You are the source of all my pain
We went to a restaurant for our first anniversary.
My black dress and red lips,
Your smart jacket and your crisp white shirt.
We ate the wonderful food.
We drank the wonderful drink.
By this point my lipstick was smudged and tainted with wonderful red wine.
My tongue, too, was tainted. And bitter.
When you said my red lipstick was to your distaste, this provoked me in my drunken state.
We argued about many things. About our differences in lifestyles, our clashes in opinions. And I drank more. And when I drank more I began to cry.
That’s when I made my exit to reapply the red lipstick that you dislike. Just to spite you.
“Get the bill, please.” I say as my heels click on the wooden floor.
When I return to our table you have your head in your hands. We don’t look at each other.
I bite my lip hard to stop the neverending tears from flowing, keeping my head down in fear the rest of the room will see.
But when I look up, with tears blurring my vision.
I see your stupid smile.
All of a sudden I’m laughing and the tears pour down my cheeks.
“At least we argue enough to care.” You say. You smile at me.
“Do you think we’ll always be like this?” I laugh.
You take me home. You take me to bed.
By the end of the night the only thing that comes between us is our clothes.
You soon see to that.
My grandmother told me that I have the gift.
It skips a generation, you know.
Women are more likely to have it.
She told me when she was a child she saw the ghost of her grandmother standing in the mirror behind her.
When you died, I stood in front of the wardrobe where we used to play,
Hide and seek.
Seeking you out in the mirror, hoping you would reveal youself to me.
The tension cut the room with the knife, almost as if you were holding your breath in the shadows, hidden away.
I feel things too, you know.
See shadowed men in hallways slip by, people standing over me in bed. I hear sighing and whispers in the night time.
But I am still waiting for you to show me a sign.
Just let me see you one last time.
I don’t know how you managed to appear at the perfect time –
Just before I was about to give up on boys altogether,
Give up on the romantics, the faithful ones, the committed ones
because I’d forgotten that they had even existed at all.
Suddenly there you were, looking like George Harrison,
with your long hair and your beard; your silence and your brooding dark eyes.
I instantly knew I must have you.
But I never would have fathomed the feeling would be mutual,
Never imagined a boy I could only conjure in my dreams would manifest himself into my reality,
That I could reach out and touch you,
That I could call you mine.
“When I grow up I want to be a…”
I’d written mermaid.
I’d always been a child of the sea,
Too soft for reality.
Newborn, skull like chalk, chipped away;
Chiselled by an unrelenting, iron fist.
Retreat back inside your mother, child.
She will keep you safe.
She will take her warm hands and mould you like clay.
She will tell you that you can be soft.
Over the sound of her lullabies, child,
They will drill out the multiples of three.
Hack away at your brain,
Leaving nothing but circuits.
Grade your ability to memorise and retain,
Until you’re left running on autopilot.
Down the factory line,
Stripped, cloned, lobotomised.
They will carve you out of stone, with your own barcode,
Ready to be bought and sold,
Bought and sold,
Bought and sold.
There’s a part of my soul that claws and gnaws at me,
Something trapped inside telling me I need to break free.
It aches for a time I have never known,
I feel like I am a stranger in my own bones.
I feel heavy, empty,
Searching for a missing space inside of me.
My restless soul tells me that I don’t belong,
and my heart shreds with sadness and nostalgia so strong.
I am stuck in a life that is not my own,
I don’t feel like I can call this world my home.