Thomas Bailey- New Poems

Thomas Bailey is 21 years-old, and lives in London. He is currently studying English at Cambridge, and is editor of his college’s annual poetry publication. His work has been published in Agenda’s Online Broadsheet, The Sentinel Literary Quarterly, Acumen’s Young Poets Section, Off the Block, and The Cambridge Student, among other places. When he gets drunk, he forces his friends to endure lengthy, self-indulgent recitals of his own poetry. He always regrets it in the morning.

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Al-Kateeba Square

for Luay Kaheel and Amir al-Nimra

the two boys were playing football
on a rooftop in Gaza city

when they first heard the missiles
carving wounds across the sky

then the lights of the sun went out,
and the afternoon choked,

and for a moment, brief as the clouds
of smoke, a country held its breath

in Ramallah, where they speak of justice,
we watched as mourners filled the streets

and back in Al-Kateeba Square,
a mother kissed a photograph

again and again and again

saltwater

and meanwhile, it’s not missing you
that makes me like this; it’s not the thought
of your soft lips brushing against mine
or the sound of your feathery breathing
across the pillow; it’s not the thought
of your delicate hands tending
to the tulips, or the fact that
nobody cleans the windowsill
now you’ve left; it’s not even
the remembered moment of you
standing in the evening sunlight
with fingers poised at your cheek
to brush your hair behind your left ear;
but the thought of your nails on his skin,
your hot breath moist on his neck
as he fucks you and I get fucked

on whiskey and Xanax somewhere,
because I always did have trouble sleeping
and I dream, sometimes, of drowning,
of thrashing around among the fishes,
and once I dreamt my hair into coral,
the polyps rooting into my skull
and I woke to find you there beside me
and your arms held me like the arms
of the ocean, before you left me     for him,
before saltwater ever tasted so sweet

The Ecstasy

we are drifting through every shade of evening
like ink-drops suspended in water
curling softly upwards
breathing and dissolving

you fold into me as our lips touch
and our fingers fumble
in the darkness
to knit us back together

love is an old and difficult word
and we are dangerous, brief
say it,  quick
before they pour away the stars

Llanto Por Una Vecina

            for Agnes

And how strange it is, to think that you’re dead:
every day we have to remind ourselves
that you won’t be standing out on the street
to welcome us home again, dewy-eyed
and wilting, slightly, from all the years of drink.
I remember how you would rest your arm
on the letterbox for support, how the sunlight
would mellow as you smiled, so full of love.

I will think of you, when I leave the milk out
for the stray cats you fed every evening,
and at night, I’ll walk down to the shoreline,
drenched in the light of a Spanish moon,
and I’ll lie on the sand like you taught me,
and feel the tide as it creeps about my feet.

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