A Bug’s Life

 A Bug’s Life

The house I grew up in has other children growing in it now,
Making memories over mine like recording over old video tapes,
Playing bandits and dress up in colourful capes.
The tree house my father built for me
Exists only in my memory.

It must be hard to be a snail.
Carrying a life on your back is a heavy load.
Take me back to a little girl with golden hair,
To number four, Parbroath road. 
So I can set down my past and leave it there,
Trusting it will be safe. 

A view from the kitchen window into another life, 
Of happy kids, and man and wife.
Like us, the trees we planted are fully grown.
The apples fell closer than we thought,
But we should have known.
Because like us the trees have roots, 
That wind like veins between drains underfoot.

But trees can be replanted,
The stability I took for granted 
Can be something I find in myself, 
Maybe after three years of healing, 
I’ve learned that home is not a place, 
It’s a feeling.

Robyn Barclay, Poetry Editor

Robyn is one of our wonderful poetry editors. Please contact her via instagram @rxbynelena if you would like to submit your own poetry to Clitbait!

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Trick or Treat

Trick or Treat

A heavy wooden door stands shut, 
An eye stares back through the glass
At strangers in disguise. 

I open my door for very few. 
Will you treat me well, or will you
Disappoint, as so many have before?
I remember distant lore,
Of a girl who gave herself away in baskets by the door,
All the sweet parts of me on offer for a smile.
It has been a long while 
Since I felt so sweet. 

What if I trust you, and we decide to meet, 
Only for you to change your mind, 
Or leave me in a grave for the dogs to find?
My hopes burnt to the quick, left in cinders. 
Just another horror story: a Tinder
Date gone terribly wrong. 
But one day someone will sing me a song, 
Or tell me a joke, and I’ll crack open that door.
I’ve done it before. 
My eyes will go wide, heart skip a beat. 
The door swings open. Trick or treat. 

Robyn Barclay

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Ladylike.

Ladylike. 

Sit pretty. Close your legs. Make some room. 
Sit up straight. Close your mouth. Make some cakes?
You are not a woman, those dirty, horrid things, 
You are a lady – but do you have what that takes?
There’s a rule book, you know. Hope you’ve read every page.
So I’ll hand you the key so you can lock your own cage. 

And hey, you might think some of it was your idea.

Robyn Barclay

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Untitled

Untitled

Be skinny. Be pretty. Be quiet. 
Painted doll lips coated in silence. 
Hollow bodies brimming with thoughts
That I will never be given credit for.

Eyes down, flies down, we all drown. 
Isn’t it funny that mermaids are so popular?
Women can’t speak underwater.
What kind of world is this for me?
What will it be for my daughter?

We watch our fathers lock their feelings in cages, 
Watch our brothers learn online that to hurt is to love, 
Watch our mothers go on diet after diet after diet. 
Forever learning, desperately unlearning the same message:
Be skinny. Be pretty. Be quiet.

Robyn Barclay

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Dear Agony Aunt

Dear Agony Aunt 

Do I look good?
Tell me, I need to know. 
I wake up naked and I dress my face, 
It’s war paint for the workplace.
How to dress in a rush, with a brush, in the car
– Zoella got me this far. 

Am I too fat?
Tell me, I need to know, 
So that I can dress for my figure, 
And figure out what the fuck that means. 
Am I a peach or a pear?
You see, I only have magazines to compare 
and they don’t look like me. 

Am I too loud?
I’ve heard that’s not good.
Maybe I’ll buy one of those rings, 
So that I can match my mood
To the boys around me. 
It’s important to read the room, 
A woman should never assume 
She is safe. 

Am I too hard to define?
Have I crossed a line
That somebody else drew for me?

I’m tired of the conversation. 
How I look, how I am, is my business. 
Beauty’s in the eye of the corporation. 
And I don’t owe anyone anything. 

Robyn Barclay

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Solitude In An Empty Box

Solitude In An Empty Box

If I were a cardboard girl 
with a paper plate and paper spoon,
I’d sail across Blanche’s cardboard sea and peer up at her paper moon.

My mind spins in orbit; love, loathe, like, lust. 
A practiced pace of round and round, 
never arriving, never found. 
The fire and blue of the swirling below 
would surely swallow 
a cardboard girl whole.

As a cardboard girl, I have infinite time. 
I can paint and print and sing and rhyme.
I am recycled, over and over. 
The dog jumps over the dune, and I laugh from my high vantage point. 
Nothing can touch me here,
The stars are so clear.
Who knew that being made by man meant making myself?
Made and remade. The self is the soul, the centre, the mother. 
Why would I need another 
Person to complete me?

 Robyn Barclay

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