XXXVI | Something I Did


change colour

every day.

I watch her dance
without music,

hands caressing the pole,

sliding down her back,
feet hiked up,
legs wrapping

tightly around her lover.

She catches my eye,

shy and apologetic.

It’s nauseating.


Doesn’t she see

the red bruises turning blue
the blue bruises turning black,

the light in her grey eyes

like a mannequin’s. 

New bruises form

over the old grey ones.

The smell of puke
gets stronger



Upside down,
her pants ride up again,

nightmarish shapes


into her skin.

My throat is dry,
I need coffee.


You’re running away.


‘I’m not,’ I retort.

There’s no reply.
It doesn’t matter.

Even I know

I’m running

because I’m ashamed of her.

It’s confusing,

Pole dancing to rebel

is one thing,

doing it
to die

is another.

The dream I insisted on holding onto back then
was the same.

A toy

that’s no fun.

A dream

that only causes

Isn’t it funny? The harder you try,
          the more likely you are to fail?

The ones who want nothing more than to die,

end up living a 



The coffee scalds my throat
but I don’t really notice.


You’re scared for her.


‘I’m not,’ I retort.

There’s no reply.
It doesn’t matter.

Even I know

I am.

Caring (about another person)
is something

I stopped doing long ago.

Those memories
are part of what
I’ve lost anyway.

If I’m worried
about her now,

then somewhere
in the past

when I was the one who hurt her,
I was probably also worried too.

And look what happened.

Who am I
to stop her?

Who am I
to worry about



What good does it do

to get involved
in the life of

someone from the past?



I want coffee too.
My hands are bleeding.


She holds them out
for me to see.

The blisters

have burst open.

The blood

is drawing
smiling cheshire cats on her palm.

I pull her to the sink
and wash the grinning felines

She smiles
at me.

Not saying a word.


I won’t say it.
I won’t stop her.

Why should I?

I’ve forgotten who she is.

The question is:
Does Tammie really want to do this?


The question is actually
about me.

Do I want to live in a dream
I define?

Or in a reality
that someone else created.

Which one will you choose?


It depends,
(don’t you think?)
on which is more



If it’s a matter of pain,

It’ll be painful

either way.

This question is
the only choice—
the only real choice—

that you get in this life.


‘Tammie,’ I say.

She’s taken my cup of coffee
and downed the rest

(because I was stoning
instead of making her a drink).

Now she’s licking her hands
with her

coffee-stained tongue.

‘Stop it,’ I tell her. ‘Stop this.’

She smiles,

Not apologetic.
Not even shy.

Pale colours
light up

her translucent cheeks.


It was on a whim then.
But now it’s something

I really want to do, Fifi!


She takes my hands.

They’re slimy
with coffee-coloured saliva.


I’m doing this for you,
so you have to be the first to see me dance

when we get out of here!

You’ll do that much for me, yeah?


No. No, I won’t,
is what I should say.

When we get out of here,
I’ll never see you again.

But I just stare at her,

my mind, a black hole.

Butterflies spin
in a frenzy

in her sparkling grey eyes.

Even her bruises
seem to fade a little.


Hey Fifi, I never got to tell you

that I forgive you.


I shake my head
even though I’m already


My hands are going cold.

I want to scream.
This is

obviously not reality anymore.


Even though

you ruined my life back then,

it’s worth it

because I’m here
because you’re here

and I’ve got a dream now.


That’s great,
is what I should say.

Let’s go back
to how we used to be.

But “how we used to be” is exactly

what I can’t remember.

My guilt,

my crime and what I should do

so I don’t
have to remember it
ever again.


I want you to disappear.


I nod.

Tammie smiles.

That wide, child-like smile
that breaks my heart.

I nod again.


I should just die.




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