(Wo)man’s poison

Written in 10 minutes on a Thursday night to prevent myself downing a bottle of something I shouldn’t.

The temptation to get shitfaced drunk is a bit too much sometimes.
To down half a bottle of your poison and see where it takes me.
See what I makes me forget;
Because I can’t forget.
I have the wrong combination of alleles,
And we know who to blame for that.
I have to remember the reasons why
I can’t drink so I don’t drink.
And I remember the reasons why
Because I can’t drink to forget.

I remember
Tears at midnight
Keys scratching skin
Yellowing face
Shaking hands
Blood on the carpet
Blood in the basin
Blood in the sink
Body in the kitchen
Don’t go there
Can’t see it
Screaming mother
I’m the oldest
Where are you sisters?
Go get your sisters
Running down the street tackling
Skinny limbs and teary face
In your room
Put the CD on
Candy Hearts – too
Cheery Mum still
Screams At night
Different house
Teeth clenched,
A sister crying.
How are you

Going to get

Out of this one?
.
.
.
Maybe I shouldn’t drink after all.

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We Used To Wait//The Changing

But by the time we met
By the time we met
Things had already changed

Please tell me you’re okay. I can’t believe they dragged you away. I fucking hate them. I knew they’d placed visitor restrictions, but I thought it was for those from other continents only. It changes every day now, and I can’t keep up. One hour together and they sent you back. I’m so sorry. I hope your flight back was safe. Don’t bother transferring my mum the money back for the flight – it’s our country that’s messed up, so it’s only fair we pay. It was reported that they’re now stopping all flights from everywhere but the Union, so you must’ve been one of the first to be refused proper entry. I was so glad to see you though. So fucking glad, if I’m honest. I’ve missed you so much it’s been unreal. It felt like that time when I was 8, and you came back from the 2 week holiday abroad that your parents had booked you on. And we forced them to let us sleepover at each other’s for an entire week to make up for it. I wish hadn’t moved, but at the same time I’m glad you did. Too much has changed here, and you’re safer where you are. I’m sorry we couldn’t talk about anything very meaningful in the airport lounge, but people tend to eavesdrop these days, and I didn’t want something to slip.
Even in the week you’ve been gone, so much has happened. Gay couples are being forced to split, and girls who have been raped are being told by the government that they deserved it, that they have to keep the child. One couple in our street – remember Laura and Emma?- had their house set on fire, after ‘dyke’ was scrawled all over it. Emma died, and we haven’t seen Laura since. Nobody cared or questioned. Everyone has turned cold, and I don’t know what to do. People gossip though – say they saw a council van outside the morning of the fire. I have every faith in that statement, but I wouldn’t dare express it. Last week was bad when we couldn’t speak our thoughts, but now it’s as if we have to control the way they show on our face. I cried when I heard of Emma and Laura, and I was slapped by old Mrs Jenkins and told to shut up. Street-wide repercussions if I didn’t.
I knew I promised you I’d come out to my mum soon, but I can’t now. She’s already trying to arrange a marriage for me with a boy at her school. Says it’s suspicious for a young woman to be as single as I am. Says an easy marriage is the best way to fix it. Easy my ass.
I can see it now – me being one of those poor girls with an unwanted baby and no way out. But I promise you I won’t let it get that far. I’m still strong – I run and use the lessons you taught me well.

Stay safe,
-A

So I never wrote a letter
I never took my true heart
I never wrote it down

I know that even as I write, this letter shall never be sent. I just need to get it out somehow, but I can’t burden even you with the knowledge of what I’m going to say. I miss you so much my chest aches. Remember when I was 16, and you went on a date with the asshole Peter from a few doors down? I was so insanely mad; I think I managed to go an entire week without speaking to you. It bet my record of 3 hours and 10 minutes, from when you accidentally killed my hamster when looking after it one summer. If I recall you thought that hamsters could eat the same food as you.
Boy were you wrong.
But anyway, back to your date with the idiot (read non-affectionately) from down the road. I was so angry about it – and with you for some reason. And at first I thought maybe it was because you could do so much better. Because you could. You were are so incredibly kind and soulful and beautiful. And he seemed nothing more than a gross weirdo that just wanted in your pants. I thought it was just best friend protectiveness – in a way it was. But God was it more, and my less than perfect timing has taken me this long to realise. I loved you, and I still do. Even though I’ve not seen you in months. And I don’t mean love you in the best friend “Oh my god I love you!!!” squealy way. I mean really truly love you. And I’m sorry you’ll never know.
In terms we used as kids – I like like you but distance never works, ya know?
Except add to distance an oppressive, controlling government, nationalised homophobia, and the paralysing feeling that something worse is constantly looming each day.
So I love you. I think I have since I was 7, when we conquered that tree in the field behind my house, and claimed it ours. You were the Queen of the Castle, and you declared me your Princess.
I loved you even though I couldn’t label the feeling at the time.
I love you, and I will tell you one day, when all this is over and done with. We don’t get much news anymore, but I have faith.
I love you, but for now I’m going to burn this letter, and leave the words to the wind. Keeping letters is risky business these days.

I love you,
-A

We Used To Wait//The Beginning

Yours was so good and you actually made a wordpress specifically for it, so I feel like I owe you. Here is the first part. I’ll probs post another part every day (gotta keep the readers interested ;)). Creds to Arcade Fire for making us cry.

I used to write
I used to write letters,
I used to sign my name

Hi,
How have you been? I’m sorry it’s been a while. The elections here are driving everyone insane; making it hard to think. I’m glad I have you to talk to. It’s difficult here – you don’t know who believes what, and what subjects to broach with people. People have turned on others quicker than I could’ve imagined when we were kids. I guess it’s to be expected in times like this, but it’s scary to see the way hate can spiral when it’s endorsed by those bigger than ourselves. I can’t wait for the elections – I am sick of this government to the bottom of my heart. I crave the change this country needs. We need to stop the hate before it stops us. Our village is rather immune to it all, but even now and then I find droplets seeping in. I hope everything is okay where you are.
Please write back soon – your responses keep me going during days like this. I will wait patiently though, which seems only fair as I’ve made you do a fair share of waiting over the years.

Give your family my love,
-A

I used to sleep at night
Before the flashing lights settled deep in my brain

I was wrong about the election. So terribly, goddamningly wrong. They changed it, or rigged it, or something. But they won. Stronger and more extreme, and I’m terrified. I think we all are. It’s been 2 weeks and I don’t know what to go. I don’t know how much you know about it where you are, but remember the corn maze we went to when I was 10? The one in the dark where the clowns chased us, and you had to hold my hand the whole time? When we knew the scariest clown would be at the exit – inevitable in its horror and happening. It’s like that, but constant. Checking my phone in the morning feels like a ticking bomb. This new government, they’re stupid but brutal, which may be the worst combination of all.
Tonight as I tried to sleep, spotlights flooded the streets. I’d never seen anything like it in my life – not even when that killer escaped from the young offenders. There were helicopters and some sort of weird silent drones. I don’t know what they were looking for, but I can see the lights every time I close my eyes. They pound on my skull if I focus too hard.
I tried to talk to my mum, but she says I’m overreacting. Says nothing will come of it.
I’m not so sure.
Please respond soon. Your letter will bring even more relief to me now. I was thinking as well – maybe you should move your trip here to next month, instead of the one after that. Things might’ve cleared up by then, but I wouldn’t want you being more uncomfortable than I currently am.
I’m sorry for not waiting on your reply before writing you back. I just needed to tell this to someone who will listen.

Yours truly,
-A

Hard Times//Heart of Glass

“Seemed like the real thing, but I was so blind”

It’s cold days like these when I miss you the most, and I’m yet to figure out why. One minute I’ll be typing away, and the next I’ll be sitting in tears. Glasgow is strange because it was never the place I associated with you, but now I see you everywhere. I see you walking along University Gardens, and sitting in the union watching the football. I see you in the ugly maths building they’re tearing down, and I see you standing by the Clyde at night, wearing a leather jacket and looking younger than I ever knew you.

I see you everywhere, yet I haven’t seen you in almost 5 years. And I’ll never see you again.

The funny thing is I think we would’ve got along. I think we would’ve kept listening to music together. We’d be heading to the Blondie gig on Tuesday – 5 of us instead of 4 – and you’d be telling me that the Paramore cover was good, but it would never quite live up to the standards of your time.

We could’ve gone on runs together, and rollercoasters and gigs and all the things you promised but never quite kept. I don’t know if you know how much it hurts that I never got to go to a gig with you.

I say this like had you not died things would be fine, but I’m not stupid. Alcoholism is something I’ve spent 4 years trying to avoid, and something you spent years trying to escape. I’ve had my fair share of addictions though, and I think you and I could compete for who’s hurt this family the most.

Most of the time it feels like you never really existed. All that’s left is a mass of vinyl and a handful of pictures mixed with sadness at 1am. But the sadness isn’t for was, it’s for what ifs. It’s for things I wish I had now – a parent I wish I had now. It’s selfish sadness, but I see a lot of me in what I knew of you, so maybe that’s okay.

I want to know your favourite Joy Division song. I want to know why you never let me watch Salem’s Lot, and I want to watch it with you. I want to know why the fuck you had a German history book when you were a maths and stats student, and then I want to ask your opinion on Nazi social policy. I want to watch T2 with you and not have to cry at the ending, because this time you’re here to see it. And I want to sing along to Dreaming with you, and not cry at it because the last time it played was the last time I was near to you. I want to tell you I like girls and then ask your help on asking out a girl, because you had more experience with that than mum has.

I want to stand in front of you and tell you I’m sorry and that I forgive you at the same time.

 

Kids

Sat watching from the balcony. A stranger to them, but not an unfamiliar scene to you. Like watching a film of your childhood. The childhood you could’ve had.
They run about now. The corn fields hiding everything but the shrieks of laughter that frequent your ears.
With the sun glaring down in the baking heat, kids in overalls laugh and play, and you wish with everything you could join in.
Jealousy is not a becoming trait in anybody, but jealousy of a six year old is particularly odd. And you wouldn’t admit it to any one who asked, but the urge to join in is just as strong as the urge to laugh at the scene itself.
One little boy is now running with a bucket over his head, chasing the others, running with delight. Some older ones show up on bikes, but rather than bother them, they help the smaller kids to ride them too.
Kids.
It’s what they are.
They are kids.
You are not.
Nostalgia; that’s all it is.
But can you really feel nostalgic over something you never had?
So you’re jealous.
Jealous of kids, and it’s quite sad really.
Pathetic you almost hear your mother sneer.
You won’t join in – you cant.
It’s society’s expectations that tie you down now, rather than your mother’s words.
But you’ll sit; finish the coffee, and maybe order another.
No one looks, so no one questions.
You’re free to be a tourist in the youth you never had

"Tourist in your youth" is inspired by a similar quote in T2.
Written 08/17

Sophie’s Choice

This is also another one of my AH folio pieces. It is a monologue type poem inspired by the train station scene in Sophie’s Choice. The structure is loosely inspired by “Stobhill” by Edwin Morgan.

Sophie’s Choice

Nazi General
I did what I was told to do;
what I had to do.
The process is necessary.
I let her keep a child for Christ’s sake!
We are simply following God’s will;
creating the race that the world needs.
It was Jesus that proclaimed “Suffer
little children to come unto me”,
and suffer she would.
Suffer for the good of the world;
her Christian mother should understand.
We’re hardly the first or last
people to do this.
As King Herod proved –
it’s human nature to rule over
the weak.
I only walk in the footsteps
of Herod and Christ.

Nazi Guard
I could feel her tears
soaking through my jacket;
but I wasn’t unnecessarily cruel!
Look, I was simply following orders.
Do your duty for your country and
your family will be safe.
Don’t tell me you wouldn’t do the same
if you were in my position.
The Reich is only safe
for those who serve it.
I have a little girl just like her;
I kill to keep her unharmed.
Every parent would do the same.

Mother
Take my little girl. Take my
baby, my baby, my baby.
That’s all I could say. And her
tears, oh her tears. The screams, the
cries. Why would they do this? How
could they do this? I ask for
an answer I already know. Silence.
The silence in my head that multiplies as
love is evacuated. The vast space
filled with my baby’s screams.
People were silent
and now it’s too late. Too late for us, the
Jews, the communists…the list grows
every day. He said
it was for the good of God.
But God couldn’t,
he shouldn’t allow
the death of my baby girl.

If God couldn’t love, then I had too.
A shred of love left for the small boy
anchored to my side.

Son
Warum ich Mama? Why? I asked but she
wouldn’t stop crying. Her tears falling
on my wet face. I tried to make her
change her mind, to give me over
for Hanna. I was her big brother.
Ich bin stark;
I should have protected her! But
I need to look after my Mama now.
The officers like me if I speak German,
so that’s what I do.
Say I could almost be like them, if my
Mama wasn’t mine. They point at
my eyes, and pet my hair. I don’t mind if it
helps my Mama. That’s all I do.
I miss my Papa and Hanna.
Ich vermisse sie!
I hope they’re together.

Onlooker
Well, I can’t say I blame her
for choosing her boy.
The men have more worth here.
The girl was pretty, yes,
but take her to the age of twenty and she’d
still have to become a housewife for
the Reich. Women are only superior to
the Jews here.
Part of me tried to step forward;
my feet even shuffled slightly.
But no words came out.
If I speak up for this girl,
who will speak up for me?
No one.
The only thing louder than the crying
is the silence.
The girl will be sent
to her imminent death, but yet I am still
jealous. I’m a “filthy communist”. I don’t
get a choice. My children shall die
long before I do.

Daughter
Mama, where are you? I want
to ask the man holding me
but you were scared of the soldiers Mama,
so I should be too. The man smells Mama;
not nice like how Papa used to smell.
I want to run but I can’t Mama, he’s holding me

too tight. There’s a train Mama, like the one
I can see from my bedroom. There’s so many people and

he’s putting me on the train Mama and

 

they’re shutting the doors Mama

 

and it’s so tight Mama and

 

I can’t see.

 

Mama.

 

Written 04/17

Never a bridesmaid, never a bride

A/N: I’ve been off this a while writing new pieces to post. This piece has actually been finished for a long time, but I submitted it as part of my AH folio, and couldn’t post it until I received my grade for it. It’s probably one of my favourite pieces I’ve written.

Never a bridesmaid, never a bride

White and gold.
White and gold.
I always knew he was one for grandeur, but I thought she’d be able to reel him in just a bit. We used to laugh when people picked gold over silver, yet here were the pews, the altar – Christ even the doorway – draped and drowning in waves of white lace and gold ribbon. Even on the short walk to the very back pew, the glitter and gems on the floor catch under my shoes, crunching and cracking like the bones I longed to snap. The piper was playing such a pained lament, and I had to bite back a snide comment about it being like a funeral. It would be all too easy to turn around and bolt, but I owed her this much. It was supposed to be me, so the least I could do was show up and sit in the back row. Moisture built up on my palms as I checked my makeup, praying that the thick layers weren’t smudged. At the very least, I had to look presentable.
Two hours max at this ceremony. Then I could use the sickness I’d been feeling for months to fake my way out of the reception. The sickness that seeped through my veins – up to my head and around my chest. Adrenaline spiked blood pounded through my skull, making my mouth dry and my head spin, yet I hadn’t even cracked the seal on my hipflask yet. It already felt like I was going to need something stronger.
As comforting as the thoughts of fleeing were, they couldn’t banish the ghastly sight of this church from my mind. I didn’t know much about God, but I figured that someone who could throw together a semi-decent planet in less than seven days would not be impressed by the way this church was currently decorated. Everything about it was far too extravagant, and I pushed my trainer-clad feet under the pew, away from judgemental eyes. They were only half hidden when I was met with resistance, and I inwardly cursed this church for being so constricting and claustrophobic. My chest was already heaving at the lack of air, and the décor was only making it worse.
Between squeezing my legs into the tiny pew, and my current contemplating, the lilies arranged at the top of the pulpit had spewed out a cloud of pollen, which was now tightening its grip around my throat. At least any tears I shed from now on could be excused as an allergic reaction. I wanted to question the choice of lilies; both she and I knew that they were the worst type of flower, especially at an ever so classy white and gold wedding. The putrid orange pollen clung to and stained everything it touched. But I knew that he must have chosen the flowers too – so clingy, annoying lilies seemed perfectly appropriate.
Just as that realisation forced me to suppress a hysteric giggle that was quickly rising out of my chest, he walked in. In my head, I had compared him to every jack-ass jock, in every American film I could think of. None of them were even close to his level of malice.
Looking at him now, with his ridiculous white tux and – oh for the love of God – gold tie, he was every bit the arrogant school heart throb at prom. This might have well been a school cafeteria, with him and his posse of too-good-for-you groomsmen staring down at geeks and theatre kids assembled in the pews.
But unlike Andrew in The Breakfast Club, or Billy Nolan in Carrie, I knew he didn’t have a tragic backstory to justify his actions, nor did he have a horrific ending coming for him. He had a beautiful bride-to-be, a steady income with a suburban home, and the prospect of even more little jack-ass jocks running around in the future. That wasn’t how the story was supposed to play out.
Him and his minion of a best man stood at the altar – chests puffed and stupid smirks on their faces. They spent most of their time with their hands smoothing over their ridiculously slicked back hair, sniggering and whispering to each other. It was infuriating.
It was supposed to be me.
He was constantly putting on an act for her, and if she heard some of the things he said about her when he was drinking at the bar – snippets of conversations that drifted to my ears in the midst of pulling pints – she would not be with him now. I had that much faith left in her pride; left in our relationship.
“She’s fucking useless at cleaning, but I’ll get her trained soon boys…”
“Her voice gets so fucking annoying when she’s mad. But I mean have you seen how tight her body is? It’s worth the trade; like those tits…”
I’d had to take my break early that night – before my fist met his face.
Recalling the memory had left finger-shaped indents in the hymn book I was clutching. Fumbling, I grasped for the smooth leather-wrapped metal that was burrowed in the inside pocket of my coat, ducking down for a drink. Working at a bar tended to put you off alcohol; hell, one night serving groom-to-be Prince Charming could do that. But I needed a burn to pull me through; something to take the edge off the God-awful glint of gold and stench of lilies.
I had a high tolerance – both for alcohol and self-inflicted pain, it would seem – so I didn’t have worry about passing out. At best I would be slightly tipsy, and at worst, completely sober and coherent.
But even with this recognition of emotions, and alcohol doused attempts to sort them out, I still couldn’t answer the blaringly obvious question that had been haunting me for months.
Why didn’t I just tell her? Tell her that her boyfriend was the biggest twat I’d ever had the privilege to know.
She was my best friend, and I knew she would’ve listened. But I couldn’t, and for all the thinking and stressing I did over the issue, each time I arrived at the simultaneously sensible and terrifying answer. And I couldn’t deal with the mess that answer left.
Unfortunately, thanks to my horrendous luck and apparent inability to control my facial expressions, her surprisingly intuitive boyfriend figured out the answer to my problems at the same time I did. This wouldn’t have been an issue, had he not been the complete dickhead that he was.
“I know what you’re thinking, and it’s not normal. You so much as mention it to her, and I’ll tell everyone.”
The way he had said it was so horrid that copper had seeped into my mouth from where my teeth met my cheek. I didn’t want this; I didn’t ask for it. But at the same time, I couldn’t see how I could avoid it. She was just so gorgeous – always had been. And it wasn’t just her looks – God no. It was the knowing smile she’d give me when an inside joke came up. It was the vice tight grip of her hugs and the softness of her voice when she was upset. Hell, it was even the way she ate like a child – dropping crumbs everywhere and kicking them under her chair thinking no one could see. Thirteen years had left her deeply engraved on my soul, and I was completely screwed.
And although I knew what I felt for her, it was all I was sure of. Labels swirled around my brain; names and definitions causing a hammering in my skull. I didn’t know what I was. Besides, being forced to figure out how you feel by your best friend’s fiancé isn’t exactly the best way to do it.
So I didn’t.
“Will you be my bridesmaid? I need you with me through this.”
I couldn’t.
“I…I can’t. I’m sorry.”
I kept my mouth shut; pretended my tears at the engagement party were ones of happiness, and bit my tongue for fear of saying too much. Texts were typed but remained unsent; numbers dialled but never rang. I couldn’t do this. Because even if I had no qualms about being outed, I would still embarrass myself in front of my best friend. She loved a rich, intelligent guy, with a steady job as an engineer. I was an aspiring writer who waited on tables in order to get by. Oh, and I was a girl. Completely and utterly female.
“I need you with me through this.”
If only she knew how much I needed her. Needed her to know, to understand.
It was supposed to be me.
A single C chord was all it took to yank me back to the present. Shoving the hip flask back in my pocket, I began looking at the hymn book on my lap as if I’d never seen one before. Somewhere in my brain I had a snarky comment to make about how clichéd “Here Comes the Bride” was, but I was prevented from doing so by the panic rising up through my chest, clawing at my throat. I was no stranger to panic attacks, but this felt far different from anything I’d ever experienced before. Because usually when my heart hammered and my chest heaved, my first reaction was to run as my life depended on it.
Sometimes it felt as if it did.
This was different, for better or worse, and rather than fleeing, I found that I couldn’t move. The wooden back of the pew stuck to me like the lump stuck in my throat, and even the incessant trembling of my hands had ceased. The pollen from the lilies had crept even closer; its hand curling round my neck, restricting my air and forcing tears out of my eyes. My mask was slipping, mascara running, and I began to wonder if I was fated to spend the entire ceremony in this state.
She snapped me out of it.
Somehow, in my hyperaware state, I’d missed what was perhaps the most important part of the moment. The doors at the back of the church had swung open, and there she was. The most strikingly beautiful girl I had ever seen. Everything was on her now. The dress that was so completely her blocked all of the horrible gold from my sight. The god awful scent of the lilies was inexplicably washed away by her perfume – the same one I had bought her as a teen, and the one she had worn ever since. Before I knew it the stinging in my eyes wasn’t from the lilies, but from something far more instinctual. And then, as her eyes turned and caught mine, the numbness fled my body. Tears flowed, my chest heaved, and before I knew it I was standing on shaky legs.
I had to leave, and I had to leave now.
“You’ll always be my best friend, you know. No matter what happens, it’ll always be you and me.”
My chest ached, and I couldn’t understand why.
For all the love I had for her, and for all the longing I had for her to be happy, I still couldn’t do this. I could have her happy like this. She was meant to be with me for fucks sake – she had been since we were fifteen. He had ruined it for me, for us. If he hadn’t stood there, threatening to out me and looking at me like I was a piece of shit, then maybe we wouldn’t be in the position after all. Maybe I’d be the one waiting at the altar, with silver ribbon instead of gold, and the scent of roses filling the air rather than the awful stench of lilies.
It was meant to be me.
And maybe my anger wasn’t rational, but none of that mattered anymore. I could feel everyone’s eyes on me now, including hers, and my head neared combustion. I hadn’t said anything yet, and it would be best if it stayed that way. My inner monologue was good for keeping me occupied and all, but I’d wager that it wouldn’t be too entertaining for those in this church to hear.
On what seemed to be their own accord, my legs began to move, letting me scramble out of the pew whilst the air of confusion kept everyone silent. The longing I felt to look at her once more – to have a lasting image of that gorgeous girl in the wedding dress – was so overwhelming that I faltered on the way to the door. I was always like this with her – masochistically picking at the wound so it could never properly heal.
But I had to see her – really see her – one more time.
The thought of having to look her in the eyes almost put me off, but hell, this was probably the last time I’d ever see her.
So it was it that thought that I let my eyes wonder, seeing for the first time how the white lace clung to her chest, tickling her collarbone. How the golden waves of hair caught and glinted in the light. And finally, those sparkling green eyes – the same ones that could convince me to do almost anything when they went all soft and pleading. Much like everyone else’s, they too were wide in shock, but they still retained the lingering softness that forever made my heart swell. A flicker of something else crossed her eyes too – realisation, or something else I couldn’t quite name.
Then it was gone.
Or more specifically, I was gone.
My legs carried me out, stumbling and accidentally knocking over some of the flower displays. I’d ruined enough already that a few smashed vases didn’t matter.
My heart thundered in my ears and my stomach dropped a thousand stories, but it was almost over.
I was half way down the stairs at the front of the church, my feet tripping over each other, when I heard it – falling through the air like the confetti that was waiting to be thrown.
My name, ringing through and piercing the thumping that had muffled my hearing; softly spoken yet demanding in one word.
Footsteps thundered down behind mine – and God damn this girl – because I couldn’t go anywhere now.
Maybe this was how the story was meant to end.
And maybe that was okay.

Written 04/17