We sing to pass the time.

Letting our voices melt into one another’s until

we are not separate people with different ideas about life

but one big machine chugging towards its own paradise.

I could not remember when I had forgotten mine.

I had once held pencils angrily in the quilt of my palm

and kept a constant stream of ever-replenishing words pumping through,

irrigating my mind and

flushing out the dirt that had threatened to hide it from all light,

stain it dismal forever.

Now I sing instead of writing,

a primal repression,

and everyone joins me in the same wail,

lest I should be threatened by my old flame,



It is all smears on the bathroom mirror- sweat and salt

and masticated fingernails.

Mucus takes up too much space, I can’t sing anymore.

I become loud in other ways,

burning stomas with cigarettes until

my throat becomes a guitar.

I drink flaming materials to burn away the disease-

Ending up matte and red like old bloodstains and heaving with surrender into

crumbed pillows and muddy sheets.

Grass sticks to my forehead like hair.

When did we deep-fry nature?

Grease drips into my eyes and the blue turns green-

yours reflected.

This life of indulgence will kill me or,


turn me ugly.


They have wrenched me, again.

I hang up fragments of myself like grinning teeth extracted or,

depending on how the sun skewers them,

broken collar bones left for the marrow to drip out in opalescent gloups.

The floating, phantasmic vest-tops bear my discolouration,

similar to the bruise water’s tight banding left on the rim of the bathtub.

The girls pick at the stains, deep under their linen dresses,

praying no crimson ever seeps through.

The break up

It is time for me to accept my own mortality.

It sounds dramatic, I know,

but like growing old, or sick,

growing unloved

was something that was never supposed to happen.

Like the compulsion to smoke or cut or swear or

pour out another centimetre of spirit,

I picked incessantly at my gauze and

through to the

pulsing wound at its core,

my imperative canal.

Anything else can dim its painful light,

of course,

but it will never be the same.

They have all seen my wound, now.

Or rather,

They have all seen me looking,


in horror at something

they could smell long before

my layers of starched white cloth

charred back like a filament burst behind them

to reveal my star attraction,




These women wait for me,

stripping their books of carcass,

sharpening their nails into nibs,

peeling cracked paint like orange peel from sighing walls.

They weave my story into their children’s coats,

the words expanding, silk-woven, breathing.

The liquefied death of the chrysalis

seeps into the foam.


They transpire me like a rainforest,

my kitchen humid with lovemaking and spilt milk.

This was no surprise,

I displayed the shattered skin of these death-walls

like stars across my knuckles

and the milk opal-glossed my teeth-

bared, shining beneath the curl of my lip.

The warning rose from everything I touched

like steam,

my threat always an exhale away.


They wait, still,

these women,

their known perfume colliding with every particle in the room.

A hot-house of desire,

in which we all thrive.


I thought that

I could chase the beast through the town’s

tarmac carpets and soil fringes,

grabbing its mottled fur in iced hands

and pulling into my chest-

a stray cat with a quivering pink nose, speckled brown.


I had long since tired of paintbrushes; they are

hairy peaches with the yellow of ripening creeping from toe

to crown.

Like them, I began dipping myself

into whatever lacquer I could find until

I was solidified into one perfect


My mother dangled jewels in the same shape,

to catch the dreams lest they became