Temporary Grace

This surface has a temporary grace

a fingerprint, a name, a recognisable face

here’s a shoulder to cry on, when the world grows cold

here are my open arms, my hand to hold

While beneath my eyelids

I am always awake

the architect of my dreams

choreographer of the moves

tearing down and rebuilding worlds

the playwright, script and scene

The actor in costume

a child playing hide and seek.

 

So, count to ten, try to find me

try to find me where I roam

don’t weigh me up in flesh and bone

that’s like staring at the building

and never making it home

you need to dig deeper

for the gold

you need to dig deep

for the gold.

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.

 

Open

These bones of broken faith

crushed by the hand of fate

this twisted contorted us.

 

Staring through our mirror world

we sing the same lullaby

a hymn to lost time

we reflect each other’s light

it is just

-another sleepless night

 

where words cascade from my fingertips

letters slide off the pages

swallowed by the pools of black ink

my tears have become.

 

I regret what is past

cannot be undone

these brittle remains

disintegrate as I sip

each sweet word that passes your lips.

 

I need you to sit beside me

read me to the end of the book

leave the last page open.

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.

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.

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.

 

 

 

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.

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.

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.

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.

 

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.