Bad Blood (For My Friend Who Became My Landlord)

By Andrew Manyika

There are so many phases to falling apart.
I went mouth first. Once nimble tongue now clumsy enough to trip landmines
I land mine on all the wrong buttons, while serrated edge teeth open wounds
Opening an overdraft on the goodwill of our friendship.
Broken promises issue from both sides of the mouth of a breaking man
I didn’t think, not in three decades of sleeping
Not even under full moons when the nightmares,
ran all night beside the overnight stallions
No, not in all of that wild dreaming did I imagine that I could wear the title you gave me
I am falling apart, and close as we are, you are caught in the blast.

“I’m sorry” – still fixing my lips to frame the phrase
Before the words can escape, the roof of my mouth caves,
Bruised or broken, they still seep out from the debris, in a tide of saliva and sorrow,
(When we were younger, I didn’t believe in the silence of the ‘s’ in debris, and debut was ‘day-butt’)
But, though that was the sort of silliness we used to share a chuckle over,
I have not been able to fish laughter out of your navel these last months
Nowadays, my words are shrapnel swimming in your ear canal,
Joining capillaries, arteries, veins, tributaries,
And you are taking everything to heart
Using dimmer switches on the lights in your eyes, culling the teeth in your smile,
Until out of the fullness of your heart, you call me,
“The man who doesn’t keep his word”- capillaries, veins, arteries
Waging war with words as artillery
And I am taking everything to heart
So that once nimble tongue cannot make it
across the deepening pool of bad blood between us
To assuage you with better words, than the broken ones you’ve already heard

Andrew Manyika is a poet on a mission to create and capture moments and memories. Armed with his unique combination of poetry and comedy, which he uses to both query and poke lighthearted fun at the world we live in. You can connect with Andrew here –

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