Mayhem Literary Journal is proudly sponsored by Te Whare Wananga o Waikato, The University of Waikato

Death Rattle - Tim Shipton

Her voice is a suicide bathtub 
It is white spattered with red
It is panting
Exasperation
So fucking blue I can’t breathe
It clacks like a super 8 film reel
A 1950s pre-film countdown
5
                     4
                                           3
                                                                   2
                                                                                             1
I squint hard and pray for a spark to ignite the volatile nitrate
Her voice is the creak of the rope 
The tips of toes scrambling for the kicked away chair
Like save me
Like don’t let me die
Like Father forgive me for I know not what I do
It scrapes with the soft cleaving 
sweep of a blade 
across thin veined skin
Confessions dripping
pouring from the tips of her fingers
Her voice brings me flowers 
and burns down 
an orphanage
It is the whir of bodies falling from thirty story buildings.

Thirteen reasons this is not a love poem - Tim Shipton

One.
Because there isn’t time to explain the way your voice made my ears ring the first time we spoke.

Two.
Because it’s unfair to recall how I’d turn the other way with an Oh shit here she comes type skip and an awkward smile when I discovered my escape route was a wall, and you laughed. My cheeks burned.

Three.
Because there aren’t the words.

Four.
Because it would be a drop in the bucket of words I’d overuse like fate and destiny and every after-school special, Saved by the Bell, Party of Five, that warned me that if this were love I’d never get out alive.

Five.
Because I couldn’t do justice to the night we first explored each other’s lips. My fake I know what I’m doing courage falling flat as we stumbled through shyness laced with heat and an inability to stop.
Six.

Because I loved you.

Seven.
Because your Mother’s a bitch.

Eight.
Because I’m not a stoner I’m an artist. I’m a musician. I’m a Christian.  I’m whatever they need me to be for you. For us to be together.

Nine.
Because I wasn’t raised right. Because the only nuclear part of my family was the bomb that blew my Father out of the house.

Ten. 
Because I can taste the fear on your tongue. Because forbidden love isn’t a Titanic loyal tragedy. We aren’t Romeo and Juliet. I drank the poison with time enough to see you drop the dagger and run crying through the mausoleum doors.

Eleven.
Because you killed me.

Twelve.
Because somewhere in the smiles and depth of your proclamations I couldn’t quite make out the fact that I was Forest Gump and you were my Jenny. That the whole movie I loved you while you were content with shutting me out until cancer came to tear you away, but all you wanted from me was to look after the kid…. Or something.

Thirteen.
This isn’t a love poem because there’s no such fucking thing.

Contributor's Note

I am in my third year at Waikato University completing a BA (double major) in English and Screen and Media Studies. I am inspired by what I connect with emotionally. Love, humour and the morally questionable are all topics that I like to explore in the name of creative writing.

 

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