I was told to question everything:
I took it literally,
I believe nothing
In front of me is a pack of fresh razorblades
and a measuring tape.
I wonder which would hurt more,
and I just keep staring:
waiting for a sign.
Nothing happens, except for
the voice screeching “do it!”
but I don’t listen to voices anymore.
There are reasons not to,
more than I’ve ever noticed before.
I put everything in a drawer
and open a book.
No, I don’t feel satisfied and
there is no release or rush.
I don’t feel anything
but I know tomorrow morning
when my eyes open
I might feel proud.
I stand at the cliff’s edge and look down. The air feels ancient on my skin, the absence of silence echoes in my ears. There’s barely an inch of ground before my toes, which wriggle naked in the grass. I feel only tranquil as I look out. I imagine stepping onto the air, feet touching invisible steps, I’d climb the sky. I imagine stepping out and falling, feeling the wind rush around my body and then, at the last, I’d spread my feathers and fly over the sea. I’d paint a path from the ocean to the stars.
She had been warned never to leave
the walls of the city.
In the vast forests outside lived
the eaters of souls.
They weren’t even hungry,
when they found her, not really.
They just couldn’t think what else to do.
Teeth tore at flesh,
raw bloody breasts and ruined thighs.
Soon there’d be nothing left of the girl.
They feasted on her and relished in her mute agony
(she could not speak -
had never made a sound
in all her nineteen years.)
No need for knives with such evolved teeth as theirs:
perfect for biting and ripping.
With each mouthful there was a memory,
a dream to be lived, a feeling to be enjoyed.
They gorged until there was nothing left,
not a finger, a tooth, a thought.
She was gone, now,
and how long would it be
until the next meal?
The Maneuver (a poem)
Your arms tight around me
dislodged the poem
from my throat
the one I wrote
for saving my life.
I loved knowing I was my own person
and no one else’s, I didn’t feel alone.
I felt comfortable, safer on my own
than with someone who would hurt me.
(that’s all anyone ever did)
I love being in love.
I thought relationships
always had to hurt.
I didn’t know it could be like this.
Colin was glad his mum had asked him to tidy his room – it stopped his dad asking why he wasn’t out playing football with all the other boys. He had instructions to “get rid of all the junk” in his cupboard. When he asked what exactly that meant, his mum told him to put all his old toys and books in boxes and take them down to the basement. His cupboard was so full that tidying up took him all morning, and then his mum called him for lunch.
“It’s no way for a lad to be spending his Saturday. Cleaning,” his dad sneered. “He’s not a girl, Helen!“
“Don’t start. He has to learn some responsibility.”
“I’m not cleaning anyway,” Colin pointed out. “I’m just putting things in boxes.”
“Less of the cheek, young man. After you’re finished, then you’re going out to get some fresh air.”
Colin ate his lunch in silence.
What’s wrong with the air in my room? Colin thought as he headed back upstairs. He didn’t want to go outside. Stuart Innis and his gang were out there playing football, but they’d still love to stop if it meant chasing Colin. Colin started sorting out his books, determined to make the job last as long as possible. First he sorted them from oldest to newest, then in alphabetical order by author’s surname. Afterwards, he crushed all the toys into the one remaining box and carried it down to the basement, sneaking past his dad’s study on his tiptoes.
The basement was very dark, but Colin wasn’t scared. He’d hidden in the basement many times before and he was used to it. He knew exactly where everything was. As he dropped the box in a corner, he had a strange shuffling sound. He checked if any of the toys had fallen out, but they hadn’t. And he was sure the noise had come from beside the boiler anyway. Feeling slightly nervous for the first time, Colin turned on the light. It flickered, and a moment later the basement was bathed in a dim light.
There, at the wall beside the boiler, was a figure dressed in grey. It was facing the wall and seemed to be examining something closely. Colin, hidden behind the old Christmas tree box, looked closely and saw the person wasn’t wearing clothes at all, but old dirty bandages.
Feeling curious now, Colin stepped out from his hiding place. “Excuse me, sir?” he said (because his Nana always told him manners don’t cost a penny). “Who are you?”
With a start, the figure turned its bandaged head. Yellow eyes peered at Colin, then narrowed. “I – er – grrr!” The stranger growled, rather half-heartedly.
Colin blinked. “Are you a mummy, then?”
“Grrrrrrrrr – go away – rrrrrrrrrrr!” he yelled, and then sneezed violently.
“Bless you,” Colin said. He noticed one of the bandages was caught on a nail on the wall, and the mummy had been trying to remove it without unravelling himself.
“GRRRR – look, could you just help me out here?” he sighed.
Colin hesitated. He was sure mummies fell into the same category as vampires and werewolves and so on, but he’d never been clear on what mummies actually do. As far as he was aware, they just wandered about with their arms stretched and moaned a bit. And this one didn’t look too dangerous, after all.
Colin moved closer to the mummy (who smelled old and musty, like his Grandpa Joe) and freed him from the rusty nail.