my poetry

on endings

i’m no good at ending poems
symptomatic, perhaps, of a broader issue
but to tackle the wide we must tackle the small

endings are, famously, difficult to pull off
are they satisfying? are they meant to be?
does it feel good to read? tie things together?
do you have more answers or questions when all is said and done?
what do you want people to leave with?

in a good poem, the ending is often the bit i remember
the sucker punch that crushes
my windpipe
between the last word and the full stop
catching my breath on the page

as we approach the end of this
i am hurtling towards a brick wall
or a cliff, or a painting of a brick wall on top of a cliff
this is my poem but i can’t find the brakes

am i going into a wall or off a cliff
is this a question or an answer

how will i land

job of the toilet bowl (emetophobia warning)

the closest i have come to prayer is when i am kneeling in the bathroom throwing up into the toilet bowl

sometimes i deserve it
not in a moral sense, but in the way that a cut finger will bleed; a poisoned stomach will vomit
simple cause and effect but one that feels like just punishment nonetheless
i know it will end and how because i have been here before and worse but the only way out is through so i stay knelt at the shrine of my bathroom until it is done

other times i am job of the toilet bowl
accursed and tested
the cause of my anguish unknown
on my knees praying for an empty stomach
and the ability to drink water again
to replace the liquid lost from tears caused not from pain
or sadness
but from the violence of the expulsion
a pure biological reaction

i wipe a dribble with loo roll
and sit back
if i should flush the toilet or
if i'm just gonna throw up again and waste the water


written 8:30am in a bathroom in venice mestre, on the last morning of my trop. i had to get a bus at 10.45 to the airport where i waited until 3.50pm to fly home. just a silly little self indulgent thing bc i had been throwing up since 5am and was feeling very sorry for myself

penicillium is a mould

She lies in the dirt and thinks
of a little girl covered in dead leaves.
Two months into autumn
the soil was cold, wet.
Learn your place in the cycle, child.
Learn it well.

Words written on her bones by the worms
in the muck.

Was that the night Decay claimed her?
Or had it been there since her first sickness?
Festering in the marrow
ever since.

If she were cut open, would her heart be green
and fuzzy with mould? Her liver the source of a black
and creeping rot? Would her ribs not be the cream-colour
of health but a spoiled and sour web of grey
roots leeching into mottled yellow

One day, she worries,
she will open her mouth too wide
and someone will see soft blue
fur crawling up her throat.
They will pull away and she will reach for them and
their mouth will twist in disgust that they had not noticed it before
had not seen the squishy green
underside of the bright shiny orange.

the devotion of a daughter/dog

if my God loves me,
it must be in the way a shepherd
loves her sheep
or perhaps in the way she loves her
herding dog.

I am sent out
to round up the lost and manage
the faithful and I come to Her heel
but I am never allowed to eat from Her table

She does not keep me on a lead,
I go where I am bidden,
and She watches me sleep in the outhouse with fondness,
and does not feed me meat lest I get a taste
for the flock.

if I love my God,
(and I do sure as sunrise)
I love Her in the way a daughter
loves her mum.

I am out in the garden,
planting Her fruit as She watches
from the kitchen and plans the next season
of growth and good harvest

I cook my meals from the handwritten recipes
She has gifted me
as a way to keep Her near,
and sleep in the warmth of Her light,
and I do what is bidden without
complaint or resentment.

I am not stupid
I do not think a god could love us in any way we could understand
but recently I have found that

The door to the kitchen is shut and
She is dead inside and
I am scratching scratching scratching at the frame
but She never gave me the key
or the claws to break in.

if you think explanation kills poetry, skip this bit and go on to the next one.

this poem isn't really about me, i'm not religious nor do i have a dodgy relationship with my mother. it's actually about a potential dnd character of mine, but its also about how interesting i think the idea of loving someone like a dog is and how that changes depending on the dog's role. i've seen people talking about guard-dog and lap-dog comparisons and they have compelling connotations, but this is about a sheepdog. when i was young, my mum told me about my great uncle, who was a shepherd, and who never fed meat to his collies because he couldn't risk that they would recognise the sheep as food. i have thought about this a lot. i think the dynamic between sheepdog and shepherd is just as juicy for character relationships as anything else and wrote this trying to explore that!

blood on your teeth

this story has been told before
you, all teeth - me, all heart
i am ripped torn chewed - we get it
we’ve all heard it.

“a heart on your sleeve is a heart easy to eat”

i look at my prometheus-heart in my hand
it is unbitten and red
it is so easy to eat

maybe if i eat it myself it will stay inside of me
assimilate back into my body
back behind the safe and sound border of my skin

so i prepare a nice dinner, with a glassful of red
and sit down with my heart, we know what comes next
the meal is so easy, the flavours a treat
how can i blame anyone, we all need to eat

i sit all alone and the room is now quiet
i think i am hardened now, that my heart is kept safe
but then i look down at my sleeve
and it all starts again

easy to eat
blood on our teeth

this poem both is and isn't from personal experience depending on who i'm talking to and how honest i'm feeling. anyway its also one of the first proper poems i wrote and i am fond of it