Poetry: Selections from Adam Paxton


How best to say
I wish that I could die for you
In some heroic sort of scene
In some picturesque
And pretty mess
In a better breed of dream
You come with me
I can’t shake your shade
But I harvest your remains
For these pretty verses
We traverse a rough trade, here.
Heartache and grief in
A straight exchange
For these little lines.
I compromise. I make
The truth bend and twist
But I swear it’ll never break.
I just can’t tell which you were,
The charmer or the snake.

Greggs, 7:30 AM

I stand in line waiting for my coffee
Like I do every day. They never
Seem to remember or recognise me.
I think that might be what I like.
They couldn’t give a shit.
And I lurk
Here in my coat, wired and awake
In the pale morning hours, a ghost,
An apparition fed on java beans and
Copious codeine and gabapentinoids.
I get my coffee and return to my house
Across the street, literally twenty seconds
Away. I could make a coffee at home but I don’t,
Fuck you.
My life isn’t turning out how I want it to.
But I’m here writing about it, and apparently
That’s something. It’s affirming, or something.
My whole adult life I’ve felt like a child
The moment they realise they’ve lost
Their parents in a supermarket and are
Swallowed up by terror and uncertainty,
This ragged slanted panic.
I’m not what you would call high-functioning.
I don’t play well with other people. I won’t leave
Your tertiary friends particularly impressed.
They say mixing these drugs is potentially lethal.
Well I’m trying my gosh darn best.
Three more. Come and get me motherfucker.
I’ve been fighting me my whole life, and I haven’t
Quite got me yet.
There’s still time, if you’re taking bets.

Who’s Saving You Now?

All of my saviours come with
Such a sweet sting in the tail.
You’ll kiss their chemical feet
And curse their fucking name.
Yeah, kiss me sweet barbiturate
Tease my sick chagrin.
You teasing torture I can’t tolerate
I’ll take your poison all the same
And as I slip into this nightmare
Handful of pills and guinness glass
I’ll wonder exactly who laughs last
Is it the snake or the grass?
Is it the hider of the hidden
At the confusion of the victim?
All I know is somethings missing
And I see no way for me to win.

Easy Kid
You’ve been rough around every edge
For as long as you can recall.
It’s not for lack of trying;
You just languish in the long light;
A wretch, a gremlin, a fetishist for dying.
Yet you still come alive with the winking eyes
My darling lad, what timing!
These pathetic attempts at better sense
That scarce resemble trying;
With your prickled skin and barefoot brain
In this sick and blistered bruise of night.
You know you won’t live long this way,
I get the sense that’s what you like.

Majula Revisited

Fucking hurting myself again. We all do it,
I suppose.
We all have that well we wade back to,
That intersection where that mess made
Of method and madness meet.
The key is to find a way to make it feel
Special. Like only you do it like this,
In these measurements, in this manner,
For these reasons. And then, after,
When your hands are shaking,
And you’ve lost track of the damage
You’ve done, take that plaintive traipse
To whoever it is who cares for you
Most, and you tell them, you say
Look at the mess I made of me. Look what I couldn’t help but do to me.

You may pity yourself, but Oh my,
Darling don’t you do it beautifully!
Will it be this way forever? You crow
And of course they tell you No,
So sincere, for a moment
You’re even flirting with believing. But,
You wonder, sooner or later even
Those loved-lidded lenses must
Find focus and see sense;
I syphon the time from
Gracious hosts of good intentions
And reply with pleasant smiles
As I plot to circumvent them.

Adam Paxton is a poet from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. He is an anxious and fearful boy.