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.

Sensible bodies

You used to make me feel like I couldn’t dress myself

Like every piece of clothing lurking in my wardrobe

Wasn’t fit for purpose

You swatted away every pairing I attempted

Frustration etched across your face, thick like butter

And marinating your tone

‘Of course that doesn’t go with that’

‘Gosh you’re useless’

‘Let me do it for you’

Choice escaped me, driving off

In a sedan car, roof open, wind tugging at carefree hair

Because no matter what I chose, you would berate me

Belittle me

Bemuse me

And suggest your idea was better

You made me feel like I couldn’t dress myself

Like every attempt I made was childlike

Like everything I picked when we went shopping

Was five years my junior

The result is a current questioning of everything I buy

From the t shirts to the shoes

To the dresses to the playsuits

I feel incapable of dressing myself

And knowing what looks good

Even when parcels from far-flung places arrive at the door

And I unwrap exasperated, excited

There’s something I’ve ordered that you dislike

And you’ll tell me, naturally

Why keep quiet after all these years

Why stop licking the nettle

Why stop hammering at my self-esteem

I can deal with the bile, the upchuck, the name-calling

Better than I used to

But it still stings like chlorine

And lingers like burnt toast

Gurgling in the pit of my stomach

Until the next parcel arrives.

Quarantine

The weirdest time to be alive

Shut off, in concave houses

Dead to the world

Except the delivery man

A shell burning from the inside out

Due to family tiffs and full blown rows

Drifting from one room to another

Like mouldy, unshowered ghosts

Undecided, aimless

Wandering like wicker men.

Eyes darting from screen to screen

Big and bright

Then small and polluting.

Tiktok guzzlers

Stay at home Sally’s

Faux pro medics

Idiots dressed as preachers

Experts waxing lyrical about distancing

Stockpiling

Worrying

Dying.

In amongst all the chaos I sit

Like a bit of pavement in Syria

A bird above an explosion

A witness to a car crash.

Calm, serene

Calmer and serene-r

Than I’ve ever been-er

Fomo kept at bay

At home is where I stay

Drunk on harmony.

This is going to be a bad day

Eyeing up a bench

A bit of solid mass to sit upon and escape the cold

And my ridiculous self

Arrived too early and now I’m confused, anxious

I retreat into a toilet to escape a self that can never be escaped from

And it’s tough knowing I did this to me

A sort of torture you don’t imagine you’d put yourself through

And it’s hard to see where the wiring went wrong

Where the brain fell short

And why the calamities burst forth

You’re late as ever and I’m in a cubicle

Outside it’s chilled, like that bottle of babycham we left chilled in the fridge for months

Seeking solace in a loo

Because I don’t know what else to do

Minor occasions

I’m sorry I didn’t ask you how you were

As we tumbled down the stairs

Like soldiers in formation

I’m sorry for not tapping on your shoulder

And saying howdy how’s it going

Instead of staying silent

Humming like a torch’s bulb.

You see my hair was sticking to my cheeks

Stuck something silly like a tangled mess of hay

And my face was clogged with sweat

From the day’s struggle and strife

I’d picked at my fringe and prodded it sideways

Toppling over my eggy forehead

In a bid to reduce what I saw in the mirror

A ghost, a thief, a terrifying mirage

That burned holes in my outer shell

And poured its poison through them.

You see I wasn’t in a fit state to speak to you

I didn’t want your first impression to be

A slippery, oily mess of a girl

So I left you to glide down the stairs amid a sea of strangers

While I stayed back, coolly

Deranged and broken.

Friday TCR

And she sat up there

Words like rose petals floating from mouth to floor

And I’m just perched here in awe

Having travelled an hour and a half door to door

To listen to words that are honey-like

Dripping into the mic

Sweet and inspiring

Forehead perspiring (don’t all of ours)

And I’m fearful for tomorrow

For the fruits it’ll bring

A dark shadow sewn into my skin

Brain etched in a fog

Burnt out by the London smog.

After the gig I paced up and down Tottenham court road

Like a wildly indecisive runner

With too much time on her hands

And a stomach full of Dr Pepper

Couldn’t bring myself to go back in

And bare my soul to someone new

Whose job isn’t to listen to me natter

Burst my thoughts forth in glorious splatter

So I trudged to the tube and hissed at tourists who wouldn’t move

As quickly as my marathon legs

Short and strong

I made the hour journey back home

Walking up a dimlit alley I’m fearful of tomorrow

And I’m laced with sorrow

It permeates my core

And leaves me sore

But strong all the same

For ever more.

BHB

I nearly bit my tongue off

When you asked me questions

Of no meaning, no substance

Forced like unwanted suggestions

About where to eat, what to do

How to travel, when to move

Staring over the barrel of a deceased coca cola

Eyes ploughing into me like needles

My responses grew weary and feeble

Conversation like too much hard work

From the very start

And tiptoing into the twilight hours

A train ride that should have been hushed

A meal that made me blush

A sentence too many that was more than enough

How can I stand to be me

When a day out is just pain

And I’m the only one to blame

My ineptitudes, my shortcomings

My overactive brain

With its excruciating bubblings.

Someone

Like someone reading your diary

Touching your thoughts with a scalpel

Splitting them open and letting the innards glow freely

Beneath the blade.

Like someone knowing your darkest secrets

Most troubling defects

And personality problems, character flaws.

Like someone scraping out the inside of your head like a coconut

Amassing all these troubles, all these woes

And picking at your skull like a vulture.

Like someone who read your poetry.

European weekend

We rolled into a Spanish town, filled with green crested hills and fluffy neighbourhoods

And I’m thinking about work and life and commitments

I’m pondering the flaky freelance mode de vie,

I’m wondering if it’ll stunt me socially

And make me boring and broke.

As the flesh coloured figures roll past the window panes

And the platforms dash in a blur of brushed aluminium

Thoughts ricochet off my synapses

And flood my mind with what ifs and how to’s

The world seems so scary

My path seems so bumpy

When I make good with my brain

That’s when it’ll all piece together.