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.

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.

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.

 

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.

 

 

The middle of the carriage

And I’ll stand in the middle of the carriage

Entwined around a bar

Legs wedged around rucksack

Head resting on the pole

And instead of feeling exposed

In a sea of people – the only one standing

I toughed it out and remained there lurking

Could have hop-footed to the end

And hidden by that menacing window

That blows your hair to and fro

And is too stiff to raise

(I know, I’ve tried)

Instead I stayed stuck firmly in the middle

Of this leaky, foul-breathed carriage

Where coffee slurps and morning angst

Flood through like creaking sludge

The middle is where I was

Until a seat popped up

Like those rarest of Pokemon

And I snatched it and sat

Content with my mini achievement for the day.

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.

Cucarachas

Cockroaches are underrated

They’re universally hated

For being oh so dirty

And a little too flirty

With mess and food

And people’s shoes

So they’re stamped on and crushed

Or down the toilet they’re flushed

Gut reaction is to squash

And give your hands a good wash

People don’t realise

A cockroach can survive

Atomic bombs and other disasters

And at playing dead they’re total masters

So how about we cut ’em some slack

And refrain from taking a WHACK!

A winter weekend last year

We cosied up to eachother in

European buses and craft beer bars.

We took snow-freckled paths around

the city, and the rain spat its lovely

juices at us in Barcelona – wet and

wintery, I hoped it would never end.

Then we sidled up to one another

within the chalk-coloured walls of a

boutique b&b. They threw in a hot tub

and we threw off our clothes.

Dancing streets, bustling beer bars

and the dimlit lights of taxis and

tourists swarm around us. Protests

were staged, and I felt awkward

watching… I’ve never fought for

anything before and I guess that’s a

good thing.

Coughing frenzy

I say a massive “fuck you” to the cough gods,

For leaving me a spluttering mess at 1am.

Gasping for air, choking on imaginary bile and stupid cat hair,

Spray leaves my mouth in a hideous display

Of air-desperate fury.

A tickle turns into torture,

Ribcage about to burst through skin because it’s been ravaged raw

By the surly beast that lies within.

Laying here like a purple blob,

Window wide open, inhaler in place, water ingested,

I’m the latest victim of a particularly nasty, heinous cough

Which I can’t seem to expel from my body.

Books upturned underneath my bed legs,

So I’m sleeping diagonal, head inches from the wall and feet slumped over a lavender duvet.

Moments pass and the cough lies dormant

Before erupting into an abysmal growl and I start spraying my innards into the palm of my hand,

Wretching into the toilet because I think I might sick up tonight’s chicken and veg,

My nemesis slides back in and leaves me a quivering mess on the bathroom floor.

Mental note: 1am is when it wakes.

Florida

As we rolled into Florida,

Pink, tasteless, gut-wrenching, blossom-coloured buildings

Adorn the sidewalks with big lettering

And lopsided decor.

Wide shopping strips full of Disney discounts

Arouse passers by with promises of cheap thrills

And bloated rollercoaster rides.

Applebees, Taco Bell, Red Lobster and Krispy Kreme kiosks

Make young mouths water and old wallets yawn open.

Guzzling Dr Pepper at a Chick-fil-a,

That famous southern hospitality surrounds me.

Please and thank you and door holding and excuse me’s ring through the air,

Orlando residents go about their busy days,

Ambling along highways practically co-owned by Disney,

Or at least it seems that way. Big, bulbous billboards featuring Mickey, Minnie and Pluto

Sit next to Florida orange juice deals

While Universal’s coasters perch idly in the background.