You.

Your smile is a work of art.
But not one that I could hang above my fireplace.
No, one of incomprehensible beauty
that I could only admire from a distance
in some hipster gallery in Soho
and only dream of owning.

Your eyes hold constellations in their sparkles.
Though not ones that I could easily pick out of any night sky.
No, yours are from a whole different galaxy,
awe-inspiring yet untouchable,
ones that only exist for the privileges of NASA’s finest telescopes.

Your body is an ocean.
One so deep and enchanting,
that the idea of swimming in you is overwhelming.
For now, I will just paddle my toes in your warm, clear blue shores,
and allow your gentle waves to wash over me in indelible silence.

Your lips tell soft stories,
weave words out of thin air.
But not any that I could write down, or dare to repeat.
For their beauty is ephemeral, evanescent
in their nature
and my amateur tongue could not do them justice.

You are
all at once
magnificent and all-consuming.
Yet somehow,
still mine.

grown up.

I’ve watched my Dad being stretchered downstairs,
after hearing my Mum trying to resuscitate him on the bedroom floor.
Am I a grown up yet?

I’ve found the contents of my then boyfriend’s laptop,
which I later discovered,
when talking to the police,
would’ve landed him on a register for at least five years.
And I didn’t say a word for over a decade.
Am I a grown up yet?

I’ve scrubbed my sister’s blood from her bedroom carpet,
her bedsheets,
her clothes,
after driving an hour to take her to A&E.
Am I a grown up yet?

I travelled across continents trying to find escape,
but ended up being heartbroken at the hands of the one man I thought I could trust.
Am I a grown up yet?

I travelled back alone.
Never how it was supposed to be.
And had to pick myself up from zero.
I had nothing.
Am I a grown up yet?

I’ve had friends confess their suicide plans to me,
and have had to talk them out of it.
Am I a grown up yet?

I have a stable job,
yet feel completely replaceable.
No one would notice if I wasn’t there anymore.
Am I a grown up yet?

Every day I wonder how many days I have left with my loved ones.
I picture their deaths in vivid detail.

Is this what it means to be an adult?
Am I a grown up yet?

it’s her i love

I love the sounds of her voice over video call, when we’re both close to falling asleep on opposite ends of the line, but neither of us want to hang up just yet.

I loved that first day, when she got into my car at the train station, and I kissed her, and it was perfect.

I love making her laugh, an inappropriate joke or a silly face, the chorus of it echoing through my ears.

I love it when she says “I know how you feel” and “I understand”, and I know she means it.

I love the way she knows what I’m about to say, before I’ve even opened my mouth, just from the look on my face.

I love that in a room full of crowded people, our eyes will still find each other’s.

I love the way she holds my hand under the duvet as we’re falling asleep, like the way otters do.

I love the way her body feels pressed against mine. Skin on skin, and nose to nose; it feels like everything is falling into place.

I love the way she makes me feel safe; I forget about my worries, and the rest of the world fades away.

I love that she sees something in me worth fighting for, when I can’t see it myself.

I love her soft lips against mine; I could get lost in those kisses for days.

I love that when I feel like I’m falling apart, she shows me how to put my pieces back together again.

I love our story, how it all began, and all the adventures we’ve had, and are still yet to have.

I love that she calls me her future.

Because she’s mine.

It’s her who I love.

i’m trying

Your water is still by my bed,
your pajamas still under my pillow.
And that’s how I like it,
even though you’re gone for the moment, and it hurts,
I like the reminders you leave behind.

Which is why I am so sorry
to have ever put you through
the idea
of me not being here.

For the nights where I couldn’t see a way forward,
and I thought there was only one solution –
pills, a blade and a bath.
That was selfish of me.

Because although I still have your glass of water
and your pajamas,
and it pains me that you’re gone for now,
that’s just it – it’s just for now.

What would I have left you with?
A handful of badly written poems
some polaroids,
maybe that piece of paper with
“i love you”
scrawled on in lipstick from a drunken night out.

And that would’ve been it.
And I am so sorry that I was selfish to believe
that that would’ve been
enough for you.

But I promise you, I’m trying.
I’ll write you more poems.
I’ll be there with you under the covers,
and I won’t leave you
with a cold side of the bed.

I’m trying.

What if

What if one of us died,
And I never got the chance to tell you
I love you
Just one last time?

What if one of us died,
And the last thing we spoke about was
What we were having for dinner?

What if one of us died
And we never had the time
For one more hand hold?
Or one more hug?

What if one of us died
And I hadn’t told you how sorry I was
For every time I made you cry
And wasn’t there to hold you to make it all better?

What if one of us died,
And you didn’t know,
That sometimes you were my only reason for living?

What if one of us died,
Just peacefully in our sleep,
And the last thing the other would have to remember us by
Was the last good night text?

Well here’s my chance:
You’re it for me.
The end to all my endings,
My queen in shining vans.
I’m sorry for all the upset I’ve ever caused,
And I hope you can forgive me.
Because if we have forever together, I’m yours if you’ll have me?

What if one of us died tomorrow and our love story ended at 550 days?
Well it would never end there for me,
You are a piece of me now and I’d carry you, the way I’d hope you’d carry me,
Into our next little infinity.

Apologies that just aren’t coming

I’m sorry
I wasn’t there for you
I’m sorry
my absence
taught you that love is universally unreliable.

I’m sorry
I ridiculed you, publicly
for something that could
never have been your fault.

I’m sorry
I didn’t tell you about your Grandma
who could’ve given you some answers
before it was too late for you, too.

&

I’m sorry
for what I did
what you saw
I’m sorry
for what you cannot unsee.

I’m sorry
I treated your love as disposable
when it was actually irreplaceable.
I’m sorry
I took your kindness and forgiveness for granted.

&

I’m sorry
I let you believe I loved you
unconditionally
I’m sorry
I didn’t recognise
you were just my summer girl.

I’m sorry
I treated you like a getaway car
and only loved the good bits of you.
I’m sorry
I let you let your guard down again.

I’m sorry
I lied through my teeth when I said we had a future.
I’m sorry
I took the sweet ripe fruit of your heart
and pulverized it for all it was worth.

I’m sorry
I let you down.

Do you forgive me?

(No.)

.

I thought you were my full stop.
The ending.
To all my heartbreaks.
To all my upset.
To all my frogs not princes.
To my unhappiness.

It turns out I was just a comma to you,
a clause,
a throwaway line in your explanation,
of your mistakes.

maybe I’m not even that to you anymore.
maybe I’m actually (in brackets)
.

it was all me.

All the amazing things we did,
I look back on fondly
and I think,
“Weren’t we a great team?”

Doing all those things together.
The cycling, the hiking, the travelling.
I look back and think
“Didn’t we accomplish such great things?”

But we didn’t.
Give me a second whilst I ready myself,
because I’m about to finally be kind to myself…
But it was me.

Whose idea was it to go travelling to Nepal?
Mine.
Who suggested cycling to Brecon in a day, just on a whim?
Me.
Who challenged us both to climb Pen-y-fan ten times in 24 hours?
Me.
Towersey festival?
Me.

Who decided enough was enough at our old school, and we should jack it all in and go teach abroad?
Yep, me.

Who was it who got the job in Thailand first, and subsequently got you your job?
Need I say it again?

The job that you’re still profiting off, in a beautiful country that you never would’ve travelled to
if it wasn’t for me.

And yes, you did acknowledge it,
once,
a few months after our break up,
when I was back in the UK.
When you were high on acid, and floating in a villa pool in the middle of a rainstorm.
And you told me, and everyone you were with too,
that all the great things you’d done
were because of me.

I wonder, do you still feel grateful
for all those adventures I gave you?
Or does your gratitude only show when you’re having some sort of
hallucinogenic epiphany?

Either way,
it was all me.
Because I am capable of great things.
And you know it.

gaslight

i turn to alcohol now.
i wonder if they all know what they’ve done.
it’s death by a thousand cuts.
not one instance bad enough to do any real harm.
but thousands of off-hand comments,
of lies,
of nasty looks,
of berating me every morning,
of commenting on my personality or appearance during the day.

of course i’m not talking about one man alone.
father.
would-be-sweet-heart.
boyfriends.
ex-boyfriends.
one night stands.

lies.
manipulations.
guilt trips.

you’ve fucked everything up.
i already had
OCD, MDD, GAD
how many more can we add to the list?

BPD?

is that the final nail in the coffin?
i think it is.

because now it’s alcohol. or valium. or cutting myself.
just to get through.

and i can’t do it anymore.

it’s ruining the one thing that’s ever meant so much to me.
it’s ruining me.
and i am lost.

how was i ever to find my way out,
of this dark tunnel,
if the only source of guidance,
was your gaslight?

greece

We walked along the pebble beach,
and I forgot
that I’m a teacher, who has responsibilities
who has a job to do.

We kissed in the cold but crystal clear sea,
and I forgot
temporarily that just a few weeks before
I’d been put on one-to-one observation, and sent home from work.

We watched the sunrise over the Aegean
from our balcony,
and I forgot
that I’m terrified to step a foot outside my house now.

We drank beers and read books by the pool
and I forgot
that my anxiety has gotten so bad
that I can’t see a way forward anymore.

We fell asleep in each other’s arms every night,
and I forgot
what it’s like to exist inside my own head,
just briefly.

We parted at the station again,
and now it’s back to reality
and I’ve already forgotten
the feeling of your hand in mine.