The Invitation

If you plan on coming
Do not try to blind me.

I want your annotations,
your limitations,
spirals of doubt wrapped in gauze.

I want your corrupt opinions,
Your flawed biology,
What sits in the bags under your eyes.

If you plan on coming,
Come second hand.
Chipped at the edges.

The world has made judges of eyes.
Humour them.
Leave before they reach a verdict.
You are
The verdict.

Come as you are.



Listen to yourself.
You are a music note
Woven together with countless others.
There is a symphony resting on your shoulders.
You are a letter,
An acrobat stretching yourself across the world
To form words.
To write novels, to pull tears from eyes
Or sculpt smiles.

You are as necessary as the first cry of a baby
Or the last train home.
You are important because you are one of billions,
Not in spite of it.


Five in the morning, eyes
Closed to the frail dawn,
Stop caring.
Stop caring.

We collected stars like bottle tops
Flipping in the smoky air.

Held up by barrels and wooden planks;
Your wrist against mine,
Legs clamped together.
Laughter spins with us,
As insubstantial as sugar.

You plant riddles like seeds of doubt.
Never stop caring.

The end. Stumbling,
That refuse to co-operate
With feet
And unexpected
Eyes that have lost you.

We have stopped spinning
But the world has the same day
On repeat.

I Found Us in a Museum

A redraft

We are an archaic language.

Indecipherable gravestones,
represented by a few eroded words.

Intricate stone statues,
Oblivious to acid rain
Until the blisters form.

The glittering sword of a warrior.
It would turn to beautiful dust
If touched.

A book forced open.
Same page, day after day.
Shielded by a glass screen.

Two halves of a cracked stone
That no longer align.

Outside this chilled crypt,
Soaked pavements glitter, reflecting people.
They do not smile back.
Their senses of purpose tangle and merge.

I leave us in stasis
A moment frozen
A moment that will never thaw.


I know that this is final
Because I haven’t yet
Torn down the pictures,
And the poems I wrote to you
Still stare back at me in solemn silence,
Perhaps they miss the parts of you
That I let them see.

I know that this is final also
Because you are not one
For goodbyes or apologies
And you are never in the wrong
Unless it’s been a few months
And you’ve forgotten that
I can make you laugh sometimes.

I didn’t want this.
I wanted tears on a station platform,
I wanted a symphony of the memories
That only we share to taint the air,
I wanted at least another year.
I wanted at least the rest
Of my life.

I just want you to know
That if those are the last words
We ever say to each other;
I want you to be happy.
But I want you to always wonder.
I’d like to think you’d wish me the same.

A poem I wrote for you

I name dropped the title
Of a book that google told me about
In a poem without even knowing
How it ended.

That book is at your place now.

I tried to read you, to learn you,
Before writing you into a poem,
But my magpie eyes couldn’t resist
The gleam of a new name

A blank page

I wrote a while ago that the
Crevices of your jumper
Smell like hope; that
Sometimes I wonder.

Well nowadays I wonder a lot more.

And so here you go, in the hope
That history will repeat itself,
With the faith that I can
Come back to you later,
Understand you as more
Than just a gleam in the rust
With a pair of kind eyes.

The Butterfly

The first time I trusted someone
It was forced out of me
Questions and demands
Insistent and probing
I was a child, a butterfly
You pinned me to a board
Of shame and despair
Delicate wings torn and bleeding
Stained, filthy gray.
No longer a she, not even an it,
a constellation of bruises
growing all the time,
A collection of breakages which
I could not find the courage
to repair.

From then onwards
I was at war to escape.
The putrid sores had their
Time, raw and itching, a
Constant reminder, until
They began to recede,
Healing around the slender
Steel weapons
That had caused them
And I was surprised to wake
One day and find an unlikely
A drop of rainbow brightness
On petal-like gray
And with it the desire to flutter
And laugh, and be vivacious,
And the potential to spread,
A patch of fluorescent damp
On the wall between the rest
Of the world and I.

And I was no longer a child
But still a butterfly
Captured still, spread-eagled
by a mistake,
A combination of my own
Weakness and your unwavering
But silence and strength go
So well hand in hand
And just as the impenetrable
Darkness of the tunnel
Had thrown me at first
Nothing gave me more
Pleasure than
The light
At the end of it.

The second time I trusted someone
I was safe and saved.
He admired my colors;
How could he know
That they had once been
So different?
That I had fought so hard
To abolish the gray?
He is your reciprocal
But my whole,
He holds my name in his
mouth like he is trying to
give it somewhere to
I oblige, indulging in
The way his neck curves and
The way his eyes smile and
The simple fact that he loves
Me, the broken butterfly.

The second time I trusted someone
He unpinned me.
I flew.