Private Parts

On summer days when I was small, and my family took me out to climb mountains,

The heat would cause my friend to strip his torso bare, and I would follow suit,

Unaware of the mountains that would grow out of me,

Or the mountains I would face when I grew taller.

In my teenage years my love and I would peel back layers,

Moving towards the private parts we’d both been taught to shelter,

Layering our views so that we sheathed ourselves away,

Our clothing collecting on the floor like the years.

Whilst we spread ourselves out, shadows lifted, we found the air cold.

Searching for more to peel away, we realised that instead of taking things off,

We started to put things on; judgements, decisions, accusations.

Before we decided to hide away from each other’s eyes.

On parting, I was left with a chasm burning under my skin,

Disfiguring my chest as I spaced discussions with tea and poems,

Spilling out thoughts from clifftops, screaming into the winds,

Realising how much of myself had become buried.

Meticulous, obsessively, I began to lay bare the moments

Thoughts and feelings that had misplaced themselves

Until I realised I didn’t worry about undressing in front of you;

You’d already seen the most private parts of me.

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Messy Epilogue

A body; silhouette under street lamps,

With legs that hang from bed frames.

His voice caught in pilchard tins,

Laughter spread on burnt toast,

Our friendship sailing on pirate references.

Outline welcoming, enraptured as it wrapped,

A smile spread from glistening eyes,

Heat-soaked dance-moves, stale breathing,

Nostrils filled with pastel-chalk of face-paint

Hands- on hips -in hair -entwined.

Both our shouts and our whispers lost

Words misted over years, impacted with social dust.

Memories like silent flickering films.

Secret confessions as you idly pluck guitar strings,

Secret desires never revealed until the credits.

This house cat curled up whilst friends tease her mane,

Sitting to the side of you, we watched TV drama,

The ending was always inevitable,

Whilst the TV turning off was expected,

Closing the door feels premature.

Covers

The sticky-sodden youth-fire drained

From my gummy-crusted eyesight.

Gangly arms and legs flipped forwards

With giggles and blonde Disney eyelashes wide

Onto scenes of rusted-tinted nostalgia

Whilst I found fresh sharp clarity-breath hard.

My body contorted around musted pillow-deflation,

Forced chain-strength with harmless play-power.

Laughter cackle-bubbles from deep-throated forget,

Whilst video-stream filled secular spaces and erased fluted-tone.

Reclamation of previous foregone-unquestioned conclusions

Whisper-tickles insist they never had agency anyway.

Regret lust-speckled voices and flesh,

Insistent word-making and exploratory expressionism,

Dust-covered curves and spittle-soaked angles.

Ignore where previous touch-tangle undid tight knot-threads

Sudden new vision-alighted verisimilitude beckons sharp-flash irises

A dawn of new soar-scream cry-free original momentum.

Chess

I am surrounded by sentinels and bishops

Kings and Queens lined up against one another,

Their castles pinpointed at corners.

We are supposed to complement one another,

A juxtaposition of interests and style,

We stood on clifftops, shouted across oceanic tiles,

But didn’t listen to the echoes.

A constant power play, you moved forwards,

Whilst I swipe to the side, evading any reaction.

Later, when we have broken the castle walls,

Thrashed knights and trashed useless pawns,

We will realise the damage we caused is irreparable.

There was never a neutral space for us,

Even though our colours lie next to each other.

Absence (NaPoWriMo2015 #30)

You don’t listen for my silences,

The moments I do not talk in case I offend.

You assume that because I have said nothing,

I have nothing to say, but really I am muted.

I toned down the utterance in case they worry,

I soothe out the creases where I hide away,

I plaster over the cracks that ripple foundations.

I am strong enough to hold myself high when the wind howls.

I held up others, I supported the smallest spruce to growth,

At no point did I ask for the help and kindness of your hand.

You don’t listen for the silences, because I hide them

In the shadows of the moments I cannot bear,

When I am outstretching branches and waggling leaves,

You hear the wind whistling through, not the absence of birdsong.

Self. (NaPoWriMo2015 #29)

Revealing a startling side to her I never thought she possessed,

Even after all these years, she still surprises me with her harsh tongue

Skinny, she would say, that’s something you will never, ever be.

Prettiness, she would say, was not something blessed to you

Even though I know her every logic works from a mind akin to mine

Cynical views haunt her every word, in their inflection and tone

Thus, I have decided to stop listening. Beauty…

Find out what it means to me.

Pebbles (NaPoWriMo2015 #28)

I dropped pebbles,

Lining them up along the pathways

Speckling them around the campus.

I would have named them, had I known their origin,

But I simply could not bring myself to associate them.

I simply dropped them around, hoping

Their absence would be noticed, wishing

That I would not find them again.