the heart laid bare

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delicate
Untitled 10
never him
lockdown
procrastinating
advice to the imaginary man of my hypothetical dreams
the tenth month
purple hearts
vigil
a glossary of terms
a week forever ago
The sixteenth
the curse
Under seige
Beyond the blues
Introspect
Balloon
push
a strange distance
SWIMMING ALWAYS DOWNWARD
A ONCE-FAMILIAR LANDSCAPE
No Apology
the thunder
tinder
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

delicate

She's delicate.

She draws the hands she doesn't like across the skin that makes her nervous to expose.
And her eyes are wary
and weary for her age.
Their pale blue hides behind short lashes and glass lenses as she apologises yet again for something she never did,
And tries to make her curvaceous frame seem frumpy and unappealing
As a form of armour. 
As if she could be. 

She sits mouselike in her unsafe corner with her fingers clasped tightly together 
To stop them pulling anxiously at the hair she shaved off.
Her breathing shallow, 
Eyelids lowered,
Hackles flattened in the presence of danger lest she attract its attention. 
Oh-so-carefully pretending not to exist until the clicking of the lock, the crunching of gravel, the distant fade of the engine finally edges into silence and she stirs.
Stretches,
Bathes and eats,
Does what she can to soothe her final fraying nerve,
Before opening her journal and calling to her other, younger demons,
"It's safe to come out now,"
And like a swarm of angry bees they flood around her.

With pen and ink and tools hard won she catches them and pins them to the page once more, 
Keeping them secret and keeping them safe, 
Guarding them stoically from discovery until once more she is alone and can let them stretch their wings.

Yes, she is delicate. 
But not delicate, like a butterfly.
 
Delicate, like a bomb.

© mjc 19 February 2021

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Untitled 10

Why have you deserted me?
Your silken taste upon my tongue every morning has become a highlight of my days,
Along with the bitter sting in your tail that reminds me of my place.
But you're gone now and I'm lost.
I wander my house like a tortured soul, unable to fully connect with my surroundings,
And my family don't know what to make of me.
"It's like talking to a ghost," they say sadly as I stare into the distance,
My pale and trembling hands cold and bare.
Every second of cogent thought I can wring from my grieving mind
Focuses only on your and your absence.
I want you back.
And I'm told to "stay strong" and that "it's for my own good" but I don't care.
I miss you.
And I want you.
I want to feel you deep inside me,
Warming the soul that will curl gratefully around you and awaken once more.


"An Ode to the Coffee I Don't Have This Morning".

© mjc 21 December 2020

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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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lockdown

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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procrastinating

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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Biography

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.