“Edinburgh Castle” and other poems by Eva O’Connor

I.

Edinburgh Castle

I proposition you
I splat my soul onto cobble stones
While you have a fag
You smell the same
Of sweat
and the burnt dust from shite parcans expertly rigged

You smell the same
But everything is different
Your edges are rougher ,
You are thinner now
Your eyes sparkle less than I remember

I know you broke your collar bone
I snatch glances
But there are no protruding bones

Your hands are red raw
They tell-tale betray you
your skin’s not good
I want to undress you
To heal you with kisses

You study the cobbles
perhaps you can see the vague outline of my soul
Like the coastline of a small country
bathed in the blue light of the castle

I proposition you
I tell you plainly
That there are others
But it is you.
That a year on
The cigarette burn you left on the white of my inside arm
Simply
will not fade

I want to hear you laugh
I want you to split me open with your smile
I could dance for you, I think
But not on these cobbles stones
Not in these shoes
Suddenly I am tired

as I speak I remind myself
Words are my weapons
My allies
I will bend and buckle them
Til you relent and hold me

But once they are borne into air
They do no float as I have planned

You inhale and meet my eye
You squint at me like I have slighted you
I think about how my vomit would look
A light layer of floating bits
Like packet soup
Spilled atop my soul
there on the cobbles

You drop my gaze again
Like I am a game that bores you now
You say something about keeping your hands in your pocket.

You finish your cigarette
and toss the butt between two cobbles
I watch it glow a terrific orange before it dies
A tiny amber star
Beside the blackness of my soul

 


II.

I left beers in the fridge.
Two bottles of overpriced Beck’s from a stuffy corner shop, the one with the basket leathery apples by the till.

I hoped when you sipped from the hard green glass, you’d think of me and smile.

I left a pair of hoops on your bedside table, cheap ones from Penny’s, gold come greenish bronze.

I hoped you’d mistake them for expensive, a family heirloom,
And post them back with a note and your initial.
Or keep them in a secret drawer til next time.

I left a purple charger with an Eva sticker on the plug.
I hoped you’d find it, wind it up and wonder about me.
Marvel at my Hansel and Gretel trail on your home and in your heart.

I left a tiny piece of my soul I think. Triangular and glistening like a shard of glass.
It slipped down the gap between the wall and the luxury mattress I was using you for.

 

III.

I walk past your house
On Brick Lane
And tears spring up
Behind my eyes

You are long gone
But I’m sure I glimpse you
In the window
In those tracksuits bottoms I bought for you (soft and jaded and green) and a t-shirt with a loose neck.
I can nearly taste the Sunday sweat of you
Salty and warm
Crippled with come down

I remember that time I sat on your doorstep
crumpled and crying
an inflatable toy pierced with sadness,
i called your name through the letterbox,
Til i was hoarse,
Til the lad from tattoo shop on the corner offered me a green tea

Your street is thick with market now
Packed with the same over priced vintage junk
And white trainered tourists

We used to watch them from your sitting room
Of a Sunday
You
Smoking on the window sill
Crippled with come down.
Me draped across you
Smug in the haven of your half love

 

IV.

I hear you work in channel 4 now
the drama department.
congratulations.

One day i will sit opposite you
And sell you my ideas

I will pitch so hard
I will floor you with my composure
my unwavering conviction
my staggering original idea

My proposal to you
Is this

Be kinder
To future loves

 

V.

I had a dream your mum kissed me on the cheek
And whispered in my ear
You cannot save a drowning person
if they already belong to the ocean floor.

And the warmth of her face
Was like a sea of calm
Against mine
Her skin
The same crepe paper feel
As yours

 

Edinburgh Castle and other poems are © Eva O’Connor

Eva O’Connor is a writer and performer from Ogonnelloe, Co. Clare She has written for stage, screen and radio. Her plays in include My Name is Saoirse, Overshadowed, Maz and Bricks, and MUSTARD (winner of Fringe First Award 2019). Her short story Midnight Sandwich was aired on BBC Radio 4.