Piecing together

Poets should never get involved
because when it all goes sour
they tear each other apart with words
leave the guts of their relationship
spilled out
for strangers to post mortem
and the body of their future work
will be mutilated into fragments of the past
piecing together
that which led
to their death by misadventure

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Grime Gentrified

What’s the obsession
with aligning
idolising
emulating
fake perfection
what happened to all the
anarchists
individualists
punks
writers
rockers
and poets
the grimy architects of subculture
who ripped up the rule book
set it alight
like an incendiary device
stoking the fire in their bellies
and ours

Word Crush

Sometimes I think that all poetry is shit
I fall out of love with it
especially the social media driven renaissance kind
plastic writers like me
jamming up a page
with cloying sentiment
recycling
metaphors and analogies
already used a million times stereotypically
then you appear
harpooning letters into galvanized birds
hanging fissured stanzas
indiscriminately
and between the lines
you got me sentenced
once again

Sentinel

I am too fragile for this
it cracks me
bleeds into the place
where secrets are kept
insecurities held in check
in all honesty
I’m a hostile witness
to the complexities
of your truth

Last Orders

A fumble
that meant more to me
than to you
full blown sex
seriously lacking prowess
just a pastime
to pass time
between
last orders
and
pub opening hours

Shift Breaks

our time together was preserved
in shift breaks
somewhere between
Saturday nights
Sunday afternoons
fragmented memories
of vodka sessions
people
parties
places we invaded
with the arrogance
reserved for youth
my clearest recollection
is of your arm
wrapped round my shoulder
white shirt
crisp against my neck
waiting for me to crumple it

Personal Effects

We lay in feotal unison
motionless
bedroom door halfway shut
the bulb in the hallway
casting light through the frame
creating witness
to the clothes we had worn
crumpled on the floor
like shallow puddles in the darkness
punctuated by belts and heels
cheap jewellery
house keys
personal effects
strewn randomly
except for the wallet she bought you
flipped open next to the bed
her polaroid face staring out at me
accusatively

Turnkey

My favourite part of the day
was the darkness
when
our fingers would lace
palm to palm
legs tangle
and your breathing
deep
on the edge of sleep
filled the room
in HD
only then
did I feel in control
you imprisoned in bedsheets
with me as solitary
turnkey

Watered Down

Want no part of love diluted
by fear
polluted
with past heartbreaks
or future indiscretions
I’ve met that kind before
turned myself inside out for it
invested more than I had to lose
used it
like a razor blade
on the skin of a cutter
dragged it across my flesh
carving in your name
and the myriad of scars I left
are
all that
remains

Opposite Coasts

You and I
left pieces of ourselves
in the poetry we read
and dedicated
to each other
in songs we claimed
for their hidden messages
littered throughout lyrics
there are
pastiches of us
pasted over the artworks we digested
diaphanous layers
like a collage of lust
exhibited
in airless galleries
echoed
on opposite coasts

In duplicate

Thread by navy thread
watchface chamfer
footsteps fall in my footprint
echoing motion
I am scanned
photocopied
studied
my essence duplicated
and adopted
I no longer standalone
I am cloned
Imitation
being the sincerest form of flattery
I’m told

Dirty Secret

sewn together
with invisible stitching
a
dirty secret
concealed
in
single ply construction
a tromp l’oeil
designed specifically
to
deceive the eye

Fleshed out

Precious bones
fleshed out
laying next to me
sinew
and muscle
in repose
just a hair’s breadth
of separation
between us
that holds enough electricity
to light up the world
or mine
at least

This is your problem

your problem is this

you don’t know who you are
you are not fully formed
you are still that pubescent boy
who was damaged
confined to your bedroom
playing games
chasing thrills
so
you like whatever she likes
you befriend whoever she befriends
you obsess and stalk
although she could be anyone
and everyone
who catches your eye
or is bothered to reply
thus usurping those
who went before
you lose treasure
digging amongst the trash

this is your problem

Pilgrim

No longer care for his loneliness
grew tired
of digging
scraping
scratching
bowing
wailing
at his wall
my only reward was brick dust
packed
beneath my nails
bloodied knuckles
calloused skin
and the origamied prayers
poetically written
to him
and wedged between the cracks
were flightless birds
released
by a marginalised pilgrim

Measured Response

Everything is unravelling.
Not slowly
stitch
by
stitch
but all in one go
like an almighty fucking earthquake
way off the richter scale
propelling shards
in no pre-ordained direction
scattered
in bits
and I wish
you would administer
a measured response
slip me
back into my skin
one last time

Graffitied Slur

Smashed the pin
ground it into my skin
graffitied slurs
like “FAT COW” and “SLAG”
across my back
needled them in
with balled fist
then kissed me
with that filthy mouth
until you were reduced
to nothing more
than a sentient f*ck buddy
blowing back
wasted sentiment
to someone experimenting
on a knife edge
but in no way cut out
to remain on it

Silent Proximity

art gallery dating
was never ideal
knowing glances
whispered observations
moving in silent proximity
skirting invisible
boundaries
hands less than
an arms length away
unable to touch
and in these airy spaces
all I could do was hold my breath
and imagine us in stop motion
you, smearing my lipstick
with your lips
like Francis Bacon
dragging paint
around a study
of an open mouth

Displaced

I still feel you
in
intimate spaces
haloed reminders
of
body temperature embraces
your skin
papered over mine
the translucency
of flesh
failing to disguise
our
fault lines