take one - in which burned bread is beautiful
They're crumbs in the road, toast-speckles that spin and skirt and we
drive past, like we always do, the radio singing
white noise against my black humor and you say
you say I'm getting better, and I think no, I am better
I am better, I say and you say no
and I say
I'm fucking exemplary
and you ask who Exemplary is and I tell you it's me and I think
somewhere we got lost in the words
And I'm not all that keen on admitting to you that sure thing, dad,
I'm fucking myself
but mostly I'm just fucking myself over.
take two - in which you think about animated movies
You're sitting in the front seat of a car but you are also sitting in the back seat
of a car because you are at once a child and a real person
and you say
as you climb in and tuck your bag away and turn on the radio
and he says "soup" like he promised he would years ago and you think that maybe
it's the only promise he ever kept
and it's the only one that matters. Hi Dad Soup, for movies at midnight,
soggy alphabet letters in the bottom of a cup,
the warmth in your fingertips because he remembered.
Stare out the window, count the clouds hung on the pylons,
big black lines against the sky, washing lines
hang the rain out to dry
hang out yourself in the rain.
Dreams are just colourful nooses. Sleep is for
end. (Cliche'd phrases are a hidden tub of ice-cream in the back of the freezer,
one you dip your verbal spoon into on bad nights and lick clean.)
take three - in which he tells you something that makes him almost human
He laughs like it's the biggest joke in the world, and overtakes a patch of light
overtakes a spiral of butterfly brown leaves.
Autumn is here.
You would quite like to be called Autumn, if you had been born a little different,
you would have been called Robyn and that's
kind of the same thing.
Your life is a menu on which you constantly order things that are
a little bit like the thing you actually want.
Your father sings about the worst things in life and how freely they come but that is
and you wonder what else you get conned out of simply because it isn't
tangible to grab at.
Your father says respect must be earned, and he took it all.
You hashtag Occupy The Car. Congratulations.
You are now a percentage, and that's not as nice as being Autumn, or even
a robin. Congratulations.
our one millionth teenager this month to realize
that other bodies have people inside them too. Please
shut up now
collect your prize from the glovebox.
Warning: your prize is not gloves. Your prize is humiliation.
You cannot wear humiliation on your hands. It will not keep
your fingers warm.
He says in London, and suddenly he is holding fruit and you are indoors
this must be a memory
Hey says, in London, there was fresh fruit every day
like that's something
and good. You don't mean to, you say you miss it,
take five - in which you didn't want to take four
I don't want your money. This is war, I don't want your money or your kind words,
I want to sit in an office and sob down the phone and I will be comforted
in three to five days, and can I please sign here to say that you ran away again
and that you left your tea and please fill in these forms if you wish to be reimbursed
for a cold mug and a cold drink and cold fingers on your neck until you can't
think. Excuse me, did you know there is a noise complaint
filed against you?
Excuse me, did you know?
Excuses excuses, did you know yourself then?
The official frowns, and flicks it away,
mosquito bites in his signature
girls should be seen and not heard, he would like
a holiday, or a holy day, or a day that doesn't knot around
wet tissues and
long phone calls.
You think that any day where you are not scared to place your feet
on your floorboards should be the holiest of holy days.
take six - in which you pull up in the driveway and turn the music off
Exemplary, you think, as your heels sink into the dirt
would have dishwater dirty hair and eyes like tomorrow morning.
And he would never do anything more than fuck you
and inspire you,
and leave you in the morning. If you were blonde, you could be Exemplary.
It is so cold at night, so you smash the glass out
of your windows, and sleep in your nicest dress.
You hook your arm around a warm body that isn't there, and dream of drowning.
You do not dream of him. You have tried, it
does not work. If wishes were fishes
he'd be a mermaid.
take a handful - fill your pockets with it, fill your heart. fill my heart with your heart.
He bends his knee and all you remember is that the denim was slashed away, holes
at the knees, so pale and he
held your wrist in fingers that curved like branches against the sky
that splayed over your skin like frost on windows.
His fingers dragged in the gravel and you tore the skin in seashell
sea-forth layers and he bled through
into you and he bled through
the ink-spots in his skin and he touched his lips to yours
like he had earned it.
You think that he was Exemplary, but you never once fucked him, never did more than
arms around and arms under and noses touching
never thought to want for more than a voice in your ear and a home to call your own.
White picket fences, all in a line
and he left you for the stage and for the silks and cigarettes
and half-empty bottles of cider and white wine.