Monday, 1 January 2018

This year is the hardest year of your whole life.
So hard you cannot see a future most days. The pain is bigger than anything else.  Takes up the whole horizon no matter where you are.   You feel unsafe. You feel unsaved. Your past so present you can feel your baby teeth. Sitting on the couch, you swear your feet don’t reach the floor. You keep remembering the first time  you saw a bird’s nest held together by an old shoe lace  and the scraps of a plastic bag. You knew the home of a person  could be built like that. A lot of things you’d rather throw away.    You keep worrying you’re taking up too much space. I wish you’d let yourself be the Milky Way.   Remember when I told you  I was gonna become a full-time poet, and you paid my rent for three years? Best Friend, angel of the get-through, all living is storm chasing. Every good heart has lost its roof. Let all the walls collapse at your feet. Scream Timber when they ask you  how you are.  FINE is the suckiest answer. It is the opposite of HERE. Here is the only place left on the map. Here is where you learn laughter can go extinct and come back. I am already building a museum for every treasure you unearth in the rock  bottom.  Holy vulnerable cliff. God mason, heart heavier than all the bricks. Say, this is what the pain made of you: an open open open road.  An avalanche of feel it all. Don’t let anyone ever tell you you are too much. Or  it has been too long. Whatever guards the feet on the bridge of the song, you are made of that thing. That unbreakable note. That photograph  of you at five-years old. The year you ran away from school because you wanted to go home. You are almost there. You are the same compass you have always been. You are the same friend who never left my side  during my worst year. You caught every tantrum I threw with your bare hands, chucked it back  at the blood moon, said, It’s ok.  Everyone’s survival  looks a little bit like death sometimes.  I wrote a poem called “Say Yes”  while I was cursing your name  for not letting me go.  Best friend, this is what we do.  We gather each other up.  We say, The cup is half  yours and half mine. We say,  Alone is the last place you will ever be.  We say, Tonight let’s stay inside  reading Pema Chödrön while everyone else is out on the town. Pema will say, “Only to the degree that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation can that which is indestructible in us be found.” You’ll say, Pema is so wise. And I’ll say, Yes she is, And we are too. Angels of the get-through.  

- Andrea Gibson

Tuesday, 24 October 2017


Joan Crawford said that -
"Love is a fire. But whether it is going to warm your hearth or burn down your house, you can never quite tell." and I don't know him that well.
But he takes me, spoonful by spoonful into his arms, his hands, 
and between his fingers 
they knead me, slowly
into butter.

I hate to admit it, but I am softening.
I feel his nudge, and his touch, it doesn't take very much 
just the pick on his thumb 
and his wrist has begun 
to strum me back into tune
But perhaps I've spoken too soon,

or maybe written, or sung 
his lips 
pushed on this
he oversteps into my wild side
and I freeze
and I clench
I turn silently still
Waiting for the moment 
that he gets his fill 
of me,

like butter.

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Rose Pink

The sugar is still fizzing in my bloodstream 
It's 4am 
I'm Rose pink
Slow down girl, slow down girl
Pour some water, take a breath
Cool your hands in the kitchen sink
Sit down girl, sit down girl 

I take off my silver shoes 
Lay them in the light of the moon  
Still catching, still refracting 
the things I no longer need from you

I think about the girl I am laying to rest alongside them
How I wish I could pluck pages
From her book 
Before I close her
Like she was written in invisible ink
I'm fading, I'm fading 

I make arrangements for the funeral 
A trip away, to a man 
who is not her lover
But he has the light
And I have the gasoline
To burn away this sobbing girl 
into a new woman.

The Other Woman
red as a flame 
she burns too
The woman who 
was grilled like a steak
In the burning heat of your hate

In the sweltering grief
The sweet relief you felt
pulling the pearls of innocence 
from around her neck
as she scattered 
across the Living Room floor
clattered and rolled 
into the cracks beneath the door

I let them vanish
My sanity too
from rose pink 
into a crushing velvet blue

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

This Is Not A Love Poem

This is not a poem, so to speak.
This is not a whisper
This is not shriek of a wounded heart
This is just my honesty
Naked, soft and slow
Without any expectation, without a map of where to go.
This isn't going to rhyme.

Love is not chemistry alone.
Love is not the pinning down, the violent orgasm, love is not always suitable.
Love doesn't fit neatly into compatible boxes, remembered birthdays, the promise of time,
Needs kept quiet for fear of being heard
and ignored
and left behind, again.

Love is the declaration of your flaws
And the patience we decide to handle them with.
The aftermath of the party, clearing up the mess we left behind in the living room, that's love.
Love is taking your beliefs, your sneering heart, your book-read judgements
and questioning them,
because this person in front of you is just as real as the experiences that brought you to them.
Perhaps love isn't in the common ground,
or the shared agreements of flowed conversation -
that's just another way of learning to love yourself back home from the empty plains of loss.
Perhaps love is only found in the trying again.
Perhaps love is in you, and love is in me,
and to release the two would be rapture and agony
all at once.

Perhaps the love is in the risk
Perhaps it's trampling the snowdrops
on your way steal a kiss
and land soft into her arms
if only for the moment.

Perhaps tomorrow they won't be here
But my love, perhaps it was worth it.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

I had a sudden urge to summit the forest
to plant my legs deeply 
onto a stump of dead tree
which lets me see 
no more than an extra foot of sky 
than I already can.

I had a sudden urge 
to take that plaque
The one you shaped 
that I've tried to hold back
And hammer it 
abandon it
to that cemetery of trees
And let you be. 
Let the rain begin to stain it
let the rust begin to frame it
let it finally breathe the oxygen 
that you were denied
because keeping it at my bedside
won't stop this from turning to dust

and I think I need to let you go
a little more
because keeping you tucked
up inside my kitchen drawer
after sobbing on the living room floor
doesn't ever really close the door of a heart
or open a window
or let anything in, fresh
and I miss the breeze.

I remind myself
that doors can always be reopened, if only slightly
and old tree stumps can be revisited, and quite rightly
and conversations can always ensue at 6am
after dreaming of you
But I need to lay you down
a little more, now
while the future remains so unsure
and, while my heart remains unsecured
Laying you to rest 
in my head
in my chest
is like taking apart a garden
and picking each flower 
to be pressed
between the sheets of my favourite books
between the pages of the story 
of Us

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

A Girl Sits Atop A Train

I can feel the words stirring in the back of my mouth.
My throat not yet a desert. The thirst doesn't consume me, yet.
I stand, neck thrown back, eyes peeled open, at scores of book stores
down an insignificant street.
I consider how I have travelled here, how I had hopped
across the tops of trains
without sitting in their worn out seats, without
making eye contact with the other passengers beneath me
staring out of their dusty windows
at the sunrise, perhaps, at nothing more than earth
blurring by in a whirr of time, something to reflect on, later, later
a changing view, nothing new
to me.
I think about the desolate landscapes inbetween the regions of kindness
that Naomi Shihab Nye described
She, too, on that rumbling train. I watched her
with my periscope shaped like a book, a poem
Laying flat against the rooftop of that train. I watched her.

The train approaches the insignificant town. The tracks begin to crumble away,
and so it slows. A voice echos up.
"Exit here for the experience of a lifetime!"
I swallow.
My toes curl inside my cheap, clean shoes.
I have read so little. I have felt so little, and so much
The windows I was supposed to look through on my ticketed seat,
I merely glanced at.
Distracted by my own reflection, distracted
By thoughts of a destination
Before I eventually made my way upon that roof
Charming a hapless guard with a poem,
or a kiss.

The bookshelves swallow me whole with their density,
the desert dust stings my eyes, but I cannot close them.
the words begin to crawl out of the pages,
like thousands of insects desperately scattering
in no particular direction
in my direction
I know I have to consider things seriously.
Re-read the books, as many as I can, before the next train departs
to a chapter of my life that I don't think I'm ready for.
I wonder,
Will I make my way back into the open air of that moving train
Back to the wind rushing past my ears, whistling a tune, a wordless poem
When all the books are read.
Or will I take my seat with the others
The more knowledgeable, perhaps
For a lifetime spent looking through the dusty windows?

A girl sits atop a train.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Getting Out Of Bed (on days like these)

Getting out of bed (on days like these)
My heart says
Offer your wrists
Upturned and open
Your blood is just ink,
When you don't think
you're coping.
My mind says
Be stoic.
Stand still on your own.
You can bypass the pain
If you just turn
into stone.
My body says
I'm fragile,
Just, please stay in bed
These soft sheets can't hurt you
or your achy head
The sky says
"Come join me"
It begs me to leave
To soak in some blueness
& bear witness the breeze
The birds say
There's music,
just loosen your ears
Come, join in the choir
We've been waiting
for years
The heat says
Spring's here now
There's no need to fear
This coldness will leave you
eventually, dear
I turn to the window
I turn down my head
I turn down this pen
and I get out of bed.