Coping through Poetry: poems from misogyny, to mental health, to the antidote itself

By Catriona Morton
Artwork By Miranda Gamble
STEEL

Steel your gaze

From the men who mean you harm

Who mean to stamp on you

When your flame becomes too bright

When your shout becomes your fight

Wear your lipstick and kiss them on the eyes

When they close them against your blinding light

Don’t let them quiet you

Or deny you from your space in this gravity

You are just as worthy as all of them

Don’t let your body be forbidden from this world

Relish in your delicate atoms

Iridescent, unapologetic girl

Take

You licked the happiness out of me

As if my sadness was the sweetest lolly you’d ever tasted

And my demise was the sugar you were forbade

You scraped my seeds out and threw me on the heap

Sucking my flesh from my skin

Using my body for your sustenance and health

You now glow

You peeled my organs from my bones

And played them to your congregation

Knowing I was sat by the doors

Begging you to lay me at my tombstone

I write you

I was so scared of you

Of your ink drawing the veins out of me

Blotting the blood of my cosmos’s content

The symbols portraying my deepest bruises

My deepest fear

I haven’t let you come out for years now

But you have me drunk and high

Escaped from your cage with whisky and smokes

With passion and release

I need you coming from my fingertips

Like I needed him to come for me

All those times

Like I needed a hand to guide me

On those blinding nights

Your electricity firing through my capillaries

Out of my arteries

I feel you like the blood in my shell

Decades of life oozing out of my timid neurons

You may be arthritic but you will become

Warm

Now be free

Flow in the blood and the heat

Explode onto the white

Make art of this tree

My hand will guide these letters

Carve the dark into the light

Calligraphy of stars in my night

As I now carve myself into the woman

I always knew I was

I wear headphones

You protect me from men

who say my name with tongues weighted by hate

On the new road I didn’t know my dress

necessitates me as bait

You deafen the vulgar and the malice

they pour into my aura

Thinking it’s a compliment

to swear at a woman you adore her

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