protest (or thoughts about TERFs at Pride)

“Pride is a protest”
is the reply
when we ask why
they brought hate
with them today

they say that they
want equal rights
that they’re willing to fight
for them
and we agree
that they should

but if they could
only see
that we’re all
on the same side
the divide
in the community
the disunity
does more harm than good
and they’ve misunderstood



safety is an illusion
I’m losing
sleep over it
watching the lit
touch paper burn
as my guts churn
with dread

I lie in my bed
nestled, warm
try to weather the storm
in my mind

desperate to find
that port
as I assemble a fort
around me
the debris
from the wreck of my defence
it makes no sense
to continue to try
and I don’t know why
I do
but I do


friend or foe?
it’s hard to know
these days
as that memory stays
with me
it won’t let me be

pushing me further away
from ever being okay

folded into a corner
I feel like a foreigner
in my own head

fear has led
me here
and though I try to steer
my way back
the fact
is, life is scary
and I’m right to be wary

trust should be earned
and I have learned
the hard way
that to expect foul play
isn’t the worst
thing I could do

an attempt to subdue
my racing thoughts
by joining the dots
to reveal the reluctant demon
eyes gleaming
in the fire light

even as I close mine
trying to find
that safe space
the place
I am told to go when
I’m gone again


I hear
it, and peer
over my beer.

I know she does too
as her fingers through
mine unlace,
her face
hard now.

I think of the vow
I made to her that night
eyes shining star-bright
to keep her safe, always
and I think of the ways
I have failed to do so.

and I know
I will try again
but when
holding hand is dangerous
can endanger us
which is just absurd
I can’t keep my word.


it’s funny how
just when you’re sure life’s finished now
the fog clears
and hope appears.

a tiny pinprick of light
in the deep dark of night
is enough to renew
the fight in you.

you’ve been here before
thought you’d closed the door
on existence.

but away in the distance,
it opens again,
and then
you’re back,
treading that well-worn track,
because people care
they’re there
for you

it’s true
and its worth reminding
yourself, while life is grinding
you down
they won’t let you drown
but meet you where you’re at
and you’re thankful for that.

the bairn

the bairn birls
in the air
hersel’ doon the stair
heid first
wee chist fit tae burst.
she’s a wriggly worm on the rug,
confusing the hell oot the dug.
then, all of a sudden she stands,
claps her manky wee hands,
turns on the telly,
then runs fir her wellies.
oot the front door
in the jammies she wore
last night.
she’s as high as a kite,
skiddling in the dirt,
wiping hands on her shirt.
“I’m a wee beastie!” she cries
and yer heart fair flies.


suddenly, I see your face
and that’s a dangerous place
to be
for me.

it’s been years
since the tears
dripped from my chin.

I let you in,
and in doing that
I went into combat
with my mind
against the protection it had designed.

it took years to build
the wall, but I drilled
for you.

my heart, opening like a flower,
gave you the power,
trusting you to care
that you’d always be there.

but that’s not how it went
and I don’t resent
you, and I don’t love you,
but seeing you,
still hurts my chest
you were my best
except at the end.


I’m scared,
and I know that you care,
but at the end of the day,
no matter what you do or say
it’s me who fights
through the nights
spends days
waiting for it all to go away.

it won’t leave me alone
I feel it in my bones
hands on my neck
and I’m a wreck.

always on guard
by the horror of it all
and it would be easy to fall
for the lies my brain tells
to dwell
on the past
on the vast
difference between real life
and mine.


lost in a memory, you cower,
sometimes for hours
on end
and it seems never-end
-ing. riding the waves
of flashbacks that pave
the way to that part of your mind
that they’re trying to find
but you’re hoping to lose.

it’s old news
trying desperately to make
itself ‘current’, and though you fake
your way through life
it cuts like a knife
would, and did, in the past,
so the pretence cannot last.

the smile slips from your face
as you go back to that place
that time
that crime
and relive the silence,
the violence.

it’s so easy to give up
your cup
overflowing now
it’s hard to see how
things will get
better, and yet
you’re still here
fighting that need to disappear.