The phone booth down the hall is ringing ransom notes again The dishwasher calls in its emergency landing to dispatch Flickering chandeliers is not Morse code just the summer storm passing through Drenching our plates, dinner
plans had to be called off like the garden like the wedding like the wolves The delayed departure of staircases man down man down man down The sonar trips, detecting
silences in ranges we can’t calculate This great house kicks down its wheels and welcomes a new runway
the napkin with the # on it / the # with the napkin under it / in my hand / in your hand / shuddered clothes / shuttered limbs / under my hand / here / pause / stay to curved thigh / skin / of a napkin / soft / and fraying / between fingers / hands / to lips / licking / salt rimmer / a drink stain / on the napkin / on pants / off / a drink stain / rimmer / panting / empty cups / ice / empty bar / empty / top shelf / this is a celebration / you’re top / shelf / on the rocks / stop / don’t stop // don’t stop / asking for more / refills / drinks / are sweating / on the napkin / smearing 2s and 3s // a love letter untangling / arms uncrossing / legs / the train station’s still open / for legs / orgasm central / the centre / here this centre / bellybutton / to bellybutton / this is obliteration / the centres / of bottles / are hollow / alone / at the train station / running / late / I’ll never drink again / I write a drunk text / to myself / on a sticky note / on the highest cabinet / saying it’s ok / to drink again / I can’t write when I’m this thirsty / no more chicken nuggets / in the bathtub / every second / every second favourite breast / I like 3s best // all smudged in sweat / scribbling poetics / on unopened mail / my alarm / the ring a drink makes / sincerely obliterated /
Because you laughed when I said the world needs poetry
I tried to tell you the world needs poetry as much as a vaccine I read strangers’ faces like tarot cards for signs of myself in the smashed cauliflower of their worry
I catch the rattling in my bones again, the pitch of my favourite song and no one stops me from listening to it 37 times a day like the flash of whiskers your memory stipples to my thigh I chart the stars with my teeth grinding dot to dot connecting the world needs teeth whitening, gym time, vitamins, fresh music, less freckling, less skin, less self, less silence, more sirens tangled hair, family ties, a row of dog ends dancing in your patchwork quilt saved for later, singed but not burning, we handle threads & bits of fabric like lock downs, enforced alone time, a space big enough to outgrow ourselves
isn’t so bad our horoscopes predict disqualification, it’s ok to write the whole year off as long as next year we’re gonna get away with it the world is a syndrome and we’re just the symptoms matching the bane with our own grit I brush my teeth 7 times a day left-handed, hands washed 7 times more, no body sees this part in the movies the braiding and unbraiding of hair re-watching the lifecycle of ladybugs empty arms anxious to rake up their springtime shells in a jumble of unearthed debris the year over heaped up and hauled away with the defamed ruins of last year’s garden know that I hear you when you say you hadn’t meant to leave it so untended, it’s ok, dear, the world needs forgiveness for a crime it didn’t commit
It was the summer of spray tan / burials / the summer we decided not to bare the toxic / relationship to ourselves anymore / apathy shaken free / as swimsuits off our sweating skin / diving into wild waters / like learning other bodies / could deliver us our own / to feel the squeeze of freezing water / forcing out our last breath / mocking our unfamiliar mortality / to feel our feet / against the slip of stones / the sand / we wiggle off our toes / before flip flops wield us off again / on new ways / to find ourselves / long before I’d struggle for sixteen years to sleep / we’d stay up all night / our wildness exposed / in cahoots with the moon / a stolen piece of the heavens //
It was the summer we palmed our packs of du Maurier and Export A / an addendum to our sadness / or adultness / no one knew for sure / what we were waiting for / we moved frantically / in jeans biting at our waists / a frenzy of hips / sucking our teeth like girls on a diet / like the urgency to shrink beyond ourselves / was our only momentum / the summer C95 / stopped being the cool radio station / and on Saturdays we’d get a dime bag from the local guy / stretching the night out long like taffy / ignoring the open mouths of garage doors / calling us by name / choosing to leave / our starched streets / in old cars with open windows / in search / of a sky we could sleep under //
Sometimes I catch the scent of those summers / washed over in a whiff of open windows and salty bodies / preserved in resin-coated images / I keep them awake with me / charting out a map of moments like stars / burning out too fast / a whole sky bursting / into empty night / sometimes I remember it was that way / for us too / someone always dies / someone always gets married too soon / someone skips the stone / and forgets the count / doesn’t matter / it was always sinking anyway / we were always asking for directions / moving in circles / a dance we could trust / like falling / like the sound of metal twisting / the crash / someone always drives drunk / the shrapnel we collected in the ditches / cupping our hands / and blowing for warmth / like we could revive this / the wreckage / we gathered / our version of cosmic treasure / long buried in the yard / who lives there now / has certainly dug us up like last summer’s tulip bulbs / swept away in the leaves //
Thank you for the pleasure of your company your capital L has long been spreading my legs and hysterical laughter like a dandelion seed on these windy flat days you know the ones I mean days like songs like lucid dreams like fantasies of rain the thunderstorms were never real the pitter pattering at night was just an empty roof aching for the sag of downpours aching for the weight of my bones my borrowed stories like the ones where you’re nice to me and think I’m pretty despite my little tits and crooked thoughts despite loving dandelions despite making you drag my lunatic confessions from me like the rest of the cigarette I couldn’t stomach to finish at night at night at night where I straddle the purgatory of sleep I’ll always choose you to stay awake with you and visit your hands your thighs every moment that was more yours than mine the anatomy of night terrors, starving gardens, rituals of yesterday like the phantom intuition to strip in the rain guard down, knees up I bend like water through the centuries where I might finally find sleep in those quiet years only to dream of killing dandelions spreading their wild bodies everywhere – –
I no longer care. I've been fed so many lies now that my stomach hurts. My guts want to throw up and my mouth wants to let go of those honey flavoured meals that smell of lies.
Reality, they say, is harsh. But what good is real if it only clogs your ears for the humdrum is too loud, the decibels too out of control, and your voice honks like a broken trumpet that is too tired to decompose its remains.
They call me a traitor for not loving summers. But I never said I found home in those seasons that pass by without calling my name. I feel ignored like the ripened fruit that fell off the branch because its father was too busy taking care of the other siblings that he had to let go of one bad apple.
I'm not a black sheep, not a rainbow either. My spectrum ends where opinions are born. My warzone lies condensed within the old diary that has seen more years than the generation of bougainvilleas in my garden. I water them everyday with no hope of ever blooming like them.
The family next door are celebrating their second son's birthday, and I'm sitting beside the oak, bidding farewell to the winter which has settled so deep within my skin that it refuses to let go. The bees and the humming bird flaunt their flying skills to the cat lazing on my lap as if it's just returned home from a battle it wasn't supposed to fight but lost anyway.
I tried to mumble a small prayer to the clouds closing in on themselves, but the old radio of my grandfather cracked up at the first two words. I suppose I should've prayed to the skies like they all do, but what good would that do, if none would answer the same.
The wind arrived, hushing me silent. The sun left to converse with sunflowers on the other side of my garden. I should leave too, now that my wounds are tired to heal themselves, so what good would it be to sleep on doors that are still willing to let me in, while I fix my gaze on houses I don't belong to anymore.