It was my birthday today and you did not call.
I waited all day.
The phone stared back – mute and dumb until I ripped out the plug.
At least then I could imagine you tried and found the line engaged and thought I was talking to another man
At least you would think I’ve moved on.
I bought a cupcake from the bakery on the corner – the icing was fuchsia and it was sprinkled with hundreds and thousands
I nursed this guilty pleasure – opening the box and placing it on a plate – from every angle I found it most pleasing – a work of art really.
I was six again all over – a fairy princess in a plastic tiara – I had not yet learnt to fret or worry – had not known any kind of pain aside from bruises and scraped knees, joy was a deep well in the middle of my heart – rain was the worst it got. Unscathed by ravages of time and plot – the stories I wrote were of princesses and peas and faraway castles drawn in crayon with glittery blue skies where girls with long blond hair played dress up and dreamt of Princes and sometimes kissed frogs.
I stared at that cupcake for a time. I hate to say it but it made me cry – at the end of all that I couldn't’t stomach a single mouthful.
Why don’t you love me?
I just can’t seem to move past this
This eternal question
Am I ugly?
God knows there are unlovable people on this planet – but even they had mothers. Hitler was loved – he killed six million people and Eva she still loved him.
You say you can’t love me
I never killed anyone
So why the fuck is it so hard?
somewhere between then and now I got lost in grief and cannot for the life of me get out – I guess some people just take things harder, bruise easier, don’t recover from knocks, don’t roll with the punches, fall and can’t get up, cut and don’t heal. I blame my parents really for tucking me away in that world – where little girls remain little girls – at some point we have to grow up and then what?
We meet you at a bookstore with glasses on the end of your nose and a wayward fringe smelling of clean rain and mystery, reading books by Russian authors and pouring over pictures of the surrealists
And you look up at us and your eyes are unlike any blue we’ve ever seen and suddenly it’s hot and the room spins and we’re finding ourselves pulled in like fish on the end of a long line – gasping, fighting, letting go.
You take me to your apartment on the 13th floor – you light candles and pour wine – you quote Keats and Byron – you light incense – you say things like “you’re beautiful’ – you touch the small of my back, you knot my hand in yours, you stroke my hair, you cook me dinner, you read me stories, you show me photos of you at five with your sister, you tell me about your first love and how she broke your heart, you tell me that you have waited all your life to meet me, you are my soul mate you say – it slips off your tongue onto my lap and I cradle the words like a cat in my arms –
We eat Chinese takeout and watch Bruce Lee films – you make me a mix tape with songs from the 80’s – no-one ever did that for me before – you make me tea and tickle my back, you write me poems, you say I want you and no other – you make the world spin and stand still – you eat the stars – you milk the moon – you juggle the sun – you open the windows and the light comes in – and the curtains draw breath and I breathe – I breathe deeply this want of you – this ache for you – this warm deep moss scented lust for you – and I unfold my arms and my hearts fist becomes a palm and I spread my legs and arch my back and take you in to all my nighttimes where fireflies tap-dance and moths make love to the light bulb and words become themselves in Technicolor and bold fluorescence and days overlap one another shouting out the years behind them – saying follow me! Follow me! – And it’s so goddamn beautiful.
I can’t shake you. Nothing restores me. I get lost in familiar streets – bruises appear and never leave, there are all these edges and corners, no soft landings – no down duvets. I’ve inscribed you beyond my heart – you are written on my bones – nothing can take you from me – nothing can let me be.
My therapist gave up on me. The medication makes me sick. I can’t sleep. I can’t eat. I can’t remember much of who I was before without regret, I am afraid of the dark and my face in the mirror.
You must know this is not me
There are places inside me even you could not go
I wonder had I shown them to you would you have stayed? Everyone needs a bit of mystery. That’s what the magazines say.
Don’t shave your legs in front of him; don’t let him see you without make up,
I let you shave me
I let you wear my lipstick
It’s all my fault.
My cousin killed himself two months ago – I got the call at 10.55pm on a Sunday night.
The caretaker of his property said that that day he had never seemed happier – he played with her children, ate a good meal and laughed.
You have to wonder why he did it. There was no note and no goodbye.
Maybe some people aren’t meant to be happy
Maybe there isn’t enough to go round
Happiness I mean
Maybe there is just not enough
Or maybe some people are not that resilient – maybe when they bruise they just rot away inside – dry out like pressed flowers
Maybe some of us can’t regenerate back to joy
Maybe some of us have no capacity for it
It is elusive and evasive
It grows in other gardens beyond great walls topped with electric fences
Out of sight and out of reach
I don’t know why I’m telling you this.
I’m okay you know
I get out of bed each morning and jump in the shower
I go to work
I read on the train
I do cross word puzzles
It is a life this
A small and delicate one-
Yet a life nonetheless.
I probably wouldn’t have taken your call anyway
It’s not like we’d have anything to say to one another
I’d get angry and go all-quiet
It would probably be really miserable
Because I would have had an expectation of you that you could not possibly fulfill
And disappointment on your Birthday is not what you want
Especially when you are well aware
That you’re not getting any younger
And your hair is going decidedly grey
And you may only have another few good years to be fertile and conceive a child
Disappointment on your birthday – not a good thing.