When I realised I’d fallen

As we rolled past the river

The monuments

The gold-clad beasts

Shaking, bathing in the glow

Of the water’s edge by Waterloo

Your duvet lips spring to mind

Permeate the creases of my brain

Invade my thoughts with a pick axe

Cutting down the others

I’d been growing

Like sweet nectar.

I melt beneath them

Chew on their plumpness

Get high on their juices

Those rolls that seal me

Like an envelope

Your loveliness cuts through

And bubbles beneath the surface

As the train tracks roll by.

I think of you when the night curses

And the day yawns open

And when my phone buzzes

And my body yearns to be touched.

Stubborn

You’re bright and flexible

like a glow stick

how strange it is

to be enjoying the journey

the part most people want to skip

the part people lose their heads about

panicking

screaming thoughts into pillows

spilling questions into Reddit’s holes

– not me

and yet today marks the first day

we haven’t texted

in more than a month

we’ve been on this cycle

like a haunted washing machine

since the day you added my number

– this spin cycle didn’t feel like

it was going to end

but it has

and now i’ve only to hang out

the clothes to dry

let the moisture evaporate

like piss on a hot tin roof

strip back the fabrics

until they’re mere fibres.

Assessing the damage

– could i be doing it

for the chase?

might i have refrained from messaging

because i have nothing to say

– could it be a test?

or maybe you’re on a date

and maybe i’m on a date

and we’re both rocking

on somebody else’s genitals

(i’m not. i’m in my pyjamas

banned from the living room

hiding from stranger things spoilers)

you: probably reading or running

or wondering about me

– not feeling like chasing?

that’s fine.

i remind myself i’ve given away

a part of me to you

provided you with a swipe card

chipped off a chunk of my soul

and my body and handed it

to you like a piece of late homework

the lucky recipient of a quivering

maladjusted morsel of a girl

who doesn’t receive many guests

who is open for business once a year

whose tectonic plates rumble daily

(but rumbled by themselves

never shaken by another)

you have a small part of me

which i hardly ever give out

like those rarest of pokemon

those rare droplets of rain on Gran Canaria

those times my great uncle

digs a hand in his pocket

and buys us a meal

those moments on the tube

when i feel sweat-free

those days when i can actually

look at myself in the mirror

without wincing

and so it’s not to be sneezed at

this gifting malarkey

but i’m happy with my recipient

this tadpole i plucked

from the dating pool lucky dip

– i’m happy with my choice

even if it ends poorly

and leaves my heart sore

(or soar?)

because semantics make quite a difference.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The week after

The week after, I’ve been left with flaming wreckage. A plane engulfed by biting fire and yapping sparks has been laid at the foot of my bed like a weak old party balloon.

“Is this what courting is?” I find myself saying. Sounding strangely like a grandmother with clotted cream hair and purple eyelids.

Is it supposed to be buried beneath a flurry of sexualised messages, dirty whispers and cyber seduction? Is this how dating goes in the modern world?

These otherworldly, devilish letters and icons lead me through a maze where the end point looks to be a thick fluffy duvet and steady breathing, moaning. Crumbs lurking beneath writhing derrieres, squashed by midnight blues and swollen purples, beg for mercy.

Where’s the inane chat? The everyday tube dilemmas? The tepid English air making you croak out messages of discontent and strife?

The ‘whatcha been up tos’, the ‘how’s your day goings’ – those have frittered away in the sweat-saddled heat, morphing into ‘i want you nows’ and ‘talk dirty to mes’ and that’s where the courting feels alien. Messages sent from another planet from a little green man with an erect penis.

 

Duvet.

You are gorgeous, vibrant and have the hair of a rockstar, the mouth of a warm, spring-saddled duvet and the eyes of a twinkly blow torch.

They cut through me, singe my skin and seep their warm fire into my body’s crevices unapologetically.

Set alight by you, oozing your thunder, I’m completely captured, spellbound, clad in chaotic lust.

Your duvet lips envelop me, like Peter Pan and Wendy, they send me soaring through heart-addled skies and my brain fizzes and rages against the air and that bulbous London Eye gently rocking on the horizon.

It takes a great deal out of me

I had lengthy midnight cyber kisses with a boy who looks like Jim Morrison.

The conversation grew on feeble, fecund words about sports and television. We reeled off quotes like a game of table tennis and peculiar deep self talk.

You asked me to describe myself as if I were in an interview. And after my thumbs clicked and words harpooned themselves onto my message bar (the word “typing” forever appearing) I knew I’d become stuck in the treacle-like web that is lusting after somebody I’d never met before.

It’s a sticky mess of pink and grey – a stark contrast between what you think you know and what you actually do.

He’s the Jim to my Pam. He’s the waffle I want to wake up to. The whipped cream I want to guzzle. The song I’d like to keep on repeat.

Or is he?

Maybe he’s vacuous and selfish. Artistically-driven but pretentiously-inclined. Beneath his beard are lies and beneath his eyelids are sadness and maybe he’s not what I think he is.

Still, those midnight cyber kisses prevailed. I felt my eyes become doused in fiery fatigue, begging to close, but unwilling to do so while the conversation flowed like melted chocolate.

He said I was attractive and that’s when I fell to my knees. Too busy relishing in the idea that somebody liked me, too caught up in this fleeting feeling of self-worth that I found it hard once the medicine had worn off… to be pleased with myself.

Because if I can act like that – like a slippery, giggly schoolgirl whose self-esteem bar has only just begun to lift off the ground, then I’m further back than I thought. Further down the gym rope than I’d anticipated. Further back on my journey of tube stops to Self Confidence Street or Extoverted Alley.

Eventually we said farewell. I left my phone off airplane mode, longing to hear that chipper buzz in the small hours… a sign you were thinking of me.

And then I wrestle with my duvet and push my face into my pillow and scream.

Because I don’t even know you, Jim.

 

 

First

And with the bright lights churning out their boozy glow,

The bar standing empty, only a glass and a half and a hasty once-over

With an old rag

Voices pecking at other voices, toasts to the untoastworthy

A darting look over at us from a man twice my age

The older couple nearby, tucking into ribs and etching a slippery sauce onto their teeth and chins

It made me hungry.

But my brain was already fizzing from the large white wine spritzer

Which I’d ordered to blend in and be normal.

Dizzying highs and frantic lows, desperately trying not to drop my dignity

But also come across as the most beautiful, most interesting girl you’d ever met

(Oh the pressures of being me)

Out on a Saturday night for once in a blue moon

And I barely looked around me, barely soaked up the atmosphere

Barely present, in the moment, there.

Island dreams, coconut groves

I knew it was going to hurt.

Like a severed limb, cut off, bleeding

it was always going to have an unsavoury feeling.

The amputation was set in motion back in January

when I told you I didn’t love you

anymore

and we ran circles around our words

had muffled conversations in burger bars

and pressed our palms together in desperate solidarity

and then we waited.

The operation commenced in the month of May

when we went our separate ways

left with bloody stumps, the both of us

our bandages were cherry-red and ached

we knew it would take time to heal.

What I didn’t bargain for was the loss of two limbs

– one for you and one for the country we’d lived in

that sun-dappled, banana breeding ground closer to Africa than Europe

which I would moan about and rant about to reluctant relatives

who told me “just come home”

and now I miss that platano-infested wasteland

of orange-gold hills clad in the sun’s rays

ugly, Arizona-esque but comforting all the same.

We left our flat and burned our bridges

and ripped out our relationship’s stitches

left your handy, hopeful car

tucked away behind a few bushes by the airport

and made a dash for it, a dash towards the unknown.

These bloody stumps may never heal

because I loved you and our life

and now I’ve broken the seal.