Posted in Blog, Creative Writing, Writing

Green Day Had A Point

I couldn’t resist the call of your calm embrace,
my alarm cut through our soft, serene dreaming,
but your arms were still so insistent,
not a doctor, but determined to heal me,
and so, there I stayed,
still in your gaze,
never judged, never questioned,
just allowed to heal.

I thought I might sleep until the Spring and Summer went back into hiding,
opening my eyes as October arrived,
turning to you without a word,
knowing that nothing more had to be said,
but the alarm is as insistent as you are,
and so,
I must drink my way through this,
swear under each anxious breath,
waiting for night fall,
so that I can hide in how you hold me,
until the alarm returns to drag me back to war.

Posted in Blog, Creative Writing, Writing

She Has Reached The Anger Stage

She was scattered across the house,
secret ashes that he couldn’t let go of,
as if there had been a fire,
a small, silent child ripping across the sideboards and the dining room table with a rage he couldn’t remember,
but begrudgingly accepted.

“That’s my special girl.”

His voice was hoarse as he showed his neighbours his hoarded images of her,
somewhat haunted by the way she’d become frozen in time,
but smiling,
sighing and doing circular breathing as guilt gathered by the back door,
knocking and gnashing sharp teeth,
howling like the wind and the wolves,
until he had no choice but to bid his neighbours farewell, and find a way to live with his new visitors.

He had to keep the artefacts all around the place,
living in a museum for mad dreamers,
a shrine to the kind of kinship that was now out of reach.
Shattered by his own silence,
he stared down at eleven numbers,
jumping through mathematical hoops in the hopes that he could piece them back together.

He had to bring some peace to his soul,
see the girl one last time,
despite the sins of himself,
his brother,
the dim, unlit desertion that had made her nothing more than a memory.

His visitors,
the only company he could cope with,
had their doubts,
having seen the girl through social media screenshots,
they knew that she had found the place for children who wander.
It was the kind of fate that fed into his deepest fears.

He could not live without the memory of her,
but she didn’t miss him at all.

He had imagined her as helpless,
hiding his suspicions from Nicola next door,
as he held out the perfectly preserved princess,
proudly proclaiming
“That’s my baby girl”,
hoping that she never questioned why the girl never came to visit.

He could not live without the memory of me,
but I didn’t miss him at all,
and as the ghosts of his guilt whispered that truth to him,
waving my latest magnum opus in his miserable face,
pointing at each page, and how absent he was from every single one,
he stared around the room at his collection and cried for the child that was never really his.

Posted in Blog, Creative Writing, Writing

Making Arrangements

It had been three days and a handful of hours since that man became my problem again.
I thought I’d cast him out and set myself free,
but ghosts never quite let go.

Another who wronged me, dead,
yet I’m too snowed under with paperwork to seek revenge,
worrying if resentment will give me worry lines,
and if I have enough ethnic ancestors for my black not to crack under all this mess and pressure.

Bothered black sheep,
bordering on exhaustion,
but still keeping a promise I didn’t recall making.
I tried to be strong for the weakest in my blood line,
battling the urge to undo the bottle that had become a bomb.

Ever self absorbed,
I willed myself on, wondering what the next generation of trauma traced children of this clan are thinking of me,
in this very moment,
in this latest meltdown.

Everybody (but those who don’t) gets out alive,
but nobody gets out unscathed,
and I can’t explain why the grandfather and great uncle they may mourn are the meaning of my melancholy mood,
because, it’s not nice to say,
and I am polite, even post exile.

But I’ve got this bottle.
A bottle that became a bomb when I took my eyes off it,
shaking and spurting like a rocket,
with as little self control as I have.

I think we are going nuclear.

Posted in Blog, Creative Writing, Writing

Forgiveness Is Never Free

I tried to cry when you wandered off.
I stood before the mirror,
staring with so much struggle at the earthy eyes you gave me,
willing them to weep,
but there was a drought,
a deficit of devastation,
no matter how much I scolded and shamed myself.

I put on an Ella record,
recalling the time that you told me that Billie Holiday was the best singer in the world,
and I, an indignant infant, disagreed in the strongest terms that my small mouth could manage,
sombrely lamenting the lack of watching over me that you actually did,
and how well I’d turned out, despite that.

I could count every time we said goodbye,
describe in detail the dark, distraught disappointment on your face as we parted.
The very last,
a phone call, late at night,
when you knew that you were about to say it for the last time.
You sounded as frightened of the wooden box that waited, as I had always been of you,
and I felt a power that made me sick to my stomach.

You were going to die,
and I had the power to deny you peace.
It was some kind of sick, heaven sent hell.

You wanted my forgiveness,
but I was not a priest,
or God,
or even just a particularly generous person.
You didn’t beg,
but I could hear the fear in each word as it dawned on you that you would die without reclaiming the daughter you gave away.

I had become my own father.
To you, that was perhaps worse than the waiting wooden box,
because you would be dead,
and I would go on living.
You would be dead, and that would be all.
You would become nothing,
and I would stand before my bathroom mirror for years,
yearning to cry,
just as I knew I should.

I cried for the one you couldn’t let me love.

I cried for the mother who rebuilt me after you tore me down.

I cried for Paddington Brown when he finally found a way to get Aunt Lucy to London.

A bear. A fictional fucking bear could find a way into my heart,
and my tear ducts,
but not you.

You’ll haunt me,
and I’ll still be standing by the mirror,
morbid and maniacal,
some kind of evil demon,
just as you’d theorised,
but, despite your hand in my canonisation as a callous cow,
I still want to cry for you.

Posted in Blog, Creative Writing, Writing

Jam Sandwich

He grew like a weed,
sprouting and towering above me,
but in my eyes,
he was still five years old,
jam under his fingernails,
reaching up with a smile and sticky hands.

When he was three, he struggled to speak,
but by thirteen, I couldn’t shut him up,
always gabbing,
babbling about the football as dinner falls from his excited mouth,
a stern stare from his father would restore the memory of his manners.

I remember him that way,
or with sticky fingers and a sweet little smile,
even as the handsome man who used to be a boy,
blushing as I rub the remains of his breakfast from his chin,
shooing me from his side as the other uniformed sons step into line with him.

The house was haunted by the eternal emptiness.
I would stare into the cupboard,
my stare, stuck on the strawberry jam,
the last one in town,
a rare, secret treat that I would not allow to be eaten,
until my boy was back home.

It still stares back at me,
with that same, sticky, sweet smile as the small boy who became a man,
A man who couldn’t stay.

Every evening,
I stay up late,
after a long day of listening to the neighbourhood kids,
wondering if their mothers know how lucky they are to never have a moment’s peace.
Everything is quiet as I switch on the television,
blinking back the burst of light it lets into the room,
and the football highlights start.

I’ve made him a jam sandwich.
It’s on the kitchen table,
with all the other ones.