I don’t want to be a rural library
Full of expected titles
Thrillers with predicted deaths
And echoed romances
A hero atrophied by his own ego
Loving a sugary woman with closed lips
Chapters of long gazes and held breaths
A history book finishing at 1984
And incorrect African geography
I want to be the tiny bookstore
With a blue front door
Only found by a strange set of wooden stairs
I want second hand titles
No one has read since 1972
A little slip of paper between pages 48 and 49
A pressed ticket to a Bowie concert
In the front
And a receipt for three months rent
In the back
I want to be a secret
Through a gap
In her clamped lips,
She sings out of tune.
Her hand-rolled cigarette
Spills grey ash
Onto her white t-shirt.
She doesn’t care.
On playing the piano
Forgive my sins against myself;
All the words
And the white noise.
For they might be the size of needles,
But make enough holes
And my blood leaks out.
“Naw Baby, ” he says with a smirk.
“Did you forget your meds?”
Taking off a wedding ring
He puts it on the faded dashboard.
I touch my wrist
Where my heart beats rapidly.
“Kicking on like hummingbird,” I tell him.
“You dead then? You’ve got them numb cheeks.”
“What’s that mean?” When he talks,
He hisses out his ‘s’ sounds
Like a stuttering snake. He’s fiddling with his zipper now.
“It means your face is falling like a dead man’s.”
“When’ve you ever seen a dead man?”
He laughs because he doesn’t know a damn thing.
“Lookin at one right now.”
Before he can do a thing
I push a fork in his eye.
While he screams,
Grabbing at the bloodied weapon
I unlock all the doors of the car
With his wallet, three cards and a fist full of cash.
Mama’ll be so proud.
Fur leaf clones left well alone
Dry guts and deep cuts
Slumber days and far fetched nights
Sex on concrete steps
Hard won love, laid to rest
Red lights and monkey bones
Gun-toting hippie homes
Near death walks in desert
Talk talk talk
Walk walk walk
Animal print balaclavas
Smoke to pin-point shame
Yesterday’s questions – no brain
Dance naked despite gravity
Love with levity
Eat your liquid breakfast
Through a tube
Scratch the bruise.
I get heart palpitations at least once a day
Its my anxiety trying to break through the skin
Herald a new day at my throat
So as to see the sunshine one last time
Before a tumble of darkness swallows it down
Down into my stomach
Down where it fries like chips in oil
Down where it constricts and restricts
The large and small gut
Down where it digests too much and coughs so little
No let go
All big tangled white lies
Like a turtle in the ocean
Trapped in the plastic of your 6 pack holder
It churns and twists itself up
So I sit with gaping belly
And mind full of madness
Worry over the rest and the beginning and the forever
Blood curdles over the ends and the never and the has to be’s
On a ship fraught with my own spectres
Sailing half mast
But full flight
Out where the seas are rough
The nights are dark
And the fathomless oceans
Of my own fright
Swallow me whole.
You know what I’ve realised?
We’re all miserable.
Cathy, three doors down with the spotty cheeks
And loud, obnoxious children –
And Beth, covering herself up while walking home
From another late night class
Gripping the wine bottle like an inhaler –
Nicholas, the guy with the fruit chin and
Cauliflower ears who smells like soup on a good day –
And Mike, who spits out poetry like its God’s gift
To the unpublished kingdom –
But he owns it.
We all do.
In between fucking
And writing it down in blogs and vlogs and Facebook posts
Twisted up in cocktail pictures on Instagram
And faceless ponies on our quick fix Snapchat
We are all fucking miserable.
Because we were told we could achieve anything.
So when we get to anywhere and we realise it isn’t anything,
We consider the things that may have led us some place
Because no one likes a man
In sweatpants, eating cornflakes
On a second hand loveseat,
Watching re-runs of Golden Girls
On a Tuesday afternoon
I’m there too.