War on femininity 

I started a new job a few months ago. Truth be told it’s a little stuffy in here, could someone crack a window? 

My identity is being challenged again. I am left in clouds of dust screaming,

I am a girl! 

I am!

Though I am in the midst of a mans world attempting to express my ultimate femininity through this ocean of suits and a vivid buzz cut. It’s all blue and grey where I am a beacon of fluorescence. 

I dream of swirling swing dresses, fitted fur coats and gloved hand holding in the snow. I dream of being paraded on your arm where people stop in their laboured tracks to watch the most handsome couple stroll through forest fires unharmed. Jaws lulling open. 

Where a scarf the size of a blanket envelops me and becomes my hat, adds to layers of coats and cardigans. Where I am your little cloaked bird, singing into the deepest reaches of you. Loving you there. 

This battle is one not won easily. This gentleman’s world flecked with misogyny and I am at the mercy of the dollar. 

Smile, speak, be underestimated. 

I bet your wife dressed you this morning. I bet you have no idea how to care for that wool poly blend, ten percent tencel. 

I bet your ties are pre-tied. 

Pockets, pockets, pockets

I am suffering with the ailment of time
crawling by on buckled knees
Hands in pockets
He would be laughing at me
the small girl stuck in the suit shop
eyes down on paper
as blazers hug one another on the rails
surrounding me
Hands in pockets
My wrists are clean
but I’ve mentally toyed with the elusive end
more times than I can count
Hands in pockets
I have spent too long waiting
at the bus stop, 
train stations,
for my mother to arrive on time,
the day to end,
to get older, 
find my great love
Hands in pockets
I wear three rings, all silver
I wear this heart of mine
through my throat
I don’t bleed to die
I bleed to release; paper and ink

Stop hurting me

Wire bound years

left me devoid of happiness

my most unnatural state

I felt akin to bonsai 

The very roots of me

strangled

Keeping me a minute smudge on the surface of the planet

where I could have bloomed 

and become the sweetest rose

I soured

stunted

You were an artisan of spiritual binding 

Toss a little salt in the water 

Skies are growing darker by the porcelain second. Each moment more delicate than the last. My bones feel like wicker where I bend only so far. 

Anger builds from my core. It’s a kind of fire, white hot, licking victims with forked, red tongues. The many tongues of Medusa only it is I who is stone cold and I will shock you solely with words. My glare threatening but never fatal. 

I am small. Hardly one hundred and twenty pounds, but I move with a force greater than some seismic milestone. I am tectonic. See me shift oceans with a sigh, feel a deep concern rumble from the earths core with every lax eye roll, growing frustration. 

I question humanity everyday. 

Why are we so self destructive?

Where do we find peace in war? 

What is it you get out of insulting me with petty notions?

Ha, they say ignorance is bliss but I would rather tangle with the divinely aware. I prefer challenge over increased guilt for opinion and a dwindling tide of personality. 

Everybody looks the same. 

I wear roaches strung on gold chains from my ears, I wear a collar around my throat and I wear silver, looped snakes on my wrist. Tell me you don’t like it but give me reason, say it with gusto. Do not hold me on the grounds of I can so I will. Hold me for your sake. 

Hold me because you love me. 

Asteroid

I feel red hot
The subtleties of my nature
careening; earth bound
while I weep for the loss of her
She is gentle
with ethereal qualities
I won a staring contest with Medusa
Cracks in my marble form
sound out like the grinding of a pestle
I bend into caverns before me
to brush the dust from her lovely bones
Wanting to reignite the soft parts of me
where embers caress an amputation
cauterising the stone
and bringing forth golden syrup skin
Like treacle, we could layer a trifle of us
With ink and scars
and honeyed voices
the tears of countless unravellings
Where we could use
butterfly kisses as sprinkle toppers
Holding imperceivable words
between languid lips

The cemetery

I touched the wrought iron gates and

I said goodbye to parts of me

I threw them a ceremonial ocean burial

but still purchased a headstone

I torched them and told them to thank God on their way through His gates

Thank him for the challenges he set before me

and tell Him that I am not sure how long I will be

He knows of my pitch dark sorrow

as He knows of my unbeatable strength

I cried at the departure of me

where angels visited and kissed my tears away

I wore my trousers through at the knees

praying for but a mere moment of calmness within me

For a hand to hold through the night

and a gentle voice to wake me from the nightmares which plague me

I said one last goodbye

and waved slowly to the corpse of my misery

Hold this birds bones in remarkable hands

I found my eyes caught

like a fishing hook in cheek

or wing

on hands resembling your hands

I sat across from a Jewish gentleman

his face so soft

while his ears stood alert

horizontal

peaked crimson from the cold

I watched his hands for far too long

he even had an estranged thumb

A boy across the carriage had green hair

and he smiled at me

a wintery grin

with chapped lips and flushed cheeks

I figured he must have run for the train

I flashed a halfhearted smile in return

before swinging my eyes back to those hands

where they settled

buried in memories

and I realised that I must have spent

hours cradling yours

Quiet lies

I lie to myself

more than I care to admit

Like a secret garden of poppies

ripe opium

Like ancient hazy dens

brimming with dazed men

and women dressed of an evening

hushed and speaking

in delicate tongues to minds well altered

I change my mind

rarely

Fall out of love

never

Where I graze my knees

then my tibia snaps

and my spine follows suit

The bells toll in the chapel

and I do not argue

though I quietly complain

about broken bones

and this heart that shivers in warm waters

Again, I lie

shush truths like women

of the night

soothing troubled waters

and taking fingers in mouths

For all the strength I have gathered

in cane baskets laced over arms

I may be capable of carrying mountains

If not mountains

perhaps

cathedrals

Ukrainian mink

I can still ride my bicycle with no hands, today I discovered that. I guess it’s one of those things that’s… well, you know.

Like climbing my childhood ladder with no hands. She still got it.

I rode to the beach and sat amongst sunshine. Looking out over the peninsular I felt nothing for it. I knew I should be coo-ing over the beauty of it all, but I couldn’t. I recognised the familiar stretch of ocean. Those syrupy sands dashed wish red rocks and native grasses. I saw people strolling, could hear their ooh’s and ahh’s from my perch on the cliff. In that moment I felt like crying.

A plane jutted in and out of cloud cover overhead and I checked my phone. One hundred and sixty-two days until I’m pushed back into my seat, buckle digging into my stomach and the heat of early autumn forcing its way through tiny windows.

Kissing my mother’s cheeks goodbye at the international departure zone where the notion of home sets me free. Paper notes in my purse and letters for my chosen family tucked into my journal for safekeeping between Melbourne and the Springs.

Oh, how I long to be covered in the sweet, symphonic embrace of distant souls. Tangled in conversation and heartbeats holding heartbeats in the palms of hands the very same size as mine own.

How tantalising the taste of altitude meshed with attitude. How bright the sun and cold the last snows of winter.

I inch achingly close to you with every text, every day laid to rest in the casket of my calendar with a simple slash as I slump into bed at all hours.

Be it dusk or dawn, company causes shifts in motion. Sleep is the antidote to minutes that feel like decades while creativity is a paradoxical equation.

How some lines feel heavy in duration and others a mere sprint. Catharsis is found by needle point, beneath bright lights and the hum of machines where being vulnerable is my skin being caressed by the sweet kiss of permanence.

Until the tender kiss of death’s chapped lips holds me under like siren’s steal sailors.

Sitting in a storm of unease swirled with ecstasy at a safe distance from the sand I watched that plane as it dissolves into the distance. I held my hand and closed my eyes,

one hundred and sixty-two days

until home is not just a memory.