On Dressing Appropriately

“Surely you’re not going out in that?”
My mother demanded,
Interrogating me under the dim bathroom light.
“It’s far too suggestive”.

For those of you wondering,
Not that it’s any of your business,
I was simply wearing my own clothes
And the only thing they suggested was that
I had recently taken a trip to H&M.

So I replied to my mother
“Perhaps instead of teaching girls
To dress appropriately, we should
Teach boys to keep their hands to themselves”.

I dress the way I dress
For myself,
Not for them.
Never for them.

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Please, Listen To What I Have To Say

I don’t quite remember when I lost my voice
Or even why I lost it at all,
Although I do have my suspicions.

Thinking back, it’s not like I was encouraged much to speak up.
I was always the girl with an answer in class
With the power to annoy everybody else just by raising my hand.
“Nerd” they taunted, or “teacher’s pet”.
My peers taught me that it is undesirable to be clever.
My teacher said that I should give someone else a chance,
Implying that I should only speak up when everybody else is comfortable with it.
They all clipped my wings and stopped me from flying,
Cut up my cape and turned it into a blanket.
I’m sure it was an accident though;
Their hands must have slipped with the scissors.

Most children learn how to talk from their parents
But mine also taught me how not to talk,
Or specifically, when not to talk.
They told me I could swoop in with a verbal diamond,
But only when their attention wasn’t elsewhere;
On their phone screens, for example.
I found myself whispering my words,
Scared that they wouldn’t hear me,
Or even scared that they would.
“Mum?”
“Dad?”
“Did you hear what I said?”
My voice, cracking as my throat suffers it’s own form of earthquake
And caves in on itself.

So that’s why I no longer raise my hand in class
And why I no longer speak at home.
I even find my ‘friends’,
Especially of the male variety,
Are used to talking over me
As if my voice is less important than their own voices
Which are just somehow naturally megaphoned.
Sometimes it’s as if I’m not even talking at all.

But I swear my voice is important.
I, at least, find myself interesting.

I must be mute.
That’s the only explanation.
Because why else would someone choose not to listen to what a brilliantly intelligent young woman has to say?

You tell me.

Three-By-Three Just Isn’t The Same

Since the very beginning of time
The animals have gone two-by-two ¬†–
But what would happen, brother mine,
If a third appeared between me and you?

Would bears one and two be pushed aside,
Both fall into the watery depths?
Or would both bears, blood bound, allied,
Instead opt to dive with no chance of breath?

It has been said that bear number three
Is foremost enough to rid our prints from the sand.
So, dear reader, my brother and me
Restlessly sink to the bottom, hand in hand.

We wait overwrought to be rescued from there,
Our cavernous pockets filled with fears like rocks.
The ascendents are immersed in this new bear
So we lay forgotten, subdued by the clocks.

Mother’s Bed

When I was 2 your bed was a challenge,
You being the prize to be won at the end.
I would climb my own Everest when you called my name;
My chubby arms waving, reaching up to the sky.
Once I had finally reached the summit, you would draw me close and hold me like a life jacket.

When I was 9 yours was my sickbed,
And I loved how warm your heart made the sheets
And how they smelt of your natural perfume.
Until of course that was masked by my vomit.
Once I was better, I would wish I were ill again so that I could stay tucked in just a while longer.

When I was 15 your bed became a sanctuary for one,
The unerring place for your self-prescribed bed rest.
I tried to crawl in as I had done before
But the sheets had transformed to ice and the pillows stuffed with nails.
Your bed seemed more prodigious since you had become so small.

When I was 18 another took his place in your bed
And whilst I longed to be close to you again,
I did not wish to lie between two strangers.
So instead I found comfort in my own bed,
Sonething that all must ultimately learn to do.

Family: A Battlefield

I am simply Switzerland, neutral

Trying like Pha√ęthon to keep the peace.

The enemies shoot their grievance guns,

The bullets stinking of vicious expressions,

But the red shots lose their way

And damage me instead.

Dear Old Dad

Dear old Dad,
Where did you go?
You said you had to leave.
My tears ran rapid,
Coloured wolf’s bane blue,
But you neglected to notice.
You honoured me with
Your gracious ‘good’ bye,
A privilege you did not bestow to all.
With your hastily packed bag,
Like a burlap sack,
Containing everything you wanted with you.
I wish you had packed me in that sack,
Chosen me over the toothbrush and socks,
But alas, you left me behind with the furniture.
The moment the door closed,
And the chapter closed,
Runs like an insidious carousel in my mind.
Do you think of it like I do?
Or are you still too preoccupied
To heed what you did.
You broke me
And your words of remorse aren’t the stitches
You believe them to be.
So my open wounds still bleed,
The cut still leaks,
And yet you, dear old Dad,
You instead flaunt my replacement.

Am I just a fool?

Who would have thought
My night ended the way it did;
The minutes ticking by into tomorrow
But I neglected to notice
As your hands in my hair were thoroughly distracting.
As a matter of fact, your hands everywhere were distracting.

I hadn’t realised my back was so ticklish
Until you trailed it over with your feather light fingers.
Such an apathetic description –
It was more like you had electrocuted me.

My callous mind makes me think
That you knew exactly what to say
And exactly what to do
Because you had already said and done it with someone else
But that thought is quickly banished when
You enfeeble my breathing with your lips once more.

Is that your leg or mine?
My arm or yours?
My limbs had been lost along with the time,
Apparently so had my sense
Which has yet failed to return
As I can still smell your sweet scent on my pillow…

Modern-day Gladiator

She awakes again from a fractured sleep,
One plagued with the sensations of victory and failure,
And unwillingly rises with the morning sun.

Mundane routine is blurred out
As her focus begins to home in.
Complexion, cat’s milk cream,
Hands shaking as if age had taken her over already.
The micro speakers blare her anthems
And do their job of silencing the world.

She does not heed the enemy;
Their foreign tongues and eyes
Blue and brown –
They are but mythical figures,
Napoleon reincarnates.

The girl’s name is called.
Clammy palms.
Heavy heart.
Time stops.

The constant thrum thrum thrum of
Her body’s machine is heard on
Neptune’s Triton.

Time resumes as her trusty legs
Voyage her forward.
Eyes narrow like a cat.
Lungs fill like balloons.
And so it begins.

TOMORROW

Tomorrow.

Tomorrow I will be better;

I will do better;

I will be kinder, gentler;

I will become stronger;

I will eat healthier;

I will work harder;

I will smile more and

Say ‘I love you’ to those who matter most;

I will make compliments

And take compliments in return;

I will educate myself;

I will do what I love to do.

I will stop to smell the roses.

I will appreciate colour and beauty,

And I promise I won’t hate myself by the end of it.

If it doesn’t work out then I will try,

Try, try, and try again.

But for tonight,

Tonight it’s ok to just be average.

Blue Flowers

My garden was barren;

Empty yet full of want.

So I let you sow the seeds

And the blue flowers grew;

They sprouted in September

And bloomed in November.

I fed them water,

Fed them light,

Fed them love,

Fed them life –

But it wasn’t enough.

It was not enough to emulate

The garden of my neighbour

With her plentiful flowers and

Skyscraper trunks;

She wanted my special tenants too.

Thus my blue flowers wilted

And they never grew back.

That was the end of me and

The flowers of beautiful blue.