Sunday, February 28, 2016

Three Poems by Charles Heathcote

The Post

Her silence told me there would be
no more late night conversations
about sparkling vampires and rosy apples,
no more shared books sent via Royal Mail
with the pocket money we squirreled away.

I had made the mistake,
my indiscretion our introduction to summer.
She did not forgive me as I had forgiven her,
asked me for time whilst she went to California for three months
and I stayed home to babysit grandmothers, cousins and children.
She saw the coast and long lost relatives
on a cruise to celebrate the end of her exams.

The silence began when she returned,
our words no longer filled with the lemonade fizz of enthusiasm.
She treated me with courtesy and I asked where I could return her books--
an address in York--she would cross the country for university
though we barely found time for each other.

I sent the books,
recorded delivery.

Sweet Store

and he offered this, his lollipop,
saccharine sweet, candy-striped,
said that after one taste I would be hooked
that the aftertaste would linger in my memory
like Starburst or Haribo or Hubba-Bubba gum,
always swallowing though they called it bad for you

but I had my fill of jelly men,
a younger me would bite their feet off first,
save precious attention for the head,
press it between my fingers and watch it oozed
now I ate them whole,
refused to acknowledge their similar faces

now he offered this, his lollipop,
when I wished for more than sweets
when I craved the one who held them.

Be Still

You put a smile on my face
when you whispered all your lies,
when you told me I was beautiful
with my reflection in your eyes;
it'd only been three hours
yet I'd never felt more alive

we sat and drank till two a.m.
shared our nonsense and our fears;
your calluses along my palm,
breaths brushed against my ear
and you held my hand like someone
who knew what they had planned;
guess you worked too hard at being kind
for us to just be friends.

I let you in,
didn't mean I had to let you in.

I am not a challenge,
a puzzle you can't figure out
think you only crave somebody
who says they won't make a sound.

You said that I could say no
you wouldn't make demands
but you were holding me down
before we'd even held hands;
you had me up against a wall
but I had to turn my back:
I know that I am beautiful,
you're a coward, not a man

and I let you in,
didn't mean I had to let you in.
And I chose to let you go
and if that means you leave me
I won't follow you.

Charles Heathcote has always lived in Macclesfield and very rarely leaves.  Since 2011, he has been secretary to the Macclesfield Creative Writing Group.  In 2013, he graduated from MMU Cheshire with a BA in Creative Writing.  He released his first collection of monologues, Our Doris, in 2015.

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