First published in Fireflies, 2015
I. God forbid we should speak
the truth for once:
nobody can touch me
exactly the right way or the flowers
are never wet never red enough
the secret places remain undiscovered
stay abysmal or there is a sighing
in my heart you hear it in this poem
which is not for you. Reader, god forbid
I should speak the truth
I mean, as much as people can
resist the urge harmless as it is
to be good to seem virtuous to take
what credit we can where we can. So what?
I wrote it for me it was
it is just too much to bear this singular feeling
invisible all of the time.
Remember, if you will,
I never could speak loudly
enough. As a child they told me talk
up but it just turned me
And how do you stand it? The silence
that is apprehending you
now having entered my mind
thrashing with its bad weather,
when you have so many unique thoughts
of your own you are complex
with your desires perceived by you
and deeply. Nobody else
is as rich as we ourselves feel.
Still, can I tell you something
true I have never before uttered,
but will today:
to those who mistake my silence
for stoicism, I have little tradition
in me I am white without history
enough to disappear
on the wrong coloured Sunday
the day like wide water without sound.
^ Okay, that I stole. But truthfully
all of the poems were written before me
each one an admission of guilt
for never knowing how to love enough
at the right time.
Lonely houses filled with pairs
and the road reversing long gone.
II. Or maybe it was me
never wanting anything good to happen
to either of us. Maybe it was so hard to know,
all day with that just woken feeling
and your palm against my back.
I’d forgotten how to pleasure you
or stopped trying the same story.
We can never return to before
saying the wrong thing
becoming unlovable. The flowers
do not grow fleshy once more,
so do we become the other flowers
shadowboxing until none are left.
Do we tend the seeds of other selves
become invisible to return to visible
to turn to rear-vision mirrors no faces inside.
Asked to montage my entirety into moment
try this one gif on a forever-loop
I allegorise my life
a blue ribbon unravels
a blue ribbon ties itself back up.
III. If ever he is to touch me
through my half sleep his hands
join with the faces of men
whose names I dread to think about.
stripped of safe perimeters I dream it is raining
but rise to somebody watering geraniums.
Every day with this just woken
feeling. I want to know how to see
the world without inserting
myself into every sad film or stealing
the eyes of each lonely dilettante a real girl
playing a fake girl playing a real girl
over and over.
You are losing hair in your sleep
each night becoming less you
becoming more fiction
of an older you.
I am making permanent
the lines of morning a face adopts.
30 years ago on a day like this
I was unborn I was possible
raw with my possibilities and the sighing
in my heart
enough to flatten something.
IV. Tell the truth for once
was I your plan? Tell the truth
was it your desire to marry
a gentle girl? What kind am I.
Let’s stop denying one another
we both have feelings to be taken care of
your backseat need to be wanted mine to ignore
my own aversion to questions
trailed by their yapping answers.
You know that heart of stone, girl?
It just ain’t your style.
How strange to still be a wife. How awful
that anyone should care.
Imagine being trapped inland
the one pond forever.
It had better be the right one.
How would you know.
V. Today I slipped the satin
perimeters of a dress
I had not fitted in years. The sensation
was holy I will not interrogate it.
The ugly truth is that
I long to be nominal,
of a suitable weight to be carried
each night in your arms a sleeping child is how
I see myself in everyone my initials
in a scarred mountainside my body
in every man’s embrace. Mirroring is a life's work
living on nothing but fresh air. Can I tell you
the truth? When you are gone
I exercise my right
wrist thinking of myself
and strangers, their faces wall-hued. Of course
I want to disappear, are you kidding me
of course I want to be invisible.
Even the women who knew me best and loved
what they knew still pinched my fat and told me
love yourself. The only thing that won’t pass
is the desire to return to a dressing room full
of fragrant arrangements my life