By Naia Lucy Briscall

A song of pure desperation titled, first.

i spent years, singing
a song of pure desperation, titled first.
i collected endless ribbons of brilliant blue.
one after the other, they were pinned directly to my chest,
and stained a ravishing red.

i grew up, and forgot about the ribbons,
dedicating my song to other members of the audience.
only to discover they were all wearing earplugs.
so i blasted the music through the speakers until they broke,
and fell to the ground with passion
that fell upon nothing.
and the audience watched, a silent film rip through me,
checking their watches and waiting patiently for the ending
that never came.
seats were vacated,
one after the other,
and i continued to plead with the emptying theatre.
until the caterwauling echoed back to me. 

but now
my knees are worn beyond their years,
and my throat is permanently hoarse.
and my ribbons sit collecting dust on the shelf.

i grew content
with humming my song to myself,
in the car, and in the shower
and in the small hours of the morning,
cooking breakfast and dancing to it alone
in the dusty light.
the sweet melody seduces me, into the arms of myself,
to love with all the rejected passion of the past
and appreciate the companionship of the universe.
and i thank myself for retiring my voice before i lost it

But for you

and i was so involved in you
i would have given up my rib
if it would make you whole again.

i swore that each day you spent feeling
less than
i would earn for you.
i would trade in
every thought my brain was capable of,
every tiny morsel of energy i could muster.
i would barter it all.

there were nights when
when you would only be able to say
how tired,
and how cold you were.
and i would wrap myself around you
and will it into my own body
and by the time we woke,
you would find yourself
ready to face the garden anew.
and i would slither home and hope
that i could do the same for myself.
but i wouldn’t care if i couldn’t.
i would only care that you were there,
relishing in the world
the way you intended.

when you discarded all that you borrowed from me;
returned my rib to my chest
my thoughts to my brain
my energy and my warmth to my body
said you were done
needing the extra space.
it took months but i felt as though
i’d flood the world with the impact.
and i would have let that happen,
if only the prayer that the stain of you
would vanish
would be answered.

And she eggs me on

i act very confident but i don’t think
deep down i am. i’m scared of rejection,
i know this. i just act as though
it doesn’t phase me. i act as if it rolls off
my shoulders but it does weigh me
down for a little while. less so now, but
the lead up to the rejection is still just
as bad. i still ponder decisions for days,
i pull my hair out, bite my nails, chew
the insides of my cheeks working up the
courage to just fucking ask the
question. and my heart beats so
indescribably hard and fast inside my
chest i forget how to breathe sometimes.
and then if the answer is no. i get a
lump in my throat and i shake and i
wish the moment away, i block it from
memory temporarily so i can pick my
self esteem back up off the dirty floor
and brush away the dust scattered
across her. and i pretend she’s never
once been dropped, never once been
discarded, never once been buried
beneath years of no, years of maybes,
years of fake yes’. and i pretend she is
flawless-impervious. but she’s just as
scared as i am. scared she’ll be dropped
again, discarded again, buried again,
forgotten. again. and she pleads with
me- ‘don’t do it. don’t risk me’ and she
eggs me on anyway. -5.40pm


I am not emotional target practice.
I’m not a sculptor and you are not marble.
I’m not here to shape you into art for others to admire,
and bask in the glorious beauty of your softened edges.

the rain moulds the mountains into cliffs,
but at what cost?
if not simply being swallowed by the ocean.

Naia Lucy Briscall

Naia Lucy Briscall is a 23-year-old, London-based artist and poet. She has been writing privately for eight years and has recently begun sharing these words in conjunction with her visual art on social media. She can be found on TikTok: @can_i_come_out_yet. She is in development stages of an art-poetry show documenting her life and relationships whilst living in London.

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