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

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

You’re the sunshine

You’re the sunshine

Sweetheart
You’re the ocean laced with sugar
I bathe in
When you take me to the beach inside my head

You’re the ache in my chest
When I can’t be close enough to hold you

You’re the warm weighted air on my hand
When I reach out just to see if you’re there
When I am without

You’re the sunshine through my window
That warms me up and sets my cheeks ablaze

You’re the song lyrics I can’t get out of my head
When they sing about the sweetness of love

God I can’t stop smiling with you
Everytime the sun shines

Darling
You mean everything to me

By Emma Catherine

thelilaclysander.com

I’ll let you know

I’ll let you know

Stay away
For today
I am sick.
It’ll be okay
One of these days
But for now
I am weak.
I’ll let you know when you can hold me
Without me falling apart at your feet
I don’t want to become dust
That means nothing to us
Ready for sweeping.
I’ll let you know when it’s safe to love me
So I won’t shake you
Or even break you.
Because I am sick and
only angels are holding me up.
When I am taller, instead of smaller
I’ll let you know
So we can reach for sunrise and smile at sunset
Knowing I made it.
I wish I could make me better
And once I’m better
If you don’t mind the wait
I’ll let you know.

By Emma Catherine

thelilaclysander.com