Featured Image Credit: Drawing by Agnes Martin
body as cloud
whole entity made from vapour
and vapour made of shards
always collapsing and rebuilding itself
shredding your fabric
a ladder in the nylon of your want
what do you want?
To not be a collage
I am not a whole person, I cry, I
am just bits and pieces
trying to hold the whites of the sky
feeling them grate through your fingers
Your history, the psychiatrist asks.
What that means is
no luxury of life
as others know it.
is just a mimicry of a voice
like how I am merely a foil
for all the things that have happened to me.
Write it down.
Before I was told how trauma works I thought my memory was faulty
I couldn’t retain a thing
If you asked me about my childhood I would say it was grey.
Things float in,
vague as the colour
of pickle brine-
some community choir, swimming lessons, kissing girls in the school toilets,
wanting to die,
( O, wanting to die, isn’t that the Sexton poem? and that old first love
of mine, that old concrete
not understanding that children aren’t supposed to want
what I wanted.
The weather in my memories is always bad, but this part might be true,
I grew up in England.
It’s just that your memory is depressed
says some idiot in
Someone reads something I’ve written, says,
children aren’t really this unhappy.
What can I say, maybe I’m a liar
for many, mentally ill is a synonym for untrustworthy.
I can’t wait to have a wedding
so that I finally know
which was the happiest day of my
Is that what I’m trying to do here?
The more I say I, will I become me?
The more they say you it wanes and wanes and wanes and wanes and
Here is the failure of language
Who is describing me this time
and what do they mean
And what do I mean
when I write it down like this
write myself into existence
or out of it
the failure of failures
Killing my self
physically, after all,
did not work
Alanna McArdle is a writer from London, UK. She has published poetry in print and online in Shabby Doll House, Prelude Magazine, Poems in Which, For Every Year, and The Chapess, among others, and she was recently included in episode three of the podcast Poets In Bed. Her non-fiction and journalism has featured in print and online in Pitchfork, Crack Magazine, The NME, The Talkhouse, Noisey, and Broadly, among others. Her fiction has been published in Structo Magazine, and her short story ‘Butter’ was shortlisted for the 2018 Desperate Literature short fiction prize. Her debut poetry pamphlet “split ends” is forthcoming November 2019 from Makina Books.