She is just a girl but
she is missing,
Left her home and she is drifting,
Met a man who told her he was a prince,
Told her he could show her things,
Pied-piped her in,
But as she lies in his bedsit,
Dread thick,
As his breath
on her neck
makes her head sick,
She is missing,
And when her mum rings,
Tells her that she’s rid of him,
Rid too of the gin
that held her pinned,
Begging her daughter
to let her back in,
She is missing,
And when her best friend
calls her fat
breaks their pact and
shares that snapchat
that she can’t take back,
She is missing,
And when the grown-ups
sit and ponder,
Discuss the shackles that they put upon her,
Make the decisions
that they took from her,
Sit and tear her life asunder,
Is it really any wonder that
she is missing?


Lazy Love

Your love
it toes the lazy line,
Barely implied,
Like a silent aside,
Forcing me to read between the lines,
Read, and sigh,
and grieve, and cry for the
emotion you bury deep inside;
pilfered by the inner child
passed over for his father’s pride,
Unnoticed at his mother’s side,
Repressed, and damped, and twice denied,
This fragile babe you fight to hide
dwells inside
the stunted man,
the blunted, numbed, disgruntled man,
that now before me, broken, stands,
My heart in hand,
and offers


love be damned,
Your words
are cold,
Robotic prose
with careful ebbs
and pre-planned flows,
And yes they sway me to and fro,
And hint at truth in muted tones;
And I’ve done my best to settle in;
but I’m not at rest
for wondering,


stirring every now and then,
Craving more than you extend,
So I close my eyes and I pretend
to hear you say “I love you” when
these words
on which my heart depends
are words
you’ll never


Be careful,
Your face; it slips,
Melting lips
concealing rips,
Peeling at the edge of your eye,
Where your smile
fails to make those lines,
Reminds me that
this face is just a gauche design,
The one you wear
to hide
the fine cracks in the plaster behind,
It sits there like
the cheap wallpaper
of a spiteful mind
aligns both sides;
both wrong
and right,
Like two faces of a coin
What Yin disowns
so yang maligns,
Hides wickedness inside
of nice,
that have started lifting
at the sides,
Leaking lies
from the iris seams
Like a hiss of hot air;
Siren’s steam,
The winds of change ignited
– freed –
shall burn your truth
in effigy.

The Mistress of Sand

is flirting with me,
I see her across the room,
Leg peeking out from the slit in her dress,
A dress that’s swathed in
tiny shimmering stars
that dance
an Argentine Tango
just for me,

Her eyes,
they pretend not to,
but they see me,
Deep pools
that beckon me in,
And at first I hesitate,
to know her truths
but oh so acutely aware
of her reputation

An unfamiliar feeling swells
inside of me,
A lust
A dryness pulls at my lips
and my tongue slopes out carefully
to soothe their uncertainty,

I focus then
on the darkness of her skin,
On its blue-black tones,
So impossibly smooth and
just begging
to be caressed,
And in so doing
I imagine
a jolt of energy
that will electrify
my senses
and make me feel
alive again
with just a single touch,
So my fingers twitch for her,
Yearn for her,
Reach out for her,
But they fall short of her,
Grasp nought but air,
And she smiles,
And it takes my breath;
It is quite possibly
most perfect smile
to ever grace a face,

The smile of dreams,

And I almost then
– consumed with thoughts of her,
Afire with something
And forbidden,
And barely tangible –
I almost then get up and go to her,
Run to her,
Her embrace so close that I can
taste her,
But, as if anticipating my desire,
she shakes head,
The slightest shake
yet it makes
her hair cascade
in a belly dance of waves,
Hypnotic undulations
that fade
into a final ripple at her
And I have nothing left;
I am to be hers
Every fibre of my being
is ready to
surrender to her,
But she will not take me,

She never does,

And thusly we are fused,
in this
never-ending ruse
of who’s who
and who is tempting who,
Always one as Eve,
The other, Eden’s fruit,
And though we continue to
dance this dance
we both know
the truth;
is the Mistress of Sand
and I


In the space in between
the fifteen
I could see
that she was better than me,
Because she was whiter than me,
that life was
fairer to her just because
her hair
was fairer at birth,
and straighter at first,
And her nose
bore less girth
So her face held more worth,

Ivory skin
for the ivory tower
from which she glowers down at me,
But my life is too small for
her light eyes to see,
Cold light
sheds light
on the fact that she
is what I’ve always wanted to be, but
she cast a shadow on me.

In the space in between
the five
it was clear
that he was smarter
than me,
His mind
so impossibly keen
that I could never compete,
He, the master of words
I could only ever dream of being,
Through the glass ceiling
I could see
that he was better than me,
The blessed
and highly favoured of we,

His gender bent the rules
and blind eyes turned
while I got
taught not to spurn the lessons learned,
Black sheep next to a brilliant
coat of white,
So blinding was his light that
he cast a shadow on me.

Forever in their shadows, me,
With just black dog for company,
Cold and dark, I atrophy,
While five words mock repeatedly;
They are better than me.
They are better than me.

Southern Comforts

This one is dedicated to my Godfather and his wife who have both now passed. May they rest in peace xxx

Southern Comforts

If asked to recount a time in life
when I experienced pure joy,
It would be aged 15, in Florida,
with Aunty Joyce and Uncle Roy,

I’m sipping Southern Comfort
mixed with lemonade,
It burns its brand inside me
to mark that I’ve come of age,

Uncle bears a bucket
with the shrimp he caught that day,
While Aunty boils the water
and gets the supper underway,

Mother sets up the dominoes;
It’s Uncle’s turn to host tonight,
Cousin palms a lizard
to later give them all a fright,

The songs of cicadas carry
on the sticky summer air,
The drink it burns my belly now
but still I sip without a care,

Uncle goes to pour me more
but Mother shakes her head,
A laugh erupts from Uncle’s gut
and he pours Cousin some instead,

Aunty make us watch, then,
as the shrimps are boiled alive,
And to this day I’m still haunted
by the sound of their last cries,

Over dinner Aunty tells us jokes,
Tobacco scents her clothes,
Strange that that’s the detail
that I’ve come to miss the most,

Cousin washes dishes,
I stand beside and dry,
Whilst we whisper to each other
all our teenage hearts desire,

My drink has made me dizzy,
But I’m contented and relaxed,
And I find no fonder memory
Whenever I look back,

Uncle, he passed over,
And Aunty, she passed too,
And it was hard to shake the heartache
when my Mother broke the news,

See, more than 20 years have past me
since drinking that liqueur,
But that feeling; it still warms me,
I’ve not since had a joy that pure.


It’s his story,
And her story,
And my story too,
And today, I tell it the way I choose,
It’s in the way I enunciate my Ts,
Make sure I thank you
when I please,
Extend abundant courtesies
while I smile a smile
through gritted teeth,
For I am us,
For I am we,
For never once am I just me.

But I tell it too in a simple act,
When I shave my hair, then grow it back,
And black,
And unrelaxed,
Reclaiming what I used to lack;
A confidence
in baseline facts,
In fact, an honest held belief;
the grounding that this story needs,
It’s taken seed,
It’s roots run deep,
Deeper than tangled webs of weave,
Deeper than how our skin’s perceived;
We’re stronger than even we believe,
And our beauty shines
when our minds
are free.

And I tell my tale in the books I read,
In the gilded dreams between their seams,
And in the wealth
of hope and truth I reap
from the knowledge soaked,
And gorged
And steeped.

I tell it in every verse I pen,
Between the lines
where I don’t pretend,
In the awkward silence
– golden then –
when I call them out;
both foe and friend,
And they squirm,
and rage,
and squirm again.

But in the end
the way my story’s spun,
Is in what I choose to teach my son,
And in everything my daughter knows,
And in how I choose to feed his goals,
And in how I work to shape her mould,
In how I pave his ways and I spur her on,
On to battles not yet won,
That begin where many have begun;
On the same sticky floor
I was


And so it starts
Anthropoid lips reluctantly part
and suck me in,
They chew me up
and I stand suspended,
Digesting in the belly of the beast,
My senses feast
on fat and sweat and coffee breath,
On coughing deaths,
groins that press,
and grating voices unsuppressed,
And as the undulation
of another victim’s mastication
sways me to and fro,
I don’t let go,
I fight to keep hold
in the folds of staccato rocks and rhythmic rolls,
To maintain control,
But I know,
I know,
I cannot
break the mould,
Shake the unholy farce
of the road ahead,
and my eyes;
They sit heavy in my head,
And sleep constricts me still,
Squeezes tighter,
Tighter still,
Ekes out every drop of will,
And I watch it spill
and pool at my feet,
Leaving me weak and drained,
to be
just another pawn
in their game,
Another slave
in chains,
Off to harvest Massa’s cane,
It’s yesterday
all over again,
And tomorrow
will be just the same.
No rest,
No change,
And no escape;
The Railroad’s
by the train.

The Lie

Cheeks flushed
Skin warm to the touch
Yet shivers rush
up my spine
And before my mind
has time
to unwind
the tangled mess that’s inside
My lips say
I’m fine
My lips say
I’m fine
Until my face
falls in line
And my mind just
the lie.

Untouchable (Mike Hotel)

My mind is not well,
You think I’m an untouchable girl
but it’s all in your mind,
My symptoms,
my signs,
But they make you go blind,
Make your shoulders turn cold,
Make your ears go deaf,
Squeeze out your humanity
’til not one drop is left,
And I’m left resigned
to be crippled
by the stigmatic twine
of an ignorance fed
by a society that’s bred
to leave my kind for dead,
You can’t let me survive
lest I poison your well
with the ills of my head,
So instead
you throw pills at my bed
and just close the blinds,
And hope that the padded confines
of your prejudicial design
will keep me neatly inside
where you need pay me no mind,
Leaving me trapped and alone
in a quarantined cell,
A psychogenic hell,
Spiralling down through the stages of grief,
Through the pits of Old Nick
To the trenches beneath,
So while your world sleeps,
For me,
There is no relief,
There’s no wish in this well,
And there’s no hope in this hell
for an untouchable girl
whose only crime,
– best I can tell –
is a mind
that’s not well.

Poetry by Serena Malcolm ©2018 All Rights Reserved

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