April 2019

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They say victim  like he didn't have a gun to anyone's head, like he wasn't just unlucky that I got there when I did and pulled the trigger first. That's how it goes though. You die, you become a saint. Even scum like him. Even scum like me.

- - - - -

There are days I only look in in the mirror to verify that I'm still here. I don't look myself in the eye anymore. There's nothing to see but cold. There used to be history too, but I'm done collecting that. There are some things no-one needs reminding of.

- - - - -

You gave me roses because you know I see romance in thorns. No vase, they rest in a pint glass you stole from a bar because we both like rules better broken. I collect the petals as they fall because everything dies, but some things stay beautiful.

- - - - -

It's not a vicious streak as much as a broad stroke of fierce and necessary strength, and it doesn't need to be painted over.

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All I want is a vacant room with a clean bed and a lock on the door, somewhere quiet, away from all the everything. There's too much noise and the only thing keeping me from screaming is that I don't want to add to it.

- - - - -

You ask for my verdict, like I'm in any position to judge. It's not that I don't know or haven't thought about it enough. I just don't care. Your shitty decisions are your responsibility. I'm done.

- - - - -

If you're going to advocate violence as a solution to anything, you better be willing to follow through when the time comes. If you've never raised your fists to defend yourself or protect someone else, maybe wind your neck in and keep the noise down.

- - - - -

A veteran of blizzards and frozen famine, she greets the dark months, teeth bared, spear in hand. Winter takes nothing from her now. Instead, they fight to the death. Each year, the season passes and she survives.

- - - - -

In the most vivid dreams, mist rolls in and fire falls from the sky. Bare feet sinking in sand, I collect photographs of the end of the world until the tidal wave rushes and I let go. My last words are gentle whispers. Thank you and I'm sorry and it's time.

- - - - -

Sunday mornings are piss-stained walls and pools of vomit in doorways, the most careless of human mess littering the city centre, waiting to dry under a sun rising into a clear blue sky as if it doesn't have to look down on the worst of what we leave behind.

- - - - -

You see a viking dragged through the centuries, shoulders made for breaking down doors and hands like weapons. I see those shoulders moving earth and those hands gently settling delicate plants into new homes, nurturing tiny flowers.

- - - - -

There's a cold disaster in how they hold each other and something irresistible in the vortex of their arms. They bury themselves together with handfuls of softly turned gravity and secrets take root through their bones, blooming in dark winter.

- - - - -

"Don't feed vermin, stupid child!" A slap punctuated her words. "They'll keep coming back."

Later, watching the vixen and her cubs eating from the bowls beneath my bedroom window, I whispered, "I want you to come back. And one day, I'll leave with you."

- - - - -

They're always digging for the tragic backstory, as if you can't just be a villain. The compulsive rescuers who fetishise damaged souls look so surprised when you kill them, as if you ever pretended to be anything other than what you are.

- - - - -

A current runs through me and I am opaque. You hold me at the edge of the void and I become transparent. I wrap my bravado in ribbons of tendons and bruise-kissed skin and even that is not enough of an offering.

- - - - -

Beneath the veneer of politely tolerating their need to box-tick the world into victim-survivor-warrior, we are built on quiet foundations that go deeper than convenient narratives spun by people who bleat, "I know what you mean" when they don't have a clue.

- - - - -

A vague answer may as well not be an answer at all, but I respect your ability to hang on to the details even while you're losing fingertips, one at a time. In another life, we may have been partners. In this one, you're a means to an end.

- - - - - 

There's an intense and captivating beauty in your vehement denial and I wish I could believe you. I wish you were telling the truth. You place promises in my hands as if they weren't bombs and I quietly close myself around the coming explosions.

- - - - -

The tension of vapid conversation gathers in my knuckles and my throat tightens around small talk, choking on "What do you do?" and craving "What are you scared of? How much have you hurt someone you love? What was the last lie you told?"

- - - - -

When a volcano erupts beneath a glacier, ice melts and a new landscape forms. If you see neither the impenetrable frost nor the explosive fire of before, you may underestimate the history of the place.

This tranquil lake can still drown you.

- - - - -

You vacillate  between shards of truth and splinters of fiction, spitting poison-tipped darts and metaphors under my skin. I wear them as jewellery, diamonds suffocating in the concrete of crumbling foundations.

- - - - -

Every scar is a vestige of your temper, a fading monument to refused apology. There are no goodbyes as I carry my skin to kinder climates while you burn yourself down again, waiting for payment no-one owes you.

- - - - -

There's no victory here, no celebration, just a hollow acceptance of necessity. Your blood on my hands was the only way to end this. I'm not sorry, but I'm cold and I may as well bury myself next to you for all it matters.

- - - - -

They say people don't just vanish. It's true. Vanishing takes work. You have to change a lot of details, remember a lot of new ones, forget a lot of yourself. After a while, you stop looking in mirrors because you no longer expect to recognise your own face.

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