What I learned From You – 2

  1. How to be a knife slice
    edges clean away cut
  2. How to invest in myself with
    the ferocity of a wolf, a tigress, a lionness
    the Great Goddess of your country
    even though you don’t worship her
  3. That I am enough, more than enough
  4. That men do not know the difference between lies and promises and truth
  5. That men flirt as a tool to lower a woman’s defences while they make up their minds about being with us
  6. That I will never trust anyone again who has not earned my trust
  7. That men are incapable of earning trust, reliability, or emotional responsibilty.
  8. That justice is a life well lived
  9. That I can and will rely on myself
  10. That you don’t deserve even a clipping of my toenail
  11. How to be selfish
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All or Nothing

There is no in-between place for trust or love or truth – these, in parts are dissections, half of me in the earth, and half of me in the ocean; half trust is  trust broken, half love is love lost; and half truths are only ever lies.  Before, many times, I  have split myself like this, told myself it is ok to sacrifice myself  for a friendship, for a connection, because sacrifice is love and love is sacrifice and i will regrow again and vulnerability is sacred and i Care So Much (TM).  I still believe these things.  But I will not split myself.

I will not pull my mind out of my body, and my heart away from my brain and dig through my organs for the meat you find pleasing and discard willingly the meat and brain matter and old heart that you do not – not because I cannot split myself.

But because you don’t deserve such a monumental sacrifice.

I know I can do this to myself and survive.  I have done this many times in the past.  I have regrown entire new bodies from stem cells in the dust.

But only after you, did I consider what a waste of this precious energy is. Why should I willingly submit to any vivisection and regrow myself from soft parts, when I could just keep growing from where I am? Why should I divide myself for anyone?

“I don’t want to keep dating…but I want us to be friends – why are you so all or nothing?”

That’s nice. How
can you ask such a thing after vulnerability,
and a connection like that? Unless your end of
that thread between us was a lie, frayed, bitten,
chewed, my side golden, honest, true – listen.




(“Why?” I asked. “Why friendship?”)


I will not be your “friend”.


All or nothing.


(“Because we have good friendship chemistry. We can learn from each other. I think you can learn from me, and I know I can learn from you,” you said your little rehearsed line.)


Pick one.


Make your bed.


Lie in it.


Learn that I gave a fuck,
and now I don’t and a fuck is
the smallest unit of energy, I
don’t care what your electrical
engineering courses taught you about this,
and that single fuck is
is now gone, and no it isn’t divisble
and no I am not divisible.


Listen. Listen. Listen
to the sound that exists when you think
of me when I am not in your life, it
sounds like nothing, it is the static of a radio
antenna catching all those in-bewteen frequencies
between stations no matter which way
you turn it – Listen, nothing is all we are,
and nothing is exactly how much I need you,
and nothing is exactly the measure of how little you have to give me,
when I choose to not split myself into parts you like, because
when I have me – have all of me,

that is all I need.

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The narcissism of heartbreak

There is a narcissism to my heartbreak, always. A million poems churn from my fingertips. I pull tears out of the air,  paint them mime-like under my eyes. It’s not acting. It’s not fake. It’s real in the way where after a while, after a few months, or many years, only I am real and you cease to exist. You are the he are the she the many theys you are a blurred line of past brown edges white insides many iterations of the same pain same apathy same grey landscapes that vibrant colour flashing for a single season of blooming flowers.

There is a peculiar interest in martyrdom that only a narcissist could bring so successfully to that table, to that potluck dinner where the theme is always sacrifice – as though a single sacrifice by a single person matters anything at all. As though a single heartbreak matters in the scale of the universe.

As though these moments are worthy of extreme gratitude or cherishing or the vast and inevitable devastation that follows.

I marvel at my capacity to hold a tempest inside myself. When I start to whistle, hear me shout: Tip! me over and pour me out.

“it was just a good time, a nice time” men insist desperately, all raised with the “emotional range of a teaspoon” as Hermione Granger snaps at Ron Weasley, where I can only imagine that “good” ranges from very nice chocolate cake yes, to aweinspiring intimate sacred moments. In their minds, such moments are not very far from the experience of delectable chocolate cake. I assume she continues snapping at him for the entirety of their marriage because it’s not as though he grows at all as a human being across 7 years.

“It was a good time!” you said, and I carefully took your words from the air, crumpled them up and stuffed them into a back pocket to keep for later.

I wrote you a letter that said much more than “It was a good time!”

“It’s nice to have somebody beside you like that” he said.

“But you weren’t just somebody to me, ” I said, not realising of course that I was some body to him.

Chocolate cake. You for a man as a woman are never too far from the experience of eating chocolate cake. The quality of these experiences sits in a range measureable by a teaspoon.

But maybe there is value in having – in being – so little. So miniscule. So worthless as men tend to be. They never consider dining at the sacrificial potluck dinner. They never consider themselves that magnificent against the comparative larger structure and beauty of the universe. The capacity of selfishness increases with how little someone is – they have quite literally nothing to sacrifice, and everything to gain. There is a lesson here for me too.

“You want so little from me” I marveled at my exes, these men I wanted to offer the world to, as though I had the world to offer. You do not want the world. I do not have the world. But you don’t even want a woman. You want a finger, a kiss, a kind word, a soft hug, these disembodied moments without the full flesh and structure of another person.

To be a woman and to recognise her own worth is to be, to some extent, a narcissist in a world that defines you as small parts of available soft flesh and tender moments and words on a page – men always think I am my poetry, and I am my poetry but I am not just my poetry.

But I also think I do something, I do a thing, an interesting and strange and peculiar thing – I turn them into mirrors for my own reflection, maybe I am a vampire seeking seeking endlessly a mirror inside a person and isn’t that an interestingly dangerous thing to do to someone? Maybe, unknowingly, that has been the price I’ve demanded too – if they want a pound of my flesh maybe I want their eyes to be lakes just for me to swim in forever. If they want some sweet moments with me maybe I want to wrap myself around them until we wake up limbs not knowing to whom they belong.

Increasingly, I think about the myth that is romance. I think about how it is the only way I know to fall in love. I think about the impossibility of such a love lasting in any significant way. I think about how a flower that blooms once and dies is not an evergreen standing for a millenia. I think about the prettiness of the little loves I have had, the flash of gold magpie-like. You fade like an atom bomb shadow imprint, instantly gone.   The months that follow are passages of time ringing worms around the me that was, the you I thought you were decays. But you are not gone. you live. you exist. just not to me.

and not in a “you are dead to me” way. Our lives are just distinct. Cut off. I also do not exist in your world. but there is a narcissism to the writing isn’t there? You are not “an atom bomb shadow imprint, instantly gone”.

We went on what-  4 dates? We talked a lot for 2 weeks. We dated for like a month. There is nothing grandiose about this. It falls so firmly into the realm of the absolutely mundane.

I always hoped for more I guess, until you. Maybe you took – and maybe this is good – the tendency I have to cherish the mundane, and call it love. It was love, for me anyway. It is the only type of love I know, but it is also, as you showed, ugly in its smallness in its lack of reciprocity.

I accept that I was very nice chocolate cake for you.

I accept that you and the others enjoyed a good dessert.

I accept also that I wanted more and that I believe increasingly that “more” does not exist.

Maybe the next time around, the “you” i meet will be nice chocolate cake for me too.

“You are only chocolate cake” I will say to the next man. “You are a good time.” I will say. “It is nice to have a body beside you,” I will say.

The idea of bright flowers does not excite me anymore.
There is nothing thrilling about a long lasting evergreen tree either.
I want(ed) bright flowers that exist forever, and this is not how nature functions, and I accept this also.

My love has always been fictional in the way the best stories are always fiction. My love has always had technicolour film soaked event. I have no regrets, but I am these days tired. So tired. I am tired of my own narcissism and dreams and hopes and desires. I am tired about the paltry flash of flowers blooming and their inevitable deaths.

Fatigue makes us honest in a way nothing else can, no not even pain – pain to a narcissist is just creative energy.

But I’m tired. It is tiredness that drops the pen. Muscles don’t ache, they just stop working.

So I’ll be brief, look:

Love is dead and you are not.
Love is dead and I am not.

My heart is the size of a walnut, enough for me.
I do not have the world to offer.
I do not have a heart to offer.
I do not have anything to ask for in this regard either.

And I suppose, all other things are negotiable, provided they fit in the range of a teaspoon.

A walnut, after all, fits very rightly so in a teaspoon.

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You mattered
and now you don’t.

It is a binary switch
here or there
unlike the lamp fan light burning
dim in my room that night until at 6am
the bed filled with limbs and lips and
eyes and fingers

Old wallpaper memory feels crusted over,
its edges faded with time and cooking oil
and sandman tear crystal sands.
There is nothing as unappealing
as half torn wallpaper
begging to be burnt away it
feels like a house no one has lived in
derelict and resentment spilled across the floors

and behind, or maybe under, a cleaner slate
sits, calm and eternal eggshell walls , and as usual
poetry redecorates the room with plainer skill
than 80s Bollywood tapestry, those
gaudy posters of ill-fated romance

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Template Response to a Breakup Whee!!

Hi! Here’s a template for how you should respond the next time you’re scraping the remnants of your heart, dignity, and self-respect off a cafe floor! Memorise it! 🙂 Then, when you have to use it, say it, and then get up and leave. Foreeeeeeeeevvvvvvvvvvverrrrrrr wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

This is incredible difficult to hear. 

You’ve made a decision choosing a life without me as a partner.
This is painful. You have hurt me with this choice, but I accept that you’ve made a choice you feel is best for your life. 

Everyone deserves to make such choices. 

I have lost you and I need to come to terms with that. 

You have also lost me, but that was what you wanted: You breaking up with me means you want to lose me. 

Now I need to heal and move on in a way that is best for me and my life – and for me, that means no contact, no staying in touch, no reconnecting, no friendship; our lives are now separate, and you are a stranger to me, because you’ve chosen to make me a stranger to you.

You breaking up with me means you choose a life without me – any of me. After so much vulnerability and affection, for you to say you will have only a part of me as a friend is an insult – I don’t deserve to be dissected. I deserve to be known loved, in the full range and depth of my humanity. 

My partner would not leave me, would not abandon me, would not choose a life without me, would strive to make it work with me. 

You have already left, so you are not my partner, and maybe you never were, because I’m really a swan-type kind of lady-person-human.

My choices going forward are:
Something beautiful was irrevocably broken.
Or something beautiful existed only in my imagination.

I love you,

Take care. 


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Truth Teller

I do not know what makes me an angry woman in the day; maybe all the shadows under my eyes only come alive in sunlight.

All the thorns I’ve swallowed over many centuries sit
in my throat, they come out like
acid poison darts in the day:
Coward. Liar. Inadequate. Selfish. Get Out.

In the night, I am a still bird, with a trembling broken wing. The breeze ruffles my feathers painfully, coaxes truth and tears and gentle goodbyes all at once.

All the roses bloom in my mouth in the night, petals brushing over my tongue,
dewdrops stinging my cheekbones:

You hurt me.

I know you cared about me, and I know that changed too.

I miss you. Did you even miss me at all?

Have we, who we were, died?

Were who were when we were with each other only alive for those moments? 

We are not people anymore in each other’s lives. All we have in the end of each other are ideas, eroding as time sweeps and rounds the edges of memories into smoother rocks without edges, eventually pebbles we can hold in the palms of our hands.

We have carved away each other’s skins, hung them up like ugly coats, cut up, against the reflected painted glass windows of our hearts and stuffed them into recesses of the filing cabinet of our minds, however tight the fit, snip away the layers of complexity, sew and stitch and move each other’s parts into the discard pile .

Years later we will tell new lovers about each other, curled up around them, when they ask us, our mercurial tongues loosening, tasting the air for the kind of truth we want to tell.

“Idk, she was…kinda nuts” you’ll say and shrug. You’ll wink in that “it’s just a secret between us” way and say “haha, she knew I was a catch though. And she – well I guess I liked her at first because I mean she wrote poetry and it was…she was…interesting. ”

“Idk, he was a fucking idiot” I’ll say and laugh. I’ll giggle with a glint in my eye and say  “haha, he definitely learned a thing or two from me. And he – I mean I guess I liked him at first because he was disciplined about his life and he…was interesting.”


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What we had lay dying over so many months, a death by a thousand disappointing cuts.

At the end she asked me “please. He will be too much of a coward to end this properly. It must be you. It has always been you. I know it isn’t fair.”
So I took her in my arms, kissed her cheeks and her eyes and her hair and said “you mattered to me and always will” and she smiled and said “I know”.

Then I twisted her neck quickly and calmly.

I know you did not even hear her neck snap.

I buried her after climbing to the highest cliff in an unamed land.

I buried her surrounded by an angry ocean’s stinging salt winds in my hair and against my cheeks.

I buried her as the waves crashed against the rocks below.

I buried her in an unmarked grave that only I know how to find.

You will not find her or me again.

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I am precious,
beautiful and tender
warm and kind and glorious
and sharp, sharp, sharp, sharp
as a tack

And you let me go said goodbye said no
said let’s be friends
said let’s scale it back said I want you in my life
but not like this, I
don’t want all of you, you said. “Why
are you so all or nothing?” you said.
So let me tell you:

Once, when I was very young my mother
told me God would not want me in his house
on the days that I bleed and I said with the Voice, the first
time I knew I was a witch, and cast a spell of truth, a Voice
as powerful as ten years and thousands of centuries could contain,
a Voice with the strange strength of the moon as it pulls
waves from the seas, churns potions in the night, a Voice
that tasted like copper in the air, a Voice that turned the kitchen
into a battlefield, a conversation into a war between Justice and Evil:

that I would not see a god that would
have me only in parts, that my body was not dissectable,
that if my bleeding days made me impure – such
a god was a god of men,
and was impure to Me on all days and in all ways.

If I could reject a god
who would have Me only in parts,

Do you think I would accept a man
who would only have Me in parts?

Once, many centuries ago, a prophesy fell like a bird telling tall tales into a vicious king’s ear, landed in the evil ways of his heart,
said “your sister’s Child will be made from the milk of the universe, ruler of all the worlds, and will destroy you for all your sins, yes, this is your destiny”

So the vicious king imprisoned his sister and her husband, killed each baby that was born, but the night that the eighth child was born, the guards fell into a sleep, the doors opened, and a voice simply said protect this child, take Him away, replace it with another so as not to arouse suspicion; you must protect Him now, so that He will protect us all later. And the husband listened, took the Child away, and brought another little one back, a little girl a little child a baby girl infant that was sure to be the sacrifice to protect a God, it didn’t seem fair, it wasn’t fair, but life is never really fair is it? And in the morning the vicious king arrived to kill the baby girl, took her, wriggling in his hands, raised to dash her head against the rock –

And She flew up, up, eight-armed, and hovered above him, now a young girl witch, a laugh like a thunderclap, and, before disappearing, with an old crone voice said: “Fool, know this; I am She who cannot be divided and your destroyer exists elsewhere because I protected Him.”

So let Me tell you,
My blood and heart are holy,
You may deserve me in parts, but
My lineage sings of indestructibility,
So sit in your own inadequacy, because I
am just too  much for you.

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All we have of each other and anyone and everyone are ideas.

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A Better Mirror

There is better
than you for
me and better
than me for
you out in
this wide world.

maybe we both will
find it in our reflections
and remember the other
with fondness knowing
we each have a good mirror
for ourselves

maybe we both will
see in our own pupils
each other’s best soul
reflected and smiling,
in shining knowledge
of the other’s peace

Yes, there are moments
I cannot breathe with
all my broken memories
of ground glass in my lungs,

But there are moments
too, when
I call you friend, and
the word falls from my lips
like a butterfly with summer wings
born knowing to fly beautifully.

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