left hanging from my tongue
of I’m just a little bit
in love with you
after each goodbye -
all of these are now remnants
of a dead language;
a tongue no longer
to any living ear.
you are to me
what a ruler is
without an empire;
stone pillars toppled,
left to rot and decay,
the people left disillusioned
by a system in which many once
love, like any civilisation,
will always turn to
Tell me the story of how you watched as lightning tore the skies to pieces; the earth itself quaking in its boots as thunder rumbled and crashed overhead. Tell me the story of how the rain poured and poured for seven days afterwards, washing away the destruction into the sea. Tell me the story of how you fell in love with her, and how she fell in love with the waves.
Tell me the story of how your heart held itself under the waters and drowned, and how you foolishly, foolishly let her take it. You heard her heart beating, once, as you both lay quiet and still as death in the night; and you dreamt of holding it cupped in your hands.
Tell me the story of how she tore out her own heart, and how she never, ever meant for her blood to stain your hands, but you picked it up after she tossed it aside and then screamed when you couldn’t wash her off your skin, not ever. Some things will cling to you and never let go.
Tell me the story of how her heart sank to the bottom of the ocean and took her with it. Tell me how you screamed those words you could never, ever say; how it began as a whispered rhythm which escalated, getting louder and louder until it felt like a chorus, an orchestra, a thousand voices coming together in a unified, wailing crescendo - Come back to me, come back to me.
Tell me the story of how your world became a void and it felt so cold, cold, cold you swore you’d freeze to death.
Tell me the story of how you wished you had.
I am not the calm before the storm,
but a feeble whirlwind
slowly tearing itself to pieces.
My destruction is a quiet kind
of the self;
I am not a hurricane.
I may be weak in body,
but I wield words like swords;
in my mind I have built
empires upon empires
and razed them to the ground
(and perhaps I would
build them back up again,
were I given a chance)
je suis, je ne suis pas;
io sono, io non sono;
ich bin, ich bin nicht;
all these languages mean nothing
when I am too afraid to speak
(but who will speak for me,
when I myself
cannot find the words?)
i dreamt of you again last night; of city lights, pouring rain and the echoes of our footsteps as we ran for shelter; except this time the streets were empty and you were running faster than me. my movements slowed, i struggled to keep up and every time you turned a corner i expected you to have vanished into thin air. i kept running after you (as i always did; you were always one step ahead of me, always, and perhaps i slowed you down), willing you to look back like you used to, but you never did. perhaps it was a metaphor for losing you.
Another stormy night is upon us, and the house quakes in terror; the glass shivers in the windowpanes and the wind howls outside, whimpering and screaming with all the rage and anguish of the earth. Ghosts tiptoe and shuffle around the house, guided by the moonlight filtering gently through flimsy curtains; the floorboards creak and groan like the bones of an old, tired man who no longer wishes to walk among the living.
Talk to me of love and I’ll tell you about the sea; that vast, seemingly immense body spanning the entire globe. Beautiful, irresistible but deadly dangerous; she entices me in like a thirsty traveller before poisoning me with salt, for such beauty cannot be touched by mortal hands, tasted by mortal tongues, inhaled by mortal lungs; oh, my darling, drown me in your presence. The waves dance effortlessly; waltzing, swaying, and I am drawn to her like the pull of the moon at high tide.
as a young girl,
my grandmother once told me
you have too much heart.
it’s going to get broken.”
so i broke it myself -
tore it to pieces,
shattered it into fragments
far too tiny to ever
put back together -
before anyone else could,
in the hope that perhaps
i would become
(little did i know that
having your heart broken
by your own hand
is far more excruciating
than loving any
mortal being could be.)
i think a ghost crawled into my lungs
while i was asleep and can’t get back out.
it scratches at my insides,
trying to claw its way out through flesh and blood,
rattling the bars on my ribcage.
i am no longer myself;
merely the host to a parasite.
perhaps it is a prisoner that i cannot set free,
one that i never meant to hold captive.
(perhaps i have become the ghost; perhaps it has
eaten away at my insides and replaced them.
perhaps i am an empty shell.)
i exhale, and the ghost sighs."
they gave me wings
and told me i could fly,
if i wanted to.
they told me
i could reach the sun,
but i was not icarus.
i didn’t even get close
before i fell;
wind caught in my feathers,
the air thick like honey,
sweet like honey,
the bittersweet taste of failure
turning sour in my mouth.
perhaps i belong in the ocean,
amongst the salt and the seaweed
and the shipwrecks of my dreams.
a mere mortal was never worthy of success;
slit my throat and i will not bleed ichor.
i was never born to shine
brightly amongst the clouds.
she’s a picture-perfect primadonna
with a name that tastes of danger;
poison on your lips, on her lips
(for surely, her kisses would be deadly)
the click-click of her heels on the sidewalk
match the click-click of the cameras and
the shade of lipstick she’s wearing
matches her dress,
a vivid shade of crimson
(but secretly, she knows that
“crimson” is merely a synonym
for “the blood of her enemies” —
whoever said looks couldn’t kill?)
the way you look at me,
one might have thought I was sacred;
do not idolise me, put me on a pedestal;
I have not wielded thunder,
torn the skies to pieces,
parted the oceans or
run rivers of blood through holy lands
no amount of power,
or marble statues,
or scriptures etched in gold telling of
battles won that never were
could ever make me anything more than human.
i am the raging waters.
a storm brewing under a calm surface;
churning itself up into a fury without ever being seen,
lost out at sea.
(the bottom of the ocean is a lonely place)
but you, you are a wildfire;
burning brightly, destroying everything in its path
to achieve the end.
you are god-touched, transcending reality
i have spent such a long time stumbling in the dark
that your light is dazzling, overwhelming.
my eyes burn at the sight of you;
you have blinded me
(and i do not want to see;
i would rather not know about your flaws.
do i love you,
or an idea?)
you are fire and i am water,
and i cannot bring myself to touch you
for fear of extinguishing you completely;
i was a fool to think
that a mere mortal was worthy of
touching the sun.