the heart laid bare

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a strange distance
SWIMMING ALWAYS DOWNWARD
A ONCE-FAMILIAR LANDSCAPE
No Apology
the thunder
tinder
VERBAL PORTRAIT OF A CAT OWNER
critical shortage
the sky we thought we knew
CIRCA SOLEM
almanac
baby
dearest orlando
FIVE MONTHS
A LETTER TO THE UNDESERVING
cactus heart
would we
the fall of giants
paradise lost
Dad
after you've gone
time
a smile from the eyes
trepidation
why so cold
fix this
swallow me
untitled 8
insular
cry alone
robin
quicksand
laces
D.I.S.C.
stripped
waving goodbye
your open eyes
enemy within
mortal
untitled 4
sleepless
OUTSIDER
untitled 9
come dream with me
in the face of adversity
one word
the dark of the night
untouchable
one and one makes two
you burn me
see me
this shaken core
my lover
helen
my room
his words
foolish
rita
chalk drawings
the longest night
stupid skeleton
CLOTHES MAKETH
FIRST LASTS
STELLAR
TODAY
I WATCHED A MAN DIE TODAY
THREE WEEKS
this slippery slope
untitled 5
Arrows
First Kiss
The Talk Of Love
Nicotine
Blackout

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We dip into the ether, searching for traces of one another.
 
I don’t understand how my phone works;
How this glossy rectangle of plastic and glass and metal
Can throw its lifeline into the icy blackness every few minutes,
Hoping to snag the flailing hand of a small bundle from a sea of radio waves.
 
Or how that tiny bundle,
Once caught and dragged gasping in,
Can rearrange itself into a string of numbers.
 
Or even how those numbers turn and tumble joyously together -
Faster than comprehension -
And morph into a quiet beep
 
And a single love-heart on the screen next to your name,
Making me smile.



© mjc 14 August 2017

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a strange distance


It is strange to me that I know the exact pattern
Of the hair scattered across your chest,
But not how it feels to lay my cheek against it and drift off to sleep.
 
Strange that I know the exact curve of your lips so well
That I could trace them onto vellum in my sleep,
But still,
I do not know how soft they might be under my own.
 
Strange that I can picture your arms,
Strong and inked and lightly brushed with hair,
And know the shape and shade of your tattoos as well as I know my own;
And yet not know the sensation of them around my shoulders,
Or the feel of the thrill that would run through you as my fingertips followed the lines of colour on your forearms.
 
I know the names of your pets
And the number of your siblings
And the music you enjoy
And the size of shirt you wear -
But not how you take your coffee.
 
This strange distance it seems has turned our intimacy upside down…




© mjc 14 August 2017

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SWIMMING ALWAYS DOWNWARD

Gripping, 
Sinking your hooks in
I am dragged
So fast that you tear me from my own skin.
And I plunge with you into these depths 
That you keep
Hidden
Behind a million mile an hour stretch of renavigated conversations;
Verbal missiles and dismissals.
 
You cannot self-deprecate your way out of this because your arms-length distance is a lie;
Not warding, but reaching.
 
Each time I think we’ve reached the bottom
The grin in your wild eyes
Turns me around to see another chasm yawning at my heels.
You sit and you stitch me tighter into the canvas
For my impromptu
Burial at sea -
Then push.

I go swimming always downward into the black
Like tumbling into a well
And I have no desire to see the surface again…
… not when I can lie at the bottom
and look up at a multitude
of stars.




© mjc 12 August 2017

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A ONCE-FAMILIAR LANDSCAPE

I miss you.
And it’s weird, missing someone you’ve never actually met.
But there’s a space where you’re not,
That used to be comfortably empty,
And I miss you.
 
Eighty minutes by car and a whole world away,
But you respond with cute little emojis that make my stomach flutter
Within seconds or minutes,
Like you are hanging on my next words;
The same way you must know I’m hanging on yours.
 
It’s frightening to think we may be better digital
Than flesh and blood and imperfections.
I don’t know.
I’m almost afraid to find out;
Afraid that neither of us will live up to one another’s expectations;
Afraid the slow dance with a hand on my hip will never happen…
… afraid that it will.
 
Eight years of ice are starting to thaw;
As long-buried pieces of me that I’d forgotten are suddenly exposed to the sun
The deep cracking sound is deafening.
A once-familiar landscape that shifts and shakes under my feet,
Like a map that’s been crumpled and then smoothed still looks slightly different;
Though the picture is technically the same,
There are new contours here that fit to the palm of your hand.
 

© mjc 06 August 2017

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No Apology

In one swift stroke you brought down your axe
And cut away a piece of the ground I stood on.
In one swift stroke, tilting the earth
That was already unbalanced -
For there were places left too empty
And I wasn’t enough for them by myself.
 
As I tumbled forever Alice-like down that rabbit-hole,
Filling the air with stories of myself,
I could only hope that you would understand
That I had to look inward to watch for cracks and crevices
In my oh-so-brittle shell.
I did not –
Do not still –
Have the strength to watch my watchtowers.
So I did not notice
That amongst those eyes that shone vigilant at the borders
There were some that blinked and turned their backs.
 
And there were words that hurt to say and hurt more to hear;
Tiny barbs flung thoughtlessly from my lips
To stick upon the meat of me, 
While in growing consternation I watched
Far too late to catch them before they fell.
I could not seem to catch them before I fell;
I could not seem to catch myself at all.
 
Would you have had me fall silent?
My bitten tongue plummeting to lie still in the dirt?
Would you have had me stand and drown in the choking waves
Of my own wounded blood?
Or pin a plastic smile to my face,
Dress myself up in tainted greasepaint and lies,
And play make-believe for my audience while the poison slowly killed me?
Would you have had me perching forever in your fair-weather dock
Pretending that it wasn't raining?
 
No.
I will not apologise for my grief.
And I am not sorry that it changed me so drastically...
Sometimes to encourage the strongest growth,
Everything you know
Must burn to the ground.
 

© mjc 20 March 2017

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Biography

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, random shit-slinger, 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.