If I Should Have A Daughter

If I should have a daughter
I will tell her what sex is from the earliest age
And that if anyone tries to force themselves upon her against her will
That this is called rape
And that rape is a crime
And anyone who forces her to marry her rapist is also a criminal
And that child marriage is a violation of her rights and childhood.
She is a child.
True she lacks experience
But she is not stupid.
Her capacity to understand the violence of non consensual sex or sexual abuse is innate
Her lack of experience is not a justification to take advantage of her
But she will be confused
Confused by the so called adults
That she entrusted her innocence with
The so called adults whom she trusted to protect her, to keep her safe, to enable her to grow into a healthy adult with the same potential as the next child.
I will not tell her that she should dress more conservatively because that is not her responsibility
I will not blame her, if that day, god forbid, should ever come, for asking for it
She never asked for it.
She never asked for this, to be treated as a sex object.
She never asked to be stared at or glared at
She would never ask for that kind of abuse
Because she is like me and you.
She has rights and when she is unable to make the right choices or lacks the power to stop adults from abusing her because she is only a child,
Because adults are bigger,
This is when we all should know better.
These are the truths I know right now.

What’s the point of a liver?
A lung?
A kidney?
A heart?

They are insides
Innards
Entrails

And I will eat them
And spread them on my toast
Like pate
Make a meat pie
With a good crust
Alongside a pint of stout

Or I will feed them to my cats
In bite sized kibbles.

I will make gravy!
Thick and creamy
And pour it all over
My mashed potato heart
Beating, pumping in sweet talk
Pushing out salty tears

Slice open my thumb
While peeling onions
The skin opening, revealing the perfect accompaniment to
Roast Chicken

A train of thought passes quickly
Like poison, racing green with envy
Or ivy, creeping up branches and bark,
Tips to toes
Leaves to roots, shoots
Snaking its way up
Twisting and curling
Tightening its grip.

What is it?
This
These organs are just offal
Cheap cuts
The leftover pieces on a butcher’s block
The liver, the lungs, a kidney, a heart
That nobody wants.

The Crows

The black birds

The death birds

Talk too much

Talk in tongues

And tones

And rhymes

And in riddles

Tell jokes

Keep secrets

They know your secrets

Secret messages, signs, if only you could understand them, decipher them, hear them.

They are very noisy, squawking loudly from telephone lines, and tree tops, signboards and rubbish dumps.

They hip and hop and dance and flap their wings, as if waving at you, calling you, trying to get your attention.

They just want your attention.

Listen to me. Speak to me. See me. See what I see.

Observers, standing on the edge, peering down from above, gesticulating, gesturing, trying to get your attention.

They do not hang around dead things because they are hungry, waiting for leftovers, or easy pickings, pecking out eyes and tongues, they are not vultures. No, crows are found where the dead are because crows are gargoyles for graveyards, protectors of the underworld and gateways to the other side.

Playfully, they pretend to be scary, dressed all in black, from beak to claw, their pretense is their horror, the perception of fear, of darkness of decay, but they are deceivers.

Deception is the crow’s strength and her biggest joke. She both obscures and reveals, cloaked in a curtain of smoke.

Do not be deceived by the crow for she may be ugly but she knows.

The eternal trickster, the crow is a ventriloquist who knows what to say, how and when.

My books

My shelves

The way you read me

And run on sentences

Conversations that never seem to finish

Finally

The silences after a storm

The long pauses

Before you smother me

In affectionate statements and declarations

Of your commitment to good grammar

And a solid argument.

It’s arguable which one you think of more lovingly

My punctuated state

Or my perfect mistakes

The anxious longing separation

Which brings the most welcome relief reunion

The time I no longer have for myself

The space I no longer have in my head

For anything other than

What you just said.

Pleasure is skin on skin.

Your skin.

Pleasure is being exposed and revelling in it

Seeing each other

For exactly what we are.

Naked from within

Like pain could never exist

Even if she explored me deeper

I will accommodate her

As long as she doesn’t forget

Those places she’s been to

With me

Inside and under my skin

Pain is skin on skin.

Your skin.

When you worked your way in

Then worked your way out

You can suffocate me

Scratch me

Bite me

Bruise me

Hold my hands and restrain me

These things don’t hurt me.

So take me,

I will give in,

I want to let go

More than anything.

My identity moves like the mercury in a thermometer

When it’s hot I take a layer off
When it’s cold, I put more on to protect me from
The onslaught of questions that usually start
“So, where are you from?”

My identity was born between seasons
North and South
East and West
The meridians forming crossword puzzles
Across my birth.

My identity takes me around the world
In a time machine
I travel between my past and future
With a few stops in between
With neither passport giving me the freedom
Or comfort of being
In the present.

I crave to be seen
Because right now
The race
That shows on my face
Blurs the real colour of me
And I know we all dream of a colour less world
But I don’t want to be invisible,
Transparent.

To feel loved makes me feel strong.

To be seen and understood.

When I feel supported.

When I’ve done a good deed, made someone else happy,

When a student or class I’ve taught makes me proud

Clarity

Standing up in front of an audience and hearing them laugh or clap really loudly

I feel strong when I feel physically fit, when my muscles are tight and big

When I can climb stairs without gasping for breath, when I can carry someone’s weight, run a mile

When I’ve given advice to a friend and they feel satisfied, or when it helped

I feel strong when I’m focused, when I know I’m going through a tough time but I know I will get through it,

I tell myself I can do it,

I have a high threshold for pain, for scratches, and burns, and bleeding wounds, and open wombs,

My scars can be seen

They are tattoos, visible but beautiful,

On my skin

Clean,

My skin heals fast

And I know I can last.

I’ve been there before,

I’ve been through worse,

I know I am strong enough to let it pass,

because it always does pass.

I wear the blues on my sleeve

Sadness is my music

Grief is my dance

I will love you until you are blue

And it will touch you

Like no other colour.

When he said, let’s break everything, in the name of poetry –

We raised our glasses, rejoiced, repeated – and believed it

I did not expect you to then turn around and break me.

But that invitation did occur to me

Especially when you said you needed to break free

People say that I make sweeping statements

Be careful of what you wish for

And don’t tempt fate

The goddesses are angry and they don’t take prayers lightly

When you swept me up into your promise

I was ready to believe

All the letters and messages and emails and gifts

I accepted them like a first kiss

With Hope

I did not want to resist

I wanted to digest you

Consume you

Fill my belly with the meat of you

Let your flesh combine with mine

If only on the off chance that your flesh would heal me

Feed me with all the good stuff that my body needed to stay alive

You promised to keep me healthy

I was scared but I asked – what do you want from me?

This broken body has very little to offer to a person who has had their awakening

But when you flattered me with your love

I drowned in the possibility

That I could potentially be

You’re breaking point.

Your epiphany.

God did not reveal herself only to leave me alone

She met me there to show me that conversations are a two way street

That religion is not spirituality but faith

And faith cannot be broken by a broken heart alone

Or even a very bad fight

And even though words are violent

Sometimes I feel that speaking them is better than remaining silent

Love is a war fought only between lovers

Love is a battlefield, Pat.

I cannot fight if there is no love to fight for

I would not struggle without something to struggle for

I would not want to die less there was something to die for

When I said – let’s break everything

I heard the crack of the bone in your chest

And I wanted to smash my hand into my own

To pluck out, not that stupid Apple, but a bone

To support us both as we caved into the weight of

The unbearable lightness of our being.