asymmetries
Nicola Cayless.
Looking for light in words.





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I laughed and laughed until they wrapped their hands around my heart and squeezed, and suddenly, short of breath, I am bursting everywhere all at once and it is terrifying.

Anonymous :  I feel so tired, darling. My family is collapsing and burying me in the debris, and my boyfriend's schizophrenia is acting up so I don't know what's real with him right now. Any suggestions, love? What do you do when your world falls apart?

I wish I could wrap you in my arms and tell you it’s all going to be okay, but I suspect those aren’t the words you need right now. I’m so sorry it’s all very hard right now, but I want to let you know that even though you feel like you’re shattering, you’re still whole in the very core of you - I don’t know what we do when the world is like this. I could tell you smoke cigarettes, drink coffee and cry, but that won’t do anything to change it. I think maybe the best thing you can do now is take it day by day: remembering each day, that you are whole and strong, even when you feel like your skin has melted away and everything is raw. Deep inside of you, you are warm. And this day will pass.

"What are we holding onto, Sam?"
"That there’s some good in this world, Mr Frodo, and it’s worth fighting for."

the spoon theory

They tell me, count your spoons,
Cradle them to your chest, don’t
let them go for anybody but yourself.
Drink soup, and sleep.

I am looking at my hands
and I think my fingers are turning
into coffee-spoons. I am scooping
at life, and only ever picking up
sand, and they are pulling at my joints,
and I am exploding in a thousand
directions.

I need forks, you see, or knives,
something I can cut through the world with,
and drink from the nectar within.
I am too much of a thunderstorm,
not enough of a rainshower. 
I am pulling at the roots of things.

And they are telling me,
keep your spoons, 
scoop pudding and dream.

And I am telling you,
I want to set the world on fire.
Give me matches, and I will burn the steel
down.

I know my poetry lately has been rather ordinary, but I’m just so excited that I’m writing again, after months of drought.

like a bullet in a gun

I always thought trigger was a strange word.
A word that held the promise of destruction,
that when unleashed would throw us back
into the walls, panting, bleeding. I always 
thought that it was cruel to give a name
to what I spend my days running from,
for fear of riven skin and open hearts.
A word that you never forget. A word
you spend your life fearing. A word,
like a bullet in a gun.

quietly growing up

There are nights that I think of you
as the little girl with pigtails in her hair,
and a nervous lilt in her step.

Nights, when you are scared
and you cannot find the way home,
and I am silent in the backseat.

And the mornings you pull on your kilt
and look at the way your thighs touch, and think,
I am two parts of a whole coming together.

I am watching you cry into your earl grey,
and your mother hovers by, and laughs,
because what else is there to do but break?

I can hear you now, still, echoing through the wind.
The way you said your name is the way
I fall asleep: quietly, and dreading the fall.

She is taking up my whole bed but I can’t move her because she’s purring away and so cute.
excerpt of [untitled]

I’m looking for strings,
you see.

The fishing line I know
that must be wrapped around
my bones, slicing through
my flesh every time I
move. The fishing line,
so thin, that cuts through the air
and connects

To a puppeteer’s
cross. 

Están moviendo lentamente,
escuchando el pulso del mundo.

You know, there are things
I want to be able to write. 

Like falling in love.
Like dying and breathing.
Like knowing what it would have been like
if I had never met you.

And how different I would be,
for being okay, for standing upright
as a girl, for knowing how to breathe
without remembering you have tasted me.

And I can’t.

And this is a shitty poem
that is the closest I will ever come
to writing about you.

Because it will never not have happened,
and I will keep on keeping on.