Reading Night – Come Along!

Writer's Journal Poster

Come along to our reading night event, in collaboration with the Salford Slam Poets and the CATS (Cancer Awareness in Teenagers and Students) Society! It will be a night of wonderful poetry, arresting fiction, cheap beer and good friends, all in order to help raise money for the wonderful CATS group!

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Untitled by Ward Eli Butt

She stood there, hair falling flat and curling to the ends of her thighs, as her swooping bangs covered the sides of her skull. Her plump cheeks and wide mouth were attractive in a strange way, and her eyes like a cat angled and vexed her prey, her lashes flickered and became somber as a massive eyelid covered in gloss and sparkles. Eyes of a brown haze, glazed with horror and filled with dread. Her black dress, spread around her with fluffy ruffles of white, swaying beneath her shins. Her feet covered and etched with ink. Tattoos flayed away at her legs and worked their way up underneath the dress. Her dark hair was picked up by the breeze that came through as the doors burst open through the lobby. Her bare feet were like loud claps on the marble floors of the hallways. Her fingers raised up revealing blackened finger nails, painted with a ring tightly knotted around her third finger. Her arms wept under the ink, markings of curses and lies swept away at her skin covering all the way to her feeble neck. Her beauty was unmatched, yet unsettling. She moved like vapour, drifting in the winds, swaying silently at the entrance of the school. She slowly stepped forward like the undead in the night;  like a ghost she hovered towards her prey.

Poems for a cold September night

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Some of our latest poetic offerings from three of our members. 

Untitled Poems by Holly Attwell

A stab through memories that glittered and shined,

a pierce of betrayal and uncertainty.

The mask has slipped to reveal another

and I don’t think you can see yourself in the mirror.

A knight in shining armour; no.

A bad person; not that either.

Perhaps just an ordinary boy lost in their own confusion.

But answer this; was it me?

*********************************

Rain lashes onto the cold, grey ground.

From behind the glass, it makes no sound.

It is like a blanket wrapping around the houses,

and it makes everything darker; from the leaves,

that are now a leathery dark green,

to the slimy, almost black concrete.

It makes the cars shine dimly,

and people fear to drift into the patches of water,

which fill the pavements and make them even.

The question is, how deep are those potholes,

which are now covered by water and hit like a soundless snare?

In this rain, will troubles or happiness drown?

*********************************

As I stared out on a wholly grey,

unwelcoming and blustery day,

an unexpected sight caught my eye.

Through the water falling from the sky,

flew towards me a fiery coloured flicker.

Dodging the rain with expertise; a butterfly

with red wings, perched upon my window sill,

only momentarily.

The grey day paused at this flash of colour

and surprise; the rainbow in the rain,

and then it was gone,

flying through the storm alone,

as if catapulted into the wrong place and time

and captured, just for me, in my eye.

*********************************

Why did that person choose today to die?

They did not choose of course, but why?

Why is it that on this day,

filled with both sun and cloud,

they took their final breath and left without a sound?

The neighbours stare at the house,

peaking through net curtains,

watching and wondering as ambulances

arrive and depart. They guess,

and they know. The sky turns grey,

and a man turns and says out loud

“Why did they choose today?”

and somehow, that sounds profound.

*********************************

You sit there in front of that person,

and the void of time stands before you.

Seeing into it is easy, but talking through it is not.

You sit there all the same,

and the two of you are somehow changed, yet unchanged.

Through this void you see backwards

to a time when conversation was easy,

silence even more so, and your mouth opens

with some triviality, just to fill the silence,

because in that silence are a thousand things unsaid,

left to circle in your head,

and the distance seems even stronger.

 

Poems by Xenia Lily 

Woodsman

I have found a thousands way to not love you.

The distance, the time, the language, the differences to name a few.

But with each reason, each story I tell myself, I can’t help it;

I fall for you every time.

I remember the way you looked at me and each block I put in our way to try and stop the sound of music the world seemed to be singing.

The sweet symphonies of surrender.

The way your hands held mine. I was home, grounded.

It was a secret we had to keep.

But the world knew.

We never made promises because we were afraid we couldn’t keep them.

We just had each other.

The scent of your chest when you’d pull me closer to you, woodchipped and alive.

With you I felt alive.

I told myself no each time.

Each time I didn’t listen.

If felt wrong. Like I wasn’t the right puzzle piece.

But I’ve never felt more at home than I did in your arms.

You gave me an infinity in numbered days.

That’s what all the love stories say.

But I never used to believe them.

Not until you walked in, My hero.

 

I ruined it all. I was the one who left.

I wanted to give you a better life with someone who was your puzzle piece.

One day I’ll learn to regret my decision.

Maybe one day you’ll learn to accept it.

Or maybe, one day.

We’ll both get what we really

 

Battle Fatigue 

The ashes of you leave me scattered,

Breathless,

Like the soldiers at Dunkirk.

Trembling, fragile, but a fighter amongst all else.

I never knew I was worth something.

But I realised my value after you denounced my worth.

You try, but fail, to make this work.

But I march on.

Your words strike like bullets – fire with precision

I will never surrender.

But a wave cracks, breaks, smashes around me.

The winds of past battles gather, collected.

We announce as one, we will never surrender.

The pictures faded, scattered like seeds.

Memories fragmented, bias and mistaken.

You leave me bloody;

We march on as one:

We will never surrender.

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Poems by Danielle Jade Oldham

Things I learnt in the Hospital

 Dr.Clarissa hates writing in black ink

the girl in the next bed isn’t a natural blonde

I wish I had painted my toenails –

a splash of red on my pale skin would look so divine –

I bet everyone thinks I’m not pretty.

It’s quiet here,

and I like to read magazines for hours on end.

How does she do it? A doctor, with husband and four children.

How come she was allowed all that?

 

CH

 For a whole minute I loved you.

Standing in the kitchen

humming

and unpeeling a banana.

You love bananas

and I loved your distracted eyes,

dark hair, hands that almost look still young, I could see

a calmness, finally, yellow light

and the smell of lemons, everywhere

 

then you see me

and sigh. Frown.

You’ll never tell me what I did

and once again

I don’t love you

 

Adore

 Forcing chocolate down my throat

you never take no for an answer

but that’s okay, for you,

you’re honey-sweet and cinnamon-freckled and

besides

I don’t yet know

that there’s such a thing

as too much chocolate.

 

Your powdered sugar is in my hair

but I feel no shame.

Sickly sherbert, blue, in the morning

just in case.

 

I hate you enough to hang you

with a strawberry lace,

in your boiled-pear jumper

and sleep creases.

 

Images – Danielle Jade Oldham

Selected Poems by Neil James Jones

Tanka:

The darkened bank

Where the river rose before

Water left its mark.

I want it to rise again.

I wish it would never leave.

 

 

 

A picture of grey.

Cold, brittle branches stretch out,

Clouds sit unmoving.

Relief comes from the footsteps,

The floorboards break the silence.

 

 

A Sestina:

The unknowable creature is the one we seek to analyse

And the comparisons come easily: beauty, goddess, angel

But not strong or gifted or even decent.

That’s why the serpents coil around your legs and hiss

Their flicking tongues nip with the expansion

Of their influence and they see you as prey, a wounded moth

 

The fragile wings turn to dust when the moth

Is captured, yet we still analyse

And investigate its formless, fractal expansion

In them we seek the work of a god, the face of an angel

Or the reassuring and debasing hiss

Of the serpent, neither compassionate nor decent.

 

The observers claim to be upstanding, decent

And with honour. You are still a moth.

Pinned. Immobile.  Oblivious to the unheard hiss

Of the bubbling beakers and creaking equipment that will analyse

You. They will strip the angel

Of its wings, now folded and without expansion

 

The creeping, oozing expansion

Into your heavenly domain makes a decent

Defence impossible and the angel

Will soon fall, a burned and broken moth.

After the action, after the fact they will analyse

What went wrong. They’ll blame each other with a snap and a hiss

 

When they turn and their sweet words become a hiss

That rings in your ears, the expansion

Of white noise, static you cannot analyse

They no longer need to be respectful and decent

They cannot lament for the moth

This alcove has lost its angel

 

There is no place on earth for an angel

Those that do not believe will hiss

There is no place in the daylight for a moth

The sun boils in its red giant expansion

The is no place in this city for the decent

Only literal, reptilian minds that cannot analyse:

 

An angel in expansion

A hiss at the decent

A moth to analyse

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A Collection of Couplets:

The grand game never changes

and remains through the ages.

 

High in the ivory tower,

secure in their seats of power.

 

For I am just one person

but with inaction things worsen.

 

“Things will never change” they advise,

though the history books say otherwise.

 

Change is more than overdue,

we ask ourselves “what can we do?”

 

All the lies they have spoken

mean the promises stay broken.

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Five More Minutes of Spring

It’s always the sun that wakes me.

The bright early light that shakes me from sleep.

No matter the weather outside,

It is a warm spring day,

Shot through with potential.

Anything is possible.

I breath deeper,

Smile easily,

And the hum and buzz of something natural

And growing follows me

I want that feeling

All the time

Every time

I cling to it

And that is why I beg you.

 

I reach from the covers to touch you

My fingers extend

Vines creaking with slow motion exertion

My hand flailing in the space you left

Branches groaning with intention

And I ask you to stay

On this spring day

for five more minutes

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Exile on Oldham Street

Oldham street is not a home to anyone.

The humans here have already gone.

It is a transient space,

A waiting room.

A bus lane flanked by barber shops and vintage clothing sales,

Hipsters stare at Apple laptops while sipping artisanal craft ales.

 

The velocity of the road means that

No busker can play,

No one can ask for change,

No one wishes to stay and chat,

And the charity muggers of Market Street are well out of range.

 

The residents of Oldham Street are just popping in.

They have just arrived or are waiting to leave.

The seconds spent here do add up,

Those seconds spent have accumulated over years

 

Before Affleck’s Palace

There was Affleck and Brown

 

Before The Night and Day Cafe

There was day and night

 

Before Madchester

There was the Methodist Mission

 

If you take one of those seconds,

On a summer afternoon,

And spend it on yourself

You might just see

Beneath your feet

Where the history of this street

Pokes through

 

Sad Girl Poem

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It is easy to cry

When you realise

That everyone you love

Will reject you

Or die

You are born, you live and you die.

And maybe that’s enough

 

There is far more evidence

To suggest the existence

Of Harry Potter

Than any religion created

Or mystical doctrine ever stated

You are born, you live and you die.

And maybe that’s enough

 

We are all afraid of death

Of taking that final breath

But even that is ok

Ok to be terrified

Ok to be horrified

That you are born, you live and you die.

And maybe that’s enough.

 

This is not a dress rehearsal

A state before the reversal

Admit it freely

Admit that you are going to die

And that any place after is a lie

You are born, you live and you die.

And maybe that’s enough.

 

Assume that your faith is an invention

Its purpose merely the retention

Of willing donors

Or the desire to explain

This uncaring physical plane

You are born, you live and you die.

And maybe that’s enough

 

You speak of beauty

As is your duty

When considering creation

But there is beauty in chance

And music in that Brownian dance

You are born, you live and you die

And maybe that’s enough

 

What if there is no reason?

And for nothing a season?

The walls come tumbling

Perhaps the purpose is you

And what you manage to do

You are born, you must live and you must die

And maybe it is enough to try

 

 

The Social Customs and Culture of The Oxford Road People

A giant Tin Can once filled with human beans

Sits as a monument to student dreams,

Student debt and student diet.

The Museum’s resident Tyrannosaur

Reminds us of what came before

And what will come again when the road stands quiet

 

From Rusholme to Parrs Wood,

Meaningless names now lost for good.

The road was there before it was built

And will remain

Even when reclaimed

By the drains clogged with silt

 

Tribesmen scale the Geoffrey Manton building’s furcation

To see the foliage crash like a wave against Oxford Road station.

They will stalk the campus for prey,

Dry venison in the bus lane by day,

Tan hides on the bicycle racks of All Saints Park

And draw close to the bonfire of law school books come dark

 

As the days grow longer and hotter

The primitives will seek the only source of clean water.

The parched and thirsty tribesmen enter

The sacred springs of the Aquatics Centre.

They will greet each other solemnly as their forefathers did,

The tribal salutation of “Alright ‘r kid?”

 

Girl

Get in the car and go

We’ll catch some cats that can blow

And maybe a little something more

for a couple of young guys looking to score

 

The girls, my god the girls

The bubble gum blondes with California curls

Those fierce and fiery redheads

with hard smiles and soft linen beds

 

Small town girls utterly devoted

San Fran’ sweethearts, sugar coated

Diner broads served to order

as we head on down to the border

 

There’s the sexy jazz that screams

The hot tea minus the cream

And the cervezas por favor

But we want more

Not just the girls,

but the girl

 

We are here to find her:

The American Dream

 

Not the Hollywood mass production

Or the Madison Avenue mass seduction

She must be sought not bought

Uncovered and discovered

 

Stepping straight off the rolling stock

Or fresh off the boat in port

Or maybe just a short walk

into Old Town

 

Neither manufactured nor tailor made

You’ll know the girl by those eyes of brown and jade

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Words – Neil James Jones

Images – Danielle Jade Oldham

 

 

 

 

 

Poetry by Xenia Lily Smeeton

Lonely Thoughts

I sit, alone. And I watch the world go by. Plans are made. Day and night. I sit and I whisper to myself, “maybe they will ask you this time.” But they rarely do. You’re seen as an independent woman. But really, it’s just so no one can see they’ve hurt you. My muscles ache with straining, holding myself in, locked in the stereotype of independence. I’m lonely. And I’m scared. And people can’t often see that. But I’m a big girl now. I’ve got to deal with loneliness. But I envy those who people care for me and invite me to outings because they know that they feel excluded. I too, feel excluded. But the crowds that rally behind me are merely mirrors that I’ve grown tired of seeing. I weep, because nobody can see my arms outstretched for them. When I ask people to hang out, it’s so I can feel human again. But I’m a passing thought. A bookmark in the pages you will forget about. I wait for you to return to me. But I know I can’t escape without being cut. So I’ll cut, cut, cut. And even though I’ve been clean for 8 months, if it means people know I’m not doing well, it means I don’t have to hold myself together anymore. I can let go. It’s okay to just let go.

 

Bloodstains

I have always hated the fact that each thing I do, is tainted by the memory of someone else. He tainted my poetry, you taint my heart and I practically bleed bad decisions. Have you ever been so broken you forget that parts of you that you have left? After we broke up, after you broke my heart, I was hated by your friends for trying to get over you. I was mocked for trying to fill the holes you left with as many faceless people as I could. You didn’t think it was so I could burn away the tree trunk memories of you. How sex meant something with you. Only you. I always felt bad that my ex was a reason I was depressed with you after what he did. I didn’t think I’d be more heart broken after you but here I am. 11 stone of heart ache and bad choices because God knows I don’t trust myself alone. With him, I now no longer feel safe walking near where he lives. With you, I now no longer feel safe with myself. I trigger and trigger and trigger and trigger I am a shotgun. I wrote a poem before we dated telling you I was gunpowder and you weren’t safe. Look how the tables have turned. I am Guy Fawkes’s barrels and I am parliament except no armada is coming to stop me blowing this joint. I am a warrior. But only now while scrubbing my head clean of myself. I am too many mistakes and too much disappointment. I am a lot of things but brave was never one of them. Oh look how the tables have turned. I am 1st of bravery, 11lb of pretend confidence and 9st of better human. I am a lot of things. But I refuse to taint myself anymore. I refuse to be the bloodstains on your memories and I refuse to let you ruin my life even though you are out of it. I am many things. I am so much more. I am a roaring cascade of a woman. I am an ocean, beautiful and a force of nature. I am intelligent and clumsy, I am more than I will ever value myself at. I am worth more than all of the bad stuff I’ve been through. It wasn’t until you that the beast was released.

 

I Hope

You know what I hope for? I hope that you understand everything I’ve been through. I hope the roles were reversed. I hope you know what it’s like to be 5 years old and have your uncle hate you because you were born the wrong sex. I hope you know what that level of rejection is, if your family can’t love you, who will? I hope you blame yourself when he decides to stop contact with your family because you wrote him a letter asking why he didn’t love you. I hope you know what it’s like to be bullied from the ages of 5 and 15, I hope you still know all the words to the songs they wrote about killing you when you were 10. I hope you have friends who treat you like trash but god forbid you treat them any less than you would royalty. I hope that when you break your wrist trying to save one of them, they don’t even help you tie your shoes because “it’s your own damn fault you’ve got one hand” I hope you look at the scar and I hope you see every hateful thing they said and I hope you apologise to them for making them say it. I hope you blame yourself for people hating you because it must be you doing something wrong. I hope you feel everything. You go home and cry as hard as you can because it cuts you so deeply that no one considers you a human. I hope your first real relationship tells you that they love you when they are drunk because love tastes better with liquor in their throat, and being sober isn’t good enough they have to be intoxicated to spit it out. I hope they manipulate you into having sex for the first time because they can’t wait anymore. I hope you think that they think you are so desirable that they can’t hold it in. I hope you realise after a while that what they did, how they twisted it. I hope you remember what the rape felt like. I hope you never forget. I hope you know that you can’t tell anyone because “that’s what happens in a relationship” I hope you know that your friends will blame you so you can’t tell them. I hope you know what it feels like to have your deepest fantasy torn apart because whenever they act it, they are doing it to you because you didn’t want to have sex. I hope you know what “no” tastes like on your lips while they are on top of you, not listening. I hope you find yourself at 4:15 googling an abusive relationship. I hope you notice when they psychically hurt you. Their kisses over your bruises won’t hide how they got there. I hope you know how it feels to have everything you thought was love ripped away. I hope you think that your partner hitting you must be love. I hope you think you were worth that much. I hope you self harm. I hope you get out of the relationship. I hope you get free then find someone new and they build you up so much, you are their first. And you try so hard to make sure what happened to you, never happens to them. Because of the last one, sex isn’t intimate. It’s a commodity. Your body is cargo. I hope you make each other strong. And tell each other how much you love each other. I hope they rip it away. Because your mental health isn’t worth their while. Even when they kissed you and your cuts and they told you they wanted to help fix you. They actually get close to fixing you before they break you worse than the last one did. I hope they keep contacting you trying to ask if you’re okay even after they say that they do not care that you cut. That you drained them. I hope you know how that feels. To have love and have it ripped away. I hope your friends don’t know so keep asking about them whenever you mention getting hit on. I hope you watch the love fade from their eyes. I hope after the times you spent having sex where it actually meant something, they start to use you like cargo again. I hope you remember how that feels. And I hope you remember how it feels all over again. I hope they leave you. And no amount of self help books and poetry will erase the memory they burnt into your mind. I hope they move on. I hope you doubt the entire relationship. I hope you notice the lies after the relationship ended just like you did last time. I hope you feel cheap. And I hope you feel worthless. Because that’s what you tell yourself every day.

I also hope you don’t know what I went through. I really hope you don’t.

 

That Girl

I was once asked if I felt I was enough. It was secondary school and it was a boy and I couldn’t answer him. I even wrote a song about it.

I always dreamed of being That girl. You’ve all seen That girl. She is sensitive and shy but confident and willing and reckless and brave yet cautious. She is beautiful and kind and smart and enough. The type of girl that would inspire songs or poetry about the curl of her mouth, the way her eyes light up, her smile when she thinks no one is looking. That girl, who is admired from afar. People take photos of her while she is in her own little world because she looks so beautiful when she is writing. When she sleeps, she could be with the Angels. That girl, who is the inspiration for every love song and broken hearted poem from anyone who felt unworthy of loving her. That girl.

I was in a relationship where I was told daily how I wasn’t enough. I wasn’t worthy of anything. I was in another relationship where I fought to keep them happy daily but they didn’t want to try and make me smile. They felt happiness came from the wallet and not the heart. I surrounded myself with friends who would expect me to break my back in order to keep them pleased but god forbid I ask for help. Disappointment over disappointment over disappointment. I felt I could never be that girl. I wasn’t enough. I wanted to be the sun that streaks someone’s sky awake. To be the girl that they want to make smile just because they like the way she wears it on her face. I split my skin because I wanted to cut the other girl out. The bad girl. The one who makes them all run in horror. Who could love her? Seriously who?

My ex, the one who actually for a time made me incredibly happy. Said he did not care that I cut myself. That it didn’t surprise him and he didn’t want to stop it.

I realised

If no one will make me be that girl

I have to do it

I will be the only sun to streak my sky away

I will write songs about how I like my eyes when I listen to music I Love

I will be my own poet, I will never

Write about a beautiful girl who I hope is me, as if it was another person. I am that girl. I am the danger. The John to my own Sherlock. I am my own best friend and I have treated myself worse than I would treat another human. I look in my reflection and see hatred because that’s all that has been shown to me. I cut my flesh because my pain must make someone else happy. I call myself fat because I see every

Mistake in each pound of flesh. I dyed my hair Because the other girls thought I’d be prettier brunette. I made myself cry. And attempted suicide because I was my own worst nightmare. I have started to call myself beautiful daily because one day I want to look in the mirror and believe it. I’ll dance like I have never danced because no one puts lily in the corner. Let alone myself. I’ll sing like I’m rocking Wembley stadium and I am a sell out performer. I shall act my goddamn heart out because

Fuck me I love myself most when I am pretending to be someone else. I am the constellations that light my night and I am beautiful. I am beautiful. I AM BEAUTIFUL. even if no one else believes it. I am beautiful. I am that girl. I am that girl. And I am fucking perfect. Even if I don’t believe it yet.

 

Introduction

Welcome to the world Lily Margaret Smeeton.

Tom, this is your baby sister.

You are a grandparent again

You are an uncle again

You are an aunt again

You have a little cousin

Lily.

Second children aren’t received as well as the first.

“oh that’s nice.” “well done” “oh she has a big nose” “tom what are you doing to your sister?!?”

The first steps aren’t as special

Those first words already heard

“You’re Tom Smeeton’s little sister?”

“Oh YOU’RE Tom’s little sister?!”

“You’ll be just like Tom then!”

I am the polar opposite of my sibling.

He is a babbling brook. Quiet. Brooding. I am a May Day parade. Loud. Colourful. Ever changing. I am not the same as the last tenant of our mothers womb. People are different.

“Hey alien” “oh freak” “piccalilli!” “Chilli Lily” “lily pad” “frog spawn” “froggy!” “Toad!” “Hey Alien”

primary school kids can be cunts.

The variations of my name they could spin and swirl around made me unsure whenever someone said Lily, if they were talking to me.

“I love you, you love me, Let’s team up and kill Lily. With a knife to the heart and a bullet to the head. Oh my god the gingers dead” is what they sung when I was 11 years old. I still remember when I was told. Molly Anson. Who I never trusted completely since she broke my princess hat when I was 5. She was dressed as a hula girl, she had no business wearing it. She approached me in the changing rooms with it written down on red paper. Only months later would I know she helped write it.

I started to connect the dots of words like “ugly” “pathetic” “alien” with My name. If someone was saying words of disgust and distaste I would react like a dog would when a whistle is blown.

Lily is a flower. Easy to trample on. The flowers you use at funerals to signal the loss. Lily’s.

I am in the process of changing my name. It’s hard for people to accept because I’m not trans so they don’t see how a name can affect it

“You’ll always be Lily. I’ll always call you that! What’s wrong with Lily? It’s a nice name”

It is a nice name. But I can’t remember the last time I said it without having the taste of blood in my mouth.

The first time I said my new name aloud as an introduction I was at a club and I was drunk. He was in a suit and was obviously out to bone.

“I’m Will. What’s your name?”

“Xenia Cassidy”

Xenia. Warrior princess. Greek for hospitality. Lily’s get trampled. Xenia’s skewer you with a spear then serve them to their guests. Brutal. Cut throat. Caring. I am strong. I don’t get trampled. Xenia. I am no weed waiting to be torn apart. Xenia. I am no petal to pluck when you wish to know who love you or loves you not. I am no second chance. No last mistake. I am the girl who you know won’t get broken again. Because I’ve been broken. I’ve been hurt too many times. Trampled over and trampled over. Like babies first footsteps over the same pathway. I know what it’s like to be plucked from a garden, replanted somewhere new and the cycle repeats. Battered Lily flowers staining my memories. This flower won’t get trampled again. This heart has been through war and hell and back and will still offer my enemies a beverage as they enter my home, just wait for the arsenic to invade your body. I am savage. I know hell. I have been broken. I repair myself like a broken toy. I make sure that those I love don’t go through what I did too.

My introduction?

Hi, I’m Xenia.

I’m a Mother fucking warrior.

Welcome to my home.

 

Thought’s I’d Never Say Aloud

I find shadows of you in everything. Like your memory is creeping around the graveyard I buried you in. Haunting while living.

I wonder what it would have been like if it were you that were still heartbroken, or if we never met in the first place. I wonder who I regret more, you, or the darkness which lurked in all of our love poems. I need to stop finding a saviour. Another half. I’m complete already. I need to say “Don’t fix me; Love me for what’s broken.” It’s okay for me to be wonder woman just as much as it is okay for me to be the damsel in distress.

I wonder what it’s like to not be seen the way I am seen. It’s so hard to call yourself beautiful when everyone else sees you as disposable. I’m trying my hardest but there’s only so much breaking and mending someone can do before its just forcing dust into an ash tray.

I wish I knew how to forget. I wish I could use some spell or curse to take away the parts of me that I don’t need reminding of.

I wish I was still young. Then I would know to remind myself that what those girls and boys said about me when while I was growing up does not matter. The nights I worried about wether I was pretty enough, funny enough, smart enough, good enough, for some peers who are now jealous of my accomplishments and my confidence – I was always enough. I just had to build my platform myself.

I think about dying far too much. See less than a year ago I tried killing myself and now I’ve been cut free for 3 months. I want to die happy. I want to recognise that I have no regrets because at one stage in my life I wanted it. I realise my worth finally, I had to value myself. We should never rely on our price by the opinions of other people.

I find shadows of you in everything. Only because I let myself be surrounded by light. There is beauty in pain and there is darkness somewhere. I just need to accept that. I am on earth, there is no cure for that.

A Handful of Poetry

A little selection of some of the poetic efforts of three of our members…

 

I by Xenia Lily

I as in myself, is not a beacon of anything. No matter which boys pray to me and call me a goddess.

I as in myself am no muse or painting or piece of art. I am not an object.

I was what I made of myself. But I stopped making things long ago. My tools rusted and broke and the screws went loose in my clockwork.

I am made of everyone else’s mistakes. I’m the mutual canvas. I am splattered with the dirty paintbrushes of someone else’s body. The play toy to be pushed around from boy to boy being told that given the chance I was offered to them by a different man they’d show me how to respect a woman. Like the whore I was.

I, am a time bomb. I tick tick tick tick tick tick slowly. Racing occasionally to trigger myself into false hope of self detonation but slows and slows tick tick tick. I slice away layers of gunpowder from my skin like you’d carve a slab of meat that has been sitting there far too long.

I am your parasite. I am the disease that plagues you. I am the lungs that fail you. I am the bacteria that kills you.

I am a time bomb.

Tick tick tick tick tick

I can’t damage something so special as yourself. I am an internal explosion. The Big Bang inside a human. I shan’t lull you into my gravity. I won’t cover you in fragments of my person and my problems.

I. I. I. I. I. Time bomb. I. I. I. Time bomb.

Tick tick tick.

 

 

 

Fenced off Flowers by Holly Attwell 

The flowers that I saw fenced off on a bench

Belonged to no-one but the sun and the breeze.
I sat and pondered how they came to be
Behind a fence on a construction site,
Fenced off, on a bench, in a park.
I could not understand why they were there.
Did they need water or a vase?
They seemed quite content on the bench
In the sun, but I continued to stare.
They were in a peculiar place, after all.
Had a builder left them on the
Bench behind the fence to watch the people
Play, unable to participate behind the fence?
This made little sense, and I left them there to go back to work.
The mystery is unsolved, and the
Flowers remain on the bench,
But now the fence is gone.

 

 

Brunette by Danielle Jade Oldham

(Using a poetic form created by Sam Moulten)

Brunette-beauty, baking on the beach

in a bathing suit of buttery yellow.

Strawberry ice-creams melts on bronzed skin.

Strawberry-scented angels giggle as they paddle,

with the sun kissing highlights of gold into brunette,

skin twinkling till it almost hurts to look,

skin sprinkled with sand like sugar on a strawberry.

Winking eyes meet over solid, bare shoulders –

brunette-beauty and her blonde, summer-time boy.

Water-deep legs almost brush, skin-to-skin,

brunette nymphs with sun-bitten lips,

yet still inviting, almost scented with strawberry.

 

 

 

 

Faint Light by Xenia Lily 

It’s six thirty am. I am lying in my bed, big shirt, underwear and the sunrise streaking my sky awake and I see on my right thigh, the faint light kissing my self harm scars. Only a few are visible enough for others to notice, it’s the tip of the iceberg, only 20% of it visible on the surface, the rest lay white against my ivory baked skin, I see them like a map of an Underground Railroad track on my flesh. The only shame I hold for them is that for this world, it is not enough to cut so they don’t scar visibly, this soil we walk on breeds humans to preach that the depth of your self loathing should match the depth of your scars that you carve into your flesh. We are taught that a psychical disability is worth more than an internal one. Because we congratulate cancer survivors and war veterans but what about those climbing those mountains in their mind? Fighting day after day, losing themselves to destruction at their own hands. anxiety is terrible, you could be having an attack and no one would even know because it’s an inward thing. it feels like you’re malfunctioning and you can’t process your own thoughts. you get a knot in your stomach and you can’t take a full breath but outwardly you can literally just sit there and look completely normal as long as no one tries to speak to you. We cannot see it, so we pretend it isn’t there. We over romanticise the self inflicted wounds because beauty is pain and if we can cut the ugly out of our skin we can finally be accepted. But the truth is they find ugly everywhere. Ugly is a perspective and once you cut all the ugly out of your veins, let them leak vermilion drops of grotesque, derelict and repugnant liqueur, people measure your cuts and say you don’t hate yourself deep enough, you don’t want to die hard enough, you are attention seeking and weak. You shall feel truly ugly. But no more good god no more will I worry about how deep they are measuring my self hatred, counting up the scars to see if they are good enough, I won’t put my mental health on a pedestal. I will climb my mountains, streak my own sky awake with throwing my knives into the fires from which my destruction emitted from. I won’t measure myself up to anything. Let alone, be allowed to get measured myself on the standards of a biased society. We are all suffering. We are all victors. We are all surviving.

 

 

 

Survivor by Xenia Lily

“She holds herself together in all the wrong ways.” This is my favourite description of myself. She is Greek and lives in Greece and is beautiful. She was my ex boyfriends, ex girlfriend. They stayed friends and I knew her briefly.

I used to get jealous so once I looked at his Facebook messages to her and they discussed me. She said I held myself together in all the wrong ways. See, the sad thing is. She knew me before my life started to crumble. She knew me before I knew the storm was coming. She knew me so well, she could see that I was struggling before I knew it myself. She could see me failing before I knew I could even flatline. She saw me. Before I could see myself.

She holds herself together in all the wrong ways.

It’s the most accurate description of me. Because even though I am failing. I am holding myself together. It may be wrong but at least I am not collapsing. I am broken China, but I am gluing myself together. It may be with PVA but at least I’m trying to mend myself. I am trying. I am holding myself together. It may be in all the wrong ways. But at least I am trying. I am not giving up. I am a survivor. I hold myself together in all the wrong ways. But they work for me.

The Love Poem I Will Never Receive – by Xenia Lily Smeeton

The corner of her smile hides a kiss that you ache to trace.

Her skin, soft, yet she still feels uncomfortable within it.

Words broke her heart years before love found her.

She looks around frantic when she feels unstable but when they lock on you, her eyes melts like chocolate.

Trace her bones while she sleeps, feel her breathing against your chest.

Eyelids flutter shut while she breathes. Dreaming deeply.

Sleep leaves her holding your hand softly, you stroke her palm and she nuzzles into you.

When she wakes and sees you, she’ll stretch, smile contagiously, and bring herself closer to you.

All she wants to do is watch movies and wear pyjamas with you.

When she laughs, it erupts, volcanic, you’ll smile each time.

When she’s stressed you see her run her fingers through her hair and bring herself inwards. Hold her, the creaking, cracking house of her.

She was once told that she holds herself together in all the wrong ways.

Hold her.

At the moment she waits.

And writes love poems to herself that should come from you.

Creative Work to Date…

Before we decided to publish our work in blog form, we planned to release a literary journal three times per academic year. These are the (gorgeous) pages from what would have been our first issue, designed by the wonderful Freyja Erickson-Rohrer. Enjoy…

 

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(FYI, this brilliant film review was written by Freyja – I think she forgot to sign her name!)

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