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.

 

 

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.

 

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.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

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.

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.

 

 

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.