Oftentimes, the destruction we wreak upon ourselves imitates the damage done to us in the past. Behaviour copies behaviour; sometimes we fall apart, and we realise that it is not what has happened to us that is peeling away the defenses. We look, and see it is our own hands repeating someone else’s actions. Phantom limbs can be almost undetectable.


Against the lightbulb’s blare,

I pulled at my thickened clothing,

Drew down my skin;

Subtracted to nothing

Undressed, I am

Pale and curved,


A smudged line lacking:

Soft zero

“Tonight,” I say

“I will let you in”

To blued memories

In constant ferment

Of bruising

They will be mine to tell

Tropical, foreign

Words to sink in;

What I felt then,

I feel the savagery

Of childhood

Now and again

The cries, deep-clawed

Beasts of the undergrowth

Which grew,

Tall, veiled creatures

To pluck and undo

With hands now my own

The monsters I have seen,

Have talons

Sharp enough to pick fruit


Locked Lips Tell No Lies – Extract 5

Her voice is large enough to fill a room, so large my voice is an imitation. I answer, echoes bounding back, small and infinite. What I think is not always said out loud. I am the reflecting place for her thoughts; in that, I give her worth, the difference between yes and no, what will happen and what will never be. Yes, Theo will still be here, years from now. No, she won’t even leave. Will I be happy? I’m sure I’ll find out when she and I speak again, during the long hours which creep through night, the dark clutching at words, long-limbed tendrils of dark crawling over our bed. The dark which is rich enough to plant ideas, so deep the ideas take on life of their own, sprouting, inching their way bit by bit, until they bloom in the corners of the ceiling and crack open the window. The wallpaper is heavily patterned and I can see a version of myself behind it, listening intently. I pay more attention from the outside looking in. 

Locked Lips Tell No Lies – Extract 4

Theo could never leave. Her eyes do not roam, because what is hers has already been found. She talks endlessly about what will be, and at night she dreams her plans, awake or otherwise. I hear her talking in her sleep, curled beside me. Sometimes she will reach out, semi-conscious, to check I am still in the bed next to her. Perhaps it is also to check that I’ve not gone to find the key, the key which opens the gate, the gate which will let me through to the lake. I know Bacchus has hidden it, and no matter how much I plead, he will not say a word. He is resolute, almost made of stone, his hand unwavering as he paints paints paints. For him to be so calm is practically maddening, as he usually cannot sit still. But I have seen the look between him and Theo, and I know when to leave the room.

I know that Theo will follow me, usher me behind my desk and place a pen in my hand. Most often, I will write a letter to you, and when that letter is finished, it gets filed away in a wooden chest. Imagine, I have a stack of paper three feet tall, three feet closer to you but no stairway can surpass such heights. A ladder cannot be put to the moon. A rope will not fall from the sky to carry me away. So I sit in my chair, and scribble rapidly, feet not given to rising off the ground. Theo, incredible Theo, watches the ink bruise, satisfied. If she is exhausted, she has shown no sign of it yet. I guess she takes strength from knowing my letters will always remain unanswered, and that the dialogue between she and I will always remain a constant.

Purple Monochrome

 Inspired by Carol Ann Duffy’s ‘Steam’ (taken from Love Poems).

By the clock,

Waiting unfolds:

This many minutes

To be counted and creased

A line of blank sheets,

Wanting your feet

To blot a path

To my door

Prints dark, blooming ellipsis;

I draw from the wells

Your form in charcoal

And will frame it, real


By lamp-light

When we are alone

Call the evening,

When she rolls out

Her soundtrack:

Purple monochrome

Of birds and cars

In your voice, one swift tone

There is thirty minutes to go,

The wait tautened

For the arrival,

The show;

Until then, I will

Balance, pen and hand

Sign my name away

On the dotted line