Deadly and Gorgeous – Kadeem Beresford-James

Eyes like vacuums, dragging meaning from ink.
Dry, and tired, from forgetting to blink.
Beautiful shelves of stories and knowledge,
but no trophies for vicarious courage.
The perfect activity for a shit, stormy day,
yet, when the sky clears, we still won’t play.

Sunsets pale without it.
Stupid jokes are ageless, and
parties dance around it.
But fry-ups can get sickly,
and it’s rarely worth the vomit,
and the journey home seems longer,
so, by then, you cannot stop it.

Matching heartbeats to the bassline.
The raving high, and those party eyes.
The one thing that links us all through time.
A reason to smile. A reason to cry.
A seat in the darkness and reason to hide.
A reason for missed deadlines.
And it. And I.
Can’t stop, won’t stop. Never gonna flop.
Gotta keep going until my body drops.
Demons on my shoulders – I’ve gotta get them off.
The rhythm’s like a drug, man, I’m about to pop.

The noobs, they’re so bad.
And the hax! I’m so mad!
And the mods? I’m so glad.
And that end was so sad.
The experience I’ve had
with these evolved fads
is magical.

Strangers are mysterious.
Can I trust a stranger?
They are all experts in this –
deflecting the danger.
May I know you? Do I? May I? Do I? Did I?
Dead eye? Red eyes? Giving me the eye?
Like stones with voices, or flowers with legs.
The foam, and the substance, and even the dregs.
We drink and we finish and we order another.
And when a stranger arrives, we are the buffer.

Suddenly, I am hungry.
Silence blocks my ears, and, suddenly, I’m hungry.
A hundred unspoken words on a strange plate sit before me.
Despite my hunger, I can’t eat.
They’re too pretty to eat.
The shadow of something bright tries to feed me.
I let it.
My hunger dissipates and the shadows peel back.
For all that I have, I am shown what I lack.
I have shown what they lack. The bitter drink is gone.
Time for dessert. Question is: which one?

Instruments that don’t need quick fingers,
ideas never noted that always linger.
Hyperbolic emotions and stifled voices,
oceans of madness and poorly made choices.
Minds made by mine must be deadly and gorgeous.
Hopes turned to rust by insidious forces.
Hate with no malice. Love with no kiss.
Feet without ankles and hands without wrists.
Pinwheels are spinning, while clocks tick-tick.
It’ll never be finished. So fuck it.


is bad with names, good with details, and enjoys a good drink. Previous editor of Roehampton Writing Society’s Anthology 2012 and co-founder of Talking to Strangers.

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    One thought on “Deadly and Gorgeous – Kadeem Beresford-James

    1. Great! Especially the last two! I love:

      ‘Hate with no malice. Love with no kiss.
      Feet without ankles and hands without wrists.’

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