The Kiss

Her lips were nervous as a butterfly, unsure whether to alight or flit away into the sun. His were the bruised plums she longed to split open and taste, but with all the wariness of a wolf in winter her eyes found the rough, storm torn bark of the trees instead. Doubt was the wheel ever spinning in the cavity of her chest, long since filled with a straw doll that only beat when desperate to escape a self built cage. Wonder was the whistle of the amber leaves in her ears, reminders that while everything falls and nothing lasts beauty and grace come around again. Lipstick stained, crimson pavement collided with the busses who wait in line and forever long to run but lack the room or opportunity. At night they flee along roads slick as tears until the gas that blocks each star has run down and their eventual slow crawl and stop is cradled by neon blankets that cause all that is not silver to glitter and take on a new life. She was flighty and furious as the rats she once called brethren, in a tunnel that has no altar on the faded and crumbling platform but is holy as the dome that need bow its’ head to no-one in a city of splendour and filth.
He was the king of the dark alleys and cobbled archways and moved like a lion against the flood of people: all grace and restrained power, rippling pebbles on a moonlit lake.

The splash seems insignificant but the widening circles have an impact on the deepest parts of the black water. He was a reverse supernova, one that floods the world with fire and light that embraces those he chooses to touch instead of keeping the divine spark to himself. The stroke of his fingers were third degree burns waiting to happen; a sudden flash of heat followed by absence of pain. His words were honeyed and smooth as a finely aged scotch and she felt the same kick in her belly every time he spoke. He carried heaven and hell with him and the scent of smoke; a wildfire waiting to happen with sparklers for eyes and a smile that tore out her eyes. She had never imagined anything like him, and found herself believing he was real only because her imagination was too flawed to build such a dream. With a caress that cut deeper than any sword, he pressed his lips to hers and stilled anxious, overflowing words.

No Fury

if you lift me
into the sky
I’ll teach you to spread silver wings

you bring roses
I press and keep
as a secret
tucked between sweet smelling pages

they bear witness
to soft kisses
and coffee cups
warming the winter chill we found

loving the lake
cautious, small steps
onto swans’ ice
with willow branches of wind chimes

but you burn me?
I’ll strike a match
you’ll warm up quick
as the bridge of your life ignites

I promised

I promised once
to keep you close
but as fine wire
I was cut by my oath

I promised once
to help you shine
but tarnish remains
lungs swimming in brine

I promised once
to give you hope
but I am a wild horse
and you were the rope

I promised once
the stars were bright
but you draw curtains
burned by the light

I promised once
to never let you go
before the summer
faded into snow

I promised once
I wouldn’t leave
but I trade your suffocation
for an ocean breeze

and without you
I begin to breathe

Remember Then

when the green
has faded
into the grey
a dawn of ash
a mother slain
by the children
she gave all
before columns of smoke
before asphalt choked
the poison
that triggered her fall
when the ocean
has turned to stone
as those who passed her by
when the rivers turn to dust
forests flake and rust
with unslaked thirst
and forgotten rain
when the world is dry
remember when
you loved your steel
a four wheeled ego
the slim device
tucked into a pocket
that taught you how to feel
instead of breathing
in the air
you confined life to a cage
built by plastic
the death of earth
unfolds on a screen
while you wail
and whine and rail
that nothing is fair
the world is ending
while you stare
at worthless fantasy
a banquet for dynasty
while nature starves
because we carved
wounds into her bones
remember then
what you have done
and what you ought have
but did not

Stray cats, stray thoughts

I am real
for the first time
and it hurts
I am tender as
the butterfly that falls
when freshly burst

I can feel
for the first time
sinced the world burned
all I know
is freezing snow
stinging me
as hornets
blinding me
as did my wrong turns

I can see
where I was blind
and my stomach churns
the end of the road
was a circle
woven with sins and clover
that tore at my stomach
as a hungry wyrm

I can listen
where before I spoke
now I find new words
but the fire within
I cannot quench, nor give in
and all that I have learned
lingers as the leopard
in the verdant branches
waiting to tear a throat
mine, or hers?

Doctors’ orders

He told me to scribble

all of my hopes

But when you’re a skeleton

Limbs rattle and clank

only to cause a flood of ink

No real tears to cry

or soft words remain

to envelope bones

Weathered by the years

softened by the rain

He told me to write down all of my dreams…

but there are bats in my skull

and nobody in the world

wants to hear them scream

Some things you can’t say

to polite company

or in general

lest they shut you away

My memories do not belong in words

but in containment

A cage for violence and blood

who flutter as frightened birds

She matters

It’s endless
Phone off the hook
A shark that swam away
but still carries steel
and will close teeth again

before this dawn is over

Receiver held carefully
as a venomous beast
A voice of propriety
brings the doom
Another matter
of lost strays and identity

awaits beneath the bridge

To protect and serve
the rats scurry to and fro
Blinding uniforms and tape
begin to ice the bones

Indifferent to tears
as the snow that fell

and the air
is a paper cut sting
Whip of a thousand wounds
You may throw up
or burst free of your skin
as scent smothers
this new normal

The routine before breakfast

They die in droves here
after all
or thrash and fade in clinical beds
Bathroom tile chipped as their teeth
Broken mirrors
and bloody porcelain
crimson on knuckles

A metaphor, portrayal
of the lives we are forced to lead

or did
To vultures in yellow
she’s a number on faded paper
All of us are missing here
She wasn’t just the shell
of a desperate, strung out girl

She had red hair
curling in the damp nights

She was more than track marks
her soul was smooth, unmarred
She has… had a smile for everyone
except her mirror.
She could charm the devil
or brings angels to swooning
Too high to feel the cold

She loved cappuccinos
She lived in stilettos and stolen bangles
She loved us with a fire
to light the moon
and everything that walked this earth
Another story ends

at the dead end of a road
I feel too dead myself to wonder
if these are tears I shed
or the freeze that fell to rain

Taming Demons

the girl without wings
the monster under her bed
feet splintered by oak
and the savage words she spoke
before lightning struck her blind

the familiar
strange somehow, as shadows’ depth
is drawn into cutting edge

the girl with no voice
the beast spinning songs of glory
bedtime tales, bad girls
who throw their stones to break bones
brittle ivory
softened as she is by smoke

the girl who grew up
then learned to leash her demons
at the end of silver ropes

Detox and dreams (stream of consciousness incoming)

You never realize you’ve hit roads’ end until you run out of air and slam into the metaphorical brick wall that was always waiting beyond sight.
They tell you that your years of self destructive inclinations and the years spent wasted in all senses have paid off, as you began to value the idea of life.

That you’re damaged inside, that the next drink you take to quiet the voices inside could be your last when the stomach ruptures as a gorged larvae and floods the body with self made poison.

And you miss the poison.

Without it the colours are too bright, smells too loud. The world flip flops between being a place of wondrous beauty and a dark pit ready to swallow you once again. Your mind is set alight where before it remained chilled thanks to the bourbon or vodka; whichever was closest.
You recall every mistake, each word you could have taken back and the days you lost to the emptiness that is as comforting as it was frightening. When the dark times come you long for oblivion again, because oblivion is the absence of everything.

Regrets scrawled onto the stones in your pockets, you long to walk into the lake. Your body shakes and trembles despite the medication and the nightmares are once again vivid and very real. Each door in your head swings open in tandem to release the demons you’ve been hiding from since you picked up a bottle.

You consider the world that was and the world that is, and wonder at the years left behind and those you could not bring with you. You become aware of how short the days are and all endeavours become frantic and rushed, as though you’re in a steeplechase and the other horse is death himself wielding hooves as knives.

In the brighter moments you feel alive and for the first time remember the smell of snow; the feeling of cold water on skin, what it was like to be real and laugh and dream. Imagination begins to creep in, quiet, urging you to hang on to the pieces of the person you once were and find a way to patch yourself together again.

But it’s a nebulous thing, hope: the chemicals in your brain slosh the way the liquor did in a glass and soon enough you swing back into the darkness and the unending battle with an urge both painful and irresistible. You find yourself at opposite ends of the rope; pleasure or pain with no middle ground.

The non existent health service tell you that things will settle, then hang up the phone. Why ought they care or show sympathy after years of neglect and malpractice? Why ought they care when the damage finds itself done and you have become another lost cause. Another statistic, a name on a label one day.

So you fight to spite them. You fight to see a better day, to be better than you were before the world had stained you with indelible ink. Blood that won’t wash from your hands; the heart pounding panic each time a car backfires or fireworks go off for a solid half hour. The terror you feel that this second chance cannot last by any means, that you are as weak as they believe and will again succumb to the night that awaits within.
The darkest night is the one blooming within ourselves.

The only way it ever falls is via giving in or giving up. Others will call you a failure, tell you that addiction was a choice and you should have been strong enough to win battles alone. Such people lack empathy and life experience; they tend to live in a comfortable bubble and rarely do they stray from the ignorant sanctuary they’ve walled themselves into.

In some ways they suffer more than you, but the difference is that they brought such despair upon themselves. The only way to conquer an addiction or illness is to plunge through it, and the only way to conquer fear is via knowledge and compassion.

Whether you’re one day sober, one week into the hell of detox like me or you’ve been fighting for years you should be proud and know that you are not alone. You have slain a dragon while they were throwing stones from glass houses. You have found yourself burned and scarred, beaten down and bruised but the wounds will heal and leave you able to bear what they cannot imagine.

The only way to fail is to give up. To stop living, to fall into a spiral of excuses and squalor, to build a bubble of delusion around yourself and continue to repeat the same destructive patterns a lifetime over.

To grow and overcome, you cannot lay down and curl up at the foot of the wall that lies before you. You cannot go over it, under it or around. You have to find a way to punch through. It isn’t an easy road and it happens at a slow pace, baby steps that sometimes feel as though you are walking in reverse.

But there’s no other choice. You must find a reason and a way to live again for yourself, because nobody can save you or take the journey on your behalf. You can fight or yield, and there’s no other choice and no one else to do the work even in the darkest moments. You can have the most fantastic support network in the world and still have to do the heavy lifting: the majority of this battle is waged in the mind and heart, not upon a bloody field.

Find your reason, find your will. When you’re going through hell keep going, or fall and burn where you stand. Hold onto the glimpse of hope, to each sign of beauty you see. Do not forget the past lest it be repeated, but do not allow yourself to suffocate on quicksand of your own making.
This is a war, and not everyone will make it out alive. Wars are won with the will, by standing tall when your head is so heavy it may fall off. You will find no help in those who handle you with kid gloves, those who enable your negative thought patterns or accept your excuses. You must learn to master the art of self control and apply discipline to every aspect of life, and it is tiring.

You must learn to let go of those who wallow in despair and would drag you back into the pit that devours all with them: if you are devoured, you lose. All life has meaning and where there is a heartbeat there is hope, but you cannot save everyone and trying only leads to a vicious cycle of grief and destruction. Letting others go is never easy; change is always scary and the fear of failure multiplies itself when backed up by past misadventure. Be brave, and fight for yourself. Or fade.


Note: this is my second detox merry go round and I’ve recently had to cut a few people out of my life. It wasn’t easy but it was the right thing to do, as I’ve realized that the people we surround ourselves with tend to influence our beliefs and actions on a subconscious level. It’s a difficult choice but there is nothing shameful about doing so. We exist in a society where to let go is seen as callous and cruel, even if it means saving ourselves. We do not owe others anything: not our time, not our love, and not our energy. I am no longer going to allow toxic influences to impact my decision making process at such a delicate time, and neither should you.

When someone says they do something that hurts you because they love you, that is toxic.

When somebody values their feelings over the well being and safety of yourself, that is toxic.

When people treat you as a crutch and refuse to change it is exhausting, and it is toxic.

Do not be afraid or ashamed to cut the toxic elements from your life and reach out to surround yourself with better things. I’m very lucky to have the support network I do and I’m aware not all possess such, but change and growth require proactivity and interaction with people to find those who truly resonate with you and want you to be all that you can be. That’s what everyone deserves, but you cannot save others without first saving yourself and building fresh foundations from granite, not sand.

Do not feel ashamed to let go of what drags you back.


tie rags to a stick: pack your shit
you took me as a fool
but I’m the rabid dog that bit
the hand that offered vanity
your medicine turns you to stone
can’t catch knives but you tried to throw
when I took aim
I didn’t stop til I hit bone
blood lost along with sanity

life is a barn door you missed
it’s only toads you’ve ever kissed
and I hold the weight of my worth
not in silver or gold
my breaths are paced out by merit
not by the way you measure it
each emotion ‘pitching a fit’
so get off of my boat
we simply don’t have a spare berth

if you wanted to play the game
you should have chosen
a swan with a little more shame
no ballerina wrapped in stars
no princess will declare for you
the faery spread her wings and flew
beyond the dawn
far from the vile, simmering stew
with which you debase the word ‘heart’