road map.

I have been broken before.
Broken into so many pieces
I may as well have been
dust
on the floor.

Not the pretty “fill it with gold”
kind of broken either.
The ugly crying on the bathroom floor
in the cold,
kind of broken.

And not just once either. Numerous times.
Sometimes just a hairline fracture.
Sometimes nothing more than a bruised ego.
But sometimes, my heart completely ruptured.

And how do you recover?
Still put one foot in front of the other?
I have no answers,
But I know that I did it.

Some people might say,
my heart is still broken,
if I still write these words.

But I say,
the cracks left in my heart
were nothing short of a road map
that led me
to her.

Lost at sea

I’m lost at sea and don’t know where to find me.
Thought I’d moved on and left it all behind me.
But it creeps up on me in the night,
Not out of mind or out of sight.
It still hits me like a train and still blindsides me.

When do you know that part of you is dead and gone for good?
I’m stumbling, can’t find my feet, nor see the trees for wood.
Will it be hours or months or days?
I have no idea who gets to say.
But right now it feels like it’s still crawling, swimming through my blood.

And when will it stop?
How will I know?
When I thought I’d reached the top of everything that I had ever known.
When can I breathe?
Or let go and scream?
When will this feeling go?
And how will I know?

Sometimes I feel I’ve taken two steps forward and three back.
It’s hard to feel like I am safe when I’m running off the tracks.
What’s next for me – promethazine?
To quell the nausea slowly killing me.
So I’ll keep avoiding manhole covers and all the pavement cracks.

I’ve reached the point I no longer have the patience.
To be polite and maybe not just say this –
You fucked me up, yes you with the beard,
You led me on for all those years.
But is it me that’s left to blame for my complacence?

And when will it stop?
How will I know?
When I thought I’d reached the top of everything that I had ever known.
When can I breathe?
Or let go and scream?
When will this feeling go?
And how will I know?

2020

I would prize Wildwood Kin, from your little sweaty palms,
I would eat more healthily,
I would dance more often,
and refuse to let you talk over me.

I would shake my former self
look her straight into the eyes
and say, is this what you think you’ve been searching for
all your goddamn life?

I would remove those tinted glasses
and see you for what you are,
an emotionally-stunted man-child
who just happens to play guitar.

I’d take you off your pedestal,
where you’d comfortably made your nest.
I’d tell you truths like, I’m not sure I want to have biological children
and bathe in the disgust your face expressed.

I’d stop hiding my truth to please you,
unafraid of causing upset
confidently proclaim my moral views
and calmly watch you sweat.

I’d grab my former self,
lace up my running shoes,
take her by the hand
and run far away from you.

fairweather

Your not texting back,
was a stab to the heart.
But you were drinking cold liquor, with new friends
so you didn’t see that part.
You were already planning how our story would end.

In our story, from my side, we had endless pages.
But I guess you were just filling in the blanks,
until you thought you could escape this
and it came as a suckerpunch when I realised you’d pulled a Shawshank.

Too cowardly to tell me the truth,
that you lied when you said we had the rest of our lives together.
You kept me, like Dogtooth,
hidden from reality.
You were nothing more than a boyfriend for fairweather.

And when the storms rolled in,
and the thunderclaps boomed,
things headed the way they’d always been,
and you ran scared into the other room.

Away from my crying eyes
and into the arms of another.
Out of sight, out of mind,
safely beneath the skin of a different woman to hide under.

Someone sweeter,
someone breezier,
someone who wouldn’t call you a cheater.
A fairweather girlfriend,
and altogether
easier.

“She burns bridges”

Apparently, I burn bridges
or maybe it was a wayward spark,
from you burning our candle at both ends.
It wouldn’t have taken much, to raze the dilapidated, crumbling scaffolding.
Not the once strong, steady, immovable Pont du Gard.

A bridge is no longer of use, when the destination is a person you no longer recognise.
A faceless friend,
a stranger in a crowd,
an unhappy hostage.

So maybe burning it was my only option.
Save up what little was left of my sanity; cut and run.
You say I no longer light up your sky,
but maybe my light was never yours to possess and claim as your own.
Maybe what burnt that bridge, was a flicker of my fire you could no longer control.

Well, I gathered up all the remaining timber,
anything I could salvage from the blaze,
and I built myself a fucking ladder
to pull myself out of the twisted ravine you left me in.

And now I’m up high, on a cliff top
and the view and the air is clear,
and now it all makes sense.

red flags

You always said you’d eventually learn how to dance with me, but you always had an excuse. You just didn’t care for the things I was passionate about. Red flag number 10.

You never cared for, or tried to understand, my love of Taylor Swift. I know that might sound petty. But it was important to me, and you openly mocked it. Red flag number 9.

You said you didn’t like tattoos, but you would make exceptions for my small ones. Well, now I have a big one. So fuck you. Red flag number 8.

We had similar tastes in music, but only when it came to folk and country. Anything else and I felt I had to filter my music choice around you. Because it was “too mainstream”. You always took the high ground when it came to music. Red flag number 7.

Your political views were the right ones, and no amount of debating would tell you otherwise. You took the high horse there too. Red flag number 6.

I was terrified of doing my pre-flight injections by myself, so I offered to pay for your megabus and the additional cost of the flight, for you to fly from Heathrow with me. To support me. But you outright refused. Red flag number 5.

You could never have a healthy disagreement. You’d bury your head in the sand at the first sign of conflict. Sweep it under the carpet. Until it blew up in our faces. Red flag number 4.

You made empty promises. The main one being that you’d always support me, no matter what. Red flag number 3.

One night, after weeks of my mental health rapidly declining, you said you’d rather go out and get drunk with another girl than come home to me. Red flag number 2.

You cheated on your girlfriend of four years to be with me.

Red flag number 1.

sorry?

i had to ask for it
i had to spell it out to you
because you’d forgotten, like you do
all the hell you put me through

i had to spell it out
this is what you did to me
and was i supposed to accept that gratefully?
and let you off, so deservedly?

what i lost when i lost you
was so much more than just a relationship
i was a sinking battleship
already losing my grip

no, you didn’t recognise the full impact
that final straw, turned to one almighty blow
i was freefalling, but imperceptibly slow
no parachute, or safety net, into the ground below

does it really count as an apology
if i had to ask for it first?
if you were coerced?
for everything you said sounded performative and rehearsed

you say you’ve changed now
that you don’t do that anymore
don’t go back on words you swore
and isn’t she lucky, the girl you now call yours?

well, i don’t accept your apology
but i’ll pretend i do with grace
i’d rather you’d left me unanswered
but i’ll let you save your face.

a warning

oh, he’ll be there
for the good times
for the falling in love
over a bottle of red wine times

for the holding hands in the woods
and for the wishing on should
we, be
an eternity, a whole,
two bodies, but one soul

oh, he’ll be there

but not for when things turn sour
when minutes feel like hours
across the dining table
the candle light a token gesture
and not a word has been spoken yet

empty promises of, i’ll never leave you
but he won’t be there when it’s needed
punching, kicking, scratching, screaming
he won’t be there when the tears come streaming

he was there for the good version of you
on your best behaviour, you
for the confident, happy, exciting you
but when reality came, like an awesome wave
he couldn’t see it through

after all, i’ve come to learn, i was nothing more than a getaway car
that drove too fast
and eventually took us both tumbling
off the path

yes, i am talking to you.

you unbuckled your seatbelt and leapt
from the impending wreckage
and you ran
without a second glance over your shoulder
to see the flames
that you’d left.

(he won’t be there)

soft / bruises

love bites.
the bruises are lingering
on my chest, my hips, my back
a reminder, of candlelight dwindling
and silk ties
and too much pink wine.

but there are bruises still
on my self-esteem
on my heart
deep in my soul
and love’s keen sting
has left its indefinite mark.

does this mean i’ve remained soft, like i wanted,
through this tempest?
not hardened
still easy to bruise and still tender?

we both sidestep 3 consecutive manhole covers
wish on eyelashes
wish on 11:11
cross our fingers and pinky swear, we’re lovers
and love bites, but
is this it?
and am i finally doing it right?

scared

How can I possibly be scared?

I’ve run out of “scared”.
I’ve done all of the scariest things already.
Saying goodbye to you at the airport.
Leaving you for good.
Even though every fibre of my being didn’t want to let go of you.
Didn’t want to turn around and see you for the final time.
Boarding that plane.
And leaving Thailand, alone.
That was terrifying.

Leaving behind all I knew.
All that I loved.
Everything that I was sure about.
Knowing in that split second that our hands let go of each other, that I’d never hold your hand again.
Never have you to turn to again.
Never share our bed again.
That was terrifying.

That felt like having the earth pulled from beneath me, and realising I didn’t have a parachute anymore.
That was scary.

I came home alone.
Never the way it was meant to be.
But I had to.
There was no other way forward.
And it felt like having my heart broken twice.
That was truly scary.

Surely I’ve ran out of things to be scared of? Surely there’s nothing more to be afraid of, when you already feel like you’ve had it all taken from you?