On the very edge,where you go to curl your toesinto prayers.Ten tiny bodies bent shoulder and hipheads tucked in tightas if curved spines can protect themfrom the weight pressing forward,you’re so wind washed of expression,clinging on.
Each day there seems less of me.Folding in on myself,there is a sense I can crisp my edges,find the perfect bend,turn blemishes in and under,tucked away out of sight.Any tattered edges can be smoothed,rebound into coverstight enough to stop my spilling out.An ache tells me that I use to spreadall these pages of myself out across open floors and tables,revel in how much of me there was.When did it become a shrinking,less is more,best kept out of sightand out of mind?
Roll my shoulders,crackle spine of dry fleshsmoked fractures and boiler hiss,hiccup of breath in a radiator. Airless and unloved,in the dank basement of the mindsnow cannot refract any lightinto these shadows. Still it aches on the backs,eyeballs tight against their socketsstraining past the crisp,no bounce in the world outside. Imagine melting into dust,slithers of self pooling at the footof all this make believe.As endless as this frozen season. “Airless and unloved, in the dank basement of the mind” L. Igloria ~ A Reparation
Tomorrow has taken to pressing up against the windows, fingers splayed on the glazing, eyes big like old iron lamps swinging in the wind this way, then that. Where can you hide in this glass house of yours, with the statues you carved out of all the words swallowed instead of spoken and choked up behind closed doors, with tomorrow still pressed up against the windows. And what do you say to the policeman with the kind eyes who takes a statement, writes down eyes like old iron lamps, and promises that they will look into it while tomorrow is still pressed up against the windows. Tonight we’re being asked to think about the days of the week with our poems, and I’ve wandered a little off topic with mine by focusing in on the idea of tomorrow. While you’re here, I just thought I’d mention that my poetry collection ‘It’s All In The Blood’ is available to buy through Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com. It’s a self-published venture and a project that I’m incredibly proud …
I felt the day yawn this evening. Stretch itself a little further, a little longer. Shoulder up against the dusk and edge another moment of space for itself, before slipping back beneath the blankets of shadow beyond the train station. I tell myself it was waiting for me. Finally found a coat warm enough to ward off Winter’s frosty demeanour. Scuffed a booted foot against the concrete pavement, shimmered in the puddles with each sure, step. Can’t be sure if I’ll see the same tomorrow. Crack open the office doors and find night too close for comfort, the space between bare branches weighed out in shadows. Wonder why she left so soon, if she ever turned up the first time. Spring slips in shyly, sets down roots slowly, with care, when you’re not looking.
We warp in the heat, buckle beneath the buzz of thick cut air pressing in on all sides. Can’t blame trains for stumbling. As unsteady on tracks as we are. Yesterday they seemed straighter, smoother, solid. Today everything is melting, running into gutters. I would stop too. Choke my mixed signals and lurch into whatever station offered refuge. Poem for the hottest July day on record.
His mother is an echo in the tread of his soles, smaller her steps swallowed up by the forward march of man up and carry on. She sees her own father in the square set shoulders, spine now a rod to be turned into a weapon when sadness finally stews into anger. He will tell people how he’s never hit a woman, because that is the same as respect. His mother raised him better than to paint a girl’s skin with fists, so he’ll call it love when he uses words to do the same where it’s invisible, and call it consent when he talks the ‘no’ away to a half yes. When the glasshouse eventually does break, he’ll pretend away the damage. Not realizing that you can’t until the last pane shatters. Bravery mutates into desperation, shame, escape. Nothing else seems to fit when the world is framed that way.
‘We should really address the elephant in the room.’ Those were the words you tossed out over coffee, like spare change or old candy wrappers, bits of pieces you were bored with carrying around and deposited on my living room table between the books and the plant pots. There didn’t seem to be much point explaining, your elephant wasn’t in this room, or hadn’t been until you kicked up dust clouds into a grey silhouettes. I kept my silence on the matter, much like you had kept yours until now, too cautious about the fall out, about how you might have to hold me together when all the pieces broke apart and ran for the corners in the skirting, white mice abandoning ship at the first sign of storms. I let you think you were the only one holding out a hand, while you explained why I was sad and how it could all be fixed if I tired hard enough and put in the work. You can learn how to listen to the some …
The plastic widget wakes me. Pressed into my flesh, nerves along my arm dead and heavy against the sheet. Asleep in the way the rest of me should be. Instead the rest of me is restless, and churning. Feet, clumsy, hit the laminate like dumbbells. Followed by ankles, calves, thighs, hips, waist, breasts, shoulders, neck, head, arms, wrists, hands, all sleep stricken and wonky. They uncrumple reluctantly, each one an exercise in memory, coordination. Rag doll woman with sand-bag limbs. In the bathroom I want to lie my head on the edge of the bath, lean it there until the room stops spinning, until my skull lightens to a point where my neck is not creaking. Instead I dig my fingers into the composite. Notice again how it bows out too far. The edges don’t fit flush. There are marks where the veneer is chipping. I fit my body in much the same way. Badly. Not at all. But that’s nothing new. It’s time to check the clock, count the hours left before I need …
In the calm of an empty room I found Pride behind the mirror glass, and coaxed it into daylight. I fanned flames from ash with a slip of red silk, slashed open white to the skin, bared like orange pith, small defense against an outside world. Like water, Pride slipped from me at a doorway and in the mirror was only sin the colour of shame. Grey again in the ruins of an inferno, I told myself no one was looking at me anyway.