the heart laid bare


a glossary of terms
a week forever ago
The sixteenth
the curse
Under seige
Beyond the blues
a strange distance
No Apology
the thunder
critical shortage
the sky we thought we knew
dearest orlando
cactus heart
would we
the fall of giants
paradise lost
after you've gone
a smile from the eyes
why so cold
fix this
swallow me
untitled 8
cry alone
waving goodbye
your open eyes
enemy within
untitled 4
untitled 9
come dream with me
in the face of adversity
one word
the dark of the night
one and one makes two
you burn me
see me
this shaken core
my lover
my room
his words
chalk drawings
the longest night
stupid skeleton
this slippery slope
untitled 5
First Kiss
The Talk Of Love


It comes down to this...
The deathwatch.
Interminable seconds drift into endless hours,
As we each stand our post
As though guarding a catafalque.

There is little lonelier than this midnight vigil;
Than to sit beside an almost-unrecognisable face
Watching anxiously for the absence of presence.
Filling each minute with words left unspoken,
Afraid that even the sound of our hearts breaking will disturb them;
Afraid of hastening the moment when that restless sleep
Becomes irrevocably, dreadfully peaceful.

All we can do is immerse ourselves in the cognitive dissonance
Of as they were and final days,
Trying our hardest to scrapbook the two images
So that there's no overlap.

There is no moment more human.
We hope against hope despite the evidence of our eyes,
Unsure anymore of what to even hope for.

© mjc 10 June 2019

leave a comment

return to home

a glossary of terms

I’m fine thanks, how’s your world/job/family?
I am deflecting
because your attention is burning my edges
like bacon in a too-hot pan
Don’t mind me, I’m just tired
Because I lie awake most nights
Anxious over being anxious
And talking about myself is exhausting
Sorry that I missed your party
And that I couldn’t bring myself to go
Where people might see me
And the darkness trailing behind me
We should catch up more often
But we won’t, because it’s easier on you
If I slowly drift out of your life
So gently you don’t remember to miss me
I’m okay
Except for the face that I don’t show people
Because nothing weighs heavier than pity when
I am not okay
I am not okay.

© mjc 08 February 2019

leave a comment

return to home

a week forever ago

It's been three years today, Dad.
‘A week forever ago’ was how I described it.
Part of me still doesn't entirely believe it, somehow.
Three years, and I still catch myself reaching for my phone to ask you a question or share a joke.
Three years, and you have missed so much.
And we miss you.

It still seems like yesterday, and there are still bad days.
Days when it hurts to breathe,
When I close my eyes and feel like I'm back in that moment when everything turned to ashes.
… How are you supposed to rebuild from something like that? You can’t.
You either cower in the ruins of what your life used to be,
Finger-painting your face with it until you and it are indistinguishable from one another;
Or you gather the ashes into a little pile and bring them with you.
You leave your scorched and barren ground behind and find a new place,
And build anew.
With the mortar you mix the ashes, so that even the solid walls of your new world hold the comforting echoes of the old.

I sometimes get angry at you for missing so much,
Even though I know it’s not your fault.
And I get angry at myself for not doing all the things I know you’d have been proudest of me for while you were still here to see them.
I sometimes cry at strange things,
And sometimes I will walk a long way out of my way to avoid the cologne section in David Jones,
Where the scent of your hands in the morning lingers like an aromatic ghost.
I keep the picture of us on my wall,
And I still talk to you over the first coffee of the day.
And it helps, just a little,
To know that the movement of my lips and the warmth of my breath
Will in turn move and change atoms in the air,
Making tiny ripples, that make larger ripples,
That will spread and dissipate right across the universe,
All the way to the collection of atoms that you used to be.


© mjc 27 October 2018

leave a comment

return to home

The sixteenth

It’s my dad’s birthday today.
More than two years since he went into the void,
There is nothing sweet about this sixteenth.
The quiet I have wrapped myself in is hot and oppressive about my shoulders,
Tangled around my legs like kelp around the feet of a drowning man.
I am blanketed in online silence, quite unwilling or unable 
To lay my hands upon a keyboard
And with two hesitant fingers type one reaching little tendril… 
I would almost like the silence to swallow me whole;
I am burrowed so deep within its folds now
That, like a teenager rebelling against the alarm clock and the dawn,
I refuse to surrender its embrace,
Gripping its fabric tight around my face so that only my eyes and nose can peep out.
I only catch my breath in tiny gasps,
Afraid I might draw attention to my self-imposed vow of reluctant silence;
Afraid to draw challengers armed with small talk.
The longer a silence grows,
The heavier it becomes,
And divides the world into two types of people;
Those who must conquer it, 
Who reach out and say something, anything, to someone, anyone…
And those who feel it like a rising tide, huge and powerful 
And almost unnoticed until it breaks its banks and flows over your toes.

© mjc 16 January 2018

leave a comment

return to home

the curse

This is our curse.
We bleed.
Every sob from your lips is a wail from ours, of heartrending sorrow or blackest despair.
Every cut is an evisceration, gouging deep into our innards.
Every pinprick a mortal wound,
Each scratch a scrape across our bones that leaves fragments in our marrow.
We are conduits of human emotion;
We exist to channel those things you cannot say,
Shape the things you cannot yet recognise,
And through our fiery souls reduce them down to a milder form,
Fit for general consumption.
We are the ones who lay on muddied ground,
With the things you dare not think soaking into our coats,
So that you may step over us without soiling your shoes.
You may stand in the gallery with head cocked,
Assessing the sound, the meter, the patterns left on canvas by our tattered hearts
As they were kicked across the floor.
And you may smile, faintly understanding,
Or shake your head and say
“That is not it at all.”
We bleed, over and again,
And we wear out our shoes from kicking,
And our eyes from crying,
And our coats from soaking in the feelings of others.
We bleed out.
But we bleed better writing, better art, better music.
This is our curse.
This is how we serve. 

© mjc 07 October 2017

leave a comment

return to home


Daughter, sister, aunt, godmother, friend, public servant; self-confessed hermit, confirmed cat person, sporadic baker, irreformable yarncrafter, voracious reader; occasional wit, voluble shower vocalist, frequent sacrifice on the altar of brain-to-mouth filter fails, unrepentant purveyor of puns and dad jokes, writer and poet.

I have always lived by the theory that no matter what you do for a living - if you are compelled to write, if you wake up in the night to scrawl the contents of your dreams on a notebook beside the bed, if no event in your life seems complete without you recording it, if you are drawn to comment upon the world - then you are a writer.

These are my words.