Buy One Get One Free (27/30)

You’re out at the shopping centre,

ready to try on something different,

looking for new clothes to fill out,

thinking, dreaming of how great you could look.

You find a  jumper four sizes too big,

it’s perfect! Just like the one in the magazine you read every week.

You climb in, a home too big to house your belongings

promise yourself to grow into it

make plans to renovate, expand yourself

be something different, something more.

You leave happy but unsettled.

 

One day you gaze in the mirror a moment too long,

see yourself swallowed up by the ocean of expectations you’ve given yourself

take off the jumper defeated and regress.

 

Confidence knocked you take shelter in a charity shop,

desperately ransack clothes racks for something familiar,

find clothes that reek of childhood.

Tell yourself you could be comfortable in them.

Pull it over your head in hopes of a better image,

even though it took 10 minutes to get on you smile,

pass the money to the cashier, it’s your’s,

you might be limiting yourself to old trends,

at least you know you look great.

 

You look at old photos to compare

cringe that the jumper-phase was ever a thing,

you’re much  more comfortable now.

It’s like you’re 15 again,

it’s like you never grew up,

nothing ever changed.

You look in the mirror again, reality lumps out of your body

bursting under the pressure to keep your adulthood under wraps.

This isn’t good enough.

You aren’t good enough.

 

You rip the clothes off and start the process again.

 

-A.Webb (first draft)

Throw down the gauntlet (26/30)

I look outside my window and stare the sun down with suspicion,

I make sure it knows this isn’t a friendly meeting,

Oh no, Sun, this is your interrogation

‘I know you’re game, it’s good that you’re here but…

are you really gonna stick around?’

I look around and everything tells me yes,

the sun shines even harder as if to prove me wrong,

I can smell sun lotion in the air,

strangers are ravaging ice cream cones,

friends have already posted pictures in their summer clothes

celebrating summer’s supposed arrival so hard

it’d make the other seasons jealous.

 

I want to believe the evidence;

‘don’t get me wrong, Sun, you’re a decent fella.

I’m a fan of your work but your commitment to England?

It’s been questionable at best.

I’m not sure whether you really want to be here,

does keeping us warm motivate you?

Is it what gets you out of bed in the morning?

I’m not convinced’.

The sun keeps on shining – a move of arrogance

I’m going to stay shining and there is nothing you can do about it.

 

I give in, during my 22 years

I’ve realised that arguing with giant flaming balls of gas is a fools game,

a futile effort and a waste of my time and the sun’s.

I congratulate it on a job well done,

concede and go to my room,

race to put my shorts on, snap my sunglasses on faster than ever before,

run outside and bask in the sun.

It’s warm, it’s beautiful and I,

well, I love it!

 

I head over to my mates and they look confused

‘have you checked the weather?’ one says.

I load up the app, smile on my face,

staring back at me in big, obnoxious font is

‘60% CHANCE OF THUNDER STORMS’.

 

Well played, sun,

you win this round.

 

-A.Webb (first draft)

Mute. (24/30)

Pack away the sun,

block the doors and lock up the key,

turn off every light,

shut windows so the world can’t see.

 

Let’s draw in the clouds,

separate our night from the day,

welcome the darkness;

shelter to keep the world at bay.

 

Record all your hopes,

things that you too foolishly sought,

spend your time writing,

keep hold of every single thought.

 

Cancel your future

give up and go back to square one,

destroy all your things,

burn the evidence and then run.

 

-A.Webb (first draft)

A Year in Review (23/30)

In autumn, I’ll complain that England is always overcast

because I want sunlight to brighten the day.

 

In winter, I’ll complain that England is too cold

because it’s been years since we had any sun.

 

In spring, I’ll complain that all it does is rain in England,

because it does always rain in England,

 

In summer, I’ll complain that it is too hot

because this heat wave has gone on for months.

 

-A.Webb (first draft)

Consideration (22/30)

I’m sat in the gardens,

basking in the sunlight,

cooled by the breeze.

I don’t think this is paradise

I’m not sure that exists,

though it’s a pretty good stand-in.

I do my best to give time to the world,

take in every little thing that passes by,

sometimes it’s not practical.

It would be nice to shut everything off,

power down and just exist.

 

I came out here in hopes of change,

thinking that maybe I’d discover myself again,

relax more and care less.

If that was my goal I haven’t succeeded,

but as I looked around the garden,

I realised it’s beautiful the way it is,

I might even say perfect (or as close as possible)

So, I might not be able to turn off whenever I want

but if the garden is this amazing by just being,

maybe I am too.

Maybe it’s more than enough to be me.

 

-A.Webb (first draft)

Sex Sells (21/30)

Honey, we can make this beautiful!

Sure, it’ll take some work, anything worthwhile does.

Let’s plan out a campaign to romanticise the awful thing that happened.

Get it right and we can sell it to the world.

Our lives will still be a mess but we’ll be idols.

 

We’ll distort the reality of what happened to make millions;

with every purchase of our heavily edited, neat and tidy trauma

you will receive an exclusive pair of rose tinted glasses,

a perfume bottle packed with our scent the night it happened

(spray it on yourself for the illusion of understanding)

and last but certainly not least;

signed photographs from us, the stars!

 

Pay extra and we’ll record a personalised cassette tape

detailing our suffering, fear and anxiety about the situation

so you too can put yourself in the mindset of a survivor!

It’s an offer you simply cannot refuse!!

 

Huh, how apt.

 

-A.Webb (first draft)