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.

Regrets

Regrets don’t define me

they have a conscience

remind me

refine me

guide me

adjust, redesign me

they find me

walk beside and behind me

they change me for the better

wise me up

shake me awake

shock me real

turn me around

I turn on my heel,

they drop the hints

push me forward

give me reality checks

give me facts

behind the lies

behind the eyes

I’ll never deny them, but

they’ll fuck me up if I repeat them.

The Day I Was Born

This life is a book I shudder to read

characters enter and fade from the text

as I turn the pages.

 

There are fewer characters

fewer friends now

still, I read about myself in the past tense

and realise it had the makings of a Hollywood movie

with special effects and original soundtrack

with the camera panning, from one scene to the next

in a fantasy world that never truly existed

because it never could.

 

I played the part of numerous characters

none of which looked like me

I was trying to find my place in this big picture

trying to find my face in the crowd

I was taking off costume after costume

peeling back layer after layer

to find myself.

 

I often forgot my lines, missed my cues

botched the stunts

I was a bad actor.

 

With every costume I left strewn behind me

the more I exposed of myself

my tough exterior gone, my bravado undone

my confidence and strong words

struck dumb

my health failing, bones aching

my energy to fight falling away.

 

My past was a sham marriage

between who I was and who I always dreamt I could be

I had nothing to prove to anybody except me

I had big dreams and ambitions

I had curiosities

made bad decisions

I was writing this book for half of my life before I realised

half my life was gone and, I had not yet found myself

I’d never truly lived at all.

 

In the present tense

I unwrite the book, word for word

I peel the layers down to the bone

I take off my face paints

my glitter and gown

I strip myself down to the soul

and letter by letter

the words fall from my pages.

 

Chapter one: (Reading)

-The day I was born I was 42 years old

I’m just starting to find my feet now

one day I will stand up on my own.

 

 

 

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?

Get Passionate

If you get easily angered by passion

you’ve become part of the problem

your apathy is a valuable asset to politics

lay down at the doorstep, watch them walk all over you

wiping and dragging their feet as they go.

 

They love that you can’t muster the energy for debate

your boredom and disinterested glances

they appreciate your lack of intelligence

keep switching channels, till you fall asleep

big brother has you on camera 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

 

Your every move is scrutinised and monitored for surveillance and your ‘protection’

they keep their own world top secret as much as possible

they choose words of convenience smoke and mirrors, cloak and dagger

social triggers.

 

They prefer you don’t stand up and be counted in peaceful protest

showing solidarity with your fellow man, woman and child

they’ll contain you with an underfunded police force

they thrive on your ignorance, fear and inability to fight.

 

Do you comprehend?

 

They dumb you down, they count you out

they abuse your human rights, your dignity

now they want another war and they want you to fight it

want to spill your blood and mine, so they don’t get near to it.

 

While they sip champagne on the side-line

delay your pension, grab at your earnings

they want you to turn the cogs of the machine as they

victimise those in poverty

the mentally and physically disabled

to the financially destitute.

 

Now they want to cut back on school dinners for kids

they want to dismantle the NHS as we know it

want to raise your taxes, protect the rich

make health care a privilege of the privileged.

 

Cut your benefits, limit your housing rights

they want to criminalise homelessness

that their system caused; is still causing.

 

They want to attack refugees for seeking safety from terror

waging war on ‘terror’ with more violence

they need their scapegoats, a group of people to blame

they breed hate in the community

they breed racial violence and intolerance

they rely on your hatred.

 

They kiss babies and promise change

and with every baby they kiss, another lie is born

with every positive change they promise

the more promises they break.

 

With every scandal, they deny or invent

another parliamentary abuse moves out of the radar

their violent hearts drop bombs to cause distractions

they do not feel the bloodshed, they see gold.

 

No, they don’t feel it like we do

they do not feel the aftershock

they rely on our vote

they rely on our gullibility

they rely on our silence

Our stupidity.

 

Fuck them

fuck them

fuck them

get passionate.

The Music Box

She was the ballet dancer in a music box

he discovered sitting in the corner of his hotel room

with curiosity, he twisted the key till it would turn no more

opened the lid and dutifully she began to dance

singing the same song over and over

dancing around and around in circles

against the backdrop of her vanity mirror

he left the room and left her alone.

 

Becoming dizzier and dizzier and more lightheaded

singing to herself, for hours on end

desperate to please, with an urgency to enchant

even though he wasn’t listening

even at distance

as the mirror watched her enthusiasm gradually slow

every time she faced it

a teardrop slid from her cheek.

 

When finally he returned

he closed the lid

silencing her song, returning her to the dark loneliness

of the music box

he didn’t spare her another thought

she was little more than an ornament to him

a curio, a toy

her song too sweet to be trusted

her dance too predictable.

 

That’s what unrequited means baby-

 

One day a stranger will open the lid of that music box

excited to hear her sweet music for the first time

only to discover she’s been waiting around

long enough for the key to rust

her clockwork heart to become brittle

and the only tune she’ll have left

will be a remnant of a broken dream

a slow fractured melody

her favourite song, ending with ‘once upon a time’

she’ll struggle to find the notes

that made her sing

she’ll remove her ballet shoes

for good.

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.

Trainspotting

The baggage we arrived with roots us

we try to walk away, leave it behind

yet our wrists are handcuffed to the handles and

the handles are made of thick solid steel

the luggage weighs us down to the spot.

 

People on the platform hurry by and never seem to notice

at least they never stop to ask why we’re standing here

not moving

they’re too busy with their own concerns

they push past us like we’re invisible, insignificant.

 

We watch the trains come and go, while over the speakers

we hear destinations listed, platform numbers announced

we watch the clock change at an alarming rate

day turns to night and the platform is a ghost town

still, we stand here hunched over our baggage.

 

Seasons change and still we’re stood in the self-same position

weather beaten, frozen in winter, blue from the cold

thawing out in spring, sunburnt in summer

collecting the shit of passing birds on our shoulders

like statues of long dead heroes

the only constant here is us.

 

We’re waiting here all this time for the keys to the handcuffs

to set down our burden once and for all

to wander free of this open prison of guilt, regret and worry

but our keys are in the suitcases we hold

Locked under a combination code that we can’t crack.

 

We can’t remember how we made it to the platform in the first place

the luggage is too big too heavy to shift on our own

did somebody help us?

can’t recall-

they must have grown tired of carrying our dead-weight,

if they left us here.

 

Why leave us on a platform?

with so many destinations to choose

so many journeys we can’t make

to watch other people, get on and off with ease

watching trains arrive and trains leave.

 

We never consider the content of the baggage

grows heavier, the more we put it out of our mind

tears well up in our eyes, we ache from the burden of all this stillness

a child passing on the platform, loses hold of a balloon on a string

all we can do is watch it drift away, weightlessly.

On a Broken Wing

Can’t fly far on a broken wing

can’t hit the right notes when they sing

can’t see the forest floor for the trees

my angels fell and bruised their knees.

 

Halos slipped around their eyes

as they stumbled on an idea less wise

to hitch a ride from the roadside

they thumbed a lift and stepped inside.

 

One red devil, in the driver’s seat

was totally baked on high-grade weed

said I’m going to hell for the company I keep

and just before he fell asleep

 

he winked at my angels with a grin

said so are you for the shape you’re in.

 

Can’t fly far on a broken wing

can’t hit the right notes when they sing

can’t see the forest floor for the trees

my angels fell and bruised their knees.

 

 

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.

 

Hush

I need room,

my brain rattles my skull with white noise

basket case conversations, wastepaper words

I’m tangled in a creative knot

trying to unravel, unwind

my days used to have a beginning and an end

now I can’t recognise either

the markers for awake and sleep keep shifting

weeks bleed into each other around here.

 

I’m tethered to this wi-fi lifeline seven long days a week

ti offers me life signs from cyberspace

where everyone has their finger on the pulse

checking they’re still alive

it makes my head hurt, and destroys my vision

inward and outward

still I’m hooked like a hungry fish

that continues to be surprised at being reeled in

time and time again.

 

I need hush

shush

silence

nothing.

 

I need nothing at all to inspire me

switch off, disconnect

breathe and reflect on nothing

a deep concentration of nothing

I drift out into a sea of nothingness

until I am nothing, going nowhere, thinking nothing

until something comes along out of the blue and stops me

from drowning in the wonderful joy of absolutely nothing.

 

Something worth living for

something that reminds me I’m alive

something that makes me smile

something to unravel me.

 

Like those days when we laughed and danced

campfires and guitars

those nights when we talked till we lost track of time

like those years when everything filled our eyes with wonder

hopscotch and skipping ropes

ice-cream and bubble-gum

discos and celebrations

family, friends-

when the human touch meant something.

 

Shush

hush

silence

let me remember you.

 

Out of Sight

Out of sight, out of mind

out of the way, I had no say

so, you were free to entertain

the notion I could not complain

some witty anecdotes were made

my misplaced trust of yesterday

you think its funny game to play

when I can’t stand my ground

when I’m not around

to defend or to explain

to cut you dead, correct your claims

as you placed my picture in your frame

you think you’re perfect, what a shame.

 

Out of sight, out of mind

how fucking weak of you to dare

to make a comedy of my despair

to sit and smirk and gloat and stare

at my expense, and start to laugh

you find amusement in the past

I lick my wounds, switch you off

conclude enough is enough

knowing you’ll juice it all you can

it doesn’t make you much of a man

to confide in someone real and true

you can’t be trusted to tell the truth

I may be broken, may be bruised

but I don’t have anything to prove.

Convenient Parking

We’re not getting any younger

we’re losing our looks

losing our minds, gaining body fat

our bones are tired

our spark has died

friends are too busy to socialise

jobs, kids, date nights

holidays and lives

don’t get out of the car yet

yes, I know it won’t start

but we need each other

To conveniently park.

 

 

No-one Can Hear Your Heartbeat

No-one can hear you talking girl

they have their own dialogues

no-one can hear you breathing

no-one can hear your heartbeat

no-one except you

you stand on the periphery of the social circle.

 

Your sob story sinks you to the lowest rank

we only want the good news today, but

your happiness is too loud to deserve airtime

check in some other day

your world is on the other side of the screen

not here in a social media dream

go away, entertain yourself

go away and fuck yourself

but do something productive.

 

No-one can hear you talking kid

we’re all talking to ourselves

we’re all talking about ourselves

don’t have time for anyone else

I like your funny picture

I glanced at it between rants

I smiled at your meaningful meme

on my way to my inbox

-cynically

 

Hmm no reply

 

I saw you posted music videos

but I don’t know the band

So I won’t listen to it

I won’t waste my time

it’s not Ed Sheeran

no-one can hear you talking mate

no-one can hear you scream

no-one cares when you’re cut up

on the other side of the screen.

 

We can switch you off, report you

block your updates

we get to pick and choose the content

we can edit conversations, delete our guilt

we can deny everything

claim we missed your news

no-one hears your heartbeat stop

no-one here can hear a pin drop.

 

The chatter is too loud

the news feed clouds the view

no-one can hear you weeping babe

no-one except you

this is nothing personal

we hope you understand

we really like you, but we just don’t care

we just don’t care.

 

Count on That

I was not the enemy,

yet I walked blindfold from the precipice

as darkest dreaming smothered me

I knew I couldn’t count on you.

 

Now, I wake from the blackout

to admit my foolishness to you

feel I owe you an apology

and a piece of my pain.

 

Sorry, never good enough

for your shell-shocked heart

and moral judgement

as foolish as I am

I knew I could count on that.

 

I was not the devil that tempted me

I was not the reflection that cracked me

I was not the darkness that took me

I was not the faith that left me.

 

Sorry, never good enough

for your blind anger

but I don’t blame you,

for you were not there,

I knew, I could count on that.

Soulmates

When you find your soulmate

you’ll know.

 

your eyes shine

you remember how to smile

when you fall in love

for the first and final time.

 

You feel you’ve known each other forever

can’t imagine ever being apart

you are two bodies

sharing one heart.

 

No matter how many others

you have known and kissed

and used the word ‘love’

to describe it.

 

You have never truly loved

like this.

Waiting in Line

You reach a certain age and you realise

we are all just waiting in line

watching people die

waiting for our number to be called

the only certainty we have about life

is that life is a death sentence

so enjoy it while it lasts.

 

We dream,

as we pace about our waiting rooms

of perfect lives, perfect bodies

nice house and garden

the perfect love story

we work, in varying capacities

to achieve great things

weighing ourselves against the competition

comparing notes.

 

We get by

shuffling our feet, slouching in front of TV Sets

that feed us dreams and bullshit

we buy the bullshit-

hopeful of success but clueless on what it takes

mortality creeps up on us

as we sleepwalk

carelessly stumbling on addictions, habits and greed

we dance across the tightrope of time

as though immune to danger.

 

What a waste,

to spend a lifetime finding our balance

to slip, fall and find no safety net beneath us

what a tragic shame

we don’t love each other enough

to show respect, understanding and kindness

don’t appreciate each other

don’t care until it’s over.

 

we turn a blind eye until all hope is gone

wake up suddenly regretful, feeling sorry for ‘ourselves’

tears are reserved for the living, my friend

you were born to ‘feel’.
You’ll reach a certain age and realise.

 

Cracked Paint

Cracks in the paintwork will show

no matter how many times you gloss over memories

the rough grain of turbulent thoughts

will never be smooth

you’ll feel the splinters penetrate your skin

your nerves raw, as your mind fragile

no matter how many times you redecorate the room

you’ll conclude that old woodchip wallpaper

will simply have to remain

stuck fast to the plaster beneath the new.

 

Your mistakes, regrets and resolutions

follow you

all your doing and undoing

will undo you

for better or worse

fractures in the sky will appear

sunlight will shine in

rain will soak you to the bone and

the cracks in the paintwork will grow

like vines of ivy on abandoned buildings.

 

Where nature reclaims her own

your character takes on new meaning

you survive, you thrive

through it all

some flakes of paint

may crumble and fall away

let them fall

it’s the cracks in the paintwork,

-that make you.

 

Footprints in the Frost

Soft sentiments, poetic

heart-warming verses

neatly written by innocent hands

on pristine pages of tidy notebooks

no torn pages, no crumpled paper

no dogeared corners, nor crossed out words

no bend or break in the spine of the book

with certainty, and self-assured peace of mind

soft sentiments, poetry

heart-warming verses

they belong to a character in a book

I’ll never write.

 

Because I’m starving for words

shivering and shaking at the back of my rented home

it’s winter at 4am

starlit in pinpricks of white

against a deep black sky

clear night

the silver moon in full bloom

thick frost glistening, crunching underfoot

a dog howls in a neighbouring yard

my breath wheezes smoke rings

that curl, drift, fade, soft into the cold air

Like ghosts.

 

 

I wonder why I’m out here

with you,

on a night like this where the currency of ink is all spent

and the soul shrinks back into the landscape

unseen.

 

I admit you caught me out

whispering at solitude

screaming silently

cursing shadows

caught me-

 

Leaving footprints in the frost

for you to follow

-before you dare lift your pen.

 

 

 

Dreaming

The dust and detritus of daily life

burrows deep into the crevices and cracks of pavements

we once walked as children

dragged at the hand by exhausted mothers

smiling at strangers with childish curiosity

pointing at random objects of interest asking, “what’s that Mommy, and why?”

always why-

 

Daydreaming about everything but the harsh reality

of our future adult lives

that we could barely grasp the concept of by observation

from the comfort zone of parental love

the safety of not having an inkling about it

with a vulnerability enough to crave it, pretend

we dressed up in mother’s high heels

put on her makeup

played dress up like we were already there.

 

Whilst here, now,

-if only,

I wish it was still a game to us now.

 

These streets are now walked with eyes cast down

into mobile screens,

we block out city noise,

wearing headphones leaving a tinny hiss behind us

we collide, and brush shoulders

strangers all

we rarely meet eye to eye,

rarely meet at all.

till we’re home and dry,

behind the walls, we build around us

that seem higher and higher

every day

watching the door to the outside world

slip further and further away

from our grasp.

 

Like the childhood innocence

we barely recall

though it seems it slipped from us

only yesterday

when we slipped off our heels

washed off our makeup

staring into the distant silence of our mirror world

wishing for dreams to come true.

 

we never had a clue what the game was

we were playing.

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.