Let Me In Your Secret Fairy Club

This is my official declaration,
hopefully the beginning of a transition,
I’ve decided I’d much rather be a fairy.
Being non-magical no longer appeals to me.
I’m sick of not flying and not living in a tree.
I know rent’s cheap round where I stay, but I’ve heard very good things about their economy.
And I always wanted
more than this.
More than the over-average ordinary day-in day-out drag.
The nine to five, work to survive,
only get to feel alive on the weekends
kind of life.
It’s not for me.
I’m catching falling stars every time you leave,
spinning stories on the curve of every line.
I’ve got a hairbrush full of adventure
waiting to be combed through,
the only ingredient left to get’s a set of wings.

So I’m addressing this poem to the Fairy Embassy,
in the hopes you’ll find me a strong candidate.
I’m already smaller than all of my friends
and that’s not where the resemblance ends.
I’ve got a heart like the forest –
ever-growing, and defiant,
and there may be ivy clinging to my trees,
but doesn’t it make the land look greener?

See? Optimism.
Fairy trait number one.
I’m also charming, enchanting, modest –
and not the seventh son of the seventh son,
cause that’d make me a wizard.
But to be honest, I wouldn’t mind.
I’ll take anything superhuman,
just sign me up, let’s get moving.
Do what you gotta do to equip me with wings instead of sighs.

I enclose this poem
with an IOU of twenty pounds,
payable on receipt of the aforementioned wings.


A Short Note

Last night I had the honour of being named ALOUD’s new host – no idle task, considering my predecessors are Bibi June and Ross McFarlane, two extraordinary poets and people in their own right. That being said, I have high hopes for the future. I may not be the evening’s Mufasa, but I can attempt to be a lyrical Simba if you’ll let me.

On a more sentimental note, I have a lot to thank ALOUD for. It was my first stage, and my only one for a very long time, and while I have performed in a good few other places now, there will always be something special about Jim’s Bar at the QMU and that iridescent, blinding light that dangles from that familiar ceiling. All poetry night’s have their individual merits, and ALOUD’s lies in its spectacularly encouraging and engaged audience. Which is why (aside from the above bias) I am so very excited for the upcoming academic year. Having the opportunity to encourage and watch grow so many talented writers over the last year has been spectacular, and I can only imagine it getting better.

Anyway, I said this was a short note, so I’ll leave it at that, but please know how absurdly stoked I am for all future poetry events. So y’know. Invite me to them. Keep coming along to ALOUD. Support the arts.

Learning to Forgive Yourself

You turn up at 2am,
wine laced words slipping liberally from lips
sewn shut more often than most.
Just a ghost
in another man’s body,
a demon by any other name.
Not the same boy I asked to my door.
Too much wolf in your smile and gasoline on your skin,
but I am open,
church doors swinging,
and when they told me ‘don’t pray for the fallen,’ I never listened.

Three beers later and we are shoulder
against shoulder,
sharing scars and secrets in fading light.
And you are laughing.
God, you are laughing and I am laughing and we are drowning in the people we used to be,
and it’s so close to perfect it bothers me.

But then you get this look in your eye,
a cry for mercy written on your face.
We are sitting in a blue and white room as dawn paints the outside sky,
and I am asking you ‘why?’
See I’ve seen that look too many times
not to recognise self loathing eyes.
When you walk past mirrors,
I bet it seems like they splinter,
like your own reflection spits out your name.
But in that same vein,
I look at you most days and all I see’s an ocean wave;
formidable, yes, but holy,
so you need not ask for mercy.
Not here. Not
with me.
I don’t care if it takes near a hundred days,
I’ll make you see what I see eventually.

Everyone has to repent for something,
and it has little to do with God.
We’re all mending broken bones in whatever ways we can,
so don’t just shrug when I say I understand.
And don’t push me away.
I know it’s easier to be alone than to live with your pain,
but you can’t let rats gnaw at your insides forever
and whether you like it or not, we’re in this together.

If only you could see what I see,
boy with kaleidoscope eyes,
hair like sunrise and a heart
in time with mine.
I don’t have the same healing hands as my Mother,
but you make me want to try.

Right now you reek of Lonely
and it’s staining every wall,
but people get it wrong when they say that pride comes
before a fall.
The fall comes first,
all broken bones and bruised kneecaps,
hands that won’t stop shaking,

this does not define you.
This does not
define you.

Grieving yourself is half bodies in the closet,
half splayed fingers on another person’s skin.
Part eye of the storm, part full raging war,
and I know I’ve told you it before, but

you are not your scars,
or the people who have left you with scorch marks.
You are a bottomless sea, an impenetrable forest,
and a good man,
if I’m being honest.

Drink Me Dry

It’s been almost a week since I had the privilege to perform at Loud Poets: The Rise and Fall of Robin Cairns and the Spiders from Mars (potentially the longest named poetry night in history – is there a Guinness World Record for that?) so I suppose it’s about time I published the typed version of the poem I wrote. Thus, without further adu:

Drink me dry.
I am sea water,
the calm hum of salt scraping stone,
water droplets like diamonds against bone dry skin
but heat
is hardly an enemy.
See I live in the Arctic,
all ice collision and polar bear threat,
but there’s more to it than that.
I’ve got Mediterranean bones
and a heart
only the Carribean can keep.
There is more to me than the North Sea –
I’m in every cloud that every drowned you,
taking cities with waves, ransacking bedrooms,
flooding lungs
with ocean memory.

So don’t look at me like a saviour.
You can’t pin water against a cross, and it’ll keep you warm
but only for so long.
See, I’m sea water,
and you’re a volcanic eruption on the tip of my tongue
but don’t let me cool you down.
I wanna see fire
and brimstone,
defy my mother and touch the open flame
but I’m afraid it’ll turn me to steam
and I guess that’s kinda the problem.

‘Cause I want engine sparks,
and glaring sun,
your body pressed against mine like an iron on creased clothes.
I hope you know
that every taste of your mouth devastates me
’cause I want you
more than the sea wants the shore
even if we don’t quite fit.
If there’s water on Mars then we might stand a chance
but only if you stop looking at me like that.

There’s nothing holy about my deep sea creatures
or the way I move to soft rock.
I’m more storm than shore, more thunder than rain,
but that’s okay.
Because for all my poet talk, I know
we’re just people,
just bone and bite and blister,
and if you can learn to love my dark parts, I’ll learn to love yours too.

Don’t look at me like a saviour.
I’m only sea water, bubbling in the stream,
and I can’t stop you setting your house on fire,

but when you do,
I’ll be there to dowse that fire in blue.
I can’t stop the scorch marks or how lonely it feels
in a world of only smoke,
but I can take your hand,
keep you steady,
and if you’ll be kind enough to let me,
I’ll show you how much better under the sea can really be.