A reason to stay

A poem I wrote at a time when suicide and I had a thing going on:


It’s the middle of the night in her hands,

But for us-it’s the middle of the day,

Dimming life has sunk too early,

She’s not broken but she’s not okay.

Addictions and love affairs turn to aches,

Liberation and heartbreak slips into pain,

It’s tiring to look for clear skies, when

Everyday starts with clouds- ending in rain.

She’s brittle and cold, blurring at edges,

Tearful, she wants to speak yet cannot say:

It’s not that she’s given up with hoping,

She’s just pleading for a reason to stay.


By Emma Cunningham.


Shooting Star Moment (From a book I may write)

Rapture. That’s the only way to describe it.

Me, here.

You, there.

You could fill the distance between us with rivers (oceans even), mountains and forests so dense you lose the sunlight.

The way I see it, you and I, it’s like sharing something rare and unique but ephemeral. Imagine, us in this forest of ours, miles apart, looking up to the sky and seeing a shooting star or a flash of lightning. Me and you are the only ones in the world to see it. You and I, strangers at the heart of this, connected by something so divine.

It’s hard to explain, but I guess the thing I’m getting at is: while we mean nothing to each other, in that moment we share, we mean everything to each other.

Pathological (From a book I’ll never write)

‘I don’t want you to be sad Emma’ he said, using my name so I knew he meant it. I turned to him and smiled. Genuinely for once.

‘Don’t you see my love, I am in love with the sadness.’

My reply didn’t surprise him, no, that wasn’t the expression on his face. Fear. That was it. It was fear because he’d seen my type before, the ones that get high on their own sadness. It was a fear that somewhere in our story I would slip between the pages and the lines and fall for the feelings instead of him. A small part of me wanted to read out and take his hand, tell him it’s all a lie, reassure him that he would be all I need.

But I didn’t say it, because i don’t like liars and most of all, it was inevitable that I would leave him one day. He may see it coming, or maybe he would wake up one day and I wouldn’t be his anymore. Either way, I can’t lie to him.

He opened his mouth to say something.

‘Shush’, I said softly. ‘Don’t speak. I need you to know that right now, this very second, I choose you.’

‘Seconds pass quickly’ he said, in a tone that made me wonder whether he had meant to say it aloud.

‘But right now,’ A pause ‘I choose you.’

Do you love me or do you l o v e me?

Do you love me or do you love me? That is the question.

When someone says ‘I love you’ it could mean any number of things. The simple phrase that we, as humans, seem to cherish, has endless meanings. It seems to blur the edges between platonic or romantic affection, a phrase meaningful enough to make you feel safe and warm, but gentle enough to not have anyone the idea that you are, in fact, intending to marry the recipient. You can say it to friends, pets, family and partners.

In modern society we often refrain from saying those three fateful words because we have been taught that we shouldn’t jump in too quickly, it’s always best to hide our feelings for those we care about. This has strengthened the value of an ‘I love you’ but fundamentally reduced humans to nervous wrecks when that phrase escapes our lips. Do you know why? Because the ‘I love you too’ was created.

We have created a trap for ourselves, whenever we finally get round to telling someone we love them the timer starts ticking, seconds edging by, silence broadening the gap where we expect and ‘I love you too’. But just for a second, lets think, wouldn’t it be nicer to not expect a response? Surely the commitment of saying such a powerful thing to someone without expecting them to return the favor simply shows that we care enough to be happy with whatever our special someone thinks back.

But it’s also important to note the vast difference between an I love you and an I am in love with you. The former we have already discussed, but the latter- a whole different meaning. It is a deceleration of raw love for someone, a love that rides above all others in alarming way. It’s risky but it could pay off. In this case, a return of the statement may just be necessary for a happy ending.

I love you (maybe).


By Emma Cunningham.

My (a passage on my beautiful body)

She escapes the gentle idea of falling in love.

Just by watching her you could see she would turn the oceans in her dark grey state of mind. Her nail polish is chipped, I see, as she runs her finger tips over her cheeks, shaped like snowdrifts and hair flowing down her shoulders like a river. Her skin is snow white, every breath she takes starts an avalanche. Every blink makes ink run down her face from her eyelashes, into her mouth. She’s crying but smiling like she’s high- her mouth the arc of a rainbow.

When she walks her footfalls only sift over the ground as if she were walking on flowers, so gentle- every touch is a blessing. When she moves her limbs, its like she’s dancing, and it makes you stare. But when I catch myself in the mirror today, instead of melting into the river I created, I look myself in the eye and see every inch of the girl I am describing.

I see her.

Notes: take what you want from this passage, all I will say is that seeing the beauty in all of us is challenging yet rewarding. Hopefully you see this, not as a vain self portrait, but as an acknowledgement. And when you see the beauty in yourself, you will understand yourself more than you did before. 

By Emma Catherine Cunningham.