while i stood on moroccan rooftops

oh my oh my oh my
tonight we are standing
on the top of houses
and across from us
the man bows to a god
i do not know
and across from us 
the men barbecue
the women laugh
and down in the streets
the children play
with marbles
the boys with dolls
the girls at hide & seek
thinking they cannot be found
behind blue doors
thinking they cannot be found
watching mothers cover
their bodies
thinking they cannot be found
i want to be found
i want to only find
i am here on the roof
of a home that isn’t mine
i am here in a place
that i have never before 
called home
and yet i feel more at home
then i ever did under
my parents roof

 

shaftesbury ave is too pretty a street to leave my insides on anyway

you hear thunder and you run

the bus comes early and you run

and your body folds and unfolds

over and over again

folds over in the satchmo carpark

like you never have before

like knees to gravel

a worship to sadness like no other

run so hard you heave

almost hurl up your insides

on birkett street or just before

but you manage to leave only salt there instead

almost call but don’t

almost do a lot of things but don’t

instead curl up in pink sheets

forget dinner

sink to a sad slumber

wake at quarter to midnight

stomach complaining but you don’t give in

fall back to sleep

another big nine

and then you run

and there’s no need for thunder

or the bus

because you’ve been sleeping with 

the sadness under your bed for months now

because there is no ‘under the bed’

and it only just occurred to you 

to get a bedframe

it only just occurred to you

that home hasn’t quite been home

and the discovery of shelter

melts into the fairy lights around your window 

and the house has always been too hot

and the dog never settled

and there is every single reason

to justify why

all you’ve wanted to do is run

 

7-eleven

the 7-eleven is quiet, empty

we scour it for snacks

searching for the ache to our crave

won’t admit we’ll never find it here

in these aisles that you can see over

so it will never feel like a grocery store

instead we fill the void with sausage rolls 

and $2 coffee

(which actually doesn’t taste too bad)

clamber back into car seats

that have held us so long

they could mistaken as home

could be

they aren’t though

we mistake each other for that

fold bodies into bodies

and pretend we know the difference between limbs

pretend it matters to know the difference

but know that at the root of this

of this almost chance encounter

at the root of it

we are only what we mean to one another

and it’s not much

it’s really not all that much

we just wanted to find warmth

wanted to bathe in a heat that wasn’t sunlight

under a light that was only ours

and wax poetic about it after

we’ll pull our shedded clothing back to our skin

sip cold coffee

pretending we don’t mind

and still try to find small talk here

the tiniest of it as well

so tiny I decide not to find it for the most part

let you fill the gaps we couldn’t together

oh it’s such a broken encounter

and a funny one that clings to me

I memorise the first three letters of your number plate

look again and again in each carpark afterwards

leftovers I called it

carrying takeaway containers of everyone I’ve held

my arms are so heavy

the 7-eleven has never been more silent

 

this, too, is eulogy

and still we raise our phones
even if the day was riddled with grief
this must be captured
this has to be held in more than just my hands
             you 
                  too
should hold it
              you 
                  too
should get to see this beautiful thing
     how this
                  too
is worship
how it rests in my fingertips
just people holding bodies in a church
i wonder when the body i hold will be mine
when will the house i continue to build
be one all my furniture fits into
how this    too can be eulogy
because by pure definition it is simply this:
to raise others on high
and if that is truth
then every single day i stretch my voice to eulogy


still we 
                                cry
          and ache
                                       and laugh

big belly laughter that reaches to your toes
and still we dance
way into the night
way into the morning
as if to say if we stop moving the sun will not rise
and still we fuck and pay the rent
and forget to pay our phone bills
    and cry
                                                and wretch
         and scream

because what is worship without screaming?
what is worship without love so fierce it almost breaks you?
what is worship without love so fierce it pulls back together every single time?
how easily we knit back together
we have only been stretching


but look how crammed we are
in every single space
elbow to elbow
how kind to know this many people
to have them all in the same place
how that too is eulogy
side by side
where i don’t have to feel my body
how i am between enough bodies to not need
not only yours but also my own
how you question whether you could be saved
even on the night you believe you don’t need to be
but who knows you better than these strangers
with their free vessels of 
                             sweat
                                                      and pulse
    and kind
who knows you better than the night
that sticks to your throat
only to remind you when you awake tomorrow
that it was there
and who here needs to know of your grief
and your regret
a walk to the train station gone way wrong


look         
          look
the rave has saved you
         yet again    
your sweat has caught you
        yet again
your lover knows you
       yet again
our phones are all lifted to the sky
              yet
                            again

 

split

 

the streets smell like holy water

and we all know i spend a lot of time

thinking about worship

thinking about g - d

thinking about the linoleum

                    and the stone

                    and the stained glass

 

the shoreline doesn’t though

it’s salty

but also faintly like rotting egg

 

and i’m in the background of a lot of people’s pictures

and i suppose they’re in mine

but i can’t help but wonder what i look like

or if it matters

 

the souvenir shops sell lavender

and the streets do too

and it’s in the sky

and i want it in my hair

                       in my body

                       in my skin

 

they also sell wind up music boxes

and i thought i was done with g - - - f

but we all know four months isn’t that long

if we’re counting

and most people are

 

and it’s funny because it’s not sad

like i’m not bawling my eyes out next to all the people buying magnets

it just sits in your chest in that way it does

and i suppose that’s just it

but i can’t help but wonder what i look like

or if it matters

 

the streets smell like holy water 

and the hat he wore while we were here is right there

and g - d titters from a clear sky

and it’s warm

it’s still so warm

 

i stand on the cusp of a laneway and split fast food

there’s a man playing the violin

and we all know i’m a sucker for strings

                                                   for the sea

                                                   for the sunset that’s wrapping itself into my own palms

 

she hands me the veggie burger

my smile settles into my cheeks

& the shoreline is 

                                           lavender 

                                                         and peach

 

the sun spends hours trying to rise 

after Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib

 

 

everyone keeps going on and on about this big world we are in / but really it is so small / & he says my name after that / & it falls off his tongue like silk / & i want to thank him for holding it so safely / and i want to tell him that in another universe / where maybe he doesn’t move from croatia to australia in ‘97 / where the summers don’t stick his back door closed / where time doesn’t pass so damn quickly / while the world changes / & our mother’s hairs go grey / in that other universe / where we all live in Shangri-La / and i don’t mean the luxury hotel chain / in that other universe / i want to tell him that i think my dad would be a man like him / kind and blood no longer heavy with ethanol / kind and no longer heavy with grief / but i don’t say anything / & he points to a tree in the shadows of dark / & tells me in ‘97 i could have slept there / & not a soul would have bothered me / & i wonder what he’s thinking / picking up a kid like me this late / because i feel like a kid / in the front seat of this car / that feels hollow / or makes me feel hollow / while headlights skip beats / & i only see half of the streets / & i will stumble to my front door / while he checks i get in safe / even though i know he doesn’t have to / even though we both know he doesn’t have to / but if he doesn’t / who will / because it’s late / & the front light wasn’t left on / because i forgot / so as i fumble for keys / i think / it’s been a long time since someone checked / i think / it’s been a long time since i’ve had to tell someone i’ll be home late / texted my mama to tell her my bed will be empty for a while longer than usual / & so i rush back to the hollow car / & i say thank you / again and soft / again and kind / again / & i feel the ethanol in my own blood / & i say / sorry / again and soft / again and kind / again / sorry / sorry i didn’t want to be this / sorry i’m scared / sorry i always knew i would turn out like him / because i am / the most like him / even in the alternate universe / i still take my coffee black there / i still sometimes feel like i’m the DOA that ruined everyone’s night there / because that’s what he’s always been for us / & i am back at the window of the hollow car now / & the man smiles gently / so small / he says again / & i know he’s right / but i can’t help but think that / here / in the dim light of almost dawn / because it’s gotten that late now / or early i suppose / here / i have never felt so far from every body who knows me / but instead i say / you know when you said that you moved here / for a moment i thought that here wasn’t this place / but the place i have been looking for / & that you somehow managed to find