i am not clever

i am not clever. my hands are clear of knowledge and i am not interested in the structure of my dna or how to please the man scanning my examination paper. i am only cleaning my knife. i am only bruising myself on other kinds of skin. i am learning by touching familiar faces through a white sheet on the other side of my palm, where my fingers poke through the holes and grooves of their eyes their noses their lips i cannot see. i am not clever because i cannot calculate a sum. i am not clever because i cannot hold together an atom and feel my way around the skeleton of a liquid. i cannot describe nature to you. even if i place stars in my mouth like sweets. no, i do not live for this kind of education. i live for the lessons inside peoples’ tongues. and i want to rub myself against their language. i want to be the drug they scrub into their gums. and at night i want them to fall asleep with my face imprinted into their dreams. i am not clever by books as books. i am only a genius with the books people wear on their faces. and i read them. time and time again.

but no, i am not clever.

deep love

N.B. for people who know how to love deeply

deep love is like being sat at the bottom of a swimming pool
with your goggles on and feeling like you’re a different species.

it’s alien in all the ways you’ve ever dreamed of them being
and you just have to be in a car one night for it to slam you.

you’re the reason you crash and you’re the reason your heart’s skipping
double-dutch and it’s beating harder than the bass in your eyes.

deep love is a whole new game
and you never find it.

it finds you.

Personal Problems: 9th Account

(N.B. I have never been so honest to myself, to you, Reader, to humanity. I hope I never meet you. I hope your eyes never cut my face).

Some time back I said I fuck with words.
I still do.
I am their prostitute.
I am their dirty little whore.

My father holds me against the world,
If I could still keep his protection I would,
But I put 20 oceans between us for the sake of education.
Welcome to University.

Father, tell me something so innately personal
That it takes you back to you standing on the edge of your own father’s grave.

I know these cuts on your skin,
Father, Foreigner, Friend.

You never tell me your deepest secrets so easily,
I peel you back, layer by layer, once every 3 or 4 years.
So this time it will take you some time to think.
I’ll give you some of my own to soothe the pain you’re feeling.

I am your dirty half-breed daughter,
They called me that at school.
And I know it breaks you into two,
That you couldn’t whip humanity’s tongue back into the sewers of its throat.

I don’t blame you,
I don’t blame the blood running through my veins,
I’m happy to be this different,
I’m happy to stare in everybody’s eyes and be weird.

Your family try to love me, but not wholly,
Because I’m half Mother.
Mother’s family try to love me, but not wholly,
Because I’m half you.

Either way, both sides of the same coin are not in my life at all.
How long has it been since I stared into the eyes of my superior cousins?
So long.
So I live by the words,

And I’m sorry to say Father,
I’ve sold myself short to words.
I’m the Sasha Grey of language.
I don’t use protection, either.

How many times I’ve been knocked up,
I’ve lost count,
But I know that this coping mechanism hurts me so much sometimes
That I might as well abort myself.

If I weren’t in your life
Maybe I wouldn’t have licked the paddles of the racism,
I have swam in seas of other peoples’ spit,
So I go home and fuck another word or two.

Father, I’m sorry.
I’m sorry for not being a mathematician.
I know you don’t say too many words in your life.
I know you will never like this work.

But I love you.
I love selling myself for free.
I’m fairly good at it; just like sex,
You get better at it the more you do it.

Every poem of mine is another ex that you never knew about
And every word is another sore you never saw
But you don’t have to heal it
Or bind it with “daddy strength”

If you need to know,
Scroll the pages.
Go through my texts and call up my ex-words,
My one night stands with syllables,

Because I haven’t seen them in months.
I miss them.
I miss Mother.
I miss you.

Maybe the fact we’re so hated by so many people who don’t know us
It turned us into selling ourselves short.
You still respect yourself.
Maybe I don’t. Maybe I do.

I chuck the coins from the spaces between my legs
And hopefully someone will eat them,
I’m not doing this for the money,
I just want somebody to listen, even if its not you.

So there you go Father.
I’ve said my piece.
You’re not somebody to shirk out on a deal,
You’re a man of your word.

Its your turn now.

Marked As Unread

Oh honey,

Were that you a blow to the wind,
I would’ve wiped your smears away from my dark heart many months ago.

That your mistakes stained your hands like blood,
The reasoning behind your eyes is cross-stitched, you read my messages and then fold the pages of the diary back.

I would’ve tossed your empty literature into the fire.
I would’ve buried the embers underneath the sea.

I have no place for you inside me.
It is with a heavy bag I carry my dry bones, the marrow stuffed with mistakes like you,

Meeting you, knowing you,
Learning to be friends with you.

Oh honey,

Were that you a final kiss,
I would’ve sponged away your glossy pout away from my lips.

I would not have bought your book,
I would not have invested into your emotions, whatever spirals you “out of control”,

You wear your flesh insane,
But your insides are measured, calculated and cool.

I have seen the darkness in your irises, the lies that drip like pitch off your tongue,
They are reality with a twist, a cocktail of your deceit.

Oh honey,

Were that you a stranger,
I might never have made you a friend at all.

Girls

Little Girls: When father gave me carbonated water the taste made my eyeballs ache and my tongue shrivel, electrified, and my nose was stained with the unpleasant taste.

Reckless Girls: But since finding other men, I encountered a naturally racist young Nazi scouting Cambodia who could make me laugh harder than the wind knocking branches at my window on Halloween night.

Love-Sick Girls: It was fishes rippling my ribs, bubbles rising in lemonade tickling my sides, that was laughing with you. Carbonated liquid smiling in my chest.

Curious Girls: When father drove me and mama home on late November nights the street lights used to sprint backwards on the motorway, and if I squinted my eyes hard enough, the moon’s stare used to blend with them until my vision made the lights and the moon-rays appear like UFOs landing on the car roof.

Scared Girls: At 14 the streetlights were still tall and in nightmares they could bend their backs and tap their bulbs onto my bedroom window.

Regretful Girls: And before the council refitted new bulbs the old lamps used to shine different oranges and reds and ochre yellows. It reminded me of grandmother’s fruit-bowl, passed down to my mother. We kept it in a corner in the kitchen. Midges used to eat the apples.
Now the streetlights stain the sky mud.
I never enjoyed growing up.

Successful Girls: When I finished paying off my bills, I looked up at the sky and figured, I was here, countless of bullies had bruised me with the belief I wouldn’t be. I hung up my cashmere coat, and with it, hung my old enemies by the neck on my doorstep.

Mean Girls: Uncle would come round on New Year’s. I used to go to the bathroom when the doorbell rang. I could feel his fingernails digging into my skin again. His hands were always muddy, and his fingers fat. He never cut his nails. They were long and yellow. His breath was peppermint and cigarettes, and he flashed a crocodile smile and handed my parents my Christmas present. It was always a box of chocolate orange cremes. When I was little, I used to love them. I told him they were my favourite, before I grew tits and became pretty.
A new girl brought them in one day and at lunchtime I beat her face in.
Her face reminds me of my own when my Uncle has to look after me after school.

Lonely Girls: My boyfriend’s always out. He comes back smelling of somebody else’s kisses. Forget Chanel. I can smell the lust on him. Like roses. I grew like a weed in the sinews of his heart, and I pace the floor on Friday nights, checking my phone, spying on the clock. The TV blares into the night and the cold can of beans festers on the carpet. That’s me, Apartment 3A, Orlean Heights, on 9th. I smoke so much I’ve turned yellow like the Moon. Little does he know I’m smoking his side chick into the night.

Mentally-Unfit Girls: The Devil’s on the inside of my brain, and he is saying “scratch, scratch” into the night, burning his tongue on my forehead, licking my tissues, lapping up my blood like milk. If I cut and cut and cut my face, he bleeds out in the form of my mother’s ghost.

Teenage Girls: But Daddy, I hate him!

Fat Girls: My gut’s bigger than ever before. Can I carve the words “lose weight” into my brain? No? My arm will have to do.

Thin Girls: My head’s so small that my Princess crown won’t fit my head. Can I carve the words “lanky bitch” into my heart? No? My arm will have to do.

Old Girls: Such is life. “Raised by parabolic dunes”, Grandmother. Here I am, sat by his side on the porch, drinking lemonade, surrounded by all our children and grandchildren.

Heartbroken Girls: That’s the way of the heart. You can easily snake it around your fingers, hand somebody the key and they will lace you into their lips. They lace your heart with themselves. Drugs are good. You took yourself away from me, no more high. I just want to drink your blood, baby.

Vain Girls: Grew the fuck up, and found out that Santa has orgies with his elves on Christmas Day. Biggest orgy of the season. Carbonated water’s bad for you. Anything with “carb” in front of it is bad for you.

Big Girls: I still hate carbonated water. Oh, to be little again. I wear nighties now, contemplate my pay cheques, try to eat lots of fruit, avoid walking at night when the streetlights are on, don’t date anybody, and just generally try to forget how easy it used to be.
I want an exercise book for everything in life. Let me practise and give me a gold star.