Vanity is a lie

Vanity is a lie

I look in the mirror far too much.
I fish for complements.
I paint my face, a mask,
I put blood on my lips
I wash my hair of everything bad that lives inside my head
I comb it and curl it
Until you can see every shade of beautiful honey blonde that shines there.

I look in the mirror far too much.
I admire my glow,
My radiance,
My perfect lips.
I see the beauty that everyone tells me I possess
And I ignore the faces of people who have ruined my dignity that I see beside me
The hungry spirits that possess me.
I watch those people staring at me
Thinking
‘god look at that beauty
what a pretty little thing
Look at that vanity’

But really
When I stare into my own eyes in the reflection
I blink back the tears
to stop the black paint running from my eyelashes
And I ask myself
How can this body
Hide the thick repulsive poison that sits inside?
How can it conceal the pain
That burns up the organs inside of me?
Vanity builds the blooming garden of roses across my cheeks
and the sunflowers that reach up my legs
To hide the bundles of stinging nettles that fill out my bones.

I look in the mirror far too much.
So tell me
How can it be that I am so beautiful?
When so much ugliness has been bred inside me?
What a treasure
That people see vanity instead of vulnerability
Vanity instead of years of violation.
What an absolute
Beautiful
Treasure.

Human

Human

I remember the night I realised God is human
It was a night in August
When I died in a man’s bed
I died ugly, exhausted, boiling, hurt
My heart still beats with the wings of songbirds
Trapped in cages in people’s bedrooms
My skin was smoking with the heat
I ached and ached and wept and ached
But when I had the lid ripped off my Pandora’s box
And I saw Hope lying at the bottom
Like a dead blackbird
I prayed
I prayed for someone to save me
I prayed for someone from the living or the dead or the heavens
To reach down and wrap me in their cool arms
Told in all the cherry wine spilling out of my chest
So I could breathe
And it was then
When I was alone in a bed
That belonged to a stranger that I thought I knew
That I realised that God is the most human deity I could believe in
Because she couldn’t save my life that night
She isn’t a miracle worker
Just like our fathers aren’t superheroes
And our mothers aren’t queens
God is just a human that I had built into something called Hope
And when I realised why I was left to die
I thought that God hadn’t heard my prayers that night
Because
Perhaps she was just
Sleeping

By Emma Catherine

thelilaclysander.com

Things I do for you

Things I do for you

I make the bed
I clean up our dirty tea cups
I laugh and smile at you when you’re the light of my life
I love you every day with my heart
I take you’re jacket when you’re too warm
I wrap you in blankets when you’re too cold
I plaster your fingers when they’re sore
I hold your hand when you’re breaking
I clean your blood off the walls
I hide your drugs to keep you safe
I throw away your blades
I wash the blood off my hands every time
I talk you down every time
I sit with you until the sun comes up when it’s a bad night
I save your life when you can’t save your own
I would breathe life back into you if you died
I do all of these things because I love you
I saved your life
I just hope someone is there to save mine

By Emma Catherine

thelilaclysander.com

Lou

Lou

You’re asleep next to me as I write this
I wanted to let you know
How you are a woolly jumper when I need to keep warm
And you are a soft linen dress for me to dance in when it’s summer
You are everything and
everything I need
Rolled into one

By Emma Catherine

thelilaclysander.com

I’m not coming home

I’m not coming home

I spent years trying to escape my burning home
The house was fine
But the walls inside we’re black with soot
The flames that I felt the scalding heat from
Lapped at my skin
Leaving burns in the places most people don’t see
The air inside is thick with smoke
It covered my mouth
Like a grey leather glove pressed against my lips
Fighting for breath
With my parents hands fitting so perfectly over my voice
The matches we lit ignited the carpets
They burned and burned with the alcohol flooding the rooms
From my mother’s empty wine bottles
They blazed so high
But so silently that there was nothing anyone could do
My lovers would see the ash on my skin
And weep with me
Because no matter how much I was being flamed
When there’s no real fire to put out
What can they do to save me?
I spent eighteen years fighting the fire in my home
I spent so long trying to hide from the heat
And longer soothing my burns
But now I am free
I am getting my breath back
With every exhale I set loose the smoke inside of me
Sometimes I am even scared to talk to people
Because of the stench of burning flesh on my breath
I got out less than a month ago
The air is cooler on the other side
The little fires inside of me still roar
When I hear my mother’s voice down the phone
And I smell the smoke on her tongue she speaks
I am reminded of the walls I fought to escape from
I feel the grief of the things I’ve left behind
Which have turned to dust
I grieve and I grieve and I grieve
For the home that I never knew
For the mother I didn’t save
And I burn for the father with matches in his back pocket.
The new skin I’m growing covers up
The parts of me that could never breathe
What a gift to no longer be suffocated
What a gift to be able to tell my father,
The one who built the home that he set ablaze,
That no matter how much you ask for me to forgive you,
I escaped the chains I was bound in
I survived the fire
I’m so sorry
But I can’t
I’m not coming home.

By Emma Catherine

thelilaclysander.com

November Rain

November Rain

November rain comes around on the anniversary
I take a drink of it just for you
Melted clouds on my tongue
And I look for the signs again
All the things you said but didn’t quite say
The words you said to tell me what was on your mind
And I’m sorry didn’t quite hear
What you were really saying
You said it was too cold for you to stay
(Is it warmer There?
Send me a postcard if you wouldn’t mind)
I’m glad you kept my scarf
Another one of the bits of me
That you took with you
So maybe you could keep me close
When it got too much
And so you didn’t have to break me
But god I feel the pain now.
I remember how cold your hands were
When you kissed me goodbye
And held me in your palms
They were just like ice.
I see you in the frost on the grass
And the snow.
I need to tell you
I’ve got you under my pillow
A bunch of rosemary
Tucked up in bed with me.
I wish I could say goodbye again
I’d give you some gloves to warm your fingertips
Give you my umbrella to keep the rain off your shoulders
But now the year has rolled around
The rain will keep on pouring for you
All the way through November
And I will love you

By Emma Catherine

thelilaclysander.com