Apprentice wanted

I have never been the best at anything.

Not ever.

Never.

 

I have grit.

Stalagmites, stalactites,

Great limestone caves of it,

Resilience.

One dark smoking abyss.

 

What I can offer you is a team,

A one-woman advocate,

And competitor.

 

Pull your weight,

Drag your fists,

Wash the dishes.

 

I’m the team.

I give you that.

Have you heard that saying: Jack-of-all-trades, master of none?

That’s me: I’m Jill.

 

So I know.

 

Do you need me?

I don’t need you.

You don't need me either.

But you can join me if you like.

 

Experts need not apply.

 

You and I.

Equal.

Grateful.

Sama-sama.

 

I need flames.

Cracking, smarting, skin liquefying,

Shame.

 

You feel it? The water?

 

Polar, though.

What can you give me that I can’t give you?

 

Either way, get to.

 

Have you taken a slap,

A gut-punch,

And a driving drop kick?

 

Have you been ever-glorious?

Fists smashing to the heavens,

Wings of flying sweat?

Alone in the amphitheatre’s white circle.

Hand up, it’s you.

Only you.

 

No-one else?

 

Did you rub her face in the dog shit on the way?

 

Have your eyes been burned by the stench of it?

 

Always won?

I’m not interested.

 

I lose,

Every day,

All the time,

Always.

 

Are you a loser, too?

 

Hoping.

I’ve been knocked out,

Tooth-chipped,

Nose cragged out to a ledge,

And ugly.

Bloody.

Left for fucking dead.

More than once.

 

Twice and thrice.

Hundreds.

 

But I’m a worker,

A carrier,

A bell ringer,

A marathon runner,

 

In life. (Bad knees.)

 

Sprinting is for innocents.

Not an old mouse,

Mice.

Edging,

Scurrying, tracking, running,

Trading the cheese.

 

Bang.

 

I caught you.

Not very ladylike,

Snot slipping down the slide,

Between the point of the nose,

And the pinch of the lip.

Pooling there, sticky,

Icky.

Sorry,

For itself,

Angry for itself.

 

Self. Self. Self.

 

Teeth bared, all gums and gnarly stones.

Growling.

Grrrrrrr.

They can’t take it.

Can they fuck.

 

Your blood is thin,

Your heart-beat weak.

Pip-squeak.

 

There’s nothing we can do together.

 

Maybe you’re just not ready yet.

Done it all.

Except be bad,

At it all.

 

Come back to me then.

In ruins, hat out, no pennies.