This Love Poem Is For The Both Of Us

I said I’m sorry you couldn’t have my best years.
When you could see my ribs and my thighs didn’t have stretch marks.
I’m sorry this is all yours now.
My mother told my sister I’d gained weight,
my sister told me I looked happy.
It took me this long to walk from one place in my head to another.
I’m not sorry you get the soft spoken me, the brave me, the trying me,
Jesus Christ I’m trying so hard and you’re cheering me on like you would want nothing more
than to fetch me coffee the rest of my life and say:
Babe, you’re doing great.
So no,
I’m not sorry,
I’m doing great.

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Bread Dough Heart

When I grow old I want my kitchen to be a heart.
I don’t want rooms like open wounds, I don’t want blood on the walls but I want the steady,
thump-thump
noise of being alive.
The racing of too much coffee, the warmth of two big hands around two smaller hands rolling bread dough.
When I grow old, when I grow tired I want my kitchen table to be a harbour.
Where all the ships make it home and all the prayers sent out to sea will come down on us,
like sugar being poured in a tea cup,
making everything so sweet.
I want this kitchen to be so sweet it sticks to you when you leave.
The sound of laughter and colliding of cups and saucers whilst a small girl falls asleep,
curled up on the sheepskin on the floor,
taking this moment with her into the future.
So when she grows up, she’ll know the heart of the house is the room where we come together to make and break bread.

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I told you winter would end

Everything is easier in the summer and I’m getting my legs waxed while smoking my first cigarette of the day.
Three women are laughing the slow,
sunburned, dizzy laughter of June.
The cheap pink strips of sticky wax leave strips down our legs and then we’re two women
rubbing oil down ourselves in the kitchen.
I say to one of them I like her like, it reminds me of home like,
I’m trying not to be crass or rude
Just say it!
No, but I mean…
Just say it!
Like the nice side of white trash.
She laughs and I laugh and I tell her of bathing toddlers in cut up oil cans and my aunts perming their hair on the step.
She tells me of building the emerald city in the living room out of green bottles.
It’s easy.
Easy like my strawberries are finally growing and everything we need is 99p at the corner shop,
except for the giant bottles of ice tea that are 1.39,
but worth every cold, sugary, sticky drop.
We smell like grass, olive oil and sun cream and it’s easy like this.
So easy.

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Young Love

Suburbia Love:
I love you like my neighbour loves to mow the lawn;
Mindlessly without awareness of drought.

Almost March Love:
You shine to me like the promise of spring break in a foreign country;
free of boarders and the illusion of safety.

I’m almost 18 Love:
You to me are freedom of tequila shots and three girlfriends holding my hair,
our kisses are the battlefront of a war we know nothing about.

I’ve Been Reading A Lot Lately Love:
I want our love to be as classless and messy as a marxist utopia I only know very little about,
but romanticise,
to death.

I’m Finding Myself Love:
I love you like the new white canvases on the wall of my new room;
I want to fill you, I want to fill you.

University Drop Out Love:
I doubt everything except how your hands,
roam my body,
like the textbooks
I want to throw you against a wall,
and set you on fire.”

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Greedy

I’ve kissed girls who thought I could save them,
like I was their spunky sidekick,
cheerleader,
go team go.
So I was understandably confused that when they left,
everyone said,
stop cheering, this isn’t your team.
I’ve held a girls hand in church thinking religion was holding my arms out,
like I was dying on the cross while she kissed me.
I will write love poems until my heart,
my poor heart rips itself out of my chest and shakes me
screaming enough!

Enough,
You didn’t leave your tongue at the breast bone of some girl
thinking you could lick your way in.
I will write love poems until everything that comes out of my mouth
tastes like bubblegum and lipgloss,
every swear word drips with the petals of the flowers I never gave her.
This is a testament that I was never hiding the fact that
the first long blond hair I found wrapped around my neck at night,
belonged to a sweet cheeked, rosy lipped, wonder of a girl.
And I loved her even when she kept one hand on me and another on everyone who told her,
she was beautiful.

She was beautiful and I will write love poems to every girl since,
even if you call me a cheat.
Even if what I call love you call greedy, what I call want you call
experimenting.
Like her mouth was a jumper I just tried on to see if it fit,
curled up in the back of my closet years from now.
Instead of a sweet revelation and yes,
yes this is what love is and yes I wanted her to touch me like that and yes!

Yes, I wrote love poems that I never showed anyone,
carved in to park benches,
and my heart.
My greedy, greedy,
wanting heart.

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Midnight sun

It’s been daytime for a month now and the curtains aren’t working,
it’s been too bright, too warm,
where do we live again – conversation
every single morning for two weeks.
I shiver in the shadow and wish for snow, heavy snow,
featherlight on my face,
I could bury myself under it and
never come up.
Someone tells me they like it up here, so good to get away from the city, they say,
so quiet.
I respond with squinting and
what
because I can barely hear them over the cacophony of seagulls eating their daily offering from the village fishermen.
And my curtains are made out of heavy velvet
I think I can easily imagine how it would feel to strangle someone.
Iced coffee?
Sweet smile and sweeter caffeine like a sledgehammer to my system and thank god.
Thank god
I still feel something even if it is this vibrating thing under my skin because
I am one with the grass, and sweat and shivering in the shadow.
A neighbour knocks on the gate and yells
Oh my god it’s so warm,
where do we live again!
I close my eyes and drink my coffee.

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Heart jam

Listen,
you ask a poet what to do when you heart is breaking
and get upset when she comes carrying jars.
You ask her how to tell if something is worth it
and she gets quiet and hands you a jar
says fill it.
I don’t know with what, just do it.

You and her and jars of honey, jam, chilies and olive oil, pickled peppers and you ask
why.
Why can’t you answer me straight?
Do you never write anything real?
Your words tell me you climb mountains to be ok, I need to know where my mountain is and she says
here,
eat this jar.

Don’t you get it
I don’t know.
I only know that there will always be things to
fill
and empty
sometimes it’s your heart,
sometimes it’s how much value you pour into the word
“worth.”
It tastes like honey and it lasts for centuries,
it tastes like chilies and it hurts.
You ask a poet,
like she’s made of maps,
and answers.

What do I do with my heart now?
And she hands you a jar,
says add thyme.
It’ll be ok.

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