Poetry

I broke the heads off
All my sunflowers
I didn’t like
That they were taller than me

I think you knew before
You met me that there was
Something wrong about
The way that I breathed

I’m sorry, I built myself
Up and I’m carved out
Of sand and
The tide is coming in

The world’s on fire
But I’ve been burning for years
My skin scalds red hot
Keeps me safe keeps me warm

I believed in reprieves and
The space of not being
Needed or wanted for
Anything other than love

Before realising that
That hurt the most that that
Was the most broken jagged piece
Of glass between my toes

I stare so hard I think
My eyes will turn white
Like milk and all I’ll see is
What I’ve been endless nothing now never dark

Leaving was an apocalypse of
My own design and all
That remains is the marrow
In my bones ’til you suck that dry too

There will be flowers again when
Winter turns to spring I won’t
See them but I’m
Assured they’ll be there

This place is a prison and I’m
Only operating one small portion
Of all the clanking machinery that
Drones on and on in the background like dulled screams

I’m a virus and
I’ll infect you too
Mask yourself and quarantine
The very bones of your spine

I’m sorry I couldn’t be beautiful
For you, I built a pyre but it’s damp
The kindling won’t light there
Isn’t anything more than sparks in the night

Salt sea air and I have that in common
The cries of the gulls above me
Six feet under and breathing in dirt
Didn’t I tell you I was doing well?

I haven’t been myself lately
I think it’s something in
The way the floods roll in
And in miniature oceans
We pile up our belongings
And pray that we don’t lose
Like maybe there’s something to lose
Like maybe there’s something
Like maybe there’s something
Like maybe there’s –

Poetry

Sorry, I know we’re running out of time
The planet’s on fire
And you’re busy pouring petrol
The flames are beautiful as they lick around our twisted limbs
Aren’t they?
Carbon turns to carbon turns black grey ash
And I breathe you in as you breathe me out
Smear soot fingerprints on the glass
As it smashes when the heat forces its way through
Billow up into the atmosphere
Smoke sharp in your lungs
I’m burning up and you’re smiling and I think:
“oh, I guess this is what you meant,
when you said that I could be lovely”
I turn through colours blue yellow white
A birthday candle hushed out by the breeze
Can you smell the death of me? Of this?
Kiss me hard and scorch me like you’re cauterising a wound
I can’t feel my tongue anymore as it makes its way around words I wish I’d said
“run away with me, run away with me, run away with me”
You laugh like an explosion and it pierces like shrapnel
And it’s in the bones of me now
“I chose you” you say voice nearly lost to the wind
“I chose you because you had long since washed up on the soar and dried out, the salt of you shaken away”
“I chose you” you say
“because you looked back”
You strike the match and it bends my spine like willow
“You were perfect” you assure me
And as I’m eaten away
I repeat that to myself
“You were perfect”
Oh.

Is this my fault?

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It’s been a thousand years or twenty minutes since I last wanted to die
Definitely one of the two
I’ve been counting my breaths, are you counting as well?
There’s something inside of me that’s golden,
This core of hope I can’t seem to qwell and I was wondering if you had any advice about that?

I’m a billion years old or I haven’t been born yet
Definitely one of the two
I exist in star stuff and the cosmic rays hitting the windowsill
I’m a long way from home, that much I know
Yet I’ve been here all along
Isn’t that strange?

I want to tell you what it’s like to be a moon to your sun
To reflect back light like a child reflecting love
Existing is –
Hard.

When you shimmer soft and glow yellow
I think to myself of the night sky and how dark it was up there
The sun is just another star, after all
And stars burn up all the time
So there I was, cold, alone, knowing that somewhere you were burning
And I was, what? A hunk of rock
Orbiting you, hoping you’d let me in

I’ll see you again when the daffodils bloom
And I promise I’m still breathing
There doesn’t seem like there’s enough air in this room for two
So maybe I’ll stay alone for a little while
If I have nothing to reflect then will I see myself?
Is that how this works?
Is it?

I collect you in the between moments
When there’s a lull in conversation and a gentle contentment washing through
I’ve been to space you know
And I crash landed in the ocean
And you know what I thought as I hit the water?
Dammit, I thought, dammit, I want to live

It’s not like that every day
But for today
With nothing but these words
I want to be here

And maybe tomorrow I’ll tell you something different
Because there are no straight lines when you move in eclipses
But right now?
It’s okay
And that’s all I can offer you
I hope that’s enough.

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I’ve neglected this blog, I know. Don’t even talk to me about my Youtube. These are the dead days, the days between Christmas and when the world starts to turn again, and with them comes the lethargy, the depression, all the things you really don’t want to talk about.

2019 was amazing for so many reasons, I can’t begin to list them, but obviously achieving a lifelong goal was amongst them – publishing How To Be Autistic has changed my life beyond measure, and I’m so immensely proud of creating something that people seem to enjoy. I’ve received more messages than I’d like to count, so much kindness, so much sadness, so many people who know what it feels like, but there’s hope there too, and that’s what I wanted more than anything else – hope and promise of a better tomorrow.

It still hasn’t sunk in, I hope you realise. I don’t think it ever really will. I don’t even remember being the person who wrote How To Be Autistic in a frenzy after winning the art award. I just know that somehow I did, and that that means somewhere there’s a spark in me that means I can do it again, somehow, somehow.

I have so many plans, so many things I want to share with you. I feel like for such a long time my world was a single room, this tiny box of four walls and the same views outside the window, but now it’s bigger, expanding just as the universe expands, and god, we are starstuff.

There’s so much potential, the world is fizzing with it. It’s a very weird thing to realise, that maybe the future holds something beyond the monotony, the every day, every goddamn day being exactly the same. I feel like I can breathe for the first time in years. I feel like I’ve woken up (and yet I’m still exhausted!).

I have plans for a new video, and I’m still trying to get my next book published. A goal I’ve made for myself is to publish something, anything, really. I’d also like to write something new, something substantial, 50k range. It takes an awful lot out of me to do so, but having written is such a beautiful feeling that it’s worth the torment of it all.

I feel so lucky that there are things I can’t even tell you about yet that are coming, and that might be coming. My world is straining at the seams, getting bigger still!

And I find myself appreciating my family now more than ever, watching my sister’s children grow and become proper little humans, feeling so incredibly old as they do so. They anchor me to this place, and in doing so, they keep me safe, even on the darkest days.

I owe so much to so many people, and I hope I can repay that. I don’t believe in karma, not really, but I believe in kindness and the power of it, so.

Here’s to a kinder 2020.

Poe xx

Poetry

I was standing at the bottom of the beacon,
Phone in my hand, fingers frozen to the bone,
And the sky was clouded, bitter and cruel,
Like sunlight had forgotten how to exist,
Just for a little while, just for a bit.

I had cast those delicate dayglow rays aside,
Scattered the bones of them amongst the graves,
Because the thing about suns is that they burn up,
Inevitably, impossibly, and then –
They burn you up with them, leaving only a shadow,
Something once there, now gone, a husk of something good.

I was standing at the bottom of the beacon,
Phone in my hand, cheeks blushed red from cold,
And maybe the sky was clear, maybe the grey was all there was,
Like sunlight was something I’d just imagined,
Like I’d made you up inside my head.

I had built lampposts in empty cemeteries,
And I had spewed words in eulogy for a passing I’d never witnessed,
And I think together we’d burnt up our sun,
This fragile thing that existed in one dimension only,
If you look at it too closely it’ll blind you,
Leaving you forever in the dark.

I was standing at the bottom of the beacon,
Phone in my hand, the heels of my feet aching from walking,
And I realised I didn’t love you the way I thought I did,
And that maybe I never had,
And that maybe the sunlight was reflected,
And that maybe I had been the moon,
Floating in space waiting for you to warm me,
When really, that’s not what I wanted at all –
Unless it was.

Our shadows had overlapped once, you realise,
And perhaps that had meant something more than it should have,
And that’s okay,
Because even ships in the night find comfort in the silent passing of foggy light,
So when I tell you I was standing at the bottom of the beacon,
My hood pulled up and my knuckles cracked,
I’m just telling you about a moment when I realised,
That it’s really easy to fall when you’re apart,
And goddamn,
It’s like being smothered when you realise,
You’ve made up a life, made up a soul,
And as close as the hidden sun is to me,
Is as close as I want you now,
And I’m sorry for that,
For you, and for myself,
Because nothing hurts more,
Than actually seeing somebody for the first time.

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we found a fox skull in the woods,
and you asked where the rest of it was,
the body, the bones, the fur,
the fluff of the tail,
all that was left was the gleaming white of teeth and jaw,
empty eyes in empty sockets,
did the other foxes drag it away?
or rip it apart,
an act of innocence,
an act of cannibalism?

we found a fox skull in the woods,
where the trees crossed the sky,
and made shadows and sunglows on our faces,
and you held my hand as we made burial plans,
and you didn’t mind the mud and moss,
that etched under your nails,
as you sank your fingers into the earth,
you dug a grave,
small, shallow,
and we placed the skull inside it,
and you held my hand again,
as we kicked the dirt with shuffling feet,
over the last remnants of a life,
reclaiming, remaining, but,
finally lost.

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We make this divine with blood mixed with wine,
Spilled out onto the streets and they bay for us
(Pray for us)
Too heathen both to face the lions
So they furnish us with weapons
We’ve forged ourselves,
And tell us
“Go ahead, make your fathers proud”
So before heaving crowd
We stand
Bloodied hand in bloodied hand
Sand hot beneath our toes
And you scream that they will not have forgiveness
And you scream that they too will fall
Because the gods are far too fickle
To choose sides for any length of time
And in the dust of two thousand years
We’ll find ourselves
The bones of us
Beneath a city whose name lasted longer than its people
Blood and wine baked into the earth
(I make this holy with a kiss)

(This is a poem inspired by a poem my friend wrote years ago and one of the lines always really stuck with me and I’ve always wanted to riff off of that.)

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A while ago I had the idea to print tactile, accessible art poems – art poems which anyone could afford to purchase and enjoy which still had a touch of uniqueness to it.

These never sold (that’s like, the story of my life) so the original prototypes still exist, and as such there’s only one of each poem, and only ever will be in this form.

The first poem going up for auction is a poem called ‘Home’. You can read it here: http://capoe.co.uk/home

This auction is raising money for Samaritans, a charity that has helped me in the past to see that things are solvable and it’s better to stick around. They save lives and do impossibly important work, and 100% of the final auction total will go direct to them.

The auction will run for seven days, Monday 8pm to Monday 8pm.

Here’s the link, feel free to share it around!

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/392491351430

Thank you for taking the time to read, as always, and I hope you’ll consider bidding.

Love, Poe. xx

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I don’t know if I owe an apology, or an explanation, or anything. Navigating this new territory of being known, not necessarily by a large group of people, certainly, but a larger group of people than I’m used to, by a country mile, is difficult.

Perhaps you understand, if you’ve read the book, that my self esteem is… non-existent. And that I shy away from any form of criticism, however well intended, because I don’t have much sense of self, I know enough about myself to know I don’t really know much about myself at all.

Social awkwardness, it appears, extends to the internet, and with that sense of responsibility, of, oh shit, I have to stand for something and I’m definitely not the most qualified person in the room to do this – it’s a little scary.

I wrote my life down, reached in deep and pulled it all out, because I really hoped it would help somebody. But having read your messages, it seems there needs to be so much more work done than I even know how to begin. People are still finding themselves or their children in the same situation I was in all those years ago. It’s horrifying to read, and difficult to stomach. I hoped things were, at least, a little better now. But each message I read brings it all back in vivid detail, and whilst I appreciate people reaching out, it’s a tough one to deal with.

I suffer with depression a lot. More than I talked about in the book. I’m struggling with it right now, and people who knew me predicted this particular bout – there was the hype and the high of the book release, and then the fall of… nothing in my life really changing. I’d achieved my life goal, and I didn’t feel any different. It didn’t feel real. It still doesn’t. I keep expecting it to hit me, that I did the thing I always dreamed of doing, but it hasn’t yet. Maybe one day it will, or maybe this denial of accomplishment is going to dog me for a while yet.

A lot of bad stuff has been happening in my personal life too, stuff I don’t want to dredge up here because it is, as it should be, personal. But this last week especially has been particularly difficult, and piling on a bunch of personal failures to leave the house to do things I would have enjoyed, it’s become a bit of a spiral of badness.

I’m sure a few of you reading this can recognise that spiral, and how vicious and overwhelming it can become.

I’m trying to break out of it. I have a really great friend who is helping me, and of course, my family, who are always there to support me. But the world is so much bigger than my tiny bubble, and it seems meaner by the day. Watching the news, scrolling through Twitter, just trying to exist in this world, it feels like people have forgotten how to be kind.

Kindness is key.

I want to try be better. It’s horrible being inside every day with nothing to look forward to. And with the festive season coming, for the sake of the kids if nothing else, I need to put on a happy face. I want to keep writing, keep creating, and to try make this world a better place, no matter how small a change I make.

I’m sorry for my inconsistency recently. It’s really hard living in your own head when your own head (that you live in) is lying to you. There’s probably some deep philosophical word for that, but I failed Philosophy rather spectacularly, so don’t ask me.

Tomorrow I’m going to make a post about the first of what I hope will be a series of charity auctions to raise money for various causes I hope you’ll partake in. 100% of the money raised will go directly to the charities in question, and I want to focus on causes that matter to me, and who will help make the world a better place with any money raised. I really hope you’ll support me in this, despite my wobbliness. I’ll post a link when the first auction goes live.

I’m trying. I know it doesn’t seem like it. I know it seems like I’m ungrateful. But, it turns out, life doesn’t get magically better just because you have a book in Waterstones. It should, but it doesn’t.

So, I’m going to post this, and then try sleep off my migraine. I want to try to foster some sense of community despite my varied and uncoordinated posts, and I need your help with ideas on how to accomplish that. We are stronger together than we are apart, and I am willing to learn. It is incredibly hard for me to engage in social interaction, especially with my brain playing nasty tricks on me, but I’m willing to try, if you’ll let me.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, and I hope you have a great day.

Love, Poe. xx