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July 18, 2016

they leave
Holes behind them,
Wide open doors, worn out spaces
Where they used to sit
before they came to halt
And stumbled out
beyond the horizon of whispers

They leave,
Behind them,
absence of their speech
Small trinkets in wood and metal
new patterns you have to draw
And lack of warmth in silence

They leave
so that you can stumble
but baby i know i know
that your narrow walkway
Will end in a light switch
and not a moon eclipse

They leave
Holes behind them
Then we fall in
Then we crawl out

 

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July 11, 2016

Some days
I have no love
Between the worry
the anger of things
I give way to them
in various guises and
Unopened hands clench
Like teeth in the night
Which ends
with dreams of wolf me
Or world me
Not enough specimens to breed healthy
Of one
The people coating me in their faith
politics
Of the other

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July 31, 2014

She still stands
on the corner
of Memory Lane and Salted Fields;
a Snow Queen in the making,
balancing our futures on narrow heels,
waiting for the blonde boy
in brown stockings made in Soviet
to bring her the magic mallet,
so that she can smash
the terracotta army of yesterday
just to get some shards
for her flower garden

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April 3, 2014

If I was asleep
I would open my eyes and find her,
Lost between the birch branches in B Cemetery,
Hidden in the budding leaves covered in city dust on K street
Twirling with the eddies of rain as it escapes down gutters on S square

If I was not asleep
I would open my hand (the one that’s always closed)
present my palms to her (like a gift), and say

“Lex,
I still have the picture
where you smiled
that last time”

A her story

September 9, 2013

I was supposed to hold the hands
of boys with dirty knees
But I kept finding paper hearts
And then you rang for me

The gifts you brought to woo me
Were empty as a brand
But I was like a giggling girl
Because you held my hand

I wanted just to cheer you on,
to kiss you for your cheek
But when you came despite my pain
My voice was way too meek

I told my dad I wasn’t late
and that I played alone
But daddy guessed the truth and said
“Just tell him on the phone”

I couldn’t understand it!
My future’d been so bright!
But in my womb a time bomb
Was racing t’wards the light

There’s still a month or two to go
Before we meet the day
When tears will pierce the silence
And I will make you pay

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January 3, 2012

Be patient ladybug
as I am now
while new year’s first born darkness
drags its lovers lips
along the footsteps
we are yet to take

Let’s jump
through every doorway that we find
like our every step
was the last one
that we would ever hear,
and every day the last one
we could sing

Pretend we leave no fingerprints
and breathe no sullied air,
and only need the light
to fill our lungs

Pretend we dance like children
jumping on a bed
oblivious of springs and rules and running time
and maybe
we will burn again,
So be patient, ladybug

Fog

December 28, 2011

fog comes
down over towers
like children’s hands
that reach towards your mouth
in hope of catching
all your sleeping breath
while bored commuters
warm the world
by shivering in harmony
on mornings
when I watched you sleep
as I was leaving

Still summer

December 19, 2011

It was still summer.
The wind blew in construction dust
in a stream of profanity
that fingered my windowsill
in a Japanese subway game of
grope-the-girl.

Upstairs, men with thick fingers
used power machinery
cutting the day into ribbons.

in the holy space between houses,
a squirrel hissed at a cat

the neighbours watched news
instead of Dr Strangelove
on tv sets that filled my room
with mute light
from across the street

Somewhere out of mind
bombs were probably falling,
and one tyrant or other
was on his way
to getting dragged through the streets

there was shit to do
and people to have
but I couldn’t bear it;
the cheap port tasted like sugar
but I poured another three fingers
and closed my eyes

just for a moment

Camilla was a poetess

December 11, 2011

Camilla had faith
and she felt the embrace of her lord
In the smile of a baby,
her daughter’s voice,
the smell of grass,
the silky sensation of bath foam against her skin –
all of that stuff, you know?

She was a glass half full
kind of girl.
I imagine she never
danced on the table
fucked on the first date,
lied, cursed
Or traded her body for favours.

She wore her hair short,
her metaphors close to her chest,
and the mountains that surrounded her
were a fortress
instead of a prison

November

November 5, 2011

It’s still too easy
to aim west but go east,
waking up in Stepney Green
like a man in a river raft
going for the narrows

When you cross the bridge to the other platform
your internal compass lies
and your stomach lies
but you know
that the heat has gone on
in two small rooms in Earls Court,
and you count the stations go by
like prayer beads
in a mantra of movement and chance,
while strangers avoid your eyes
clutching the freesheets

Mostly stolen

June 25, 2011

Keep walking,
there’s no place to be
(don’t try to see through human beings);
move with intent, the way fear makes you.
Today, like every other day,
you’ve woken up and
didn’t open
any doors

Take down the old oboe and
let love be what we do
when we know
hundreds of ways
to kneel
instead of kissing

No summer lies

May 17, 2011

I think of your hair
fluttering in the breeze,
and of your hands when you
sat next to me on the warm mountain,
hands clutching pencil
as if it was the last spear on earth,
your yellow pad a shield, but flimsy;
Words, ripe and harsh,
were falling from your tongue

I wanted
to preserve their taste
for desert days;
but you just smiled and said –
forget it, close your eyes,
keep drinking deep
from this brief summer,
While I keep scratching
words into the paper

Your anger melted
when the graphite of your pencil
wore down to the stump;
But it was late, too late and you were
cracked already,
already open and unsure if you
should swim or drown in memories,
spilling your talent like your life blood
across the barriers we had built

This is a heavy re-work of a poem written by Claudia Schoenfeld, and the original can be found here.

A story for Biscuit

May 16, 2011

So Biscuit,
your daddy, he goes
to east London on Tuesdays to
a rented flat
in a house of brown bricks
where children play cops and robbers outdoors in the summer, and
women gossip and hang laundry out
their windows to dry.
Your daddy goes, Biscuit,
and knocks on door 22B

She lets him wait, Biscuit
She lets him wait two minutes, maybe five and then
opens the door
in her knickers,
lets him in without a word and he enters
without a word

So he comes in, Biscuit, and the flat
smells of smoke and her perfume
(like heaven)
Her black skin reminds him of coffee and gold
and her ass sways
as she walks to the kitchen
while his palms sweat
and his fingers burn

He grows hard, Biscuit, grows so hard
that he thinks he might die,
that his heart will stop
And Biscuit, I don’t know if he even
still likes her,
but a girl’s gotta live,
and daddy pays rent and he fucks like a prince.

When he closes the door to 22B
two hours later
he knows, and she knows
that they never
closed
their eyes,
even for a second

Meet me

May 5, 2011

Meet me
at the cheap table in Brussels
when my cigar has ran out
and my glass is half empty again.

We will sit in silence,
drinking slowly
Then I will reach out
to touch your lips and
you’ll tell me
That my hand smells of smoke and
that I should stop frowning
all the time

We will sit while the breeze
makes us colder and colder,
debating
whether the tattoo on the waitresses’ wrist is her only one.

Then you’ll tell me 
that she’s probably a slut anyway,
before we settle our tab
and walk home
through the empty streets

Tea and poppy rolls

April 26, 2011

Tanya pours me tea
and offers me poppy rolls and candied ginger cubes.
She tells me that
her feet hurt more now,
so she doesn’t leave the house too much;
and money’s scarce, but she gets by.
Some times,
she takes the underground,
four stations to Tensta,
and buys fruit at the market.
Meat is cheap there too.

I stir a spoon of sugar into the tea,
and tell her of my brother starting
on his own;
a little owner of a one bedroom slice of propriety.
She wants to help, of course,
How will he do his laundry, can he even iron?
I tell her that it will be fine, and
promise that we’ll tell her when we go to Ikea

The TV murmurs in the corner,
as Russian figure skaters
put on a show
for an easy audience.
I used to skate too, she says, but I started too late,
and I danced, for real, on stage

When I depart,
the cold spring sun shines in her hair
as she waves to me from her balcony