The ugliness

I started building forts when I was very small, my grandmother had these mattresses that would bend double and two of them created a perfect square when put on their sides, I covered them with a sheet, dragged as many pillows as I could fit inside and sometimes the cat.
I read books, I read books and comics about animals who could talk and I ate my snacks one bite at a time pretending I could live here forever.
That there would be days before anyone came to look for me.
Look how I survive on my own. I say to the cat; lets play wolves, I am lost in the forest and you find me.
But the cat grew tired of my games and just lied there while I skipped around on all fours wild at heart.
I refused to eat dinner, but I had a small pink chair a table for myself that fit my small form inside my room.
Sometimes I dragged the cat’s bowl of fish to the opposite side and sat him down on the chair to dine with me.
I held conversations for hours in small mewls and when it grew dark out I pretended I had claws.

When I was no longer so small I hunched down between library shelves with shakespeare and Ibsen in hand, the library had these small wooden tables with lamps hanging over them, but I preferred to sit on the floor, on the rolled up coat and under my scarf.
I brought pieces of bread and crisps in my bag and I ate small pieces at the time.
I fell in love with Nora and followed her out the door,
I read midsummer nights dreams all over again and pretended again that I was lost in the woods and Oberon and Titania found me.
And Titania gives me fur and lets me stay in her forest for as long as I wish, leaving me fairies to feed me dew and wipe my cheeks.
We decide to stay there, for hours, for years.
But the sun doesn’t shine too long in the winter and I needed to walk home in the snow far away from forests.
And in the darkness I pretended I had sharp teeth.

When I was older than a child, yet younger than a adult I went up to the mountains.
I was being taught how to make myself a small cabin out of snow and ice so I could survive the night.
Along with others I trekked, slowly, so slowly through the snow and the ice to the top.
I stood on a plateau with nothing but snow and mountains on either side of me for miles and remembering fairy tales.
The ones with trolls that takes children to their castle under the mountains.
The ones where I would be slave then queen, then something else entirely and I laughed against the wind.
We dug out small igloos and I dug mine out alone not in groups of three.
Eating my bonfire meals in small bites and thinking, they could take me, I could wander to the mountains while no one saw and live in the forest.
I almost started walking, but crept into my small sleeping area instead, preferring to sit there and read.
When the darkness came upon the camp I heard laughter from the other igloos and I pretended my face had skin of stone.

(He told me I shouldn’t read books like that, I would grow up thinking that is how love was supposed to be.
And when darkness came I pretended I knew what love was supposed to be,
I pretended I had a heart.)
When I was almost an adult I claimed a room for my own near the forest, I paid it with money that were my own and I decorated it in magazine clippings.
But I spent my days on someone else’s sofa and I hoarded her books and read about a girl who were raised by wolves in the forest and dragged into the city.
I closed my eyes and thought I could find her, I could break her out and I could get her to teach me how to run.
But I had a friend who taught me how to run amongst the raindrops and lie quietly on the grass.
I learnt how to want and how to make my own meals that I ate in small bites and to drink peach drinks that tastes like fairy dew.
And once I ran to the forest and I took of my shoes and I thought maybe, maybe I don’t want them to claim me just yet.
Maybe the forest being near my walls was enough.
I talked of Gods and how we create them, I read of devils that control their lust and have forked tongues.
And when it got dark out I crept into bed and I pretended I had horns.

I started building forts when I was very small, with two small mattresses, sheets and pillows.
I walked through libraries as though they were the cities I would come to visit, with a sense of awe and an air of belonging.
There are no mountains or forests here and I am an adult who never grew up, but I read of women who love monsters and I read of fairies who steal them away in the night and I never stop closing my eyes and imagine.
And I imagine a universe where I had choice and love comes not so easily, but are won with wars of words and swords alike.
It is never taken for granted.
I build my forts with sheets on the walls, with shelves of books and tables of papers.
I build the forest in my mind I have big cats and foxes there, I have owls in my trees and bats in the nights,
I have swamps with mushrooms and big murky waters where spiky things live.
I build my space in this house with mugs because I need to cradle in my hand something that is my own,
and I eat my food in big bites but too seldom still.
And when it gets dark, when the moon shines through my window I drag myself to bed and I curl around someone’s spine.
And I pretend I am lost in a forest and they find me, I pretend I spent years with fairies who gave me to trolls who crowned me queen in my own right.
I pretend I have known love that have pierced through physical shields and saved me, I pretend I have run through the wilderness alongside a girl with fur like my own.
I pretend this was my childhood.

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Litany

You need to stop mapping your life by the name of your lovers.
As if you shed your skin and burn everything down whenever you lose one.
As if you can trace yourself back to the beginning with fingertips on different backs;
your lips on different necks.
It’s raining here again and you’re trying to wash away the touch of the last person to climb into your bed at 3 am whispering false litanies and pretending to sacrifice himself at your altar.
But your body is a temple with empty halls and empty rooms and he was not the praying type.
Do not decorate your walls with icons undeserving, do not so easily sink to your knees muttering words of worship,
take no false gods within you and stop,
stop mapping your life by the name of your lovers.
You are not scar tissue in the shape of a woman,
you are not meant to burn and devour senselessly.
It’s raining here again and you have forgotten you left yourself directions not by lovers footsteps,
but by words,
by songs.
And when you find your temple too cold in the winter, we’ll be here.
Come home.

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slide and stumble.

Let me just…
You lie there while I slip into something comfortable.
Denial,
bad coping mechanisms,
and cheap lingerie.

I wear my recovery like perfume,
so I say,
lie back.
Let me just quickly put something on.
I don’t know what you are expecting,
but I’m almost naked and I smell like war.

Let me get ready for this.
I’ll smile and pretend the days will come;
without regret,
without you leaving.
Strip me bare
of illusions,
dreams,
and clothes.

In the end
there is nothing for you here,
I make better love to myself.
At least I don’t flinch at the sight of teeth.

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A lesson in atoms

My love is many things, but a poet is not one of them.

My love do not hear the words in a song, he will find it great all the same.
He can heart the rhythm and the building blocks that I can’t hear over the singer explaining her broken heart.
But he tells me that when a star turn into a supernova it collapses in on itself,
with enough pressure the atom nucleuses will touch and collapse and create a neutron star,
even more pressure on this high density star and theoretically it will form a quark star.
And then, as with everything, in the right conditions, with the right timing;
theoretically this can be put under even more pressure and create a black hole.

He tells me as I stumble my way through understanding how nebulas are made and collapse to form stars,
to explode to form neutron stars,
or white dwarfs who collide and make nebulas,
how this circle of intergalactic life remains constant, and he tells me;
Even black holes evaporate given enough time.
Even white dwarfs who are said to be constant, not having enough element to implode, can collide with another to create nebulas.

And my love is many things, but a poet is not one of them,
so I take what he gives me and I explain myself as a collapsed star,
my heart so dense and heavy from having imploded inwards in a surprisingly quick motion,
Like a rubber band snapping back.
Perhaps I put too much pressure on myself in a critical moment and the sucking feeling in my guts is not a star, but a hole.
But it might evaporate, given enough time.

I take what he says of nuclear explosions and say that two halves of a unstable matter colliding with great force is what ruined a lot of my relationships in the past, but we are not engineered in a capsule just waiting to come together like that.
We are the slow flow in the ever expanding, ever amazing, universe wanting to explain itself.

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A sort of love poem.

Hey my sweet onion girl, my white winter fox, my sharp dressed, sharp tongue, sharp wit friend.
I miss you, miss you, miss you from this place in my chest that remembers how you carried me home all those years ago.
From the place where I ran barefoot out in to the rain to you.
I know we talked recently, almost sober, almost close.
Like your hand reaching out over the broken line on the phone,
and I told you how I loved you with my sweet sugar spun heart when I was fifteen and we were easy as breathing.
But I woke up this morning and I think I was home with you for just a second before I opened my eyes,
like the morning smelled of paint and ink and your sleeping shape.
Back when summers were spent with me curled up against you, nose in ear, weird growling dreams.
And then you disappeared.
I think you were my scribe and I was the story trying to tell itself,
I’m the head in the clouds and you’re leather-bound, fingers dug into earth, feet planted on a ship.
Come find me in this red bricked world, there are foxes here but they don’t howl as you do, there are men here with honeyed skin, sticky enough that it might make you linger.
Ah, I am selfish, I can’t keep you, I can’t keep you.
Cherry mouthed teenager or freckly cheeked adult alike, you belong with cobble stones and I belong with bricks.
But I believe in loves that has nothing to do with flesh and everything to do with your laughter, glasses of whiskey, and how even after years when I fly to greet the mountains, you smell like home.

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Forecast

You tell me I’ll be yours with the same conviction in your voice as someone who says it’s gonna rain.
When I ask how you can be so certain you just smile and say I feel it in my bones,
you say you get the feel for these things after time.
And I guess it’s flattering to be someones ache,
but it’s been weeks and I’m sat here without you and it’s all clear skies as far as the eye can see.

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He speaks of love like a mad priest speaks of salvation.

I have a friend who lives in a tower in a city where the mountain traps the rain between them like wild things trap prey.
He hides his heart in whiskey bottles and serves it up to anyone who makes the pilgrimage to hear him speak,
his words of pleasure and the absurd have filled room and halls and echo long after he leaves;
and every bit of this city rumbles when he laughs.
Outside of words, he lives in an altar of consumerism and his walls are filled with chantings in the night, prayers of Rumi and the low buzzing of devices.
He collect us like we are stray cats and dysfunctional dolls, to put on shelves and his desks and his sofa.
With soothing words and sly smiles he tells us to stop acting so small for we are the universe in ecstatic motion.
And although the words belong to someone else, his hands on the back of us as we try to go on is all him.

I have a friend who lives in a tower, in a city where rain washes everything clean too often for my taste.
But he has a suit for every occasion and a smile for every broken heart except his own.
And we walk the streets to his house like disciples to a place of prayer.

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