Typed Music

Poems.

I suppose these are just little pieces of me, wrapped up in words.

The forgotten melodies of my mind.

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73. Self-portrait in ink (re-write)

“Our characteristics smear through us,
Like colours in a stick of rock.”
He says to the audience of ties and blazers.
“If I cut you open, what shades
Would I find in your cross-sections?”
“If you cut me open,
There’d be a fair amount of red,
I should think.”
I say behind my sharpened teeth.
“And my parents wouldn’t be very pleased.”

Oh how witty I am
With my quick fire of sarcasm,
And petulant spasms of acrimony.
Eight miles away,
Our house is full of September;
Raincoats and Crane flies,
And I water my Guinea Pig’s tumour
With tears I owe elsewhere.
A teacher at my school
Committed suicide, people say,
While we skipped waves
And created poetry from the leaf-light.
They can’t tell us the details,
But that tells us all we thirst for.
School clockworks forwards
With a hole in the Geography office
And I forget about remembrance.
He drove a BMW and laughed
Small laughs that coughed with nervousness.
I sit in History, pen-chewing,
Thinking of all these more significant deaths
Wondering how many people will record him
In the pages of their textbooks
The school bells don’t hold silences
The year sevens don’t stand
Or bow their heads in room 180
We try making futures for ourselves
And apply ourselves to those things
That still have chances tied to them
Like clover leaves and birthday candles.
We turn on lights in the evenings
And I wake myself from darkness to darkness.
My life consists of the cooling
Cotton-throated early mornings
The world is blue and grey with rime
I rip my fingers on letterboxes.
My shoes fall apart from the heels
My ballet shoes fall apart from the toes
My life enjoys unravelling itself
From wherever I’ve chosen to stitch it
I fray and crimp at the corners
And prefer to go barefoot
Across the rinsed, diluted garden
That smells of rotting apples.
Slugs crisscross pavements like surgical tape
Then get stuck and frazzled there
While the sun toasts them.

“Maybe I’d find hopes, dreams,” he says.
“Maybe you’d find organs.”

You’d find a twice-broken arm
And an array of internal fractures.
There’d be shards lodged between each rib.
My parachute lungs, pumping filth,
Would continue to tear and furl
Until they wouldn’t resemble
The things we scalped in biology.
I re-write lists of ‘Things To Do’
In the hope that they’ll seem shorter
But I add all my flaws to them
To give me something to procrastinate with.
For some reason people still expect things
From this emptying girl
Who actually thinks
That the one who cut into her
Would be in danger of finding
Nothing but a brittled, bitter hollow.
I highlight my essays
And highlight the cracks
I’m carving in my personality.
I paste impressions of myself
All over my exterior shell
Who knows what lies beneath
The papier-mâché of well-played parts?
My fingers play music on the computer keyboard
More than they practice the piano.
But the songs they make are far from sweet
And rarely beautiful.

 “Your experiences would be evident,
Spread through your character.”

My brother ate away at his life
Until he starved.
They set him down in a mental unit
So I buried my childhood
In the side-of-ward mazes
Of hand sanitizer and tubes and tombs.

“I’d find what makes you unique –
Your religion, perhaps.”

I laugh away the suggestion
That is actually the truth of how
My Sunday mornings fall under ‘Church’
How can I be ashamed of the faith
I try fervently not to doubt?
The sun drips from the evening sky
Like a squeezed lemon
And Monday cycles round again
I live in a little world of spirals;
Eternally coming back to the same place
Just worn a little further down.
I waste my life on the vanity
Of mirrors and self-deprecation.
Sometimes noting that I must be arrogant
To make the pretty little assumption
That I don’t have to wear make-up.
It’s funny that I can lay my skin bare
Yet can’t manage to strip myself down
To the crudest, rawest truth.
I can only write for people I don’t know;
I let my parents believe blindly
That I’m a creative prodigy
By refusing them the honesty
Of my words
But the truth is;
I am not the faded mystery
That I pose as in my writing,
I’m just someone who sits in school assembly
And tries to make self-portraits from words,
And tries to forge intelligence,
And tries to never grow old,
And tries to be something,
And tries nothing,
And tries –

“But what I’d really want to see
Is compassion,” He says.

I turn my face down to my knee bones
And permit myself to agree.
Compassion, I ask myself,
Where do you live these days?

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