Cigarettes

Can you go buy me cigarettes

She rasps from the dark cocoon of wherever she is with her demons
On the mattress on my bedroom floor

I take my school uniform off and change into civvies
Put on some mascara so the 7/11 guy will sell to me

Come back with the goods

She’s still there
Deep in her turmoil
But also she sees me
As I bring her lighter

I was raped
She drops it
Like a bowling ball through a glass table
My feet beneath.

I feel the impact
On my childhood
On my innocence
On my place as her daughter

As she discloses
For the first time in her life
Nearly fifty years old
Her vast history of horrific sexual assault

In graphic detail
Of the violence
Of the humiliation
Of the insidious threats to silence her

A suite of stories
That I now see as almost universally thematic for so many women

But her first telling
Was my first hearing

And already I had my own
Silenced stories
Tucked away inside so many poky corners of my soul

She draws on her dart
Exhaling putrid smoke
Into my asthmatic face
She’s feeling that relief
Of no longer carrying it alone

Meanwhile
My feet feel the bruise of the bowling ball impact
My soul is writhing with the discomfort of being made the listener

She looks at my face
Hers switches up and she blinks
Dons the facade of adult
And says

You’d better put your uniform on and get to school


Copyright 2021

Out

Out.

I’m out.

Mum, I’m gay, 

I texted her.

That’s nice dear.  

As in you’ve renamed yourself, or like two poofy men?

Homphobic bitch.

Out.

I’m out.

Striding through the Autumn morning in my walking shoes

Seeking solace in the beauty outside me

from the rage that churns within

The grey blanket of the pre-dawn sky warms me not, 

but offers me great comfort,

with the reassuring reminder that I am 

at once 

infinitesimal

and as expansive as the universe

A blush emerges as the sun comes back from the other side of the world, busy tart

A suggestive apricot, fuzzy and without edges, and with the optimism of Alabama Whitman

“She tastes like a peach”

how truly did I want to taste her mouth

Still I stride, breathing through my swirling truth

And now, somehow, streaks of pink and blue

Audacious as those marine creatures that you think have surely been exaggerated 

in the artist’s depiction

I can even forgive my ancestors for believing in sky god

Out.

I’m out.

Here under this cracking morning sky, remembering to notice the beauty of the universe.

Mary Oliver eat your heart out!

Savour those juices as they stream down your chin

Rivulets forming in your cleavage invitationally 

for another lover 

of life to slurp at

Yum.

Mum, I like to lick life juice off the tits of women poets.

Still I stride, rounding the corner, home comes into view.

And in the valley beyond, down over the town to the west

The sun, my current favourite artist, has invited the morning mist to dance.

A rainbow!

My queer little heart opens in bliss.

Life really does love me!

And I love her right back, 

most Sapphically indeed.

Copyright 2021.

saved

Poetry will save us
as it has
and always does

It's poetry who catches us
falling in
and out
of love

A resting tent that nurtures us
while our souls replenish,
touching the universality of our own uniquely fragile stardust...

Stroking our foreheads,
breathing peace into our hearts,
illuminating the beauty in everything
and stitching it
into a cloak of light,
draped lovingly around our shaking shoulders;
whispering cogently to us of its impenetrability, 
of our own sovereign safety,
so that we may rise refueled
our furnace stoked
charged by the life force now burning
outrageously bright in us
to face the world and all its oddly timed surprises
with the optimistic courage of a rising sun

This day is mine!

Poetry has saved me.

Again.