By Newman Alexander

(for Cecilie)
You imagine glamour:
passionate suicide attempts
in the powdered wreckage
of wasted hotel rooms
drawing everyone close
You imagine transformation:
terrified tears
across a stormy moor
running in breathless exaltation
breaking through the pain
You imagine exhilaration:
bubbling cauldrons
unlocking dark potential
from the belly of the beast
as the lights shimmer
with the sound of the word
But in the smeared glass of the bathroom mirror it looks like this:
Checking the phone for the third time that minute and finding no new messages
Googling down a rabbit-hole in restless disregard of sleep
Feeling so numb I can’t even cry to the one song that always hit the spot
Reviewing the facts again, so sure I’m right and you’re wrong
Constructing perfect arguments to show you, to f*cking show you
Still longing after forty years to tie my mother to a chair so she’ll finally listen
Screaming at my partner again, making it her fault as I drown in shame, unable to stop
Chipping away at her confidence day after day, because if I can’t be happy why should she?
Showing no-one but her, the one I’ll eventually destroy because she cares enough to see the world through my eyes
Looking at the dirty mirror and not seeing beauty, not feeling pain, not caring, wondering how it got this bad
Turning on that charming crooked smile so you won’t know how empty it is inside
Sinking deeper into the rancid well of isolation, a feeble voice that no-one hears echoing desperately to the surface
Not waving but drowning, keeping plates spinning, keeping up appearances like perfectly polished silver
Making everything look good, pump-faking my way through another day, never letting the mask slip
Wondering why it’s so hard to mean anything
Knowing I don’t even have the guts to end it
Dominating the conversation so no-one ever asks me how I feel
Laughing too loud, canned studio laughter like a death knell ringing in your ears
Telling you I’m down, because much worse than you knowing is you really knowing Running out and drying up, ink dripping everywhere, never writing a word that’s good enough
Slamming the door so hard the paintwork chips
Wondering why the f*ck I’m standing here, showing you what you didn’t ask to see
Touching you without consent
B R E A K D O W N as commonplace as a pork pie
as mundane as Midsummer Murders
as boring as a tax return
never ask me how I feel
because I couldn’t tell you
even if I wanted to

This Poem Features In: