Outside and warm

There’s something to be said

For sitting on rattan chairs and looking up

At a tie dyed sky

The same inky blue I saw in a dress earlier

The one I added to basket but never checked out

This is a sky of another era, a time

When we rode like ghosts on American highways

Legs pressed up against the dashboard

Podcast blaring nonsense

Gently slipping into sleep

Half expecting to hit a deer

That fear every time we rounded a bend

Or you vroomed a little too callously

A cacophony of screeching, and my brain doing somersaults

Playing out the poor deer’s death

And this balmy air also smacks of times in Spain

By the sea where we built our lives

And had a fridge full of food

And money in the bank

Dusted pink sunsets trickling down to the seafront

Paellas baked fresh, inches from the seabed

Tummies content and hankering for margaritas on Friday nights

Warm all the time

Flip flops flung over shoulders

Walks down to the beach and then back to Lidl

For a feast

Work was still a drag, head filled with dread

Every fucking Sunday night

Like some stupidly mundane weekly ritual

The brain bashing, self inflicted fear and loathing in Las Palmas

I was still afflicted like I am now

But those balmy sun dappled evenings

Grinning on terraces

Stuck like insects in a treacly loveless web

Boy was it good sometimes.

A year has passed and you’re back in my DMs

you got your foot in the door

yet again, a beautiful ghost at it

once more

starve you, I tried

there’s whispers you care and you

want to make things right

but I throttle those whispers

they slip lifelessly into unconsciousness

I’m lighting my tongue on fire

just talking to you

but it’s not the same adoration

lingering like perfume

in the air

not the

drop-everything-lets-text-back

frenzy that once furrowed by brow

made me mad with “love”

drunk on lust

in fact

I couldn’t give a fuck.

Is there a name for being bored but, at the same time, not wanting to do anything?

boredom creeps

and the tinted, dirt speckled screen

is no company

when up against

the blood orange gaze of the sun –

burn covering my chest

from yesterday’s bake off.

there’s no escape from boredom

when you’re not procrastinating

because there’s nowt to do

in the first place

but the level of pressure

squashing that nowt

is not nowt at all –

it’s a monstrous fun sponge

sucking life and love from limb

rendering days dry

and desolate

mouths open

but nothing to say

fingers shoved into gussets

in search of redemption.

lemon groves and Spanish marble

sultry Split and Big Apples

so rosy your mouth waters

are so far away

you can’t taste the freedom anymore

and pearl-stained beaches

are no longer on the horizon.

The expectations we place on ourselves

Why don’t you loosen the reins

A gentle tug to prompt

Purpley, sunburnt

Sooty shackles to the ground.

Why don’t you lower the bar

Before it slices your head clean off

Making you wander

Like some mad headless chicken.

Why don’t you point the gun down

So your temples can stop

Throbbing

And your glands

Can start acting up.

Why don’t you let your smile fade

Take it off like boots after a hard

Day’s grind

Slip sweaty socks off

And leave them on the landing

Feel your gums breath again

Feel your teeth

Whisper thank you.

Black Lives Matter

social media is awash with colour and rage

opening the app releases a tangle of feisty, hashtag-stuffed webs

everybody’s mouths are wide like venus fly traps

everybody’s tongues are wagging more than usual

everybody’s Stories spewing #BLM

celebs compelled to stick their oars into this sticky

systemic umbilical cord too

but coming off as disinterested, forced.

people are preaching and protesting and praying

spray painting their social media palettes

with the colours of death and deceit

hot on the heels of murder.

i’m cocooning, unsure how to proceed

followers vomiting up advice and financial gestures

go to this site, donate to this organisation

sign this petition, educate these people

money feels like a luxury, but slippery to pin down

and dock into the right place, like a slimy space station.

hate is running amok in society

omnipotence handed out like inappropriate candy

necks squashed like bugs

guns loaded too hastily

fists misguided, slamming into jaws

let’s meet those who’ve ventured down dirty paths

of death and decay

with rehabilitation

and the full weight of the law.

 

 

 

The video call conundrum

Like feeling around in the dark

Trying not to step on toes

Fingers in eyes

Teeth glinting, words warbling

Ignored and then repeated

If still ignored then give it up

Wait for the wave to pass

Then plunge into its dark creases

When you think there’s an opening

(But of course you can never tell)

So you’ll probably end up soaked in shame

A blur in their peripherals

Dunk your head under for a third time

Trying not to get wet

Trying to let your words penetrate

The foamy skin

Stopping short of shouting

Like screaming into the void

But you might as well be on mute

I’ll tear my hair out before this is over

A bald, shadow-slurping mess

Is what I’ll be reduced to

Like feeling around in the dark

For dropped keys on a dusky carpet

Clad in dead skin, fingers twitching

Like being blind at a party

Not knowing who you might grope

Like shouting into the void

Might as well be on mute.

I can’t get anything done when the sun’s shining

The sun throws me off scent
It’s a major distraction that colours my skin red and my head cloudy
Prompts paracetamol ingestion
Stops me from working
I can’t write when the sun’s out
It’s like a magnet drawing me away from my desk
Patio porn, the slabs are tinted and sparkling
Sibling reclining on chair, forehead glistening
A sign of heat, akin to holiday
Swap grind for grass
I’m lying on a towel half naked
Singeing my skin
(but consoled in that I’ve got Bondi sands factor 50 on order)
Digital marketing certificate doesn’t get a look in
When I’m grappling with a heated tug of war
And getting a tan is so important
(I’m not entirely sure why)
Another half hour I say, and then I’ll buckle down
Bent over a keyboard
But it rarely happens and by the time inspiration sparks
I’m sprawled on the sofa
The last of the sun dripping through the window
Watching This Country.

Coca Cola fantasy

Beer-soaked bellies tend to bash my chair

as they rumble past, making me jolt,

drink spilling, temper flaring.

Gazing at my caramel concoction,

a tooth-fairy blend of Coke

and sickly-sweet, candy-cane Malibu.

“I’d rather just have the Coke,” I say

And the whole room chuckles

because a spiritless double or gin-less tonic

is just crazy, apparently.

Florida dreams

Driving around Florida was perhaps the happiest I’ve been.

This was back in June when responsibilities were low and expectations were high

when the orange-clad Disney-donning streets always led us to Chick-fil-a or Moe’s at the height of hunger

stomachs beaten by pangs, the allure of burrito bowls and buttery milkshake broths awaiting.

We stopped in at all the parks and scaled iron-fisted fortresses and dropped

down vicious clanging paths

took oodles of pictures for the ‘gram and drank pint after pint of poisonous soda

to ward off the southern sun, bleeding onto our skin…

while fabric Mickeys and Minnies gasped for air

through the winter-laced fibres of their bulbous heads

probably paid a pittance

to stand in the sun and boil like broccoli

skin wretched and pasty at the end of the day; ours firetruck-red.

We went to Medieval Times because you said I ought to get a taste

of American pastimes

there we watched horses charge up and down with stout little fellows on their backs

wielding sticks and swords

jousting like they might have done back in the day

while we hunkered down over a medieval meal

turkey leg, garlic bread, tomato soup and enough Coke refills

to disintegrate a steak, and rot my molars.

Sort of a love letter but not really

To myself,

I do not give you permission to message him.

No matter how twinkly Thursday night’s sky is or how uplifting Friday’s morning is, you’re not to reach out. You’re not to slide into his DMs with a flirty quip about how your peach is the same size and does he still live in Notting Hill or has he gone home home.

Are his family fine? You don’t care. Is he working? You don’t care. Has he cut his hair recently? YOU DON’T CARE. (Except if he has cut his hair, that makes him a tenth less attractive so let’s just imagine he has cut his hair and it went horribly wrong and he now looks like Phil Mitchell.)

When loneliness curses your name, yanks your hair, spits in your face, you still don’t have permission to reach for your phone. Oh but we had something special – oh but you didn’t. You had rough and tumble, frothy, hazy delights last summer where you travelled two hours to see him. 

The current situation – you know, the one where you’re sat at home, wondering about boyfriends and getaways and how much you’d need to earn to afford one of those studio flats with the spiral staircase leading up to the bed – does not permit you to punch yourself in the face romantically. It doesn’t mean you need to start treading water after starting to swim again. It doesn’t mean you need to mow the lawn of introspection, not when things are just starting to grow.

Starve yourself of flirtation, make do without a flurry of grade A bullshit “if this is still a thing in March we should go on a bike ride in the countryside” messages and learn to live and love yourself and not the dreamboat, duvet-lipped figure of irrelevance.