Anatomy of Longing

Cutting to the heart of all this longing
is it the vicious tongue you wag at me
or the perpetual mystery hanging from your actions
the contradictions of your possible state of mind

I see the hurt, I feel the pain you carry
and sense your urge to be desired by men
the flirt of all you do rings loudly before you
and against my better judgement
I can’t help but come swimming back to your shores

With every scar you try to inflict
or accidentally leave on my skin
I drift away for a moment only
then find myself battling the waves
I can’t help but come swimming back to your shores

I know you didn’t ask for this
I know you didn’t choose me or this adventure
Yet, I brought it to you anyway
and you didn’t quite turn me away

And you’re cute, there’s no denying
you spill out in all my favourite places
and know how to smile with a catastrophic magnitude
that tears the hair clean off my scalp

The bile in your belly, the bitch barely-contained
I never knew how much I loved that rage
your misery is contagious
I feel its cells dividing in my bloodstream

I doubt I am the only one you’ve drugged this way
I know you’re not planning to leave your man
but as long as you keep stoking the engine of longing
I can’t help but come swimming back to your shores

I dream about you most nights
and when I’m on the bus
or train, or tube, or walking down the street
or when I’m in bed with somebody else
I dream it’s your body
over which my hands journey

And yet you only reach out a paw for me
when you know I cannot be there
you only say you might want for me
when you know we can’t connect

You’re playing me, humble instrument to your vanity
you keep me hanging on for nothing real
I know all of this so well and yet I gladly hang myself
I can’t help but come swimming back to your shores

Sometimes it seems; maybe you feel more for me than I realise
an ambiguous choice of words and perhaps it could mean more
you say the lovers kissing in the bar, are reminding you of me
I say the denim shirt I wore today was reminding me of you

So, who are you anyway and why do I long like this
I feel a sudden shortness of breath
when I look into your eyes
I feel my chest twinge when you catch me looking

There’s something in your history too
I know you’ve got some good hidden in you
beyond the selfish drive you choose to expose
I know there’s something that I could harness

There’s something in the things you’ve seen
the pleasure I know you’ve experienced
your taste for the beautiful and the sublime
perhaps if I could make you choose me, it would mean I’m beautiful too

You laugh at my jokes…
no matter how ruthless the punchline
the sharper, the more scathing the better
I can’t help but come swimming back to your shores

I need to catch myself
before I fall much further
slam my pick in the ice
before the precipice

Cutting to the heart of all this longing
I see such complicated shapes emerging
and despite all my better instincts
I can’t help but come swimming back to your shores…


Thanks for reading.

All my poems.

Image borrowed from:

Published by

Tom Alexander

"Art is a lie that tells the truth"

21 thoughts on “Anatomy of Longing”

  1. Reblogged this on Peter's pondering and commented:
    I’ve just started to follow Tom, and have read only 2 of his poems so far.
    If this one is typical of his talent then I am really going to enjoy his words, and his voice. He has tremendous expression and, I’m sure, he is going to gain a tremendous following.
    Listen to “Anatomy of Longing” and then try “Ellipsis”. I’m sure you will love them!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. years ago i’d find that aspiring…and heart warming….being an object is not of this particular flesh….an idol to represent, its w/in vision, hindering all of it….Thank you for sharing

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww thank you so much for reading and commenting. It’s so rewarding to know you got all the stuff I was feeling when I wrote it. I wish I could write poems like this every day, but unfortunately, they don’t come along that often for me. Thanks again!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s a pleasure!
        Can relate. All we can do is to sometime romanticize the idea of being in someone else’s shoe,then write how would you feel or being in a parallel universe and think ‘what if-s’..It is easy to pen someone else’s memory than yours. Because sometimes it gets hard to express yourself even while writing, imagination is the key, well but who knows! 😆


  2. What a great reading, the whispering/breathy part fit in perfectly. Read like it’s written. And then this (and so much more):

    “And yet you only reach out a paw for me
    when you know I cannot be there
    you only say you might want for me
    when you know we can’t connect”.

    You’d got a way with words. I probably felt this one too much. Can really relate to this. And your style is just your own. Really exciting work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah! Thanks for listening. That audio recording was the first time I had ever read this poem aloud but I suppose I must have subconsciously known how I wanted it to sound. I’ve tried recording it more recently with a better microphone but this version is still the best… Thank you as always for your generous support and for taking the time to read and comment.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I completely understand what you’re saying about the microphone. Sometimes the higher quality doesn’t make for a better experience. And there is something to be said about lo-fi music. I feel it’s perhaps a realer experience, if that makes sense.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I wonder Peter… I’d imagine many lives are being shredded left right and centre as her enchanting vortex calmly strolls by. I daren’t look, but I do wonder. Thanks for appreciating this one, I have a real soft spot for it too.

      Liked by 1 person

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