the effort halved

your head placed naturally on the pillow of my lap,

it’s cramped (with crumbs and coffee stains)

but we make-do, being each others’ lucky coin

or soft toy rabbit.

the train, it’s going faster now, it’s chaotic

and we share one set of lungs.

breathing amongst foreign character is more comfortable

when shared.

it sounds tiresome to many, our organs intertwined,

but it’s behavour now.

what we do, we do in tune.

experiencing the same (with the same sandwiches and toilet breaks)

i’m seeing this journey through her eyes.

i used to be afraid of public transport

(now, the effort is halved.)

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This Beating Shape

One year

encompassed by my heart strung

across Paperchase postcards;

a tangible copy of my soul, now sat waiting

in your College pigeon-hole.

 

Legs intertwined amongst our make-shift bed of

blankets and last night’s sweat and lust.

With you, lust isn’t temporary, lust is

sick to my stomach, a comforting nervousness.

The way your lips imprint my collar bones,

our hearts stitched as one.

 

One year of your fingers sewn to fit between

the gaps of mine.

The way your hair shines in the depths of winter,

for you are the sun’s companion in the frost.

365 alterations to my otherwise mundane

days of feeling your breath on the nape of my neck.

Even when your lips are 2 hours away.

For your shadow, your fingertips have formed a

carbon copy on my heart.

 

You have it always. This organ, this beating shape

under layers of skin, you’ve only strengthened.

I know that’s true. My rib-cage, now painted with

turquoise forcefield.

I’m not afraid anymore.

You’re to thank for that.

No, I’m Gay (A slam poem)

Hi, my name is Lu-
Wait, it’s not like you care.
You’ve already made assumptions based
on my hair,
Both the length on my head
and what’s down there.

For my sex life, my body image
is clearly your business, broadcasted news.
If you can convince me it’s a phase,
for it’s God’s message (well done you.)

Clearly what porn portrays is
a rehearsal for my real past time.
Asking if I scissor is obviously fine.
But you don’t want tips, you’re not that way inclined.
You ask if you can join,
for lesbian means fetish…
So why would I mind?

As if holding my girlfriend’s hand
is some kind of offence
Yet your Porn Hub’s biggest fan,
So it’s doesn’t make sense.

I mean, you’re clearly what I’m after,
what’s missing, the guy I’m really looking for.
A man whose surname I require,
‘Two women only?’ ‘Fancy a threesome?’ Wait,
you’re telling me you’re —”

‘Can I watch?’ ‘So, what is it you do?’ isn’t invasive at all…
I have it easy, ‘boys are dicks’, I’ve heard it all before.

A ‘gay marriage’ is different, exotic, some big day out,
‘I went to a GAY wedding’, your colleague exclaims,
but behind closed doors, nothing’s changed.

Sure, I wear dresses, makeup, no buzz-cut in sight,
for if it’s not penetrative, it’s not real sex, right?
‘Please make me straight’ I’m no church goer, but I pray,
‘I’m not interested’, ‘I’m taken’, ‘I see you as a friend…’

No, I’m…
gay.

She’s

Her eyes are a marble collection of rainbow hues,

fabricating past mistrust and apprehension,

into a revised perspective.

 

For she now carries her coat, her mac, her jacket;

no longer a protective cape, but kick-ass costume.

She’s colour, an orbit of Crayola; strides of smashed

kaleidoscope; her glass half-full.

Painting her former demons onto

a canvas of newfound strength.

Her lips mould words, blurring across my vision,

she’s everywhere, a beacon.

Her hair, a patch-work replica of the aqua-marine.

 

She’s home reconsidered, a swimming pool.

She’s a change I don’t fear,

now routine from what was before.

Different perspectives excercise

Mid-thirties I’d say. First thought was married, only there’s no ring on his finger. His lips, pursed. Eyes scanning the menu. All an act of course, he knows the ins and outs of the thing. Probably too much. You know it’s mostly ready meals, but keep it quiet mate. He’s here every week yet he doesn’t want to look too much of a regular.

“Can I take your order, Sir?” I say. I approach him with the same tone as everyone else. Just because he’s our most regular customer, doesn’t mean we’re on a friendship level. Don’t want him getting too comfy, he’ll think he’s entitled to a discount.

“The usual will do, thank you.”

I only know you from the colour of your tie, mate, not if you’re bangers and mash or fish and chips.

—————————————-

Was today a fish and chips day or chicken Caesar salad? Third night this week at the place, they must recognise me by now. I haven’t had my five a day, so maybe a roast would be the best option. Watching the waist-line and all.

The waitress probably knows my back story, sometimes I fear people can mind-read, the amount they stare. It’s always the same sequence. My shirt and tie, followed by my lacking company, and then the absence of jewellery on my finger. Sat alone at the table. And I always said people judging didn’t bother me.

It’s always the same table, by the window. I like to think I’m hidden, out of eye view. Pint in arm’s reach. Furrowed brows, to add to the growing collection of creases across my forehead.

It’s the same waitress. She’s young enough to be my daughter I’d say, but I can admit she’s gorgeous if I don’t voice it, right? She’s trying to hide her evident discomfort, avoiding my eyes. If she’s going to be like that, I’ll address at her pencil skirt instead.

“Can I take your order, Sir?”

—————————————-

The way they looked at each other was like an awkward family reunion. Another day at the office, another evening at the pub. It was routine for Paul. All since Sal walked out the door nine months ago. He’d said he’d learn to cook, said he’d put the Jamie Oliver 10 Minute Meals to good use. Only it was gathering dust on the shelf. Just as their wedding photo was. Turned over on the mantelpiece.

Annie was on the late shift. Minimum wage, with maximum effort needed to force a smile at the drunken men disguising the looks up her skirt. Paul and Annie’s interactions were becoming a level of understanding with one another, without having to say a word. Separate routines, different reasons but same location. Loneliness.

“The usual will do, thank you.” Paul said, when asked for his order. What Paul didn’t recognise was he was one of many that came in on a regular basis. Just another office wanker, divorced and lacking any culinary skills.

Annie had to hide her confusion. She scribbled a child-like scrawl across the page, disguising her poor memory with professional waitress mannerism. Hoping the chef would recognise her description of the one of many ‘usual’ customers, she forced a smile and scurried to the back.

She’d said she’d give the job up for months now, but even she wasn’t convinced anymore. It’d been a long day. Maybe she’d be the next local in the corner. Maybe she needed a pint herself.

 

Break Up Writing

She did that thing with her hair. Twisting it playfully around her finger like a loose thread. In the same manner she did on our first date. It used to be endearing, flirtatious even, but right now it’s pissing me off. It’s too dark for her pasty complexion. Once, it shone caramel; the colour, contagious to the rising of my dimples. Now, it’s a Pound Shop dye-job-disaster.

The first date, the Italian down the road. I couldn’t afford petrol back then so the car, if you could call it that, often sat immobile on the drive way. I could pretend it was to flaunt the thing to the neighbours, but there wasn’t much to show off. The door was falling off and its colour was indistinguishable. Fact was, it was an embarrassment. Not a lady-puller, but a laughing stock.

She wore a pale pink blouse, the colour just a dark enough shade to enhance her pale skin. I wore the shirt I often wore to the office, only without the tie. Didn’t want to appear too fancy. Her lips were moulded like cherries, a cranberry colour, uncertain if it were lipstick or naturally desirable. The fact was, she was out of my league.

But somehow I got the girl. Five years of marriage, a wedding we couldn’t afford. Leanne, well she looked gorgeous. I remember the first year all too well, it’s like that first six months of dating but heightened. Calling her my wife felt alien, I still had to correct myself half the time. This is my wife, Leanne. It wasn’t a fear of commitment, or any lack of acceptance. Looking back, it was more the worry of came next. Fulfilling others’ expectations. It’s all they ask you, like a tick-box list of what is to come. ‘So, any baby plans?’ ‘When are you expecting then, Leanne?’ ‘Has it really been five years, already? Better get a move on folks, you’re not this age forever!’

We’re both in denial. She has a book on parenthood in her bed-side drawer, hidden under toiletries she thinks I haven’t looked through. She’s patient, I’ll give her that. But there’s a fine line between patience and deliberate avoidance.

‘How many times are we going to have this conversation, Le?’ The pitch of my voice had increased with irritation.

She stands there, her eyes unable to meet mine, twisting that strand of hair round her finger. I’m surprised she has any hair left.

‘I’m just waiting for you to change your mind, Dan,’

‘What if I’m not going to? What if this is it for me? Like I’ve said time and time again.’

‘But you said you’d think about it,’

‘Which I have.’

She looked up at me, her eyes were brimming with tears, the kitchen lights reflecting from her watered pupils.

‘What are you trying to say?’

I gulped. What was I doing? The words spurred out in a vomit-like, incoherence.

‘We’re both living in denial, Le. We want different things. I can’t do this anymore.

You’re

You’re the girl immersed in the city

colour, from slate grey to

carnival inked maps.

You’re lilac, a colourful orbit, a

translucent, iridescent sun-rise,

Tying me to the shore, like an anchor.

You’re keeping me ship-wrecked,

and captive, safely so.

 

My heart is meshed, knitted in a

tight, make-shift spider’s web.

Laced in a mesh of passion

and goodbyes.

 

You’re my lighthouse in the rocky storm.

You’re rainbow infused safety,

You’re.