Madeline Harper

United Kingdom

Flute player
Writer
A bit of a science nerd ngl
Animal Lover
Plant Collector
Baker

Message from Writer

Please feel free to leave comments/criticisms, I haven’t been writing poetry for very long and I’m determined to improve!

Published Work

Love Is In the Little Things

I think that love is in the little things,
found like petals dispersed, bare on the ground.
It’s woven in feathers of blackbird’s wings,
threads stitching us closer, forever bound.

It’s in preschool songs that drive me crazy,
spread over toast in her sweet marmalade.
That noon, I smooth it over her grazed knee,
hair tangled in my fingers as I braid.

Her clashing scales can’t break my affection,
the gleam in her eyes mimics the white stars.
Tiny hands, the image of perfection - 
such small fingers can leave hideous scars.

I know that love was in a little thing;
now she’s gone, the wounds in my heart still sting.

Dead Girl Falling

Stench of cadaver spoils her lips,
velvet skin blisters to sandpaper.
Sickest satisfaction encourages bitter corpses
to flock to her doorstep, brandishing blades so 
refreshingly blunt 

she can’t reject them. Such necessary
solace can only be found in agony.
Grasping at excuses, falsehoods
flourish off the tongue. Ghostly
eyes and ravenous cries 

replace the aching inside her skull.
Her stomach hardens to rope, coiled and
twisted and tied in hideous knots. 
Stumbling, she collapses into
the abyss-

no light can reach her decaying form
unless she sacrifices her bones as kindling.
The longer she stays, the more
familiar the delirium becomes;
the void, decorated with melancholy paintings

and scrolls of calculations, is 
her new ordinary. If she had a brain
that wasn’t decomposing she might
recollect her youth, the days where
smiles weren’t extinct

and swallowing wasn’t impossible
and her existence wasn’t a prison sentence.
The storm clouds loom ahead, the air
hot and dense- and all she can do...

Dead Girl Falling

Stench of cadaver on her lips,
velvet skin blisters to sandpaper.
Sickest satisfaction encourages bitter corpses
to flock to her doorstep,
brandishing blunt blades so excruciating;

she doesn’t reject them, such 
solace can only be found in agony.
Grasping at excuses, falsehoods
flourish off the tongue. Ghostly
eyes and ravenous cries 

replace the aching inside her skull.
Her stomach hardens to rope, coiled and
twisted and tied in hideous knots. 
Stumbling, she collapses into
the abyss-

no light can reach her
unless she sacrifices her bones as kindling.
The longer she stays, the more
familiar it becomes;
the void, decorated with melancholy paintings

and scrolls of numbers is 
her new home. If she had a brain
that wasn’t decomposing she might
recollect her youth, the days where
nothing was too much

and bathrooms weren’t churches
and her existence wasn’t a prison sentence.
The storm clouds loom ahead, the air
hot and dense- and all she can do is wait
and...

Food Writing Competition 2020

The Beauty Of A Sunday Roast

Growing up in England, I’m constantly surrounded by foods of innumerable cultures across the globe. Anywhere, there’s guaranteed to be a decent place to get a curry, Chinese takeaway is a household staple; and who could forget a certain South-African born chain, famed for Afro-Portuguese inspired chicken? This isn’t even mentioning the array of European food - French, Italian, Spanish are particularly popular.

So where’s the traditional English food? 

Well, we still eat many of our own classic dishes. Due to our chilly climate, we don’t have a huge selection of spices or tropical fruit in traditional meals, but we do make great use of meat, potatoes and vegetables. One of my favourite examples of this is a ‘Sunday Roast’, a family favourite that has been around since the 15th century.

There are many components to a great Sunday roast. It all starts with a delicious, tender cut of roast meat; chicken is my preference, but many English folk prefer...

Food Writing Competition 2020

The Beauty Of A Sunday Roast

Growing up in England, I’m constantly surrounded by foods of innumerable cultures across the globe. Anywhere, there’s guaranteed to be a decent place to get a curry, and Chinese takeaway is a household staple; and who could forget a certain South-African born chain, famed for Afro-Portuguese inspired chicken? This isn’t even mentioning the array of European food - French, Italian, Spanish are particularly popular.

So where’s the traditional English food? 

Well, we still eat many of our own classic dishes. Due to our chilly climate, we don’t have a huge selection of spices or tropical fruit in traditional meals, but we do make great use of meat, potatoes and vegetables. One of my favourite examples of this is a ‘Sunday Roast’, a family favourite that has been around since the 15th century.

There are many components to a great Sunday roast. It all starts with a delicious, tender cut of roast meat; chicken is my preference, but a lot of...

Food Writing Competition 2020

The Beauty Of A Sunday Roast

Growing up in England, you’re constantly surrounded by foods of innumerable cultures across the globe. At any given location there is guaranteed to be a decent place to get a curry, and Chinese takeaway has become a household staple. Some of the most popular restaurants include those which serve Japanese cuisine, and who could forget a certain South-African born chain, famed for Afro-Portuguese inspired chicken. This isn’t even mentioning the array of European food - French, Italian, Spanish are particularly popular - in addition to Mexican food. 

So where’s the traditional English food? 

Well, we still eat a lot of our own classic dishes. And no, we do not live off beans on toast, marmite on toast, or sausage rolls (though they are a delicacy in England). Due to our chilly climate, we don’t have a huge selection of spices or tropical fruit in traditional meals (at else not until the 1970’s gave us pineapple upside-down cake), but we do...

It’s Nothing Serious (REVIEWS PLEASE!)

What is life without a little cliché?
Who doesn’t want a Valentine, sickly sweet
love letters, kissing on bridges after dinner
when the sorbet is still cool on our tongues?

Let’s live these days while we can. Hold 
my hand under the table, send me furtive glances and
watch me try to decode them. Take me back
to when nothing mattered except seeking a matching heartbeat.

You’re my favourite beginning. 
I pin frozen smiles on the wall, stir
nectar into your morning tea.
When you return I’ll play you a song

about blackbirds and broken wings. Perhaps
you’d like to leave your jacket by the door
and join me in the kitchen? Come on, 
you and I, flaking croissants and apricot jam.

Let’s have fun, babe,
it’s nothing serious.

A sycamore tree sprouts from my sternum,
branches boast broad forked leaves and 
furry figs, would you like to pick one? They’re
fresh and ripe, such a shame to waste them.
...

Man-Made Lover

I crafted a lover in my attic.
Statuesque, stoic mannequin draped in linen and lace; 
awaiting an austere girl like myself
(I took it as a compliment), it’s simpler if I smile.

Every night, wearing my best silk gown, I 
crept up the stairs to meet him.
He requested I smuggle him lilies from the garden
so I obeyed, dropped them at his feet.

I’m starving for the grapes
you hold in your eyes. 

It was a blissful night when I 
fashioned him hair out of wheat, but
the spikes of grain wouldn’t lay still-
I spent hours calming him, let me stay.

If I fold whispered endearments into his shirt,
flatten out cloth in silence and sew
promises into his lips then
perhaps he will dance. Do we have a chance?

The next morning I simpered at
saffron soaked dew on the grass.
My mother’s lilies were wilting, autumn frost intruded, 
but I gathered them anyway. Sometimes

it’s easier...

Man-Made Lover

I crafted a lover in my attic.
Statuesque, stoic mannequin draped in linen and lace; 
awaiting a austere girl like myself
(I took it as a compliment), it’s simpler if I smile.

Every night, wearing my best silk gown, I 
crept up the stairs to meet him.
He requested I smuggle him lilies from the garden
so I obeyed, dropped them at his feet.

I’m starving for the grapes
you hold in your eyes. 

It was a blissful night when
I fashioned him hair out of wheat, but
the spikes of grain wouldn’t lay still-
I spent hours calming him, let me stay.

If I fold whispered endearments into his shirt,
flatten out cloth in silence and sew
promises into his lips then
perhaps he will dance. Do we have a chance?

The next morning I simpered at
saffron soaked dew on the grass.
My mother’s lilies were wilting, autumn frost clamped down, 
but I gathered them anyway. Sometimes

it’s...

This I Believe

I Believe In Fairies

I believe in fairies.

Not the traditional idea of fairies - tiny winged, delicate beings fluttering between flowers. No, I believe that fairies exist among us, and I believe that they are magic. 

I know this girl, one of my best friends, who is best described as having a golden glow around her at all times. She is a literal sunshine; people circulate around her, she makes you feel warm and fuzzy when she talks to you, she spreads her positivity to everybody. I believe she’s a fairy, and her power is the gift of making people feel loved.

They’re more common than you think. In fact, I think more people have fairy blood than don’t. And I think the current circumstances combatting racism have brought out the magic concealed inside these fairies hearts and allowed them to show the world that there are still good people than live on the planet.

So yes, not every fairy is like Tinkerbell,...

Man-Made Lover

I crafted a mannequin in my attic.
Statuesque, stoic, draped in linen and lace;
awaiting a austere girl like myself
(I took it as a compliment), life is simpler when you smile.

Every night, wearing my finest silk gown, I 
crept up the stairs to meet him.
He requested I smuggle him lilies from the garden
so I obeyed, and dropped them at his feet.

I’m starving for the grapes
you hold in your eyes. 

It was a blissful night when
I fashioned him hair out of wheat.
The husks of grain wouldn’t lay still-
I spent hours calming him, let me stay.

If I fold whispered endearments into his shirt,
flatten out cloth in silence and sew
promises into his lips then
perhaps he will dance. Do we have a chance?

The next morning I simpered at
saffron soaked dew on the grass.
My mother’s lilies were wilting, autumn frost clamped down, 
but I gathered them anyway. Sometimes

it’s...

Man-Made Lover

I crafted a mannequin in my attic.
Statuesque, stoic, draped in linen and lace;
awaiting a austere girl like myself
(I took it as a compliment), life is simpler when you smile.

Every night, without fail, I 
crept up the stairs to meet him.
He requested I smuggle him lilies from the garden
so I dropped them at his feet.

I’m starving for the grapes
you hold in your eyes. 

It was a drizzly night when
I fashioned him hair out of wheat.
The husks of grain wouldn’t lay still-
I spent hours calming him, let me stay.

If I tuck whispered endearments into his shirt,
flatten out cloth and sew
promises into his lips then
perhaps we can dance and pretend we have a chance.

The next morning I simpered at
saffron soaked dew on the grass.
My mother’s lilies were wilting, autumn frost clamped down, but
I gathered them anyway. Sometimes

it’s easier to salvage a dead flower ...

Have the Courage To Create

I applaud those who have the bravery
to throw powder bombs into the oceans
and marvel at the whirlpool of bubblegum,
toxic vibrancy lapping at their toes.

Please hold a paintbrush instead of
a gun or a knife
because when did anyone ever say
I’m so proud of myself for shooting that man.

Art is the most brutal weapon there is;
if virtue truly exists it’s
palpable in fervent brushstrokes
embracing a canvas while only the moon can see.

In whitewashed cities built of numbers and newspapers,
dirty the streets with inky promises.
Dare to dream - nothing good never came out
of refusing to believe. Regret hangs heavier than doubt.

Have the courage to 
stain your fingernails with watercolour, let yourself
succumb to creation simply because it’s worth nothing
and everything (if you let it).

Have the courage to strive
for a world built on marble sculpture and 
decorated with collage. Art isn’t a luxury,
it’s a necessity. Life...

Food Writing Competition 2020

The Beauty Of A Sunday Roast

Growing up in England, you’re constantly surrounded by foods of innumerable different cultures across the globe. At any given location there is guaranteed to be a decent place to get a curry, and Chinese takeaway has become a household staple. Some of the most popular restaurants include those which serve Japanese cuisine, and who could forget a certain South-African born chain with Afro-Portuguese inspired chicken meals. This isn’t even mentioning the array of European food - French, Italian, Spanish are particularly popular - in addition to Mexican food. 

So what happened to traditional English food? 

To be honest, we still eat a lot of our own classic dishes. And no, we do not live off beans on toast, marmite on toast, or sausage rolls (though they are a delicacy in England). Due to our chilly climate, we don’t have a huge selection of tropical fruit in traditional meals (at else not until the 1970’s gave us pineapple upside-down cake), but...

Star Clashed Lovers

If I look into your eyes 
I can see the cosmos, swirling, waltzing
Across the canvas. There is no light in space
Except the light you seek in stars-
The constellations you crafted remain 
Etched into my irises, you taught me to see.

One by one, stars fall from grace,
Cosmic calamity crashing down your face
In a shallow supernova. Forgive me.
I can see the truth now, the fate
We are both guilty for pushing aside
Despite believing in our innocence.

There is no light in space
Except the stars you collect,
When one dies simply steal another.

If Romeo and Juliet were star-crossed lovers
Then we’re star-clashed;
Immense speed forced us in doomed paths until
A collision dispersed us as dust.
Energy wept into the void,
Disappearing, a scar in the tissue of eternity.

Time was never on our side, no-
The universe, swarming with infinite possibilities
(None of which were gifted to us) was 
Too unknown for...

Star Clashed Lovers

If I look into your eyes 
I can see the stars, swirling
in the unique galaxy that always
convinced me we were bigger than the earth. 
The constellations you used to craft for me
are still etched into my irises.

One by one, stars fall from grace,
cosmic calamity crashing down your face
in a sorrowful supernova.
I can see the truth now, the fate
we are both guilty for pushing aside
despite believing in our innocence.

If Romeo and Juliet were star-crossed lovers
then we’re star-clashed;
immense speed forced us in cursed paths until
we collided and dispersed as dust.
Energy scattered into the void,
a love lost and never to be rediscovered. 

Time was never on our side.
The universe was too large
and too uncertain for us to handle;
We were too afraid of
the unknown matter that lay
behond our vision.

If I look into your eyes,
I can see a black hole, shrinking.
Maybe the...

Summer Days and Citrus Haze

If only all days were as heat-stroke inducing
as the one falling on our calendars today.

A popsicle sun drips down your nose,
lemonade semiquavers bouncing off guitar strings

whilst you strum tender citrus harmonies
in the afternoon’s watchful eye.

My tangerine heart, exposing ripened segments
under brazen peel, hardened skin splits and

opens up to spill a plethora of promises
and a palindrome of affection.

Dandelion clocks disintegrate in the breeze,
time evaporating like sweat off my spine.

Thoughts come as easily as they go
and drift into the horizon, easy and untamed.

As the sun dissolves into a puddle of warmth,
giving up centre stage to the moon at last,

We have no choice but to
collect our daisy chains and amble back home.

If only all days were as carefree
as the one we just laughed through today.

Summer Days and Citrus Haze

If only all days were as heat-stroke inducing
As the one falling on our calendars today.

A popsicle sun drips down your nose,
Lemonade semiquavers bouncing off guitar strings

Whilst you strum tender citrus harmonies
In the afternoon’s watchful eye.

My tangerine heart, exposing ripened segments
Under brazen peel, hardened skin splits and

Opens up to spill a plethora of promises
And a palindrome of affection.

Dandelion clocks disintegrate in the breeze,
Time evaporating like sweat off my spine.

Thoughts come as easily as they go
And drift into the horizon, easy and untamed.

As the sun dissolves into a puddle of warmth,
Giving up centre stage to the moon at last,

We have no choice but to
Collect our daisy chains and amble back home.

If only all days were as carefree
As the one we just laughed through today.

Don’t Shove It In My Face #proud

You can be gay, but 
don’t
shove it in my face.

My eyes, downcast, couldn’t
meet my mother’s in the defiant stare
I’d always imagined, instead slumping
and signing in defeat
as my lips re-sealed.

Like a sparrow, I stood alone,
extending my feathers and almost
daring to combat the wind
only to retreat back to my nest,
frightened and silent.

I know in my heart of hearts
that what she really means is
I won’t disown you, but 
you better keep any future girlfriends
off my strait-laced property.

I just don’t fit. My vibrancy is too blinding
for my mother’s black and white photographs,
my smile too fake and too exaggerated.
The monochromatic life was never a life
I wanted to be painted into.

It wasn’t telling her
that was the hard part.
I’d seen myself rehearse the lines
in the bathroom mirror too many times.
It was the inevitability of her disgust I was afraid of.

My whole...

Burning Only Lasts For So Long

I sucked out my blood and handed 
My veins to you. Stuff them with wax.
Stodgy and uncomfortable,
I weigh down the mattress.

You struck a match, lacerated eyes watching me
Sweat and squirm
As you dangled it before my face
And set my lips alight.

We were explosive, a ticking time bomb;
Writhing, woody tongue on skin, anxious but
The knowledge that we’d soon detonate
Was all part of the fun.

Desire burns up my throat,
Blindingly addictive, smoky ignition
Clouding your incinerating touches.
Never stop, never stop scalding my body.

We can’t burn forever: we simply can’t handle
Our loving flames much longer. Flecks of ash foreshadowing 
The inevitable cremation of a love long deceased
Tumble past my feet.

My fuel is withering, my icy fire solidifying.
Dante’s inferno ceases to exist.
The candle, buckled and bruised, chokes us with cloying mush
As our nails clamour desperately for something to keep.

The wick has withered to a stump. ...

You’ll Always Be Mine #AllinNowin

Everything changed when she showed up. I felt my heart plunge into my stomach, my organs colliding together in a nauseating fashion. One look at her flawless cheekbones, the carefully applied crimson lipstick, the sharp flick of her eyebrows - it was too much for me to handle.

‘I’ll be back in a minute.’ I muttered to my friend Katie, abandoning my champagne flute on a table before weaving among the crowd, suddenly desperate for the bathroom, desperate to hide. I’d almost reached the door when I looked up, briefly surveying the room, and locked my eyes with hers. My gut twisted. I felt just about ready to dry-heave in the middle of my own wedding reception.

At least she didn’t burst into the ceremony; that would’ve been as hard to rinse from my memory as red wine on one of the stiff white tablecloths.

Paralysed momentarily, I watched her in disbelief as she began to approach me, her faux...

My Mind Is Worth More Than My Body

Tactile silence reverberating through my ears.
The shower weeps in a hollow bathroom,
tears rolling down the drain.
My head can’t take it any longer.
 
Bleak rusting metal distorts my image
and I scream at a sobbing caricature of myself.
The wind knocks at the door,
begging me to let her in;
 
so I do. And I wonder why I expected to see him instead,
with the word sorry dangling on his lips
like his cigarettes, glowing without shame.
I hate that it was the only word he ever drew from mine.
 
Blink
and he’s still not there. I should’ve learnt by now.
He’s never here anymore, never was; just a shallow man 
whose mind was somewhere I could never find.
 
I step back into the shower and let
water cascade over my collaged skin
but never penetrating my inner museum,
the artefacts reserved for people like
 
him,
 
raw and rare and displayed behind...

Cannot Be Touched

Tactile silence reverberating through my ears.
The shower weeps in an hollow bathroom.
Drip drip drip.
My eyes can’t take it any longer.
 
Bleak rusting metal distorts my image
and I scream at a sobbing caricature of myself.
The wind knocks at the door,
begs me to let her in;

so I do. And I wonder why I expected to see
the word sorry dangling on his lips
like his cigarettes, glowing without shame,
when that was the word he drew from mine.
 
Blink
and he’s not there. I should’ve known.
He never was, a man can be in the bed
but his mind was somewhere I never fathomed.
 
I step back into the shower and let
water cascade over my collaged skin
bu never penetrating my inner museum,
the artefacts reserved for people like
 
Him
 
raw and rare and displayed behind glassy eyes.
Cannot be touched;
precious, or so I thought,
clearly my body...

Never Love A Goddess

Her words shifted the earth,
she tore down the sky
and I drowned in the perpetual blue.
A contemporary Aphrodite, borne of capricious ocean mist.
 
Her divine braids lassoed the sun and
yanked it out of the midday clouds,
tossing my eyes out instead
to guide the millions in their sorrows and doubts.
 
Arrows shot from her bow through each and every star
that wept in the everlasting darkness.
She picked them out like golden apples and sunk her teeth
hard into their flesh, juice stinging her tongue.
 
I perished, her artful sword plunged into my willing heart.
She swallowed my promises like milk
and let my words froth in her mouth
while her honey clogged up mine.
 
A statuesque figure, a temple, she was
carved from hybrid marble. Limestone dried
and cool to the touch.
You couldn’t hold her heart if you tried.
 
We all crave a goddess, but
they’re much too dangerous for ...

Which Man Is The Rich Man?

Surely you must’ve been blinded by
glaring sunbeams shooting off
your jet black Lamborghini.
You clearly can’t see the pain.
Smoky window rolls up up up
and you sit under your roof to hide from the rain,
the rain that to you is a nuisance
to him is a series of needles.
Maybe you can’t lend a helping hand because
your golden wristwatch weighs you down
and your money is trapped in your wallet.
But that man who can’t tell
the sevens from the nines
he has the freedom to lift his hands in praise
praise that his heart is still beating.
Because maybe yours isn’t.
Maybe you were trained to perform surgery on them
and all a heart is is a money making hunk of muscle,
or maybe it’s more.
Maybe the heart of the poor man
is alive and skipping when he’s gifted a smile,
hydrated from the rain and the tears
the tears that soak into his...

Unnatural Power

She held a ball of cobalt yarn
and called it the earth.
The wool, curled in her palm,
woven through her veins
as she claimed
that she could make me
anything I wanted.
Flung glitter above us
and named each and every speckle
a star.
Mapped out mountains on my forearms
and scattered seeds in my stomach.
Any fool could’ve realised
she had unnatural power over me
but she gave me such life
with her typhoon eyes.
I didn’t notice when she
stitched my lips shut
with the very threads she 
spun my world out of
and knitted her comfortable deception
into my buzzing skin.
The word on my tongue is magic,
the word on theirs is lies.

Champagne Affairs

You keep pouring your champagne lies
down my throat
and laugh as the bubbles go flat 
in my stomach.
Intoxicating me with such
ethereal beauty,
chalk skin and a roll of the dice
and I’m sweating in your bedsheets 
all over again.
I swore last time was the last
but you have a funny way of
bringing the bubbles back in
all that I lack and
making my honour become irrelevant.
The ivy snake in your hair
doesn’t care
that I’ve fallen victim to
the same old smirk, raspberry lips
and come on, baby, didn’t you miss me?
that ripped my paper promises to shreds.
And I almost forget
for a second
that I should be replaced by a 
brunette bombshell
as my mind hazes over with
Oh God, yes,
but then the pretence ends
when I see the wedding band
on your hand
as you slide it back up my thigh.
Your infidelity is infectious,
my insecurity is outrageous. ...

Miss Angel

When the Father Sun casts His hazy glow
around your crimson curls
I can’t help but wonder why
you’ve been given a halo.
For when the Mother Moon
shows Her dimpled face,
showers us in secret darkness,
you do the most unholy things to me.
Only a face so angelic
could commit such sin.
My two-faced Gemini Girl,
the master of deception. 
I feel honoured to see both sides 
of the coin
knowing with a heavenly thrill
that no one else sees the hidden Devil
between your thighs
and your lips
and your ribs.
Oh Miss Angel, I think
you’ve fooled us all.

Listen To Me

Your sensible fingers stroke my skin
but none of the hints are going
any further than my shoulders.
You must be a blind man
so read the Braille on my arms instead.
Surely the gasps jolting my bones
tell you all you need to know?

The sun hangs a veil over
a bridal city
awaiting the unofficial marriage
of love promised and love made.
Only possible as two lovers lay
under the same sweltering bedsheets
as the morning approaches.

Magnesium white penetrates the blinds
and sets the subtle contours of your face aglow.
You put up a harsh barricade
and wouldn’t let me in until
I stripped myself of my charade
and only my organs were displayed 
while last night’s sky began to fade.

I’ve opened myself up to you,
put my soul out for the taking
but I’m still lacking something physical.
Show me that you want me.
Show me that you need me.
Show me that sometimes all...

Two Slices Kind Of Girl

She’s a sunrise girl,
a breakfast in bed
marmalade kisses
two slices oozing with butter 
kind of girl.
Curtains drawn, shoes on the floor,
and the cat outside the door.
A cabaret of cholesterol yolk and 
didn’t you know I prefer
your skin to the coffee steam fogging
my glasses so I can’t see
the perfect mess when you
tip the tray onto my bedsheets
and tickle me into oblivion?
She’s the kind of girl who
punishes the alarm clock for
Doing its job, and then
me for obeying it. Let’s stay a while,
just you and me
me and you
together with the curtains
blocking out the inferior light and
shoes out of sight and
the scent of last night
in your wretched fingernails.
She licks her lips as the knife
caresses the two-slice toast crumbs
with a smooth
shaved leg kind of smooth
stroke of butter.
I like my breakfast a little later.
Harder to hold on but
worth...

#SelfHateSelfLove - Harness Your Fire - Prompt #5 - Second entry

Life is meant to be hard. 
Apparently. 
Life is cruel; it’s a wonder 
why we fight so hard for it 
when all it seems to do is put us down. 

Everyone just wants control. 
We’re all expected to 
study and work and study some more 
and still find time to 
look like a goddamn supermodel. 

Earn some money, get a job. 
Teenagers are so lazy these days. 
Honestly, get a grip, do your homework. 
Wow, she’s really let herself go. 
You don’t have anxiety, back in my day that didn’t exist. 

No wonder we’re not coping, mother. 
It’s no surprise we toss and turn 
and trudge out of bed 
when even the sun is resting 
and begin to straighten our imperfections. 

I met a little girl in my bathroom last night. 
Looked into her eyes, sweet child. 
Her tears eroding red raw rings 
into her lily petal skin, 
dirtied with sunken blueberry smudges. 

A glance into her smoky eyes 
and I saw...

#SelfHateSelfLove - I’d Kill For Your Thighs - Prompt #3 - First entry

I hate my thighs.
A sentence that surfaces on almost
every girl’s immaculate lips
one time or another.

Few speak those words with authenticity,
most searching for easy compliments.
Their volatile loathing shrinks away
as a cacophony of friends validate their perfect body.

What?
You’re so skinny though.
I’d kill for your thighs.
Kill.

Exaggeration, maybe,
but I mean what I say.
If I can’t strut down the beach in tiny shorts
why even bother going?

Squats become my new religion,
I can’t go a day with praying.
Muscles fight back, clenched
with a Hellish, burning desire to rest.

I grimace as I inspect the fur
that lines the backs of my thighs.
Hours wasted hacking away with the razor
as shaving foam disguises my hideous hairs.

Never mind.
It only reveals the doughy
cellulite dimpling my skin, unwilling to 
tighten, smooth; it wobbles in every step instead.

Who wants to spend their money
on sweets or jackets or magazines ...

Slow Death (slightly edited)

Toxic words trickle from your lips,
rehearsed and clinging to
my lashes like treacle.
Just do it.
Throw out the buttery poison
and show me the commoners knife
You tried to hide between
the love letters and smudged photographs.
Don’t waste my time,
I don’t have much of it left.
That smirk? Murderously disguised
under the false quiver of your lip.
Stop feeding me sugar
when salt is more efficient at treating open wounds.
Let me swallow the blood from your heartless lies
as you ease the blade through my burnt bruises.
You better do it soon.
Before the arsenic kicks in.

She’s My Real Lover

You may have held my body
hostage with your hands
but
her words were the battering ram
to the door concealing my heart.

You branded my spine with a 
scorching iron bar 
so everyone knew I was yours
but
you couldn’t make your mark on my soul.

She twirled her butterscotch hair.
A blink of her inky eyes 
and her name was engrained
across my brain 
and written into my DNA.

You can hastily stick flags in my skin
all you want
to claim the territory your gaze skimmed over
but
her single pennant waves solo
over her internal abode.

You made my body into a home.
She found hers in my personality.

Diamonds Come At A Price

If you only search the surface
you’ll never truly find what you need.
A few rogue rocks, some 
dirt smeared on your hardened feet.

You see, people don’t have the tools
to dig any deeper than that.
They settle for loving 
the vacuous outdoors, accessible to all.

The chattering trees reeling in the breeze.
The gooey river with hardened slippery crusts.
The gossiping bluebells in their hoards.
Perhaps a vine bearing sweet pockets of immature wine.

But a few have the guts to
voyage through the earth,
shovel and pick axe clutched in palms
as salt water blemishes their shirts.

Most end up with misshapen lumps of
dusty jet-black carbon.
Satisfied, they return, using it to
power their fires and shallow desires.

Only one ever reaches the goal.
One single person, breaths like a broken trumpet,
fells that tinny clank on the end of their shovel.
ivory teeth force their lips to the sidelines. 

That girl, that girl hit diamond...

More Than A Broken Heart

Most people have their hearts broken
at some point or another,
smashed into fine fragments
like a ceramic bowl dropped on the kitchen floor.
They weep and wait and wonder
until someone else steps in with the glue.

Mine wasn’t broken.
See, my heart wasn’t that frail
to begin with.
I’m not a dainty little girl, not anymore.
But her naivety must linger
if I ever thought you were enough to handle me.

I trusted you with my own muscle,
handed over my flesh and blood, blindfolded,
grinning like it was a game.
Grinning as you dangled my heart by the strings.
Grinning when you let go
and ground it into the cobbles outside your front door.

You didn’t break my heart, you
bent it disgustingly out of shape
with your own malicious hands. 
A mere broken heart can be 
pieced back together, unified fragments,
but mine will remain permanently disfigured.

It’ll take more than a lick of glue to fix...

Therapists Are Just Builders In A Chair

If your house was falling apart
you wouldn’t try to rebuild it alone.
When the walls cave in
and strangle your suffocating throat
you wouldn’t attempt to patch it up
with your bare bleeding hands.
When the brickwork collapses around you
you wouldn’t pick up the pieces
and stack them precariously 
like a game of Jenga.
When you can’t unlock the door anymore
thrusting your precious bones against it
won’t make it budge any more
than if you curled up on the doormat
sobbing.
Please - if you’re trapped inside
a disaster waiting to happen -
fling open the moth bitten curtains
and let the sunlight penetrate the
cracked glass.
Ignore the webs woven across the windowpanes
and bang your fists on the surface.
Scream as loud as your ripped-up lungs can handle
and scream some more.
Let them help you out.
Flee from the broken mansion, dampened rotting wood,
and avert your red-ringed eyes as the empire dies.
The...

Plastic Rings and Silly Things

Plastic Rings and Silly Things 

My favourite memory
is the time I pretended to marry
my best friend.
We were thirteen, the age of
tangerine smiles and 
careless sketches of frogs
down at the local pond after school.
She’d approached me a week before,
extended a hand bitten by the icy jaws of winter
and presented me with a ring.
A cheap piece of plastic
that could rival a flamingo in colour.
Will you marry me?
My lip curled into a hockey-stick grin.
Of course.

My regard for others opinions 
was officially slaughtered that day.
The funeral was held as I 
walked done the pretend-aisle
with my pretend-mother
in a pretend-wedding dress
I’d spent all weekend making.
My body displayed old Halloween costumes.
The very epitome of humour.
She sent out earthquakes with her laughter,
drawing onlookers attention like a fisherman,
hook, line and sinker.
But she let those dirty cod flop back into the river;
I was the pearl...

Garden Of Eden

The sun rises, casting
A iridescent curtain over 
Your tiny segment of heaven 
Contained by a wall,
Separated from the rest of humanity,
A paradise only for you to see.

It is brimming with flowers, 
Climbing clematis intertwined with
The bricks of your home.
A blanket of dull grey sky looms over you
But instead of ruining the perfection
It only acts to highlight the vibrancy of 
Your wild world.

Footsteps are placed delicately,
In the hopes of afflicting minimal damage to
The individual brush strokes of your verdant lawn,
Standing to attention.
Coming to life before your sleepy eyes.
You are the only person the sun knows.

You sit on the swinging chair, rocking
As you would in your mothers arms many years ago.
Out of the crazy, untamed mess of plants
And petals pleading for attention
And moss settling happily on your patio,
A sense of peace and serenity instils itself 
Within your heart.

Fortune’s Fool

It was winter when I saw her again.
The trees stripped bare of their children,
The ground disguised
Under a government of snowflakes.
Her manufactured cheekbone snapped my attention,
Her caterpillar lips framed her words.
Miss me?

I squeezed her maturing arm,
A bottle of wine later
Saw us stranded on a flakey oak bench.
Every touch made my leg jerk,
She threw me flirty paprika glances 
And I stumbled over brambles to catch them.
Let’s go back to my place.

The same, as expected,
The tarot cards scattered on the table
Where her trigonometry should be.
Honey-sweet kisses on my traffic light cheeks,
Lingering eau de parfum watching us
In a jagged fog of salty sea mist.
Let me read your future.

This, she tells me,
Her finger gliding over my palm,
This means you’ll find love.
My eyes find hers, cerulean crystal balls,
And in them I see myself 
Reflected in her future.
I think I already...

I’m Finished

I’m tired.
My arms are weary
From holding up my expectations
Of myself.
I’m fed up of feeling
Like I’m trapped inside a glass box
Labelled ‘mental illness’.

I wore my diagnosis
Like a medal.
First place
For the thinnest.
Gold never tarnishes
But a reputation can.
Mine has evaporated into nothing.

I withered away.
A fungus grew spores on
My heart
And digested the life
Inside me
While my stomach
Digested nothing.

I don’t want my heart
To grow mouldy.
I want to live.
I want to plant seeds
In my lungs
And watch the flowers
Burst through my skin.

But my lungs are weak.
Uneven breaths ripped them
To shreds.
I cannot breathe, only
Cry
As I wonder
If my body will ever be satisfactory. 

Never Built To Last

I promised her
I’d love her
As long as she wanted me to.
Forever.
In return she promised me
A home.
A place to grow old.
Together.
Two Libra hearts dancing
In their own syncopation.
I piled my trust into hers
Coated in bitter chocolate
Dripping through my 
Polystyrene capillaries.
In return she constructed
Fifty sand castles,
Fortresses lining the fierce shore.
She crafted a crown of 
Driftwood and seashells.
For you, my queen.
We lay side by side
Letting the water tickle our toes.
Secret soul to secret soul
Untold memories 
Destructive ideas.
Look at the ships, she’d say,
I’ll built one for you someday
And we’ll sail the world, darling,
Wherever you want.
Down sunk the ships, down to
The ruthless sea.
I glanced into her seaweed eyes
And I was out too.
I surrender.
Her hand in mine, heart flutters like a kite,
Mine anchored her to the land.
Tethered her unwilling bones.
Her fragile vanilla skin ...

Stitches

It’s hard to fit in
When all the spaces are
Already filled.
I felt like I was
Trying to add an extra patch
To a quilt
That was already complete.
Everyone had their space.
So I had to undo the seams,
Stitch myself in
And hoped the final blanket
Would look just as good 
(If not better)
Than the one that existed
Before I took it to pieces.

Poetry and Spoken Word Competition 2020

Just Another Meal

You stumble through a forest
The roots of a great oak collide with
Rushed feet.
A collage of leaves masks
The melodic cries of a robin.
Screaming in another language
Isn’t any less mournful.

You do what’s in your DNA,
Reinforced in every cell of your being.
Raid the nests,
Steal the unborn children,
That’ll be nice with some seasoning.
The spoils of war
Taste of salt, and it stings.

Quick fingers unpick the stitching
The delicate needlework linking the patchwork quilt.
Hands scrabble at the trunk,
Bark scratches and shaves your kneecaps.
Desperate to reach the summit,
The blade out of sight,
The sun can’t watch.

Run the rivers red,
The sleek edge glides through
The robins veins,
Merely a paper cut.
Cleanse your hands.
Remove the evidence.
Just another meal on the table.

A kitten stretches, mewls gently,
Kneads it’s mother’s rusty fur.
The kitten is like pure iron,
Fresh, unreacted,
Unknowing of the dangers in the world. ...

Poetry and Spoken Word Competition 2020

Just Another Meal

You stumble through a forest
The roots of a great oak collide with
Rushed feet.
A collage of leaves masks
The melodic cries of a robin.
Screaming in another language
Isn’t any less mournful.

You do what’s in your DNA,
Reinforced in every cell of your being.
Raid the nests,
Steal the unborn children,
That’ll be nice with some seasoning.
The spoils of war
Taste of salt, and it stings.

Quick fingers unpick the stitching
The delicate needlework linking the patchwork quilt.
Hands scrabble at the trunk,
Bark scratches and shaves your kneecaps.
Desperate to reach the summit,
The blade out of sight,
The sun can’t watch.

Run the rivers red,
The sleek edge glides through
The robins veins,
Merely a paper cut.
Cleanse your hands.
Remove the evidence.
Just another meal on the table.

A kitten stretches, mewls gently,
Kneads it’s mother’s rusty fur.
The kitten is like pure iron,
Fresh, unreacted,
Unknowing of the dangers in the world. ...

Pot of Gold

They say there’s a 
Pot of gold
At the end of the rainbow.
A little cauldron, 
Spilling with gleaming coins,
Cool metal glinting in the sun
And smirking at the rain.

So I pour out my colours,
Choke up the glass.
My paintbrush fingers,
Slaves under the masters control.
Manufactured reds, dull greens,
Yellows so pale they fade into the paper.
The blues are all the same.

It looks grey, bleak
In the artificial lighting.
I glance to the streets
And they look more colourful 
Than my foolish efforts.
Everyone walks with
Their own pot of gold.

I burn it,
The tiger flames show no mercy.
I stretch out in the sun,
Let the tears cascade
Drip down
Nourish the grass.
My gnawed lip follows suit.

Then my puffy eyes open.
Turn my aching head
And focus 
On a crocus
Waving his perfect
Vibrant
Purple petals.

There’s a rainbow around me.
The world held what I couldn’t convey.
Blood, given...

Thin as a Piccolo

Her body is an orchestra. 

The room fills with music as she enters,
Symphonies soaring through the air and reverberating
Off the walls as she laughs,
Everything melding together in harmonic perfection.

Then the conductor arrives. 

It’s begins subtly, the woodwind becoming louder,
The cellos are no competition.
She keeps the brass hidden, for now,
The steady moderato merges into a depressing allegro.

Fortissimo, she says,
Play until you’re out of breath.
Play until your knuckles are as prominent
As that G# key you keep avoiding.

She’s as thin as a piccolo,
Her dark, rich, glorious cello body is gone.
The violins are shrieking, dissonant, even the 
Flutes aren’t quite good enough for her now.

Blood, sweat, tears,
She plays through it all, 
Through the desperate vivace and 
Off-the-stave pitches.

She can’t stop, she’ll never stop. 

She won’t stop for any audience member,
The brass will shut them up.
The orchestra inside her, destroying her, eating her alive
Will...

The Fly and the Spider

Buzzing fills the air,
Wings vibrating rapidly.

The fly circles the window,
A tiny vehicle of aviation. 

Long limbs spin a net of confusion
Created from a perfect fragile silk. 

The spider crafts a trap, 
Taut and strong and silent. 

The fly stops.
He hesitantly paces along the windowsill,

Iridescent shadows reflecting
Off his tissue-paper pennons. 

But still the spider waits,
Lurking, deathly still,

Admiring his exquisite craftsmanship
While he hangs in the corner, dark, ruthless, unforgiving. 

The fly takes off again,
The familiar low hum emitted as he travels.

He picks up speed.
He gets too cocky. 

The buzzing stops.
The spider enters from his private palace

And bundles the fly up,
Legs labouring at immense speed.

The fly’s abdomen is constricted,
His wings crushed and shattered into a thousand fragments.

The spider smirks.
I’ve got you where I want you now.

Remember, Remember

Remember, remember
Remember what?

The friendship you burned to the ground
And danced on the ashes of?

The laughter turned sour in our mouths
As you realised I treasure my hipbones more than my happiness? 

The abundance of joyful times,
Untainted by the hidden tumour festering in my sticky-toffee brain? 

The four-hour long conversations,
Wasting time we didn’t have anything else to do in? 

I still loved you
Even when I wanted nothing more than my misery

To melt from my wrists,
Warning streaks to protect you, all of you, from me. 

I’m a demon
But I never doubted that more than when I was with you. 

I wanted the fire to consume me, I still do,
But now I want you to watch. 

I want you to know
That no matter what you do,

I’ll always be putty in your hands,
Moulded to your desires.

But be warned - now I’m filled with knives.
You better be careful when...

Permanent Shame

Eating disorders are brutal. 
They render us feral animals, beasts,

Covered in soft hair and 
Choking as we chomp on food

We’ll later exterminate from our frail bodies. 
We shiver with the familiar cold

Only immense starvation can induce.
The icicles hanging from our eyes prove it all.

Your eyes tattoo an endless fever
On my body,

Itching for relief. 
My skin aches for you. 

Your touch is like lightning.
It shocks me into silence. 

We become acquainted with the early morning,
Our feet beg us to stop. 

We don’t. We feel no pain,
Just permanent shame 

At our inability to follow
The rules we make for ourselves.

The Jewellery Box

Thud. A perfectly carved, 
Elegantly decorated, oak-wood box
Waits expectantly on the table,
Gold locks grinning in the soft streetlight. 

Her fingers fumble with the clasp, excited
To discover what lies within. Clumsy with curiosity.
Click. She thrusts the lid open. 

A necklace. 

It’s gorgeous, untainted, crafted delicately from
The purest silver.
A tiny butterfly hangs on the chain, held there
Forever, wings stiff and solid. She promises love. 

The girl, naïve in her own wonderment, 
Discards the other jewellery, the rings, 
The bracelets,
The earrings.
She fastens the pendant around her neck,
Glancing to the moon for a minute as she does so.
She is in love.

She wears it everywhere. She wears it
While she saunters around school, 
Water bottle gripped in her hands. 
She wears it while she lies in bed, praying,
And while she sits alone at lunch, stirring 
An empty cup and staring with empty eyes
Into an empty space. 

She doesn’t notice...

Prison Bars

4 am. Rise and shine. Nobody wants
A girl with no control. She creeps, aching
All over, into the jail cell, her gaunt
Face heavy with guilt. No loss. She’s faking. 

Time to work. She’s committed the worst crime, 
The crime of having too much of what she
Needs. Now she must serve her punishment time.
She warms her cracked hands on peppermint tea. 

She’s trapped behind these prison bars; her heart 
Is a cardiac convict, dead yet still
Beating. She yearns to be a piece of art.
The warden tells her worship the treadmill.

Stop, they say, free yourself, like they don’t know
This is a life sentence. I’m on death row.