City.

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I’ve walked these streets all my life.

Every street corner holds a memory, every building sparks a flurry of emotions inside my gut; swooping and diving within my chest like the seagulls screaming above my head, sending a chill through my bones that reverberates throughout my entire being. 

Brighton.

The city of dreams, the party that never ends, the safe haven for sexual expressions and alternative idealists. My home. I much preferred it when it was still a town, when the Pier was called the Palace Pier, before the city self-titled it. When the shops that lined the streets were alive and full of colour; instead of being intermittently boarded up with cracked plywood and defaced with incoherent, uneducated graffiti from insolent youths trying to find their identity and spread their message of hate and repression to those who couldn’t give a shit. 

I preferred it when my feet were a half-size smaller, my hair wasn’t wrecked by too many poor-dye jobs and my eyes were less weary. Much as I continue to struggle along trying to carve a niche for myself in this bustling sprawl of a city, I know I don’t belong. I have become one of the lost souls who dreamed of finding themselves here; I thought I would find it easy, find myself easily, for this is my home-town. Yet as I walk yet again to the clothes shop where I work, that holds itself in too high regard; battling constantly against the upmarket shops to be the most desirable, I know this is no place for me. 

Some people say I am committed for having worked here for 5 years; others say I’m a fucking idiot. I agree with both simultaneously. Commitment has always been my failure; when I find something I feel comfortable with, I cling on for dear life. That goes with people too. I trust too easily and love too fast. I would say I’m a hopeless romantic but really I think I’m just hopeless. I like that. It means I’ll always keep trying. 

Monotonous and uninspiring music from the charts is blaring from the speakers as I jostle past Christmas revellers and try to navigate my way up the escalator, gritting my teeth and clinging onto the moving hand-rail for dear life as I’m elbowed in the ribs by oblivious shoppers. 

By the end of my shift my throat is sore from constantly yelling ‘can I help?’ to customers lost in their own world whilst standing in a queue one hundred miles long. My fingers are numb from where I’ve stabbed myself with the security tags in my haste to serve a continuous stream of impatient humans. Only their frowning mouths are registering in my conscious mind; otherwise they are faceless. My own mouth is always stretched into a smile, always ready to offer grateful thanks to ungrateful people. I’m very good at acting like I give a shit.

Once I’m back outside the city stops being quite so ugly as the automated time-table at the bus-stop promises a chauffeur-ride home in less than 10 minutes time. I take my seat at the bus-stop outside Marks and Spencers, beside a mumbling-elderly lady and a man with only sweat for hair on his bald scalp. He is listening to Jay-Z far too loudly; the sound is leaking from the sides of his neon-yellow headphones. Darkness has already fallen and I stare in vain at the navy-blue sky; trying to find one solitary star that hasn’t been obliterated by the harsh lights of the city centre. Across the street two cackling school-girls step aboard the number 1 bus to Mile Oak, the tyres squealing in protest as it pulls away from the curb. I look at the orange numbers again and stand as my bus is due. I find a seat near the front; the days where I lounged at the back have long-since passed; those seats are reserved for the next generation. I catch my reflection in the front-window and scowl at myself, wishing away my tired eyes. 

Soon I will be leaving this city, and so I swallow down my feeling of discontentment at my surroundings and try to drink in every building, passer-by and Christmas light that glides by as the bus picks up speed down North Street. I experience a middle-aged moment when I see a young boy climb the stairs and retreat to the back of the bus, speaking into his phone; profanities spill from his mouth and taint the air with discomfort; the majority of these words should be foreign to someone so young. I catch his eye in the front-window and hastily look away; a knee-jerk reaction to my school days. I sometimes forget I’m not the victim anymore.

My bed is calling me by the time I’ve climbed off the bus and watched it continue up the hill towards Asda. When I get to it however, I find it already occupied by two cats. They refuse to give me room and when I protest by trying in vain to move one, he clambers onto my chest and settles down, pinning me in an uncomfortable position. 

Tomorrow I will do it all again; this is my hometown. Even when I leave I know I will return; there are too many ghosts walking these streets for me to desert them. The two most profound ghosts of all from my Brighton resurface; dragging me down into sleep as they swoop and dive inside my head, like the seagulls screaming outside my window.

This is my home-town.

Prologue?

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So I’m trying to write again. Just got ideas in my head.

(Wish me luck. Here goes.)

Darkness is my safe place. It cloaks me, conceals me from harm and sight in its rich blackness. Sometimes I close my eyes just to experience the instant surge of calm that comes with seeing nothing. I make sure that everyone else sees nothing too; I keep them in the dark so that only I can see the truth in all of my lies. Only I know who I used to be, and he’s still inside me. Most of the time he sleeps silently, biding his time until he can conquer my ageing body. I know that when they open me up when I’m finally good and dead, he will come rising out of me like a fist, roaring his contempt and demanding justice now that my beating heart lies dormant and I cannot control him. He writhes inside me now like a hungry spitting snake, reminding me of what we have been through, what he has been through, how revenge has not been served. Some people suffer with demons called drink, drugs or sex. I suffer with the demon I used to be, the Old Me. The hurt, vulnerable, scared little boy who grew up to be angry, bitter and hell-bent on finding any kind of justice he could wrap his filthy hands around. I’ve managed to contain him until now, but when I am in the shroud of darkness with nobody to talk to but him, he becomes convincing in his hatred. It’s like those preachers who stand on street corners with their big black books, yelling to all and sundry that if they do not repent for their sins they will go to hell. He is the preacher inside of me, and I am his messenger; my body the vessel he needs to carry out his acts of revenge. I know that he wants revenge, and I am the only one who can take it for him. There comes a time when you have to fight your demons or work with them, pacify them and make them trust and like you. Some even grow to love their demons; for how can you not be fond of something that is embodied inside of you, in the end? The more I sit alone with my demon, the more I like his ideas. Change is coming.

The moon hung like a silver lantern cast upon an inky black sky, creating shafts of light that illuminated the world below its scrutinizing gaze. As the night continued to pass by, the whispers of those living their lives slowly faded into silence as doors were closed and candles snuffed out, and soon the cobble-stoned streets lapsed into quiet ignorance that waited for the dawn. 

Moving on.

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Over the past few years I’ve been going through some really hard times. I wrote some poems during this time, and before I move on from them and continue on life’s journey I’d like to take a minute to reflect on how I felt then, and how different I have the power to feel  now.

Maya.

 I remember when you were mine and I was yours

Before the hurtful words and the slamming doors

I remember the candy-floss and the Ferris wheel

Before your heart told you not to feel

For anything, not for you and not for me

And so we lost the comfort of our loving harmony

But hush now, the time has passed

To speak the words that could make us last

Through the hardships and the pain

I know I won’t see you again

The fairground rides, the lights that shone

I don’t know why or where our love has gone

It left us swiftly, flew far away

To mock the memory of our glory days

Do you remember the sounds of the crowds

That hid our fears and shrouded our doubts

As we held hands, fingers clasped tight

The smell of dying love was strong that night

But yet on we clung, to the hope of better things

Even though you’d shattered my dreams and clipped my wings

So I could not fly, escape the fear, the lust

That crushed our souls and killed our trust

In each other, ourselves and all around

It’s funny how silence is the loudest sound

That fills our heads and ears with sorrow

You were my today but you’re not my tomorrow

I’ve left you behind and I’m moving on up

When it came to last chances you ran out of luck

With me and with her, she was not yours to take

Everyone must pay for the choices they make

Now as I sift through these memories I’m cold to the core

I remember it all but you don’t anymore

I’ve never understood how you could so easily forget

I’m sorry I was just another girl for you to regret

But the regret is all mine, don’t you worry my friend

The wounds you caused are well on the mend

I’ve fixed them up tightly with tape and with gauze

And filed away the pain with tumultuous applause

From my friends and my family who never approved

Of our love and our loss and the things they ensued

Although I regret you, I don’t regret her

For she is the epitome of what we were

When we were as one, alive and free

Before the tragedy happened and you meant nothing to me

I may be unsure of every detail and fact

But the day I lost her I made the pact

In my heart, my soul and in my mind

That she would be the thing I would one day find

With or without you, with your lies and your greed

I will make up for my mistakes and be redeemed

Be the person I should have been during that time

And only then can I feel at peace and call her mine

So when you’re standing under the fairground lights tonight

Ask yourself this: without her, without us, will they ever shine as bright?

Small Bump.

You were a bump the size of an apricot

Barely a dot on the map of life

But to me you were the apple of my eye.

You will never know just how much I miss the thought

Of you being mine, and of holding you tight.

I know you probably think that I have a heart of stone

And that you were nothing more than an inconvenience to me

But I want you to know that you were my hopes,my dreams, you were the reason I wasn’t alone.

Without you inside of me I’m as empty as a shell

That walks and talks on command but feels nothing at all.

Even when smiling, it doesn’t quite reach my eyes

How could it little baby, when I was the reason you died?

Dad.

Five names, tattooed on your back

The only two you still see are the ones of no relation

Where’s the sense in that?

What’s the use of letters when words don’t mean a thing

The promises you made were all lies

I was so young when you clipped my wings

Now I can’t fly up, up and away

Escape the ghost of your memory

I’m haunted by you everyday

If you could see me now, would you tell me you were proud?

I wish I could say the same

But I can’t seem to make a sound

I know that if I did, you wouldn’t hear me

Even when I was right in front of your eyes

I could never make you see

Now the void of your absence is like a wound

That can never be fully healed

You never heard my pleas as you left too soon

I can’t even summon the hope to call you my father

When all that you’ve been since I was four years old

Is my relentless antagoniser

Always stopping me from getting to what I need

Which ultimately daddy, was you

Now from this endless cycle of hate and regret, I cannot be set free

So do you feel guilty, should you apologise?

No, I wouldn’t expect that of you

The little man with no love behind your eyes

Eyes so similar to mine, a part of you I cannot disguise

Despite that fact that three years ago in November, you cut off all ties

I know you can’t see this, as you’re too far away

But if you could I really hope

That it would fuck up your day.

                                                                                                                                                                   

My Superman.

 What do I do now that you’re gone?

Since you left the pedestal I put you on

When you took away all that you felt

 The cards of broken hearts were dealt

I said this world was yours and mine

So I can’t see you leave if I close my eyes

For I refuse to accept your words

Meaningless sounds trying to ease the hurt

How can you say this is easy?

When without you I can’t see clearly

How can you sabotage everything we planned

When the footprints we imprinted in the sand

Will stay with me forever

Just like your smile, your heart, my Superman

The silence of your absence cuts like a blade

As I take in the destruction your choices made

When you said it was never meant to be

I lost the light I used to see

Now that your eyes have turned cold

And your hand is not mine to hold

Where is your heart, our footprints in the sand?

They’re gone, lost, like you my Superman.

Generic Love Poem.

 Where does love go when it is no longer there?

When all that’s left are broken hearts and a sombre stare?

Why can’t we find it when it’s all we need?

When our days and lives are filled with hate and greed

Why do some people have more when others have none?

Those who suffer most when their lives have just begun

If they’re born into a home with no love and no hope

How can their lives be anything other than a downwards slope?

If there is more than enough love to share and go around

Why do others suffer without making a sound?

Carry on living without the need of love

And try to get their needs met by a man up high above

Who may or may not exist, through stories that are told

Passed down through generations, so people sell their souls

To the hope of finding love, from an unseen entity

What good is that, for our lives and our mentality?

If the only way to find love, truth and a wish upon a star

Is to create someone invisible to tell us who we are

So if love is all around, and it is all we desire

Let us share enough with others to build an empire

Make up for all the losses, that our lives cause us to suffer

And spend each day and night giving love to each other.

Crush.

 The lights are fading and the sun is going down

The revellers are getting ready to leave this town

All around me is the scent of your skin and the taste of your smile

I’m plucking up the courage to ask you to stay for a while

For the past few days you’ve been filling my head

With the sound of your laughter and the words you said

I’ve been trying to figure out what it all means

When you make me stutter and blush like a pre-teen

I wish that I could discover what it feels like in your arms

But I’m trying to build a wall between your eyes and your charms

So I don’t want to fall too quickly under your spell

If your feelings for me are too unclear to tell

So until the sun comes up to greet the town again

I’ll spend my time drunk on you, my wish, my hope, my friend.