Monday, 26 January 2015

fifteen minutes with you, well I wouldn't say no

Remember in our living room, someone's hand knocked my drink and glass glittered the tiled surface of an appalling 1970s coffee table. A red haired girl sprawls out gin-drunk on the swirling carpet. A boy, potentially beautiful, is playing Reel Around the Fountain on my guitar, but he's too kind to keep my attention (isn't it always the way) I remind myself only to be hurt by the tangible. In the evenings we traipsed across the grass to the petrol station to buy more wine or coffee or tobacco or porridge. Winter came and there was no hot water in the taps and we did more traipsing under four jumpers and babushka scarves and the rain seeped through our shoes. I remind myself not to be surprised, to curb my expectations but press on despite it all. I used to listen to the sirens and next door's baby crying through the walls. I fell asleep counting the stains in the rose-patterned wallpaper and felt free. In this room it's quieter, I fall asleep staring at the William Morris curtains boasting their old embroidered taunt; 'love is enough, love is enough, love is enough.' And it must be, it must be, I love, I do, if nothing else, I do love.
Are you any happier now than you were that day it rained and your best friend went to the beach without you so you sheltered in the 3-storey bookshop on Dawson street and spent an hour on each floor and bought nothing. Or the nights in that room you spent dreaming to Astral Weeks, and spreading out the tarot deck, knowing there was something out there, and sprinkling salt circles around you, just in case. Or when you took the train to London in the summer and learned how to pray, happier than you'd ever been. Do you remember sitting at the grimey green tables in that cafe, smoking and reading Jean Rhys in your black sixties' polo-neck and your black fishnets with your black fucking coffee, a magnet for the junkies and buskers and acid casualties and sad-eyed forty-somethings searching for the Manic Pixie of their dreams, while she just sits daydreaming at the walls softened by decades of gig posters and graffiti. Speaking of graffiti, do you remember that scrawl you spied on the bathroom door in that pub in Galway that said 'the boy I love just asked me to marry him in the smoking area' and, underage-drunk on cheap cider, you cried and cried. (Please, by all means, drag me to any smoking area anywhere and ask me to marry you, drunk or otherwise.) Do you remember the sunny days you spent wandering from Eyre Square to Quay Street and back again over and over, waiting for anything to happen, and the time you hadn't seen or spoken to another human being for days so you just put on a Talking Heads cd and danced and laughed at it all and prided yourself on your ability to endure and went out to sing to the apple trees. Do you remember all the times you sat in Stephen's Green telling secrets to the ducks, reading in the shade and the time you found the bus ticket in your bag that said 'Adult Single' and you took it literally and cried or maybe laughed, and you first read that Anne Sexton quote that said something like 'I've been lost for a long time now, it's about time I stop expecting people to keep me found' and you nodded with a knowing acceptance and the bus kept trundling.

But do you remember when we first kissed, in the cooling twilight and our hands knew where to meet and for a second I thought I actually had been found, and somehow the clocks kept going, and the city sighed on regardless.

We're all going to die, we're all going to die, we're all going to die! Look how free we are! We're all going to die! Can't you see everything is irrelevant?! We're all going to die! Hold me while you can!

Saturday, 17 January 2015

As long as I gaze on Waterloo sunset, I am in paradise

Hush now, let the days come and go like anxious breaths. I'm not quite sure now but I don't think I've been able to sleep for over a month. In my kitchen in Dublin I left half a block of goats' cheese on the counter the night before I left. There was a silver heart-shaped earring on the floor behind the dresser in my room. Hahahaha look how far you've come now; alone drinking £1.85 wine disguised in a paper coffee cup at 2 in the afternoon.

oh but this makes it all ok, like it always does

Sunday, 21 December 2014


Catch me in the afternoon, I let your bruised light fill the room and it almost blinds me. The walls blush in your glare, it refracts and drags us out across the old lusty counters, the bleak car parks and winter beaches, the still pebbles. A dust that sweeps itself. Here we are something new, something varnished and pristine. I want to crawl into it all, and not to be untangled or unraveled, or something ephemeral to just toss away with the wind. I'd happily be a lamp-post, a mast, a whole row of reticent houses, if you'd only hold me still enough. We are not just collapsible or telescopic, not self-assembling old prefabricated tear-duct parts.

But here we have come to the year's midnight. I whisper solstice prayers out of my box-room window into the red-brick jungles of London suburbia. They catch and tangle. Snagging in my hair, a filmy stickiness on my skin, a snare for words or wishes. At least it's dark outside, dear, the night only knows to get brighter. You exist somewhere before the daylight, in that fragile time framed by the night's bodiless velvet and the brassy self-aggrandising old sun. Lace-edged, a frail tangibilty, a shock to each sense.

Meanwhile I have grown accustomed to survival, I eat at the right times, I sleep whenever I can. I go out wrapped in coats and scarves, solitary perhaps, but not necessarily lonely. In the evenings a few early renegade dreams bend over the alleys and the breeze block walls, they tumble out like nettles or ivy. The twilight swells smugly to itself, quickly cooling hearts or crumbling tin foil touches, and I can't help but feel a kind of selfish freedom. A reluctantly cultivated love of my autonomy, of the efficiency of my own two feet and the little wisdoms written in my hands. Between us we find the cusp days, the little hinges. Between us our soft powdered truths fall softly softly into eachother.
How sweet we are.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Darling, all night I have been flickering, off, on, off, on. The sheets grow heavy as a lecher's kiss.

No, it is fine, I do not feel lost in the slightest. Tomorrow morning I will step off the bus with an adroit indifference. I will not be late. I will put on my tacky apron and fix my face in its polished post-caffeine sugar-mold and hand out cups of foaming milk to skinny men with sculpted quiffs and androgynous girlfriends. It is an art, and a delicate one, to so calmly appear as though you are not trying to appear as anything at all.
I am not disappointed. Today, yesterday, last week - it has just been a lull, with the change in the weather, that is all, the cold is unsettling. It is the time of year I usually re-read Wuthering Heights and spend inordinate periods of time taking deep, hot baths and eating more food than I can justify. But anyway in this house there is no hot water (yes, yes, I know; what century is it? Obviously you've never encountered an Irish landlord.) Oh god, don't I have anything  better to do? What strange void have I found now? I could go out, like my horoscope said, 'you could meet somebody who really loves you,' (so, you go and you stand on your own, and you leave on your own...) but I don't want to meet anyone new, I know too many people all ready. Tomorrow though, I will go out, I can't stay here eating bowls of porridge and listening to Sylvia Plath read from Ariel while spilling wine on my friend's ***white*** sheets again. Oh but lonely people are contagious, all you have to do is catch one and then suddenly they're everywhere. Do you remember how you first caught me?
Outside the streetlamps have just turned on, a strange hopeful glow. I tried to explain to someone why I romanticise about flickering neon lights at twilight, but I can't articulate it. It's the same way I romanticise midnight ferry crossings and night buses skidding through the rain. Above the identical pebble-dash houses the sky is a heavy, silent grey, and the line of trees has - almost overnight - been transformed to the most gorgeous, nostalgic amber. I am happy here, I can hear a siren (a siren! A real siren! Unless you too grew up miles and miles from civilisation you won't understand why this is exciting, don't try.) Everything's fine, I am so, so free, and I'll have left before the last leaves have fallen.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014


There is nothing like stepping out into the night in skyscraper heels. She tells me this as she shuts the heavy door behind her. On the step she pauses, teetering, to light her cigarette. Her hair glows, brazen and fox-red. Above, the moon is so bright that the sky is green. We laugh in the verdant light and walk out singing David Bowie songs to the pavement. Past the hydrangeas, the silent houses are demure and innocuous; every window is censored by identical lace curtains. I am craving the sea. Though there is something comforting about suburbia, the harvest moon solicits the old ritual and I am nostalgic for silver beaches, cold grey oceans, damp sand, salty lips and wilderness - lifetimes ago.

Tonight though, we walk to the river, more of a trickle really, strewn with polystyrene takeaway remnants and broken bottles. I am staring at the sky, I can't think of the moon (white as a knuckle and terribly upset*) without Sylvia in the sentence. I say this and we laugh again. Across the grass a group of hooded teenagers regard us warily. Beside me she is spewing pseudo-profundities and snippets of poems between drags, she says something about being free. I am distant.

Have you ever considered that maybe you expect too much? Hail Mary, full of grace, put your old dress back on and learn to kiss with your mouth wide open, we will burn and fade like the stars, but our memories will throw a light out for years after we cease to shine. There are lovers though; the men that will learn how to catch the chunks of meteorite that hurtle towards us. To hold them close as shrines, as altars, as pieces of another life. Forgive me, forgive me, forgive me, I don’t care if you think I’m sparkless and tarnished, I can be anything you want. I know you are scared of standing too close, of catching alight and burning to dust, but know that if you do, I’ll still be here to choke on the ashes. We are in love with our own suffering, how disgusting, how self-indulgent we are. Yes, yes, I understand you but look at how deeply I’ve been wounded. We are only a vapid subtext, she tells me not to believe in god, but trembles when she speaks of heaven. Doesn’t she know that in just one second with the right person, we are god, just as god is irrelevant? Salvation for atheists. Our hymns in tune with thoughts, in time with hearts, the psalms written in our veins, our molecular structures just as fucking cosmic as the whole dazzling self-sure milky way.

It’s fine. If I stay here, I could learn how to ground myself, the earth is solid, the concrete is cold: I can touch it. The grass is dew laden and star dappled and the damp seeps through my soles. But I am already too far gone, miles away with a man so bright that even the moon is jealous.

Neon text installations by Jung Lee, more here, a bit melodramatic but lovely - neon is my favourite thing

Friday, 5 September 2014

Where do we go now but nowhere?

you know, i whisper, i still get a surprise at how fast autumn comes in i don’t mean to talk about skies all the time it just happens and if you spent ten years of your nineteen on an abandoned tumulus on a pulsing grass-hidden meridian with only sky and sky and sky for miles you would understand what it's like to crave a seismic interstellar love affair splayed across concrete and asphalt you know i only survived the winters there because i liked how the grey sky sometimes turned lilac but i am somewhere else now anyway and the sky never gets the right colour here because it’s always censored by the milky radiance of traffic lights and neon takeaway signs if i am honest i find things like that more romantic anyway it is only a stop off point i don’t want to spend four years here i tell everyone i don’t know what i want but really i know exactly what i want i made a list of goals it included 3.recognition and nothing else so then what the hell am i doing? what are you doing girl pull yourself together you’re going to the best university in the country count yourself lucky not just anyone gets in you know this is a privilege then you’ll graduate and feel a bit lost again for a few years and then maybe eventually you’ll be one of those journalists or an editor or something and maybe you’ll write the odd poem sometimes and maybe get published in an anthology of ‘promising’ irish 'writers' and your name will look nice and symmetrical in monochrome times new roman at the bottom so get the fuck over yourself and stop telling strangers about the limits of your existence and coughed up trite about displacement and futility and love and hearts the homeless guy just wanted a cigarette not your life story you narcissist 

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Baby, baby, ain't it true?

It is beginning to get dark earlier again. Come here, don't fade with the summer, come, the foxgloves have closed but the pollen in the too-tall grass still makes my eyes itch. The blackberries stain my fingers with their sultry juice, warm and nostalgic. Stay for the harvest moon, watch it rise, stay out all night with me we can lie in the heady meadow and count the perseids fall. I once saw seven stars shoot in one night, on a tiny island, the beach was phosphorescent and a boy whose name I never bothered to learn told me to stop wringing my hands - the wishes will wait. (He knew nothing.)

But who do you pray to like it really matters? Like we're not all expectant and trembling, collectively biting our lips at the sky? Like somewhere it isn't midnight? Like somewhere we're not just waiting for winter to come and stiffen our deft hands and turn us taciturn.

Tell me all your secrets and give me something to hold. There is nothing to worry about.