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to burn or be burned.

it is hard to love when you have learnt so well how to be alone.

how do you forget everything for someone new?

how do you breathe when you are next to somebody new?

does your heartbeat mimic theirs?

your breathing heavier when theirs is laboured?

or can you hold your own?

do you wait for them to speak?

or do you fill their mouth with your words

your thoughts

your feelings

you, you, you?

how do you feel when they are with another?

are you jealous? do you care?

do you acknowledge your feelings?

or do you let them sit,

burying them beneath your blood cells,

hoping they’ll slip away down your bloodstream,

like a match into water?


tell me.

do you want for another?

a lover?

do you find comfort in your own silence,

in your solitude

or do you feel desperate to break the quiet?

do you fill the room with empty words

or do they mean something

to you

or to anyone else?

are you careful

or are you nervous?

are you considerate?

or just shy?

do you love?

or is it simply obsession?

just another well written lie?


do you remember waiting 12 hours to kiss him because your hands couldn’t stop shaking?

or do you feign confidence,

blame it on vodka,

caffeine withdrawal,

or just anything but the truth?

do you associate love with heartbreak?

with pain,

or happiness?

long days spent together

or sleepless nights apart?

do you know how it feels to breathe in so deeply,

gasping for air,

and to breathe out a lover’s name,

without knowing why?

do you shield your face from the fire,

or do you embrace the flames with arms wide open?




is touching the sky holy or a whole damn shame?

the birds are flying high this season.

i say, let them, let them.

maybe they tremble at night and struggle to fly at the best of times, like the rest of us.

or maybe they lead by example.

maybe the one leading the flock almost touching the sun

is the one that feels the lowest inside

their beak overflowing with dirt, earth, leaves, suffocating

smothering them from their insides


even though they’re touching the sky.

maybe, maybe.

life can be funny sometimes.

the birds are flying high this season.

i say, let them. let them.

i saw a kid attack a flock of pigeons today.

he kicked at them, tried to squash one in his fat hands.

the bird was squirming away, screeching, feathers everywhere.

the kid straining against it, his tongue poking through his lips and teeth

like a worm wiggling through an open beak.

the kid’s mother called his name and he left those poor birds alone.

the feathers blew gently in the wind.

i don’t know what happened to the bird.

but the birds are flying high this season.

i say, let them, let them.

maybe they’ll come back.

Because only poetry tells the truth nowadays.

This is a story of how three’s a crowd and when you can’t count them all on one hand, you run fast, and far.

The first time you meet him he tells you he is on a break. That he’s not that kinda guy. The only reason you meet him is because of this. He knows it.He gets you drunk. You go to a club and after one drink he kisses you. Come on, he says. He pulls you home.The first time you sleep together you were drunk. You barely remember it happening. You thought you both were. The next morning you wake up to knocking, banging. Confused, you look through the peephole. He gets up, his expression turns to panic.

He pushes you down, forcefully onto the bed, runs out the door. Shouting, banging. She wants to come in, she wants to talk to you. Screaming, crying. He pushes her away, pulls her out the door. ‘I’ll take you home,’ he says to her, pleadingly. ‘Sorry’. he mouths at you. This is the end, you think.

He tells you that she got mad, that she was drinking and that was why she was angry, that she wanted him back. He felt bad for her.

She messages you, she says she knows all about you, about how you’ve been waiting to make your move, but she never thought you would as you knew all about her.

You tell her that he said they were on a break but you’re lying, she says. You’re lying.

You don’t know who to believe. This is the end.

Months later, he messages you again. He says they’re back together. He’s not happy but he can’t leave. You don’t understand, he says.

I do, you tell him. I’m happy now, too.

A week later, he messages your new boyfriend telling him all about your ‘affair’. He makes it sound like you were doing the sly for months, and all the while you knew they were together.You tell your boyfriend the truth. He believes you. This is a normal relationship.

He messages you again, this time apologetic. He says his girlfriend was on his account, that she has anger issues. She was drinking, he explains. It won’t happen again.

Fine, you say. You keep your distance. You want them to be happy as much as you want to with your new boyfriend.

As soon as you’re back in town, guess who messages you. I miss you, he says. Let’s meet up. Reluctantly, you agree. Just as friends, you warn. You think it would be okay if you could put this behind you, and if you could be friends. You agree. You meet up. He is flirtatious. You ignore this, and he gets hurt. He is quick to anger. He lashes out, verbally and physically. You keep your distance. You think he has anger issues too. You feel bad. Maybe you were being mean. So you start saying nothing. You even flirt back. This makes him happy. He makes a move on you. When you reject him he turns angry again. This soon becomes a cycle.

Soon you start letting him, because it’s easy. You let him meet you when he wants. You let him stay over when he should be at work. You let him talk you into skipping university or work just to see him. You think you’re seeing each other. He does not.

He is in your bed, asleep, when his girlfriend messages. ‘Hi. I know he probably isn’t, but is he with you? His work phoned because he didn’t come back from break and they’re worried. I don’t care if he is, but I’m worried.’ You stare at your phone. You don’t know what to say. Should you reply? Maybe she’s lying. After all, he did say she has bad mood swings. Maybe she’s drinking again.

He wakes up. He can tell something is off. He asks you what’s up. You say nothing. Then, later, you show him.

He sits up, starts getting dressed.

Shit, I have to go. He kisses you then leaves.

This is also a cycle.

He blames you, after a while. You confront him. You want to meet up as friends but every time he makes a move. You have a fight and he storms off. It’s your fault, he told you. You MAKE me want to kiss you. You feel sick, disgusted. You go home.

He goes quiet for a while. He tells you to leave him alone. You assume they’re back together. You remove him from social media. They’re happy.

Then he’s back. He turns up at your work, your flat – when you’re in and when you’re aren’t. You don’t know how he knows your shifts. He says he’s just guessing. He lies and tells you he’s broken his phone, he has no laptop. He offers to come to the library with you to help you study. You stay firm.

He tells you he wants to leave her but can’t, because they live together and he has nowhere else to go. You tell him you had the same situation with a previous boyfriend. He tells you that you don’t understand. It’s not the same, I’m not as strong as you, I can’t do that. I don’t want to be with her, I sleep on the couch. I love you I promise, he says.

You let him in. He stays over. He has to leave early in the morning. He has a me-day planned, he says. You offer to come along so he’s not alone but he persists. He’s fine, he says. He just needs some space.Later on that day you find out he’s lying. It’s all over social media. Cute brunch and christmas shopping together. You confront him. We’re not together he says, she just misses me so amplifies the time we do spend together. I don’t love her.

You block him once again but he persists. He has various Facebook accounts, snapchat accounts. He begs you to meet him again but you don’t. This time it’s on your terms. You’re in control.

The cycle continues like a yo yo.

This time, when he’s back, you’re ready. You tell him you want to meet him, that you’re busy but you miss him.

He tries to see you after work, before work but you say no. You have plans. He’s angry that you won’t drop them for him. This is on your terms. You tell him you want proof that he is single before you meet him. He gets angry. He doesn’t understand why you won’t trust him. You tell him exactly why. He gets even more angry and blocks you.

The next day, he’s back. On a different account. I’m sorry, he says. I’ll find you proof. I’ll get her to come to your work and tell you. He’s joking but he’s panicking. You know he’s lying.

This happens for a few weeks. Eventually you both realise there is no proof. He blocks you once more. This time it’s over.

This is emotional manipulation. Don’t cave. Trust your instincts.

A few weeks pass and he sends you anonymous abusive messages. You’ve blocked all of his several other Facebook accounts so it is the only way he can contact you.You ignore the messages.You find out how many other accounts there are, how many girls there are. This time you don’t question the lies. You don’t tell yourself ‘Maybe this time will be different’.

This is when it’s over. This is when you realise.

Note: This is the painful truth of first loves and how hard it is to let go. But it’s so worth it when you do.







fall /2

I walk alongside the beach, savouring the feeling of the gravel crunching beneath my feet. The November chill bites my nose and cheeks. I stop to watch as the wind blows a child’s hood off his head and  carries a red plastic spade away from him. He starts to cry and his mother comforts him.

I carry on walking. I watch fallen leaves being lifted up and carried by the wind, inspired by how things can be moved along just as quickly as they fall.


This is my favourite time of year because it’s not too cold, but it’s just so fresh outside. This morning I was running through Richmond Park and the leaves were falling all around me, all I could see was green stretching out for what seemed like miles. This is my favourite place to go, and thing to do, running somewhere green, when you can almost taste the dew on the ground, and just feel your chest heaving, your feet hitting the ground, completely alone with nature, it’s so perfect.

I usually hate americanisms but I think ‘fall’ is so much better than ‘autumn’ it makes much more sense.

I eventually came out into a clearing where there was a lake and so many ducks and I think it was somewhere near Sheen but I’m not sure, and I wished I’d taken my phone with me to take a photo but then I think some things exist that a photograph just wouldn’t do justice.

Let’s tell our favourite stories; you’ll tell me about the runaway train that you always thought you’d catch up with eventually; until you finally realised the further you run away the further you have to run back again and you always ended up gasping for air clutching your sides.

Maybe I’ll be honest and tell you that every time I move away and start again with renewed hope – every time I’m just chasing ghosts, unable to forget the winter spent together, our blue hands and bluer lips pressed close together to keep warm.