I Told Him No

He told me how brave I was,
writing my story into a sea of stigma,
how my words, my voice,
would break waves and save souls,
a lighthouse for the mentally ill,
the distraught, the unloved.

I told him no.

He told me how beautiful I was,
smiling sadly with eyes like burnt moons
hiding secrets behind the sun,
a gravitational pull for the mentally ill,
the distraught, the unloved.

I told him no.

He told me how special I was,
tempting great men with good faith,
a harlot born from Satan’s tongue,
a perfect delusion for the mentally ill,
the distraught, the unloved.

I told him no.

He told me he was mentally ill,
distraught, unloved,
in dire need of desperate release,
and salvation would only come on his knees,
shaking to the sound of my voice.

I told him no.

He told me how sorry I would be
when he twisted my words like arms
and shot arrows through the bull’s-eye
he had painted on my chest.

I told him no.

I am not the voice of a saviour,
nor the hint of a wish,
I am fucking dangerous,
coming to claw the truth
from behind a liar’s lips.

 

© Nicole Lyons 2017

The Mmm of Her

This was previously published on my poetry column on Feminine Collective.

The Mmm of Her

I was convinced she was crazy
and I couldn’t stand the pitch of her voice
but for the way she would say, “Mmmm”
when I told her about the thoughts,
and how they pummelled me darkly.
I liked the Mmmm of her, the way
it brought out the whites of her eyes,
and I wondered as they closed
if they were watching her thoughts
as closely as they watched mine.
And I wished to poke at them,
her thoughts not her eyes,
although I would be lying if I said
I hadn’t thought about poking those too.
I always left feeling less of myself,
like I had left little bits of me with her
and I started to wonder what she did with them,
those pieces of me that lingered in her office.
Did she think of them as hers now?
A project she could shelve
until the mood struck right,
or a maybe a pet, a defiant dog
she coaxed with treats
and whipped into submission;
or perhaps I was a blossom,
force flowered and placed perfectly
in the corner of her office where
she could watch me wither,
in the spot that never sees the sun
just the bite of the cold air pumping
from her ac unit and the whites of her eyes.

© Nicole Lyons 2017

 

Fancy Meeting You Here

Sometimes the memories become too much,
and I wonder if you have locked me away
as I have you.
And if every now and again I begin kicking
through the walls of your mind,
overwhelming you,
and if I do I wonder if you quietly surrender,
or if you furiously gasp for air
when the regret takes you under, too.

© Nicole Lyons 2017

Selfish On Sundays – Nicole Lyons & Rachel Finch

I wrote a poem called In Blues and Golds that was published on Sudden Denouement a few days ago and one of my dear friends, Rachel of Bruised But Not Broken, read the piece and was inspired enough to write a piece around a couple of the sections of my original poem. Upon reading Rachel’s poetry I was taken aback, quite literally struck dumb for a few minutes while I soaked in the power of her words. When I could finally speak, I asked Rachel if she would consider allowing me to play with both poems and combine the two and without hesitation, she agreed and I am blown away by how it has turned out. We hope you like our collaboration: Selfish On Sundays

And Rachel, thank you again my dear friend and warrior soul, it’s an honour to sit with you in words and soul.

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God, I am selfish.
I am a selfish lover,
and a selfish friend,
and I am a selfish saint.
But am I selfish on Sundays
when I break my bread
and remember that girl
and her tingles,
and every prayer I whispered,
when I was running
from scared into terrified?

I am a selfish lover, because the first hands to love me,
pleased themselves.
I am a selfish friend, because the first friend to show me
the self, loved with her hips and not her pulse.
But am I selfish on Sunday, when her own blood
stands before me, and I morph the memory
into something beautiful for the sake of the baby
that came from her womb and with his innocent eyes
looking into mine, I silence them.

I was unselfish when
I was terrified in that tunnel,
and I was high on those vibes
when we met.
The electric terror and tiptoes,
the sweet sound of bored teenagers
breaking trust and all the rules.
We smoked her stepfather’s cigarettes
and drank my mother’s wine,
and we spray-painted our names
inside each other’s secrets
in golds and blues across dirty metal,
and then she laid me down.

I was unselfish when I lay there and let her merge
the trauma carried in her muscles, into mine
and told my sister to turn away so the memory
didn’t stain her eyelids, so she didn’t feel it.

I was unselfish and terrified
that time I said yes
when I meant to say no,
but her fingers were quick
when my resistance was weak,
and I was two seconds to thirteen
and a lifetime from knowing better.

What was I when I let her lips press down on mine,
still carrying the stale taste of the beer from his tongue
and I swallowed both their shame?

And now I can’t help but feel sorry
when I remember her then,
under those flickering lights
a block away from home,
and the way we kissed.
That kiss that stormed the skies.
That kiss that shook the plains.
That kiss that had her speaking
of tingles and first love,
and body rocks.

How my body wanted to deny her,
but my hands ground down her hips
and I needed her to know I knew him too.
And I’m still selfish on Sundays,
when I look back at our prayers amiss the tears
that were our words and I still taste her wounds.

That kiss and those tingles,
on that body from a lifetime ago,
are now ravaged to bits
in a home somewhere,
eaten by the degenerate mouths
of degenerative diseases,
and here I am,
still selfish and terrified,
at breakfast on Sunday,
saying a prayer and wondering
if the tingles her body is wracked
and wrecked with now
can come close to the ones I gave her
in blues and golds, way back then.

© Nicole Lyons 2017

© Rachel Finch 2017

Rachel is an old soul bursting with young energy, her work is a glorious mix of heaven and hell. She writes with a soul shattering, ethereal, raw edge that holds nothing back. As the founder of Bruised But Not Broken, Rachel has helped thousands of people find a safe place, reach out, and tear the shame from their stories. A true humanitarian, Rachel is one of my heroes and I am grateful to call her my friend. Follow her on IG and her blog.

Syllable by Syllable

And sometimes these words,
they save me, but sometimes,
most times, they kill me,
syllable by fucking syllable,
they rip me to shreds.

© Nicole Lyons 2017

Waiting For Winter

I remember looking up
when the lock shattered,
watching the tree dropping its leaves,
and I felt disappointment,
and as naked as its branches.
That tree had kept our secrets,
and I think I may have thought that
somehow we would have been hidden now,
from prying eyes and a looming winter.
But the winds had come, and he had gone,
and I found myself in the open, lonely and alone,
breaking bits of memories into my hands
and walking the abandoned road,
until I sat in the spot where
we paid our toll and had been granted passage,
and I waited for winter to come again.

© Nicole Lyons 2017

I Would Run

I feel what you feel,
and I know
what you know,
and in another time
or another place,
on every other plane
of existence, I would run
anywhere with you.

Freakshow

I had always wanted to be
the center of attention
until I was shackled
into the main attraction
of her sideshow.
A three-ring circus and her
freak show, fisting gaping
chests and shredding hearts.
I stepped right up
and felt the twisting
of my head,
I heard the cracking
of my skull,
and I was mesmerized
when the spotlight hit
my juggled mind and I
heard a thundering ovation.

© Nicole Lyons 2017

Unbalanced

I have God
in my words
and the devil
in my ear,
and a sister,
who keeps telling me
to find my magic.

© Nicole Lyons 2017

Something Achingly Beautiful

Love was never easy
because suffering was
never optional.
But there was something
gorgeous in the act
of arching backs writhing
in anticipation of ripping
hearts from chests,
something achingly beautiful
in the brutality of it all.

© Nicole Lyons 2017