Two tiny embryos
Born only 10 miles apart
Both girls.
12-and-a-half-years between them.

The first, planned and loved,
She’s an English major,
A product of a sheltered upbringing.
She thinks she’s fucked.

The second, a surprise,
Forcibly responsibility for her father’s drink problem,
Consistently neglected by her mother.
She doesn’t know it yet but she’s fucked.

For Ryan

Ryan, my friend.
You worked a summer
in a hotel restaurant.
You hated it but now
you never think of it at all.
You’re a charmer, a little bit cheeky.
A young boy once greeted by remarks
of: ‘one day you’ll be a heart-breaker’
But everyone’s broken a heart
or two before.

Now you have an office job,
All those years getting that degree,
Majoring in English, if you must know.
Coming home to that girlfriend,
Scared of committing to her,
A boy trapped in a man’s life.
A child expected
You’ll make a good day
in your own way.

But actually I don’t
know you at all
We never met.
You’re a name on a table
in the restaurant I work in.
A black marker documenting
a person who was
and all they could have been.
Unfortunately your eulogy
reads no more
of you than you are
“Ryan [who] takes it up the arse”

An extended apology

Chaos. Of the petrol fuelled, metallic box kind.
A box-junction I should never have entered,
A crossroad blocked entirely by me,
They can’t know how sorry I am, I want to
apologise over and over until I’m hoarse and loathed.
An apology, rapidly becoming an apology for my entire existence.
Consciously paying rent to a world by trying
to be perfect, to make someone want me.
To make me feel I belong and am deserving.

And there’s a fly or two in the kitchen,
An erratic, stupid fly-er, panicking needlessly,
There’s a hot light which attracts it,
And with that it’s gone, burnt up.
I guess that could mean anything,
But I think that death cruel and needless.

An essay I can’t do,
The 50 hour workday week,
On the lowest of wages,
A desire for a summer job rapidly becoming a responsibility,
A frustration and a confidence knock.
Wanting to be good at something. That essay.

And I can’t breath,
If the light doesn’t kill,
The bleach will,
Intoxicated by ghastly fumes,
Intoxicated. I got drunk with you.
I wanted to do it again, but
I’m not invited and you never responded,
I don’t know what I did wrong but
I’m sorry, it was all my fault.

A formula 1 driver died.
25. That’s only 5 years older than me
and it makes me sad.
Because he was doing something
Something more than this.
But yet I live, while he does not.

And it’s not fair and it all reminds me of Karen.
Everything always comes back to her.
A girl I never knew.
If I could apologise for that I would too.
Because she was living and I was not.
I should have died for her, I wanted to.
Our city should have protected her.

So I sit here, listening to Bruce Springsteen covers,
Thinking of the lives taken while mine progressed.
To think I can live but not write. Write an essay.
So incapable, should have been me.
I’m sorry for making this about me. Again.

To be interested

Oh but could no one hear
hear her scream
shout, shriek, cause a stir
flip 360° and there’s no return.
All for boredom,
All for human interaction.
On the outside a robot perhaps,
Carrying out the procedure of work,
Inside she is dying
to be interested.

No Lifeboat Come

A body, a vessel,
A barge sinking,
And it’s a shout,
that really knocks me out.
Should have done it right
right the first time.
It’s working two jobs,
And an important determining exam.
And I’m
stressing, cramming, trying.
I think I’ve taken on too much.
Slowly the barrel disintegrates,
Leaving the shell of a human.
Always trying, unfortunately failing.


The slow beating of a heart

Burr bom…burr bom…burr bom…

A heart that is tiring 

I envy in your hospital bed 

In your crisp white sheets

I envy you because 

You are moments away

From stopping, from dying. 


And he looked at me 

With his thoughtful, knowing eyes,

‘What do you want?’ he asked,

‘I want to be left alone,

entirely by you,

I want to sleep without 

hurting, forget everything.’

You’re just another notch

on my belt of human failures.

A notch with a heightened

importance nonetheless 

and a pain in my chest.