Nicola Cayless.
Looking for light in words.

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A man takes his sadness down to the river and throws it in the river
                        but then he’s still left
with the river. A man takes his sadness and throws it away
                                                      but then he’s still left with his hands.

The Boot Theory, Richard Siken

Sneaky snippet of a poem from my book:

I don’t mean to say you’re unhappy, baby,
I don’t mean to say I’m looking at the pebbles by the road and thinking,
where did you come from, little one;
I mean that there could have been
a little apple tree somewhere in your bowels.

I can’t wait to share the finished collection with you all. x

To Bald Snakes & Men With Stubble

I remember welts upon my back,
the seatbelt drawing blood. 

I can still taste cigarettes
lingering on my thirteen year old tongue. 

I cannot stop tracing the bruises
your elephant fingers left upon my skin. 

I know where you have fled to:
the darkness has taken you in.
When the sun falls, I choke.
You are hidden in every shadow
and lurk in every corner.
Did you mean to frighten, Boogey Man?
Did your fingers probe for fear?

Oh, I have so many names for you, serpent man,
that these verses cannot contain them:
you are the faked orgasms,
the desperate scratches,
the shots of vodka.
Broken noses, teenage angst. Scars and pumped stomachs.
Blood tests and diagnoses and acronyms and silence.

They call me Lolita, I think.
I have other names, but they all just end
in cracked mirrors and nightmares. 

My therapist called this self-destruction.
It’s not.

you taste like candy floss
from somebody else’s lips—

too sweet and too sticky
and terribly delicious

Three years on this website; three years writing; three years reading; three years laughing; three years loving; three years being.
Thank you, thank you, thank you - to all of you. Who have stuck with me for three years or those who just found me. Thank you for reading me, for being kind, being encouraging. Thank you for reading my words and thinking, yes.
So much love. For all of you. xx
Thistle Magazine

Thistle Magazine is something that means very much to me. This is the first print magazine I have ever worked on, and I truly have so much passion and such high hopes for what we can achieve with this wonderful, whimsical, heartfelt magazine. We are running a Kickstarter - that means that we are raising funds in order to be able to print independently at an affordable and fair price, which right now, we cannot do. NOTHING you pledge will be at all taken from you until the 31st of August, and even then, only if we make our goal ($5000) - please consider donating, even a $1 pledge sees you earn a reward, with prizes right up to $1000! It means the world to us, please check us out. (And yes, I will be sharing this incessantly over the next 31 days.)

On Shrimp

strange little shrimp. 

who lives on the ocean floor,
who has no need of flight.

who tells anglerfish strange dreams
in other languages (that they can breathe,
grow hands, love separately).

who gets lost in elevators.

who asks for names.

the whale,
swallowing seas,
waiting for something to stick.

the shrimp,
passing straight through.


❝ I want to be crackers in your soup,
I want to be your brass compass. Oh, mister,
Just thinking about you curls the ends of my hair.

— "What Rings But Can’t Be Answered", Rebecca Lindenberg

❝ Poetry is the nude that stays nude.

— William Logan,”The Nude That Stays Nude”

I find it so strange when people take a line from one of my pieces, and hold it to their chests, saying, yes, this one, yes, yes. I’m left here wondering what it is about that sentence that means so much to them: is it the words, is it the feel, the smell, taste, hope, meaning? I’m not sure, I’m not sure what I have to offer anyone but myself, and so I put my pieces out and never think that they will touch other people. I write because it means something to me, and sometimes at the end, I think, this is not what it was at the beginning, this is not what it meant to me, but they’re still words, they’re still words, and words mean everything. And then you, dear reader, find those words and you give them milk, and you take them home, and make them feel loved, and that’s what confuses and delights me, because I don’t know what my words mean but maybe, maybe, maybe, you do.