You Are Something

You drew a line with a finger, where the booth cushions met, said, “Don’t cross it, yeah?” I didn’t plan to, then, even as I edged closer. That was a test, a buffering at 68% permanently, no chance of an actual load.

You still sit across from the line, always on that side, to my right, and I’m usually first to move. Destroyed now I know what it’s like. Before, I relegated connections to a section in my head for fiction, religion and make believe. That third day I had to concede some times invisible isn’t absent. And now I’m absolute certain of it.

You’re cotton wool soaking me up. And each time a decry of, “Absence doesn’t fondness make,” is thrown between bottled beers, you raise a hand, and everyone knows what you’ll say without you ever saying.

Proximity. Who knew? Who really fucking did, though?

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Conflagration

If this is burning my life to the ground, then okay. Fire extinguish me. Especially if you know what’s best for me. I’m going to assume that you do.

The advice you’ve cheese fries dished out with lashings of BBQ sauce, is it what you’d want to hear in this exact dilemma? Would you hope for a stock drawer answer, or an inspirational meme, or a worn out platitude that didn’t even work on TV?

Because if I’ve learnt one thing, it’s this: advice is lint.

Seriously, shit. And even professionals, who I total value, if they’d said the opposite of what the underside of my heart says, the really crappy layer, like old tyres with no grip, I’d ignore it. Because no-one knows my nerves like me.

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Fools Rush

You tell me to buy the audiobook, even though I called you, whittling my phone contract down into minus figures, for you to tell me you’re not reading a book out loud over the phone. Our conversations out-price me. And this is costing 50p a minute, probably.

Maybe you think it’s a joke; I guess that it is. Because intonation’s a learnable trick, isn’t it? Really no reason why yours is margarine thick, understands each judder bone better than contractual agreements and metal.

But I don’t want the book, or Stephen Fry, or some palatable, 5-star Amazon review, award-winning voice reading it to me.

Like the things you said last night you shouldn’t have said, but you said publicly, anyway, because you’re table laying, or openly flaying, or we’re somewhat flailing, or you’ve lost that filter most people have to not say the things they think to the people they think them about, plus their most treasured 176 FB friends, this is honestly it: I’d keep you in my ear if possibility, technology allowed it. And it’s boring for you, sure. But not me. Never me.

I’m not buying audiobooks, loser. I feel the same about that stuff that you said. What was it again? And I almost called like 40 times, 2 days ago, just to hear you. My thumb twitched at the dial. Because you make me better.

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Point Match

It’s two words: match and point. I pick discrepancies up each piece I read. Whether you like it or not, I am your editor.

You got the volley right, the limbo, the way we photo developed until every picture was a little reddy orange, overexposed, ultimately unframeable. And endless.

So I ended it, quite unprompted. Except, do you even believe anything’s over which wasn’t before? That we’ll never really talk again? Because I don’t.

There’s always next week. All I need’s a pencil and a print out of everything you ever wrote. I’ll perfect you. That’s what I do. And you know that, don’t you?

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Brinkmanship

You tell me it matters. I try to deflect any borderline-complimentary thing you might say, but last night on the phone you were firm, like a lesson outcome actualising itself before an observer, grading on a scale of 1 to 4. 4 is fail, you know?

You say that it matters, that it really, and hurts, and you hide stuff from others if it means I’ll stay but we both know I’m not the staying kind any more than you are and, if anything, that’s what will work, the unstickyness of us as a couple: I won’t live with you and you won’t want me to, when you really think about it.

Because online is best. Phone is better, but in talk time lieu, we communicate the worst way humanly (and, like, humanely) possible: Facebook. Tone’s not even the problem. Repetition is. And being that girl, scrap catcher, embroiled in a billion pointless interactions at the sake of you. Or for you. Except it’s for me. I’m the disaster.

You text ❤ like it’s a thing people do and I save up Catfish quotes for, eventually, we’ll end this. Won’t we? Maybe. We watch TV on a phone line and you say, “Someday we’ll be in the same room, together,” which is nice like the thought of grabbing a drink with Tom Cruise and finding what life is to him, you know?

This and the list of things you say which I wish I’d remember better, is what whirls when a movie’s on. And that fucking kiss.

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There is no effing way in a quadrillion years

You are the exact opposite of want. I tell you this in between eyeing the inside of your jacket like it’s a baked potato and I haven’t eaten in five hours. That’s a lot of hours.

It isn’t the stitching, or lining, the fact that you’re wearing it, or the texture of the outside I understand as I patronisingly pat you down, deciphering who your wife is. And there’ll certainly be a next one: the joke level quantity alone fills 50 dishwasher clean jam jars.

I pretend I won’t talk to you ever or later; you won’t be on my mind as YouTube playlists shuffle Fiona Apple songs. Oh, sailor. Even your friends think it’s me.

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I Keep Waiting

Expiration dates are loose and, like, wartime was tough, Mum says, not that she was there, and people ate tins ten years after, and they were okay. No-one’s going to blog about how brilliant old food was but it was better than nothing and that’s the sort of country this is: rationing’s ingrained like defects and illness developing slow like adaptations of books to TV shows, and Jennifer Aniston’s hair colour or, I guess, several colours at any one time because I can’t achieve that gold, no.

I wonder if we’ve a sell by, if we didn’t play out the exact arc of what this is, think we’re due a re-run for a singularly unacceptable blip. But some broadcasts don’t get a DVD release because the music royalties are too high, and when they switch in songs it’s never the same. Think you won’t notice, but you do, and half-fake is worse than full: a broad daylight cheat we’re not brazen to try.

But it’s not a repeat. It’s not the same for me. It’s rooted in a bagful of unrepeatable things, but it’s new, like a reboot but better because what reboot’s even good, actually? It’s like all those TV couples, dead now, you wish had met at other times and started then instead of fucking everything so spectacular-royally the first time. You think you fucked things up for me, even slightly; you didn’t. My medicine’s monthly, but don’t make me wait long like that. I can’t even take it.

An inscription in the front of a book in the charity: “To do something about this. When’s the time limit? Cross fingers, I won’t miss it.”

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My Blurb for Nonplaced by Amy Ekins

“These poems have the obsessive quality of Jack Nicholson’s eyes. Intent on logging every detail, each page is a melancholic remembrance, or eulogy, a reminder that we can never really erase anybody. Ekins’ stored snippets are ghost pain, post-amputation, and we’re not ready to move on, or give in. And maybe we won’t be, like, ever.”

jackAmy Ekins is one of the 2013 winners of a Northern Writers’ Award New Poets Bursary. You can buy her pamphlet ‘Nonplaced’ on Amazon or Erbacce now. Her work is forthcoming in Issue 2 of Butcher’s Dog Magazine. Jack Nicholson still has eyes.

She Knew Where You Were – She Didn’t Care

You sold us all out, thinking you were her rescuer, the only one looking for her. And for these years, 154, you’ve waited, sure she was stuck, and aside from seeing mortals play out succinctly, you’ve meditated only on her release and how you’d orchestrate it.

But she was never in there. And she never once returned to tell you that. She could’ve called, written, texted if she knows how, but maybe she doesn’t. Not all technology’s an easy sell when you’re set on something else entirely.

She could look like Madonna now, and I’m never completely sure how Madonna looks now because she evolves quicker than tap water: some days it tastes like chlorine, others bi-carbonate. There’s salt collecting in your teeth dips.

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.