New poet, Dermot Christophers


Flavour

 

A cake the shape of a corpse

In the Summer heat rotting through

Its sugar fumes and eggs gone off by –

Had it been three months?

The cancer that riddled her bones and played organ failure in her like a bold child?

I lick the end of the bowl

The batter sticks to my teeth greedily

I cannot get enough of it

As the cake rises in the oven

Her body will be lowered to the ground

The only difference is air

 

I wonder if lemon was even her favourite flavour?

 

 

 

How to cope with insomnia

 

  1. Find the place

They’ll tell you stories of washed up hands

And fingernails that smell of your grandmothers soup

Don’t waste time investing in such dark illusions

This is the hour of no man’s land

Where you need to realise the quantity of your space and breath

Is far more important than the quality

The way you can roam for hours on end

Like a gerbil in a wheel

You need to uncover your hidden motors

And learn how to feel

When the hours stretch down to tree roots

And your beating heart is the branches, the trunk,

And the reason you move, as if there were a reason at all

 

  1. Forget your reasons

You may have heard tales of sad men wandering

Down the same laneway, approaching the same gateway,

But it doesn’t matter if he opens the gate

And witnesses his soul gone off past midnight

It does not matter how you got here or where you’re going

All that matters is that you are here

Train contentment into your wilting branches

Feed your mind, not on clarity,

But on the food you need

Learn to be alone with the questions

Embrace them like old lovers

And contort their reaching hands to latch onto your vapour like frame

 

  1. Try your best not to go insane

Build a shrine around your sanity

And recall the person you were during the day

Repeat your name, out loud, to the mirror,

To the blank stare of your computer monitor

And feel the buzzing of your sleep hungry mind

The white noise that is both your time and place

Here is where you build your sanctuary

And allow the split to take place

Accept that your mind may no longer match your face

Accept that this is all part of the night time game

Where you run in circles until the moment of your rebirth

Calls you to the bed that belongs to a much younger you

 

  1. Allow yourself to be renewed

Forget everything but how you digest the hours

In the small gulps of your replayed memories and outdated fantasies

Recall the one who knows you best

And try to keep your heart steady, breath steady,

Make use of this lottery of time

Nothing counts here, nobody keeps score

Allow yourself to fall deep into your subconscious

Where the men run with scissors

And the children’s laughter becomes the rhythm to a song you know so well but cannot place

Don’t try to categorise or rationalise

 

  1. Be grateful you are alive

Even as the night spins rollercoasters

And you want to scream with frustration

This is the fate that has been gift wrapped to you

Untie the ribbon

This is the moment of your awakening

They will tell you you are a tragedy

And have you make lists of all the people who have died at sea

Remember you are that old oak tree

That has been here for longer than we can possibly know

You are not being beaten down

Your branches will continue to grow

 

  1. Let your story unfold

From the grip, from the barrier, from the control,

Dance the hours away with a smile

You are not shipwrecked at sea

You are not drowning or drowned

 

You are a survivor

 

 

 

Stagnant Night

 

i.

 

I have the face of a tortured woman

One you wouldn’t want to meet

The face of a brute, tight skinned, red

lined savage unlikable and

Stripped of sincerity

 

I gained my reputation in how I failed to raise my children

Brought these stalks in and refused to tend to them

These weeds of mine hide out in dirty railroad lines

And I can’t stop shivering

 

What they take from me is my hate

I am left cold and at home in my cold

No one wishes to look long at me

All they see when they see me is:

 

A wisp of grey air

A cigarette smoke burning,

Burning I hide,

Burning I lie,

Burning I try to heal these children of mine

Who bear my haunted lips and haunted eyes and I feel ashamed

as I feel them die

 

ii.

Borne of a white tempered rage

That hovers in the air

Turning me insane:

 

Turning me to the dark,

turning me to the bottom of a bottle,

turning me bewildered until I find myself on my empty street with my empty self, with the dark light, and a ground littered with butts of cigarettes, that I smoke and smoke so feverishly, hoping and praying that they’ll work, that they’ll be the magic that will fix me,

cure me, burn red hot logic into my wiring, instead on this street

I sing my mad woman’s song as the night lingers on,

failing to move on, failing to carry what I need carried, leaving me open eyed and smoking and exhaling and and and…

 

Nobody looks at me

 

Not even the alleyway judges me

 

Nobody has a thing to say about me

 

iii.

The children play by the railway lines

Starving and homeless they leap from track to track avoiding

the shuttling trains

They don’t come to find me but I know they’re there

 

The moon shines down on my alleyway tonight

Brightening the tips of my untouched body

I have stopped shivering from the cold

 

My tortured woman face melts into the crevices of my skin

It is mine to own

 

To own alone.

 

 

 

Dermot is a 22 year old aspiring poet. He recently published his first collection of poems entitled “Lipstick Lies” a mix of fictional, personal, and philosophical poems, accompanied with illustrations by the  artist Meadhbh Sheridan. He writes short fiction and incorporating this storytelling aspect in his poetry is something that interests him greatly.

 

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