All posts tagged: mental health

Hot As Hell And Then Some More

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.

Man Up And Carry On

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.

An Ever-Changing Beast

‘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 …

Early Morning In January

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 …

Shadow Of A Sin

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.  


There is something ritual about it, the morning stock-take of new imperfections sleep softened but dawning in the mirror’s first take cut.   Some can be teased or tweased slipped beneath another skin, of crafted contours, folded to hide the everyday not found anywhere but reality.   The tally builds like glass bottles, one hundred hanging on a wall but if one should fall there shall be ninety-nine and a smile to hide its absence.   When there are none left to shatter you will see the shell crack, hollow and so deathly dark even the light whimpers, wanes and withers into something cold.       Daily Post: Ceremony

NaPoWriMo – Day Nine: The Elephant Ant

You were the elephant in the room apparently. The black seething mass of storm clouds clustered over this house keeping daylight out and darkness in.   Each room creaking under the pressure of keeping you contained when every corner was filled to bursting and the foundations heaved and the windows splintered and even the roof tiles popped free one by one in the hopes you could be bled away.   You covered everything past, present, future. Who could have blamed me for those days I molded the mattress to the shape of a collapsing spine, when it was your weight cursing every vertabrea, turning my duvet to lead.   Your collapse was so much slower, a reluctance I’d failed to show when my strength shed like snake skin and you took it for your own, as a reminder that you couldn’t be vanquished, only temporarily tamed.   Recently, you fit inside a matchbox. The size of an ant, I carry you from place to place in pocket or purse, near enough to feel you scurrie …

This Place Is A Bog Where I Cannot Swim

I have tried to rise above but some days are like mires,   memories bubble up from the ground to catch my feet, and there’s no pushing past the darkness when the backs of my eyelids become cinema screens for the voice in the my head that’s always judging every move I make. It tells me friends are only pretending to my face, and when I’m gone they are talking about me. It knows exactly what they are saying when I’m out of earshot so it repeats the words like a mantra over the patter of memories I thought dealt with, sealed into their graves long ago, but somehow resurrected just when everything seemed to be going so well. This type of cold cannot be shrugged off, instead it chills every bone in my body to the point where I become brittle as glass, ready to shatter at the slightest tremor. Somebody tell me, how do I rise above this? Daily Post: Above

The Blue Days

Some days the curtains won’t close tight enough, the mattress won’t sink deep enough and despite clutching at the duvet, pinning it around desperate limbs, drafts still snake their way in. On those days it doesn’t matter how tight I screw my eyes shut, the light is always there behind my lids, prickling, waiting, demanding that I emerge and acknowledge it. Those were the days I didn’t leave my bed. The ones I missed class and didn’t explain why. A time I don’t ignore, but I still can’t name in confidence. I let it sit in my memory like storm clouds on a horizon, not close enough to worry on, but a reminder that the sun doesn’t always shine and I haven’t always managed to smile instead of cry.

In The Back Of My Head

I’ve already put more thought into your next sentence than you have. Can you hear them? All the words chattering behind my eyes working out a way to get inside your mouth? I know you’re not a bad person. Lord knows I know you would never say these things! But there’s that part of my brain ticking over and over and over and over and each time it ticks there’s another snipe, jeer, remark worming deeper into my grey matter to the squirming core of lies I create for myself. When I go home I will dissect this conversation. Post-mortem my comments until I’ve found every mistake. Run your talk through countless translations hunting for the hidden meanings you didn’t plant just so I can wonder what you meant by it and who else you could have said it to? All the while we will be smiling, all the while we will be happy, all the while I won’t say anything about these thoughts buzzing in my brain.     Last week I was reading …