begin again
negate the filthy choices stuck to the shoes
I kicked off some way back, running for the train.
Mud caked up my ankles still
but bathing in the squint of it I know
this burning in my lungs precedes the gasp.
Hitching up dejection like a skirt around my waist
painted to match the colour of your words around my neck
when you said I am the only thing that’s stopping you
from skipping this town
don’t you know that these chains link both ways
only unclasping to be replaced
with locking lips.
Draw the curtains paint the walls, take it all in
and I’ll do the same but I always did
have a keener eye for these things
catching the flecks of gold in your eyes
to juggle with the way the words fell -
I let some of them lay where they were,
not everything in love
is gracious - goodness may’ve marred me and
all these aspirations forged like wedding rings round fingers
how romantic can forever really be?
Take my hand we’ll take this place for what
it really is, and if it isn’t worth the ink,
if you wouldn’t want it on your skin
I’ll stop pretending all this iron in my blood is
heavy enough to anchor,
we’re less likely to float away now
my voice higher,
let’s split and when we explode
we’re lighter than air.
If you stand behind me now with arms around my waist
I’ll scream your name so loud and even if
you’re not listening the sound will circle the Earth,
your name tickling the back of your neck in
thousand flavours of my heady breath.
Stand back to back with me now
I’ll do the same, swallow it down
almost like a kiss, this time.