A letter to my younger self

Hi there.

I know things haven’t been going so well
you fell
and don’t know how to get back up.
your cup
not half empty, but half full
– of poison you want to drink
but don’t sink,
don’t fall down that rabbit hole.

I know he stole
something from you
and you don’t have a clue
how to fix it
that you don’t fit
in with your friends
and just want it to end.

Now is the time to tell
how and where you fell
this is not for you alone
a stone
lodged in your chest.

I know you’re trying your best
and you are good enough
it’s just tough.

And I understand that you’re scared
to bare
all
you’ll stumble and fall
again, ashamed
but you’re not to be blamed
(and I know you won’t believe me)
but trust me
talking is best
and you won’t have confessed
to something awful
cos it was unlawful
what was done
you were just the unlucky one
it happened to
it wasn’t about you
so whisper, talk, shout
but get it out.

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peace and goodwill

winter brings a chill
and peace and goodwill
to men (and people of all genders)
just makes me remember
all the bad things
the season brings

the anticipation of joy
and piles of toys
that parents share
unaware
of the shame
and blame
felt by those
struggling to clothe
their little ones
when the money runs
out before the presents
that are meant
to show how much love
they have, and I’m sick of

the pressure
which we will never measure
up to
an untrue
version of ourselves
which we are compelled
to act out
throughout
that time
to be fine
though we’re not

we’ve just been caught
up in expectations
of celebrations
and it’s hard
to discard
them and just be
which could be the key

I don’t

I don’t miss you
I miss the idea of you
of coming home
and not being alone
of sharing my life
maybe being a wife

I don’t miss you
I miss the idea of you
of having someone see
all of me
and stay
anyway

I don’t miss you
I miss the idea of you
that became clear
when things started to veer
off track
and there was no going back

I don’t miss you
I miss the idea of you
and no-one’s to blame
for the way the end came
about
we just burned out

I don’t miss you
I miss the idea of you
and I have no clue
how to start something new
because the idea of you
was never true

sounds of Autumn

the leaves crunch
underfoot whilst walking to lunch
breath puffing out in a cloud
I turn my music up loud
creating my own sound track
to drown out the crack
of fireworks far away

children play
on the swings
as my heart sings
along to the tune in my ears
calming my fears

as I get on the train
the rain
starts
and the sky gets dark
as drops pelt the glass
and trees fly past

brave

I want to be brave
as I watch you wave
goodbye

I try not to cry
but my face is hot with tears
as the car steers
round the corner and out of sight

day turns to night
and missing you is an ache
that I cannot make
go away

night turns to day
with no relief
from the grief
the constant gnawing
of feelings clawing
at my insides
as I stare wide-eyed
at nothing
pain crushing
my chest
stealing my breath

I let myself wallow
allow it to hollow
me out
because without
you
I haven’t a clue
how to live
and I cannot forgive
the desertion
which followed the assertion
that you’d never leave

I was naive
enough to believe
that you wouldn’t deceive
me, but you did
and undid
the good you had done

but I guess it was fun
while it lasted
distracted
me for a bit
and lit
a spark
in the dark

so I suppose
that shows
it
was worth it
in the end
to lose my best friend

sore

when you see blood
the memories flood
your brain
of the welcome pain
you inflicted for years

and, as that clears
you realise
to your surprise
you’re bleeding without bleeding

feeding
that need to hurt
but now your shirt
has short sleeves

and everyone believes
that things have improved
when really they’ve moved
inward
towards
your core
causing more
distress
than the mess
of before
and you’re still sore

sleepless

it starts
wide-eyed in the dark

the nightmares
scare
you so much
you lose touch
with what is real

they steal
your rest
you sleep less
and less

until you are sleepless
– awake all night
as you fight
to keep the horror at bay
as your mind plays
tricks

getting a kick
out of the torment
you can’t prevent

all made up

I see you looking
overlooking
the truth

you see the smooth
exterior
while my interior
crumbles

I don’t stumble
over my words, instead
while my head
unravels
and travels
elsewhere
I stare
at the floor
at the door

while I explain
the pain
the weight I feel
that steals
my breath sometimes
confines
me to my bed

but, not hearing what I’ve said
you say
the way
I’m dressed
that my hair’s not a mess
means I’m doing well

that you can tell
from my appearance
and the coherence
with which I speak
that things are far less bleak
than in the past

and I wonder at the contrast
between what you see
and me

but of course
you didn’t see me force
myself in the shower
after staring for hours
at the wall
overwhelmed by it all

you don’t see
the anxiety
that makes me put on a show
though I know
it’s not true

and that you
won’t try to see
past that, to me

poverty safari

I saw you through
the cracked window of a different point of view

people stared, open mouthed, gawping
as though something shocking
was playing out in front of their eyes

but what they didn’t realise
was the humanity on the street
at their feet

that life was going on
and that long after they were gone
you’d still be there
while their attention was elsewhere

looking after your own
making your home

the ghost

“I don’t believe in ghosts”
I said…to the ghost

“then who are you talking to?”
he asked as I looked right through
him at the wall behind.

I tried to find
an answer that made sense

“you’re just a less dense
person” I replied
knowing I’d lied

but the alternative
was to live
with the fact
that my mind was in tact

that I was sane
and I could trust my brain
once again