Writers, whether deliberately or unconsciously, seek each other out in crowded pubs on cold Wednesday nights. I thought you were alright-looking but probably just another creep. While I wrote line after line, frenzied, only stopping to down a jar or take a little bump off a key, I could feel your eyes on me.

(I am partial to entertaining creeps because I like their pathetic little faces
and their eyes that say, “I can’t believe she’s talking to me.”
They are, however, too easy to manipulate and usually
end up boring me: for someone who does not believe
in boredom, this is an inconvenience to say the least)

I asked you if you could keep an eye on my table while I went out for a smoke
and said, “Make sure my drink doesn’t get cleared,” and you said, “or spiked…”
and that was it.

You were a writer for NME
and carried the same notebook as me.
You wrote in blue, I write in black.
We couldn’t read each other’s work
for the ink colour on the other’s pages
was offensive to our eyes.
But the connection was instant.
We trusted that talent
was there.

And we were acutely aware
that we were running out of time,
that soon we would die,
that we had to make a day of this night.

We were different than everybody else: crazy writers are a special breed,
tortured souls with special needs and wrists and thighs and biros that bleed.

Your eyes were sticky jars of honey.

You never acknowledged my shakes
or pointed out how my speech raced.
We compared battle scars
and swapped psychosis stories
and 4 hours later we were engaged
to be married at Islington Town Hall
as soon as they had an hour to spare
and I’d stolen dress to wear.

Two addicts:
a personality disordered manic-depressive
and a traumatised, unmedicated schizophrenic.
We met on Melancholy Hill and set ourselves on fire.
We were on fucking fire that night.
The craziest kids in Camden Town:
quite a feat, we ran around
wearing our crowns
loud and proud and unsound.

You proposed to me
down on bended knee
at every venue we went into
and each time I acted so surprised
and we got free shots and champagne
and strangers congratulated us
and we couldn’t believe that we were alive.

We smoked and danced to The Strokes.
We ran fucking riot: smashing up bars and cars
and you punched a guy who looked at me funny
and I thought, “Wow, he really loves me.”

For the first time in my life,
I felt equalled in insanity.

You wanted to keep me forever and I wanted you to.
We protected each other from each other’s demons
while simultaneously drawing out the worst parts of our minds
into a silver syringe and injecting the other with our madnesses
so that we could completely and totally understand ourselves together.
Safe in your arms, I truly believed that my brain could do me no harm.
I felt stronger than I knew was possible: I wanted you to keep me forever.

I could not believe my luck in having met you when I did.
You had money, for some reason. I had nowhere to sleep.
A hotel on the canal:
the desk was perfect for writing at
but I shan’t go into detail because I can’t
because I don’t remember much after that.

I think you died. No, I believe with my whole heart that you are dead.

One morning last year, immediately upon waking, I thought,
“Michael’s dead.”
I know how you would’ve done it (we’d discussed it at length).
I checked the newspapers but nothing.
Nobody cared enough to have filed your obituary anyway.
You had no family, only the nurses on the unit that you frequented
and you hated them thoroughly.
I checked in at NME: they spouted some shit about privacy.

I lost you, you lost me, now we’re back to nothing, nowhere and nobody.

I still have the ring you gave me.
It’s copper, I think, because it made my finger go green,
and its wire is bent in the shape of a triangle.
I loved that ring. It was such an honest thing.
I keep it in the box with the others.

We wanted to die together that night
but it had to be perfect, it had to be right,
and we were too wasted to do it properly.
And, you said, I needed to write our story.

So I have:
in black ink, in the same pub where we fell in love for one night only,
and right now I can feel your eyes on me as I’m writing:
though I know it’s only a memory, I am swimming in honey
and thinking of you: the creep who decided that I was worth knowing,
the guy who showed me that insanity can be endearing,
the man who saw me for me, and still believed that I was worth saving.


The infamous engagement ring


7 thoughts on “Creep

  1. This is so good. I’ve read it 4 times already. The location’s so familiar to me and I could visualise you being there – but it was the story that totally touched my bitter old heart.

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