William Patrick, These are not love poems

Falling in Like


Every few weeks, based on how close my hands are to midnight,
I talk at you

I hold things until I hear you

fight to be myself, spend our hours searching
for new ways to describe feelings I struggle

to accept and/or forget

Sometimes I fail to forgive

I sit alone alongside all the boys I’ve been, looking at the men I may become

people I love and have loved
have fucked over and been fucked over by

we encourage me to swear


I paraphrase all the words and pictures I have inhaled
to escape cliché and having to say things like ‘I failed’ or ‘I feel’

Some days I answer with nothing to say

Those days scare me but I recognise now

I have always been brave

I want you to like me
even though you imply I’m not supposed to

I move through the agenda in my mind, watch hands wave our time away

So… that’s all, for this week


Like it’s our first time, you ask
if I would like to hear your voice again

sincerely, like I am bound to believe
that I am finished, not in need

of knowing kindness will flow through my phone to me

I have held scars to the light, inspected them
from the angles I can contemplate

I have survived.

I donate money as if it could repay
all the parts of me I now embrace

and walk back into life not quite in love
but a lot more in like

with all the pieces of myself and everyone else
I am yet to understand

The Ways

I’m thinking of all the ways
men don’t say I love you

the ratio between kind words and slurs
we speak to one another

how alcohol loosens our jaws
as oil softens an engine.

You were missed (by who?),
never I miss you

embrace to celebrate unexpected goals —
hardly ever goodbye or hello

talk topics alpha pre-approved
via sentence openers safe to use.

Mostly omit weakness:
we are not the time nor space

to apologise and mean it,
admit to not being ok

recount any moment
we did not rise to meet.

To cry? Our tears are rainwater
we cup to carry in our palms

and bury deep in darkness
till the next time we are blindsided

by rejection, fear or defeat
and our rage rises.

I’m thinking of all the ways
men don’t say I love you.

We tell our fathers only
when they cannot say it back.

Under our Sun

‘I was flying past the stars on silver wings,’ Matilda said.

Is that your favourite song, you ask
as I sit elsewhere watching the film
thinking how your brain
burns differently, wondering
what I’ll eat next
when you whip out wonder
education has conditioned me
not to expect

I pause, weigh my words
their effect and cause
on this moment, the next
opt to tell a truth
of black and white
no grey areas or conditions
big, little, smart, dumb, wrong, right

I say, It is, but can’t resist, Why

Because you were REEAALLLYY quiet!
you reply with killer smile
which translates as
‘This is the first time all movie
that you actually shut up.’

Your ability to convey
sensitive and difficult
your scythe through shite
wisdom, insight
is beyond almost all the adults
I’ve had the misfortune to have met

you rarely wound

to you
curious is an emotion
sad and mad afterthoughts

I am lost in conversations
I have with you and my ignorance
of who you are before and after and during
across all dimensions especially imaginary
that we stumble upon on a rainy Tuesday
when I am supposed to be teaching you time
while you paint the light of a shooting star
and flag down truth with your free hand to hitchhike

I follow, strapped into a red sofa
hurtling through time and space
resenting earth forever breaking our fall

Freud doesn’t have Twitter

This is a walk in darkness
while I speckle our demons with flashlight.

We may stumble on the fact that
I am not compelled to verbalise
requited, unconditional, timeless

together, apart and back
because I realise paper means nothing,
speech is too easy

but I will work to understand
that I have been guilty of falling
for a woman you sometimes pretend to be.

I love who you are —
may be next week; newly wrapped
in joyous relief you will share you with me.

We have grown.
Forgive me when presence
is all I have to give

This is not a love poem

I want you to understand

that I have retired
from sonnet life,
falling in love on paper,
forcing history to rhyme,

from writing itself, yet
you draw me out of myself.

My pen is no longer a sword
I wield nor wand I wave
at women who will never love me
beyond the page.

I don’t know what us is

and bits of that terrify me
because I don’t want or need
to sketch those dreams,

to prescribe, define, or control,

I cringe to write it but
I’m going with your flow.

I am far from it, still, but
beside you, I am whole.

William Patrick has been stockpiling words throughout a short lifetime spent writing, editing, and on literary study. He writes primarily in response to his own feelings and experiences but hopes these will resonate for anyone brave enough to read him.

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