Last night I fractured my heart
Tore some ligament
Felt the blood leak into some dark hole so deep in myself they would need to drain a lifetimes worth to find it.
It twisted into a figure of eight
The infinity sign
It felt like a sharp knife plunging deep inside me
It felt like nothing I’d ever felt before
It felt like a promise taken away
It felt like walking on broken glass
It felt like I’d swallowed the universe in one big gulp and had sucked all the air out
An imploding balloon.
The emergency chemist was closed already
I swallowed a bottle of antacid
It was cold and white
And suddenly I felt like something cold
Something numb and small and insignificant.
I picked up the phone
I listened to the dial tone until I thought I could hear voices – crossed wires
I tried to remember the number for an ambulance service
But I hadn’t any clean underwear.
Besides what’s a bit of pain in the end?
The only number I could remember was yours
Life and its irony really fuck you over sometimes.
I dialed it
I don’t remember physically pushing the digits
Just the ringing and then your voice.
You sounded happy. You had been asleep – I had woken you.
I thanked god in that moment that you didn’t have caller ID.
I wanted to say something
I wanted to tell you that I was drowning in grief
A grief so deep and consuming
They’d have to send a deep sea diver to rescue me
But my tongue stuck to the roof of my mouth, like when you eat too much peanut butter
And you kept asking whose there? Who is this? Do you know what fucking time it is?
And I wanted to shout
It’s me you fucking asshole
The one you used to spoon, wake up with coffee, listen to, talk too,
It’s me! You know me … I am not some fucking stranger, I am not some memory, I am…
You used to
You used to
I cough – my lungs contract – I splutter and gasp – I choke – I vomit on the floor
I can’t listen to Leonard Cohen anymore
You ruined it all
I can’t eat spaghetti out the tin and watch Laurel and Hardy
I can’t walk down the avenue of trees or throw a coin in a fountain
I can’t dance to Spandau Ballet or read Emily Dickinson
I can’t be half of even half of who I was when I was with you.
And I’m a fucking feminist!
I clean up the sick with a pair of your underpants
The pain in my heart subsides a little until I realize they are all I have left…physical proof
That you were here.
I wash them in the basin – I pour out half a bottle of rose scented body wash until the basin is a mound of bubbles
I see my reflection
Obscure, deformed – It reminds me of Tate modern
I feel so expressionist today
I laugh a little at the joke… my own joke
I consider calling again
I think you’d laugh too
That maybe you’d consider coming back
Because I am so funny
Because I laugh at my own jokes
Because my face looks like something from a Wes Craven movie reflected in the bubbles floating on top of water laced with vomit and roses
Again the irony is not lost on me
Vomit and roses
I pull the plug and watch it all go down the drain
I rinse the residue away and dry my hands
I look in the mirror
And can’t see myself at all
Just some shell
And then I think “fucking hell what a terrible cliché’
If you could see me now
If you could…
Hey – I don’t blame you…if I had to look at this everyday I’d leave me too…
Out that door
No turning back
I sit down on the bathroom floor for a bit.
My hands are clammy and the antacid is giving me heartburn.
The tiles are cool on my bare legs
I stretch out like a starfish and stare at the ceiling
There is a damp patch right above me
Grey and mouldy penetrating the clean white paint
I consider painting over it
I consider climbing up on the ladder and getting rid of it
I hadn’t noticed it before now
I’ve lived here five years
And I never noticed it
The way it just creeps in and multiplies
Tiny mouldy grey spores fucking each other senseless and reproducing on my ceiling
The floor is hard on the back of my skull
I press down harder
Imagine myself something fluid
What if I just stayed here?
A starfish woman on the bathroom floor
I guess they’ll eventually send the landlord to open up
They’ll tip off some news reporter from a second rate publication
Who’ll interview me along with a string of dubious psychologists
They’ll nod their heads and click their tongues and act sympathetic
“She has acute social phobia” they’ll say
“Her heart fractured in twelve places
We’ll need to get her a plaster of paris cast stat”…
Or something like that.
I imagine the heading “SOCIAL OUTCAST LIVES ON BATHROOM FLOOR FOR FIFTEEN YEARS”
I imagine the accompanying picture – I am so thin!
The thought pleases me for an instant
And then I remember I have chocolate in the fridge and leftover Chinese, half a can of spaghetti
The milk is sour
I feel like I haven’t eaten in years
Like I just got back from a journey across the desert
I drink coca cola straight out of the bottle
I backwash intentionally and relish this misdemeanor
I marvel at the stupidity of this action
I marvel at my stupidity
And then I stuff my face
I am ravenous
I can’t get full
Nothing can satisfy this hunger
Nothing can fill up this deep dark hole
It makes me think of heaven and tunnels of darkness
I imagine God waiting for me at the other end of my stomach
With a toothbrush and a bottle of gaviscon
He hands me a worn out copy of the Atkins diet or something by Patrick Holford
I laugh joyously like I just won the lottery until I see the angels
They look like cutouts from a cosmopolitan magazine
They have long legs and shiny gold hair
Their teeth are perfect
One particularly beautiful specimen beckons me over
I look at Jesus who smiles approvingly and move towards her
She leans in,
She smells like lasagna, cinnamon buns, chocolate sauce
“You have some spinach stuck in your teeth” she says
Oh, I say
Jesus hands me a mirror
He isn’t really what I imagined come to think of it
I remember my mother
I remember Catechism
I remember the Virgin Mary
And the cheap R10 statue I bought of Jesus at the Chinese store complete with hand painted stigmata
This Jesus was nothing like him
I noticed he wore a Tag Heur on his wrist
And a big diamond ring
His hair was gelled back and he had a thick gold chain around his neck
His white robes were shiny and there was a label on the breast pocket – Christian Dior
I laughed so hard I couldn’t stop
I laughed until my head hurt
I laughed until I peed myself
And the world went black
When I woke up I was propped up against the fridge a fork in my hand and breadcrumbs on the floor.
I felt fuzzy like I was swimming through candy floss
I felt calm
I felt hopeful
And then I saw through the open curtains the street lamp and the empty drive way and I remembered it all like some horrible dream
And my stomach felt tight
And my gut ached
And my heart felt like it was being squeezed in some vice, some giant fist
It echoes through the house and silence shouts back.
Get a grip.
Get a fucking grip you stupid stupid girl.
Pick yourself up dammit,
You self absorbed little whore.
Pull yourself together.
What are you doing?
Do you want to be alone?
You are so pathetic.
This is all your fault.
So he likes it a little kinky! SO WHAT! CLOSE YOUR EYES DAMMIT! THINK OF ENGLAND!Stop being so selfish!
You disgust me
You disgust me
I find myself screaming like some deranged woman.
I feel like the lead in an exorcist movie.
I try turning my head 360 degrees.
I want to spit up pea soup.
Instead I get up.
My hair is glued to my cheek with drool.
My t-shirt is stained and I have a bruise on my right knee.
It’s just after 3am
Some dog howls at the moon and barks at ghosts and passing cars.
I send him a telepathic message
I tell him that it’s ok someone is listening
I imagine his tail wagging and his big brown eyes glossing over
He barks back like he understands me
“Any time buddy”
I imagine that I have extraordinary powers of mental telepathy.
I send out messages across the ocean,
A woman in Ecuador waves hello
A seamstress in Hungary nods in agreement
The Dalai Lama smiles
I muster all the strength I have
Messages sailing overseas and baron land, pushing through jungles and swamps,
Waves of light and love
Waves of good will and peace
Waves of hope beaming like a watchtower
A vast torch over every dark corner
The reverie distracts me.
I forget the room and my fuzzy head
I forget the insomnia that has plagued me for 3 weeks
I breathe easily
I feel like I just found the centre of myself
The core of some vast wealth
Enlightenment flows through me
I am God
I am Love
I am crazy
They are going to lock me away
I look for hairs on the palm of my hand
No I say indignantly
I am fine!
Jesus spoke to me
I can speak to dogs
They understand me!
This is the longest night of my life.
I am exhausted.
The sky is clear.
The moon is fading.
Some misplaced hadeda calls to his flock
Where the fuck are you?
Where the fuck are you in all this mess?
I want to curl up
I want to sleep for a thousand years
I want my mom to stroke my hair
And kiss my forehead
I want her to make me macaroni cheese
And toast fingers with butter and marmite.
I want to be read to
I want to be held close against the softness of her.
Something primal and old claws at the pit of the hole
Scrambling to the surface it screeches like some mythical creature
An old wound tears open like a sail
Salt water splashes on my face and stings my ice cold cheeks.
I sit at the computer
I find the keys my old friends
I am going to type till morning
I am going to type till there is nothing left to say.
I am going to exorcise the demon and watch it fly out into the night sky.
I am going to be Picasso of the page
Abstract and passionate
I am going to find the words for the sharpest pains
And create a salve to heal the cuts.
I am going to spin a thread that stretches the divide between
Man and beast
Woman and woman
Person and person
God and God
You and me
I am going to tell the story of all my hopes and fears so that when morning comes I will no longer be starfish woman passed out on the bathroom floor.
I will play Damian Rice on full volume and cry until there are no tears left.
I will sing Hallelujah and never again fear Leonard Cohen
I will declare my faults like excess baggage at customs
I will tear up my passport and
Photos of you
I will tell you one last time that I love you
I will brim with gratitude
I will say thank you to Jesus that ol pimp
For giving me the love I found in you
And I will be sad.
I will tell you about myself at seven and I will show you the scar on the back of my right knee.
I will send my mother my heart beating and red
I will smile at all that is so beautiful and ugly.
I will do yoga and become a vegetarian.
I will read books by Deepak Chopra practice meditation in my saffron painted lounge
I will hang crystals at my window
And read my star sign
I will stop hating myself
I will stop hating myself
I will stop hating myself…
And in doing that
I will try to stop hating you.
I will type all the thoughts in my head
I will fill pages and pages and purge my soul.
I’ll forgive those I cannot forgive and write thank you cards.
I will moisturize my face and feel better about being thirty.
I will feed children who are hungry
I will feed children who are happy
I will feed children who are sad
With vast reserves of joy and love.
I will never stick my finger down my throat again.
I will cut my hair and paint my lips red.
I will write a poem about being crazy
I will stick it on the fridge.
I will stand in front of the mirror naked
And say “not half bad”
Sooner or later
Sooner or later
I will think about my mortality
I will think about my hopes
I will dust away regret.
I will be grateful
I will not complain.
I will not complain.
Unless I really have to.
I will be the person I have wanted to be all my life,
I will fall in love with love and not the idea of it,
I will not buy aubergines because I like the colour and shape of them.
I will floss every day.
I will tell you everything I know about living which is very little and at times very much. I will tell you that I grew up in a house in the centre of town with a dog called Tiny.
That I loved a boy called Edward and that I wanted to be a Jew.
I will tell you that I struggle with boundaries and that I am sometimes very shy.
That I love Sylvia Plath
That for a long time I was afraid of the dark
I will tell you everything
And then I will tell you again because at the end of it all
You’ll never really understand.