Fortress

Who would dare to unveil,

Memories I cast into deepest corners of my mind,

Coiled up like tightly wound springs,

Hidden from prying eyes,

For fear of them bursting free.

 

I am a wild flowing river,

Capable of flooding this great city of life-

 

I’d sooner drown silently in the swells of sorrow,

Than make islands of us all.

 

I keep a close watch on defending my rights,

Hold a blind stare,

Through history I unwrite,

In a fortress, I guard zealously,

With violent pride, these wine-soaked days.

 

Sometimes I swipe the earth from beneath my feet,

Fall free through thin air and,

I dream of a soft pillow,

That might catch me.

 

Though there’s no comfort inside of this fortress,

Tears fall like rocks from my eyes,

The landslide of my pillow,

Fits the contours of my face, smothers me,

Seals me in my place like a sarcophagus.

 

How will you know my heart?

If not too tender to touch,

Pulsing the life through these veins,

To stand guard, over all I love and all I cannot.

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, at all,

I was trying to find my place in this big picture,

I was 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, done,

My confidences and my strong words,

Struck dumb,

My health failing and my 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 some 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 now,

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.

 

 

 

Sentimental

These strange things that hold sentimental value,

Like my great grandmothers’ pocket watch,

It has one hand only to tell the time by,

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

Family jewellery engagement and eternity rings,

Gemstones missing,

The big old seashell my grandfather kept in the hallway,

That I used to hold up to my ear to hear the sea,

The 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 and stinking of age,

Knitted hand puppets made by my grandmother,

Stitches weak and unravelling,

A moth-eaten old Robert Burns Poetry book,

Dated 1896, with yellowed thin and 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-
Was 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, my 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, 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.

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 seems,

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,

It 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,

The 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.

 

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.