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 now,

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 freakshow,

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,

And 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,

Or eyes shut.

 

What lullaby do they sing?

While 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, 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.

 

 

 

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 and-

 

The mirror watched her enthusiasm gradually slow,

And every time she faced it,

A teardrop slid from her cheek.

 

When finally, he returned,

He closed the lid,

Silencing her song, and 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 was 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 ended 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-
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.

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.

 

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.