Carl Wycoff CC
Mark Rothko, Red and Pink on Pink, c.1953
But mainly I wanted
to be a better person than I was,
softer, more forgiving, no rough
edge but red and pink on pink,
gently blurring, I wanted that
not to be as hard as it felt, I wanted
it to be easy, I wanted
not to have to try. In June
I could have killed myself and
didn’t, then spent the summer eyeing,
with suspicion, the creases of my wrists,
rubbed skin the shade of a foetus,
as I went drifting through the supermarket,
weeping in the gallery. So much colour,
you know? What was I meant to do with it?
I cut off my hair with a knife because someone
had absconded with the scissors,
and then sat as the sun rose
over the city on the cold
metal fire escape, full of that kind of giddy,
unfeasible hope that comes
not from running from flames
Manual for the Leaver
Pack a bag. Listen, for the last time, to your mother, praying through the walls of the shack, the rise and soft fall of her homilies, your father snoring like a hog fattened for the spit. Tell no-one where you’re going.
Follow the dirt road, feet shredded by the pebbles to ribbons. Don’t turn back when you hear their calling, the rise and hard fall of your name. Let the evening bleed you out with the sky, indigo and umber.
Let the coyotes imagine they can eat you, then correct them.
Find a diner. Have a coffee. Listen to a man with one arm tell you about a motel in Toledo and a lady called Precious. Silver the palm of the waitress with the coins you have spare. Keep walking, with lighter pockets.
Pet a stray dog. Let it bite you if it wants to.
Bite it back.
Lie down next to the roadkill, degloved like second-hand puppets. Feel the rumble of the interstate purr in your marrow. Think of home, then stop thinking of it. Get back up.
Forsake your own grave.
Find a man who speaks no English but drives a truck. Ask him where he’s going and hop in.
Let him drive you West, a passenger past the prairies and the rattlesnakes, or else the shadow of your father with the strap.
Tell the stranger to go faster, wherever he’s going.
Put your feet up on the dash. Brush your hand against his.
Crank up the radio.
Brennig Davies is a writer from the Vale of Glamorgan, South Wales. He won the BBC Young Writers Award 2015 and the Crown at the Urdd Eisteddfod 2019. His work has appeared in Poetry Wales, Litro USA, and various anthologies.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.