Hattie Morrison writes about
                                  

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Unformatted Series
page breaks define one year



You with your beautiful skin taut or rather, showed younger passers-by what it meant to be elastic––stretching over sentences that mean a whole lot more than a mouth allows, and in the creepy alley of a mistake you smile or drown out questions over what it takes to be your shelved self today. I ask this body how it feels inside itself, or inside-out for display on some screen or near enough, might as well be. Nudes on smartphones. I read today that they’re are an extension of our flesh, becoming more than pocketed
but they become the hands we hold in quiet moments. They soften our serious discomfort. The hand held device is a hand-hold device, maybe. It distracts. It transforms the form of emptiness in any room into another type of emptiness. I imagine there’s more to this than the confinement of a head. I think with my knees and my eyes, no? Why heart? Clichéd questions absolute, but good as a place to begin.
You, with your beautiful screen, taught them the meaning of masks, and masking, and masked out landing strips leading to the you you want to present, to the who you can direct someone to. Sign posts-diversions- averted eyes. You taut up, tightened, bound with some pride, say all the things you learned from the bystanders, onlookers, pedestrians, people, characters, directors, people, screens, screens, skin. I dreamt of car parks with lines of snow in rows and rows of melting I dreamt of slushing through with boots on and my hand being held by a lover I had met in far off topic cafes over soup turned cold. I’m discussing life with losers on the internet. Half time, score depleting by the second. It’s tough to feel dread at dead ends - what’s to come from waking up on the other end of the car park, bed side, tent flying in the sky, one open one closed eye? Disgrace or dissassembly or disobedience or disservice or disability or dissollusionment of distance memories of things that did not, will not, have not happened to me. I want to be in your dream. Tell me when I’m in your dream. Text me when I’m in your dream. I want to believe I’m living somewhere other than my head. I want to imagine bedtime at the Davies’. I want to imagine how the sound of something burning makes my ears ring, as someone with ears other than my own. I pick up the telephone and whisper sweet swear words. Who the fuck am I talking about, to , with, over, interrupting, starting fights, crying, biting tongues with? I’m a stranger in the sheath of duvet and downheartedness. I dont believe in early mornings, only waking up late at night. like, so late it’s 7am. wild. wilderness. wild garlic loch ness monster hard to find hard to grind into a paste or fit into a frame of a camera hard to spot. I am tired of tired eyes. I am tired of tired eyes. I want to squeeze tears out of toddlers. Am I alright? That sounds morbid. I am writhing at the desk in some little jammy sense of feeling stuck for words. Illiterate or ill or literally unable to put thought to screen, tapping at a machine with dot dot dot I don’t know what’s left to say. Plenty. I go for a walk and dream standing up. I imagine necks and legs and bodies or buildings. Bulbous and housing feelings. Conversations. Longings. Each window some shattered moment or mere inkling. I imagine the clock melting - what a good idea for  painting. I am with myself on this one hill at home, surrounded by the sound of nobody moving or no mouth talking. Only plants leaving and trees teething new leaves. As it gets to nighttime here, the dark is coming earlier by the day. I look out from inside and notice people driving the same cars in the same clothes in the same way. It makes me think about how, sometimes, I feel bad about the ways I act outwardly, as though I feel the same, consistently. If I think about it, I’m not sure I believe that I have any semblance of a true personality. At the moment, falling in love seems terminal. I went to a field yesterday and understood what it meant to be rolling. Did I mention the seasons are changing? I’m ready to roll towards something new. I want to get outside of myself. I want someone to send me a letter or tell me things will get better or that I’m the best person they’ve ever met.  Hidden in the dark part of the road or underside of leaves lies the sense of big words. Heavier than most others that slip through conversation like the umming and ahhing of indecision. It’s the magic in the daytime bit of overcast and overcooked. It’s the crackling of logs or the smell of good butter on good toast. It’s the words undefinable, or finding the secret hiding place. Magic in the way somebody else's face lights up at lights on a house in December. It’s the way you remember the feeling of loving someone like a delicious dinner. In the bit that lives between two bodies on two armchairs, after growing up. Talking about talking. I took a walk to the farm at the top of the hill this week, just as the sun was setting over the hill. We don’t see the hot redness of him much, only pink skies and flooding lights and crying birds. I ran the way there, panting up the steep incline with my mind on other things, the gold drip dripping on the foliage and folding my knees under rain to the slight uphill of the road. The light exploded before I could catch up, and the hedgerows were firewalled. I was burning with sweating, sweltering swearing heat and the magic of it all was enough to scream. Walking home, layers peeled back and draped over my arm, I thought of the ways that the skies warn us of what’s coming. That cloud looks like a magic wand. That cloud looks like a wizard. There’s a boy with me in my bedroom. Magic somehow real again. Sun down. Dreaming.  We run forward tripping dripping dropping weight and waiting for the big day when the other people tell us that the time has come to look our best –- and after days of little rest we rise up like the bread we cannot eat, until the lights are off and no one looks. We, together, burn the bread we try to toast in kitchens darker than the thoughts within, and slather on the forbidden butter, without mind of whether it is sticking or salted.  Watch it melt across the surface like an oil rig. Dripping, dripping oil and salt––and in the dark we lick our lips at all the directions it does not spread. Then, at the fridge door, clinking with the jars of juice and milk and cartons of fresh eggs, we scour out the dinner dated back to years of sizing up and crying out for different skins and different hair and different ways to wear our shame of eating in the way we want at night in dark in halved, quartered parts or parks on benches ––bread and butter, drenching ice cream wet on skin. We watch the women on the screens who order greens when others order other things. The masters on the top of the mount declare orders and cry out for images and pictures, framed to look the same as all the other picture frames. Tightening in on the details and small print –– derailed by all the whitening, lengthening, brightening, cowering–– advertising ideas that we know by heart. Advertising we could place in age old, song like writing. The words on bottles, clink in cabinets and the ravenous bodies cower for the sight of some sort of freedom to look and see what is there instead of what should be. Woke up in day clothes. Belt buckle imprinted on stomach skin - looked like a railing. The sound of morning big and fed well. The sun is death always. Too painful to look at. Breakfast was warm. Woke up today with the light. Cement and pavements crumbled underneath car tyres. The world is going inside, chewing the cheek. Sink holes down the street. Tooth ache. Neighbours begin building new life in moving van. Cat licks tuna can. Every house turns on the telly. Go to bed to tell lies in text messages. Cereal from chipped ceramic. Ceiling impending. Wake up fully clothed. Breakfast disgusting. Pain in toes. Falling. Walls just disaster framing. Bed. Offal choking, game plucking body of the nighttime kind, crawling through the gutter of the large intestine after soaking up the sauces on a plate earlier this evening. Undoing button on the waist band. Undress and fold. Scrape off the mold. Inside bedsheet, the mole buries home to the middle of the earth. Wake up to the shovel, sleep to the shovel, burying a home for the bit that’s labelled forever. There were old skin suits at the beach, left out by wind breaks and baskets of food. The puckering, stuttering shape of them breathing like towels in the sand and weather. I think to the sea, look onwards at bodies in backlit juice of summers last forced wheeze and I dream of shedding. Old people unzipping their years and stepping out to dip into old waters, joint together in mutual, slippery joints and movement, running to the line where the sea becomes not quite. Their mortgage and retirement, heavy tired bodies fly winded in a pile like you imagine a coat folded on the seas side would lie, and in the water they bob about the waves. They drop into talking about the ways things are. Into talking about the ways things will be. Their skin is taught to dimble into wrinkles after hours in brine, and they squawk at the seagulls that walk so effortlessly callous and sly towards dinner - legs like a creeping hand under a table, with a secret. I wake up to feel my body bathed in salt and dusted in revolting dreams. The sense for myself coming through. Who I will be at the beach –– older and gleaming with time as a marvel. Every day being pudding to savour. The sun going into the trees like some friend to meet after the dark comes carefully. Blinking the sand away, the older people step out and into their old dimpled skin. Outside on the balcony with blanket and jumper on of jam and currant maybe, bobbled with fruit. Pronounce my love like a recited childhood poem learned at school between the bites and bars of chewing. Every word rehearsed with memory of the days in sun with jewelled delicious halving, tearing in two. Golden, gleaming with cream whipped up over. On the plate, teeth sugar coated and then a well timed drop of delicious British rain that hits the leaves in their Autumn welcome. Wimbledon. Picnics. Benches and Plates. Tea. Cake. Grandmothers. Gingham. The season breathing down our necks, a little later than anticipated as the clouds beat on over the crumbling, rumbling sun. She walks with air in her, light on her soles. She points to pictures of fish in waters. Streets with cobblestones. She tells him to look out, taste the colours in big, dripping, juicy gulps and report back the symbols and signs and price of sold things three times the price of a home in the village that’s painted inside. His eyes are wide at the world he’s walking, walls bright and gleaming. Walls that were empty of meaning before today. Closed doors and ticket stalls and frightening, big worded, turgid. He photographs Basqiat. Hates the Monet. Growls just a bit at the sight of a Kle. Chuckles at Cezanne. Cries at Kusama. Eats the last of his lunch after watching a Sciamma. Questions the Twombly, says it’s too easy. Tries it at home and stops and questions it all. Big thoughts in bright painted colours, matted clay forming argument, wired, small, small, small ideas cracked open. He sees the world painted out in shared, hanging, plinthed perfect awe at the more heavy, buried weight of it all. Gold and red dotted, sold. Money for making it up, making it out of nothing at allBare eyes and bare bellies and bare fridges. No warm bowls or ovens, and in holey purses, only coins. Lunch and much for missing once a serving spoon comes round. Near, on small screens, fork and knife sounds, kissing dinner of gold and goodness and neighbours houses roundness, fullness- all while fridges growl bare again and again. No offer sparing sales. Only bags of soiled bread. Halving, sharing, dreading bed on barren bellies. Pronouncing rounded, missing dinner. Slurring, growling, skimming over, speaking improper while soup is cooling in a cul de sac or bungalow or one-up-one-down home where more children sleep, packed in. Buy one, pick one free from choice. Beggars in aisles and choosers smiling gnashers, gliding over opulence and pudding. A new scoop or slice, more second helpings. Common as muck, speaking in skipping English and digging in on war-like dishes. Chucking remainders down bin-bags for foxes shredding. Weddings priced up over a land of feeding small ones. Wrapping up and opening fresh, new, delicious food while hands bare of change scrape up barren feeding - looking onwards, regarding greed and blind chewing. Too full of colour and brush strokes to fit in a bread roll or other plate anyway. The art on the wall is enough. It’s warm outside, Italian summer, and we are eating up the colours on the walls with greedy eyes bigger than our bellies that fit all sorts of delicacies inside them. If we close lids and turn our necks at once, there’s enough relief to digest, to take it all in, gorgeous gorging gorging gorging. Forcing down one family portrait from another farm landscape. Provincial greenlands with cattle, beefhearts and oil, glitter salt grains, tomato and garlic provençale. We are at the table, waiting in our white crisp smart pressed party wear and the cloth is steaming in the light, breathing out from airing out all night in the warm summer soup of sixteen degree darkness. The pots are loud down-hall-way and the plates are somewhere else but the paintings are so much better than dinner, we agree. Layers of colour, thick and glossing in the light against the white back wall, plate-like. The door and skirting board are like knives and forks. Some sort of meal on the wall. The fogging stopped at the cross roads - you know the ones I mean yeah? The ones near Serial Killer Steve’s Debrah’s? After miles of thick tread tyres on empty gravel I had this moment, proper, where I thought to myself after catching my salt and pepper strands getting worse in the mirror–– it’s dark and full of nothing from here. I was in heaven-thick-cloud-like weather and it got me thinking about all the dark. I picked up speed, thinking then about how I’ve only just learnt how to see proper and now everything’s started blending blurry just in time for the good time. It’s all downhill from here, I thought, at the crossroads - you know the ones don’t you - mind, you couldn’t see them tonight could you because the weather really is so thick and fogged up. My car door struggled to get through it. Honest. I am at the purple mudded mixing pot of sunrise. It’s muggy, and the sound of my eyes blinking is disgusting. I choke at the morning, dry in my throat like paper, and the stars are outside the room. With beady eyes and teeth, a beginning threatens. Birds cry for greedy second helpings. I wash my face. I clip back my winging cowslick fringe and dig at the cavity in my pillow case, cratered from sweat and dreams and slumber. This rest was a weighted question filled with subtle, not so subtle, waiting. I felt like getting up and writing but the break was gaping at me like carp in a pond. In Japan, they stay silent on trains. They refrain from contacting eyes, touching gazes and overstepping personal space. I wake up in the morning and I avoid my face in the mirror, wash it with soap to blur my vision. I justify it with a line that promises surprise: If I wait a while before I see my reflection, I can be the fish I dreamt of, or the sky I itch at with burning celebration in my own dead-end night-time livid-lifestyle. I can become salutation, sunlike, golden, crescent moon or unburnt, umber, undone package of bread with bacon. I can keep my eyes on what I saw while sleeping. Be the things I was while dreaming. I have washed and clothed and droned on without words to utter for a bit. The orange I drank last week composts in the gutter but the pith is left, still bitter. I rinse out the silence from my mouth and spit the week of rest down the drain. I wake up, wash the face off the mirror and get ready for another year to start over.

There is always more to say. The days are ending up in darkness, sieving out stars and dust by minute by minute my minute, small being getting smaller by the hour. I can’t believe it’s been a year. So much has happened, and a part of me is sad I’ve sieved so much out, let the thinner pieces run through into words but left the bigger bits out. I’ve grown in ways that make me closer to myself but I haven’t been able to write it all out for some reason. I’ve felt myself ripped out of wind, empty. I’ve been blank faced, wet faced, red faced. I’ve been across the way from heartbreak and then met it again, and again. Played with it like a game, then lost it. Can you win it, anyway? I’ve been worried about tomorrow and what it means about today. I don’t know if I’m writing what I really want to, or if I have once this entire time. I’ve come up with stories in my head that rhymed with dreams I’ve had the nights before, about bumping into someone who knew me more than I knew me. I think there’s something to be said for ebbing, for waves and crashing and for feelings that can’t be described. This year of writing – I thought it would show me, remind me of things and days but it just highlights what I’ve left behind, left out. I want to get better at finding the words for what hurts and putting it down over finding the words for what rhymes and sounds right. I want to get better and taking out my ashes every day and watching them dissipate in pixels on a page. I want to be better at being bare. I want to share how I feel terrible sometimes, how I am wary of time or find it moves so slowly. Life is long, but I was so small only last night. I don’t understand it and it doesn’t feel right and another year’s passed by like a stranger that I only slightly recognise. I read about rituals. I read about routine and wanted to commit to being consistent. I wanted to hold onto a raft I’d built and see how long it could keep me up, out, drifting. I made it. I keep thinking about children becoming adults, each one I walk by I wonder whether it will make it to my age and I hope so. When I was little, I wanted to live in London and write stories. I wanted to be pretty and happy and funny, and smart. i wanted to make good art. I wanted to have friends I liked, and I wanted to have a dutch bicycle with a basket on it, that I’d fill with organic fruit from the market. I wanted a car the colour of ice cream. Then I grew up and I remember being in bed with a boyfriend. I was dreaming, and stirring and when I woke up he told me I’d been talking about a colour, one I’d never seen before. I remember he looked at me like I was the first sunset of a summer. Then the sun set, and another day came, and the colour I had met that night started to feel the same as all the other colours, but I look back to those days when I was magic to someone and I think about whether I still have it. Whether it’s blown away or whether it’s inside or whether it’s changed. A year ago, I had hoped for what has happened. i had hoped for completion and committing to an idea and carrying on with caring about things that I haven’t completely managed to put into words, and a year on, I’m still trying. Words rhyme when nothing seems right. I can try fix up sentences with a lightness of touch that seem to float through the blue light of my computer screen. I can lie in bed and slowly drift into another dream, and if I come across a new colour, I can tell myself all about it, and I can think I’m a sunset. This year has been enormous. Heavy. I’ve breathed in dust and rust and text messages from people saying things I wished they didn’t really mean, and watched myself take steps backwards and forwards upwards and write words that were hiding what I’d spent all night dreaming about. Faces that I might not see again. Faces that I used to see all the time, a year ago, have been drifting out with every poem, every day, every letter on a page where I try, sometimes more sometimes less, to figure out what I want to say. My skin has renewed–shed. My cells have multiplied and bred. The hair grown from my head is long dead. The boat isn’t the same boat. The boat is the same boat. I keep thinking about how Mars looks relatively similar to Earth. I keep thinking about the way this city smells and sounds like feeling sad. Alone in London, there’s a river made of different things on the pavement to that of the river in the middle (people) splitting the land in two halves like June does to the year. I ride a bicycle to find new places but without a map, I accidentally follow memory for movement and direction. I find myself at familiar spots, drenched in the hot glittering sweat of past promise - the uninhabitable faith in tomorrow that lies under sturdy bridges and restaurant doorframes. I hear children acting naturally, because this is their world and they knew no difference and I am jealous of their inexperience and I am sad for them. I’m surprised to see the river move, and dancing people, and laughter. I haven’t heard laughter come from the distance in a while. I biked to Clapham Common from Southwark Station. On the grass, people were gaggled in groups talking and drinking and singing and it felt like a national football victory. It felt like people were celebrating something I hadn’t watched and didn’t understand. Inside of an apartment that seems familiar in colour and shape, tip-toeing between furniture. Looking through windows to living rooms I don’t know, and other spaces where laughter is drowned out, swallowed whole. On a beach at home, a joke lasts over the cast weather in grey and blue. You can call your children in for dinner from the garden over and they’ll hear you. The man can’t be heard from the road over. He jolts elbow and hand in a wave of come here but the city is full. The country is full. Everywhere is full. Open. Closed. I was watching a video online a few weeks ago and found myself disappointed by the familiarity of Mars. The way the sand and mist and colours exist to our eyes as they do here, already. It was the same when I walked through London earlier – the people talk the same about the rain or whether or not to take this route or the other. In the park by the church, a man cries over his phone speaker, playing out hymns. His friend calls him across but the tree blocks the sound. Around the corner, a covered woman searches the shelves over with her children uncovered. An old person looks unbothered by disease of any kind, nibbling on a cigarette. There are plenty of seats free at the next table. Not all pubs are able to open yet. Solitude is solitude everywhere. On a computer screen the canned laugh spills out and over, through the room, to the street and is trodden over with blister-giving shoes. I arrive either in a dream or as a burglar, blurring what I’m seeing in a rush of colours I don’t know. The room is filled with fingerprints. The ceiling has swallowed snow, pretends to be paint. The indentation of my body in my mattress went away within one day of my absence. A man I am talking to online tells me he has been sleeping in a tent on a farm for four days. I don’t ask about it, but he tells me it’s a holiday. There are bedrooms inside but he likes the sound of nervous zippers  in the wind, and talks to me about village green back home, and cricket, and dreams. I tell him about my garden - the way it bursts with fat weeds after summertime and I look up village green on the internet to find out what makes one, but instead I consider high necked pop stars with bowlcuts. The polyester encased man asks if I have The Kink for outdoor sex. He is attempting a pun - oh yes I like a good hill side rump- I type, going along with a notion I find pitiful in reality; nervous zippers undoing in the wind. After time in water, skin looses its liquid a little and dries up. I lie, submerged and then emerge moments after, maybe within an hour or outside of one, and towel dry. I try to avoid spilling onto the linoleum, slip my way through the living room like a stealth or stolen sample. It is one of the afternoons where cold has crept its way into any crevice, taking time to tease tears through eyelashes and I prune myself pickled, pretty pink and white dipped skin from the bathing.` In the scene I am objectified, sweat sliding across my neck and chest in the candlelight and the bath is steaming right and centre. I stage a sigh. I dry off the drowning, flooded floor––and then there was the eye, bulb blowing glass rolling through the hall of skulls and blood. It sunk itself deep into sockets and pocketed the best seat in the head. From there, it shed tears and batted away all the bad bits. It had lingered at skylines and cried at goodbye-lines in films made with i love you as the punchline. On long journeys, I would spot the moon from my smudged window, fly rubbed and dirted with motorway, and I would follow it with my eyes for miles of wading darkness. I remember wondering whether we were driving fast enough to get home before it did, the bright out of breathe in the race against machine. I used to turn my head and try my best to catch it in my keen vision like some rare sight that I might never see again. As words started to make sense, I learned to read a book before bed about befriending stars that had fallen from the sky and shattered into glass. Sometimes when I drive and see the moon far out, panning across, I slow down my car and tell it that winning doesn’t matter.You’re the sort of person that’s made deals with people . You trick them into corners with your words and they smile at the way they sound. They laugh sometimes. You have an extra eye, one more than you need. You blink to bat away the dust from other people. The disgust. It is one of those days that shines like silver cutlery on a checkered table in the summer and you’re flirting with the idea of another lover, legs out bare fleshed flailing in the warmth and the earth turns underneath you in discomfort, warning the fly in your web. You blink away the dust and rust and rattle out a deal about the future. You say to this new body that he’ll see you in the chugging water phase of a late night after dancing. You will meet him in a sweaty hallway when you’ve spent your fourties disappearing. You promise primrose oil, foil highlights, dust mite free bed linen, to be a wife who turns to him and tells him he’s forgiven for being a husband. You open your extra eye and wink away the thought of another drink. You pay for your meal and sink your teeth into his introduction like it’s a rare and real delicacy when it is all predicted script. You tell him to meet you when you’re older, outside a place that serves honesty by the spoonful and he’s sighing at your forethought, unaware of his future notion of distraught. His future body that stands disappointed, waiting for the woman with too many eyes to see him in a way he likes. Time is something slippery. It’s an image we well up at the sight of when shown in films. Some ageing figure letting go or holding onto photographs, missed opportunities caught on screen. There have been many days with many ways of writing or evading what’s happened earlier and it’s important to say, to you reader, if you exist, that today doesn’t mark a year of words- that comes in nine days. Some crazed evenings or mornings, paper in hand, I wrote five or six pieces in one sitting like a greedy diner - cheating my own game, and other times I’ve missed the day, trying little to find what I wanted to say like an actor trained for years, the year a load you carry unknowingly, what they mean when they use the tern ‘golden years’. Those were the golden years, I am raking through the years, fencing each year that leaves or arrives, tomorrow, week or later years amassing to some half mast ideal of what’s to grow, do you remember last year? like some distant relative after years, soften with years of fear and moaning, it’s the closest full moon we will have this year, days reading in the city last year, she tells us of the bad year when bugs took away bodies, in the same woodland, and every year, around the time of my birthday, these daffodils bloom bold, each year is special. The pair planted an apple tree, bought as a child when we were born. It shook every spring and dropped every third fruit on its branch. The bees flew around the bruised skin and honey pasted the ground. The apples were sour and somewhat silky but so high up, too high for dessert most Sundays. Then one day, each apple was within reach, lying through gritted gravel and grass after wind had blown it down. The roots upturned, embarrassed like an underside of skirt in winter. Somehow the weather had picked the tree up for a dance, over excited, which ended in upset and falling. Falling of fruit and root and any future promise of pudding. You’ve cocooned yourself in a shell of down feathers and the season is seeping in. Your eyes itch after a case of crying and the television’s playing a re-run of some Japanese game-show, where a contestant cracked his head open on an obstacle. You’re lack-lustre, whipped tired like instant custard, and you notice in the corner that your clothes have been laundered, folded, in the right way. At breakfast, you recall dividing the whites from the yellow. Pincer knife in hand, you’d trace the sun, remove the clouds from around it and surgeon-like, divide the cushioning. So with this in mind, you find yourself peeling away from bed, leaving the white behind you and you clean the stickiness of days from your skin. You take the bins out. You put yourself inside of some clothing and you begin the mending, collecting pieces left right at your front door, others at the office desk, memories and moments left to pour yourself over. You gather yourself together, beating the air out, and look at the shards of hard set regret in your hands. A sorry case, carried in bits. I recognised autumn today like I would a street I’d photographed in the background of a portrait as I was squelching through it. I could feel it in the wind. My dad told me he liked the way the leaves smelt after a certain type or rainfall and I agreed - my mum didn’t know what we meant. I write a lot about change - about how mornings come again and again, or how I think back to times when I was a smaller version of myself and I feel some senes of itchiness in this but then, somewhere, I think that life is coming up with metaphors to make experiences make sense. I had an ex boyfriend who told me I wasn’t good at forming metaphors, and for a while I stopped making them, but with that I realised that I had stopped trying to draw images from what I was seeing into what I could say, so I started coming up with them again anyway. There are different ways to move forward by water. In rowing, you face backward to push forward, and in canoeing or kayaking - you face forward. I think for a long time, I felt like I’d dropped an oar, and was twisting uncomfortably, spending half of my time looking back at where I’d come from, dizzy and unable to focus fully - and the other half looking at where I was heading, dizzy and unable to focus fully. Spinning and circling, the leaves have started to fall here. They’re brown and crisp in a way I recognise. So you walked all the way to the beach and the lane got narrower and narrower but from the tunnel of trees you see the sea. You’ve never seen it before and it glitters just like in the films and television shows. It’s lit up with life and shade and colour that constantly changes. Tiny pieces of water all making up a greater picture. You’re walking closer to it, and the tunnel widens a little but never fully. You’re in a cave heading to the waves. You stop in awe, arms out beside you and you feel as though your skin is being scored for roasting. Your feelings creep out, burst at the seams in your elbows and knees. It’s the most beautiful thing you have ever seen, and you stand on the concrete looking through the tunnel of trees and the water and watch it. It falters with confidence, like an actor trained for years with experience and self-assuredness on how to behave like the shy one at a party. The waves move rapidly. You can’t believe the beauty and you stand there watching it ripple until the light leaves. You turn away and tread up the hill to the parking bay where your car is, but, something is different, something has rearranged itself. The sound of moving water has gone and you turn back to look for the sea. The view has changed. A screen is being rolled up by bodies in boiler suits, revealing a brick wall. The waves, water glimmering were made of minute pixels like the ones you had watched as a smaller version of yourself. A fallacy. The streetlights cry over you but the tarmac is dry. The sea’s been rolled up and set aside for the next screening. You look up to the sky and look for the creases or edges or seams. We saw a film and emulate it- quote or recreate in our bedrooms the motion of hands waving air or smiling with casual air of a disarming nature. Aged eleven, emanating insecurity. We are an amalgamation of colours mixed in paints or posters of actresses at the ideal weight. It’s a dinner spread of head to toe collaging. We watch others and spot cover pieces of who we are with who we have seen walk by. Aged nineteen, pierced with tattoos we found online. When we were smaller, they told us not to copy and we side-eyed the others. Peripheral vision blurred. We cut the pictures of young girls and boys from magazines and make a happy family. We go home with it in our bag and hang it on the fridge. I’ll have what she’s having , we tell our parents, pointing to her plate, smiling. The pear shape is sad in its own skin. It has mottled pieces freckled. In Sleepless in Seattle I watched a woman peel an apple in one sliver as the ‘moonlight’ cast across her face. An underpaid teenager held the moon in a steady arm and turned it off between each take. I remember thinking this was how you made someone fall for you, by removing skin effortlessly in one piece, with a sharp knife over a sink. Carve the peel and reveal the flesh as bare and sweet and juice filled. Before I had touched the skin of any other person I would stay up in my bedroom and try on bras handed down from cousins and pray to my ceiling for a body I would peel from other bodies. I would practice clasping these wire cages around my lungs, in the dark, in the bed, in the mirror. One handed. I would read about the body shape I’d grown and harvest it into trousers every morning - learn that I was pear-like. In too-tight trousers and too-tight tapered skirts and too-tight skin I would stand at the sink and begin peeling potatoes in one thin strip. I was sleepless, thinking about peeling skin. What I means is that you exist, or I do. It means that there’s an idea of I. It means that I can try to express what’s inside but fall only a little bit short each time. It means outside of your inside, and it’s hidden within words like when we, or you or I can hide in crowds, cocooned among meaning greater than ourselves. I means me but in a way that it doesn’t really. I’m blearing blue tears in a blue car in blue jeans and the blue far away sky is so hard to reach and I’m learning how to see other colours blown out from the sun and I’m running now from the way the blue tastes like some hot glue gun toxic and plastic in the way it burns my fingers and I am blue bruised from the way it holds my skin together in some marriage bound by books and lines rehearsed I reverse into the parking space and a blue cone buckles under my tyre I retire to the sea, the blue sea and I scream out sweat, steaming the atmosphere I can hear the way people say they were born with blue eyes that changed to gold and I look at mine in the mirror and see blue eyes still there in the hole sockets of my skull I run my blue fingernails over the walls of bone and each eye decides that it’s done it’s shift of shining I am crying in the mirror at the way the colour stayed true from the start and then they dart out from their homes and the blue groans down the plug hole and the drain and becomes rain. The sun tells you it has been a while, singing your skin to aged lines. The year a load you carry unknowingly, you shed it all at once, only once, at the end of the story. It’s one of those nights that feels like a party winding down. The lights are glowing, the drinks are gone and eyes are closing. You look to the sky and debate nothingness - the fact that it lies inside of itself comfortably, the way that it lies to itself. The night feels cold in your hand, clamming around a pearl in the clouds that’s rare and hot and small. How does the sun fit in your vision? How does the sea? The world is so big – too big to believe, and you’re at the waves watching them go on unseen, every piece of sand and wave and land and growing old, wrinkling ageing hand can somehow fit compactly in your eye. How? It’s some sort of magic, some trick under the table. I think there’s more to life than what the poems say. I think there’s more to life than what our eyes give way for us to see. Somehow, in the eye line of some burnt to a crisp skyline there’s a place to sail to. Land. The people in their polyester buoy themselves with trained arms and the sun swarms around them, leading there before the night comes towards the idea of a holiday far away where they will splash about, throw cash for cocktails on the patios where the dinner comes encased in oils and foreign faces smile for tips. Remember, though, that the sun looks the same wherever you go. The way these bodies show the sun gratitude by diseasing in melting, sweltering bronze casting compliments on one another is maybe what people mean when they use the term ‘golden years’. Those were the ‘golden years’. The summer came and went and the sun looks different here, did I say it’s all the same earlier? That’s not what I meant. It’s a frightening thing; to want instead of waiting for some inkling of not only goodness but a goal being met in a well lit hall. To be approached by a ticked box with a neck cricked from the heavy weight of efforts long extended. My arm has reached out to touch things before, to be seared on each side by disappointment but today, it feels the walls, the ceiling and floors of a room called ‘hope’ or something less cliche, maybe. We are a barrel of fish, shot at or dismissed for wine but there’s time left to take hooks to sea - a broader pool for dreaming of bigger catches.  Your life can and does change inch by inch, day by day. We don’t always get a say, but when we do, I want to scream loudly and with the sharpest knife voice of conviction. There were a few she’d like to share the shrinking with, sat small in the armchair and listening to the way breath left her, or the scratch of grey hair malting on the pillow. She knew she’d tread the line of life being good, and expected her body to shrink and grow with the seasons. She’s a blue Wednesday, half way through. The leaves are smaller than they used to be. As she makes her way down the hall she doesn’t know whether it’s the floor or her joints that creak. It was one of those rivers - with waters that simmer and run so quietly they can’t be caught in a hand. You’re throwing rocks at windows, because you saw it in a film once but in front of you the glass is staying intact. There’s no shatter, and no music playing. You try to hide the sound you make as the rebound arrives. It’s been time, of course. The way you look to the sky is different knowing you have no right to wonder how it looks from the other side of the country anymore. Heartbreak has left you lighter. Your body splayed out in ruins across roads and recollective moments. You’re in the car now, hands up through a non existent sunroof - only it’s dark and has been for a while. The stars blink away the night in a delicate, flirtatious, come to bed manner. You have absorbed the pieces, picked them up in blind obedience- the way a bird knows to fly one way, or a fish the other. Survival of the best bits in your round, glass-with-tear eyes and you try your hard-earned patience to be kind to yourself. You remember the unevenness. The burnt bits. The arguments and hurt. It’s a collapse. A decay. You find yourself in a lay by, looking behind with your eyes forward, trying to remind yourself to move onwards, onwards, onwards. Life is here, arriving somewhere on the doorstop or around the table. It’s electric, dimming, laughing at some joke that’s only whispered. It doesn’t wait. It doesn’t move in a way that’s seen - just edging, incrementally. Somewhere else, dressed in clothes I’ve never stepped limb into, another life of mine was lived or is. I don’t believe in this any more. Life is here, wherever you are. Disguised in worry and shadow. It’s in the other plans, in tomorrow, in the way you hope. Such a heavy word - life. It rips at seams, at dreams. I don’t believe this anymore. You recall the grandiose of it, the way it almost rose like some sort of scented steam. How were you so unaware or used to it? The wonder of the seams were amiss. You kissed such soft and sought for faces, any flower in your vase. You looked over to the ceiling, marble, glass but to you it was just a ceiling. Someone else’s upside floor. It’s easier to forget the beauty when you’re before it, and recount after. You showered in hotel rooms built for men with power, ate the best food, loved the best love. It’s disgusting, the way it writhes together, the way its tethered to itself like some vine on a white clean plant. You look to the sun and see only light. It’s frightening, how words lose their weight. You look over photographs and hate the way you looked at life like it just happened - like the rhyming was an accident - like the river cleaned itself - like the books where alphabetised on the shelf because they just were. You just were alive back then and now you try to push on through the earth or push on through the not knowing what’s to come, not knowing whether you’re the one that runs the whole thing, not knowing whether you’re the kind of person who can thrive in any setting. You look at the photograph of the sun and see that it’s a black hole. You can feel the rain on each pore - the tiny tingling tears down some blistering rock face. The way it taps on each of your pieced parts feels like a game. It is electric without the damage. The sun is over worn today from working, and the clouds complain. Please, drought. You want to feel thirst. You want to know what it feels like to need something. Anything. To push out, parched, like leaves curling up in rusting dirt. You want to want something - and as the tiny rain keeps falling again and again, you pretend that the rain on your skin hurts.The explosion, big and bright, vibration sending messages across cities and sound waves, seeing the sight of orange from afar. The television leaves no scar to return to, only pixels telling brief sad stories and an advert for adverse effect. Quick as a flash, the sentiment is sent from broadcast houses and spliced, slicing through the air from research and review, from me to you. Each day, some new news is terrible in its time allotted. Prescribing the seconds for serious material, resources rebounding retweeted at gale force speed. You begin with a headline, you plant the seed. I was taken back to feeling good about night and it was brilliant. I am taking a breath from swimming. I’ve been kicking hard against the weight of it and now I’m way out in the deep, on my back. I want to _________. I want to stop the way the _____ feels. I want to crack open every thought and untangle the root. I’m tired. I am raking through the years. I separate the _________ from the ____________. What’s with all this poetry, then? Cryptic cynicism? Uninformed ideas on religion? Or is it just visions of a version of myself I want? To seem like some cinematic person who monologues on how fear can feel like sailing a ship on untamed waters. or like prison, or like the immersion of a body in ice water, or like rearing an animal for the slaughter, and how it feels to be a daughter, and the jolting deer-in-headlights moment of decision. I have no secrets worth keeping from myself. Truthfully, I’m starting to believe that we’re all just born set solid, and that life is the slow change of melting, draining, grinding down. Excuse me, Waiter, something seems a little off. There’s a writer over here trying their best to be profound. There was a meteor shower when I arrived. Invincible confetti. I rose up with the light and cried for days, then stopped. My eyes shone. Fast forward and downward from space, from nothing, I emerged from an idea and mistake. Some happy, some sad, some frightening mere feeling of taking a deep breath and waking up with a world to learn. In the time since, chest tightening around lungs and bones lengthening, I’ve formed thought. Each from film or tin foil wrapped lunch conversation with friends I no longer talk to. I become myself each night and recede in the morning. Go long to catch stories or score grooves in the concrete that sets somewhere, fencing each year that leaves or arrives. I’m bigger now, climbing up a staircase with turns and I’ve earned myself legs that carry me. The height is relentless, and I hear the footsteps from above and beyond the walls. I drag legs up, tired over the higher and higher inches of cemented stepping and feel myself lagging behind. I feel myself flailing, trailing behind. It took five days for me to arrive, and as my Father waited, he buried daffodil bulbs in the ground. The way the story sounds like a song I know now is what it’s all about - the way the stories sound like a symmetrical chorus. I look at the yellow pushing through the scribble of thorns and think of pollen, bursting through the air, hurling to a new place and crashing down on it, forcing life, tearing through, feeding. Across the way, I hear a lamb crying out and chewing at a daffodil. In the garden, I lie back, grass on fire, blades attacked by orange and crackling. I think I only notice fire as I burn and now the green is different to the way it was. I reckon in my dream tonight I’ll get lost. They’re raking water on the flames but all I hear is someone’s name there’s been some mistake, I think, some change but that’s alright I imagined I’d be ash by now the trees are grown the skies just clouds and I’m still here I have this scar across my face when I sleep I meet myself and see I’m somehow moved. There are so many shadows where her mind has walked and I suppose it’s a case of learning the routes. Hello Sun, so warm and liquid. I reach my hand out like you’ll hold it and I’m scolded somehow. I used to look up and count down, blindness only a thing of fairy tales and then stinging with water, tearing down my face, I’d be left amazed. Imagine such beauty, impossible to look at. That’s the loneliest of good gifts - painful beauty - the kind that’s top of the pile and wrapped, out of reach for children, big and small. On my birthday I remember putting my thumb up to cover the sun, and noticing it had grown big enough to block the brightness. The way it could mask the light burned my face up with excitement. My thumbs have been the same for a while now. Simple sun dials are believed by many to have shown the way through seas. One stick, standing upright in the decking, to get from a side of green to the motherland. Using shadow to see new things. I learnt this as I travelled over rocks with a love other than myself, and marked the way using blind interest and itineraries. The sun sighed down on the concrete all night back then, with no wavering or cowering, and we glowered at the light in the early hours of the morning, laughing at how, back home, the sun politely hides itself, giving the moon its turn to show people places. It was brighter than usual today. The sun was out. I burned. In a deep purple voice, he growls at the morning. Buzzing in its persistence. It’s a late sunrise, laces dragging over the greenery and the weathering is visible in the trees. Fucking hay fever season. Sneeze. Soft blue blanket under, me, I am kept tightly beneath the night. Is this a memory? Shimmering underneath the words and heavy time? You can’t quite discern it from the business and bustle of what’s going on. Is it hidden beneath all the lines that cross and weave around, somewhere between now and later? You look to your side and see the loved one, glimmering with a secret you both know. You ask them if they feel it. You ask them if they stole it from a film––it’s too good to be true. Is this a memory, this singular moment right here - when sitting with you feels like blue skies. In the morning, eyes liquid lidded, I bloom apart like some rotten plant. It’s been hours of an adventure, an internally invented curser hovered over the word GO and I did just that. I went to bright green dreams, shuttered between the down cover and springs, where it had sprung lively. I traipsed the faces – unsure of the way and then just before the day arrived I thought of life in all it’s all. I’m pretty open to it, the idea of becoming new. I feel like when I wake up there’s so much that could be done. Expecting what’s to go from coming back after a change, there’s so much to say for growing but there’s no real way of knowing how you grow up like a flower even in some part of shade or nettled garden. I’m open to it– change. I’m open like a wound. I feel the draft in my inbox or puckered skin on end. I feel the end coming, then realise how ridiculous that seems. I rake up the dishevelled leaves before I go. I grow up like the snow does (it doesn’t) I shower myself in ideas and then watch them all (fleck by dirty speck, the discarded scrap heap) wash away. I am splayed out, lying out to dry in the sun and I am open to it. To feel the way she soaks up any stain or gained perspective. Evaporating, dissipating down the drain. To discern a bad egg from the good, submerge it in a hood of water. Flood it deep and mull it over. If it floats, it’s for the bin. If it sinks, tuck in. I like this point, small pin prick sized and pretty in the night where I’m the only one about. It feels nice. I like this disjointed place between right and left where my head is, where my bed is. I like the way my breath sounds, on its own between the four walls and I like the way I like the way I like the way I like the weightlessness of my head on my shoulders after falling to sleep. I like the way I keep thinking, and the centring of dreams––the way they snap into focus like some cheering clapping audience. Colours come to me, and I like the way the faces I knew look like silver. The way they shine a little. Glitter. I like the way alone feels. I like the way this small point in my life seems real for once. A rarity. It’s been a long time (no limb could discern the length) and the sky is starting to look the same. In my dreams I turn myself inside out like some rotten article of clothing at the seams and I feel undone, brain compiled of some feeling other than good. I am grown from the edges, restlessness amounting to some bigger things and blundering inside of it. I am as big as the hole I feel, a toll taking dice rolled with no squeal at an answer, no prize drawn, no romance, no lasting encounter. In the river, a stone is picked among the many rippling attendees of the dancing water party and I lie on my stomach in the dirty mulling of it all. The groggy feeling of the stalled tomorrow, week or later years amassing to some half mast ideal of what’s to grow. What’s to go next? What’s to co-ordinate itself with some hole or blank space? My mind races through the underscores. The pauses. The parentheses. I call my parents in the darkness. They tell me it gets better. That the weather always changes. That the way a feeling festers is dependent on its faces and I scoop up at the running water, run my way through shunning who I am from who I ought to be, drink down sadness like some secret and delicious recipe, take the paper to the bin and shred it bit by tiny slivered piece and, bad as it gets, I taper out the ends of sorrow to thin out sentences. Tomorrow I’ll breathe more in the day, eat up the clouds before the dismay hits, run faster, loop back around, kick and scream myself, cheer three times for every sounding horn and thorn plucked from my skin. I’m in it now, the murky river, no longer drowning, learning, swimming.There have been days passed, many, really and the senses of who have lulled themselves asleep from many an ached or dragged body. Unwell. With reason left unearthed and the energy of days before shown to the door or shadowed among those golder days. Long was the way to walks and breath basters all an arms length from them now my body has been worn dry from all wearing, tearing out. I conjure the days, soon to come carried by rain and watch them appear. The gold light lips it (the cliff, I mean) in some uncomfortable kiss to watch, unless onscreen. Smothering all surfaces, hard edged and sincerely shaking in the sun, we sit on the beach and watch them, eyes darting as they settle into one another, the evening becoming and slipping away. Blinded by beaming faces with milk teeth at the park, we push forward on foot. It’s a grey day, one that promises nothing, and we see the week panned out within a hand drawn frame or plan. Older legs push prams across dregs of cigarettes. Young minds with no memories to overshare yet wobble themselves dizzy. It’s getting drizzly and there’s a soft threat of rain. I imagine every story. The misery in muted cotton or the unnoticed sound of a train of dribble hitting the concrete. I imagine the way they brush their teeth. Whether they sigh with relief in the shower. Standing back to watch, I notice more than many would and will the sky to open up to wash off masks, maybe. What do they want. What drives them to push on screen stories, arguments. What few things have they said they also really meant? We are spoilt for choice. The crowd is pushing forward. It’s getting drizzle and there’s a soft threat of rain. I count the words here, and fit them into small homes, hoping they’ll make sense. I won’t follow, legs too short to match the distance he’s running for. I try to grab at skin but grapple with a gap of thin air instead–so far away from any realised thing. My eyes have long looked to sentimentality and sedimented memory. Imagined the way a name feels in my hands, and all the weight it brings. I’ve decided I won’t turn around again. It stings, it stings, it stings. I am beside myself holding up propped by some idea I wrote a while ago. I imagine my shadow, strong enough for support and it waves in the wind. At a pavemented city I will soon arrive in, I’ll be new and alone and sometimes lonely but at least there’ll be someone, some me beside me as I walk in the sun or subtle street-lit concrete. Will you share your screen, so I can see your world move from where I’m sitting? Today, I walked to school as a version of myself that was bigger than back then. I walked the lanes in the sun, my knees knocking at the tarmac and my heart drumming against my neck. I remembered the way my legs felt, bending with the curves of the road as I strode hand in hand with someone bigger. I felt surprised to be allowed alone, walking the gravel and dust with no one to trust whether I knew how to cross the road or keep from the passing people in heavy c