Hindsight

How often my heart sinks, when you talk that way,

When you remind me,

How it was when I was drowning.

 

Caught in a maelstrom of emotions, delusions, and paranoia,

When I was lost to myself completely.

 

Now I watch and listen, over my glass of gin,

Tonic, ice and a slice of citrus, bittersweet,

Pondering possible cures.

 

There are no answers,

When the light leaves your eyes,

Not even a healthy dose of hindsight, and wishful thinking.

Personal Injury Claim

 

You should file a personal injury claim against your alter ego,

Who owes you happiness after causing such pain,

After all the years of negativity and blame,

Endured from that side of your brain.

 

No, you won’t get financial compensation,

Nor lawyers taking a cut,

Though you’re owed a debt of peace of mind,

Self-belief and some luck.

 

Your alter ego has lied,

For countless years,  it’s true,

Telling tales of disappointment and failure,

Pointing the finger of blame at you.

 

So you took it to heart because you have one,

While it plagued your conscience with doubts,

Till the bigger picture was obscured enough,

To appear too small to think about.

 

You’re not the sum of those negative words,

Or insults, you take onboard,

You’re a sensitive soul with a heart of gold,

Not that mountain of fear you’ve been sold.

 

You could sue your other-self for libel,

For a tarnished reputation, bad weather,

For causing you shame, shoving you out in the rain,

Never offering you the grace of an umbrella.

 

You’ve been surrendered to tears and sorrow,

In an ocean of dreams that have drowned,

You’ve been swimming against your nature,

While the tide carries you outward and down.

 

You’re in need of some hefty compensation,

Some respite, recognition, some light,

Despite all you’ve been conditioned to believe,

Why should wearing a smile take a fight?

 

The gravity of  negativity,

Has turned your face to a frown but,

It’s not and never was your fault you see,

So put your claim in now.

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 backs,

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,

For those in the aftermath of the fight,

Bruised and grazed and believing the lies,

Circled by the redness of tearstained 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 whether you were 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,

They remind me,

They refine me,

They guide me,

They adjust me,

Redesign me,

They find me,

Walk beside and behind me,

They change me for the better,

They wise me up,

They shake me awake,

They shock me real,

They turn me around,

They make me turn on my heel,

They drop the hints,

They push me forward,

They give me reality checks,

They give me the 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, 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.

 

 

 

Caricatures

Sitting in the Tavern,

Waiting for food to arrive,

The table next to us,

Was 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,

He 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 that was 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, well-rehearsed.

 

While across the table an American woman,

With a blunt and self-righteous humour and manner about her,

Had an over the top ‘put on’ laugh,

That was embarrassing to listen to,

The laugh would last for a while and then stop abruptly on cue,

It screamed through everyone in the bar,

Fake as hell, but ridiculously loud,

Loud as a fog horn,

We couldn’t hear ourselves think.

 

When their food arrived,

It silenced her a while.

 

The waitress could barely keep a straight face,

She tried so hard, she almost managed, but she cracked a little.

 

 

 

 

 

Shape-shifters

The agreeable sort concern me,

Those yes men and yes women,

Who’ll bend over backward,

To grab your attention,

Shape-shift to fit the mood,

Chameleon skinned 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,

With sirens blazing,

Arrows pointing at them,

As you stand in silhouette,

Whilst screaming look at me! Look at me!

And 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 imposters?

 

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 is torn in two,

Heartfelt words laid to waste,

This page is 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 a frown.

 

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 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.

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 and 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,

While 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,

And 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 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.

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 and 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,

Gossiping 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,

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 the 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. Hell, for others.

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.

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 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.

 

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,

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 love you, but we just don’t care,

We just don’t care.

 

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.

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.