red brick hands

Maybe all there is
is that I’ve known too many people made of decay
gone mad.
And they’ve all touched me.
Now I’m getting up
feeling my walls rot.
I turn to him and I say
baby,
you’re lucky you love abandoned houses.
‘Cause baby,
I’m fucking falling apart.

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K.O

We’re all sinking but you’re swallowing water like this is the only thing you can win.
I’m not saying you’re not fighting,
we all turned up to the arena and you got there late,
handing over money to the bookie saying:
Put it all on the other guy.
Then smiled easy.
You say you’re not here just to leave early.
But the difference between leaving or staying out late, eye fucking death pouring drinks by the bar,
is either way,
I can’t see your eyes most of the time.
Like you’re looking ahead but it’s downwards, like you can’t hear me shouting, like I can’t reach you, I can’t shake you!
Like,
nothing.
Nothing between you and the ocean floor now that you’ve swallowed it all,
you tell me not to worry while climbing in to the ring not wearing gloves.
I stopped seeing nooses in every belt buckle you own but you don’t buckle up when you drive,
and it drove me away.

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Language barriers.

Toddlers will run through every sound they need for their language before they start talking,
I just mean to say that I make a lot of noise about love,
and bodies.
And maybe I ran through a lot of it before I met you, maybe I still have some running to do.
But everything I want to say,
the sentences I string together, I just want you to know I love you.
I make a lot of noise and I string together a lot of nonsensical things of past, and future and the mouths I’ve tasted and touched, bit and licked.
And I will never make light of them, they were some great mouths.
But my tongue is gathering around some noises of us,
and I guess I need you to know I’m not scared of it.
It rests easy between my lips, this language of us.
And I hope I will always form my self around how I say I love you,
tongue nestled between four languages:
I love you.
Jeg elsker deg.
Я тебя люблю.
This poem.

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Let’s not speak of it.

I want you to know there are poems I’ll never tell you about,
or speak out loud.
There are poems I don’t write down.
stuck between my ribs, lodged in my throat, where it sticks, where I can’t breathe.
I want you to know there are poems that would ruin everything,
including me.
Like this thing that still hurts, old and still bleeding when I pay it too much attention.
There are poems that would do no one good.

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Roadmap skin

Cut sage from the stem and fry them with onion, cut slugs in half, cut seedlings and spread them.
I have road maps on my arms and thighs.
For years they have led me away,
they said pack all your things,
sweetheart,
and run.
But my heart was never as sweet as I made it out to be and I have seen people rip it from my chest and bite in to it,
juice flowing down their skin,
never flinching from the bitterness as much as I do.
And so I look to the maps on my arms and all of the roads leads here,
to a house in the city, a garden we’ve been digging up, new roots,
him.
Home is where you put your shoes by the door and name all your mugs.
I plant my heart in the middle of my chest and I say to it;
unfurl your roots now.

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Up North

I  don’t know anyone from up north who doesn’t have part of their past stashed away in a barn somewhere.
There are five sofas from different generations in various levels of decay and stuffed between, someones old bike.
I can never leave that place,
my face is in photo albums I’ll never see again and they will be placed in a barn
45 years from now someone will trace their fingertips over the picture of a small me smiling,
smiling so widely.
Nothing dies up north, nothing leaves, not really, it just gets buried under ice, under snow and at the back of a barn.
It’s where we keep the old fridges, the albums and the skeletons.

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Sunflower teeth.

She says be ruthless with them and I’ve yet to tell her these plants are my teeth,
the gap between my spines.
I’ve not told her how I have grown these flowers over and over again in my sleep.
But I practise keeping my hands firm without trembling, moving roots from one bed to another,
it feels familiar.
Like two suitcases and a backpack, being hungover on a plane, kissing someone for the last time.
Kissing someone for the first time.
She says water them loads at first, it pulls the roots down, then leave them thirsty for a bit, they’ll find their own water.
And I want to tell her that I know thirst it’s ok, now I know to be hardworking instead of lazy and that rain always comes.
I push new seeds down and whisper blessing between my teeth,
my fingers want to absorb the soil, my marrow wants to know this dirt.
I can’t help but think of permanence,
of fingers making holes in dirt, of needles pushing ink and I push seeds.
It’ll hurt, sometimes.
I used to say I’m rootless, ruthless and ready to leave whenever I need.
But lately I have found myself like a weed, scattered all over, roots like tendrils growing from my tongue, my eyes in corners of two countries.
I know which parts of me grows like basil and which part of me grows like mint.

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