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CRUSHED by James McDermott

from my bedroom window I watch you walk to yours

in ways that I can not watch you

in school and on the bus back home

I swim with you on Saturdays so I can see you change

seeing you change makes me

realise my body wants to do things to yours

I ask about your girlfriends so I can hear you

say the word love to me

and so I can hear you talk about sex

you stay at mine and I stay up

to watch you sleep

to watch you breathe in out

I nick your PE kit and take it home

to wear your sweat stained rugby shirt I sniff

the crotch of your gym shorts as I jerk off

I tell on you for bullying Tom as I want to tell anyone who will listen about you

I want to punish you for making me want you

I want you to bully me as proof that you have seen me

I row with you over how foreword is pronounced

just so I can pretend we are having a lover’s tiff

just so I can vent my anger towards you for not wanting me

I pause replay on loop your ice bucket challenge

to see you topless and throw cold water over yourself

then pant shiver like you’re having an orgasm

when we say bye I kiss you on the cheek

for just a beat too long

then I avoid your eyes like a caught kid

I see you now working the roads in high-vis orange overalls

like an amber traffic light that’s kept me

waiting since we were twelve



James McDermott is a 26 year old queer playwright and poet based in East Anglia. His plays published by Samuel French include 'Rubber Ring' and 'Time and Tide'. His poetry collection ‘Manatomy’ is published by Burning Eye Books. James was shortlisted for Outspoken’s Poetry Prize 2020 in the Performance Category and Commended for The Winchester Poetry Prize 2020 judged by Andrew McMillan. Twitter: @jamesliammcd Instagram: jamesmcdermott1993


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