Anxious, True Story – Spoken Word

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
No air
All consumption
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
Wasting away
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.


Fucking Miserable

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To the unpublished kingdom –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
More productive,
More successful,
More desirable.
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

Except maybe…
Because baby,
I’m there too.


All The Way Down

I tumbled through the lights and bulbs
Like Alice and the hole.
I looked to either side and saw nothing
But a way out to China.
A cold thumped me right-side up
There the world was big
And I was small.
Everyone was having babies
With rings on their fingers
And bells on their toes
So we could hear them coming
With promises in their pockets,
A jingle jangle of small change,
While my own pants lay silent.
This world only ceased
When my double made an effort
To say all the right things
To all the right people
With their mouths full of teeth
And tea up their sleeves.
Yes, I am fine
(I say to a lady with red wine lips)
Yes, I am fine,
(She stands up to brush away crumbs)
Yes, I am fine.
(Her skirt flays out like the petals of a rose,
Her face tells me she doesn’t actually care)

Five Things

She promised herself
To eat five things a day

Yesterday is was tomatoes
The day before grapefruit
The day before that mince meat pies.

She promised herself
To clean once day
Tomorrow it’ll be her toothbrush
Today it’s the compost heap

But yesterday was funny
Not ha-ha funny
More odd than anything else
She saw her own reflection
In the mirror by the door
So she ate her third tomato
And imagined herself as a vegetable
Slipping down the gullet
Of someone making promises.

Today she lathers her toast
With what looks to be mottled yoghurt
She got the idea while elbow-deep and cleaning.
There were five caterpillars in her fridge this morning
Only four to go ’til sundown


“There is fuck all you can do,” she hisses. “Literally nothing.”

I glare because its all I’ve got left. She’s bound my wrists and my ankles. She’s tethered my neck and gagged my mouth. I shake my head by millimetres, just enough so the cord doesn’t cut and the wounds can’t reopen.

“The choice was never supposed to be yours, never!” She’s pacing the room now. Small knife like a sword in her right hand, her left hand swinging as if to orchestrate music from afar. Oh how I know those hands too well. “You!” She turns on me. Like lava lamps those eyes, never the same pattern twice. Mixes of blue and green swim in murky lakes of brown. “You never once asked what I wanted did you?”

I don’t move, but I’m not supposed to.

“Did I ever say you could?” She’s smiling now, with darkness and blood to the toothy grin. “No, no, no. I didn’t, I never did. And now see where its got you.” Its a sick smile, but I like it because I can see her back teeth. They are perfect, discoloured little pearls. I’d tell her this if my mouth wasn’t stuffed.

She’s right up close to my face now, the little knife in her hand is grazing my chin. If I breathe its going to cut my skin.

“Here you are.” Her voice is sweet, poisonous honey, tempting me with its lacquered words, dripping with venom. “Doing it anyway.” The little knife is pointed to my lips. My breath quickens because she’s got every inch of power, the way it should be.

“Do you still?” She asks, this time she wants a reaction. I look at her and know she reads my mind, she can her me say yes. She knows that if I move the knife will slice my lips. “Do you?” She asks again. I implore her to read my mind, surely she sees it in my eyes. “Do you?” This time its far more stern and I realise what she wants.

I nod, the cold metal digs into my top lip. A warm, fat dollop of blood falls down the corner of my mouth. I must be cold to feel it. I don’t know how deep its cut. She grins again. “Sweet boy. I told you not to love me, yet here we are.” Pulling back her wild eyes dart to my hands and feet. The little knife is right on my neck now, just next to my artery, the pulsing life blood running hot, right where the wounds cut deep from the thin rope, prickling and twisting with each of my breaths.

I wait and watch for any sign. She was never one to know what she would do next, how could I? She looks inside my soul, right deep down underneath the hazy insides and the crusty outsides. She sifts around down there to find the soft, bulbous creature she’s seen too many times. I try to tell her everything with my eyes. How I trust her and I love her and that she has saved me and we are meant to be together always. How she makes me think and do things no one ever has before. I feel as if I am the first and last person to love in the history of the world, as long as she is by my side.

The cold knife flicks, as if it is thinking, but she does not. Its blunt side rubs against my soft flesh and in my head I tell her take me now if she will not have me forever. I close my eyes, because its her choice, always.

She is sawing at something, I am jerking back and forth. I wonder if my neck if too harsh, if my skin is too deep, if the wounds have created blisters that are fighting back. I wish for death because if she is sawing it means she cannot love me.

But then my eyes open, my neck is being cradled and kissed. I am no longer bound, the gag is removed.

She is brushing away the sores and purring the word ‘forever’ in my ear, over and over again.


My Heart, A Nest and A Raven

There’s a nest which sits well above my heart.
I’d like to say it was the home of a wren
But it belongs to a raven.
It is clever, heavy, wicked and wise
And it sees you.
My raven collects things,
Tiny metallic objects
Which nestle in the twigs above my heart.
I’d like to say they shimmer and shine,
But they cut
They bruise
Forcing me to grow scar tissue in places
I never thought I would.
My raven tells me things,
Whisperings in its croaking voice
Chants like those from outside of sound.
I’d like to say it is made of music,
But they are maniacal and truthful,
All the things that make me breed
Just a little more madness
Just a little more hate.
There’s a nest above my heart
And it presses like a coldness,
Pushes like a heaving force,
And lands me in a world of trouble.

Still Like Statues

There are holes all through my lungs.
I smoked until my chest caved in and my heart halted still like a black rock.
There are clumps of mistakes in my arteries;
Giant warnings for blood to go no further lest we breach the weir beyond.
I lived until I couldn’t any longer, there wasn’t much left of me.
I was tired.
I was breathing too many times in a minute and my hands were always full.
I’d scream at the sky every time it rose,
Like I was pleading for a better run at the tides.
“Wash me away, take me to the next shore, clean my mind and slough my skin”
I’d cry these things and fall asleep deep within the arms of a busy night
Only to wake with the same mislaid problems