(content warning for mental illness)

the boxerย by Tom Stockley

three months ago, i was stood here
wishing more than anything to fall into the water,
to stop feeling so much pain
for just existing
three months later, i walked past
saw a man get off his bike,
stand still
and lift one leg over the railings.
i ran,
held onto him,
told him that i knew how it felt
to hold hell in your head
and to want it all to end
i told him i couldn’t promise that everything would get better
but i could promise that he would wake up
to brighter days than this.
we talked about his love of boxing,
and the love of his daughter
until the police took him home.
standing on the bridge,
slaps still sound as fists hit plastic
gone but not forgiven,
nothing is forgotten
despite how hard he tries.
spokes spin, along with everything
he left unspoken
latent love of daughters fathered
left in tattoos on his arm
as cobra’s kiss of can now opened
sweet sorrow in its liquid form
throat prepared, he savours saving grace
this face that knows a thousand pains
selling tears for laughter’s debt
one leg up and over iron railings
he pauses long enough
to hope that someone sees
to hope that someone stops the one thing
that he wants to do so desperately
to hope that someone holds him
until it doesn’t hurt


Tom Stockley is a queer artist, poet and activist known on stage and page as T.S. IDIOT. They write about mental health, identity politics and the sadness and small joys we find in the cracks of every day life. https://tomstockley.weebly.com/ts-idiot.html