The Vase

Like a vase of dead flowers

bowing out of existence

once vibrant, where petals and leaves caressed

now wilted, they shrivel and fall.

 

Love abandons love

our hearts land hard

broken, like a shattered vase

the shards of glass

cutting like razor blades.

 

We attempt to pick up the pieces

though no glue can mend them

nor resurrect those flowers.

 

We sweep up the remnants of our lives

until only a tidy sorrow can question

what might have been.

 

How Pieces of Me Disappeared

They set my feet in concrete when I wanted to dance

I lost my patience.

 

I was born to roam free, so they caged me

stole my lions’ roar and I lost my pride.

 

They discussed me like an abstract art exhibit

that they didn’t find aesthetically pleasing

I lost my imagination.

 

They cut out my tongue when I wanted to sing

I lost my voice.

 

They sent me to sleep with fairy-tales

of lands, they tell me, never really existed

there goes my happy ending.

 

Lullabies

You confide in the moonlight

night after night

your endless disenchanted lullabies

I know you ache to smile

through each wave of disappointment

yet the song grows older still

as do you.

 

Your world of false limitations

fantasies and infatuations

they leave you weak at the knees

far too eager to please.

 

You’re barely living, but very much alive

don’t underestimate either

nor the way you steal their hearts

when the mist lifts from your mind

when you drop your disguise

open your eyes

there’s more to wisdom than being wise

more to dreams than lullabies.

Flightless Grey Birds

Flightless grey birds, newspapers

full of yesterday’s faces, crumpled and torn, trampled

the room is littered with my most valued possessions

turned out across the floor carelessly

smashed up, because they hit a raw nerve or two.

 

They remind me of innocence

or lack of it

my first cigarette

my last gulp of wine

each tear-drop, scar and bruise

moments.

 

I’m worn thin with them, in this

sleep deprived, self-imposed isolation

as the pen bleeds melancholia

long into the small hours

into the dawn, into the day

through stained fingertips

into the clammy afternoon.

 

Dead-end

As evening sweeps the remnants of broken glass from the floor

the spills of another hard-luck tale

that got sucked in through the door

I’m hunched in the corner of a dead-end bar

this loner’s game

like walking out into a night without stars.

 

The crowd stagger clumsily into the street

as smoke curls around my fingertips

rising like an apparition

from a city of ash-brittle dreams.

8.00 am

Sunday 8.00am

rain trickles down a grey windowpane

I stare through the speckled glass

drawing a smiley face in the condensation.

 

The aroma of smoke and cheap perfume

lingers in last night’s clothes

carelessly strewn in a haphazard trail

that leads to the messy sheets of a bed

I have barely slept in.

 

Jukebox songs still ring in my ears

along with the ghosts of laughter, chatter

images of people fighting for the bar

images that end abruptly.

 

I gnaw my fingernails nervously

trying to recall the journey home

my head swims like a demented fish

the rain applauds.

 

Bartender

The bartender’s long fingers

undress my petty words

as I play a one-sided game of chess

with a selection of empty shot glasses

he sees through me

as though I myself were made of glass

he’s met with this emotional cul-de-sac

a thousand times.

 

He plays psychotherapist

to every drunken case study

that stumbles by here

hears all the talk of the town

he is the oracle of whispers

he knows everything

I don’t know his name.

Intelligence

To monotony and mediocrity; chained
in the wreckage and ruin of an average day
I rack my brain and try to recall
the last time the media excited my intellect
after all
it’s been a while since emotions were deemed important
to the human cause
as I slalom downhill through drifts of disappointment
it’s like we’re in this race to complete a chore
a complete bore
with a lack of adrenaline and endorphins.

to endure this mundanity
requires total indifference.

I’m different-
an ‘as is’ package
I contain all ingredients
all flavours of emotion
and I recall what it meant to be alive
I can taste the bitterness
the sweetness, the false and the true
in each bite that I take out of life
and when it comes to the crunch
I swallow it down with the salt of my tears
because I wasn’t born for a nonchalant world
of half-assed entertainment, cheap deals, ready meals
a defecation on-demand ideal.

Reduced to the products we buy into
we’re the profit margins
percentages, labels
price tags and barcodes
of an ethos devised by men in high places
who drive fast cars, who have fat wallets
who live in big houses with plastic wives
who go under the knife to stay young
whose diamonds and sequins make them sparkle and shine.

While some may stare enviously
at the lack of laughter lines
and want their share of
Botox, liposuction, plump pouts
facelifts, designer vaginas, boob jobs
I seriously doubt
they own any
of the insecurities, they flaunt day in day out
That demand they conform
to the only ideal they know
-a fake.

Well, damn society
for deeming the contents less important
than the book cover
intelligence less worthy than breasts
the brain might be our sexiest, most sensual
most alluring feature
and intelligence makes us tick
it’s the most potent aphrodisiac I know
you should try it sometime.

 

A Lack of Colour

The sky was grey

the mist over the clifftops was grey

the sea grey

the horizon line had turned so pale a grey

it couldn’t be seen with the naked eye

the mood was grey

grey seabirds were flying up above

singing, grey seabird songs

the sea air blowing across the beach

even had an icy chill, that felt grey

with occasional grey raindrops

that stung my pale grey face (and pink nose)

as grey waves were crashing on the shoreline

colliding violently with grey rocks

I walked along the grey sand

the shadows beneath my weary eyes, grey

the woollen hat on my head, grey

the hair beneath it prematurely grey

my thoughts-

 

it was a grade A, grey day

that lasted and lasted

you see

there was a distinct lack of colour

without you.

 

 

Small Steps

I revive myself

nobody else can do that for me

I take small steps

they’ll amount to giant leaps given time

rebuilding my world as I want it to be

with a circle of genuine friends

people who inspire positivity,

embracing our creativity

reliable friends, trustworthy

people who recognise the best in me

as I rebuild my sense of self-belief

tell negative thoughts, hush

so I can hear my own heartbeat

I am worthy of a voice

worthy of being heard

it’s not the whisper

it’s the words.

Revive me

Dying to be heard

in a world that doesn’t want to hear a word

of what’s been survived

behind and outside of these eyes.

 

Considered weak, pathetic dramatic wild

cast aside avoided, ignored and denied

you know why don’t you?

 

It’s taboo

to let people in on the truth of you.

 

To admit there’s a darkness

eating you, a silent killer inside of you

it creeps that way

as you wrestle your own shadow

to the ground.

 

Claw at the air for signs of life

clutch at straws for hope

stare, through the reflection in your mirror

trying to remember

your last genuine smile

in a world that is blind

to your mind.

 

Revive me

 

Subtle Communication

There are subtle ways, of communicating our pain

there are polite ways, to approach the subject

whatever troubles us can be solved slowly and carefully

tip-toe around the matter in hand quietly

apply tactfulness and soothing words to the wound

hold our tongues for a spell, if we must

choose the right moment approach cautiously

we can avoid the matter entirely, deny it ever came into being

or place our faith in karma working its magic later

write it in a letter or a text to avoid immediate confrontation

paint a smile on a frowning face, pretend all is well

show love to those we truly hate as a form of twisted vengeance

pretend we’re saints and above our share of the blame

 

-Or we can be direct, and stop this nonsense

right now.

 

New Book Available

A Nest of Strange Little Creations is an autobiographical diary of events, feelings, and experiences explored through poetry, jumbled up and collected together in this book to be shared with you, the reader. Our emotions both reflect and affect those who surround us. We are all in effect involved in an emotional conversation with each other even as we sit quietly on our own. Our minds still busy processing the experiences of the day and weighing it up against a lifetime’s worth of information. Poetry is my catharsis. I offload this information, so I can consider it, refer to it and track my emotional journey. Once it is written down, however, and my words lay naked on the page with all the vulnerability of what it means to be alive, our happiness and sadness, our laughter and our tears, our bitterness and our hopes, our dreams and disappointments the lessons we have learned, and those we’ve still to learn. That’s when I realise that what I’ve written becomes less about me and more about us.

This book contains selected poems from ‘Night Owl’ previously released through blurb.com and a selection of poems never before published. This first edition copy of my book in paperback will set you back a hefty £5.99 to purchase 164 pages of poetic content.

Purchase Book at Lulu

 

NEST FRONT COVER 2

 

Hindsight

How often my heart sinks when you talk that way,

when you remind me

how it was when I was drowning.

 

Caught in a maelstrom of emotions, delusions and paranoia

when I was lost to myself completely.

 

Now I watch and listen, over my glass of gin

tonic, ice and a slice of citrus, bittersweet

pondering possible cures.

 

There are no answers

when the light leaves your eyes,

not even a healthy dose of hindsight, and wishful thinking.

Pinpricks

Every little pinprick in the fabric of the sky,

each distant star sewn into the veil of night

portraying how beautiful it can be to dream

yet how impossible, dreams are to grasp.

 

Still, we gaze into those ink-black skies

awestruck by the majesty of the universe

small; almost insignificant by comparison,

yet we weigh our tiny, whimsical dreams against the stars.

 

-Like we were miniature gods

that we could command this night

to fulfil our deepest wishes

simply by turning our eyes to the heavens and praying.

 

Praying,

for what we believe, we deserve

greedy enough to believe

that the night owes us our day.

Scared of Heights

I guess it’s a survival mechanism
if you’re up there somewhere
you can just as easily fall down
and that’s a long way.

Even as you place me on this pedestal
I’m terrified I’ll fall, it’s a precarious place
the vertigo of such high expectations
such strong admiration
the image of perfection you see in me-

What if I told you, I’m not so sure that’s me?

Sing Us To Sleep

They’re putting up barbed wire fences

between you and I

they’re burning down the bridges

raising up the walls

they’re showering the world with bullets and bombs

they’re tearing the peace flag down

they’re coming for us now

waving guns in our eyes

well, how do you sleep at night?

 

I sleep well-

because I never truly wake up

the nightmare will be there

eyes open

eyes shut

I should be terrified

I should be truly afraid

but they’ve numbed my senses

to their violent reign

day in, day out

The news channel speaks of war

like it’s expected

any day now

but never on our doorstep.

 

Who are we kidding?

to think we’re safe

wasting life away on Facebook

or watching trash TV shows

where our main concern is how popular we are

to the online freak-show

in a quest for a taste of fame

we’ve been conditioned to crave

while they put up barbed wire fences

between you and I

everything we’ve been dreaming of

was a wicked lie.

 

They’re coming for us now

waving guns in our eyes

how do you sleep at night?

how do we sleep at night?

how do I sleep at night?

the nightmare is real

eyes open, eyes shut.

 

What lullaby will they sing?

when they send us all to sleep.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the Lost

For the ones who stagger drunk

down dim lit alleyways, 3 in the morning

past graffiti-stained walls

through piss scented subways

those who blow smoke rings at the moon.

 

Those blown from one disaster to the next

like yesterday’s news blown in the wind

for the ones rocking back and forth

cold sweat running down their spines

head in hands, worried for their sanity.

 

For those crouching in shop doorways

asking for spare change

from passing strangers

smoking cigarette ends off the concrete pavements

eating leftovers from supermarket bins.

 

For the addicted and the abused

for those scoring pills and powders

those in the aftermath of the fight

bruised grazed and believing the lies

circled by the redness of tear-stained eyes.

 

For those hanging around dingy flats and broken homes

with nowhere else to go

for the dealers, for the whores

for the things that brought you here

whether you were rich or poor.

 

For the losing, for the lost

for battles fought at the greatest cost

for the countless ways you’d wave goodbye

for the countless reasons a new-born cries

you’re still worth the fight to survive.

Caricatures

Sitting in the tavern

waiting for food to arrive

the table next to us

massaging its ego

six people in total

four doing the talking.

 

One of the four, an outrageously camp guy

whose effeminate mannerisms and voice

made him obvious

was the more sensible conversationalist

most the time.

 

Another was a lady with a posh prim English accent

who, over-accentuated words

clearly spoken full of upper-class pomp

she seemed to like to maintain, her idea of personal status

boasting about her education and upbringing

she had an air of self-importance, insulting to watch.

 

The next guy sitting adjacent to her

had a bunch of witty anecdotes

for all occasions, most of it ridiculously unlikely

most likely bullshit

he was one of those ‘popular guy’ types

alpha male, one of the lads

but it kept the conversation fresh

his lies, were well-rehearsed

 

While across the table an American woman

with a blunt, self-righteous humour about her

with an over the top ‘put on’ laughter

painfully embarrassing to listen to

impossible to avoid

the laugh would last for a while and then stop abruptly on cue

it screamed through everyone in the bar

fake as hell, ridiculous

loud as a fog horn

we couldn’t hear ourselves think.

 

When their food arrived

there was peace for a while.

 

The waitress could barely keep a straight face

she tried so hard but she cracked a little.

 

 

 

 

 

Shape-shifters

The agreeable sort concern me

those yes men, yes women

who’ll bend over backward

to grab your attention

shape-shift to fit the mood

chameleons, slippery little critters

if you’re in the right crowd

at the right time, with the right face

if you’re popular, if the pieces fit

if you have anything they want

anything they crave,

they’ll suck up to you like leeches

they’ll wear your mark of approval

like a flashing neon sign

sirens blazing,

arrows pointing at them,

whilst screaming look at me! Look at me!

They’ll follow you like a lost hound

everywhere you go

in case you might adopt them

or throw them a bone to chew

they might even share it with you

something you can both sink your teeth into

you’ll begin to wonder

at the bones, you’re picking

you’re living, but who’s living it

who are these impostors?

 

Whoring for attention on your time

sneaky opportunist bastards

I don’t trust them, they don’t like me so much

these days.

 

Fade

Days pale into insignificance

dreams fade with the first light of day

I remain like driftwood

waiting on the shoreline

to be washed away by the tide, lost to time

I leave no impression in the sand

nor bruise on your heart.

 

My bottled dreams cast aside

our picture torn in two

heartfelt words laid to waste

this page, a blank canvas now.

 

Drunk with the heat of the sun on my brow

you are no more than a mirage

this too will fade.

Hypothermia

The thin ice where we danced together

had been weakening for a while.

 

I watched your smile and mine

slowly turn to frowns.

 

The cracks appeared swiftly

once they began to show.

 

We had shared the same dream, but

we were competing for the same ray of sun.

 

So the icy water gripped our bones

and together we drowned.

 

We pulled each other under

struggling for air in the deep water.

 

Nothing is ever solid as it seems

we murdered the dream that day.

The Remedy

I close my mouth and listen

to words unspoken

they shout louder than silence.

 

Dissolve on my tongue

like bitter pills

I am reluctant to swallow.

 

I take the remedy

like a worm in my gut

eating me inside out.

 

You might thank me

for what I didn’t say

if you knew how it felt

to feel.

Reckoning

The day smothers me

with a kiss of empty of promise

the hours bleed out, from the dawn

sunlight shifts across the sky

casting shade on my sorrow

blinding my eyes so I cannot see

unready for the reckoning to come.

 

My stubborn heart

bends toward the day

seeking a fool’s reward

for seeing through

this list of disappointments

written in solitude.

 

I check the time

seconds tick by

I remain, motionless.

 

A storm rages in my heart

with each breath entering my lungs

a violent pulse moves me

toward the inevitability

of day folding into the earth

In her veil of black.

 

I am paralysed

when the hungry earth

wraps me in her blanket of thorns

cold sweat of the night terror remains

anxiety, rushes through my veins

day pierces the shade.

 

I stare into the light of the sun

unready for the reckoning,

to come.

Sentimental

These strange things that hold sentimental value

like my great grandmothers’ pocket watch

it has one hand only to tell the time by

and no longer winds or ticks, the silver case is badly tarnished

family jewellery, engagement and eternity rings

gemstones missing

the big old seashell my grandfather kept in the hallway for years

that I used to hold up to my ear to hear the sea

old pencil sketches he made of his allotment

where we used to plant vegetable seeds together and watch them grow.

 

Kitsch ornaments that play musical tunes

old teddy bears threadbare, stinking of age

knitted hand puppets made by my grandmother

stitches weak and unravelling

a moth-eaten Robert Burns poetry book

dated 1896 with yellow thin fragile pages

a rhinestone necklace that used to grace the youthful neck

of my grandmother when Clark Gable was her favourite actor.

 

The last time my grandad held my hand before he died

sometimes I can still feel his grip on my fingers

I don’t think we ever truly let go, do we?

The Room

Before I moved here
the room was clean, neat and tidy
pristine, there was a corner for guitars
a corner for creating music
a TV set and a bright sunny window
no dust, no cobwebs
no love.

I arrived and tidied up of course-

No!

I came in and trashed the place completely
I gave it that shabby chic touch
I hung the cobwebs and sprinkled the dust
I gave it that squatters paradise look, with added glitter
I left my muddy footprints on the carpets
I left my lipstick on the rims of cups
I made the cracks in the paintwork more apparent and
I moved in to add that, left-overs-on-a-dinner-plate appeal
yes, I gave it that lived-in quality.

I gave it; me.

The fresh outlook on life you found my love
me, in all my chaotic glory
no pretence left in my bones
no appearances to live up to.

I turned down the silence
turned on the music,
and dimmed the lights.

The house is a ruin-
a few years’ have passed now, and the room is a pigsty
me, my stuff, my creative flair and late-night brainstorms,
my creeping up the stairs.

while our guitars have been replaced, with photography magazines
camera club paraphernalia stacked under the windowsill.

There’s a large artist’s easel, paint brushes in jam jars
a desk covered in paint spatters, loaded with clutter

-Like

Old compact discs, hairbrushes, tape measures and diaries
old books, new books, paperclips and lens hoods
cameras, hair scrunchies, keyboard and mouse
I can barely move about this desk let alone the house
trinkets and craft bits and microphones and a wool hat,
jewellery wire, beads and a cinnamon bun; half eaten.

There’s a corner dedicated to paint pots and tubes
art inks and pens, there’s art on every wall in this room.
You know I turned your world upside down
inside out and back to front, but
this is home, and every room knows we’re alive!

Yeah, we should tidy this place more often than we do
but the same chaos inside of me, is inside of you
this room is a reflection
of a mutual truth, and affection
of passion and creation
of becoming and undoing
of unravelling and renewing
me and you.

Sociopath

 

Whenever I felt your hands delve into my skull

I knew how you needed me most

like putty in your hands; malleable.

 

If you were to reshape the things that make me, me

go in and fix what wasn’t broken, smash up the things you fixed

you needed me; vulnerable.

 

Always acting like the one with all the answers

the first to speak up, last to shut up

you needed me silent; gullible.

 

To play me like a puppet

make me dance at your command

you needed me reliable; agreeable.

 

To validate yourself, in your own hour of weakness

you needed me.

Saturday (Explicit)

The nightclub toilets

are full of staggering heels

tight dresses, short skirts

fake tan and lashes

loud shouting women

fixing their makeup, and hair

with as much care as possible

after several shots of happy juice

there’s a heady mix of perfume smells

sweat and booze

That hits you as soon as you open the door.

 

You stand in a queue of women desperate to pee

you can hear every word of

gossip about the ‘dance floor incident’

where some random cow threw lager

over Angela’s new dress, in her face, in her hair

it was completely unprovoked says Sharon

bitch was trying to stir shit says Kerry

she was trying to flirt with Ange’s fella says Laura

this fucking dress is ruined says Angela

dry clean only too for fuck sake!

 

Fucking bitch, fucking slag!

 

-She mops herself up with toilet paper

wipes the mascara into a tidy smudge

plotting silent revenge.

 

Pissed up women are hell in a handbag

for losing the plot on the sudden

Stacy is crying her eyes out in a loo cubicle

kicking the door like a mad head

refusing to come out after an argument with Richard

cursing the tosser, for choosing tonight of all nights to kick off.

 

Next door,

Jane stands in a toilet cubicle with the door unlocked

half swung open

snorting a line of coke off the top of the toilet cistern.

 

Done, she folds the tenner note back into her purse

along with a credit card

sniffs and wipes her nose before shimmying her way

bold as brass past the toilet queue

back out to the banging tunes

the flashing lights, the ultraviolet

a crowd of fucked up happy fools

all jabbing at the air with arms and hands

wiggling their asses

dancing up close and personal

on a sticky dance floor.

 

This is Saturday night,

heaven for some.

Summer Roses

She turned a cold shoulder with all the usual cutting charm

of a butterfly with razorblade wings, fluttering gracefully by

moving through the scene, a silent tornado

slicing petals off my summer roses

to leave me with this bouquet of thorns

to remind me, that the petals scattered at my feet

would never last.

Itch

You know I’m well acquainted with your smile

having known you a long while

So, no matter how sweet you wear it

I can tell when your pretty face lies.

 

When your “see you in the morning, sleep well, sleep tight”

really means, “goodnight forever, good riddance, goodbye”.

 

If I feel an itch I’ll scratch it, every time

I’ve scratched this one down to the bone.

 

Yes, and I’m well acquainted with my flaws

I went through living hell to be collapsing at your door

I owe you my apologies for the fallout, I know

all I ever gave was honesty.

 

Yes, and I’m aware of how that might read

when you’re looking in from outside of the book

when the story isn’t the fairy-tale it seem

well, the story wasn’t a fairy-tale to me.

 

If I feel an itch I’ll scratch it every time

I’ve scratched this one down to the bone.

 

Grace in Surrender

I lost my naivety

learned what it meant to fall

from the dizzy heights of innocence

to no longer be blind.

 

too wise before my time

I lost my sense of danger

as I tied myself to the railway line.

 

The oncoming train

the reality I never anticipated

slammed on its brakes to spare me knowing

what it would be like not to feel

my heartbeat,

but

 

for the rest of my days

I had wasted my prettiest years

on tears, born out of wanderlust.

 

I had wasted my breath

whispering into the night

lost in fantasy world

with no hope of mending

such fractured dreams, and

 

I’m a burnt-out shell of a former grace

with the truth etched on my face

I’m a disgrace but isn’t everyone

I know.

 

Now I’m scared of everything

and I think too much, too often

as do you and so does everyone

I know.

 

Maybe there’s grace in surrender

grace in hindsight

grace in surrender to next time around

grace in surrender to being still after all

grace in surrender to the fall.