Nicki Heinen

Being Twelve

Crisp snow in April
grinning down ankles stiff as spaghetti
and that band you love playing in your ear
“Oui j’adore – ”
how many times you tried to find the cure
and it takes a bed-wetting rift to get there
lonely as… like stars but quiet inside
letting them talk and eating the language while it’s hot


14 ways of looking at the colour white

Around you a necklace of teeth –
a thin plastic bag just emptied – to put it in
ripped feather – light wind
at the edge of the road – December
streetlamp blinking 5 a.m
fog that gets in your nostrils
cracked china in the soil
roots growing there
while the piece-of-shit radiator rattles
eyes in the Old Master
aspirin – downed
sick dawn
bleached ink
page turned


There may not be a reason why

I grab fistfuls of quiet magnolia
gun down the squad of thought police
camped outside my kitchen door

it may not be a clever idea
to utter kitkat noise
in the bedroom naked

while the Schadenfreude drips from my wrists

but the dumb giraffe in my belly
is dancing

I put my hands into
the steel pail of soaked raspberries
just to feel the blood
dab the juice on my breasts

and yes you are in my thoughts
as you sometimes are


Nicki Heinen has an MA with distinction in Creative and Life Writing from Goldsmiths College.  She founded and hosts Words & Jazz, a spoken word and music night, at the Vortex Jazz Café, London.  Her pamphlet Itch was launched with Eyewear Press in May 2017; ‘the voice rings clear throughout every circumstance’ (Vahni Capildeo).  She lives in North London.