A red dress, and said “when you were a boy”;
I choked on love; I was a boy and you were the night forest – lost,
scared, alone in you, alone with the wind moans
through bracken branches making a stranger’s bed with my name engraved in the headboard,
with half-satisfied boasts in the chisel-daggers’ art.

City light; hideous against you and joy,
when eyes above smiling lips should have tasted the nightmare frost,
icy wastes of Imperial doctrine, dust-ice on frozen tomes,
disturbed by our warm bodies at the end of the universe held by a strand of hair, a chord
breathing ragged lungs as I play my part;

The part of the boy, waiting for you to acknowledge you are a girl
with the withered soul of a woman, cut liquid legs and striving arms,
pushing aside the red, the night, the sound of rain on sleeping cars
and three-hour worship to caffeine gods,
rejecting love.

I’ve cut the beating heart out of poetry because I am scared,
scared of hate and preaching hate and letting you know I hate you;
hate overpowers love in a heartbeat,
pulsating on the floor.

And there are a thousand words for love;
your name seep through them all.

You,
in your red dress by the broken glass,
made me realise that there is no word that means ‘I don’t love you’.

There is no word to proclaim your weight as a chain,
a word that reduces your dreams and longing for mediocrity to dust;
a word that makes your love for Carthage impossible to understand;
a word that dictates the fading of our affections in favour of comfort;
a word that means nothing – and nothing is our confession;
a word that says I still want to fuck you, but I don’t want to want to fuck you;
a word that echoes, and hangs, in the empty space between us;
a word that blinds me and makes me grow my beard and cut my skin.

A word that pulls aside all fallacy,
and reveals my self-loathing. A word
that tells you about hatred, beyond fear and reason,
beyond forgiveness.

I don’t always hate myself when I’m with you.

When you wear that red dress,
I dare to think I’m not ugly when I wear you.

I can believe that I am capable of love.


There’s a poem I’ve had for a year. A great declaration of love to someone I’ve only met once. I can’t seem to match it, so I’ve kept it hidden away on a document on my computer. I’ve printed it out and crossed through every line and told myself that it’s ridiculous and nonsense, and never changed it.

I don’t know that I’ll ever be happier with something that I’ve written and not forgotten about. If you like this, why not check out some of the prose that I’ve written, over on Smashwords?

3 thoughts on “A Red Dress

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