Grenfell Tower – it’s our fault

It doesn’t matter if you’re left or right-wing (although why we still only have two linear options to choose from in a world where even movies are 3 dimensional is beyond me), this roaring fire that devastated a community is an unwarranted tragedy, and one that could have been avoided. But I’m not just talking about the government report that was sat on for four years, and the failings of the refurbishment that did not update the tower’s fire safety; I’m not just talking about the government and its mistakes – I’m talking about our mistakes. Of the many things that happen that could have been avoided had we changed our attitudes earlier.

The government is not some evil, establishment run by robots. It is run by people who were born into this society and its beliefs systems; the government is not the problem, the government is a symptom of the problem that has taken roots in the homes of billions around the world. We get the government we deserve, and it’s time the liberal middle class stopped pretending to be so damned shocked by the acts of the government when it makes the same decisions every day.

I am from a middle-class background, I went to a private school, the door to a higher education was open to me and I took it gladly. As per most stories of education, I learnt through my peers more than my professors of literature about politics, social injustice and philosophy. I thought having this knowledge could help me change things, but I didn’t even think about my part in keeping ‘the system’ oiled. I didn’t want to.

All of us – especiallly the “highly-educated” are really fucking great at talking. Let’s take global warming, for example: How many liberals and conservatives are shocked by the fact people like Trump don’t think global warming exists? Fucking loads, mate. And yet, how many of them have read papers on the topic? And how many of them own cars and take planes? I’m guilty as sin of that, I take about 4 planes a year and I had a car so that I could get more jobs when I was a freelancer. Did I need the money? Well, no, clearly, because I had the funds to buy a car. But I whispered soothing words to myself about having more freedom and the good it would do me. Freedom? What do I know of freedom? Nothing, because I interchange the word ‘leisure’ with ‘freedom’ just to justify a selfish cause. I interchange the words leisure and pleasure and desire with ‘freedom’ because how could I truly know anything about a lack of freedom when I come from a background where all doors were opened to me and my social movement was not only expected, but entitled.

I am entitled – to the extent where I can swap in the words “I want” for “I need”. Most of my class are entitled, despite, perhaps, personal difficulties. This entitlement means I get the pick of opportunity and it means I get time to choose. It means my accent will never have me turned away from a job; it means I can categorise certain jobs as ‘beneath me’. The skin that I was born into entitles me to everything I need to advance. And yet, rather than using it to advance others, I want to save my own skin. It means I take from those who need it more in order to advance myself. That’s the real skin I was born into. The one many of us were born into.

How many of us hate that inflated property prices keep people from ever securing a place of their own and even dependent on council housing, and yet dream of being a landlord to have an ‘extra revenue’? How many of us vilify the government for cutting corners on Grenfell Tower’s refurbishment to save 1.4 million, and yet use chain brands and businesses at a discount rather than supporting local enterprise? How many of us think the government’s choice of spending that money to ‘prettify’, rather than secure, those homes is disgusting, and yet readily spend hundreds on our own image before giving a fiver to someone living on the streets? How many of us criticise the 369 million put aside for refurbishing Buckingham Palace compared to the 5 million fund for Greenfell residents, yet spend more money on gifts and treats for inner circles than donations?

How many of us hate the beast of capitalism yet fall to our knees before it?

The government’s not the fucking problem – we are the fucking problem: Us, society, the status quo that we maintain because the only way to find even a sliver of identity in this geo-palace of a world is in the eyes of someone else. The only way to find a glimpse of purpose when survival isn’t a stake is ideological babble. We are slaves to our fucking ideological opinions – so much so that we don’t even see our own individual hypocrisy. Hypocrisy that enslaves many more around us in far less safe positions – like 24 storey tower blocks that burn with a lust to rival even that of our own consumption.

Lady Bits

Roll up! Roll up! Take a look at what I’ve got!
Cast your eyes over my perfect stock,
No better form exists in thought,
Tell me, ain’t she fucking hot.

Even dismantled, isn’t she fine,
Just looking at those eyes will blow your mind,
Her accent alone makes hips grind:
Pick and choose from your lego bride.

Use your gaze to strip her down,
Her clothes are but a false crown;
Your smile will soon over-ride her frown –
And while you’re waiting turn her round.

Roll up, Roll up, and look at them all!
Take this one’s hands, this one’s legs and create your doll,
Cut off her feet so that you stand tall,
She was born on her knees – she was born to crawl.

Were-Pussy

And breathe blood as the sweat returns to the sea,
This movement, these waves,
What new scabs formed old scars
Without the scratching of pen on paper
To help the skin calm.
It always has to come out – the heat-
A sheet of white-nothing a better victim
Than a man of hope and gums.

He cannot comprehend the interiority of a woman;
Least the desire that burns between her lips
Snarling to be filled.
If the moon is our mother
That makes the entrance to our temple
Something of a were-pussy
Whose power that thrums every day has been
Banished to legend and myth,
Leaving only tales of her madness
That howls to the skies
Once a month
When iron becomes a bitter and angry taste
For the caged beast
Whose story was rewritten and deleted
To make her a beauty
And a receptacle
For his pet
Who had trembled at first sight of her hunger,
And wondered if he was man enough
To full-fill her.

à la prochaine

My chest crumbles like rice crispies imbued with whisky
And sent past the stars to sparkle in another’s time-playground,
How many dust balls did I gather here that my throat is choked?
What pollen fallen under my lids that makes them wet anew?
Whose hands did I grasp in my own that my life lines are blurred,
And the path charred like a winter’s fire when spring uncurls under the bed?
It’s hotter here and yet the chills crawl around my chest like
The warm embrace of an old friend;
A past climate settling into this present’s land.
Are my feet not sore yet, have they not bled enough
From the miles I put between myself
And the treasures I stumbled across?

Egg Yolk

It’s not as simple as missing someone,
Because I always think the word implies
The drooping whiskers of a dejected puppy
Who can do nothing but wait
For his Master’s return.

I need a new word;
Because as much as I lack him
I need to be less full.
I need to be separate from the
Joy he brings to my heart
And the hot mess between my legs –
This man makes a hot mess of me
And scrambles my vision
Making egg yolk of my principles
While he’s making me breakfast.

For as much as we talk about art
With a capital A,
None of it seems to matter
When he puts his capital D in my matter,
Reducing the artist to an animal,
And an animal to a woman
When he plays with my hair
That falls across his cheekbones.

But in this lacking I meet again
My first love of words
And whip everything he inspires
Into the shape of sentences to fill in
The void on his side of the bed
That now seems like a hole
I could fall into.

So I fall instead into the angular embrace
Of the first love that
Saved me from being a hot mess of a human –
And putting words to everything else
Provides just enough distraction
From missing that which sends me reeling now
Into the warm arms of humanity,
Whose homogeny I thought to be oh so far beneath me
When making sense of the madness
Was the only madness I knew.

Dog years

I wonder what the hell is going to make this better.
There’s dog years,
dog years of barking at the gates
of the hearts of those I loved
Sitting on my chest.

Perhaps that’s what my great-aunt meant
When she cried out at night
And said the devil himself was there,
Sitting on her stomach.

They say I’m strong,
Some say I am hard,
But I’m not.
I’m brittle.
I’m brittle like a candy cane
sucked thin
and left in the freezer,
forgotten in the cold,
Its colours violent against the ice that crowds it.
Its silence loud,
But never loud enough for it to be heard
As the freezer door is wrenched
Open
And slammed shut.

I wonder what the hell is going to make this better.
I wonder if the day will ever arrive
When I can look at biceps
Twice the size as mine
And not wonder
When they’ll be positinoned around my throat.
When that deep voice
Will disembowel me.
When that heart will turn away.

The words in any language ring the same,
For anyone that has heard ‘I love you’ in a thousand tones
Knows it is never the words
That produce the love.
And I cling for evidence,
Like maddened Sherlock at his wit’s end,
Waiting
To finish the game I play with myself,
Utterly convinced until it’s over
That they were playing me.

Checkmate. And nobody wins.
Because when the game is done
So all are the others –
All the playfulness,
All the laughter,
And all the love I refused
To let into my chest
Because of the dog years,
The dog years of torture,
Cutting their approach with the barbed wire
Of conviction.

When the lights went out

Je ne suis plus à –
You
Came in with light
Beams that grew from your chest
And made stars where once was wallpaper,
And they stretched and swayed
As you swayed into me, stretching the
Sensitivity I let you explore.
Those beams, they punctured the air,
Leaving me gasping for it,
And danced in the shadows
I had hidden somewhere
Between the cracks in my ribcage.

But they changed, my love,
I saw not that your beams grew from shadows long
Buried in yourself, too,
And those beams grew in links,
Creating chains around what you saw in me
And had once seen in yourself.

You didn’t see the man I saw,
The man that catches stars in the pools of his pupils –
But then, the danger of stars is they make the darkness beautiful.

You slid to a halt and cut me short
As I tried to move, as I have always done,
And as our distance became greater
Your grip became colder
And your beams felt like cold clay around my neck
Modelling my voice to reflect your own,
Pushing and prodding and ripping apart
What you try to avoid in yourself
Every time your gaze is drawn to the bottle neck.

Do not try and drown my potential with yours:
I was not made to reflect you,
A trophy of your worth;
I was made to be me.

Trophies are hollow
And you tried to gouge my light out
To find your own somewhere else,
And just by you being here,
I now know that love is not enough
When all the lights go out.

Power

Her pout and her silence
Is a mystery to them
As they are drawn towards her heat
And her slick slopes,
Their daredevil nature willing her caves
To reveal treasures
As she swallows them
And clenches them,
Quivering as they quiver in her trap,
Lost to her unknown depths
Long before
The heatwave of an uncrossed leg hit them.

She is a god, surely,
For she grants both life and death
And creates in empty spaces
And promises unchartered lands
In a world where all is conquered.

They fall to their knees
In a begging position before the spread vault
In prayer and permission.
The jewels and the jungle
Buried beneath the fountainhead
Siren from the darkness
And coat their tips.

A god by her promise, and deliverer in the act,
As they throw pennies in fountains
She forges rivers
And hope for them
In her little deaths.

Pain scorches the tundra
When the rivers run red
And her promise is put behind her back
As she becomes human again;
She sees merely a shadow of herself
When she gazes in the mirror at the
Cotton chain dangling between her thighs
Marking her utility for creation
When all she seeks is destruction.

What power can be had when she cannot wet their soul;
What magic trick is left when she cannot swallow whole?

egg

Mountains crumble,
But no-one thinks to notice –
Always passing,
Marvelling
At cones and weathertops –
Party hats of millenia
Made concrete and sage –
But they do crumble,
Softly, like birthday cake,
Revealing core – molten? Ash?
Certainly new,
And it blinks in the light
Like a babe.

How these titans crumble now
Revealing skin soft and sensitive
Underneath the heather patches;
Gales become breaths
Whispered through history –
A whisp of hair tucked like
A snowflake on a fingertip
By the same hands that grasped
And shook
And made those mountains crumble,
And made these mountains tumble.
The raw flesh of lava –
Her skin torned anew.
The harsh cry of a wolf,
He howled for his place.
Environments toppled and time
Twisted inside out
As these titans carved an egg
In the bubbling heart of
The mountain they destroyed
Together –
And within it they lay,
Quivering and gentle
Whithin a fragile shell
They built together
To do nothing endlessly,
To squirm and shiver
As she forced and he found the raw
Within themselves –
They touched and they barked
And they showed each other
Inside their own eggs,
Hers brittle, his fragile,
So much older than the home
They built around
Each other.

In the time of a mountain
Like two embryos
Reeling from being birthed
In the eyes of the other –
Palms caught, fingers shook
And voices interweaving
Dared their egg to break
And dared the world to see
Two titans, softened,
Laughing,
Two titans – just human, really,
No matter how big their shadows.
No matter,
When one matches the other.

Papers

I kept these papers for a reason
for when the circus disc slipped
and jarred somewhere in that lost space
between my heart and my tongue

and everything vibrates in that negativity
as if a lightning powered plastic rabbit
drills into me
like those things they use to break concrete
into manageable pieces

they say instability thrives in moonlight
but i prefer the streetlamps
for these hours
their sci-fi yolks that gathers the dead skin
of citizens
growing dim as they crack
under timed glares

i cracked then
hiding from the silver swamp
with the man who spun discs
and i scribbled madness
on this paper
on the other side
that i kept
for when the claws
would bleed scribbles
into my blood
and scratch them into reality
when i was pretending to be new

we all have marks and designs
between my legs
are years of cave-drawings

imprints teasingly close
and begging to be touched
even when the page is turned