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To The Indecisive Boy I Knew When I Was Seventeen

This street is not how I remember it.
The leaves are darker and
the pavement has more scars.
I imagine that you would look similar.
Time has left his footprints here.
He came when you and I left.

The FOR SALE sign makes my heart stutter.
It was as inevitable as
the storm was promised by the sky;
it feels like a knife in my back.

We once owned this street:
every tree, every slab of concrete,
every lamppost was ours.
We even owned the moon that
shined down on us like a spotlight
on the nights when you would
wrap me in your arms
and I would wrap you in my words.
And now, I don’t even recognise
this darker sky.

There were the tender days:
the days we protected like
we planned to love our children.
The days of homemade cooking,
of sewing up our bruises,
and the sounds of Time
standing still.

Fate had always hated me:
always making me miss my bus,
catch every red light,
and have to walk home in a storm.
I thought Fate had stopped
playing these schoolyard games
and had finally grown up.
But that FOR SALE sign
was just a knife that Fate had
handed to me on a silver platter.
He’d dug it into my back so quickly,
like a doctor giving a child an inoculation,
that I hadn’t felt the pain until now.
And maybe Fate wanted us to be together.
And maybe Fate changed his mind on us.
And maybe Fate will always be an indecisive bastard.

But now, this street leads me up to
the door that used to belong to you.
But I know that if I knocked,
nobody would answer me.
But now,
the street is up for anyone’s taking.
And I will walk away.

Shoebox

I tried to find my heart.
I put LOST posters on lampposts,
I handed out flyers in town,
I even reported my
missing muscle to the police.
But I knew that this
missing muscle investigation
would be down to me.

I searched for fingerprints.
And I found some
all over my bed:
the last place I’d seen my heart.
The fingerprints spelt out
your name.

And I mean, of course
you were the culprit.
I don’t hand my heart over
to just anyone, you know.
What kind of woman
do you take me for?
I just didn’t think you
were the kind of man who
would take it
without permission.

In its place, I found a shoebox;
laden with water damage
and heavy with graffiti.
It was evidently overused
by an aggressive driver.
It was obvious that it had
been in accidents,
was damaged beyond repair,
and would never be insured again.

Inside of that shoebox,
I found bruises and scars.
They were made by other people
but they were unmistakably yours.

You’d taken my barely used heart,
that wasn’t even broken in properly,
and exchanged it for a muscle
that was so overworked and damaged
that it didn’t even look like
a heart anymore.
Is this what will happen to me?

Patience

I’m still waiting
for someone to look at me
with quicksand eyes,
to give me a smile that can’t
be bought with every currency in the world,
to have a touch
more explosive than bottle rockets.

I’m still waiting
for someone whose laugh
should be a designer label,
whose breath
should be sold as cologne,
whose anger
should be the name of a hurricane.

I’m still waiting
for someone whose arms
could be reproduced as duvets,
whose heart
should come with a warning label,
whose footsteps
will lead me back to
my front door.

Weeds

You once said that
weeds multiply faster than a calculator,
faster than the nine year old genius
that lives down the street,
faster than you can write a poem.
You allow one to come into town
and there’ll be one in your back garden
within a week.

One day later, here I am.
You thought it would take longer
for me to get here.
But I sit down on your back porch
and tangle myself around your rose of a son.
I don’t choke him,
but I give him the air that a weed
like me doesn’t need.

I don’t have a designer name like you do
but my clothes are embroidered with stories.
I don’t have money like you do
but I will spend every smile I have
on your son
like the pennies I’d give him
if I had any.

I look over at your son as he soaks up
all the sunlight he can.
I know I give him more life
than a weed should give a rose.
But when he looks at me,
I know he won’t let a drop of weed killer
land on my skin.

Drunk

You always drink responsibly:
always in moderation and
never with car keys in your pocket.
And you make me happy.
But you don’t love responsibly:
you always feel too much
and love while working and
love while drinking coffee
and love while walking the dog.

But I’m not much better.
I’m always hell-bent on
loving and driving,
always spilling my coffee
and running red lights.
And if I was stopped by a cop,
I would fail a love breathalyser test.

Maybe neither of us love responsibly.
But we’re much to intoxicated
to care.

Mother

My mother grew up to be a dragon slayer.
She met my father, the Mr Fix-It.
Together, between fighting dragons
that banged on our front door
and broken things that always
fell into my father’s lap,
they raised two beautiful daughters.
Everyone said that with my mother’s
battle skills and my father’s fixing abilities,
their daughters would be unstoppable.
And the eldest daughter was:
she raised her sword without fear
and stormed the battlefield without
so much as a backward glance.
But I always dropped my weapon
and never found the courage to
step foot into the warzone,
never quite knowing if I was
dragon slayer material.

So, my mother spent years
fighting my battles for me.
She went to war against dragons
that wore masks, pretending to be
my teachers, friends,
even boys who had promised me
the entire galaxy but
changed their minds.

But there were those days when
the dragons would make you
crumble like a sandcastle
and you let me rebuild you
the only way I know how:
with words. I treated them
like bricks, building them up
until you were back together.
I’m sure my Mr Fix-It father
would’ve done a better job,
but it was the least I could
for fighting my battles.

When I was eighteen,
you sent me out into a world
full of dragons.
You taught me everything you know.
You taught me to never wear armour,
but to run into battle with my arms
open wide. Yes, I will get hurt,
you’ve got the scars to prove it.
But you told me that I will catch
the smiles and joy and love
that fall out of the sky.

Now, I go to battle alongside
my sister. We both have scars
from the dragons. But I can
now fight a dragon with
a sword in one hand and
a phone in the other,
making plans for lunch tomorrow,
all the while composing a poem
in my head.

I come home from battle
with a wound across my chest
and the knowledge that
there is one less dragon in the world.
My father sews up my wound
and you bring me a cup of
hot chocolate.
You knew that I was made up of
the perfect material to be:
daughter, sister, writer,
dragon slayer.
And if I should have a daughter of my own,
she will be one hell of a dragon slayer, too.

Poem

I just wrote a poem for you,
sat on the bathroom floor,
listening to music
that reminds me of you.
I close my eyes,
piecing together the night
I knew that I loved you;
the night we danced together
in your garage to a Maroon 5 song.

When I open my eyes,
I’m still in my bathroom.
And I know that your don’t really
care for trips down Memory Lane,
so that song won’t mean anything to you.
And I know that you won’t read this poem.
Because sometimes, words are just words.

First

You were my first boyfriend:
the first boy I held hands with,
the first boy I kissed on New Year’s Eve,
the first boy I ever loved.

Almost ten years to the day,
you act like we’re strangers.
I don’t really recognise you
and I don’t think you recognise me.
We have different lives now,
your eyes are a different shade of blue
and you have a scar near your mouth.
But for the first time in ten years,
you touch me:
a brief hug on the stroke of midnight.
I move on to hug your mother,
wanting you to kiss me.
But you turn away,
already forgetting about
the first time.

Dear Asshole

When we first met,
I willingly handed my heart
over to you, tied up
in a bright red ribbon.
I thought you’d put it on your shelf
with your sports trophies.

Until you gave me
lies on a silver platter,
gave me flyers of deception,
and one final gift you wrapped up
in the same ribbon that once tied
up my heart.
A knife you wedged permanently
in my back.

But it’s okay.
It doesn’t hurt anymore
and hardly anyone notices now.
Maybe my heart belonged
on your shelf after all.
It was only a trophy to you,
another notch on your bedpost,
another story to tell your friends.

But I have one final request:
can you return my heart to me?
Preferably in the condition I
gave it to you.
But as that’s unlikely,
you can keep it as a souvenir.
And I’ll leave you with one final thing:
this poem.

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