Archive for the ‘Poems by Sarah’ Category

an open letter to simon* the geologist

from the smoking area in copperface jacks


(the second in a two letter series)

(*this time i changed his name)



i’m sorry i didn’t forewarn you

that i didn’t want to kiss you

when we first started speaking


i didn’t know that it was a requirement

when you start up a conversation with a stranger

of the opposite gender



you’re forgiven for the assumption

i really did only want a smoke

i guess it’s my own fault for

you know

owning breasts


but when i put my hand on your chest

to stop you as you leaned in with your eyes closed

after what, i admit, was a well placed line

and told you i was in love with someone else

that you’d agree to be my friend regardless

i didn’t expect the next forty five minutes

leaning over the precarious balcony

making up stories about the swarms below us


jesus molly’s lipgloss is only massive

check shirt lad isn’t having much luck there is he


observing the strangeness

of dancing in a cattle-market

and how bodies tell stories

so much more so than mouths


apparently my body said

will you please have sex with me

even though my mouth asked for a cigarette

i wonder how that happened

i really was gasping for one honestly simon


enclosed is a blue peter badge for common decency

pin it to your hoodie next time you’re out

and remember that the stories that girls who bum smokes tell you

can be just as interesting

as the clumsy ten seconds

of a fumble in the dark







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an open letter to nico the german economist

from the smoking area in copperface jacks



i meant it when i said your skin was nice

i didn’t when i said sorry but i had a boyfriend

(i’m not sorry at all)

your sophia shouldn’t have done what she did

but the anger will subside, people roam

you’re far away now so don’t be letting

the changeable nature of one still growing

stop you growing yourself

you’re angry, i get it, but

believe me when i promise

those three years weren’t wasted:


no time shared

linked at the hearts and head and the hands

is a wasted

no time horizontally plaited under duvets or skewed upon sofas

or bickering over how old these mushrooms are or aren’t

or how the jar of peanutbutter

looks suspiciously like it’s been eaten with fingers

or living on the other coast of the country

conducting love through pixels

or explaining that you’re not ready for commitment

while they’re still undressed

or cheating with people who ferment in your brain

til it’s drunk and stupid with lust

or going back again and again and again,

just because he said he missed your smell

or passing out early and waking to the sounds of his girlfriend’s name

addressed, accidentally in sleep, to you

or being gaslit and shrunk to the size of a rotten tooth

or being left for girls you loved more than them in the first place

and tattoo artists

or drinking too much and making stupid decisions on beaches

or getting taxis across the city at 4am every night for a winter

so as not to wake in the freezing depths of his flat

or spending all your spare money on credit

just to see his name flicker on the lcd screen of your nokia

even though he’s going out with your best friend

or running through train stations in nice, terrified of being stranded

heart in mouth, head swimming, hand in piano-playing handed


god none of it is wasted, how could it be


the stories you will tell and the things you have learned:

you will be all shades of human and hurt and love

you will be every colour of alive, nico

so thank you for the lighter

for the story

i hope you find everything that you ever need



(i can’t wait to go back and re-draft this.  i promise i’ll stop writing confessions and go back to writing about food soon. if you’re reading this, nico, you’re awesome.)


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ghost boy

ghost boy

your uncle went to memphis

brought home two bottles

of what was sold as

elvis’ favourite wine

one for you, one for your irish twin

that’s what you call brothers

born less than a year born apart

you explain, lilting to me

i feel silly asking but

you don’t judge me for not knowing

he has red hair you tell me and is real tall

you are to my shoulder, seventeen, sallow

and these irish twin bottles from graceland

are for your graduation, and your brother’s wedding

they’ve been waiting for you for years

sitting unopened in a press

untouched by the hands of a father who’s disability

goes out of his hands and down his neck in the town

from a wednesday to a sunday

then comes home to your mother tuesday

he’s better now you say

just doesn’t go to town anymore

i didn’t ask if you were excited to taste the elvis wine

because you told me solemnly you never wanted to drink

gave up smoking when you were 14, weren’t mad on it

saw what it did to your parents, like

the wine didn’t matter you just couldn’t wait to graduate

get to australia, learn to fix motorbikes

you wouldn’t be gone forever you promised

sure you’d miss your folks too much


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a confession:

i forgot what it felt like to want to be a florist





back when i worked in that video game shop

in a shopping centre near the fresh ghost towns

between us and the launderette

there was a florist

a tiny den of colours

that smelled like a million things at once

a firework-hole in the side of the building


i’d walk past and feel the galaxy of fragrance

lift me for a second out of the day i was about to have

wishing i worked there

why didn’t i work there

reading inbetween customers about secret meanings

and latin names for things with petals

for things with sprigs and stalks

and pollen and nectar and and –


then i’d be in my shop, walls lined with futuristic adventure

stories i loved as a child with a grey plastic controller in hand

collecting treasures and creatures, god

navigating through landscapes unreal like a warrior –

but there in that sterile chain-store i was defenceless

cut down by silence from boys with pebble dashed acne

who thought i talked too much

and were way better at guitar hero than me


and just through that wall in the unit nextdoor

there was a garden

with rolls of ribbon to tie bunches just so

lavender, lilies, chrysanthemums

roses and peonies and hyacinths

orchids slim and beaming daffodils and and –


i’d lean on my counter telling 9 year olds

than 18’s games were 18’s for a reason

i’d peel off sale stickers and replace original prices

i’d go 8 hour shifts a sore thumb in a boy’s club

days and days at a time

i’d go mad quietly

i’d go home quickly


the florist would always close first

i never got to meet the owner

to ask them could i join them

tell them my hands were good with scissors

my eyes were good with colours

i was very good with people

i didn’t talk too much


i’d walk by the closed shutters

the million flavours still lingering

and out the automatic doors

until the christmas after which i never returned.




(apologies again for my lateness, typical eh?)



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thursday morning 9am

thursday morning 9am




she sits at the computer

typing four short paragraphs

about how she feels about suicide in her local area

then image searches the internet

for shots of the dead

the hanging, the hung


she calls me over, laughing manic, from

writing down a story for the girl

with yellow eyes who quietly tells me

that she can’t spell

and i tell her it’s cool

spelling isn’t a big deal


i walk to the computer

i am shown a gallery of people

necks in ropes



i can’t speak


she points to a blurry shot

of a dozen or so women

i didn’t count

hanging from goalposts



i can’t think


finally i ask her why she is looking

why so fascinated

is she looking for something

is she looking for fear

she tells me no

she was just looking for inspiration


just want to see what it looks like

look at his neck

look at his legs

isn’t that gross

isn’t that funny

the face on him state of him


i turn my back and refuse this part

of the journey

i walk back to yellow-eye girl

and she tells me about how

her cousin is getting married

on valentines day





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saint scabfoot


it’s your own fault for offering me a soap-box



(i’m overtired,  i’ve a cut on my foot, i think i’m getting the flu)



as if from nowhere it creeps down to me

lightfooted on the staircase in me brain

i’d snap the neck of any creature who’d look at me twice

weak wrists or none i’m


stomping down manky wet roads

in cheap shoes with me heels cut off me

amn’t i ready to spit in the face of christ

amn’t i ready for him, dare him to speak first


i may well be leaving bloody footprints onfenian street

for only to drag myself my own twelve stations

and away from onion rings and flat pints

and smokes and smokes and smokes


so c’mere to me til i sit on the couch and sulk

like a child thing

amidst wrappers of chocolates small cakes

that middle-aged lady-gurus oppress me out of eating, most days


but now lord amn’t i grand here beside the radiator

bleeding feet and sleepy eyes aside

in the hush of my home in the early evening

in the hush i might just sleep here


if i wake and my foot is stuck to the floor with the scabs on it

from weeping heels scabbed into the wooden panels

call the papers and tell them it’s stigmata

encase me in marble so i won’t have to move


send girls in their twenties with sore feet to pray to my silence

leaving cakes and flowers and candles

i can’t promise i’ll look after them

i can barely look after myself




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it used to be all fields you know

and the boys who used to drink there

bought houses there

now they are 25 not 16

and it’s a ghost town by a train track

empty concrete semi-detached shells

built on invisible money

now these boys are stuck there

and the long grass is gone

the cans are gone

and gone is throwing ourselves up by the railings

as big orangeBelfastscreaming trains raced by and

we’d scream back at them waving our cheap cans

and stolen wine and the grass was up to my thighs

so I couldn’t tell if the ends of my corduroy flares were wet

it was so cold that my feet were numb


each time I pass those houses

I feel a little old for remembering when they were just fields

where boys would dare one another to take off their clothes

as late night trains passed,

in threes were the boys, naked in the long grass

laughing and drunk and young


I thought it was funny that they called them the cornfields

the grass was just long

there was no corn or anything like it

I think it is funny that it is called Clongriffin

I was only there twice or so

but now I always will be

kind of





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