This One Time, At Revenge Camp

Not ruling out

Considering

Family

and flinching

Selotape crease

Granules and meltlets

brand name

Spare bed

Beach front green screen

consultants

Insurance salesman

Lines like, “Heart attack, cancer, or death,”

resounding, “Yes.”

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Change Course

I kissed someone else. And any actual feeling which wasn’t a ploy was a willing casualty. And, the family you’re from, you better than anyone understand what compromise is: a daily occurrence, not a prison sentence because even they eventually end, mostly.

Months later, once you’ve fucked my friends and I, yours, when you’d think it too late to try you ask, “What if?” and the boyfriend box with your name on it which I loft-shoved, barely saved from setting light, changes status. Trinkets waning in and out of use.

I Was Dead When I Woke Up This Morning

Play. Don’t do right.

Tactics, rules, retaliate,

deductions and make heard.

Make it heard.

 

Once, spirit was a thing,

Coco Pop real

and I cherished skin tags

like design label lipstick.

 

Now, teams are numbers’ games

and I add up better than Duffy,

any of those super-good

word-people.

 

Because 5 is better than 4

and 4 is better than 3

and, target, I eliminate you

when you’re 15, 5 or 50.

 

Mess with me, fuck, I’ll

obliterate you

and discerning language

about you winning. Chance.

 

You’ll never fucking win this

You’ll never fucking win with me here

and it’s the good of somebody

at the stake. At stake.

 

The mistake I make

is taking advice

from someone’s authority

and again. I do it.

 

What I didn’t want:

impressionable knowing

rejection’s a package deal

in this life.

 

But they know it now.

There’s no saving. Not. Just

retaliational penalties and

“I’m glad you didn’t win.”

 

I’m glad you didn’t win.

Not Who You

The tea tastes like coffee because the jug once had coffee in it and you are inscrutable stains Caleb made on the sofa after impromptu nights with Emma – I can almost make out Australia. And even the second, bitterer cup can’t shake the taste with sugar. You’re the crack in my right eye. The skin I pick off of my heels.

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Not What You Think

This wasn’t a mistake until you made it one and you had every clue, knew solutions, like bleach, were exonerating. Instead, you patched clothes, reattached arms to old dolls and hoped the tears would mend. They didn’t mend.

Instead, you’re an uncertain park walker, unsure if the castle’s open, if the coffee truck is trustworthy, whether to keep dogs on a leash.

You’re my revelation daily, a well structured sentence or Bible verse revealing a truth or jam smacking me so that I stand up or sit down at a person’s request. This is the opportune moment to ask for your money so I’m asking for it. And this, my collection plate, is a beg or a preach or a charity video designed to make you feel the guilt that I’ve taught you to feel.

Physical Interaction Versus Prayer

When that girl pretended to be me, I thought I’d lost you and I did and I conceded easy defeat because I had someone to sleep with already and that’s the epitome of greed: wanting two people as yours. But who set the limits and the rules, deciding monogamy was the ultimate and only? And I’m not talking polygamy, because don’t marry if you’re not set on somebody.

But like sexuality, love’s a sliding scale and like the abacus in the primary colours they had at nursery, maybe there’s a slip day to day and we’re not concrete like the Cullens or how society says we should be. I resent yes, no and maybe options. What about I don’t know, tried once, all of the above, tomorrow?

And when she was here I untied each of my guts that tangled like earphones in handbags or string left to its own devices or spaghetti, but that’s slippery and possible to deal with with a fork.

And I made deals, wished, prayed to every obstacle or god or figurehead or pillar or statue or show or star or celebrity or text or eye or undersole or beer glass, cigarette butt, finger dial that I could. And I didn’t get anywhere because that’s not a thing. It’s a fiction. A character played by Morgan Freeman.

Thought I’d See You The Next Night

You were missing. I didn’t look but you were twelve, I was ten. I had your name and a jumper you loaned and a half pack of cards, mainly hearts.

I’d seen Gremlins and my nights were horror films in waiting, trailers, teasers, tantalising. Pen pals only worked if parents sent letters. Mine said they would but I expect loft boxes stuffed with unstuck envelopes and birthday wrapping and yellowed Sellotape.

I thought that if movies were Biblical lies, Jason Statham lines, you’d be dead before I knew. Are you dead now? Or is this that unfinished game?

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