Streams And Mirrors

where the heart is

and o come back to me
and make me feel secure
in my own skin
you have an endless capacity
to love
and you are the better part
of me

when you are gone I feel
forlorn and more lost for feeling
so alone and a cliche
of womanhood
on the doorstep waving i yearn
to feel complete
with your back turned

but i become smaller and more
hungry an insatiable thing
desperate for quiet and time
away from crowds
i sense gazes sliding over
and glazing i feel
so boring and a woman

when your hands are far
my body is heavy and solid
my mind is heavy and sticks
on glances o i am weary
of playing games
i realise i am like all the others
unfulfilled and yearning

you are endless and unrehearsed
and you make me feel
eternal and grounded and at home
in my skin i am dancing
with you in my daydreams
i am sweating and you breathe
a gasp in my ear o

tender

what a slender thread humanity
seems side on

life is tender and impossible
you are tender and wrapped

in fur you seem so very small
or are you

just getting further out i watch
as you recede

imagining your veins pooling under
your translucent skin

you are so tender and it is impossible
not to love

you. i imagine

folding you into the left ventricle
of my heart

pause

half consumed
half lives we sit
in the throat
of a snake

we sit half eaten
not quite gorged still
but not quite living

something is not quite
sated, perhaps

a pause
before resuming

we sit
in the belly
of the beast
in the calm
before the storm

capsize

global politics has caught
glandular fever
and i have lost
my appetite

turn off the lights
i want to lie in
the dark under
the weather under
the sheets turned
away from the sun
a flower growing down
a benjamin button flower

i am a quarter of the way through
my life
i hope
but i am weary
i feel
i have seen
enough

i want to lie
down and let it
wash over
or walk out into
the blizzard
and watch while
snow white washes
the earth

i think of captain oates leaving
the tent
“i may be some time”
i think of captain smith going
down
“some of us would go to
the bottom with
the ship”
“well boys, do your best
for the women and children, and look out
for yourselves”

made up

smear
dirt onto my eyelids
rub
dust across cheek
kiss the ground
and pucker up
to muddy lips

paint my eyes
with mould
and moss
curl my hair
with twigs
cover me
with mounds
and mounds
of earth

i want to exude
the fumes
of morning dew
i want to sweat
dog piss
and bird shit
i want

to be trod
by the feet
of thousands
i want

to wear
the colours
of dawn
and dusk
on my brow
i want

to see stars
in the glitter
in the shadows
of the folds
of my eyes

bad milk

somewhere deep out
of sight tucked
into softness and dark
i am souring

all that is liquid
congeals

i lie
prone and probing for protrusions seeking
confirmation from my fingers
what
my eyes have seen
on screens
what
late at night
in agony
my body has known

i see
men pulling plastic over palms
white
gowns drowning out
bodies white
lights piercing
the feeling
of latex
on my stomach muscles
a bikini hair line fracture

i am going
off

my blood races
pulses
beats
surges at the shallow
surface of my skin
yet
cut
through flesh ribs
or pelvis bone
peel
back
slabs of me
and all you’ll see
is raw
and all you’ll touch
is curdled
and all
you’ll touch

going soft

three boys abreast
 & three pints deep
(& me)
we talk about sensitivity

(they talk, i listen)

jokes thrown and feelings
 deflected
the tone is chill cool laid
 back
the running gag
is that these boys are soft
 and know it

   i remember 
standing between two boys
who fancied themselves
 poets
waxing lyrical
on their lack
of masculinity
 how they wielded words not weights
 how they lifted their minds
 how their love
of words of women
(they spoke, i listened)
made them nearly
 female

   i think
as i step slightly
 out
of step
of tonight's sparring soft boys
 how soft
the sound of silence is
 how soft is
my stomach
 how soft
boiled eggs spill
gold
 how truffles melt
on the tongue
snails in shells

 how men are called bits 
of rough

   i think
as these boys swing
their softness around and shout
 about it
of how stubble 
 coats my shins and their
 chins alike
of the inside of wrists
 how it is so hard
to stay 
 soft

   i wonder
 how these boys would look
if i peeled
 back 
their clothes
put my gentle fingers
to their tender lips
and softly whispered
we are all skin
 wrapped
around bone

unmoored

sleep warmth flooded
      heat of lips
              i step
between nails

we are waiting
for the day
carpet will be laid
at our feet

for now,
    bare on bare,
gingerly, wrapped
blanket on skin

harsh light hits
shoulder blades
through glass
     a bitter cup
cradled in cupped palms
           i lift
cradled in the corner
        in the hollow time after
you have left
          
           i feel

adrift

body temperature cools
light loses edge
patches pink on palms
           i spread
butter on bread

last night's snow melts
the cusp of spring

last night i felt your heart
beat through your chest
   like the sea
   in a shell

now,
 breadcrumb dappled
 buttered lips
            i cast off
tilt back head

and             float

female intuition

female i have been trained
 to expect pain
shooting across my body
like a star

i have been taught
 to know aches
 to bear weight
on shoulders, hips
at the meeting of thighs
taught
 to grin as my body .    dissolves
 to bleed, &bleed
&bleed
&conceal

i have learnt
 to read shame in rust

taught skin
 to stretch
 to a tissue of scars
 to wait patient
for the worst
 to pass over

&smile

when my body raged
&ruptured
i recognised it
i bared my teeth
&bowed 
  to it politely

persephone

i watch her hands
as they work gripping
fruit striking
flesh against wood
&opening
digging thumb into heart
&opening

a shower of bloodred seeds
a scattering

i watch her hands pulling
jewels like teeth
&gathering
leaving shells like babes
from wombs
&gathering
memory of fullness

there are two flecks
of crimson
on her neck
perfume mist

for centuries we have been drawing
blood reaping seed
long before priests turned
bread to flesh
we have been breaking
fast
&sharing
the fruits
of our labours tearing
skin from rind

i watch her fingers
painted pink
with juice on wrists
&think
as she drops rubies
on her lips
&smiles
&pours wine
&drinks
that this is power

this is why they burnt us
this is why they made us kneel
to a virgin mother
this is why they write tales laying
blame at our feet

this is a woman taking
pleasure in her hands

this is why they try to take
our pestle
&grind
us down to dust