the sweetest part is in the knowing
& the feeling both

not separate. to be at once sure
of the utter lack

we share & yet laugh like dogs
at small & guilty

pleasures. to be wholly human
is to connect

& pool self worth around our ankles
to breathe a deep air

& feel the lightness of knowing
little of meaning

or substance. take me to the bitter
end of emotion

pain & shallow jealousy, or fright
at other’s faces

& learn the unbearable nature of hate
the rawness of a day

turned inward. or nurture the animal
nature of the body

in all its ugliness & humour
& desire to hold

a caress to past point where softness gives way
to nakedity & need

feel so horribly proximate to nothing
a light breeze will throw

your butterfly of intellect upon the wheel
of mortality

& know yourself in thrall to the common
if not the good

but only truth we own.

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succulent

i wake up in a room full of cacti

their identities are not certain

some are tree sized but without branches
smaller cacti may be known as columnar
their stems erect
& which may or may not branch

the boundary between columnar, tree-like & shrubby
is difficult to define

smaller & younger, for example, are columnar
older & larger may become tree-like

other cacti have a quite different appearance

their spines butterfly kiss my shoulders
they have persistent, if not true, leaves
& i yield, or submit, easily to them

almost all cacti are succulents

their thick, fleshy parts
are adaptable

most are found in extremely dry environments
most are especially suited to inhospitable habitats
ones subject to drought

their ovaries are sunken
often deeply into a fleshy receptacle
lying beneath petals

i look down at my arms
the shrub beneath my stomach
& note the spines
sticking through the skin

torpor

you are my biggest feeling
& sometimes as grand as old
hotels, the sea & sometimes
flabby, the elephant in the room
is it disgusting how i love
to excess & with abandon
does it make you feel less
universal if i make you
alone my stars & sky
if i blow you up
to the size of a cliche
& threaten to swallow you whole

is it hard living in first person
on the blue horizon point of distance
my passion tastes of rosewater
& darkly blooming lilies, a peach
is it sickening how i want
to get so close, for comfort
& recognition of abjection
if frailty is woman, see me crack
& spill frivolities of honesty
i’d let you carve me into a door stop
to prop you open wider
& gaping like a wound

& sometimes i repulse myself
with longing & silence
feeling soft & a target
what it is to be a girl
on the brink of unbuttoning
my skin & offering it over
as parchment for your thoughts
oops, is that empowerment
& is power play the game
you want to play while i watch
& wait for spontaneity
to strike between my thighs
why must everything come back
to sex with you you ask
but honey it never left my side

backwash

before i disintegrate i want to remove
my ribs so i can clean them

the beauty of everything is infinite
and cruel and tonight

the air is unexpectedly full for leaping
so let me be seen

where the struggle lies coiled
do not let loneliness lower us

integrity has a habit of cracking
when no one watches

i am most myself when cast out
on a long limb

my thirst is tremendous and swells
like a genuine wave

before i was born i was dirty
with star dust and expectation

what is it about perfection i wonder
how long will it take

to be clean from the inside out
stop wounding, find quiet

of mind

small wonders never cease

be hesitantly expansive to me, babe
you get unique when you get all up inside
& stop so rigidly hiding

i will teach you how to read affection
in a cup of water, love
in a discarding of obligation
i will tenderly get destroyed by you

& then come back for more
i’ve wanted the way your eyelashes twitch
ever since i got here, maybe

it isn’t a small miracle to make it
through the night, so speak
without a shred of dignity but humility
clouding your meaning, so to speak

i’ve always been drawn to rounded edges
& you have the softest skin i’ve ever seen
& it’s always better in the dark

i will encourage you to sacrifice
& linger in the exquisite, please
do that thing where you revoke
& remain incredulous close

expectation is the enemy of wonder
your wrists are the definition
of delicate, strength in frailty

allow yourself to feel complete
without an audience, but with awe
in the face of the intangible
you show readiness for giving, love

this beats suffering and forgiveness
for the sin of exposure, trust me
i will lick clean your submission

& defend your need
i’ve chosen your attachment, babe
ever since arriving

sext

i pop your feelings until they’re human
normal or nearly there leaking
at least from your sleeves
here’s a space to come to terms
with certainty and contingency
i want you to transcend me
thoughtfully and from the guts
upwards
and without contradiction

enchant me with a nervous proposition
i love it when you maximise
my small femininity here’s a space to spill
out your ego and my errors
it’s time to talk or attempt to
i think you would look so beautiful
with a little air let out

i praise you when you stand to face me
when you’re sagging and opening
out the grace of your eyes
let me into your hunger
you have the face for listening
to open wounds and listening
harder i think you are beautiful
and so clear a child yet
to be named and born into joy
lend me a feeling of eternity
and come in from the cold

hypertextmarkuplanguage

i am data crunching streaming
content across my eyelids
what a time to be online
and existent in so many places
history is a blink of an eye
the world is a big old sweetshop of hip hip
horrors a third lamb lung a third beef heart
& what big eyes i eat with my fingers
& drink beer from the bottle
& caress my phone screen with my fingers
& think about fingering myself like a plug socket
but there is no spark
meanwhile the news bursts into flames
then falls silent
we are whirring and not ourselves or are we
more than we’d care to remember
i am storing scorched earth for rainy days
i am scorching streaming rain
crunching rainy data
eying storage dating numbers rolling footage
its on the tip of my tongue
& i turn myself on & off again
the wide wide sea gapes at us pulls us in
to her more vivid oceans & pulls us
flashing amber and coloured wonder
what reams of information bare themselves
flashing nipples of hyperreal
& winking code i dare myself to stop
& start & just look away
but on the other hand this is the crux
the most crucial the most livid if not
the most loving a generation bred on blue
toned screens hum a gesture in the dark
meanwhile the news crashes into pedestrians
and then falls
silent

i see you

today i want to take you tenderly
in my thoughts roll you over
every which way patting you down
for such an abundance of secrecy
shame stuffed pockets let’s rinse
you out to fluff

let’s douse ourselves in thinning waters
hold out your arm for pressing my pulse to it
let’s not speak of it
words are fragile, so, anyway
let’s hold tight and let it all come
out in the wash

life is dirty and fragile, so,
let’s tear it at the seams
life is dirty we are dirty you are
a mud cake
i pat you down with child’s hands
today i want to take you in my fist
and throw you so clean
away you’d come back squeaking

today i want to love you so fragile
so fierce let’s wring you out
to innocence

fragility

this spring there is little left
i have lost my crown
the soft animal of my body

this summer i seem small
splayed unspeakable
a misplaced child
quite nauseous, needy
for damage & healing

at night i feel full of needles
half full with ice water and very far
out to sea or under it

i imagine being held
behind glass fixed
in a shallow pool of smiles
hoping to be very valuable
one day see
how i glide
on the surface of things

i imagine being cracked
like a promise
along the hairline
and watching nothing hatch

sadness is an infection

to peel is to unpeel
to skin to deskin to become
skinned

to hatch means to allow
the small animal out
or is it a virus
or is it a concealed opening
means to escape

i run myself ragged and wait
to get caught on the edge
and unspool
like razor wire

sunkissed

i’m in the long grass for you
i’m dew for you i’m a melon
for you i am honeysuckle
i’m lying in dappled light for you
i’m rising
at dawn for you i am blue skies
i’m at the waterside for you
i’m dipping my toes in the water
for you i am sherbet
a strawberry lace i am cream
in a bowl whipped up and chilled
for you i am butter spread thick
i am the movement of leaves in the trees