the heart laid bare


never him
advice to the imaginary man of my hypothetical dreams
the tenth month
purple hearts
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

never him

I reread my own words with a sense of revelation.
The misdirected anger, frustration... longing.
Whole worlds wherein I walk blindly,
Describing what I think I see through the wool I have pulled over my own eyes.

Each piece, startling in its own way, tells a story I never knew I'd written.
The comfortably empty spaces that were never truly empty;
The hands I held in the silence of my mind that were all too familiar;
The hearts I thought broken to pieces,
I now see in the light of this epiphany were merely fragments of my pride,
The few trailing strands that held them together sliced through
By the sharp but fleeting pain of rejection.

In truth, I have become somebody else
In the time it has taken for my body to renew itself.
The brand-new hide that still bears the scars of my old, discarded skin
Tingles at the realisation that the myriad stories I have told in this last septennial
Echo with a leitmotif
Of men falling short of a benchmark
I didn't realise had been set.

© mjc 19 September 2020

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It chafes, to be arrested in this way.
The pressure of these four walls seems to graze my bare shoulders with every movement.
And my rebellious soul longs to burst out of the front door and go running down the street,
Even though my days of rebellions and running are far behind me.
I shake with nerves each time I hear a noise outside
For fear that someone is approaching my door…
And then again for fear that nobody will.
These days in isolation are old news to so many;
Indeed, before these last few weeks I’d have counted myself amongst them.
I imagine inmates of prisons having a bitter chuckle at the rest of us
As we thrash against the knots
We are tied into for our own protection.
Like so many battery hens, we near kill ourselves
Trying to all squeeze at once through the tiniest chink in the barn wall 
For a taste of freedom.
The passage of time seems so arbitrary now that nothing is as it should be.
Our once-busy streets so empty,
Our cities frozen in a moment
As though some invisible ice age has swept through and petrified us.
The only activity now are the hospitals that buzz like beehives.
Two days from now, 
I’ll be sitting alone at my kitchen bench, glass of wine in hand,
Staring at a candle stuck haphazardly into the top of a chocolate biscuit
To mark my forty-third revolution around the sun,
With no desire to blow out the flame while my world is crumbling around me.
But somewhere in the turmoil in my head,
A tiny voice is telling me that it’s okay,
And it’s going to be okay;
Two thousand and twenty will be the year of pausing.

© mjc 25 March 2020

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I flit around my house like a restless spirit,
Picking up stray dishes and putting down books
In places they were never intended to go.
Outside, the oppressive heat wraps its arms too tightly around my house,
And sinks down to lie beside the muggy stickiness
That in the summer months never quite goes away.
On days like these,
Though my work calls to me insistently from where it waits,
Dressed in black and white, but still festively adorned
With strips of red and blocks of green,
I resist and turn my face away from the overly warm room
Where my computer works tirelessly at filling the space
With the whirring of the fans that cool only itself.
I drift through the valleys between the mountains of unaddressed chores,
Avoidance-cleaning and procrastinapping.
On days like these,
Until the sun begins to set,
I am a paragon of malfunctionality.
My ineffective, out-of-order brain incapable
Of wringing some semblance of discipline from itself,
And some action from my sweaty, lethargic limbs.
Then, when the relentless brilliance of the sun has ceased resisting
And slid beneath the cloak of the horizon,
I fizzle to life like a string of solar party lights.
I fling open the doors and windows,
Allowing in a cool breeze that tickles across my skin like a lover’s caress,
And dive into the pages, scattering red lines and wrong lines before me,
A nocturnal predator seeking my natural prey.

© mjc 19 January 2020

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advice to the imaginary man of my hypothetical dreams

Speak your mind.
I would hear the thoughts that careen recklessly through your head and interrupt your day;
The thoughts that pause you with your task half-done,
Lingering despite your best intentions.
Allow me to gather you up and pull you close,
And bury your face in my neck
While the injuries and injustices of your past
Spill unsummoned from your lips to lie at your feet.
Let yourself cry;
In front of me, with me and alone.
Unshed tears are poison to a soul.
Immerse yourself in your joy,
Your melancholy,
Your introspection, nostalgia, fear, excitement;
Your romantic tenderness and passionate desire.
There is no room between you and I
For manly stoicism.
Ask for what you need.
I am no mind reader,
And your needs are as valid as mine.
I will never begrudge you your solitude
Or the comfort of my arms.
My respect for you will be as boundless as my love,
For the two go hand-in-hand.
Don’t be afraid to love the things you love.
Geek out. Fly your freak flag high.
Talk about videogames, books, movies to your heart’s content.
Please don’t curb your enthusiasm,
Or apologise endlessly for the thing that brings you such happiness.
Even should I not share your interest,
Still I would listen with indulgent eyes.
Above all,
Do not go down on one knee to propose.
I am no goddess to whom you must grovel;
No emperor demanding your supplication.
You do not come to beg my favour or protection.
Approach me on your feet; take my hands.
Look me in the eye as you ask me to enter into a partnership of equals.
Stand your ground.
The man I would love would bow to no one.

© mjc 27 december 2019

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the tenth month

It was supposed to get easier.
We count the days with increasing dread,
Reluctantly tearing the pages from our calendars
As the indifferent grip of time drags us ever closer
To the tenth month,
And the marking of its bitter harvest.
Eight crosses
And the deep, abiding sadness that had dogged our steps caught up to us,
Caught our hands and spun us to look into its darkening gaze.
The ache sets in on the eighth cross.
Twenty-four crosses
And our happiness was tinged with a hurt
That no amount of makeup could erase from our eyes.
A hurt forever immortalised between gold-embossed covers of white leather,
As half of a face we barely recognised
Tried so hard to smile proudly from the middle of the frame.
And a part of the day that should have echoed with joy
Was shrunken, and stoic, and silent.
Twenty-seven crosses;
Twenty-seven steps of inevitability toward the unfaceable.
The world ended on the twenty-seventh cross.
The lights went out; the laughter ceased.
Songs forever changed their meaning.
The insult that the twenty-seventh cross brought twelve months later to add to our injury
Simply deepened the craters in the already war-torn surfaces of our worlds,
Scarred by the same disaster but in such different ways.
We carried its fraying wires and spiderwebbed glass gingerly in trepidatious hands,
Every tick of the second hand taking us away from the wounds of the tenth month.
At last emerging on the other side, we breathed our sighs of relief,
Only to have it explode in our faces just when we thought we were safe.
They all lied.
It was meant to get easier with time;
These vicious cuts were supposed to heal over
And leave scar tissue that was stronger for the experience.
They were not supposed to tear afresh
And soak our empty arms with the blood of our lacerated hearts,
With every step closer
To the tenth month.

Grandad (29 November 1922 - 8 October 2015)
Dad (16 January 1949 - 27 October 2015)
Nanna (28 July 1922 - 2 November 2016)
I love you and miss you all.
M x

© mjc 26 October 2019

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Daughter, sister, aunt, godmother, friend; 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.