Archive for poems

The un-baby

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 9, 2017 by ofherbsandaltars

You never existed

They told me you did

For 2 hours, maybe 3, you were there

I gave you a name

And then I pissed in a cardboard bowl

And they said no

 

No baby

 

I didn’t want you

But I do now

And your father is dead

He died a month ago

The grief overflows

 

I won’t say what I called you

That’s a secret between you and me

But everything changed in that ambulance

And now I want you

The grief is doubled

I can’t look at babies

I went shopping for baby clothes

I saw you in them

I see you so clearly

Your dark eyes, brown skin

I see you, but you’ll never be

 

I want you now

With him, with Jazz

Who’s gone forever

 

This is all nonsense

I just want you

In my arms

My wrinkly newborn un-baby

You would’ve been Jazz’s

A little pale brown thing,

Clutched against my chest, warm, wet,

His dark eyes, perhaps,

My narrow nose

 

I lost you both

I lost my last friend

And I lost his baby too

 

My un-baby

Who was never, ever there

But I feel you just the same

I feel you, a tiny person in my belly

A little piece of Jazz

 

Stolen

Forever

PAINPAINPAINPAIN

I screamed until I lost my voice

In the middle of the night

I lost you both

And I’m overwhelmed

There’s nothing but pain

Bones & Stories; Morgue Drawer

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 22, 2017 by ofherbsandaltars

Magnetic as the moon –

No one could help

But love the lunatic

Who licked faces left and right

And hid every inch of his ongoing plight

Behind smiles and drugs

And the warmest of hugs

 

Now he’s lying cold in a morgue drawer

Lost and gone forever more

 

They’ll slice a V in his neck,

Bloodless flesh

Bleached yellow with death

Crack open his ribs

Weigh his heart, check it for size,

It was plenty big enough – no one’s surprised

They’ll test his toxic tissues

And take slivers of his brain

In that organ nothing will remain

Of the superstar he used to be.

 

Some people want to let the dead lie

And just lie down and cry

Because dead is dead

So sterilise it, synthesise it, powder it up

Take it away – don’t let me smell the stench of decay

But the fact is it’s all true

It’ll happen to you, it’ll happen to me

No one gets immortality

In the flesh

And that flesh, that fleshy vest

It comes off, it gets sliced and prodded

It lies in the ground and it rots

Bloodless with decomposition

Eyeballs fall back, gasses burst free

Veined purple with pooled lividity

Underneath –

That’s all any of us are

In the end.

 

In the end, I want answers

In the end, I want to see him

Even in this state –

It might seem real then

It might be final then

That he’s really gone, forever –

Misshapen and cold on the cutting room floor

In the cold, cold blood-scented air

Of a sterile cold morgue drawer

He’ll never style his hair again

And it might seem real to me

Some kind of epiphany.

 

Is it easier to let the dead live on?

In photos and stories

Of their joyous former glories

Or is it better to tell the truth?

To be perfectly ruthless

And grab it by the entrails

And pull them out until you see

Until you see the end of you and me.

 

I promise I’ll love you just as much,

Cold and stiff on a tray

I’ll just have to love you in a different way

Because you won’t talk back anymore

And your kisses are cold, they taste like frozen meat

There’s a tag dangling from your icy feet –

I’d want to warm you up.

 

Like you’d done something stupid

And taken too many pills

Then gone for a walk, got lost, caught a chill

I’d want to invite you back in for soup and a beer

But you’re never coming back here,

Are you?

 

You’re lying in a morgue drawer

I hope it doesn’t hurt your back

I want to give you a pillow and a duvet in there

But soon, you’ll be ash

Or beneath the earth

Crumbling away, never so pretty as on even your worst day

 

Just bones, just bones

And stories

 

Never forgotten.

I need to know how you died.

I need to know why you didn’t say goodbye –

That’s all.

 

Just bones and stories…

Just bones, and stories.

Twisted Sunrise, May 2014

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on May 16, 2016 by ofherbsandaltars

I wish I could go back

To before

I remember the full moon was beautiful

And you were pissing me off

I was pissed off with you a lot,

If I’m honest

You were so far in denial

With the rainbow bandaids all up your arms

The cutesy artwork

Hiding a mess of cigarette burns

And the food, the fucking veganism

Those goddamn healthy pitta-breads

And the endless candy

That you were only going to throw up

The fact you were so obsessed with your fucking self care

With your rituals – your movies, the incense, the yoga, the nail polish

Self care – like a sick joke

Healthy food. Cutesy bandaids.

And we were all supposed to ignore the fact

That you were drinking with your pills

That you had pneumonia more times than I have fingers

That you crashed your car every week for a fucking month

That you’d been disappearing for over a year

Until you looked 67 instead of 32

And I barely recognised you anymore

And your goddamn idiot teenage fans

Those fucking repulsive teenagers, who idolised you

And idolised you even more once you were dead

 

So, yes. You pissed me off.

But I wish I could go back, to before

Before the full moon

Before your brother’s crass announcement  –

Or maybe not crass – he just couldn’t find the words,

But all he said was “Gretchen is dead. She died in her sleep last night.”

Just that. On your account. As a status update.

And I’m sorry, but I laughed at it

Because it had to be bullshit

I saw you drinking cocktails in the sunshine

Just two days before

And you’d been here forever

In my life

So you couldn’t just be gone –

Not you

I thought it was bullshit

 

Because I’d been to that place too –

Hadn’t we all?

Bleeding and emaciated and silently screaming

Eating and puking and posting pictures of nothing

But endless food and our shrinking selves –

The only things we valued

Bones and sinews, and shiny candy wrappers

But it never lasted – it never took anyone –

That’s why I was so pissed off

I was pissed off with you

Because you wouldn’t just move on

From this annoying phase

This dip into idiocy that we were too fucking old for

I thought you’d come back, and then you’d be fun again

I didn’t see it.

That we were too fucking old –

That was the clue, the clue I missed

Too fucking old to weigh 60lbs

To live on alcohol, and pills

And just keep on going

That we weren’t 18 anymore

I didn’t see it

And I’m sorry

I’m sorry for that

 

But I don’t know what I would have changed

I was mean to you, sometimes

Because you were being stupid

And those teenage fools were idolising your self destruction

And you believed your own lies

And I wanted to slap you

So I did, verbally, a few times

I hope you forgave me

But I suppose it doesn’t matter

I think everything was too late

Your collision course was so long in the making

I couldn’t stop you

Maybe even you couldn’t stop you

 

But I wish I could go back to before

Before the full moon

And tell you how much you meant

That I loved you even though you fucking pissed me off

And that I’d miss you forever

And that you mattered

I don’t think you knew that

How much you fucking mattered

Like a goddamn rockstar

And the mourning spread over the whole world

For you, for weeks

You left holes in souls on every continent

 

I see you in every rainbow

In every full moon

And if life ever gets too much

It’s nice to know that I’ll see you again

When I get there.

 

Miss you, G xx

Purple Ghost

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 17, 2015 by ofherbsandaltars

Is it because my dick is not yet bolted on

With screws of flesh and hammer of bone

That I am not welcome in your presence alone?

(And do not mention the stag night)

Is it because I wore a dress on All Hallow’s Eve

And she seemed insecure, not knowing –

Is this thing a boy, is it prettier than me?

I do not trust it…

But no, it was before –

Always before,

That she knows our tangled histories

Stretch back into the infinite, unknowable,

Like the tangled webs of galaxies

For isn’t that what children are?

And how can she ever know

What is gone and lost, forever more

*

But I know what came before

I know what lies beneath

The thickening flesh of his exterior

The boy I knew was bones and hair

Insecurity, thin fingers, a drifting coil of weed smoke

Redbull cans and Prozac pills,

Angst and nihilism and Nine Inch Nails

How can memories not prevail

Against the puckered lips of a nervous present

Manipulation, mistrust inherent

And worst of all his own lethargy

To let his history drift away

Like the unmoored boat of all he used to be

So who are you now, Mr D,

With your suit-clad figure and your new degree?

*

I do not know this thing I see

The boy I knew is dead to me.

*

*

…Or does he wander, like some wraith of memory

Still sitting in a Brite-ian cemetery

As though he never saw this ugly reality

For isn’t that what memory is, intangible,

Prone to fits of doubt, or nostalgic romance?

If the past is a place and memory is its realm

Do our past selves all wander through the

Minds of one another?

Is each one of us a fleshy thing,

Surrounded by the ghosts

Of everything it used to be

The lust, youth, naivety

And with every version that emerges

From its cobwebbed black cocoon

It grows uglier, more staid, more grey and wrinkled and realistic

For isn’t that the crassest word?

As we turn into our parents, into sagging caricatures

Souls trapped in office blocks,

In briefcases, management meetings

In closed-lip kisses and casseroles

And if this is the thing you really are

Then I’ll just keep your memory

Of the imperfect thing you used to be

When you would smoke weed under a dripping starlit canal bridge

When the world was full of magic, blacklight and uncertainty

When we saw the planes plough, exploding, into the Twin Towers

In the dingy monitor of your dingy room

And it meant nothing to us at all

Because we were too young to fear the adult things, like war and loss and catastrophe

Because all we needed was you and me

And everything seemed temporary,

The whole world disposable

In its unknowable concrete tangles

Its maddening adult routines

The demands of your mother

To fill the fucking dishwasher, James,

And we always stood apart from it

In the tangle of thin limbs under sex-smelling duvets

We made a shelter from it all

And the world seemed more purple

Purple like my hair, and purple like your bedroom

There is a shade of purple that to this day belongs to you

But you do not belong to it

Now that you are something else

With your suits and your stag nights

And your…and your…

There are no words for unremarkable

We know things by their difference

*

I watch you sink into her world

Her dreary adult world

Like a screaming black amoeba

Devoured by a larger one

And you are gone forever.