When it is 2am and I am tied
and lost behind ugly tiles in the fireplace,
I look for strange words
in old notebooks and in myself.

Or I pour myself a mug of tea,
walk to the shore
and gulp cold seawater in between
each steamy sip and each crashing bore;
little finger pointed to the swell
of waves making poetry
up my legs.

I spend most of my days like this now–
sleepless, wordless and wet through,
stood alone at the sill,
because when I can’t write, I cry,
and she says that kissing in the window is good for our health.


After weeks of hailing saviours to perch
on the sills of this quietude
and squawk together over fire-alarms,
I met you
and I buckled under your ideality.

That was a mistake.

Now I am listening to the buffeting
of the single-glazed windows
as my mother makes lists of my shortcomings
and sellotapes them
over distances of clouds and the number 20 bus…

or maybe they’re proud,
my parents:
just trying to push me a little further into the sea.
After all, with improvement,
longer walks along the promenade
and more Seamus Heaney collections,
I could write better poetry.

But my voice curls with your misshapen metaphors
and my hands grip only at the drifting outline
of the waves of your parting.

At night I wake up sweating, worrying
I’m not surrendering myself to the governing of words fully.


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