The Vase

Like a vase of dead flowers

bowing out of existence

once vibrant, where petals and leaves caressed

now wilted, they shrivel and fall.

 

Love abandons love

our hearts land hard

broken, like a shattered vase

the shards of glass

cutting like razor blades.

 

We attempt to pick up the pieces

though no glue can mend them

nor resurrect those flowers.

 

We sweep up the remnants of our lives

until only a tidy sorrow can question

what might have been.

 

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.

 

Lullabies

You confide in the moonlight

night after night

your endless disenchanted lullabies

I know you ache to smile

through each wave of disappointment

yet the song grows older still

as do you.

 

Your world of false limitations

fantasies and infatuations

they leave you weak at the knees

far too eager to please.

 

You’re barely living, but very much alive

don’t underestimate either

nor the way you steal their hearts

when the mist lifts from your mind

when you drop your disguise

open your eyes

there’s more to wisdom than being wise

more to dreams than lullabies.

Flightless Grey Birds

Flightless grey birds, newspapers

full of yesterday’s faces, crumpled and torn, trampled

the room is littered with my most valued possessions

turned out across the floor carelessly

smashed up, because they hit a raw nerve or two.

 

They remind me of innocence

or lack of it

my first cigarette

my last gulp of wine

each tear-drop, scar and bruise

moments.

 

I’m worn thin with them, in this

sleep deprived, self-imposed isolation

as the pen bleeds melancholia

long into the small hours

into the dawn, into the day

through stained fingertips

into the clammy afternoon.

 

Dead-end

As evening sweeps the remnants of broken glass from the floor

the spills of another hard-luck tale

that got sucked in through the door

I’m hunched in the corner of a dead-end bar

this loner’s game

like walking out into a night without stars.

 

The crowd stagger clumsily into the street

as smoke curls around my fingertips

rising like an apparition

from a city of ash-brittle dreams.

Nothing So Constant

There is nothing so constant

as the moon and stars

down here on the concrete Earth

we’d tear down the sky

if we were equipped to redesign it

we destroy all that we create

even our own history

deleted scenes

memories edited to suit peace of mind

recalling only the favourable times

decorating them with pretty words

anything less than perfect is an eyesore

I dissect everything I ever knew

under the scrutiny of the constant moon.

 

8.00 am

Sunday 8.00am

rain trickles down a grey windowpane

I stare through the speckled glass

drawing a smiley face in the condensation.

 

The aroma of smoke and cheap perfume

lingers in last night’s clothes

carelessly strewn in a haphazard trail

that leads to the messy sheets of a bed

I have barely slept in.

 

Jukebox songs still ring in my ears

along with the ghosts of laughter, chatter

images of people fighting for the bar

images that end abruptly.

 

I gnaw my fingernails nervously

trying to recall the journey home

my head swims like a demented fish

the rain applauds.

 

Bartender

The bartender’s long fingers

undress my petty words

as I play a one-sided game of chess

with a selection of empty shot glasses

he sees through me

as though I myself were made of glass

he’s met with this emotional cul-de-sac

a thousand times.

 

He plays psychotherapist

to every drunken case study

that stumbles by here

hears all the talk of the town

he is the oracle of whispers

he knows everything

I don’t know his name.

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.

 

 

Small Steps

I revive myself

nobody else can do that for me

I take small steps

they’ll amount to giant leaps given time

rebuilding my world as I want it to be

with a circle of genuine friends

people who inspire positivity,

embracing our creativity

reliable friends, trustworthy

people who recognise the best in me

as I rebuild my sense of self-belief

tell negative thoughts, hush

so I can hear my own heartbeat

I am worthy of a voice

worthy of being heard

it’s not the whisper

it’s the words.

Revive me

Dying to be heard

in a world that doesn’t want to hear a word

of what’s been survived

behind and outside of these eyes.

 

Considered weak, pathetic dramatic wild

cast aside avoided, ignored and denied

you know why don’t you?

 

It’s taboo

to let people in on the truth of you.

 

To admit there’s a darkness

eating you, a silent killer inside of you

it creeps that way

as you wrestle your own shadow

to the ground.

 

Claw at the air for signs of life

clutch at straws for hope

stare, through the reflection in your mirror

trying to remember

your last genuine smile

in a world that is blind

to your mind.

 

Revive me

 

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.

 

New Book Available

A Nest of Strange Little Creations is an autobiographical diary of events, feelings, and experiences explored through poetry, jumbled up and collected together in this book to be shared with you, the reader. Our emotions both reflect and affect those who surround us. We are all in effect involved in an emotional conversation with each other even as we sit quietly on our own. Our minds still busy processing the experiences of the day and weighing it up against a lifetime’s worth of information. Poetry is my catharsis. I offload this information, so I can consider it, refer to it and track my emotional journey. Once it is written down, however, and my words lay naked on the page with all the vulnerability of what it means to be alive, our happiness and sadness, our laughter and our tears, our bitterness and our hopes, our dreams and disappointments the lessons we have learned, and those we’ve still to learn. That’s when I realise that what I’ve written becomes less about me and more about us.

This book contains selected poems from ‘Night Owl’ previously released through blurb.com and a selection of poems never before published. This first edition copy of my book in paperback will set you back a hefty £5.99 to purchase 164 pages of poetic content.

Purchase Book at Lulu

 

NEST FRONT COVER 2

 

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.

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.

Writers Block OR Recharging Creative Battery

Sometimes we need a little time to creatively reset. I’ve got writer’s block currently but this is the case because I have little more to write about than my daily experiences at the moment and my daily routine has changed considerably over the last month. You see I struggle with my weight because I struggle with severe anxiety which has meant for a long time I’ve been very reclusive and staying indoors, turning to food for comfort and not burning off the calories I’m putting in. Consequently, I now need to lose about 60 lbs to return myself to a healthy weight and physical state.

The good news is I’ve had a care worker helping me to get out and about more for the past year and now I’m able to face the world with a lot more confidence. I can go out again on my own and I do, now, venture out purely for exercise. Nothing too strenuous just walking but up to about 10 miles a day in short bursts. This doesn’t leave much time for reflection on daily events or current affairs. However, it’s making me feel more energised in other ways and making me feel better about myself for finally tackling the damage that has been caused by my anxiety and reclusive habits.

I’ve overhauled my food intake and it’s much healthier and in smaller portions, but without starving myself. I’ve struggled with my weight before, it fluctuates at the best of times but I’ve been too skinny before and I know that’s not healthy either. My days then, are taken up with noting what I eat, calorie counting and walking, and on rainy days doing step aerobics indoors. All of this is a big change for me especially as my anxiety is also part of being Bipolar and depression can make you very tired and lethargic. It’s hard to get motivated, find the energy, or feel positive about making this sort of effort as you can tend to feel like a hopeless case and believe only the worst of things. Mania, on the other hand, can make you lively, dangerously impulsive and clumsy but generally end up with you burning out and sliding back into depression.

The good thing is that I’ve confronted my negative thoughts and my mirror and said to myself enough is enough. I’ve pushed myself through the lethargy and pushed myself through the anxiety, pushed myself through the feelings of failure and self-hate and I can honestly say the initial struggle was worth it. I still have to make a conscious effort to go out and walk or stay in and exercise, but I have more energy through doing those things than I imagined I’d ever have again. I’m steadily losing lbs and things are starting to head in the right direction. I feel better inside and out but I do not underestimate the effort I’ve put in to start moving again. Depression is a very serious illness and struggle, Anxiety can be life stopping, I also have PCOS which causes fatigue and puts me at higher risk of getting diabetes type II, underactive thyroid which does the same in the fatigue department. So several reasons why energy as much as motivation to go out has been lacking for so long. I think it’s true what they say about endorphins mind. You do get a sense of a natural high after a bit of regular exercise and you do get pretty hooked on the good vibe and energy that gives you after a while.

I don’t see myself as a jogger or a runner in the future as I have an old ankle injury from a bad break back in 2010 that still plays up and I wouldn’t want to over aggravate it. I can always increase my walks and/or look at other forms of exercise like swimming or gym activites.

I was getting to the point where if I didn’t get moving my joints would seize up and my ability to walk would leave me. My weight would become a major health concern.

So, in a nutshell, I’m busy trying to get myself back together in health and spirit and weight. I could write endless poems about that but it’d get boring and I don’t want to go over old ground and repeat myself. I write when I’m inspired to write. There’s no use forcing it. So bear with me while I have a recharge and I’ll write more poems when inspiration grabs me. You can’t look after your creative message unless you look after yourself. I’m doing this for me now. Nobody else. Despite all the cruel things people say and the way, they judge and body shame you when you’re either too skinny or too overweight. I am doing this because I personally want to feel better both inside and outside. It seems to be working and it will be a long time before I reach my goal, but all the pushing through the barriers of my mental and physical health problems seems to be paying off. It’s made a massive change and given me hope for the future again.

 

 

 

 

 

General Thoughts on Creativity (Not a poem)

In anything artistic, be it literature, music, art, crafts, photography, acting, dancing, singing…you need to grow a thick skin because critics are everywhere, buyers are sometimes few, while admirers are many, and the personal cost to your confidence and your pocket is always high.

Even if you’re proven successful after years of trial, error, effort and paying the cost of building your skills and collections of work…there will always be some people who don’t like what you do and some that do.

Please remember the praise you receive is real and justified, don’t think because other people may think differently to that, that praise is any less valid than criticism.

We’re all wanting reassurance we’re on the right path, sure we are,  but when we get knock backs we need to just push forward harder and with more determination and rise above the naysayers. Otherwise, we self-destruct and that’s not right is it?

I’ve been a slow learner myself with these facts but I have had less heartbreak since I started to value my own worth more than the opinions of others. Yes, I am happy to hear what people think but I’m less likely to take it so deeply to heart these days that I feel like giving up. Some people can be cruel and far from constructive; to me, these people are welcome to their opinions but their opinions are not worth my time and misery.

Creative minds need to believe in what they do. They need to remain passionate about what they do. They need to hold onto the enjoyment in what they do. So sometimes what creative minds need to do is filter the incoming criticism with as harsh an approach as the criticism is given. To learn to ignore people who are being plain cruel. Learn to accept compliments as genuine encouragement in a positive direction, learn to listen to the voice of reason and constructive critique and yet apply only what rings true to you and keeps your creativity authentic. Most of all stay true to yourself, give yourself a break, we can be our own harshest critics, and above and beyond anyone else we punish ourselves the worst. So be kind to yourself. Believe in yourself, allow yourself to grow and flourish at your own pace in your own style in your own way. Remember it’s ok, to be different!

Throughout history, the greatest creative minds have been truly original, they’ve deviated from the norm. They’ve had their own voice their own style, their own dress sense, their own ways of expressing themselves. They’ve often faced criticism for not fitting into the boxes society had readily made for them. They were often misunderstood. Underestimated. Or bypassed in their time because they were ahead of their time or even created things completely timeless so they didn’t fit with fashion but they did eventually fit with the human soul and understanding and became posthumously famous on account of it.

Support your fellow creative minds while they are alive. That’s when things really matter. If you believe in someone’s creative output and believe in that person’s ability to shine. Tell them so. If you are the creative mind and you believe in yourself give yourself credit where it’s due. Never look down on yourself. Your calling to create is a precious gift. You are drawn to it and you work hard at it for a reason…it’s part of who you are.

Homeopathy

I’m a homeopathic version of myself

key ingredients

diluted, diluted and diluted again.

 

Yes, I’m your homeopathic remedy

key ingredients,

diluted, diluted and diluted again

 

till I’m barely here at all

in my little glass bottle,

I’m no better than a placebo

in the grand scheme of things.

 

But if you take this therapeutic dose

and you truly believe it could work

I’m capable of great things.

 

One day, you’ll see

you never really needed to take this piece of me,

once you swallowed your faith

in yourself.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Caricatures

Sitting in the tavern

waiting for food to arrive

the table next to us

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

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, 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, were well-rehearsed

 

While across the table an American woman

with a blunt, self-righteous humour about her

with an over the top ‘put on’ laughter

painfully embarrassing to listen to

impossible to avoid

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

it screamed through everyone in the bar

fake as hell, ridiculous

loud as a fog horn

we couldn’t hear ourselves think.

 

When their food arrived

there was peace for a while.

 

The waitress could barely keep a straight face

she tried so hard but she cracked a little.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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.

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

gossip 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 to kick off.

 

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 a 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.

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.

Trainspotting

The baggage we arrived with roots us

we try to walk away, leave it behind

yet our wrists are handcuffed to the handles and

the handles are made of thick solid steel

the luggage weighs us down to the spot.

 

People on the platform hurry by and never seem to notice

at least they never stop to ask why we’re standing here

not moving

they’re too busy with their own concerns

they push past us like we’re invisible, insignificant.

 

We watch the trains come and go, while over the speakers

we hear destinations listed, platform numbers announced

we watch the clock change at an alarming rate

day turns to night and the platform is a ghost town

still, we stand here hunched over our baggage.

 

Seasons change and still we’re stood in the self-same position

weather beaten, frozen in winter, blue from the cold

thawing out in spring, sunburnt in summer

collecting the shit of passing birds on our shoulders

like statues of long dead heroes

the only constant here is us.

 

We’re waiting here all this time for the keys to the handcuffs

to set down our burden once and for all

to wander free of this open prison of guilt, regret and worry

but our keys are in the suitcases we hold

Locked under a combination code that we can’t crack.

 

We can’t remember how we made it to the platform in the first place

the luggage is too big too heavy to shift on our own

did somebody help us?

can’t recall-

they must have grown tired of carrying our dead-weight,

if they left us here.

 

Why leave us on a platform?

with so many destinations to choose

so many journeys we can’t make

to watch other people, get on and off with ease

watching trains arrive and trains leave.

 

We never consider the content of the baggage

grows heavier, the more we put it out of our mind

tears well up in our eyes, we ache from the burden of all this stillness

a child passing on the platform, loses hold of a balloon on a string

all we can do is watch it drift away, weightlessly.

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 seem

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

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.