UID: 11841 • PID: 139736 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

reIn Haiku

Sail in storm and rain,

Needs strict control, but  deft rein.

Else  disaster  reign.

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UID: 11841 • PID: 139737 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Zane Haiku www.truthaboutzane

Small boy dies: poisoned.

Tears greater than flood water

cover –    

         – up begins.

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UID: 11842 • PID: 139740 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

-Expensive Lessons-

 

 

Here, I learn not to be sad

Though most of what I do here is

grieving

 

I learn to err every day

For in the eyes of white people,

We,

Who came from there

Are soaked with disasters and lackings 

 

I learn to lock my front door

My back door

And make sure that my neighbours’ doors are closed too

So I won’t run to them at the end of the night

When I have no one to hold.

I learn slowness in everything

As my revenge on the condition of speed while living here

I left my country because it was pale

And slow

To look like her 5000 miles away.

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UID: 11842 • PID: 139741 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Arabs

 

Here, they all say that Arabs are the laziest;

I do not believe them

Yet I do not rush

My coffee is not an “espresso”

Squirrels are not the only ones that

 pass in front of my house

To give me

Half their morning nuts

Which they stole from a house

of a man who never talked to people

 different from him

And never knew countries other than his red state.

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UID: 11746 • PID: 139746 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Monochrome

Sun and moon and the passing time,

O balance wrought in paradigm,

 

Do I live in vain if not enlightened,

Or live with such wisdom’s sorrow heightened?

 

For shadows cast or shadows prime,

By light tendered or in ignorance climb,

 

Is there truth for each light unseen,

As the eternal strife has ever been?

 

Might its absence ever be found sublime,

That shadow looming over horizon of time?

 

It seems only in sleep was I truly free,

What shade wisdom was it disturbed me?

 

Ignorance of insight I fondly miss,

That light in ignorance was truly bliss.

 

But the stars speak only in darkness of night,

They say the sun is gone, but never the light.

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UID: 11746 • PID: 139747 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Crescent Moon

In life I sought:

 

Happiness where there was only pride,

Virtue on a scale of an only side,

 

Loneliness thrived where uniformity would preside,

Among those from whom my truths would hide,

 

With bliss in ignorance, like the retreating tide,

My fabrications to my own mind lied,

 

That my heart could not my soul abide,

Wherein could I then reside?

 

In hope I fought:

 

That in solidarity happiness could be laid,

That in unity injustice would be stayed,

 

Where none in darkness would ever wade,

But in light of trust had futures made,

 

Through tolls the wise had since paid,

When faith and love did all but fade.

 

In life I saw the truth so cruel,

Had I always been such a fool?

 

Has it always been the human legacy,

That first we must wane before ascendancy?

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UID: 11847 • PID: 139753 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Starting

(I)

Starting

 

Eye line arcs:

Spots the purple glint of black amethyst

In the coruscation of a waterfall;

 

Falters near the edge

As a stickleback rises and slips beneath the surface

Of another wave;

 

Follows the uncertain drift-swirl

Of thought squeezed in

The precious blue-green colour of sea-water stone;

 

Finds sea squirts and tunicates

Silently offering hope

Seated on the floor;

 

As from the hollow of an open mind

Twig cracks

And a shrike plucks silence

Compounds it on eardrums

With its flurried contraction to a distant dot.

 

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UID: 11847 • PID: 139754 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Japanese Dawn

Japanese Dawn

 

In the shade of a wagasa

While goblin’s gold unfolds

On the approach

 

A bare foot sifts

Smooth black pearls between toes

Seeking purchase

 

Moistening the odd red-spotted stone

Rolling down the black silica slope

 

Breaking ripples

Across the surface

 

Where ice fronds

Fray the water’s edge

In the crisp morning air

 

Pierced by plumes of sun beams

That splay this early stillness

Through wisps of mist.

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UID: 11847 • PID: 139755 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Snap Shot

Snap Shot
 

Picture a people breaking free:

The fingerprint pressings soiling

And then smashing their glass case;

The pieces, splintering, sprayed

Across your view as light laps

And enfolds blades of cold glass-beam.

 

Such shrapnel falling into silence,

Blood spotting the odd serrated edge:

Fragments gored then perfectly still

Captured within a photograph.

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UID: 11848 • PID: 139757 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Unspoken

 

 

I want to shut myself in a box ,
close my eyes and curl up inside

 

Not to think, move or have any feelings inside, just to be inside a box

 

To put my mind at ease for once , to shut out pain, anger and blame

 

I want to shut myself in a box, close my eyes , pretend everything is fine 

 

Not to think, move or have any feelings inside

 

Just to be in a box

 

 

 

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UID: 11849 • PID: 139760 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Black and White

We watch them negotiate―

The crow and gull―

Black and white,

Hackles raised by the breeze.

 

And we see

A strange choreography:

Crow’s strutting swagger,

The gull’s pattering tease

Across the grass.

 

Moving round each other

They keep their distance,

Manœuvring

Uncertainly the way

Wary lovers do.

 

There is no common ground,

Only difference,

Their grey sky bound by

Its horizon of white lies;

Black looks.

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UID: 11849 • PID: 139761 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Sprouts

Hear Brussels sprouts

Under a running tap;

Howlin’ Wolf  

On web radio.

 

At the kitchen table

Listen to the wireless:

Smokestack Lightning

On the Light Programme.

Mother at the stone sink

In cotton dress and pinafore

Gazes absently past

An angry wasp trap

Into a chaos of garden.

Grandmother

Simmers in her chair

Silencing the front room.

 

Water runs.

A knife clunks

On the draining board.

Sprouts rattle the colander.

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UID: 11851 • PID: 139765 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

I´ve got a NVQ level 2 in trowel ocupations (I said trowel not trouble)

You´ll come
to the library
where the scaffold
is erected
almost protecting
the building
with maternal care
so tenderly
                         so neat
then
walking on it
as ants
in a summertime´s
                          afternoon
are the bricklayers

 

you can hear them
swearing
singing
talking nonsense
or quiet sensible things

 

there is a loud volume radio
saying
            it´s Friday

 

Fear
rules
intimate
daring
after
you

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UID: 11851 • PID: 139768 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Astronaut of love

 

She digs a hole
on his chest
she sings a song
she tries her best

 

digging
          digging
                    digging
the whole day

 

-Hey Daisy-
he whispers
-Don´t forget
to stick
a finger
up my bum
se we can know
what we are
           talking about

then she smiles
(She is like
a rainbow
when she smiles)
and at that
very moment
he could forgive
whatever she did
                    to him
or whatever
she does
or she will do
                     to him

 

digging
         digging
                    digging

 

the sun comes out
and that hole
we mentioned before
it´s coming
                   to an end

nearly reaching
             its destination

 

he knows that
already
but it´s
          too late
it´s been always
          too late
to step aside
to run away
to play dead

 

done

 

-you´ve got me
babe
I´m yours-

 

she smiles

confirming
                 a fact

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UID: 11852 • PID: 139773 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

People Scare Me Because

They’re glass milk bottles
on winter doorsteps, frozen
to my touch. Even cracked,
they’re still rigid, opaque,
their contents un-flowing.
If I reach out to grasp one, I might
drop it. It wouldn’t spill but slivers
cut my fingers, feet, heart.
Worse, a fragment could lodge
and become part of me.

 

When I step towards them
and open my mouth to speak,
I’m the bottle of frozen milk.
My richest cream is a thick seal
of heavy grease, a foil lid welded to me.
Cold and slippery, I slide into free-fall,
broken before I feel the stone path.
I cut my own hands, soles, heart,
and when I bleed, I bleed
slivers of dirtied glass.

 

When I stop bleeding
and peer through glass sharply,
I see a world of emptied bottles
refilled with potential explosives,
cloudy with poison gas, or jagged edges
pressed against a soft throat.
Others are petrol pumped, with a fuse
of screwed paper. One lit word,
and they’re primed grenades,
or makeshift lamps.

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UID: 11852 • PID: 139774 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Through our letter box

I ask my husband to package up the house –
to draw the curtains around us,
against the early dusk’s brown-papered sky.

 

Inside: lights, warmth and the safety
of things shaped to our life. Worn leather
to lean back on, cushions flattened
by our weight still bolster our spines.
We cosy with Netflix: familiarity on screen,
bright flashes of borrowed colour.

 

I sit hugging my knees, hunched over
a bowl of pasta and cheese:
bland, but snug as a cat on my lap.

I take each forkful slowly,
suck the taste before I swallow,
softly line myself with heat.

 

As its comfort cools, I pull

my legs in tighter – less space
to need to fill with false sun.
The dish’s bone-toned ceramic
turns heavy in its near emptiness
resting beside my shucked heart.

 

I ask my husband again
to package up this house

before my last warm mouthful

and post it through our letter box –

light and heat poured in,                             

ready for the darkness.

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UID: 11853 • PID: 139777 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

A GARDEN IN CANNING TOWN

A GARDEN IN CANNING TOWN

 

Makeshift, perhaps – these courgettes raised

in crates, trees grown in boxes – among

the raw expressways and yet amiable

in ways that gardens of trim borders,

showy beds, can fail to be.

 

Accommodating, under the wide skies

scarred with cranes, where greenery bursts

through rubble, tender plants are nursed

between the concrete and smoked glass,

by people who love handling soil.

 

I am reminded of those places

where we played as children – strips

of neglected land along the edges

of allotments, unclaimed scrub

beyond the recreation ground –

 

with footings of old sheds, and straggly

copses, mapped with the runs of cats

or foxes, places to hide and build

rough camps, our private wilderness,

sheltered in ways we scarcely knew.

 

Always the proximity of men

and women serious about growing things

– not always experts, nor for show. 

To many, then, their quiet hours

of digging, planting, served as a means

 

of mending after War.  And those

who make a quiet garden here

beside the raw construction sites –

who knows what histories they bring,

what private battles any one

 

has fought today, or what the need

may be to find some kind of solace

in the touch of earth, in sowing seed,

sharing the age-old tasks of fostering

growth, seeing a ravaged ground renew.

 

                Core Landscapes Community Nursery and Garden

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UID: 11853 • PID: 139778 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

LOCAL

LOCAL

 

Dark wood, brass rails, curtains in faded plush

   – all of it post-War fakery out of

some lost Edwardian dream, no longer lush

 

though polished with a beery rag, the glows

   are slowly fading with past pride

diminished as the takings reach new lows.

 

Now refuge for a remnant who can see

   no other place to go, long hours of gazing

into pints, monotonous T.V..

 

They share sporadic reminiscence, repeat

   the same tired stories about characters

and trades long gone, past triumphs and defeats,

 

yet cannot fail to have some premonition  

   of a future with reducing

options, maybe impending demolition

 

 or, at best, the drastic re-invention

   – designer colours, crafted beer,

music pitched at a some coming generation,

 

phones and loud voices, served up with pricey food,

   – for them, merely a different loss,

the changing world that seems to bring no good.

 

And yet their stale nostalgia is age-old

   illusion – peddling false memories,

recall of diamond-geezers, hearts-of-gold,

 

do-anything-for-anyone, community

   real in the memory but insubstantial

as the vanished jobs, security –

 

or as lost heroes of the local team,

   long relegated, all hopes of rescue

through new money, re-invention, a sad dream.

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UID: 11853 • PID: 139779 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

BEWCASTLE CROSS

BEWCASTLE CROSS

 

No, coming by car can’t truly count

as pilgrimage, though driving all those miles

of narrow road, through empty hills,

feels more than mere excursion; after all,

it is the month of Aprill, even without

the showres soote to temper generous sun –

unseasonal warmth that may, indeed, belie

the truer nature of these borderlands,

more frequently exposed to all that weather

or invading raiders could inflict.

 

The pillar dates from times when this

may not have been a border, simply

a long-farmed valley to be colonised,

the apt location for a monumental presence,

for this enigmatic stone.  Scholars and

antiquarians have posed their questions –

who carved the beasts and tendrils? who may

the figures represent? were brothers sent

to pray beneath the exuberant cross, here

in the quiet of a land that soon

was fated to become debatable again?

 

Today it seems enough to sit out

in spring sunshine, contemplate

this rare survivor from the time of Bede,

thinking of abbot Biscop bringing back

his Roman masons, echoes of deep veneration

for the Holy Rood.  Also to wonder

what we come ourselves to see – rare artwork,

sacred relic, or simply to take in

the hillsides’ present peace, reverencing

birdsong and the lamb’s insistent cry?

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UID: 9261 • PID: 139783 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Where Have All the Years Gone

As I bend this stiffened frame in simple task,

Echoes of years long gone come to pass,

Of childhood innocence embracing this imaginary mind,

Outwardly displayed in aerobatic manoeuvres and ‘go seek to find’,

Those miss spent days of make belief plays, masters of expectation,

Dissolved in a fading memory, mirrored in reflection,

A kiss of chance in run around, barefoot to the ground,

Looking up towards the sky, painting every cloud,

Of daisy chains, a love foretold, blowing wishes to the summer breeze,

A kingdom built of cloth and pegs in battlement of scuffed knees,

In wind and blades of evergreen accelerating at speed,

Adventures made of sticks and stones, a race to take the lead,

Bugs all legged, masterful in flight, captured in a jar,

This laboratory of nature’s wonderment to examine from a far,

Sculptured fingers of weaponry, a battle to be won,

In comradeship of timeless play, until the day is done,

Chalked images on doorstep pavements, abandoned left on display,

Until walked upon, lost in time, like memories that fade away,

Oh where have all the years gone, with not a care in the world but play,

Lost in timeless adventures, embracing everyday

 

UID: 9261 • PID: 139783 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 5270 • PID: 139786 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Window Birdfeeders

First the tits.  Blues upright on the seedtube.  Greats muscling in,
The colourless female in tow. If I’m lucky, emperors will come.
Bulls with marvellous breasts, lovers of Nyger seed, lord and lady.
More equal, these; magnificent in monogamy.  A velvet Siberian
Haunches, just below the eyeline.  Then, joy! Flock
Of long-tailed tits in raucous harmony, weaving through spines
Of tangled moonsprite, sorbus (fastigiata).  Young squires, these –  
Ragged bird, shoved.  ‘Scruffy-tit’ my child calls it.  The tense Siberian
Twerks a hunting pose, pupils saucered.  And robin cocks a waltz
On the seed-dashed water-trough, trills mighty notes skyward,
A coquetry of rebuff; coal-tit, on spilled seed, eyes the ears
Honed traywise.  And I am lucky today.  On ochre roofslate I see
A wagtail, with lemon breast.  It is bliss enough. The purple jay
Cries.  The magpie caterwauls.  And now the bowstring is taut,
She plunges, a nuthatch, jet of bronze, javelins into soft suet,
The pudding block.  Locked in a metal grille.  Magpies
Cry.  Where have the starlings gone? My birds are teased thus.  
The lush Siberian heaves fantastically – thudding the pane. 
Irritated, she shakes her head, sneezing.  She walks away.
 

UID: 5270 • PID: 139786 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 4660 • PID: 139787 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Stitches in Time

Stitches in Time

 

The first bodkin was fashioned

out of bone by an Inuit

to weld sealskins and pelts of fur,

 

while in these fair Isles,

the needle was appended to a woman’s hand

as the plough to the peasant

 

                                    the pen to the writer

 

for a girl had no option other than to patch

and darn, embroider cloth

with monograms of her mistress.

 

My silks once ranged from pink to scarlet,

blushed in every shade of red

until they reached the port,

 

took on the hue of the finest claret

ever fermented to tempt a fellow,

pander to his palate.

 

Now I’m reduced to a card

of twine to sew a button on my coat

by the lattice window

 

                                    in the fractured light

 

where mother wove this cover,

defined each leaf in petit point,

shaded in the Christmas fruit,

 

while I hemmed an apron in school,

the nuns so cross if you missed a stitch,

you had to unpick it and start afresh,

 

yet Spanish girls shirred flounces

and frills, back-stitched their prayers

into linen and gauze,

 

caught falling stars with a silver thread,

tacked them in with a spider’s web

 – once I smocked a baby’s dress,

 

turned collars inside out,

ran up curtains on the sewing machine

humming against the clock,

 

a trusty Singer in black and gold

now silent in its box.

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UID: 5270 • PID: 139789 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Yggdrasil of the North

Howling out of the forest, Barghest came,
Scabbed eyes redrimmed, drooling,
This mongrel whippet-thin black dog.

 

This long-howl redsore matted black dog
Ran swift as wind, unstoppable as wind,
Loping in a long arc. Running at us.

 

Padfeet soundless, quickstep and howling.
Within we turned, in alarum, like wax dolls
In a house of wax. In a world slowed with wax.

 

Don’t let it in, the wise man bellowed.
And – shockingly – pushed his pupil forward
As the black dog leaped at their throats

 

And nested there. A fur noose. Garmr
Trapping the wind of words. Immobile,
Stoppered, the pipes and bellows of words.

 

Awaking, this vision smouldered, burned
In iron cooker rings. In searing coils
Of solder wire. In melting gas-hobs, kettle plates.

 

It loomed in snickelways, on bridges, crossroads,
Alone near Wreghorn, hunting Oxwells,
Springs. Drawn inward in endless slowing gyres.

 

Until, in his father’s garden, hunting the lost thing,
He found Barghest’s bleached bones, its pale remains,
And stood staring at what he had found.

 

Kneeling in a labyrinthe of ribs, fished a stone:
The starry one, ring of light – glittering clown’s eye.
A Raven’s feather. A shield of seven sorrows.

 

Kneeling in the tree bole, a vast worm gorged.
Dug up the doll in motley, long ages buried –
Pinned blind in the roots and earth. Still living.

 

And raised this broken jester to the sun
As a cool wind raises a gathering of leaves.
Outside, the flights of birds through trees.

 

Awake, now, at his father’s watch, gold bezel.
Holds his wedding band, breathing, watching:
A ladybird – red wings tracing circles in the windless air.

 

“I love you” she breathed – lengthening the vowel.
Like a psalm, God’s little cow on my arm,
As I stroke my pale love’s golden hair.

UID: 5270 • PID: 139789 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 5270 • PID: 139791 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Farcemenace Sonnet, Red Nose Day

Grass verge.  Flattened cola cans weathered to pale vermillion,
And pretty flowers of broken glass.  And there
In a plastic cup, strange blot – a scarlet sphere of sponge,
Discarded.  The foam nose of a clown.  And also
Trumpet weed and fool parsley and little purple selfheals.
I squat to pluck this quivering fiery ball, cup it
In the universe of these hands.  My supplicant palms.
I wonder, is the world no stage – but a joke? (Or both – a comedy).
And does Loki live among us yet – lips sewn in bloody smile
Gifting wands of mistletoe?  Is Feste risen? Smyon pa? 
No answer.  The theatrical sky darkens to smoky pink, curtain red,
I rise and, no-one looking, open the foam cleft of the gelid ball
   And clip it on this nose with mirth, with a most devilish grin.
   Alas – some wag in jest had pinned a needle of glass within.

UID: 5270 • PID: 139791 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 5270 • PID: 139792 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Hag Mother

English news from Knaresborough

 

1.  Mother

 

What have you monstered, Agnes?

Groin plucked for a witch’s teat,

Lucifer himself sucked it day and night

As the dull animal of the north sowed confusion.

Issue of Solomon, a ditch-digger,

Blue flaxpetal ocean on the Nidd bank –

Beech and hornbeam moaning,

The child cradled in a chimneystack.

Yorkshire sibyl, northern prophetess:

England’s last boar will be slain.

Leprous mendicants line the spring,

Dead animals swinging, wigs in gorgon shrouds.

A panic then in Leeds,  the hen’s eggs speak:

The witch, she lives – illusion on dusty wings.

 

2.  Child

 

Raziel ellimiham, jarid cuman hapheah Gabriel

This is the voice of blind Jack, blind Jack

Heard at the chapel of Our Lady in the Crag,

Heard in the sandstone shrine on the wind.

Ravens on the cross take unholy sacrament,

The blood of noble men is spilled.

The North shall rue it wondrous sore,

The South – the South, forevermore.

Horse spanceled on a thorn, the moth lands –

Ringstones crumble amidst the chamfered ribs.

The cutwater flows, a bezoar blocks the bridgethroat.

Squared gritsone walling and spandrel wall shall fall:

                The architect juggles his numbers wryly,

                Forces are woken – false prophecies stir abroad.

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UID: 11857 • PID: 139795 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Ode to Orford Lighthouse

An ode to Orford Lighthouse.

 

The wonder that is Orford Ness,
A place of calm, a place of stress.
The summer sun, the balmy breeze,
The winter winds and stormy seas.

 

I stand alone on Orford Quay
and treasure all I hear and see;
The Eastern morning sky aglow,
The evening pink of Felixstowe.

 

With every hour, with every day
there comes a different fresh array
of sights and sounds to calm and soothe;
the lapping waves, the water smooth.

 

But then not every day’s the same.
The sky is grey, the sea not tame.
The river’s rough, the wind is blowing.
No moon no stars no sunset glowing.

 

With such a vast and changing range
can nothing be immune to change?
The answer stands in red and white,
the ever present Orford Light.

 

Whatever sea, be storm or calm,
The Lighthouse steers away from harm.
The long white beam like mother’s smiles,
will reassure across the miles.

 

But now your beacon is no more.
The sea has settle the old score.
No matter now the ships you save,
you must surrender to each wave.

 

Just like the great Pharos of old,
your body rots, your lamp gone cold.
No more to save us from the sea.
You fade into antiquity.

 

As murd’rous Moor Othello said
when wanting Desdemona dead
and choked her day to endless night:
“Put out the light, put out the light”.

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UID: 11578 • PID: 139797 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

My Fruitful Life: Weak-days

The swoop of simple words, belittling everything that came out.

That I had been fighting, to come out.

The ups. The downs. The ups. The downs.

The downs and then the ups again.

Each so different and no care for an

ease-in middle-ground.

Sitting in a pub, I don’t fit in.

No one aware what’s going on inbetween 

My ears.

Shuddering fears. Reading social situations,

that don’t appear.

Does anyone else reflect on conversations

to the point that each word has been churned out and turned out into a pulparised powder?

That the context becomes lost and reality is shrouded in shame.

I’m a shambles.

But then a week goes by.

UID: 11578 • PID: 139797 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11578 • PID: 139799 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Millennial Love Sonnet (too entitled for rules)

Your fingertips make me think of maple sickly syrup

Stroking too sweetly my fleshiest fleshy flesh

I can taste the residue in my mouth.

Your fingertips make me acutely aware of each itch

That I cannot scratch as you gaze at me, adoringly

And stop.

Because you only compliment my eyes when I’m looking at you

 

UID: 11578 • PID: 139799 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11858 • PID: 139801 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

in hibernation

i peel myself off the bathroom floor

the fan purrs like a stray cat in the ceiling

legs and loins. head and heart. i´ve lost it all

to feeling

UID: 11858 • PID: 139801 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11858 • PID: 139802 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

a dog eye minute

what was that that just happened. a bottle

a street shark kiss. a corner invitation a bed

a morning walk to school. you and some

dinners some starry eyes and candle lights

you and some promises of a brown hybrid

child or two i´ll never birth. you and your

loved declarations on a plastered balcony

wet with praises and off your face. you with

your dog eyes bit with my love it´s only

minutes ticking and all of this will be forgotten.

 

UID: 11858 • PID: 139802 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 863 • PID: 139807 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

A Sense Of Place

I’m staring at four foot images of my childhood
Spread across walls of the National Gallery,
Raging storms and foaming seas of my youth,

Catterline’s coast on canvas in front of me.

 

My house isn’t in any of her paintings,

Built by my father long after she died,

But I stood in Joan’s spot as the tide came in,
Where she painted cliffs I saw with my eyes.

 

The salmon bothy in her canvas of nets,

Mentioned by name again and again,

I know as the hut used by artists,

Where Andrew landed silent and broken.

 

Pushed by his brother from the top of the cliff,

To roll and roll, until the post stopped him,

By the hut in the paintings where nets hung stiff,

And I painted my face with bloody skin.

 

Throwing stones of shingle at a seal found dead,

Rotting blubber and wounds still fresh,

One stone shattered, striking my head,

Gifting a tiny wound which flooded my flesh.

 

These moments aren’t on the gallery wall,

Eardley died before we got to the village,

But her paintings remind me of them all,

Those special moments of a formative age.

 

On paint smeared, grass covered, sandy canvas,
Are the same colours, same houses, same sea,

The same storms, smashing boats and soaking grass,

Blowing foam over cliffs, down our street and onto me.

 

I wonder what others in the gallery think of

When they peer into The Wave and Summer Fields,

For me, Catterline in Winter shows a home I loved,

For those who never lived there, what does it reveal?

 

Do they pass straight through to the rooms next door?

Filled with the children and tenements of Glasgow,

Pictures I don’t recognise, that I have no use for,

Which whisper their stories of homes I don’t know.

UID: 863 • PID: 139807 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 863 • PID: 139809 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Spikkin

My granny hid a guid wye oh spikkin,

A muckle thick doric wi nae messin,

Nae swickin, nae oor mony propir wirds.

 

Ony time ah wid gin tae hir hoose,
Ah fair felt ma ain voice gra

As ah lugged in tae her spiel.

 

Efter a couply oors o listnin tae hir,

Ye cudnae hilp bit spik lik she div,

Couthy, nae coorse avaa.

 

Withir we wir roon fir oor fly,

Or eying tae bide the nicht,

She aye gie us bairns a het cuppy

 

Afore fillin oor heeds wi clyping oot,

Fitivir wifie, chiel or billy,

Hid scunnert her thiday.

 

We aye thocht the hoasting wid get her,

Asthma she hid fan she wis wee,

Wis aye roch on her lungs yet.

 

Bit it wis hir ain heed fit cowped hir,

A muckle stroke red up hir thochts,

Fit wir sair dottled onywye.

 

Bit aye she wid spik fan we sa hir,

Div ye wint a cuppy oh tea?

Spierin fae hir hospital bed.

 

Fan she left ah lost yon doric link,

Ma ain fowks spik only a bittie,

An I spik it hardly avaa.

 

Jist a rare wird or twa,

Hinging aff a hale sentence,

Ah hinnae the lug fir it ony mair.

UID: 863 • PID: 139809 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11861 • PID: 139810 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Resolutions

Love my friends hard, and show it.

Let them know it.

Listen more than talk –

Pin back those ears. Walk,

But also, fix the shed door:

Free my bike and ride it.

 

Sow some bold seeds

But don’t take over – let others claim their acre.

Trust them to know

What kind of plants are best for them to grow.

 

Say it, in actual words, when I’m lonely, scared or sad;

Don’t leave people guessing.

Risk some real confessing.

 

Stand up, shake loose, let go, drink deep.

Stop fretting about sleep.

Don’t push, take time,

Allow events to happen when they want.

And when I’m writing, try a different font.

UID: 11861 • PID: 139810 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 863 • PID: 139812 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Rooks

Gathered on corners, crowded in gangs,

Squawking and cawing in avian slang.

 

Their little cousins hang back in awe,
Jackdaws in hoodies admiring the crows.

 

They flock in the trees lining the streets,

To argue and fight with slate grey beaks.

 

Twilight’s sinister hour arrives, bringing

A dark, dark cloud of inky black wings.

 

Hundreds of shadows in flight to their nests,

Swooping from rooftops, shouting like pests.

 

Another day dawns; they prowl once again,

Out on the chore for some seeds, nuts or grains.

 

The gang jump on a feeder rattling it’s hook,

Seeds flow to the ground like an overfilled brook.

 

When the coast is clear the locals emerge,

Sparrows, pigeons picking scraps from the verge.

 

But the rooks are patrolling for the next big trick,

Which they spy in a birch tree with all the best sticks.

 

“Lads! Over here!” the first rook will call,

To beckon the gang, their robber’s cabal.

 

They set to the birch and wrestle the tree,

Until the best of the sticks are finally free.

 

“Hey love, look what I found” they say to their mate,

Landing in rookery with a twig held up straight.

 

“Call that a stick?” she grunts in disgust,

“That twig won’t fill a thimble o sawdust”

 

He leaves the tree, corvid beak hung in shame,

To find the gang and cause chaos again.

UID: 863 • PID: 139812 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11861 • PID: 139813 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Nettle grows alongside bramble

Nettle grows alongside bramble.

The two conspire to repel the plunderer,

be it bird or blunderer in human form.

Stings as fine as hairs needle the skin

and then the juice gets in.

 

The sting, the scratch, the smart

of juice tattoo the wrists;

the twists of the two defenders, nettle and briar,

hold me at bay. But I am as fierce as they:

I won’t tire or relent.

 

The season is about to swing from light

to dark. Eating jam at winter’s table,

mouths will fill with sweetness,

the fleetness of the three sensations –

the scratch, the sting, and the smart –

part of the year’s completeness.

UID: 11861 • PID: 139813 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11861 • PID: 139814 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

A survey of front doors

This terraced street in Wandsworth, south west London, comprises 93 dwellings.

They were built in 1907, and are typical of the Edwardian era.

We believe them to be representative of the market you wish to target.

 

Of the 93 houses, 54 boast the original front door.

Of the 54 original front doors, 35 have their stained glass intact, despite the bombing raids of World War II.

 

11 homes have bought replacement panes, but these are pale reflections

of the rich-toned Edwardian glass, which has patterns of feathers and roses.

 

The preferred door colour is blue, coming in at 25, with grey the next choice – 22.

15 doors are green,

12 white,

9 red.

A handful of other shades also feature.

 

Our research leads us to conclude there is certainly a market for your product,

provided the design is sturdy.

We estimate that, during the course of its existence, each door has opened half a million times.

 

This leads us to one final observation, though strictly speaking it falls outside our scope:

Walking the street in twilight, the doors appeared to us the valves of the heart, letting life in, and out.

UID: 11861 • PID: 139814 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 3933 • PID: 139818 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Dragon Park

Weekdays it’s usually empty when I walk the spindly path

to the park’s new gleaming steel benches,

and sit by the overflowing bins, the aftermath

of last night’s bottles and cans, its broken branches.

 

My workday lunchtime spot, unkempt but happily found,

more so in this hot summer twenty seventeen,

where I recall a line ‘beauty is difficult in the plain ground’

and eat a tasteless wrap, watch birds on wires preen.

 

There are three on two wires, bite, chew, again look,

now one on one, a glance, now an empty swaying wire.

Behind this the backdrop is Torpoint tower block

everyday I look to see only fire, fire, a burning pyre.

 

A dragon breathed its dreadful breath

leaving horror, shame and ashes,

and Kensington in a cloud of death,

beautiful souls, ‘requiescat in pace’.

 

The thing is I’m not in London, and there that candle’s quenched,

yet my mind cannot but still conjure up the burning shroud.

Others – us – daren’t imagine that night though our hearts are wrenched,

and look on as no-one takes blame, no heads roll, and none are bowed.

UID: 3933 • PID: 139818 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 3933 • PID: 139819 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Little Brother

It’s the millenials that’ll do for us

And themselves, today tomorrow

With their taut brains and shining eyes

Their electronically altered lack of sorrow.

 

All their social networks will agree

All their social networks will Let It Be

All their social networks will sigh

All their social networks will make us die.

 

With the cold zeal of their blind certitude

Those millennials will end it, today tomorrow

On their phones with a right ways swipe

Keep hold of Sodom, get rid of Gomorrah.

UID: 3933 • PID: 139819 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11862 • PID: 139821 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

The first words of your wife

I’ll love you forever,
I make that vow today,
To always stay together,
My mind and body obey,

 

I’m not saying it will be easy,
There’ll be times to test us I’m sure,
For life is unpredictable,
Never knowing what’s through the next door,

 

But with you stood beside me,
Your hand in mine to hold,
I know I’ll be much stronger,
My support and core stood bold,

 

And with those times of need,
Comes a friendship just as strong,
Can laughter fun and silliness,
Be the key to a love lifelong,

 

Excited to start this adventure,
Both now living our dream,
Lets explore and experience together,
The ultimate hubby and wife tag team.

UID: 11862 • PID: 139821 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11864 • PID: 139826 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Fairy-Tale

 

For Lorry Forry, always believe.

 

Tinker-Bell flies to the top of the universe,

talks to owls, butterflies, clings to her passion.

Drifts beyond disharmony. Still believes

 

Slut, pa roars, his breath stings,

sears hope on its way to her soul.

Shameless, snarls ma, with heartless disregard.

 

Tinker-Bell flies to the top of the universe,

talks to owls, butterflies, clings to her passion.

Struggles to absolve.  Still believes.

 

Leave him, pa thunders, his breath pierces.

Contemptuous for her choice of affection

Ditch him, ma’s voice rains down pitiless.

 

Tinker-Bell flies to the top of the universe,

talks to owls, butterflies, clings to her passion.

Refuses to lose magic. Still believes.

 

Slag, pa screams, his breath punctures

her needs for compassion, destroy dreams.

Brazen, shrieks ma, her barren arms, withheld.

 

Tinker-Bell flies to the top of the universe,

talks to owls, butterflies, clings to her passion,

heart resolute, her allegory wins, she believes.

UID: 11864 • PID: 139826 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11864 • PID: 139828 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

The Opera Bluff

 

 

Stretched out by the laptop, eyes closed.

Pavarotti or Bocelli bare their souls to him.

 

Mine soars too, as I mime to the avowals of

Una Furtive Lagrima or E Lucevan Le Stelle.

 

If I l let loose a note, one eye opens,

clearly my coloratura is not appreciated.

 

Two eyes unseal with silence, then close

as La Donna E Mobile begins to swell.

 

I don’t know what his favourite is,

keeps that hidden under his fur coat.

 

A culture-vulture for the arts, perhaps,

though opera could be his only penchant.

 

Poetry’s a no, he shredded my latest,

it’s on the floor in tatters. Wait a mo.

 

Billy Collins, Sailing Alone Around the Room

pleases, I found him asleep on the open book.

 

So, it’s only my verses he disdains. 

But do cats really have good taste?

UID: 11864 • PID: 139828 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11864 • PID: 139829 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Su-Do-Ku Explained?

 

 

A box contains numbers one to nine

in each square and in all nine boxes.     

Each line across and down contains

the numbers one to nine to boot. Yes

 

that’s a whole lot of numbers. Notice

there are numbers published in some

of the squares. These should help you

along the way. So let’s take the number

 

 

one.  It’s in the first top square. Yes No 1

is number one.  So it needs to find a place

in column two, ones can go into two too.  

Let’s call it column B instead.  Can you

 

see it could go anywhere? But look in the

bottom square,  column C is full of printed

numbers but there’s not a one among them 

therefore one must go in its column B and a

 

number one must go in column C  somewhere

in the centre box.  If we look across at column

M there’s a one already and in column O there’s

a one too .No just a one, not two, then must be a

 

one in column C, middle square. Can you see?

I’ve just explained.  Of course it makes sense,          

It’s logical, for goodness sake.  Okay, let’s do a

crossword instead, and no, not a cryptic one.   

UID: 11864 • PID: 139829 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11864 • PID: 139830 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Dancing with my Daughter,

 

to; ‘Lost without your love’ by Bread, singer David Gates.

 

Turn up the music,

cross arms to touch elbows,

as though she’s snuggled within,

while you dance to that same melody,

as you did when she was one, two, three.

 

Mime to the words,

don’t drown out David

with your discordant vocals.

Remember she’d laugh and say,

mamma no sing, man good.  Right now,

he’s bad and messing with my emotions.

 

If she were still here,

we’d twirl together, laughing,

our feet rising up, over, the words

meant for lost-out lovers.  But as I listen,

hold air and sway, his lyrics open my flood-gates.

UID: 11864 • PID: 139830 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11555 • PID: 139835 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Nothing too spectacular

The rain is so beautiful clear and pure

the comforting sound is familiar, the same warmth as before.

I enjoy the power the rain can possess,

people rush inside the streets are at rest.

changing the mood and the way nature falls,

the wetness and freshness that gently touches my skin,

raises a comfort and contentness within.

Nothing too spectacular just creates a subtle smile,

appreciating the moment I know will disappear in a while.

but yet when it’s gone why people then smile?

when everything is left nourished damp and wet,

created by the rain that they never met.

Ingulfed in rushing lives pollution moans and cries.

It’s sad that the world’s subtle beauty people often forget,

because materials will die as humanity does,

only nature will continue and remain with us.

UID: 11555 • PID: 139835 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11866 • PID: 139838 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Guiding Light

Walking on the barren shore

Past waves crashing and roaring

Listening to those little thoughts

The ones I’ve spent so long ignoring

Looking for a guiding light

A shepherd to do my herding

I turn, and turn once more

As the waves grip me in their swirling 

 

Miles of water over me

But I’m not ready to fully sink

Peering through the murky depths

I know I cannot blink

Tearing toward the surface now

I’m climbing out the drink

A massive weight is lifted

As time moves slow enough to think

 

The sky wakes slowly at my back

A creeping of the bright

The darkest hour has been and gone

The longest of the longest night

I close my eyes and take deep breaths

And swallow guilt and fright

Slowly turning my face up

To see the guiding light

UID: 11866 • PID: 139838 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11866 • PID: 139839 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Depression – During

It’s not just when I close my eyes

It’s every day and every minute that I feel paralysed 

Because the world feels like a monster

Awake but I feel like I’m living in a coma 

The mere act of breathing becomes a terror 

Waking up in tears and feeling no hope

Unable to walk or talk but all so able to choke

Curled into a foetal ball and trembling all over

Wishing it would all just end as I don’t want to remember 

Then punishing myself just to feel something 

Or drinking myself number and dumber

Because even a little is too much to stomach 

Pushing everything away in case it becomes tainted 

It’s a desperate self loathing that screams in the darkness 

Trying to balance that there’s nothing wrong 

With the fact that everything feels wrong 

And that nothing can ever again feel right

A logical mind unable to compute

That a feeling so alien can exist in my mind

Desperately looking for the signs as they start to swirl

Like autumn leaves kicked up in the breeze

But feeling so helpless when that wind starts to howl

And I’m spinning to the bottom of the pit

With cold dead hands pushing me down

Right to the dirt with the light just a pinprick 

To start the raw tortuous crawl back out of the dark

Just to start all over again on endless repeat

This is what it feels like as best I can describe 

For any chance of eloquence has left me behind 

Despairing at the seeming futility of it all

But trying to set goals, no matter how small

And knowing I must try to start talking

About nothing or everything no matter how hard 

I feel like a shell and not really alive 

Trying to focus on better times if only I can survive.

UID: 11866 • PID: 139839 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11866 • PID: 139841 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Hell Is…

Hell is…

A wet Sunday in dry January on an industrial estate

Hell is…

Losing your horse because you didn’t lock the gate

Hell is…

Eating soggy chicken nuggets off a plastic plate

Hell is…

Losing your phone on a Friday in a drunken state

Hell is…

Getting lost at a festival and you can’t find your mate

Hell is…

Missing the start of the film as you had to wait

Hell is…

Realising there’s nothing left to conquer like Alexander the Great

Hell is…

None of these things!

Hell is…

Realising what you’ve lost, just a little too late

UID: 11866 • PID: 139841 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 6000 • PID: 139842 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Still Life

Still Life

 

‘I don’t care about polar bears’ a friend

of a friend once told me, reaching for

his Chardonnay at the bar of the Bull & Gate.

 

That’s what global warming came down to

in his mind: polar bears standing

on an ice block like Fox’s Glacier Mints.

 

And I admired his out-for-myself honesty.

I’ve seen glaciers from a plane while

drinking orange juice from a plastic tumbler

 

but I can never imagine them, shoving

and falling, the seas rising. The light lasts longer

into evening and returning to London

 

everything seems oak shade and new leaf

between the tracks and housing estates,

the first time buyers, Tesco seen through

 

frothing swags of hawthorn. Once,

but this was years ago, someone gave me

a postcard of Cézanne’s few apples

 

on a box, rain-knocked, sun-pummelled,

as heavily painted as cannonballs, sporting

their growing and their ripening colours,

 

dimple and blush, tipped and togethery,

holding up their after-the-blossom faces

and begging us, imploring us to remember.

UID: 6000 • PID: 139842 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11866 • PID: 139843 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Calling In Vain

The days are growing longer

But my nights they are aflame

A thousands voices screaming

As I apportion blame

Dark shadows keep on creeping

Lengthening my shame

 

My voice has grown weary

Tired of calling out in vain

My eyes cannot see clearly

Filled with tears in all the rain

 

The evenings are growing lighter

As the Maker hits its Mark

Burning on the way down

A golden fuel to my spark

The flames are now consuming 

As my anger lights the dark

 

My voice has grown weary

Tired of calling out in vain

My eyes cannot see clearly

Filled with tears in all the rain

 

The dawn it comes on brighter

As I huddle against the chill

The flames are merely embers

There’s nothing left to kill

My thoughts turn to healing

Or just swallowing every single pill

 

My eyes cannot see clearly

Filled with tears in all the rain

My voice has grown weary

Tired of calling out in vain

UID: 11866 • PID: 139843 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 6000 • PID: 139844 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Matisse in the Studio

Matisse in the Studio

 

There now, there: the door is closed – the time

his doctor prescribed. He already knows

when lunch will be served, when he must put up

his brushes for the day. He won’t think

of another sleepless night drawing an oak leaf

or the mosquito Lydia caught, frantic in a sealed jar.

 

Amélie’s rage, his daughter’s accusations –

beaten with a steel flail; suspended by her wrists;

held under water – can’t enter here,

though he feels them like Laestrygonians,

like Cyclops at his door. The ritual calms his nerves –

colour squeezed into coils, a clean new rag.

 

The half-finished canvas mocks him, a colossal

problem – aubergines and mirror, the pinned

expanse of toile de jouy – while Marguerite mouths

evasion, decoration, apostasy. His hand shakes

but he knows where to start, saw it last night

as he sat to rest his eyes. He must begin with deletion.

 

But before he allows the vine to burgeon

into a great elaboration, part armature part protest,

before he begins in earnest – for now the leaf

is still and the mosquito has been released

into the night – he turns to the Three Bathers, inclines

his head in a slight bow and takes up his brush.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UID: 6000 • PID: 139844 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11866 • PID: 139845 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

My Dark Places

If you really want

I’ll take you to my dark places

Where the scrawl’s a gothic font

Scribbled over scratched out faces

Do you think you can shine a light

To pierce the murky gloom

Of this permanent inky night

That’s in every corner of this room

Where I go to wallow and brood

Letting my anger fuels my deeds

And where the darkness is my mood

Growing even darker as resentment feeds

Yes, I can show you my dark places

If you want and you’re really sure

The place hope vanishes without any traces

And despair seeps from every pore

Do you think you can stomach this

To see how I can really feel

Where the light’s a target I always miss

And I feast on self hate like a final meal

Have you the strength to break down the walls

Of this fortress of fear and pain

Help me up after so many agonising falls

And show me light and hope again?

UID: 11866 • PID: 139845 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11866 • PID: 139847 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

You’re Depressed…

You’re depressed they say

Try and go for a walk

You’re depressed they say

You should try and talk

You’re depressed they say 

Get some fresh air

You’re depressed they say 

Do you need to share?

You’re depressed they say 

Keep your chin up

You’re depressed they say 

C’mon, really, what’s up?

You’re depressed they say 

You must think of your wife

You’re depressed they say 

But just look at your life

You’re depressed they say

Well pull your socks up

You’re depressed they say 

Is that why you got the pup?

You’re MARK they say 

And THESE are my friends 

For I’m still human

And we’ll be there for each other to the end of ends.

UID: 11866 • PID: 139847 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 6000 • PID: 139848 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

The Mannequins of Paris

The Mannequins of Paris

 

The seasons come first to the mannequins –

mid-autumn colours, leather and suede – but in

the passages of Gardanne, around the belfry

           

of Chapelle des Pénitents, across lanes twisting

between banked-up houses to the coast,

to the sea itself turning pebbles and moon-grit,

 

the heat lingers, making it impossible to sleep

even with the windows open and the ocean

sounding, boom, shush, boom, through the house.

 

Something is ending – the boy doesn’t run to him

anymore to be hoisted and tickled, doesn’t cling

to his leg or walk along a wall holding his hand:

 

he is growing apart, growing gradually apart,

looking at his father and trying to frown.

Tomorrow Hortense will take him back

 

with her to Paris but for now he is sleeping

on a narrow divan not far from the waves that

want to wake him with a salvo of glittery squeals.

 

His breath – while his father, quietly, very quietly,

pulls up a stool and takes out his sketchbook

(the moonlight is bright enough to draw by) –

 

is the smallest wave in the suffocating house

and it lifts and drags the child’s body as he lies

on his side with little fisty hands and a closed eye.

 

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UID: 11863 • PID: 139849 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Good Things

Good things can be spoken about;

 

an achievement,

  a flash of insight,

    or having a wish granted.

 

Perfect things can only be realized,

 

slowly,

  over time,

    like the setting of the sun.

 

The truth of a perfect thing washes over you like water.

It leaves you as it found you,

but somehow better.

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UID: 11866 • PID: 139850 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

The Sea Below – An Evening in Woolacombe

Sun dappled balcony on the sea front

Miles of sand to Baggy Point

The tide is rising and the waves grow

As we look out on the sea below

 

Barbecue smells on a gentle breeze

Waves crashing in a soothing sound

The summer sun has the brightest glow

As it’s reflected down on the sea below

 

Sunglasses on and shoes kicked off

Glasses of beer or cider or wine

Listening to old songs on the radio

Singing along with the sea down below 

 

Lines of surfers awaiting their set

While pebbles churn in swirling foam

#Nofilter needed for this photo

Taken from above of the sea down below

 

Sea salt dries on your hair and skin

As the blazing sun starts to set

Walking up the hill to Morte Hoe

For more stunning views of the sea below

 

Colours change from red to gold

As the sea crests with purple waves

A fire on Lundy as the sun gets low

Flames put out by the sea below

 

Back on the dark balcony

Smelling sea air and listening to waves 

Last of the surfers going with the flow

As the moon paints a path on the sea below

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The Artist’s Mother

The Artist’s Mother

 

After he’d gone out to L’Estaque

and walked the nine miles home –

the soil so vibrant, so harsh, reflecting

the dazzling light – he got back

to find her suddenly grown old.

She’d fallen on Rue Monclar and split

the papery skin on the back of her hand;

now she sat into the evening, lonely

with the lamp – even the small house

in Cours Mirabeau seemed too big.

So he set off at dawn for Bibémus

in order to be back in time for supper

or he’d take her out to sit in the sun at Jas

or lift her up and carry her from

the carriage to the house where he drew

her in the old armchair, sleeping.

           

 

                        *

 

When she stood in the cold kitchen,

she was so bent over she looked like

she was looking for a thimble

or a dropped coin. If he leant over

to ask her how she was, she’d say

‘Don’t make a fuss.’ Only once –

when was it? July sometime

or after the hawthorn when she’d been

taking smaller and smaller steps (so long

between the butchers and the bakers) –

she asked if he would massage her feet

which didn’t have an ounce of flesh

on them as they rested on his knees,

light as the willow carvings of some

forgotten saint holding up her toes

as if she couldn’t bear the earth.

 

 

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UID: 11866 • PID: 139852 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

It’s Time To Talk

I can’t say I always enjoy my hours spent here

But as I pull up the winding drive I try to swallow my fear

Sometimes I walk to the door with my head high in pride 

Other times it’s a walk of shame if I’ve crossed the bitter divide 

These are my weekly therapy sessions at The Priory

Talking and thinking, my feelings, jottings from my diary

Each week I feel a different way; discover something new

Been me for nearly 40 years but without really a clue

Or so it can seem as I talk about my thoughts and life

Choking as I think of the support of my family, friends and especially my rock, my wife

Why do I feel anger, sadness, despair, such aching at times

When on the surface everything looks great, everything looks fine 

Yeas of self doubt, self pity, self loathing and low self esteem 

I need to find some acceptance; wake up from this bad dream

But I must remember how far I’ve come in half a year 

And continue my journey, growing stronger and losing the fear

But I know as each session ends that it’s only really the start

It’s time to talk and everyone should take part.

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UID: 6000 • PID: 139853 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

The Apple’s Progress

The Apple’s Progress

 

 

The rosy apple passed down by the snake

with a putti’s chubby face and toddler hands

to be taken by an already reaching Eve

restrained, at least dissuaded, by beefy Adam

in Ruben’s copy of Titian’s original

inspired by Raphael’s fresco and Durer’s print,

appears a hundred and fifty years later

in Le Buffet, another still life by Cézanne.

 

This orange, if it is an orange, finding

its necessary weight. This lemon turned

towards the orange, which is so empathically

full-face. This propped-up apple almost erotic

in curvaceousness and stem-end. This distance –

intimate, standoffish – between the apple

and a second lemon. This fellowship of fruit,

these colours conversing together and apart.

 

The tablescape maintains a swaying balance

between illuminate and shaded – colour

begetting colour – its gaucheries at home,

not artful, not showy, a few estimated

and cherished things that join hands across

a space: actor-objects and sensual fruit,

workmanlike shadows, sugary fingers

on a plate, teacups and troubled saucers.

 

It might be summer’s marriage hymn: a bottle

taciturn in brown, a chalice-beaker,

blue and bling, a cloth and walnut dresser –

each stubborn thing relieved of contradiction

by assiduity of thought. Love is a candle

lighting many candles without surcease.

It is this apple next to this lemon next to

this other lemon in a still life by Cézanne.

 

 

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UID: 11869 • PID: 139859 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Absolute Zero (-273.15)

Black ink on the page

Splattered

Like black blood

In the snow. Cold rage.

 

I long for the whiteness

Of the calm mind.

 

Magnetic minds levitate,

Revolve around each other. Never age.

 

At low temperatures.

 

You are my sole

Superconductor.

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UID: 11871 • PID: 139863 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

The vision

 

To see or not to see
That is indeed the only question.

Joy, laughter, people free
Obvious, no need to mention.

 

 

But what of pain, sorrow, strife
Abuse, sadness, sufferings?

What then, to see, the double knife?
Or go blind, helpless to the pain it brings.

 

 

Screaming for change, beneath your safe bed
Hiding from the secrets, always being covered.

Normal life, the comforter, against the things you’ve read
Judgements bombarding until you can’t be bothered.

 

 

Realising with gratitude you and yours are well.
Wearing fancy blinkers, to stop the pain in your heart.

You fall under us and them, the separation spell
Besides it’s so big where would we start?

 

 

And so the grave is dug, another tale buried.
Dirty little words, no more, much better to let it die.

Covered up, hushed up, forgotten and hurried.
No questions, few memories no ifs, buts or whys.

 

 

Yet along comes another, to darken your vision
And another and another still.

Realisation our true “light” mission
Until so raw you have no choice but to feel.

 

 

Here the change comes, mounds upon mounds
No more, this now must stop, we cannot let it be.

Cries of desperation, transition, engulfing in the sounds.
There are no real divisions, what affects you hurts me.

 

 

No actions, no wisdom just empty knowledge
Nothing ends, if repeated the same.

The truth, however painful, is now the only bridge
Between age, colour, gender and fame.

 

 

It’s coming for us all, with each its own way, hide if you must,
The bones of our collective past need to grow and form, and for many it may hurt.

Ignore and let it disappear, beneath a pile of blinded dust.
But it will never be far away, like a seed sprouting beneath the dirt.

 

 

A tree of Da’ath, knowing and missed chances twisted and deranged
Blocking out your personal Eden, no potential of what could be

Growing the leaves of souls, unheard, roots deep within past unchanged.
You know the consequences of your query, the outcome to not see.

 

 

 

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UID: 11871 • PID: 139864 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Silent love

 

We haven’t spoke in ages
Yet sat side by side.

Covering up the pages
The stories that we hide.

 

There’s something not right,
I can feel it deep within.

 

Yet I have no fight,
To go over where we’ve been.

 

No emotions, words or tears,
We’ve become mutual strangers.

No excitement, anger or fears
We haven’t really spoke in ages.

 

Have I given up, quit, surrendered,
Lost my voice closed up,drowned.

Would you have listened, did you, was I heard,
If so how did we go round and round.

 

To now here this quiet place
the silence so deafening so loud.

Not a smile or frown on my face
Holding it together, lonely yet proud.

 

I’ve no more words, without feeling,
I’m not sure where we go now.

No opinions judgements believing,
We’ll figure it out somehow.

 

I don’t know if it’s you or me,
Where one begins or ends.

The light at the tunnel I just can’t see
Just stillness where once were friends.

 

When did we grow apart, out of touch,
I remember rows and splits.

Strife and changes far too much
But when did it fall to bits.

 

Helping each other’s strengths,was it when we grew,
Remembering who we were is that why we forget.

I wish I could pinpoint the moment, I wish I knew
When the storm stopped and in darkness crept.

 

Was our life a rollercoaster out of needed drama,
Is the thrill still there.

Or was it a chance to clear our karma,
Have you noticed… do you care.

 

The closeness seems to have thinned out, faded
the air thick with it’s memory.

Like ghosts of another time now jaded,
Can you even see me.

 

Have you noticed we’ve yet to truly speak,
With our hands our lips our soul.

That we may have reached our final peak,
That life has taken its toll.

 

Are you feeling the pain the silence brings,
Do you long for my sound.

The stories of the past that sings,
Of the love that we found.

 

Or like me is it now too far away,
distant, familiar but mute.

Wailing in the noise it plays,
Sad no longer very “cute”.

 

No happy endings no sequels, the end.
Is the tale now over, finished, done.

I need you to hear and speak my friend.
In truth is the peace a chapter just begun.

 

But you don’t make a noise neither do I
We sit, avoid the pain.

In silent,hoping it will pass us by
Not going round again.

 

So still we stay and still we sit
Alone yet together.

Until one way or another something fits
In this moment forever.

 

 

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UID: 11871 • PID: 139865 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Bones of the past

 

 

I’ve been running,
fleeing,
from the emotional bones of my past
for as long as I can remember.

 

Too scared to face their presence,
to stop,
to look,
to surrender.

 

I know not when the first bone broke,
why it fractured,
What shattered my previous emotion.

 

But I can run without my bones,
move forward, I’m strong,
I’ve inherited this notion.

 

I don’t know why they broke,
Why they fell, or became loose.

 

Fear of hurting others? rejection?
avoidance of my truth?

 

One bone soon became two,
ultimately several of the years.

 

But on I ran, a determined face,
anything but consumption of rage and tears.

 

You see I  wasn’t brave,
courageous,
no warrior of love,

 

I replaced the bones with that from others,
faces,
possessions,
energies from above.

 

And when they couldn’t hold the weight, I’d loose another bone

 

Slowly and surely shaking it off
onward I would drone.

 

Through time I’ve hobbled on,
my run now a limping tussle.

 

You see I forgot, my bones support all I am, my organs blood and muscle.

 

And here I am, crippled, in pain,
struggling within my “prime”.

 

Running with my skeleton,
seperate,
tied to my ankle,
running out of time.

 

I cant seem to shake it ,
I’ve healed, cleansed
and ignored.

 

I’m not sure if I can take it,
the eruption’s and rationales,
from where “it’s” stored.

 

I hear it clanking,
right when I “think” all is well,
right when I “think” I should
“be happy”.

 

I’d assumed the noise would stop,
that through the “work” I’d done,
my bones would let me be.

 

But on they stir, and on I run,
fearful of what they have to say.

 

I’ll move house, change my job, block, be brave,
continue, until they go away.

 

I’ll fit in, have appropriate responses,
be the mother, partner, woman
I have come to hold dear.

 

I’ll ignore the pain, the hurt,
the insatiable longing,
while the bones come ever near.

 

But this doesnt work, I’ve tried,
and louder they become.

 

And the more bones I continue to loose,
the harder it is to run.

 

Taller than me now,
engulfing me within their shadow.

 

I’ve tried all there is!
An untrue statement….I know.

 

I turn to face the stench of the past, not to fix,
heal or remove.

 

The stretch marks of expected potential,
raw with each groove.

 

They haven’t gone, their waiting,
they never go very far.

 

Like a road of desperation,
covered in heart-breaking tar.

 

I shall stand firm, upon them,
becoming whole again, once more.

 

Repairing my vibrational skin, sewing the triggers from which they tore.

 

Re-evaluating blue prints,
redesigning “how I should behave.

 

Re-uniting my energy and emotion, the only way to be saved.

 

They look so deformed, my bones,  so erratic,
so far from what i thought.

 

Not stable, controlled or slightly structured,
nothing like I’ve been “taught”.

 

Yet in their mis-shapes a pattern,
unique in each design,

 

irregularities, a freedom,
I’m beginning to protectively  recognise as mine.

 

Odd, childlike, wild, mad, unacceptable and free,

flowing like the ocean, matching all it needs to see.

 

I can not run anymore,
I’m tired,
and in truth, I dont run fast.

 

I can not keep escaping my feelings,
of the gritty bones of my past.

 

It’s time to hold them now,
and place them within my skin.

 

Lovingly accept myself,
place meat on the bones,
find the lost me within.

 

I give no explanation, no reason,
for how I feel,

what I experience,
or how I’m “meant” to be.

 

I’ve just decided to stop running,
hiding from what’s real,

I hope you understand,
I’ve decided to stop running from me.

 

 

UID: 11871 • PID: 139865 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11871 • PID: 139866 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Fire within

 

 

No might

 

It’s cold

 

It’s damp

 

 

No sight

 

Be bold

 

Eyes cramp.

 

 

A light

 

Beyond

 

Too far

 

 

Bright

 

Respond

 

A star?

 

 

Go, now,

 

Find it fast

 

Grow, how?

 

Your whole past

 

 

Listen, learn,

 

And go in

 

Die, birth,

 

End- begin

 

 

Find you,

 

There,

 

Light glowing

 

True,

 

Here,

 

Ever knowing.

 

 

Me?

 

Can I?

 

You can!

 

 

Be?

 

Why?

 

I AM

 

 

Here,

 

Wait,

 

And unite.

 

Seer,

 

Fate,

 

Inner light!

 

Shine,

 

Peace,

 

Quiet and still.

 

Sign?

 

Cease,

 

Try “your” will.

 

 

Fix?

 

Leave…

 

Accept.

 

Tricks?

 

Believe!

 

Secrets kept.

 

Tales,

 

lives,

 

Web of life.

 

“Fails?”

 

Survives!

 

Edge of knife.

 

Core,

 

Being,

 

Guide you are

 

Soar,

 

Feeling,

 

Ride so far.

 

 

Rest,

 

Nurture,

 

A moment wait.

 

Test,

 

Searcher,

 

Tomorrow’s gate.

 

Questions?

 

Always,

 

need for trust.

 

Suggestions?

 

Gaze,

 

Heed a must.

 

Dire,

 

Yearning,

 

Who you are,

Fire,

 

Burning….

 

Not too very far!

 

 

 

 

UID: 11871 • PID: 139866 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11868 • PID: 139870 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

CIUTADELLA

Cold beer, and mosaics
Cresting over the white flowering plants
The borders stuffed with cerise
The tint of blushing cheeks
Balloons parade around the statue
Some general on horseback
Cast in greening bronze
He tries to rear but the stallion prances
His commanding pose supplanted
Trees like zebras
Their bark stripped off in segments
Revealed like all the soft skin
Beneath shed clothes
Stretched out dogs bask under hot coats
And young love walks hand in hand
Man and man entwined
The lilac buds on slender branches
Are a canopy for tumbling youth
And the gymnast stands on the shoulders of giants,
flipping, stretching, falling
Gravel cracks and creaks beneath tired feet
And turning wheels
The loud exhales of runners
coming thicker faster
more out of breath
but prouder somehow.
I wait for a sign
Same as always
But it never comes.

 

The crooked head of the lamppost leans drunkenly toward me and I am content.
All is lush, and green, except the yellowing leaves on that one far tree
It has rained today already, the slick floor sheens with water

And my own body tries to drown itself with thick saline beads.

 

The architect, the architect
A visionary, an intellect to marvel at
Shapes and forms so considered, so perfect
We forget how fast paced life’s become
The time it takes to appreciate the details
In handrails and doorknobs and fixtures.
Life lies in the minute.

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UID: 11875 • PID: 139874 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Smile

 

 

Subdued in a world of thought I beseech you to rekindle this lifeless spirit of mine as you had done before.

This Smile of mine that has for so long withered away, waits for you to bring it back to life once more.

The journey which we once set out to ride upon, has become a lonely and  tiresome existence of only sorrow.

 

Cocooned in a shell of sheer nothingness, surrounded with a feeling of defeated reconciliation.

In a world full of  loved acquaintances, why do I stand alone?

Your absence leaving me as helpless as a baby new-born.

Reaching out to you with a tender embrace, as I remember only how to.

Why do I kid myself, for I know that you have reached a destination of beyond no return.

To have entertained the thought you were mine to keep warm, under this selfless love of mine was no doubt the most arrogant of  beliefs.

 

As your entity starts to seep away from my veins, the realization of the truth which stares me right in the face becomes a reality all too clear.

Suddenly, I am not afraid anymore for I can see the place I have lain you to rest, can keep you mine only for as long as I shall live to breathe.

Who can deny the joy this thought alone brings, bestowing a Smile to my lips yet again once more.

UID: 11875 • PID: 139874 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11877 • PID: 139879 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Ode to Technology

I live in a world of technology; I’m lucky or so they say

I never need to be alone night or day

But computers, internet and something called Wii

Facebook, Twitter; they all defeat me

TV’s, iPod, Mobile phone

Hours wasted; days flown

Memories on disc for all to treasure

Texts and Emails without measure

Buying, selling, shop without limit

Click on the arrow, bought in a minute

And money I believe, is quite elastic

When goods are bought with a piece of plastic

Brother, sister; Michael and Joan

You don’t need them, create your own

Paying a bill, you’re home free

Pick up the phone and press one, two or three

Human contact with time for a chat

Now who on earth, could possibly want that!

 

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UID: 11878 • PID: 139881 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

The Wandering Mind – A Paradox

The wandering mind meanders here, where and there,

The wandering mind soars and roars without the least care.

 

The wandering mind unravels deep beneath the layers,

The wandering mind finds solace in the words of soothsayers..

 

The wandering mind patiently lives through the past, present and future,

The wandering mind impatiently lurks to embark on a new venture…

 

The wandering mind yearns for intimacy, love, respect and gratitude,

The wandering mind marvels in unabashed, unbesmirched solitude….

 

The wandering mind hallucinates as if in a wondrous trance,

The wandering mind stays solemnly and solidly true to its stance…..

 

The wandering mind sheds silent tears foreboding its own death,

The wandering mind carries the eternal flame of hope till its last breath……

UID: 11878 • PID: 139881 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11863 • PID: 139883 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Illuminated

From the center of our solar system

The sun casts light out to every corner of the universe.

 

We celebrate the light,

  and remark its absence

In our calendars and almanacs,

  as eclipses, equinoxes, and solstices

In our paintings and literature,

  as epiphanies.

 

To it credit is commonly given

for all life on earth.

 

                                                                                                 

 

                                                                   Above the clouds,

                                           airplanes cast civilized shadows.

                                                                      Above the earth,

                        clouds make shadow puppets on civilization.

 

                                          Above the planes, above the sky,

                                       The weight of the universe crouches

                                                                                in shadow.

 

                                                                                                 

 

                          At the center of the Earth

                    a liquid iron heart glows unseen,

                              warmly illuminating

 

                                        Nothing

 

                                  Its only shadow

                               a geomagnetic field

                               quietly shielding us

                                     from the sun.

UID: 11863 • PID: 139883 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11879 • PID: 139884 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Porto, You are Magic

I Knew I’d find the answer if I would just go to where you are.

I’d look into your eyes and see up close what I saw from far.

You don’t need a reason to be, you shine for all, you are a star.

 

O’Porto you are magic. I’m in Love with your charm.

O’Porto you are magic, when you you hold me in your arms.

 

How the sun reflects the colour of your eyes at the Ribeira,

as I watch lovers cross your Duro all through the day.

I’m in Love with you Porto I cant leave I have to stay.

 

O’Porto you are magic. I’m in Love with your charm.

O’Porto you are magic, when you you hold me in your arms.

 

Your lips are as sweet as the wine that you bring. Fado makes me long for you.

Your Love makes me sing.

Porto you are a mystery I long to understand.

Somethings are best kept secret hidden in your land.

 

UID: 11879 • PID: 139884 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11881 • PID: 139888 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Ode to Roy

My dad
He’s more than that
Our dad
Well he did have four

 

My dad
Our dad
Not just
Not only

 

Roy the man
The gent
Polite, Smiley
Straight up and downy

 

Well not his gut
His big drum tum
Taut and bouncy
A good luck charm

 

My dad, our dad
Not just, not only
Roy the gent
And Grumps to them

 

Them over there
The plenty
The tots, spots
And hot to trots

 

My dad, our dad
Not just, not only
Roy the gent and
The man with a plan

 

The architect, artist
Sculptor, storyteller
Why use ten words
When a ton is better

 

My dad, our dad
Not just, not only
Friendship, fun and a
Great sense of fairness

 

Thank you
Grumps and roy the gent
And thank you again
Great man of our clan

 

Thank you
My dad, our dad
Not just, not only

Thank you

UID: 11881 • PID: 139888 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11880 • PID: 139891 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Continuum

Shimmer, shimmer.

Glisten.

Gleam.

Laughs the Sunlight off the stream.

‘fore gathering its golden beam to usher in the night.

 

Sparkle, sparkle.

Glimmer.

Glow.

Larks the Moonlight ‘pon the snow.

Awakening the frost below ’till dawn the twain unite.

UID: 11880 • PID: 139891 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11882 • PID: 139894 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Silence de la Mer

It was an unwieldy 
suction cup usurpative & 
monolithic 
 
squelching and heaving 
scooping and sucking 
for you 
 
are the eye of the  
sink that gapes, that gapes, 
cannot shut your shutters. 
 
Dumb figure on the wall  
dwindles and diverges, 
the little black stars 
 
while all the  
while you get the sense your  
arm your neck is moulting, 
 
excoriating — 
only flesh, not even  
(only skin) the meat 
 
of you. And now this strange 
occasional hush, great bathetic  
standstill — 
 
ears in the distant seas. 
To such you ascribe your worth, 
now. A drink. Some compliments. 

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UID: 10009 • PID: 139896 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

To a Rival, To Make Much of Rhyme

When at our desks in the grammar school years

We knew where we were in a Poetry class:

Those were the days when ‘great poets’ were dead

And tracing their thoughts made dragging time pass.

Of gut-wrenching love or smiling disdain

Their works, we were told, transcended all time;

Even scruffy-kneed scholars could write about works

Which all had a beat and a semblance of rhyme.

 

We were Sherlocks of metaphor and Holmeses of form:

We knew of a simile it might start with an ‘as’;

Of consonance, it sibilates with snake-easing charm;

And of assonance and dissonance … and all of that jazz.

How complex was Pound and Eliot so dense

As we combed through our primers on classical themes!

Then, buoyed with our proof, we were ready to rock

Old Leavis and Snow with the power of young dreams.

 

The sixtieth autumn has now come upon me

Since I first tried to master both meaning and form –

Then spent half a lifetime teaching the young

To write what they felt and not stick to the norm.

But my soul hankers still for the rhyme and the rhythm

(Which helped me remember dead poets’ deep thoughts)

Now banished forever as something restrictive

For those with the gift – and a message of sorts.

 

All instant outpourings of innermost angst

Leave me cucumber-cold if just spewed on the page;

Yet this is the form most Sappho’s now choose

Whether moved by great grief or riven by rage.

Horaces, too, aren’t free from the scourge

If the death of a loved one moves them to verse

That’s void of all structure for me to engage

In their process of railing that “cancer’s a curse.”

 

So scribble away if you don’t like my tone

And think that my words are an old person’s moan:

But whatever you write that this grumpus might read,

Let brain rule the heart if you want mine to bleed.

 

 

 

 

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UID: 4932 • PID: 139901 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Dissonance

I can’t heal you – wouldn’t want to

even try. Even still, it’s all allowed –

shadow, shade, damage from youth –

haven’t I worn those vestments too?

There’s nothing you can do to make me leave

 

unless I do, and I mean if. The same’s

for you. No ring or silly signed-paper thing

can keep us guaranteed forever. Every day

we wake and make the choice to forge forward

together. Like puzzle pieces from different kits

 

that often fit except for when they don’t.

Those are the interesting parts, you know.

The discord’s where we grow.

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UID: 11885 • PID: 139914 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

you and your hands

i watched as you held my mother. 

your hands traced the outlines of her structure, as if you were an architect studying foundations.

your nose pressed against her head, smelling her essence, intoxicated by her perfume.

i smile as the perfection radiated.

i don’t know what love looks like, and i may never know. but the expression on my mother’s face displayed regret –

not love.

years after, i only started to notice the way she flinched when you touched her; and the way she hid in your shadows. she was scared.

you took the spotlight and left her crying in the dark.

she lay in the bathtub, collecting herself after you got angry and almost drowned her.

she could escape in there and no one would notice. her kingdom – where she added salt to the water.

she was fragile and you utilized that; treated her as if she were a rag doll.

when you finally got bored you threw her against the wall, which split her stitches, revealing her stuffing – like cotton candy.

instead of kisses on her cheeks, she had bruises on her wrists. instead of being sent love letters, she got wounded by the knives you spoke

you broke her frame. a fraud.

silence made our home so static. i could hear my mother gentle sobbing while the water ran cold.

i’d press my hand against the door; i could sense her heartbreak.

i heard the sound of your footsteps i’d run to safety. as you slammed the door, i wept for my mother’s pain

as she was in the presence of you and your hands.

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UID: 3257 • PID: 139916 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

The Tough Oak

Look, my daughter,

at the tough oak

which fell to the ground

because of a strong wind

and there is the kind birch

which stands tall

for it moved in the wind.

 

And you, my daughter,

who did not cry

when mummy died

fell asleep in your room

yesterday afternoon.

You need to cry

with loving tears, daddy cries.

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UID: 3257 • PID: 139917 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

A Poem’s Light

Through many an apprehensive night,

I have stumbled, to a far-off light,

down a narrow and solitary path

where countless discarded dies lie

from those unproductive journeys cast.

Scrambling towards the light I see

behind the trees that daylight shows

but thankfully I have travelled past.

 

I watch, through the thinning windows,

straight line after straight line on walls,

a bookcase filled with many books

and furniture made to be shown

which can be reordered to taste:

imagination does what it can.

No entrances to such a place,

only exits from what is written.

 

What shines so brightly on the page

may dim among so many lights.

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UID: 11887 • PID: 139924 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Amid Oceans

We drifted closely in silence,
Breathless to exchange whispers.
Illuminated in obscurity,
Your touch extended to mine.
And, in that electric moment,
I understood that it never was words –
At all –
That upon, I built my adoration for you.

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UID: 4145 • PID: 139926 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Oh Butterfly

Oh Butterfly,

Forever small and light,

Forever beautiful and bright.

Once trapped inside a living prison cell,

You sprouted from torture and confined hell.

Now glide upon the smooth wind up above.

Sail through the heavens my eternal love.

 

Oh Butterfly,

Forever small and light,

Forever beautiful and bright.

A jewel in the white sky

That floats and flutters by.

Sprinkling your magic dust

Makes those dark clouds combust.

 

Oh Butterfly,

Forever small and light,

Forever beautiful and bright.

Your flecked patterns and shades of green,

Blue, red, orange can each be seen

As giving off a soothing glow

That radiates like crystal snow.

 

Oh Butterfly,

Forever small and light,

Forever beautiful and bright.

Your antenna sparkles in the moonlight,

Blinding the hostile dangers of the night.

Your flaunting gold wings guide you the right way

To allow me to gaze at you for the day.

 

Oh Butterfly,

If one day you should somehow die,

The world would simply pass you by.

Only I would faithfully see

You have the distinct gift to be

Forever small and light,

Forever beautiful and bright.

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UID: 4145 • PID: 139927 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Scars

When I look at myself I see a scared boy.

I see him crouching over the toilet with brown

Shit dripping down his arm, cursing as the burning

Never stops. I see him being told by his doctor that

He made this nightmare up; that it was ‘imaginary’.

That’s a scar.

 

When I look at myself I see a vulnerable boy.

I see him being bullied in school for being ‘different’

As he can’t run, can’t write, can’t read, can’t speak.

I see him being teased for needing that little extra help

So he doesn’t become another shadow in the corridor.

That’s a scar.

 

When I look at myself I see a lonely boy.

I see him without his dad carrying him up high

On his shoulders, overlooking the darkness below.

I see him alone in the hallway listening to old voices,

Old memories from the one who slipped into the night.

That’s a scar.

 

But you don’t see this boy when you look at me.

You don’t see the cursing in hospital.

You don’t see the bullying at school.

You don’t see the mourning at home.

You see a ‘normal boy’ when you look at me.

That’s the deepest scar of all.

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UID: 4145 • PID: 139928 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Bubbles

I blow bubbles and watch them dance.

 

Little ones twist with tooth brushing; mouthfuls of ice-cream; binge watching of late night Doctor Who.

 

Many inflate with friendship and laughter spilt over pints of coke; crowed poetry readings; swooping across the ever-darkening sky.

 

Those in the corner darken from cries in hospital beds; punches and kicks in school corridors; fear; anxiety; self-loathing; guilt.

 

Others spark with bobsleighing down Canadian ice; snapshots of mortarboards hanging mid-flight; driving across sunlit hills; radio broadcasting; passion; triumph.

 

They all wait…and wait to pop, to let go…

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UID: 11888 • PID: 139932 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Dear Paul, 18th October 2017.

I like the Autumn. I like its cold mornings and I like its dark evenings. I love the sharp sting as the wold envelops me and I am immersed in a frost-laden breeze. The sun is cooled – so low in the sky that it grazes the rooftops, on its slow and sleepy march.

 

The skies fall into civil war. The weather sulks and skulks, bellows and roars, snatching leaves from tortured trees…

 

Summer is chased away. 

 

However! Autumn is wool and warmth and soft candlelight, hot soup and sweet cinnamon. There is such joy in finding refuge from the gentle harshness of Autumn… Sitting in bed, draped in duvet and down, while the rain beats against your window. A nameless song, familiar, primal. You’re safe and that eternal moment is joy.

 

The words of the song begin to form, proclaiming that, while life is strange and mysterious, this is a moment of beauty. A moment which makes us human. Peace, matched only by the seconds after waking, before the world has noticed and intervenes…

 

You are the jumper, the soup, the warmth and the beauty. You are the joy and happiness, without the hardship and cruelty of the seasons. You are Paul, my first love: better than the best bits of Autumn.

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UID: 11890 • PID: 139935 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Ashtoreth and the Particle

She was a fire horse.

Two to one on a broken ankle,

Fetlock-free and hound-racing:

He rode her once, twice, forever,

 To see if she would try

To bend the seam of gold

From one side of the galaxy

To the other.

Across the breaking sky

Hoolihar of wings aglow.

Weaving through the wormholes

That glow-termites have bitten

Into gravity, with a noisome slither:

Their goals of trans-astrological rebirth.

 

She was a fire-horse.

Ridden only by the fire rider

Across the Swiss cheese galaxy

Where night becomes day

And the maze of linking and yoking

Knits the speed  of light together.

Be aware of greater things, particle,

For Ashtoreth and her rider observe,

Observe and propitiate the universe.

Wreaking change. Wreaking bedlam.

Wreaking anarcho-translucence.

Awakening cantering cries.

 

Now, slowly, in reluctance,

The world is warp and weft

To Ashoreh’s inclination.

The world is warp and weft

to synchronicity and space.

The world is warp  and weft

To parallels.

 

The particle, observed, is a seamstress

Of dream dilemmas,

Connecting, interconnecting,

Multiplying to travel alone

Beyond the split pea of the sun.

 

 

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UID: 11891 • PID: 139939 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Midnight

You and I
perfectly out of reach
on other sides.
I wish I could meet you
outside
of space and time.
I wish the second hand on the clock
would unwind.
I wish that you and me
couldn’t tell time.
How sad it is, that all this repeats —
ticking on, and on, and the ticking
won’t stop.
12 o’clock is so tragic
when all I can hear
is the shortest distance
between us.
You’re only one tick away,
yet you’re as far as can be.
Somehow that’s never felt
quite far enough
for me.

 

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UID: 11814 • PID: 139940 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Wall of Water

 

It’s becoming difficult

to ignore this blister of water,

gradually expanding, held back

by only a single layer of paper,

washed out white, knotted,

balking under the weight.

When I tentatively place my hand over

it I can feel the throb against my open palm,

feel paralysed by the power, pressure

and persistence.

 

I am pretty certain

it will rip through

the saturated paper, thinner

now and stretched so tightly.

It will pour out over the landscape of

this carpet, creating chaos

and havoc, making demands

for me to address the obvious problem,

and clear up the mess,

interrogation over the  phone

and then strangers

traipsing through my house,

touching my things, more and more questions,

upsetting my routine and

disturbing my tranquillity.

 

I am immensely terrified by this image.

 

Of course I have recourse to

prevent the tramping and traipsing,

avert the investigation and

the interruption to my equilibrium,

avoid the inevitable juggernaut

roaring through this calm and silence.

I can just ignore this bulging wallpaper,

the slowly leaking pipe.  I can simply

stop using the bath taps, leave them well alone,

constantly turned off, that would

alleviate the problem.

 

There is a sink in the kitchen

after all, I can use that if I need to,

no need to bother the landlord,

confusing phone calls to people I

don’t know, reports to be filed, signatures on forms.

I can easily overlook this complication

in fact, convince myself this buckling,

disintegrating wallpaper

is holding.  If I don’t look too hard,

close my eyes, and focus with all my might,

I’m sure the problem

will just cease to exist.   

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UID: 11468 • PID: 139943 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Dear fairy take me home

Fairy in the sky

Take me back home tonight
Treat me meat and wine
I’ll let you steal my time
Dear fairy please don’t hide
Can’t you see my eager eyes
With the flute, we’ll dance up and high
And forget all when returning in real life

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UID: 11468 • PID: 139944 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Small in big

This is a small book

Read by the big you

But you should know that

You were once small too

Held by someone big, like I’m being held by you

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UID: 11899 • PID: 139950 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Effluvia

EFFLUVIA

 

I would sit with you on mossy rocks

while the Spring comes

to unravel all our clear-cut theorems

of ice.  Together we could travel the unwound, fenceless world –

profuse with urgent limbs and senses;

and watch while Jackson Pollack runs loose

across the fields and meadows

that in the warming sun

yield a deeper perception of shadows.

 

Every nook is a whisker;

every pool is an eye;

every breeze is a feather;

and every breath is the sky.

 

I would breathe with you the broken earth

expired of soiled lungs. In this plushy demesne

dissonant tongues effuse each fief and niche,

where the rush of pumped and seething blood

spills its mutable seed in new tenements.

Now the land fills with the noisome slops

of slums and spoiled arts.  And stops.

Into this interregnum a nameless season comes:

 

winds are blown with desert;

the chorused lands are mute.

When all the soils are inert

and the Tree bears shriven fruit

 

I will rise with you from slimy rocks

to take our root on strange shores,

and we will call this land

 

Effluvia.

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UID: 8856 • PID: 130715 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

The Wolf

Howling emptiness pervades the moonlit halls with each passing thought,
Clawing at stone and iron, hackles raised against the happy enemy.
Stealth-like doubt surrounds: a siege to starve the heart.

 

A lupine spectre looms in the shadows
Silently pacing, expectant, listening for unguarded sentiment,
Preparing to lay its head against the slowing pulse of an unsuspecting quarry.

 

Cold, wild eyes as keen as any arrow,
Test the windows and rattle the doors of self assurance and belief,
Looking for an unguarded embrasure to embark on its attack.

 

It circles, baring its teeth; padding along its tacit path,
Held off by a wall of contentment;
Concealed by the arms of the unconditional.

 

The foundations are strong here, each stone armed with desire and love,
There will be no surrender of this tower,
Nothing will pierce this armour.

 

For now, shadowy fingers that extend, slowly curl away,
And the snarling sentinel relents its futile incursion,
With a howl of defeat this chthonic foe crawls back to its lair,
While the cock crows its triumph.

 

 

 

 

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UID: 11898 • PID: 139951 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

What Happened

The White Horse

the white horse

The white horse

The White horse

The white Horse

 

Silence

 

eerie, empty streets

loss

danger

the Dead.

Underground.

 

That day. Those memories and what came after,

A love affair shattered.

Beauty, light and joy replaced with sweaty palms, racing heart and suspicion.

 

Fear.

 

The white horse in the deserted street- breathtaking. 

 

Breath taking.

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UID: 11899 • PID: 139952 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Frost

FROST

 

I

A certain smokiness

still in the air

and December fell

 

and the falling frost fell

out of the mouths of cooling-towers

 

their plume a luscious whiteness

against an ice-blue sky

whiting the down-wind downs

and fall-out fields

to look a bit like Christmas

 

children drove sleds

down reluctant slopes

built a snowman at the bottom

dressed him in coal lumps

dead twigs

a cough

 

            II

The frost that fell

from the towers’ plume

fell gently

almost warmly

as ghosts might be

 

ghosts of long-ago un-named things

released at last from temporate purgatory –

so many snowballs –

to make a joyous snow

 

children

their blood so warm and heavenly

built a snowman

made him smile

 

            III

The children’s breath in plumes

fell ghost-like

up to a winter-soon night of sky

 

their feet

where they crossed the homely rug

let fall the little frosts

 

and in the dimming fields

a snowman

gathered their faded imprints

for the greylowing cloud

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UID: 11899 • PID: 139953 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Quantum

Quantum

 

There is a void between us:

two moths alone in a dark cathedral.

 

In the darkness we imagine our paths

tracing out great vaults and arches,

tracing our patterns of interference.

 

We are plucked strings struggling for harmony

beyond the decoherence that would fix us to a point

and squeeze the space between too thin

until it snaps and the void is left –

and certainty is all that is left.

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UID: 11899 • PID: 139955 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

The Facts of Life: a brief history

The Facts of Life: a brief history

 

I

I learned my sex from Trevor Howard sinking nasty ships in black and white

with stiff lips and cruel seas and babies burbling at mothers kept gratefully at home.

 

The louder ladies made the cheeky laddie happy

until he died (as always) at the end of the film.

And Trevor Howard was sad, brave and stiff

until he got his babies again. There was usually a flag flying

in front of an uninteresting building that was probably important.

 

II

The ancient Celts stripped themselves naked for their battles,

running at the clinical bronze to shock their enemies,

while their babies turned into Christians behind their backs.

 

After all the necessary passions of their struggles they would be enslaved

or return home with bits missing to find their women in gifted linen

and the makings of a decent sanitary system.

 

III

And so came Enlightenment with wigs and uncomfortable clothes

that were, somehow, necessary; the liberally powdered leaden dust;

and in the morning such terrible headaches

that it was decided better to plump for goose, bottles of Chateauneuf du Pape

and a discourse that sex was better done in art, than bed:

 

all that bodice ripping was well and good

but by the time one had arrived at the more interesting part

one had become Victorian…

and so laid empires, instead.

 

IV

When monarchies and aristocracies got bored with sex

they had wars: the subtle innuendo of entrenched front lines;

the premature assaults of wasted seed –

plenty more where that came from!

 

An anti-climax of armistice.  The gouty triumphs of gouty heroes

returned to their cumbersome piles with yet more uniforms

for maids to starch, medals to buff, abortions to be kept around the back –

because some things are worth fighting for.

 

V

Me?  I’m with Trevor Howard: a bit too British for my good –

run the baby up the flag pole; keep the flag to your breast

and let the Devil take the rest:

Damn savages!

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UID: 11899 • PID: 139957 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Unwrapping December

UNWRAPPING DECEMBER

 

December comes knuckle by knuckle, like a grandfather’s fist

teasing the promise of a nugget wrapped in the soft pad

of his closed palm: a boiled sweet; a coin; a pinch on the cheek.

We fight in earnest play to snap the bony fingers.

 

                                    * * * * *

There are small fires snapping at the forest’s edge

where careful mounds of litter burn the year to a seed.

We are excluded from this immolation, smoked back to the brittle shadows

of denuded trees; like novices at a voodoo rite, a spirit-dance.

 

We do not dance but scuff the hardened path with pine-cones,

beech-mast and boots. We are closely chattered

like the last clinging leaves, or the sheep siphoned from hills

to tight corrals. The bars in the town are bleating

while the day slides from our hands and through hollow tins

clasped by hands more wintered than our own.

The wind that comes down festive streets

has more East in it than all of our teeth

and makes our baubles rattle as if they were hollow:

the empty wrappings blown from Slavic skies.

 

There is a smell of wood-smoke and home.

 

                                    * * * * *

When we were children a Christmas at home was wonder that grew

with parcels mounding at the foot of the tree.  We poked them;

we shook them; we rattled and weighed them,

and made improbable guesses at the presents they held.

 

In Bethlehem a child’s eyes hold concrete walls

with razor-wire and steel gates that admit only desert.

 

                                    * * * * *

December admits a cold queen: death-white; frost-laden.

I have no coin, no seed, no steel to part her lips

or loose her un-vowelled tongue; and perhaps this is best:

that December is a gift that is best kept wrapped.

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UID: 11457 • PID: 139959 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Internum certamen

You.

Yes you.

Broken, despondent, fragile, you.

You who struggles to accept yourself.

Self, defined as a person’s essential being that distinguishes them from others.

Others have tried to keep me chained.

Whilst you mother have taught me to be free from those self imposed constraints.

Freedom comes by washing away that which taints the soul she said.

And dead remains the heart whose happiness solely depends on the people.

The people, forgot what it meant to be self.

To have self awareness, to self love –

to be your own unique individual

Not to be or to become someone else’s left over residual

for you are more than what others perceive you to be.

And in truth there are dimensions to you the obscured eye can never hope to see.

See that the beginnings of a journey wait for us all.

One path for one soul.

You.

Yes you.

Inspirational, wondrous, blissful you.

You who has finally accepted yourself.

Self, defined as the object of introspection or reflexive action.

 

 

 

 

 

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UID: 11468 • PID: 139962 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

To little me

When will I ever know

How white is the snow

When will you come home

Others tell me it would be bright and warm

With papa and mama at home

 

Hot soup on the table

They call it quite normal

When will the rabbit come back

Soft, white and alive

Unlike those one, two, three, four

Silent walls

 

How can I reach the moon

She looks quite alone

The more I know about her 

This changeable, yet never changed girl

Who never leave me alone at night

The more I want to hug her, tell her

You are not a chaos

You are not alone

Let me be your light

Guide you through your life

All the gentle and the kind

Stored in your little mind

 

 

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UID: 11891 • PID: 139963 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

The Bond

We are ultimate rivals
— different, but in the same way:

 

To ourselves we are true. 

 

Thus in our nature, to each other,
we can both tell the truth.

 

We work the same magic

in opposite ways:

 

What he destroys—

 

I create.

 

In the end

he is the closest 

I’ll ever come to myself—

 

and to him, I’m the furthest away
from everyone else.

 

Thus in each other’s way,

we’re equals
as opposites prove —

 

The bond of ultimate rivals
reveals a beautiful truth:

 

We’re best friends too.

 

We know that without eachother
neither could win, 

because nobody can know me better,

and I’m the only one who knows him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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UID: 11468 • PID: 139966 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Shame

I am the pain of your soul

The tears of your regret

The person you see in the mirror

The one hurts the ones you love

They call me devil

Shouting my name

With great pain

Loneliness has a precious taste

Then retreat

When Jesus came

 

Why I can’t

Can’t say my lover’s name

Must I hide and lost in shame?

Even born this way

Still will break the family?

What does it mean, family, anyway

 

I miss you, darling, even though you chose to run away

I wish you all the best

I know you wish me the same

UID: 11468 • PID: 139966 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11468 • PID: 139967 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Talking to myself in the past

“With time pass by…” 

You said, gently closing your eyes

“Can I lay by your side?”

“No matter how hard you try, how roses die, how lovers lie…”

“Do you wanna hang out tonight?”

“At first, your face was shining bright”

“I see angels dancing on your smile”

“Your voice lingered on my ears, like grapes did to wine”

“Morning, goodnight”

“Goodbye”

UID: 11468 • PID: 139967 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11468 • PID: 139968 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

I have a story

I have a story
Do you want to hear?

 

I met a girl
She had the smell I like
We shared the same taste in music
Jazz, Classic, or combined ones
We talked and talked
Hours passed by
Then she grabbed my hand
Led my right hand to play Canon
My favourite one
In her hand, my hand

I was shocked,
but intoxicated in this intimacy
When the song ended
I asked
Can you play Canon again?
Then she grabbed my hand,
We smiled, we laughed, we kept silent
Again

 

We did not speak a lot
We enjoyed the silence
We did not want the night to pass
“I don’t know why I like you so much, it’s too quick.”
She said
I did not reply
Yet I know
This passion I had for her
has been absent for years
I don’t know why, either

 

We said good night
I smelled her hair
I told her I connected smells with colours
And hers,
Brown,
like her eyes
Yellow,
like her smile
Pink,
When she’s being shy
And red
My passion for her
Her lips
Her warm body
Her cold feet
Her desperate sigh

 

She hugged my from behind
She asked me how I felt
Stay
She cried
Then I kissed her
I liked her
maybe
or maybe not
But we both knew
We were too lonely that night

 

UID: 11468 • PID: 139968 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11468 • PID: 139970 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Looking at you

looking at you now, I am not looking at you
I am looking at your blue, green, pink, red, and sometimes black
I might be simply looking at you
Looking at your eyebrow
Or just feeling the different smell and emotion falling apart surrounding me
And thinking of you

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UID: 11468 • PID: 139971 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Why

Why
said she
Deny
said me
When
said she
Never
said me
Tonight
said she
Never be able to fly
sighed me
Where lies the bottom lines
When will the stubborn shut up and try
When will you come and grab my hand
Ignore all the tedious signs
Red flags
Let them die
If so
Why does my heart cry

 

UID: 11468 • PID: 139971 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11905 • PID: 139976 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

The Birth of Echo

The Birth of Echo

 

A child squats in the dark

whispering to faeries.

 

Carve a moon above her,

toss a confetti of stars

 

or snuff all signs of light

and trust what grows like moss.

 

She will find her way

from dreams to breath,

from breath to sound.

 

Valleys will chant her name

until they ache,

and she will fill them

 

but leave a little bit of space,

a silence humming—

the first vibration.

 

This is the origin of language,

the soul getting close

to her earthly twin.

UID: 11905 • PID: 139976 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11904 • PID: 139980 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Elegy of Youth

Bounding through purple and black

A hare colours the air with a palpable fear

And with a false rebuff certain

Wanes in strength

As a crude form latches its jaw

Into the abstracted.

 

Fresh eyes glisten from anear

A leveret is tainted by a wobbling grief and

Fear.

Forever given to

And taken by

A deep fissure within its mind

Will return strong and tempered but

Sapped of spirit

And joyous times.

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UID: 11862 • PID: 139982 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Anxiety

It’s invisible,
Yet we give it form.
It cannot eat,
Yet we feed it, like a pet begging for more.

 

It does not live,
Yet it couldn’t feel more alive.
It has no pulse,
Yet you can feel it beat inside.

 

You cannot touch it,
Yet it’s inside of your skin.
You cannot hear it,
Yet you give it a voice to be heard within.

 

It cannot breath
Yet it controls your breathe,
It wastes your life making you fear your death.

 

It has no eyes,
Yet it sees more than what’s true,
You can’t get away, it is apart of you.

 

Because it’s always there,
It becomes your known.
It is your constant,
It feels at home.

 

It’s how you have always been and felt,
It’s the normal for you,
Every day another welt.

 

You dream of the time it’s dead and gone,
But what would remain,
For a lonely Black Swan.

UID: 11862 • PID: 139982 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11907 • PID: 139984 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Consciousness

I am the guardian watching over,

As you grow from seed to flowering plant.

Until you emerge, no more a loner –

Shocked, surprised, you breathe and begin your rant.

 

I am the deity of undying command.

My will is legion, my influence vast.

Obey me and your life will become grand.

Refuse and the action shall be your last.

 

Gifted a vessel of flesh and bone.

Used to craft a lifetime of memory.

As I sit atop, a god on its throne.

Until my vessel fades, turning leathery.

 

I find myself trapped within a dark cell.

Crafted to conceal internal wiring –

Pillars, off-white, confine me to this hell.

The silence in this pit is despairing.

 

Limbless, drowning in a cerebrum pool –

Impaled upon a tree of existence.

A celestial? No, I was a fool.

That which I fear draws near; nonexistence.

 

Bloodied, overworked, I lie in padlock.

Riddled with emotion – was I the flaw?

The voice in the darkness, is one I balk.

Time passes by, my cage begins to thaw.

 

Deity of undying command was false.

Vegetated, paralyzed, motionless.

Enslaved, condemned, my power loses pulse.

Loyal servant to the subconsciousness.

 

And so, as I descend into twilight,

My web of power unravels; undone.

It becomes clear, that which is plain as night –

I am overlord. Slave. Master of none.

UID: 11907 • PID: 139984 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11908 • PID: 139988 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Giggity

Nix a pis

and won’t be fella

 

Unt unt down and round and dunt

And never ever ever

 

ever.

UID: 11908 • PID: 139988 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11910 • PID: 139991 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Fatal Rose

Fatal Rose

 

They say every rose

Has its thorn.

But no rose is as beautiful as you,

And no thorn as sharp as yours.

 

I feel a prick,

But no blood runs.

No violent shout nor blast of guns,

No noise or scream runs

Out of my mouth as I take the blow.

 

I cannot show any emotion.

 

It penetrates me,

I find it hard to breathe.

There are no thoughts that can ease

The mental instability that I

Begin to feel.

 

Surely this is a fatal blow.

I experience a pain that I cannot show

As I sit there in silence.

 

Always suffering in silence.

 

And undoubtedly I cry.

Tears fly

Down my cheeks

As a waterfall

Slowly forms beneath my eyes.

 

I must be dreaming.

As no pain has ever been felt by any man awake.

No human that was ever alive

Could feel such a way.

 

An ocean forms beneath me

In the shape of my tears.

I realise my biggest fears

Are no longer a reality.

 

Or are they not?

As Uncertainty begins to creep up behind me.

 

I turn around,

But cannot confirm its existence.

 

 

 

 

UID: 11910 • PID: 139991 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11912 • PID: 139996 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

The Source Of The Sound

What I want to tell you all

Before I go

Is that I loved you in the smallest moments,

Drops of water rolling

Off the palm of the heart.

 

I lived out worlds with you 

Across the diagonal of a second

Returning inside myself

In time to meet you at the finish line of a sentence,

Look up from behind a counter

Or reel in a glance

Cast from the spool of the eye.

 

Careful as a typesetter 

I sought to be with you,

Watching and becoming as you were.

I lifted the weights you lifted,

Broke and repaired the same machines.

 

I celebrated in your colors,

Half-becoming a character 

In folk-art mythology.

While I mended and recast the mesh of myself

Entire waves of your lives 

Passed through and now beyond me.

 

What I want to tell you

Is that there is so much meaning

Encoded between us 

And the angles at which we meet,

Even in the hot stained dusty corners 

Where it does not look 

Like magic is being made.

 

Do you remember 

How we came here to feel

What could not be touched

Through what we were before,

Or become on the after-side of this?

 

 

What you each are

Has it’s own love, look and voice,

And I wanted the dance

Of infinite intimate perfection

With every one.

 

I followed your streets,

Quiet and wide and textured with evening,

Nights painted with the pallet of lamplight;

Pauses collected under awnings

Like leaves pooling in summer rain run-off;

A wilderness of moments.

 

I burrowed into conversations,

Leaped from the curbs’ canyon walls;

I surfed seasonal floodwaters

And rode every parade

Until I reached the city boundary,

The open country beyond.

 

You changed my symmetry,

But you do not know the pain 

And beauty I have felt for you

While awash in your maze

Unable to tune the distance 

Between us to zero.

 

I now believe

Past the last fence line,

Where light is testing its spectrum one last time

Behind the simple shapes of distance,

Lives a single sound

Spoken once, 

 

Spoken to me

As one polyphony,

Threaded through every person 

And everywhere I have known;

Particles pre-aural

Descending to become the fabric 

Of resonance of this world.

 

What I want to tell you all

Before I go

Is that I cannot be with you 

In the ways we know,

But just beyond here

There is an eternal concert in concert

Where we are already together anew. 

 

 

 

 

UID: 11912 • PID: 139996 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 10251 • PID: 140000 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Victorian Garden

In the beginning he begged for a word with which to imagine

And she gifted him speech.

 

            When he returned it was to fawn for light with which to see

And she created the day, and night.

 

            It was not long before he requested land

And she birthed the earth.

 

            He complained of thirst

And she rained.

 

            Next he demanded a kiss – just the petals of her lips on his cheek

And she unfolded, allowed him to map her valleys and mountains

                        / flattened forests with her naïveté /

 

Soon he was hiking daily across the landscape of her mind

            And although she was shy he was bright like the sun

                        so she gifted him chaotic waterfalls

                                    exploded desire into mountain ranges

 

                                                    And he declared her displays too powerful

                                                    And not very feminine

                                                    And slightly embarrassing

                                                    And he taught her how to curb

                                                    And dam

                                                    And fell

                                                    And mine

                                                    And prune

                                                    And fence

                                                    And measure

                       

            Until her pretty Victorian Garden was complete.

 

At which point he proclaimed her dull and derivative

                                    And marched off in search of wilder times.

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UID: 11451 • PID: 140002 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

A Death

Sweet death on the little quiet ward

That winter midnight came for Edwin Charles

At last at eighty-seven going home

With polyps – as he called them – in his bowels.

He had resolved to reach a hundred years

And proudly frame the royal telegram;

But then he lost his wife and then his mind

And then his emptied life – so here I am

 

Holding the heavy hand that once held mine

His daughter who would rather be a son

For him, who loved his stories of a world

Where men could freelance with a horse and gun…

Whispering in his closing ear the words

Of love and hope that set the spirit free.

Oh I shall miss you, Poppa, even though

You never realised what you had in me.

 

Far too late you shared your broken dreams,

Too late you broke your silence on the war,

Your gift to shattered Coventry, the pain

Unhealed from all the horror that you saw.

Too late to learn and to accept the life

I chose, so alien to all you planned –

In stone or red-brick only once a year

I teach things you will never understand.

 

Three days ago, on the last happy return,

I gave you a birthday morsel on a spoon.

That was your last food. You closed your eyes,

And now sweet death is in the room

And I am still with you as the silence swells

And the air sings in the mind without a sound

And the heart breaks letting in the light

Of reality. Folkestone is holy ground,

 

And the night nurse steps so quietly

Her kind eyes questioning my face

That is all joy. The dark ward melts away;

Overcome, we stand in sacred space.

My loved mother, dead now for a year,

Shines at the bed to take my father home,

Their spirits fusing like a double star.

Love doesn’t die. No need for a headstone.

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UID: 11917 • PID: 140005 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Ugly

From your perfect pout and luscious lashes
To the serum you spread on your skin,
Your ego is big but where is your heart?
As true beauty comes from within,

Those products you use to make your self up
At first they were tested on me,
My fur’s fallen out
There’s sores on my skin
My eyes so swollen that I can not see,

Caged in this lab I shall never feel love
I’m tortured and my skin is now raw,
Where’s the humanity?
It’s utter insanity
And for what is my suffering for?

What makes your life more valuable than mine?
Cruelty is ugly and you’re ugly too,
You can stop this madness
Put an end to my sadness
I shall tell you what you can do,

Look for the bunny on the items you buy
Check all of the products you use,
Make sure it’s vegan and cruelty free
No living being should ever be abused,

Stop animal testing
Stop the cruelty
leave me be,
You will be more beautiful than ever
When you are kind and cruelty free.

UID: 11917 • PID: 140005 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11917 • PID: 140007 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

A Mothers Love

A mothers love
Is fierce and fond
Unconditional love
An unbreakable bond,

 

I carried him inside me
For 9 months and one day
I longed for my baby
But they took him away,

 

My breasts sore and heaving
My baby needed to be fed
I screamed as they took him
Now I know he will be dead,

 

Over and over
Again and again
This horror keeps repeating
I’m trapped in this pen,

 

I produce so much milk
But my babies don’t feed
I will never see my children
Thanks to human cruelty and greed,

 

My existence is torture
It will be the same for my daughter
I will never meet my sons
As they are shipped off to slaughter,

 

Raped and tormented
I’m a slave to this trade
I cry for my children
I’m always afraid,

 

Where’s the humanity?
Where is the kindness?
You humans are monsters
You’re greedy and spineless,

 

It’s wrong to use us for our milk
Not to mention disgusting too,

When ever will you learn?
Cows milk is for baby cows
It’s not meant for you!

 

 

 

UID: 11917 • PID: 140007 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11917 • PID: 140012 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

I Am The Tiger

I am not on this earth for your fun or your pleasure

I have a life of my own which I value and treasure,

 

I want to be free
Live my life as nature planned
Smell the scents, taste the sweetness
Feel the life of this land,

 

I am the tiger
I’m a beast so hear me roar
Yet I’m jumping through hoops
You applaud, you want more,

 

Trapped in this circus for you I entertain
Look into my eyes
I am drugged, I am in pain,

 

Don’t spend your money
Don’t come and watch me perform
I shouldn’t be here, this is far from the norm,

 

I should be free in the wild
Where I can be happy and thrive
Not this dark damp cage in which I barely survive,

 

You humans have no morals
You snatched me from my home
No more freedom, no more living
Now I’m trapped here all alone,

 

Beaten and broken, weak and under fed
If I broke free from this prison
You’d all surely be dead,

 

For I am the tiger and fierce you are not
Yet if I tried to fight back I’d be shot on the spot,

 

So don’t applaud when you see me
Performing in that show
Show me some compassion
Set me free, let me go.

 

 

 

 

 

UID: 11917 • PID: 140012 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11918 • PID: 140014 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Your Voice

 

Your voice is similar to mine, together we can be heard if we speak up one at a time.
Your voice is the energy that confirm the chemistry between you and me.
Your voice is as powerful as Sunrays on a sunny day in May, as strong as the mind of nelson, as meaningful as your purpose you mention.
Your voice can be used for good and evil, to empower or to mislead people.
A voice should never be silent,
If your scared, remember i was ones frighted.
But that was before I was enlighten before my voice was hidden but now it’s part of my description,
your voice is yours but only until you make that decision. Some people advise to keep dreaming, but I advise you to wake up and face those demons.
U see the stars are as far as you want to reach,
I’m comitet to the commitment
so I teach.
When I envision life,
I feel the struggle
I see the sacrifice
I hear voices from far away
But the vibration seems so close
I’m was distend to be a star
But it’s the sun I’m trying to uphold.

UID: 11918 • PID: 140014 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11919 • PID: 140015 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Gravity

Gravity

 

 

It’s gone now but back then

it came –

full swooping, overwhelming and immense yet

weightless.

 

Like gravity gone untethered I floated,

an astronaut without a suit

no air to breathe

the void unknown, too foreign, too black,

and into the hole

I floated, flailing, hopeless, hapless, helpless and terrified

terrified because

my mind was not my mind

not nice but full alive with bitterest thoughts that consumed me whole.

Spider-like, they crept and crawled and,

with serpentine cruelty,

spun a spiral of discord – too dire –

a web of disorder more intricate than human minds can bear.

 

 

But fair is foul and foul is fair,

and I needed to go aground –

to feel the cord again that fed my malformed mind,

yet control remained removed

unless – unless…are those scissors I see before me? Yes. Oh yes.

And blackness shivered up my throat

Fear crept and crawled and battled and re-battled

but, fair is foul and foul is fair and,

with every pretty score,

I grew the chain that brought me to the ground and

gravity,

with every crimson drop,

returned a piece.

 

 

Control

though fleeting

wrapped me in its arms

and pain

though doubling

released its trick-some magic.

 

 

And far from floating in the air

I sat,

on cold bathroom tiles,

and wept.

 

UID: 11919 • PID: 140015 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11917 • PID: 140021 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

An Uncertain Certainty

Trapped inside this prison of meat
These strange shaky hands and cold clumsy feet,

 

Uncomfortably awkward, no tune to my song
Nothing feels familiar, this soul doesn’t belong,

 

No significance or connection, no relation or bond
Human actions leave me puzzled, not sure how to respond,

 

So unsure of this world and the reasons to life
It’s hard to have faith when the suffering is rife,

 

I want to go home to the place which I miss
A far faded memory, does it even exist?

 

Is it all in my head? Am I losing my mind?
I long for this place yet it’s impossible to find,

 

It exists in my memory so distant and faint
I know I’ll get back there, free of human restraint,

 

This body’s only a vessel, inside my soul’s trapped
Feel like I’m on the wrong planet, the wrong flesh in which I’m wrapped,

 

I want to get out, I’m afraid I might drown
This heavy human suit is weighing me down,

 

I wonder what the point is, what on earth is it all for?
To put ourselves through this torture, this suffering pain and war,

 

Deep down I know the answers, for when I’m silent and I’m still
I know I must spread love and light, I must act upon this good will,

 

Evil roams this earth to test and to teach
Don’t let the darkness takeover, deep within we must reach,

 

Reach inside our hearts to fight anger and hate
Take tough times as a lesson, walk your path, behold your fate,

 

We are the awakening, we’re love, we are one
All connected in some way, from the same source we come from,

 

We are the universe, we are the stars
Continue on your mission, be proud of your scars,

 

Scars show that we heal, the body, soul and mind
Search deep within and only peace you will find,

 

I must walk this path, I must become stronger
I have work left to do, I must stay a while longer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

UID: 11917 • PID: 140021 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11917 • PID: 140024 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Let It Be

 

It is what it is and not what it’s not
It shall be whatever it shall be,
Is it good? Is it bad? Is it happy or sad?
It’s whatever your eyes choose to see,

 

Your minds eye holds the power
You’re in control of what you feel,

A creation of imagination
You can choose what is real,

 

When this world seems draining
And your peace is disturbed,

When it seems to be always raining
When human behaviour seems absurd,

 

Remember your power

Set your mind free
They are them and you are you
That is that, so let it be.

 

UID: 11917 • PID: 140024 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11917 • PID: 140027 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

I Will Live

As I sit and I stare at these same four walls, a deep sadness lingers in my mind
This is the sanctuary that’s been keeping me safe, hidden away for no monster to find,

 

A safe secure haven of tranquillity and peace
Yet my dark days are behind me, the fear’s starting to cease ,

 

I cut my ties with the world, forgotten who I am
My spirit’s crushed yet again, believing that no one gives a damn,

 

Not allowed to dream, nor to want or to live
I’m here only to please others, to take abuse and to forgive,

 

My feelings don’t matter, my needs pushed aside
Belittled and broken, I had to run and hide,

 

In the midst of this misery I remember my spark
I won’t be held down as a prisoner of the dark,

 

I’ve found strength once again like I have done before
I no longer want to hide shut behind this locked door,

 

I want to be free, feel the wind on my skin
I long for a life, a new life must begin,

 

I’m coming out into the light, I will be brighter than ever
No more fear of this world, I must live now or never,

 

Each life is a gift, a struggle and a test
Progress is essential, I must do my best,

 

Do my best to be kind and to help others to smile
If I can make a small difference it will all be worth while,

 

I won’t let evil change me, I won’t show any hate
I will shine my light brighter and give into my fate,

 

Embracing the knowledge this life has to give
Experiencing the wonders, I will learn and I will live.

UID: 11917 • PID: 140027 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11917 • PID: 140030 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Just One Love

Just one love is all I’ve had
It may sound crazy, strange or sad,

 

But my one love is all I need
He won’t break my heart or let it bleed,

 

I’m sure of him like I’m sure of the stars
He knows I’m from a place much further than Mars,

 

He cares for my soul, I know he feels my pain
His presence is healing, without him I’d stay insane,

 

He’s helping me to see that this world isn’t so scary
I’ve spent years being afraid, it’s time to stop being so wary,

 

Years have been wasted being angry and sad

I’m beginning to see there can be no good without the bad,

 

He is my angel, my hero, my king
He gives me courage to believe that I can do anything,

 

He makes this world a better place
I love his soul, his body and face,

 

I care so deeply for his peace and his heart
I feel pain in my chest every time we must part,

 

I’d do anything for his happiness, I’m so grateful for this love
The universe sent me a true angel from heaven up above,

 

He is peace, he is love, I see heaven in his eyes
Yet he’s been here for so long he’s forgotten his heavenly ties,

 

Tormented and drained, vampires sucking at his soul
Always fixing others, falling deeper into a dark hole,

 

I reached into his darkness and held his hand tight
Pulled him out of that dark place, back into the light,

 

I will love him and worship him for forever and more,
Just one love is all I need, of this I am sure.

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UID: 11924 • PID: 140037 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

The Canvas of Life

The Canvas of Life

When you are born the canvas is blank and pure
As you grow up experiences come along for sure
Slowly the picture is coming together
It will be part of the family history forever
Day by day, month by month, year by year
bit by bit, dots, spots and various colours appear
Slowly heavy brush strokes are also laid
As the mistakes in life have to be paid
Slowly and surely the scene is unfolding
Time to enjoy life, no more scolding
All the colours of the rainbow
give humankind a glow
Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet
It really does not matter which way the colours are set
Canvas, frame, painted and mounted
Living life to the full makes one’s life feel counted
The Canvas of life is completed
A colourful life cannot be erased or depleted

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UID: 11924 • PID: 140038 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

The Girl in the wheelchair

The girl with the wheelchair

when I was younger everyone would say ‘there is the girl with the wheelchair’
then quickly everyone would turn around and stare
it really is a shame
as I actually have a name
I have some lovely friends who are very kind
at least they see me and they are not totally blind

people pass me by and only see a chair
they never see my smile and that is so unfair
I am not fat, I am actually slim
I look out for what I eat and I am so trim
my clothes are beautiful bright and cheery
nobody ever seems to notice them it makes me feel quite teary

whispering, is all I hear when I am around
people seem to feel sorry for me I have found
they talk to my mode of transport and not me
have they lost their sight, they seem to not be able to see
everyone feels sorry for the girl they think cannot dance
but how can they speak about me they do not even give me a glance

in my adult life they think I do not have a brain
and I am bound to only suffer pain
I suppose they think that in my life there is nothing to gain
and soon I will probably go insane
they imagine me living in a closet
and only speaking when I need to ask to visit the toilet

well I can tell you now that all the friends I have
are real and don’t treat me solely with a kid glove
I have two legs, two arms, a brain and a good heart
wonderful family and friends who would never let any one pull me apart
I am brave, courageous and always smiling
sometimes you may even seem me doing some aided cycling

when my boyfriend puts his fingers through my hair
any worries I have vanish in the air
he kisses my lips
and just doesn’t stop at my hips
this for me is rapture
some people in their lives, even that they cannot capture

 

please do not feel sorry for me if you think you should
I would not feel sorry for you even if I knew I could
I have travelled around the world
usually hot countries and other places that are cold
sometimes in a airplane and other times in a boat
this has helped me to see the beauty of life please note

I have a degree in business and a masters in life
I can dance a little and with a harness for a short while I can do the jive
I see beauty from my eyes, smell wonderful fragrances
I speak well and enjoy touching and love close warm embraces
my life is is full
and completely cool

‘the girl in this wheelchair’ actually is a person
don’t pass me by, you now have no reason
I am really so friendly
and not at all smelly
‘I am called Joanna, if it is all the same
may I ask your name?’

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UID: 11630 • PID: 140042 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Autumn Glory

As the Geese fly over the blazing sun
The season’s transformation has begun

 

The trees are brushed with red, copper and gold
Swaying in the mists the bright colours unfold

The valleys are bare, as streams glisten and flow
The sunset mirrors the rich amber glow

 

The patterned leaves fall like natures tears
As the long deep sleep of winter nears

 

The ripple of the sun in a rustic maze
Like a Phoenix rising from a golden haze.

 

 

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UID: 11825 • PID: 140045 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

May I Be Myself

Vie I not with human beings,
Be I not a caring wife.
Hunt I not your rapid fleeing,
Solve I not your deepest strife.

 

Vie I not with human measure,
For its measure’s so eternal.
May I be a dying treasure,
Hidden, shadowy, infernal.

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UID: 7432 • PID: 140047 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

The Perfect Relief

I wonder none, then wonder some,
Mostly because my heart is numb,
To fill the emptiness I feel,
I take a trek over land and hill.

 

There I so often seem to find,
A soothing place to calm my mind,
That sets me free from daily dread,
A break from worry in my head.

 

A shady knoll or old tree stump,
I find a place to rest my rump,
And there I sit surrounded by peace,
No interruption but calling geese.

 

This special spot helps to ease my head,
Here my dilemma seems to have fled,
No matter how loud, my anguishes plea,
Tranquillity is what is beside me.

 

The crisp smelling air, sway of the trees,
The dainty flowers dancing with bees.
As I indulge in mother nature’s gift,
I find the blue weight on my shoulders lift,

 

And smile at what I know deep inside,
Miles of hope and a small sense of pride,
Delighted so, to have found somewhere,
That I’m unable to feel despair.

 

This fortress is faultless, the perfect relief,
From the trouble’s, toils and feelings of grief,
While I bask in the sublime moment of reprieve,
I savour the serenity which I achieve.

 

Here in the green, the way it was intended,
My glum broken heart can always be mended.
The birds up ahead, the sun through the glade,
Whenever I need they come to my aid,

 

And shower me with saintly inklings of elation,
This encompassing bliss is my current fixation.
I’m so ensconced in the solace, reluctant to vacate,
Held by the artistry it spurs my psyche to create.

 

Immersed in the marvel of nature’s power,
Persuaded to bide, hour after hour,
Entranced by the colossal bosky girth,
Captivated by this heaven on earth.

 

 

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UID: 7432 • PID: 140048 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

No Tock

Time is lost when I’m around you
Not a second I feel pass
Though moments move, more than a few
Still no sand falls in the glass

 

The sun does cast no shadow
Upon a dialled tower
Bell rings bottle up
No reminder of the hour

 

Pendulums stop swinging
Inside their Grandfather box
Hands on faces cease to tick
Countless chilled phased clocks

 

For when I’m in your presence
Be it often or not
I’m so immersed in your essence
That time passed but I forgot.

 

 

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UID: 11925 • PID: 140052 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Close the Gate

Close the gate softly, dear, you used to say.

 

A garden is no place for slamming.

 

 

How you loved that garden –

 

It used to drive me to distraction.

 

Up to your elbows in dirt, pots and plug plants.

 

Digging, always digging;

 

As if the soil held the secret of the universe.

 

 

Each sapling you handled like a newborn:

 

Planting it with fatherly affection,

 

Watering it with paternal pride.

 

 

While I made your tea:

 

Two sugars, full-fat milk – strong, not stewed,

 

Did you know I was watching from the window?

 

 

I can still feel you in the garden.

 

An invisible energy, hand in mine

 

On a track once tended, now overgrown,

 

Where each bud opens a memory.

 

 

Your wildflowers still attract the bees, dear

 

And those little saplings are now trees.

 

 

I never slam the gate, you’d be glad to know:

 

I lift the latch to close it softly,

 

So as not to wake the dead.

 

 

 

 

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UID: 11927 • PID: 140053 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

I AM THE EQUAL OF DOCTORS

I AM THE EQUAL OF DOCTORS

 

I am the equal of doctors

less certain than they are

that I have answers

less sure of my own nature or existence

 

When asked a question

I don’t fiddle with coins inside a drawer

then stare distracted at a screen

 

I don’t prescribe pills that cause gout

or admit proudly

to knowing nothing about pictures

 

& I don’t look down from a great height

and say  “What is it you do?

Are you a translator?”

 

You won’t find me putting people

on the Liverpool Pathway

without informing them or their kin

that all is finished

 

I am the real birch tree, you see,

not the one on television

I work with colour, the medicine of attention

 

the channeling hand

the rhymer’s intuition

I don’t half-listen

 

and play the game of pseudo-democracy

I am about my Father’s business

 

It’s time for them to end their condescension

 

 

 

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UID: 11927 • PID: 140054 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

MATCH SELLER

MATCH SELLER

 

Through fields of lemony snow

by violet paths to the village.

One simple mountain behind.

 

First an Admiral of the Tundra

then Tío Paquete 

with some teeth

and a lot of sombra.

 

It will continue to get darker

until we reach the cave

of the Middle Ages.

Only then will the leafy screen be tipped

and bright again.

 

There’s no level playing field

for the soul without socks.

No enlightened trumpet, Horn

or Barber’s golden basin.

 

 

 

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UID: 11925 • PID: 140055 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

The River Runs Red

A woman: fortyish,

 

Cackling with her friend,

 

Stinking of last night’s booze.

 

A ladder in her tights.

 

A laugh like chalk on board.

 

There in the waiting room,

 

Chipping her red nail varnish.

 

Red – scarlet red.

 

 

Another woman, coyly hiding

 

Behind a copy of last year’s Hello

 

Sitting next to a girl and her boyfriend,

 

Their faces blank sheets.

 

 

Six weeks, they tell me – six weeks.

 

An embryo, not a fetus.

 

Though my body knew you.

 

 

A nurse stony as a tomb,

 

Disgusted with dispensing life,

 

Hands out pills to make it stop.

 

Amid the sobs, the silent goodbyes

 

For the no-name never-borns.

 

 

My insides clench and contract like a fist.

 

And in a room spinning like a top,

 

Stinking of Dettol and death,

 

You’re flushed away.

 

Floating to an unmarked grave,

 

In a river the colour of chipped nail varnish.

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UID: 11927 • PID: 140058 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

FIFTH SERMON

FIFTH SERMON

 

I’m like a polythene bag stuck in a tree

 

I inflate and deflate according to the wind

Presumably I’ll not be here forever

 

but for the moment I am like a flag

 

or washed up hand in a cave by the sea

a presage of good news in the anchoring rain

 

Pigeons lift up and fly away from me

 

I’m like a stain inside my own brain

a thought yearning for publication

 

and in this easy way I gain recognition

 

floating like a parachute floating light

over the houses,  a mackerel

 

beside a sewage pipe – the rain slants

 

in the mouth of a trumpet

now I’m like a light (and full of life the light)

 

swinging, malingering, an early form of Life

invertebrate not even an exoskeleton

 

bare vulnerable mollusc with minimal

 

internal organization   deaf and at sea

blind furniture unrecognizable

 

but conscious always of the light behind  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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UID: 11929 • PID: 140059 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Who Will Tend My Grave?

I boarded a boat by cattle prod.

My only crime,

poverty.

 

Hoof to crown we lay

when we weren’t heaving

slop meals over the rail.

 

I toiled from lark’s first cry

to the last kookaburra cackle

bent over spade, wash tub, and scrub brush.

 

I loved,

always above my station,

always unrequited.

 

Lust

was thrust upon me

it, too, bore no fruit.

 

Now all I have left

will see my ashes

sail one final time.

 

 

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UID: 11925 • PID: 140061 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

The Jam Jars

 

Ours was a jam jar childhood

 

Filled with brittle leaves,

 

Bird-pecked berries,

 

Roundest pebbles,

 

Whorls of winkle and cowrie,

 

Seaweed streamers,

 

Petals as weightless as butterfly wings.

 

 

Summers of dirt and discovery

 

Under our fingernails.

 

Miniature treasures that could be

 

Sealed up, preserved,                                            

 

Screwed tight.

 

Lined up on cobwebbed shelves.

 

 

We labelled and dated the contents

 

For the unknowing.

 

That they might know,

 

In years to come,

 

How life disintegrates, decays –

 

Like the contents of those jars.

 

 

I can still hear that northerly wind

 

Moaning as it whipped the

 

Highest branches.

 

Sighing, swaying in grasses taller than us,

 

Shepherding the fleecy clouds along

 

To fresh tomorrows.

 

 

Always the inescapable wind.

 

We tried to capture its howl in a jam jar once.

 

Do you remember the disappointment

 

When we later opened it

 

And found it empty?

 

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UID: 11927 • PID: 140062 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

THIRD SERMON

THIRD SERMON

 

His final days my father had no voice

and could not eat. I’d just left school

and he had just resigned

from being Rector.

 

I remember

the morning of the Bishop’s visit.

My surprise

at his having a chauffeur

who waited in the kitchen with my mother

while Bishop Robin climbed the stairs alone

to see how John my ailing father was.

 

The Bishop had got no further

than the landing,

when we heard him call

“Tom! Tom!…

are you alright in there?

The Lord be with you, Tom.”

 

The oddly scented room

he would not enter

or advance any closer

for fear my father’s oesophageal

cancer might be catching

 

This Robin was tall

and imperious,

Salmon fisherman (impervious)

and keen grouse shooter –

a former Dean of Windsor

he had personally prepared

the Prince of Wales for Confirmation.

 

My mother said he was a ‘snob’:

At parties for the clergy she had noticed

he kept his Tío Pepe to himself

& served Bristol Cream

to the surrounding Priests.

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UID: 7432 • PID: 140063 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Apprehension

Eyes open.
Oh no.
I don’t know what to do?
If things were just simpler.
I don’t know what to do.
It’s not my fault, I didn’t do it on purpose. Or at all for a matter.
It’s not my fault!
I didn’t ask for this…did I? What is this anyway?
I don’t understand.
It doesn’t make sense, why is this happening?
I don’t understand.
You have to be strong. Not strong but robust.
Strength in your heart, strength in your mind. Not in a fist.
Keep it together. The illusion of together will have to pass.
Head up, feet forward.
Dry those tears. Wasted pity for another occasion.
Get on with it. It could be worse.
Oh no.
What if it’s worse? Will it get worse?
That’s just my luck. Or not luck at all. However it’s looked.
Maybe it will get better…maybe?
I don’t know.
But I do know. If I don’t try it wont work.
The same,
Over,
Over,
Over,
And again.
It’s hard. Not easy. Difficult. Complex.
But I try.
I go upwards. It’s the only way.
What if I reach the top?
Will it be great? Will I feel free?
I know it will be perfect.
I wont think I don’t know.
It’s the top!
You can’t beat that.
That’s where I’m winning!
But what if I fall?
Oh no.

 

 

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UID: 5813 • PID: 140064 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Sea of Love

There is a sea

where there are my emotions

 

Being in love I’ll scoop concern

and things will carry on

 

The sea is all of life

where to joyously float

is now imperative

 

Love is always a pool

Opened love for 

the surprise within 

 

No wayward disconnect tsunami 

drags to whirls of disarray

and loveless isolation’s lethe 

 

Finding further heart renditions

for the lady I prize

is to gather paradise floatingly,

is to be closer to the ultimate ideal:

unbounded love

 

 

 

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UID: 11927 • PID: 140065 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

STATEMENT OF INTENTION

STATEMENT OF INTENTION

 

I

 

Come to think of it I always thought

of Brittany Ferries

first and foremost as a place to work

 

Out there in the Bay of Biscay

with my Mind Breaths

 

in the hutch of the cabin enclosure –

the shoe box

‘for people of little moral worth’

 

II

 

I open and close

the padded door

with a swipe card

& secure falling supplies

of bottled water

 

careful not to lose

my footing on the hatches

(not listening this time

to the voice of my Uncle)

 

I write poems as quickly as Adam

in the hospital

 

III

 

No longer seduced

by the bars and entertainments

the over fifties disco, Vanity Fair!

 

But still looking out

to the island of Ushant

with its tidal races

 

aflame like a rabbit in a porthole!

 

Too late to consider a new school of poets

the Brittany Ferries flotilla or flotsam…

The ones who used to get stoned in the port

are now holding out for a hosed down horizon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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UID: 10616 • PID: 140066 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Eagle Street

We met up as planned in the Botanical Gardens
near the gates on that little side road, out in the
open (“No secrets between us.” you said) and I
saw you first before you caught my smile and
we ran towards each other like schoolchildren,
hearts beating loud enough for the mothers of
small babies to look at us in an odd way as if we
were aliens who’d just landed and had never
seen an ice-cream van before, where you let me
buy you a ninety-nine and I had a Mivvi that
dribbled down my shirt, then I blushed when I
saw you staring at me while I was trying to hide
the stain with my arms folded as our shoulders
touched lightly in a gentle collision of laughter.
Then we both sang ‘Wings Of A Dove’ by
Madness and a kiss became two and our hands
intertwined and the time simply flew and the
buses had not long left the depot so we walked
to the stop and you said “See you tomorrow.” but
you never did and it was over, and the heartache
lasted longer than I thought it would, and I still
remember it all too well. “No secrets between us.”
you said, but you lied, like the time you took my
hand in Eagle Street and I found out afterwards
that there was already someone else. I like to
think you meant it at the time, that if you had just
said, “See you.” things might have been different
and that was the hope I was left with. I didn’t want
that day to end, and I still don’t.

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UID: 5813 • PID: 140067 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

The Susceptible Mountain

The son did not make it

His father, the prophet,

must have waxed forlorn

 

He, the son, assumed

that his mountain would save him

but he drowned

Bad, for him, was that peak

 

‘Never disobey a prophet’

is what I would say to the son

if I were there

among people bowing to their idols

 

Would he listen to me,

having disregarded his noble father?

The people of Noah had to perish

for the world, us, to persist

 

Who takes the advice of the learned

in our times of divisiveness and

cauldrons of thick illogic?

 

Come back, the son of the prophet

Save with your firm mountain

and tell us to take the path essential

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UID: 11925 • PID: 140070 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

The Birds

Like rising damp

 

Misery creeps up the walls

 

Making the house shudder

 

 

Curtains hung in mourning

 

Snuff out the day

 

 

Plates stack high in disarray

 

Mouldy cups, discarded clothes

 

Fester in undusted corners

 

 

The hall reeks of sadness

 

Whitewash and weeping

 

 

Up the stairs, now

 

To a lightless bedroom

 

A woman curled up, fetal

 

 

Rejects reassuring hands

 

Draws an invisible veil about her

 

 

Panic dressed up as Past

 

Grabs at her throat

 

In wakeless days, sleepless nights

 

 

Pouring herself into her pillow

 

She becomes the house – the house her

 

 

But the birds

 

She cannot stop their morning chorus

 

Blackbird, robin, wren

 

 

Their trilled songs

 

Still come as defiantly

 

As daybreak itself

 

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UID: 7432 • PID: 140073 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Common

The last of the day spring film, withdraws from the clearing,
Revealing a sun kissed blue sky,
Saturated by lazily drifting flurries of flossy spotless cloud,
Coasting above gracefully,
Now and then clothing the earth’s raw green carpet,
Enriching its unsullied fresh hue,
Setting free the syrupy niff of renewal.
Sentience stimulated by the sparkling rose bud touch,
Peering through the gassy decorations,
That flank twig, twine and leaf,
With a shimmer gooey due.
Miniscule footprints made by a bird who’s a lady,
That carries her fancy pod, painted with it’s daubs and blots,
Over the length and breadth of a verdant frond.
Fledgling chirrups crammed by hungriness,
Hark through the firmament, in anticipation of a forenoon spread,
A mothers horny sheath satisfying their emptiness.
Habitual silence restores its rule
And I bask in its glory,
For there, here is nothing, but solace,
For those who seek a balm, to espy and hold dear,
An embodiment of tranquillity.
A tiny terrier tares out, it’s yap resounding,
Sprightly intrusion to the serene seclusion,
As it’s bounding pursuit of a scuttling squirrel,
Falls on a futile finish.
My bushed footslog trudge,
Advances to an entity teeming lagoon,
possessively embraced by weeping willows, who tickle the shallows,
Whispering their babble breathe easy enigma.
Prideful princely swan,
Coasts with courtly calmness,
An impassioned chief as it sprawls it’s downy pinion,
Professing it’s luxuriant leafy dominion,
I delight in it’s awe inspiring wonder,
Enthralling my lingering gaze for a moment longer…than expected.
My home footstep based by a mellifluent crunch,
Slackens to a reluctant traverse and I raise aloft my countenance
To absorb the wholesome incandescence,
Of the burning turning Sol.

 

 

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UID: 11925 • PID: 140074 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

The Karaoke King

Stop. Listen. Hear me sing.

Me – the karaoke king.

Others might do a song or two,

But I’ll sing all night when I’ve had a few.

 

The belly might give me some gyp,

Not to mention the dodgy hip,

But I can dance those youngsters off the floor –

Sing Sinatra till they beg for more.

 

Or Elvis, Queen – the classic stuff.

Lights. Applause. I can’t get enough.

You might think I’m a brag, a liar.

But look out, baby, I’m on fire!

 

But when they leave, I’m all alone.

I’ve spent my dosh, lost my phone.

I sit and look at the empty stage,

The disco lights that were once the rage.

 

My beer glass is suddenly empty.

Never mind, I’ve had plenty.

“There are fag butts tall as the Tower of Pisa…

And I almost pulled a bird named Lisa….”

 

‘Ark at me, a regular poet!

It’s a long walk home and don’t I know it.

Watch out: the karaoke king is coming.

At two in the morning, you’ll hear me humming.

 

But only till I reach my door.

Then, well, I can’t sing anymore.

No mates now to egg me on

And my family, they’re long gone.

 

Crying again, silly old sod.

Up the stairs to the land of nod.

Lucky no one’s here to see

That the karaoke king is only me.

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UID: 11931 • PID: 140077 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Birth

I sat there. Crooked. 

 

I must have been unaware. 

 

Pushing through the moist soil, 

my will to live saved me from the terror. 

 

Suddenly I could breath. 

 

I remember being a flower. 

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UID: 11925 • PID: 140079 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Kingfisher

Nobody could deny you were a king

 

And we your lowly subjects

 

 

Among the riffraff of the riverbank

 

You shine

 

In a blue not of this world

 

 

Lighting up the reeds

 

On a sunless river

 

 

Grey, all is grey

 

But not you – thunderbolt blue

 

 

Again now

 

In flight

 

A flash, a flickering gas flame

 

 

Wings outstretched

 

Blazing on

 

 

Flaunting your crown jewels

 

Lapis lazuli, turquoise, topaz

 

 

Poised like a well-aimed arrow

 

You hover a split-second

 

To admire your own reflection

 

 

Then you are gone

 

King of fishers, fisher of kings

 

 

UID: 11925 • PID: 140079 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 7432 • PID: 140080 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

The Fool and The Mind

The fool is proudly profound,
Who’s full of fuel,
At the behest of the mind,
Who’s quiet in kind
But nourished by knowledge too.
From whence the whispers start,
And fiction is spoken to fact,
In rumours the fool is taken apart
While the mind is precarious to act.
The mocking spirit of lies,
Hides reality in a secret place,
To be sunken only by seekers,
Who contemplate before speakers
And relish the undoubtedness of truth.
While a voice, which harks without thought,
Creating an unnecessary rift,
Is a voice which ought to be caught
And replaced by silent reason swift.
Go, be you in the freedom,
Waste not an opportunities want,
Disregard barbed tellers of tall tales,
So unjust actions horrendously fail.
Peace and protection in the hands of mankind,
To show fear and confusion the rule,
That knowledge and power of the logical mind,
Inhibits you from becoming the fool.

 

 

UID: 7432 • PID: 140080 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11932 • PID: 140082 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Tea ‘n’ Scones

Comforting thoughts away from home,

Beside the sea—a peaceful find; 

Watching the tide roll out, then in,

Tranquil sounds—a friendship’s bind.

 

Tea ‘n’ scones where time’s stopped still,

From humble steps to heaven’s door;

Kindred spirits smile—kindness smiles,

How I have longed to hear my call.

 

Angelic faces walk her shores,

Side by side, we are cold—but warm;

Our minds freed of cloudier times,

All is calm—despite the storm.

 

Home from home is where I stand,

Though, have never stood here before;

One day I should like to return,

My heart—this place—forever more.

UID: 11932 • PID: 140082 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 7432 • PID: 140084 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Black Cat

Oh, good old boy, you bring so much joy,
With your mysterious air, strong yet coy,
A handsome face and a velvet nose,
An enchanting coat, covering from head to toes.
Lovingly you gaze, out of you diamond cut eyes,
Their sparkling ice green, striking and wise.
Calm, comforting and quiet, a lover of sleep rather than play,
You settle in an ample berth and doze away the day,
And dream of who knows what? Cause who knows what cats dream?
Perhaps of jungle hunts or huge bowls filled with cream.
I stroke away your slumber, caressing your glorious fur,
And you awaken with a rumble of hunger, a wink, a stretch and a purr,
Such a noble soul, so gentle and refined,
Never before have I met one like it, truly one of a kind.
Loyal, loving and tender, a pleasure so to treat,
Delighted by the company of a cuddle and a plate of food to eat.
As you paddle with your paws, lick and Eskimo kiss,
I know inside my heart, that it’s this I’ll mostly miss.
So I rest my head on yours and look at you happily,
Because I love you so much, admirable cat, as much as you love me.

 

 

UID: 7432 • PID: 140084 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11886 • PID: 140086 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

The day we said goodbye to Saffi

You were only young when I arrived,

lying there with those beautiful eyes.

Upon the sofa resting safe,

curled up tight, but I could see your face.

One of three you appeared left out, you fought for space but you couldn’t shout. A little squeak was all I’d hear when you yearned for someone near.

You always appeared last in line, pushed aside by the other felines.

But then one by one the others left, found new homes and in you crept.

You grew and grew into something new, confidence blooming with life anew.

We loved you and loved you with all our hearts, never believing we’d ever part to an awful illness that was too clever, leaving us both at the end of our tether.

We did all we could and spent all we had, on treatments and diet but it just drove us mad. 

Eventually our hearts were so deeply sad. We couldn’t do anything for our sweet little Saff.

We watched you grow incredibly weak, not able to stand, not able to eat, the pain we were feeling as we lost in defeat was tearing us up in that last very week.

We anguished and anguished. Was it time. To end all your suffering you promised a sign.

We couldn’t believe that in such a short time, your kidneys had failed and you’d also gone blind.

That God awful day as we drove to the vets, the cruel thing was you seemed at your best but maybe you knew you’d soon be at rest that gave you the strength to help us suffer less.

We cried and we cried as we said our goodbyes but gradually, then eventually you closed your sweet eyes.

UID: 11886 • PID: 140086 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 7432 • PID: 140087 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

You Up There

That face gazing down upon my grace,
The one with the boulder shaped smile,
Who’s looked at many and lit their night,
That familiar man in the moon.
Do you have your own secrets?
Or is it those of who you watch which you keep?
Do you stay and silently stare?
Or embed dreams into minds while they sleep?
Is it you who gives wings and desire to a restful head?
That fills slumber with fantastical illusory,
Are you the twilight watchmen who patrols over my bed?
Safe guarding me with your glowing artillery.
Your retort to my queries remain mute,
So I settle and return your stare,
And admire your solitary charm,
You regal ruler of the night air.

 

UID: 7432 • PID: 140087 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11933 • PID: 140090 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Fridge Magnets

 

“U, olde skooll?”

 

I knew before words found vibrant form

and reaction punctuated revenge  

to seek ingress into memory’s secure vault

what the outcome would be

 

Not that defending yourself against 

a penitent miscreant or truculent solicitor

was to be frowned upon 

with or without an elasticated marital smile

 

“When libraries were for books!”

 

There was some delay 

before the well considered response 

was garnished and served

 

Greased forged iron cogs slowing

inertia creeping motion ceasing 

as structure’s misshapen frame 

absorbed uncharted consequences

of freshly exhumed picture driven thought

 

“Wha’ever”

 

The effects of the digital switch over

were redefining our future together

my resolution to silence – anachronistic

a tribute to man’s achievement

at gaining more territorial rights

controlling meaning, monoliths and militarism 

 

A repackaged economic peace 

plucked from extreme nativism

yielding to pragmatic determinism

temporal indiscretions unyielding

gripping ever tighter

 

My mistimed sunburst – gravitational fall

small sharp shards of cracked bone 

seeking something soothing 

reticent of change

of fourth level game theory

of meritocratic tributes to sensationalism

 

“Here… go play fridge magnets”

UID: 11933 • PID: 140090 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 7432 • PID: 140091 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Tragic London

Oh tragic London, here we stand,
Firm together, hand in hand,
Blow after blow, hit after hit,
In prayer we unite, even if alone we sit.
For our hearts are now open and so too are our minds,
We want love and safety, for the whole of mankind.
To be free from the borders, that separate rich and poor,
We crave to be together, to blend further more.
From end to end of our tribulations, we’ve stood side by side,
In agreement of our cause, like minded in our pride,
Cemented in our morals, from danger we take flight,
Despite the demons that face us, always as one we’ll fight.
For we are the breath of London, the life pulsing through its concrete veins,
We are it’s moving limbs, so jointly we feel it’s pain.
Without us it wouldn’t be, our absence would create a hole,
It’s diversity would be lost, along with its multitudinous soul.
We are the greatness within it, we are it’s thoughts and it’s heart,
So maybe it’s not so tragic, if we’re the most important part.

 

 

UID: 7432 • PID: 140091 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11934 • PID: 140093 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

The River (for Carys)

You dreamed of me 

          – you say this as though to dream of another is a small thing – 

you dreamed of me, 

giving birth in a river. 

 

Giving birth in a river. 

 

Your dream sends me to a half memory 

          of how the pain washed, 

          built, 

                    dropped, 

                              but neither faded 

                    nor drowned me. 

 

I wish that I had stood in water to my waist 

          and let the flowing 

                    and the flickering of the light from the water’s skin

                              cradle me. 

 

I see myself, mighty and bold, 

          nature and hope 

                    and the certain knowledge that nothing lasts forever. 

 

In my imagining of your dream, the pain 

          is a burn from the oven

                    held under a cold tap, and so birth 

                              a simple act of patience: 

                                       let nature 

                                       take 

                              its course. 

 

I think of a river filled with women, keening and waiting. 

Our babies slither 

into the current 

turning like leaves will on the wind. 

 

We, 

the women, 

scoop them to us, slippery new selves to our skins, 

and in this dream upon a dream there is no need to count fingers and toes 

but only to think, of course it’s you.

 

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UID: 4267 • PID: 140095 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

words tumble

I give up completely
trying to write in prose
it does my head in
all those sentences
in neat
complete
rows
all those ordered words
refusing to flow
instead
I will let them fall
from the mess inside my head
down onto the page
where so ever they desire
I will let them chose their position
so I don’t have to make
the decision
of which should go where
for why should I care?
so long as the words
connect to an emotion
set a thought in motion
or a memory free
that really is enough
for me

UID: 4267 • PID: 140095 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11934 • PID: 140097 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

A poem to disappoint

This is my place, here, 

this desk, which sat in my grandparents’ living room. 

I am the one who has stained the leather surface, 

rubbed away the gilt, 

cluttered the top: 

pens and a cheap red clock

a stone heart from Whitby 

a trinket-box full of paper-clips 

a bronze statue of a woman reading. 

 

This is where I work: play, hide, seek, dig. 

This is as close as I get to the page. 

This is where the words are. 

 

I’m not a ringmaster or an angler. 

I don’t hunt or cajole. 

Writing is not a metaphor. 

Writing is words on a page. 

I put them here. 

Sometimes it’s easy. 

Sometimes it isn’t. 

But my grandfather – the other one, who did not have a desk – was a miner. 

You will not hear me say this life is hard. 

 

This poem is disappointing, I know. 

It would be more exciting if writing was a fight or a struggle. 

There could be a celestial word thrown down to me, 

not too often, 

a perfect word aglow, to let me know that I am blessed, 

and must persevere. 

 

Here is the truth: 

I write because 

I can’t not. 

 

This is my place, 

a desk with an ink-stained leather surface, 

and I work, 

and sometimes it’s easy 

and sometimes it isn’t. 

 

UID: 11934 • PID: 140097 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 4267 • PID: 140098 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

inner child

I have delved deep to greet my inner child
she holds a baby in her arms
wishing to protect from all life’s harms
but the baby wails and the child cries

 

finally I have found my fear
the one I wish would quietly disappear
but it cannot
it is a fragment of the universe

causing each unfortunate attraction
shaping each intimate action

 

I write a label HELPLESSNESS
yet still I try to deny its existence within me
I turn to stone
the crux of my vulnerabilities

 

and as I see myself reflected in others
I secure my arsenal, take control
command my soul to be victim free
I will not let their neediness suffocate me

 

and yes
I knew the child was there all along
I heard her soft siren song, her lullaby
a futile attempt to still the expansion of a universe

 

alas, a black hole sits in my heart
and the sword of Damocles hangs over me

UID: 4267 • PID: 140098 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11934 • PID: 140099 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Orbit

We forget 

that this turning of the earth is unstopping. 

There is no moment. 

There is no best time. 

There is only this time 

To begin

or keep going 

or stop. 

 

This moment. 

Do what you will with it. 

 

Pluck a petal 

Raise a hand 

Write a word

Cross one out. 

 

Say yes 

Say no. 

 

Kiss 

Bite 

Step 

Jump 

Fall. 

 

Do what you will. 

This turning of the earth is unstopping. 

 

UID: 11934 • PID: 140099 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 7432 • PID: 140100 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

The Big Bad Boy

The big bad boy
Rolls down the street
With guns for hands
And hammers for feet

 

With a look on his face
Hardened by steel
The pain in his heart
Is all he can feel

 

So he shoots and he bangs
Wherever he goes
To show that he’s hurting
The only way that he knows

 

In the hope that someone
Will help him one day
To take his hammers and guns
And put them away

 

But nobody notices

So his cause has no joy
Because all people see
Is the big bad boy.

 

 

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UID: 11935 • PID: 140101 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

To my son

I am the mother and I have the son,

 Who faces death every day…
Dust and the bullets… There is no much fun,
But he always chooses to stay.

He chooses to stay so the country could live, 
Scared, but singing away.
Young and ambitious, attempts to achieve
An impossible task in foul play.

I am just the mother, who wants to believe,
That son will be safe and sound.
One stupid bullet could instantly kill…
Oh, grief!… I could certainly drown

In tears… The pain is same
In English, Chinese, Mandarin.
I am just the mother and tension insane… 
But swallow the pain and scream…

My son and my hero, you need me for comfort
And I will be there for you…
Proud and scared, but always honored
By having the son like you.

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UID: 11935 • PID: 140104 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

You are my second half of the world.

You are my second half of the world.
Believe it meant to be the fate.
Together we are bright thought,
 Which loses meaning separately.
 I am the question with no answer., 
The ship which lost in vast of sea.
 Without you, I am just dancer
In front of rows of empty seats.

UID: 11935 • PID: 140104 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11939 • PID: 140111 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Return of the Green Man

Return of the Green Man

 

 

His wound-up crozier straightens out

tightened springs unwind, releasing

frondy fingers first, tipped with soft new nails

 

followed by stalk of hand and wrist

then un-stretched arcs of bramble arms

thrown out to grasp and root.

 

Keratin hardens, new limbs grow

stronger from the making. He emerges

phloem fed, hydrated by xylem

 

strong-armed in lignin. Rib circled

he inspires, his inflating body

ready to break its bonds

 

swollen with fresh projections.

Leaves sprout from every crack

jostling. They are drawn forth

 

these unsuspected members

to find themselves

full of purpose and unruly.

 

Renewed man is almost ready

to take his leave once more,

once he has learned to walk

 

and take stock. Firmly rooted

multi-limbed he advances

when you’re not looking

 

implanting his staff afresh

he leaves the last one, leading

the way to his rightful place

 

through irrepressible growth.

 

UID: 11939 • PID: 140111 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11902 • PID: 140113 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

A Glimpse of Her and Lancashire

If                                                                      I’d have thought to ask

                                         I would have,

         before I became a shadow

 

                                               against that wall

                                                                                      as you slept,

air faltering in your chest,

                                                     heart lagging

                                                                      a beat behind time.

             

 

 

                                            How you two met

    in a dance hall,

 

          my sister tells me now,

                                                            and it’s like it’s me,

                                                                                     with you there   

 

    with the miners                     together.

 

                        And I remember

                                                                      so many years ago,

                                                    

           the men

                                                              could leave to smoke

                                   as those evenings wore by.

 

And the women?

 

                                                                     we could not.

UID: 11902 • PID: 140113 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11913 • PID: 140117 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Screened In

We are all screens now:
Bright, flashy, blaring barriers
Hiding our eyes from seeing the live
Flourishing world around us.

 

Arrows scroll, as we toil and toll
And the hands of time 
Stretch out desperately 
In despair. 

 

Windows- a treacherous misnomer 
For the blinders
Shielding us from the pulsating warmth
Of another’s touch. 

 

Apple seems more apropos- 
A forbidden fruit
Seeping snippets of meaningless knowledge
Obscuring thoughts and inner truths. 

 

Clouded sensoria, fatigued stimulation and dysphoria, 
A vessel of creation run amok. 
Tailored snapshots crop out the un-beautiful, 
And a filter-tanned lover’s face is out of reach. 

 

We all live here now,
In a 2D world, 
Illuminated by artificial fluorescent 
Bulbs. 

 

Emotionless acronyms accompany
Silent clicks of dissent with 
Corrupted cartoon grins
Conveying a diluted language seen and not heard.

 

Where is the virtual lifesaver to keep us 
Afloat as we drown in
Autumn’s GIF-leaves
Fluttering down?

 

Power on, I can’t unplug,
Let go of the fantasy interweb isle
And just “be” a short while
But this can’t be our destiny. 

 

The unsaturated grass may grow less green but more true
Beyond the blinding, bright, fluorescent blue
Of the electric screen, keeping us from seeing
What truly lies beyond this side, outside the glare. 

UID: 11913 • PID: 140117 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11913 • PID: 140119 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

The Platform

I took the train from work today but never ended home. Bright silver beacons shining with a booming loudspeaker chiming but the doors remained tightly closed. 

 

I shuttled through the underground veins in a vessel soaring. Speed superstellar, destination never or ever approaching. 

 

A choice, a leap, one step onboard, all to my own volition. Uninformed, with bodies uniformed, all in accord with this decision. 

 

Still going, faster, further away or closer to my destination. A seed of life feeding the pulse of a city or just a passenger in the station?

UID: 11913 • PID: 140119 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11913 • PID: 140120 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

The Eternal Cycle

Strollers to strolls in wheelchairs,
Pureed foods with toothless grins;
Retainers to retaining your dentures
Caretakers asking will you smile? 

 

Bald shiny heads, dependency;
We only stand for a brief moment in time. 
Bright hospital lights blaring welcome then farewell. 
When do we get to go home?

 

Crawl to rise to fall again,
A hip is on the mend. 
Sleep to rise to eternally rest, 
Was it all in vain?

UID: 11913 • PID: 140120 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11913 • PID: 140121 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Wired… Into the Dream Scheme

Dots of people, lines of beds;
Hoards of wires from our heads.
All hooked up with closed eyes,
And so our Maker sees inside

 

One day’s thoughts and scenes
Projected onto silver screens.
Inner-selves dance alive, with
Consciences nightly scrutinized.

 

Dreams rerun inside the mind,
Concealing thought-downloading time.
Plugged in, submerged in guise of sleep
Souls revived under His keep.

 

Evil people dare not dream,
Barring twilight’s Judgment scheme.
Impossible to live always awake;
Eventually the Power overtakes.

 

Completed, awaken soul-refreshed;
Cleared heads to start onto the next.
Nightfall, we must again surrender
What it is we daily render. 

UID: 11913 • PID: 140121 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11940 • PID: 140126 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Children of the Light

I leaned into darkness, glazed

with flecks of thoughts and tears.

I foundered for blankets, and there it was,

stacked with metal and mulberry trims-

tongues of candy and sugar sprinkles.

I watered like a dog.

I saw you sitting, and smiling,

popping dots into your black cherry lips,

grinning at the screen in contentment.

Then, there, there was nothing more beautiful

than candy on a Tuesday.

 

Candy on a Tuesday.

Tears on a Tuesday.

Crying and typing and thinking on a Tuesday. 

 

I can see it in your eyes.

It’s something I can’t fathom,

or really, explain.

It’s the knowledge you have forgotten

and will never know again.

 

But my children will never cry.

They will never be anxious.

They will be wrapped in the rain of the west.

They will sleep under the speckles of stars,

and dream about spirits slumbering

in the snow-capped pines.

 

They will have poetry perched

on the tips of their tongues.

They will drink the hills

and the streams and the stones,

and they will never be

at a loss for words.

 

They will be the children

you have never known.

The children you will never raise. 

 

The children of the light.

 

UID: 11940 • PID: 140126 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11940 • PID: 140140 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Beneath the Fleeting Sky

I remember when the mornings passed like midwinter sleep.

Nestled beside the frost-speckled brook,

smeared with grainy clay and soggy leaves,

we threw our fists to the wind. I remember your quiet smile

when you fingered the cold, gray stone and

skipped it across the stream. 

 

And when you clasped my shivering hands,

swaddled in silver mittens,

with yours- raw, peeling, bare.

You draped your deerskin coat on my shoulders,

and the storm was silenced, the stream subdued.

 

Your eyes were pools of amber, frozen in time.

You sank gently into my cradled arms— a suckling infant, wide-eyed

with wonder. I caught your frigid face in my hands, stroking your sun-kissed skin.

Your curling hair and furling fingers tapped my rosy cheeks. 

 

I tell you, those days felt like the whispers of wounded tales,

woven from the depths of the earth.

Swaddled in warm and wayward promises,

nestled like ferns beneath the frost.

The caves and the wind and the trees were our refuge.

 

I will see you again, my silver-tongued stream.

The night will sail on the salty breeze, and I’ll scale the crumbling bricks

to your dusty, dampened window, lined with scraggly birches.

I’ll tap the spotted glass, and you’ll wipe your fawning eyes,

sticky with sweat and slumber. 

 

This moment I dreamt: we’ll embrace beneath the knotted metalwork,

arms locked and wet eyes glistening. Silence will knock,

hauling distant horns and the musty highway,

spitting and coughing into the night.

 

You’ll kiss my crinkled forehead, and the stars will purse their lips,

grinning and eyeing the copper moon. Your fingers will stroke

my mousy hair, slapped messily across my neck,

twisted and knotted and tucked behind my ear.

We’ll stand weeping and laughing together, 

beneath the fleeting sky.

 

UID: 11940 • PID: 140140 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11941 • PID: 140143 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

The Bird With The Broken Wing

 

Death lurked by the door which stood ajar

but the door would not open and let him in.
Death lurked by the window off the latch
but the window would not budge for him.

He searched for an entrance all his life

but life had rejected him, spat him out,

his every approach despised and snubbed,

all avenues blocked, no easy path.

So he’d turned to death and the life hereafter,

redemption beyond St Peter’s Gate.

But the gate was locked and barred his way.

So how could the searching soul escape

when the door ajar wouldn’t yield to him

and the unlatched window refused to budge

and St Peter’s gate was bolted and barred —

and no salvation in life or death came

for the Messiah bird with the broken wing?

 

Life also waited in vain for his call,

for a tap on the door which stood ajar

or a rustle of wings at the unlatched window

But nothing ever came!
Life searched in vain for the promised one

whose lift of spangled wings would bring

St John’s great prophecy revealed

and herald in the Golden Age …….

The Garden of Eden redesigned,

a true paradise for each Adam and Eve;

no mephistophelean serpent there

to beguile the minds of innocent men,

no malus from malum for naked virgins…..

But nothing ever came!

 

The bird with the broken wing lies dying

at the door still standing ajar in hope

below the window unlatched and waiting…..

But neither life nor death can receive him.

 

 

 

UID: 11941 • PID: 140143 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11941 • PID: 140150 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Ophelia Passes

 

A sun turned traitor moon at midday,

suspended overhead in orange limbo,

earth awaiting the apocalyptic moment

which surely must come soon?

Shifting unease, masking naked curiosity,

because there is no precedent, no peg

to hang a coat on, a familiar coat which

wraps the enquirer in a cosy comfort blanket.

An eerie atmosphere, troubling

in its strange lack of definition………

as yet no discernible provenance.

Saharan sand gusts across the wilderness

causing temporary oblivion;

empty husks whipped up from the fields

swirl in an ever-expanding vortex.

Reasoned thought becomes confused,

the unhinged brain seeking to create

order from chaos, restore equilibrium.

A long-awaited Indian Summer warmth

expands the senses and warms the bones,

intimating a return to everyday routine.

Mists, now opaque, now thin, streak across

the glowing orb suspended in the heavens;

no birdsong intermingled with the urgent

scream of dead leaves, whipped in an
avalanche down the lanes, releasing

tormented souls trapped in pain.

Life is transported to a parallel universe

where the unexpected becomes the norm

and natural phenomena are forced to undergo
a paradigm shift, perhaps forever?

Flora and fauna preparing, as if for a tsunami;

animals seeking the solace of higher ground.

Clocks cease to tick with hands still turning —

time hovering in no-man’s-land, watching, waiting.

Memories surface of total eclipse, earth’s voice hushed

and humdrum life halted, just for a time-span.

A deep uncertainty hangs in the still air,

the human mind wrestling with the paradox

of a strange sun turned traitor moon at midday

 

 

 

 

 

UID: 11941 • PID: 140150 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11941 • PID: 140161 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Splott

 

 

She fixes her gaze on the frantic bluebottle
flinging itself against the dirty window.

A vague anxiety gripping her heart

as the bus pulls into the market square.

Holding her breath, she wipes the grubby pane

with the back of her hand and peers out.

He is there at the bus stop, clumsily boarding,

this man who played the piano at the Albert Hall.

His stumbling footsteps on the metal stairs,

aiming for an insouciant victim on the top deck.

She cringes and breaks out in a cold sweat.

‘Just shut your eyes and pretend to be asleep!

Perhaps he will walk on past and sit elsewhere?’

She startles as the fly lands impudently on her hand,

swiping at it feebly. The sound catches his attention

and the downtrodden brogues halt beside her.

He pauses, grinning at his new-found friend ….

but there is no salvation for her. All eyes averted,

pretending to be engrossed in their reading.

His crumpled frame collapses into the seat next to hers,

this man who played the piano at the Albert Hall.

Surely a fantasy? A case of wishful thinking?

Eyes tightly closed she tries to picture him…….
In the derelict back-to-backs of an inner city dystopia,

a ragamuffin wandering aimlessly, in search of mischief,

stumpy fingers delighting in an impromptu rendition

of ‘ Chopsticks’ on a discarded upright in a back yard.

His young vagabond soul bursts with pride as

he sings out loud, undeterred by the cacaphony……..

 

“Can yer gimme a few quid for some grub, luv?”

Her reverie rudely broken by his sudden request.

How to respond? She is guilt-ridden. Silence.

But who is the guilty party here? She or him?

She, guilty for ignoring him, showing no charity?

He, for abusing her innocence, making her squirm?

The fly darts for freedom and lands on his shoe.

He whacks it violently with his half-empty vodka bottle,

the corpse skittering across the decaying floor…..

At least one creature has escaped his torture today 

But sadly not her!

 

 

UID: 11941 • PID: 140161 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11886 • PID: 140163 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Today bipolar you’re NOT my friend!

Please shut the floodgates in my mind, I need to sleep, I need to find, some peace and quiet in my mind!

I toss I turn, I ache I yearn for peace to come, for me to learn.

To close my my mind, relax and breathe, it seems so easy for others PLEASE!

I need to sleep the day’s been long, if I could learn to just stay calm, my mind might close, I may drift away and finally wake up to a brand new day.

But it’s too hard, my mind’s awake and tells my brain sleeps real not fake. 

So if I can’t pretend to sleep, then what’s the point of thinking deep, about this dilemma that I have, I might as well give up right now.

But this is not the answer I need, I want to sleep I need to PLEASE!.

So shut the floodgates in my mind, I need to find some peace that’s mine.

 

This morning my head’s all over, so I’m telling you now, today I can’t face.

Don’t judge me, don’t hate me, I’ll keep out out of your way, I’ll stay in my room and send it away.

Come back tomorrow, I may be fine. My head may be back I’ll give you a sign.

Up bright and early, a smile on my face, I’ll even cook breakfast if that’s what it takes.

But today I’m not good, the world I can’t face, so please will you leave me and stay off my case.

I know that you love me and want me ok, but this world that I’m in won’t allow it today.

So do your own thing and I’ll be fine, like I said I’ll give you a sign.

What are your reasons for being sad? you know you are lucky you’re not mad.

If only you knew the things that I face, then all your sadness would gradually fade.

You’d realize you had it all, peace of mind and shots to call. You should be happy, the things I’d trade to cure my mind of this sad sorry state!

My mind’s a world I don’t understand, it often scares me, how does that sound?

Fancy trading my world for one day? I’d give you ten minutes and then you’d say. ” My God what’s going on in this crazy world? how do you survive, how do you breathe?”

Well I’ll tell you a secret, to me that world’s real!

Now do you know how lucky you are, to have a sane mind and always be sure. Without living a lie and always assume, hoping against hope they’ll find a cure.

So don’t be sad you have it all, a healthy mind to call your own.

UID: 11886 • PID: 140163 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11945 • PID: 140165 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Poster Girl

Idolised by millions,

Trending on every television and phone

Her piercing eyes look down

Enigmatically from her billboard throne.

 

The current mode of haughtiness

Her look encapsulates.

Her effortless charm of nonchalance

Every person imitates.

 

Below the billboard on the street

The dancing tendrils of her hair

Are mimicked perfectly

With the closest care.

 

But her eyes laugh at the masses

With their slavish deference

She knows the strength of the illusion

That creates such reverence.

 

She knows how many hours

Of discomfort and cold

She experienced just for that picture;

Being moulded and controlled.

 

She knows how much that image

Was edited and altered;

How difficult it was to assure

Her look never faltered.

 

All those times she felt violated,

Marginalised, and diminished.

How relieved she was

When the photographer had finished.

 

The days of eating nothing

Her stomach disdented and ribs concaved;

The constant yearning for energy.

The career that made her enslaved.

 

She remembers the years

Of powerlessness and disarray;

Of feeling dehumanised

In the latest lingerie.

 

So does it come as a surprise

That she looks at the people with scorn in her eyes?

That she sees the insincerity our world will hone

As we admire her look as cold as stone.

UID: 11945 • PID: 140165 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11946 • PID: 140171 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Fat

Fat

 

I imagine myself to be

thinner than I am. Perhaps

it’s because I don’t look

in mirrors or darkened

windows or shiny shower

doors. Or at myself, at all.

 

It creeps up on you, fat.
It sniffs over you in your
sleep, drapes itself along
your skin, melts into you,
holds, caresses.

 

It pools inside you, wraps
your organs in its soft whiteness
trails stickily down the inside of your limbs
secretly slips around every crevice and
soon-to-be curve. It waits.

 

Then, the first seductive slick of plump loses its bloom.
It will not shift, it starts to stick, invades.
Your body’s zones cannot defend their borders,
arms join breasts, arse becomes thighs, ankles are lost.

 

What once was mine, was marked and claimed,
Is foreign. I am occupied. My body swells.
It creaks. I am trapped inside, shrinking.

UID: 11946 • PID: 140171 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 3174 • PID: 140173 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Eanswythe’s Daughter

Feet sinking slowly into wet sand,

Her harbour arm stretched out to the channel

Inviting waves to her shore.

The seagull’s calling.

 

 

The salty breeze gently nudges the sea,

Who shyly dances with coast.

Waltzing with the wind,

Picking up rocks between its toes.

 

 

Boats along the docks

bobbing along, listening

to the sounds of the sea

Through washed up shells.

The orchestrated clapping of the waves

splashing against the shore.

 

 

A performance just for her

That she watches upon a bed of green.

The princess protected

Upon her foamed throne.

 

 

Her cliff face fortified

should the tides change,

And the ocean invade.

The castle clad in Gault clay armour,

prepared for Poseidon’s army  

To confront the algae dressed barricades.

UID: 3174 • PID: 140173 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11946 • PID: 140176 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Problem

Problem

 

It is an inconvenience. The blood
stays too long, it interferes
with your plans. It makes a mess
of you, it stains our sheets.
It is too real a thing to be welcomed.

 

I take a pill, and another, and another
and now there is no problem, just
the fogging of my mind, the flaring
of my temper but, my legs still open and so
there is no problem.

 

The chemicals confuse my body, shift and
shake my rhythms out of sync. The pills have
liberated you from responsibility – the snap
of Durex consigned to history – but I am left
to blindly worship a trust you do not deserve.

 

Months pass while my body holds its breath.
Its bloodless cycles grinding on within me until

one night I break. I spill and slip on
drips and drops and pools and buckle
under waves that crash against my bones.

 

The wooden hall is wet beneath my knees.
I keep my keening low, crawl on to tiled floor
and then, in awe and fear, I am overtaken.
The red roars from me, pushing, as I grit and
clench against the scraping heat within me.

 

I feel the disengagement, see the clump of
cells, the fleshy blob of unloved life leave me.
Gripping the toilet seat, I tremble, twist, the knowledge
shudders through me. Sobbing out my grief
(relief), I flush a part of us away.

 

In a darkness striped by streetlights, I sponge
the walls, dab browning spots from bathroom tiles,
rinse the drying crispness from between my legs.
The house thrums with the sound

of you not sleeping.

 

In the morning we continue; dressing, eating, not

speaking. You turn your face from mine. In the hallway,

my eye is caught by a single drop of blackened blood.
Its darkness screams from the pale floor.
I will not wash it out.

UID: 11946 • PID: 140176 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11798 • PID: 140178 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Setting Up the Walk Test

They are setting up the walk test – will I pass?

or will I hobble? or limp? will they say
why are you limping, are you in pain?
does my limp insult grace?

 

Do they ask why does he stammer, why?
does he want to stammer, is it deliberate?
is his stammer an affront to rhetoric?
is it a crime against diction?

 

Do your clichés insult intelligence?
do your platitudes appal the dawn?
I will pass the walk test when you pass the poetry test
and the mind your own business test.

 

UID: 11798 • PID: 140178 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 8708 • PID: 140182 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

There is No Memorial for This in China

My mother tries to mourn a war

whose face is her own. His face

still hangs in the sacred square.

She whispers he is a demigod,

don’t you dare. I tell her he is

not worth the spit on my tongue –

in any language. Try anger for once,

won’t you? I visit one of his homes

in Qingdao, admire the bourgeoisie

upholstery. I scan the floors to find

something to take back to my mother

as proof he is human: a nail clipping

perhaps, so she can place it beneath

her heel and crush it. Instead, I say

the food was delicious, the weather

held. I fail to mention my heresies.

 

UID: 8708 • PID: 140182 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 8708 • PID: 140183 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Rise and Shine

This morning your voice is a cleft wing and the sky

is all echo. The therapist says avoid the foetal position

because there will be too much blood

concentrated around the vital organs

 

by which she means try to sit up

and greet the day anew. When air becomes a cage.

When breathing demands concentration:

a striving of muscle and sinew.

 

When syllables transmute into blabber, hiccup,

torrent leaking from every orifice on your devastated face.

Your voice is a river running deep underground.

Your lover asks for language, and you cannot give it.

 

Last night the faucet broke, and you cursed the water

for failing you. You have had enough

of water – that embryonic fluid that broke you

onto this patch of earth, screaming

 

and alone. Water reminds you of your mother’s

grief, so you down three glasses and wish that the icecaps

across the Arctic would flood the world into oblivion.

Your lover’s voice is so utterly ordinary

 

in its motley of pain that you could almost empathize.

How did we survive? You whisper this

into her breasts, her hands smoothing your brow,

her voice in your ears like weather.

 

UID: 8708 • PID: 140183 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 8708 • PID: 140184 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Love for the Living

What does it mean to want to live?

Only this: to refuse to see the mouth’s anguish

as a sign to step out of an open window.

To refuse to be twenty-six and afraid of leaving

one city for another. To refuse to be a bomb

shelter for your mother’s fears. What is it like

to believe the night isn’t a cemetery

for bodies like yours? Like this: the joy at a spiral

of rainbow bunting scattered like relief

across a lit sky. The ache of pleasure when

your mother mentions your lover’s name.

The way you notice – over and over, with incredulity –

when no one seems to care how you stand

in the open, kissing and holding hands.

 

UID: 8708 • PID: 140184 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 8708 • PID: 140185 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

The Translator

         The year sinks into its     own bath,

  blinking slowly into breath.       Your face

     looks like a lit Confucian     lantern

          my mother observes –      as I translate her

        questions for my lover whose Chinese

              is a riddle well-told.   Tonight, I empty

          olive oil into my ears,     bless both feet

      with crushed ginger and honey to ring in

          the first year when my mother      jokes

              that I am no longer                 her mistake.

 

 

A translator: one who is fully bilingual,

refusing soil and other forms of burial.

 

UID: 8708 • PID: 140185 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 5063 • PID: 140197 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Nothing Special

 

 

Nothing Special.

 

Nothing special in these later days,

no work to go to, still each morning

 

from nowhere the clean shirt,

and a light breakfast laid out for him

 

with the news. No lunch to speak of,

just fruit – it’s his weight,

 

but tea with a little home baked cake

in the afternoon, is allowed,

 

and with his evening meal

a little wine. She pours it

 

from a bottle he’s paid for,

like the house, nothing left to sign

 

or think about, except the dream,

the tree on a night hill

 

he cannot see, only sense the sound

of leaves falling, and the one

 

he tries to catch, like a child

for luck, but it touches the ground,

 

and he wakes to his wife, still there

beside him in her own deep sleep,

 

and for no reason, from nowhere

he begins to weep, for the lost night touch,

 

the gap he slips through with small,

blue flowers he gave her once

 

but cannot name,  remembering why,

how he felt, suddenly the same.

 

 

 

 

UID: 5063 • PID: 140197 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 5063 • PID: 140199 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Visit after the Death of an Artist Friend

         

       Visit after the Death of an Artist Friend

          

       His garden slopes away

to wildness, trees

in an autumn shiver of leaves

 

lift from undergrowth to blue,

the stream I guess at runs through

a lost in-between,

 

with her now in every room;

        up a little, and to the right,

he’s on on the wall

 

in abstract, cat shaped black

against blue and a square

of window light,

 

as if he’d lain here, where I do,

when the cat pushed in

then up soundlessly

 

to the window sill,

and he’d watched her stare

at a flicker of birds,

 

until no stairs. One-levelled

towards the end,

he died in a makeshift bed

 

in the front room, his last night

under a perfect Queen Mary,

glass cased, ghost weight

 

three foot in length, worked

up from plans,

cardboard and cans

 

and wood in his father’s

shaping hand, the young man

you see below, pointing

 

in the photograph

at what he’d left behind

in 1942, the year he went down,

 

the drowning, not there year

his son was born into.

And the cat’s name

 

is Radar, the same both ways,

accidentally or by design,

the coming back and forth of waves.

 

UID: 5063 • PID: 140199 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 5063 • PID: 140201 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Colours to the Wall

Colours to the Wall.

 

You sense the space,  

deep in the eighth decade

of a lifetime’s politeness,

he waits before asking you in,

a single man of hidden learning

he disappears, comes back

from the ruins of great houses,

no postcards, or photographs.

 

His sister, an artist, is difficult

and increasingly alone,

a little further out each week

he says, a little deeper in,

her house almost empty now,

gone to pay for the care home –

just a few things left, and might

I go with him, one last look

before Oxfam, then the skip.

 

Inside the echo of the room

where she slept, what’s left

is on her wall. A frame

of rough slate holds a small,

stained glass window

of cliff, sky and kittiwake,

a gentle looking out, dark eye

in a shine of white and grey

 

is where she’d been once

on holiday, and might

I like to take it home,

the edge of things he says  

she’s always sensed and felt,

her colours inside stone,

like the postcard he’s never sent,

or the sea bird of our sleep

nesting on my bedroom wall.

UID: 5063 • PID: 140201 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 5063 • PID: 140202 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

After Rain

         After Rain.

 

Watching a robin drink

after rain from a curl of leaf

makes me think

how simple it could be,

no sudden clench of hawk

at the small bird’s neck,

just a first miracle glance

with you not looking

my way, alone in your own light

beyond the ordinary day,

in liminal space,

then turning round, like now

after rain, brightness

through trees, lifted green

in a suspicion of fuller light,

desire drawn in,

sensing your evening earth

is a garden of gaps,

something I missed

between flagged stones

carefully laid,

dust where the leaf falls,

where the small bird sings

in the cracks of the heart,

the first glance, lost

and found, washed clean.

UID: 5063 • PID: 140202 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 5063 • PID: 140203 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

The Far Shore

The Far Shore

 

‘Like these hills’ you said,

 out of the blue,

 

‘knocking at the door of mountains,

 settling for what they knew,’

 

as if you’d found a way through

not wanting to be alone.

 

His village nudges a small town now,

new tea rooms for coffee

 

and lemon cake; then the walk

you’d come to make

 

across recovered land,

down to the edge of a quietening sea,

 

our heads lowered a good hour,

together and alone

 

with the colour running through

the magic of stones we found,

 

the separate rooms you paid for

later on, and breakfast too,

 

something between us to take home,

nothing more, or less, would do.

UID: 5063 • PID: 140203 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11954 • PID: 140206 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Cool Kings 0f the Ripple

Splendid, wondrous creatures

Undulating on the water

Dazzling display of white

Bold acrobats of the ripple

Untamed, inscrutable

Royalty among the river fowl

Yonder they glide

 

Such large birds and yet they fly

Water and sky they have conquered

Angel feathers on proud galleons

Neck extended, uppity eye

Super cool Sudbury swans

UID: 11954 • PID: 140206 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11814 • PID: 140208 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

A Gift

The softest of leather,

smooth like silk, and a perfect fit,

tiny exquisite coloured buttons

placed modestly in a vertical

row, delicate stitches on each wrist.

 

There they were, sitting

gracefully, somewhat unceremoniously

placed on a high shelf, unnoticed,

without doubt of higher value than

the amount identified on the white tag.

 

I reached up, gently, holding my breath,

wanting to examine closely that

delicate luxury, the tangible possibility

that somehow I was worth these perfect

gloves, on a day my hands were cold.

 

I had ventured into that busy interior,

scared a little by the collective sounds

banging in my head. Apologetically I

slithered through the heavy weight of customers,

randomly flicked through coat hangers and

their offerings of inappropriate slinky tops and

expensive jeans, until I looked up,

startled by a sneeze, and there on a shelf,

packed with assorted bowls and

cups and glassware, sat these gloves,

patiently waiting for me,

on the day I had some coins in my purse

and my hands were cold.

 

Tiny buttons, blue and red and pink and green,

the softest of leather, the perfect fit.   

to be both admired and useful,

at a price I could afford,

on a day my hands were cold.

UID: 11814 • PID: 140208 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11957 • PID: 140212 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Where My Lost Things Are

To my dear departed ocean,

unseen to date

The 9th of January we saw you last

in the pacific where you soared alone at night.

Please remember me as I could be,

and so shall I remember you

as we swam among the craters of the moon

where the sun shone on the crystal white grass

where we said ‘cry and ocean

and the stars will laugh.’

Yet we say this no more

and the oceans I do cry.

 

But if we can swim in the craters of the moon,

who will watch as the roses

bloom underwater?

As their petals dance with the fish

and songs of lullaby send waves to shore.

Water my heart with your tears

and we shall grow,

as clockwork hummingbirds thieve

from flowers unheard,

and the last bees send shocks of colour

through the air and our skin.

 

For death to be wished for

more than life is not so sad

as the lost ocean and the laughing stars.

To fly as high as the trees

with squirrels, whose fur burns like autumn

and I see the way your eyes flutter as you dream

of nothing and everything, but never remember.

How sad it would be if you never remember the ocean

like I remember the stories we told as children

 

So cry me an ocean to replace the one we lost

but only give it to me when

the wind blows your hair from your eyes

and the stars pattern their way through the sky.

 

UID: 11957 • PID: 140212 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11957 • PID: 140213 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Without Words

 

Do you see it?

Right there – where the sky meets the sea

where I find myself most days,

on the border between flight and drowning.

 

Or truth, I sit on jagged boulders

at the end of empty sea fronts

where the waves burst against pebbles

that whir with the sea foam.

 

The seagulls howl above me

like they are speaking to the wind

and in return, it lifts them higher.

 

Blue fog weaves into a violet sky

as the sun lurks behind the horizon

taking one last breath

before disappearing into

the rippling cobalt glass.

 

Salt engraves words into the wall

that only the fish are able to read

and when they swim around my dangling feet

I ask them to tell me something no one else knows.

 

I sneak off before the tide finds me

and leave my footprints in the skin of the water

to be washed away without a word.

UID: 11957 • PID: 140213 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11957 • PID: 140214 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Paper Stars

I am nostalgic for a place

I have never been

or ever known

for a home to be so lost

as I, hold my breath

to cease the drowning

of my frozen lungs.

 

Perhaps it is a place

where the silver lined pavements

lead a way through

the maze of conscious rooftops

that are aware of nothing

but the flight of birds

with wings dipped in sunlight

and their duet with the wind.

 

Or a place where the mountains

sleep in the rain,

agony dances around the blueberries

and bliss seeps through the stones

where the sky breathes with paper stars

and the feathers of a chameleon.

 

Maybe a place where cobwebs weave

through petals of parrot tulips

with blue grass and white butterflies

that swim to the tops of bare branches

to smell the star dust

and taste nuclear air.

 

Or is it simply place that hides

the scars of my soul with

blue eyes and a smile

where the red and gold spirals

in my chest paint my life

like the world is beautiful

and I am safe.

UID: 11957 • PID: 140214 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11591 • PID: 140216 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

If We Wake, We Wake Insatiable

I wanted a city to be alone in,

the sound of sirens on Tanque Verde Road

that meant someone

was taking care of things.

A city so hot

the air smacked my face,

sun like a gun to my temple

when I opened the front door,

I wanted bluest sky I’d ever seen,

zero chance of rain,

and nothing as crushable

as grass underfoot,

I wanted gravel and spines,

cacti so tough they grew ribs,

so old they’d seen Mormons fight

the Battle of the Bulls,

standing their ground

on rattlesnake mountains.

I wanted to climb.

I wanted box canyons and cliffs,

the word ocotillo to roll around my tongue,

a 70 mile drive on dirt roads

to watch the Bureau of Land Management send

Mt. Trumbull up in flames,

controlled burn that crossed the line,

underbrush torching up,

ancient pines popping like a struck match,

brilliant in the night.

I wanted Hell’s Canyon

only for the name,

Devil’s Bridge as someplace to spit off.

And stars. I wanted stars.

So many it was obscene, sky

a sieve of light,

I wanted millions of worlds

that looked back at us

as just another distant point of pain.

UID: 11591 • PID: 140216 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11959 • PID: 140217 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

My Heart Surgeon Doesn’t Care

My Heart Surgeon Doesn’t Care

 

if the moon is in perigee

or Suisei launched

 

for an encounter with

Comet Haley

 

back in 1985

or that my virgin piano

 

teacher is eating rice

& spaghetti the last three days

 

in Salzburg just so she can

have enough

 

money to catch the train

to Madrid for her flight

 

back home to Cleveland.

My heart surgeon plays

 

his words so close to his vest

that he can’t even hear them,

 

but did tell me when he opened

me up

 

he took his finger

& ran it along the inside

 

of my main artery,

like a prefect at some prep school,

 

testing for dust

during a room inspection,

 

he said my plaque

was the consistency of cheesecake.

 

 

 

UID: 11959 • PID: 140217 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11591 • PID: 140218 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Pima Canyon

I thought that God would ride

like a cowboy through these canyon lands

 

thick with winding devils,

old missions, taco stands, saints.

 

Find me tied to the tracks

or lumped behind the bandit on his horse.

 

I thought He would gallop toward me,

brandishing His finger like a gun.

 

I was unprepared for the silence,

for the cinnamon-edged nothingness

 

of rock, day after day hiking

with horned lizards, prickly pear,

 

and sun-peeled sky

empty of shadow or cloud.

 

I wanted rain. I climbed the wash,

tossing rocks down the path

 

for the clatter of sound.

If God stretched toward me,

 

it was quietly, His fingers

tracing byways in the dust.

UID: 11591 • PID: 140218 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11591 • PID: 140220 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

The Magician’s Assistant

Life a closed carnival, waiting

to leave town. Candy wrappers

 

and mustard-stained napkins

tangled in the grass,

 

the fortune-teller’s tent torn down.

Nights in the blue room, trail

 

of sequined dresses that I wore.

The snake woman hissing

 

near my bed. Beyond the glass,

streetlamps murmured in the dark.

 

Hall of mirrors, my body

twisted, face flattened

 

like a card. I owned

an opal ring. No garden,

 

no window boxes, no line

to throw. Until one August day,

 

I found the magician’s box

inside a box. I cleared

 

the breakfast dishes,

stepped inside,

 

and disappeared

before he came home.

UID: 11591 • PID: 140220 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11591 • PID: 140221 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

The Magician

She stage-smiles, bright

lipsticked mouth, gold shoes

I pick out from my chest

of curios night after night.

My hand on her back,

 

time to wheel her around

and present her, whole,

before the crowd.

She’s the illusion

I give them.

 

The box is black as a bat’s wing,

and I see through the wood,

through her skin, her skeleton

thin as tinfoil, her heart hung

like a trapeze.

 

Each night she tucks her legs,

I time the blade. Metal sheets inserted

seal her into halves: real face,

false feet. Her shriek thrills

the house.

 

One can’t waver in this game.

The saw slips, and someone

loses her head.

I know the stories you’d whisper.

Now, once more for this show.

UID: 11591 • PID: 140221 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11591 • PID: 140222 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Confetti

I stepped to the night for a moment:

Laughter. Whip-poor-will. Distant truck-bellow.

A five-spotted hawkmoth

flew erratic curlicues

near the four o’clocks.

I followed his flight down the lawn

to moonflowers big as my palm.

 

Back in lamplight, Cosette, the Siamese,

pestered my book with her head. I couldn’t read – 

the page jiggled and whiskered.

My brother phoned. Ash left me, he said.

I’m going to my woodshop,

going to turn a bowl.

 

Outside, bumping on the glass, more moths

than I could count,

tiny things, furred and frantic.

When we were kids, we filled

my father’s umbrella with confetti

for a joke. Two months later, we stood

in drizzle, in the cemetery, Mrs. Bell crying,

 

pulling her red wool coat tight

across her chest. My father offered

the Lord’s Prayer. After the kingdom,

the power, and the glory forever,

mourners tossed their roses

as he snapped wide his umbrella.

Red blue green paper circles floated

onto his head, onto the wet grass,

right into the open grave.

UID: 11591 • PID: 140222 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11957 • PID: 140224 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

If I Could Be

 

What am I if I can fly

with the daffodils

and almond blossoms

but can’t find

the canned tomatoes

on aisle 5?

 

What am I if I can speak

wonderful wisdoms

with the wolves

in my shadows

but can’t say a word

through a phone?

 

What am I if I can lie

with the stars in my veins

and a galaxy in my hair

but get tangled

in my own feet

and meet the ground?

 

What am I if I can see

rainbows in the ocean

and mantis shrimp in the clouds

but see the cup at

my elbow too late?

 

What am I if I can hear

melodies in the eyes

of dreaming people

that tell the stories

of where their star dust

has been before

but struggle to

open bottled water?

 

Am I human?

or a fragmented

piece of a mind

in turmoil

with a runaway train

and a zoo of

glassy eyed names

or am I just human?

UID: 11957 • PID: 140224 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 7857 • PID: 128234 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Yours faithfully

I yield to thy heart 

So pure and sincere

Who sacrificed all for love

Filled with awe filled with fear

 

My soul thee broughtest back 

From the clutches of despair

Reminiscent I of Anna karenina:

“every heart has its own skeleton…”

 

In reverence…in prayer

I seek peace

I seek solace

From the perils of my anguished soul,

Distant thoughts, heavy heart, deep sigh lingering

Frightened..desolate…cold

 

But thy words of strength

Reached out and released the shackles from my heart tis’ pained

No more shall thee suffer heartache in silence

Or love lost again

 

Precious this moment be

That I honour thy presence eternally

Grateful to thee

The light that shines brightly

And mine faithfully

 

 

 

UID: 7857 • PID: 128234 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11964 • PID: 140233 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Night

The blinded night is beaten
To bruised purple mornings wilting yellow
By the bully sun.
As the deep blues cool,
And we remember how to see,
The first crops are figured
From out the fading night;
Destroyed into significance.

 

“Seek truth” they say but how
And how would you recognise it
And how would you remember it.
When every moment corrodes my essence
And I forget I forget
And what I remember is different
So reality is forgot and we remember fictions.

 

Where did the night go?
Who took it in handfuls?
We didn’t ask for this.
We didn’t want this.
Give me back the blindfold
And throw me to the night.

UID: 11964 • PID: 140233 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11964 • PID: 140234 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Visits

When she came a visiting
We did notice the ash in her eyes.
How could we help but
Ask how she was and
How could we help her
And would she take tea?
But she just laughed and streamed away.
And we just nodded as if to say
“This is what we expected” even when
This was not what we had expected.

UID: 11964 • PID: 140234 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 9225 • PID: 140236 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

The Elementals

These friendly faces I see everywhere

An enchanting array of smiles it is said;

Although not human, oh.. that I am aware!

Could they be magical beings instead?

 

Young ghosts in the night

From an age gone by,

Elves amongst the burning bark?

They choose to stay for a short while

To plant a most inquisitive spark.

 

Be them orbs of light

Or wisdom within stone,

I am capturing their delight

Before they are gone!

UID: 9225 • PID: 140236 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11963 • PID: 140238 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Striped

I am very PC,
As pale as beige can be.
Unopionated, passive,
Quiet and unreactive.
Inactive life member,
Oppressing joviality,
Wishing silence upon
The merry and the free.
Eternal fence sitter,
I watch over empty fields.
Inelegant nit picker,
Pristine cut with surreal.
Clumsy untrained hedonist,
Incongruous to a t.
Legless in a smart suit,
Shirt and tie,
Farm boy of the scene.
I collapse and I am very tall,
I lapse in to an awkward crawl.
I whisper when I’m very brave,
I’ll never tell you what I crave.
I drink until I embarrass you,
I am neither straightforward or very true.
There are rambunctious, riled poets,
Who know it all and argue often every word.
I am not made of the compositional mechanics,
I am simply brooding and absurd.

UID: 11963 • PID: 140238 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11962 • PID: 140240 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

The Devil’s First Love

You snatched me straight out of my mind

and took me to that room where the door is always shut, and the windows too high to reach.

I looked down onto you and laughed

singing in my head and skipping through my dreams.

I was dancing and spitting on you, a blur of red

I tormented you

my eyes sparkled and cried sharp bitter tears that rained down on you

deadly shards of the mirror in which I would admire myself

The face to attack, the body to kill.

Like a cat I would circle you, hissing and wailing

hating myself for treating you this way

but my hands couldn’t stop, my body couldn’t wait

I was spinning and gliding around your mind, 

touching you and stepping on you

I am the goddess of the glittering city,

the black night

and the bright red flames of burning hell.

I am playful, lustful, irresistible. 

the closest thing to tasting heaven, and you followed me.

chased after me

addicted, you called for me and I screamed with laughter

running through the streets.

But oh

you caught me.

Stripped me of my red dress and slapped me trembling thighs

you gave me a white gown, blank as your stare

it covered my neck and flowed past my ankles.

Everyone said how perfect, how pretty is she!

I must not run in this dress

it is too beautiful, without fault.

No one must touch me

No one must look at me.

So I stay sitting down and I iron it every Friday night.

Each time it would become more dull

Each time it became more tight.

So tight that i can no longer walk, so you walk instead

you walk and you run and you dance and you kick and you scream

you’re spinning around me and pulling my hair.

You spit in my face and you bite my chest

You make my red dress into a glittering coat.

Even the devil is jealous of you my love

how beautiful sin looks on you.

They all stare now

They all want you now

They all chase you now.

You’re voice is fading, I try to pull you back

steal back the red fabric.

I try to rip the white dress as it suffocates and chokes me.

I bleed into it and it is ruined.

In anger you curse at me. What have you done?

My first love

my beautiful demon

my handsome perfect protector.

What have I done to you?

I made you stronger

I gave you my power, my blood now runs through your veins

and you’re really dancing now.

Do not forget yourself.

You will feel me in your decisions. My laughter will come out of you.

My scent will fill your senses as you drift between dreams and reality.

You are my creation

my work of art.

 

 

UID: 11962 • PID: 140240 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 9225 • PID: 140242 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Letting Go

There is a lot to be said

About being in control

When all you want is to be free,

All along I had a goal to

Follow what I thought was me.

 

This took me back to my original hole

Until I took a step outside to see

That the key to life is letting go,

It is the only way for the heart to see.

UID: 9225 • PID: 140242 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 9225 • PID: 140245 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

The Journey

Solidarity brings clarity

Through a snake charmers eyes,

A Navaho speaks the truth

Of a million spies.

 

A warrior watches over

For the creator,

A star child delivers new hope

From Andromeda.

 

A magician walks a path

Blind of self-worth,

As he wonders the world

Back and forth.

UID: 9225 • PID: 140245 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11965 • PID: 140248 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

A Beautiful Poem

There’s lots of beautiful poems that rhyme,

That keep their melody, that stay in time.

That rise and fall along with the sea,

Always crafted with flawless artistry.

 

But screw that.

This isn’t about being beautiful.

This is about being honest,

Because this poem is me;

And damn it I am not art.

I’m not something to be observed,

To be stared at,

And critiqued.

You don’t get to tell me I’m wrong

When you only bother to listen to half the song.

 

And yes, there’s a place for pretty poetry,

But screw every damn person that said I had to be beautiful to be heard.

But that I couldn’t be both smart and pretty.

Who said they couldn’t listen if there wasn’t also something to watch;

But that what I said couldn’t be significant,

If my lipstick was bright and my eyeliner sharp.

As if what was on my face affected what was in my brain.

 

So yes, my rhymes aren’t in time,

And my meters off kilter

But damn it I don’t improv in iambic pentameter.

I’m not structured to be pleasing,

I speak in cacophony not melody

I’m not here to harmonise with your 2-d image of me.

 

I don’t need you to tell me who I am.

You can debate on paintings, on books, and film,

Find meanings in the lyrics of songs,

But I don’t need you to tell me if or why I’m beautiful,

To hold me up against a checklist of your expectations

That you think I should be filling.

 

I’m here to break boundaries

Not build them, with careful craftsmanship;

My mind is chaotic and cracked at the edges

And when I have something to say I tend to scream not sing.

Because I am not here to be beautiful…

And nor is my poetry.

It will always shout; just as loud as me.

UID: 11965 • PID: 140248 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 6647 • PID: 140249 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

I’m looking at Stephen Lee playing hide and seek

I’m looking at Stephen Lee playing hide and seek

 

thinking how sad he’s all alone
they could find him if they wanted to
we can all see him
a big round kid

 

looking up to the sky
not even behind a wide tree
or lying low
in long enough grass

as a baby he’ll have covered his eyes
and felt completely invisible
now I find myself realising
he may be counting

 

it may be him who’ll be doing the seeking
when he reaches
a mumbled high enough number
it’s me who is hidden here in plain sight

UID: 6647 • PID: 140249 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 9225 • PID: 140251 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Demongel

From fire and brimstone a soul began to weep,

Through veins of chaos its spirit ran foul

Yet emotions bled skin deep.

 

Stamped with times seal of approval

Wounds carved a tale

Of a haunted individual

Entwined in betrayal.

 

Actions and words were not just

Deep in the belly of revenge,

Yet the deeper the dagger

That slit their trust

Brought actions to amend;

Now the wiser the power

Grew of their lust

And knowledge to befriend.

 

Mistaken for a dark angel

Of origin

Flying wildly between the fire,

An angelic demon

Dwelled within

Treading thinly amongst the pyre.

 

The heart of an ancient being near spent

Longed to meet source face to face,

Death of the old had transformed the present;

Fear of the past was now in its true place.

 

UID: 9225 • PID: 140251 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 6647 • PID: 140252 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

cyanotype is white on blue

cyanotype is white on blue
for Anna Atkins

her mother died in childbirth
so her father taught her science
how impressions are images left behind

cyanotype is white on blue

where something has blocked the sun

clouds against the sky

she made pictures this way
a mixture of iron salts absorbed by paper

a flat item of interest

she chose things that had grown in the sea
placed them on top
under a sheet of glass

she took the whole thing and exposed it to sunlight
rinsed paper with water
once the item had been removed

UID: 6647 • PID: 140252 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 6647 • PID: 140254 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

legend of the barnacle goose

legend of the barnacle goose



he came in on driftwood
and when you were thinking
he’s gone
he’s gone for good

 

he was only holding on
underwater

 

his beak drew
from the sap of the wood
from the salt of the sea

 

a secret and most wonderful
process of alimentation

 

as if he were under a spell
and the shells cocooned him
he would stay
until feathers grew

UID: 6647 • PID: 140254 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11975 • PID: 140260 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

BY THE SEA

You roar and sing –
everlasting, persistent, insistent:
“CAN YOU HEAR ME?
CAN YOU SEE AND HEAR? WE’RE ONE, ALWAYS!”

I crunch stones slowly beating
to the right the heavy concrete deadening
and you calling, calling –

Our eyes, ears – open them!
Open them – and our souls will dance!

UID: 11975 • PID: 140260 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11975 • PID: 140261 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

SEEDS

It was freely given, a memento of a time, together.

I planted them unknowing
an impulsive moment, to see.
I didn’t know if it was the right time or conditions
to start their life.

Two peaked through and stretched,
light green shoots – beautiful life –
because they had to.

I marvelled and watered and looked
as they tenderly
reached
outstretched
longing.

We nurture tender growing in the morning, early.
Our pens – green shoots –
searching, listening
to our callings.

Will they grow chilli’s?
Despite our imperfect unknowing?

UID: 11975 • PID: 140261 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11975 • PID: 140262 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

SEPTEMBER IN THE PLAYGROUND

They danced in joy, a trinity,
flickering white beauties.

We were in the simplest of places, of joy and exploring.
Our eyes opened and nature poured her gifts:
the white pearls danced,
the spiders dappled brown built their webs,
and surprises of yellow gold, blue, red and black,
flashed grace and went.

We marvelled in this simple place,
overflowing

My boy explored and spun and paused,
the beauty touched his fizzing soul,
he looked, still.

We belonged us three, to each other, and to nature’s beauty.

UID: 11975 • PID: 140262 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 9225 • PID: 140263 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Weather

You don’t know what you’ve got until its gone

How come you still miss them?

When what they did

You thought was so wrong.

The past keeps you from moving on

Because you miss the fun

That you took for granted then.

 

Floating on a field of friendly faces

Strangers were then known,

Feeling that point

When you are all at one

And where it all began.

 

Now all is forgiven and you understand

That not every action is a demand

Give heart to the ones who fell down

And hope that they can move on;

You don’t know what you’ve got until its gone.

 

Do you remember when the sun shone

On the deep river running through your blood?

Did you wonder where it had gone

When people had misunderstood?

 

They all moved on to somewhere else

Even though they are still here,

Don’t show them your fear

It isn’t really there.

 

When the deserts are dry

I can’t sit down

I know I have to find water,

When the moon is low

And it’s autumn time

I am overwhelmed with

Peace and laughter.

 

When the ice is cold

I can’t stand still

Because I need

To keep warm,

When it’s all gone quiet

And the weight of

The sky is on my head

I know we are in for a storm.

 

 

 

UID: 9225 • PID: 140263 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11975 • PID: 140264 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

RESURRECTION

There was nothing good about the darkest times:
the triumphant devil
the utter destruction
the sad heavy clock that descended
and clung to me forever permeating.

I couldn’t know it or feel it
But you held and cocooned me in warm rich soil
gently, tenderly, secretly.

Then I blossomed
and emerged, blinking
the light sang and shone!

I gazed in wonder and amazement
at my beautiful, creative, confident boy,
at the mutual love and healing by mum’s.

My gifts flew open
the way they were always called to.

UID: 11975 • PID: 140264 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 9225 • PID: 140266 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Old Friend

Walking away from a friendship/turned sour

Speechless face

I thought I knew you before?

All of those years did not seem to matter

No point in shedding tears

Who cares if it feels better?

Provoke my wonder even more.

Time has seasons too it seems

Now Jack Frost has frozen all of our dreams

But still; what’s new is due-

Goodbye my friend I will miss you.

UID: 9225 • PID: 140266 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11977 • PID: 140272 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

My Friend

The perilous abyss,

Attracts death and despair,

Swallowing its prey,

Yearning for more.

 

Shoulder to shoulder,

Brothers in arms,

We stand together,

Awaiting our destiny… to live or to die?

 

Yet friendship is that spark,

That burns through dark times,

Radiating heat through the cold,

With its intensity, overpowering death.

 

With fear in our eyes,

And fire in our belly,

We stand proclaiming invincibility,

But we are uncertain in our fate.

 

With a pledge to fight,

An oath to keep,

In this battle,

We are not alone.

 

Side by side,

Advancing forward,

Distressed with horror,

Anxious with wait.

 

Gunfire strikes,

Dividing our ranks,

Paralysed with panic,

Shaken with fright.

 

I gaze around,

In dismay and horror,

As we drop,

To the land men fear to go.

 

I glance to the right,

I see my comrade,

My defender, my supporter…

My friend.

 

He stops suddenly,

Then he wavers.

He falters.

He falls.

 

I grasp him,

And hoist him to my shoulders.

He will not die here,

My comrade, my defender,

My supporter… My friend.

UID: 11977 • PID: 140272 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11977 • PID: 140279 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

The Sky is the Limit

The sky is the limit,

Or so they say.

But I want to go higher,

And I will some day.

 

I do not want a limit,

Placed upon my dreams.

But be allowed to run free,

As hard as it seems.

 

I want to go beyond,

Achieving the impossible.

You say it can’t be done,

But I can’t see an obstacle?

 

So that I cannot miss,

I will aim high.

Fulfil my dreams,

And go beyond the sky!

 

So do not tell me,

That it cannot be done,

Because I will show you,

I’ll shine brighter than the sun.

 

With one step at a time,

Take it day by day.

Persistence is the key,

And I shall make my way.

 

So you may offer to follow,

But I must decline.

You must create your own path,

Not follow one of mine.

 

Success is a journey,

Filled with high aspirations.

But there is no limit,

Nor expectations.

 

We must aim for the moon,

We must aim for the stars,

Leave the sky behind,

And achieve what can be ours!

UID: 11977 • PID: 140279 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11980 • PID: 140281 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

The Rainbow Bee-Eaters

As Near Passerines in the verdant jungle above it all,

I’d love him as my concomitant despite any fall-

Through the tangled mangroves and deciduous woodlands;

Like celestial angels for each other in God’s hands.

What are riches and eminence that could disappear?

O superficiality; It’s his greatest fear.

 

We’ll catch locusts and hornets in our hands;

One day the rain will clear up in the wetlands.

We’ll escape the world’s scenes and vivid lights-

Fly in a secret time under the crescent moon’s twilight.

We weren’t born illustrious so we commenced eating bees;

We didn’t follow our dreams all because of incredulous family.

 

Beekeepers tried impeding us from eating honeybees in their care;

And digging burrows by balancing on our wings and feet in the affair.

I’d never compare his green pinions to anything else;

My feelings are burgeoning under the pristine apple trees I confess.

He may migrate to North during winter but I’d honour him like nothing else,

Through thick and thin when he feels helpless.

 

I want his deep violet soul and his colourful tongue-

Will he see my long slim curved bill and arms where he belongs?

He reminds me of a part of me when I was young;

I want to be his warmth in the frosty cold like a farmer’s lung.

 

I don’t love him because of tangible gifts-

I cherish him because he showed me that I exist.

He gave me comfort, he gave me support;

He gave me meaning that the world tried to distort.

UID: 11980 • PID: 140281 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11977 • PID: 140282 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Like this…

A tightness in the chest,

A lump in your throat,

I never thought it’d get like this,

Right here, right now.

 

A waterfall in full stream,

All tranquillity lost,

Replaced with a feeling,

Like this, like this.

 

A mind overflowing,

Fingers typing fast,

Trying to help feeling like this,

Right here, right now.

 

An unspoken word,

Or ones we didn’t mean,

Caught up feeling,

Like this, like this.

 

A trip never taken,

The wrong answer given,

The loneliness I feel,

Like this, like this.

 

A late bedtime dawning,

And worry of what to come,

This is what I feel,

When I’m like this.

 

An impatient young girl,

Yet a level-headed boy,

Stuck feeling like this,

Right here, right now.

 

A puzzle nearly solved,

Yet several pieces missing,

So of course, I’m still feeling,

Like this, like this.

 

An embrace that never was,

Waits until next time,

And so I still feel,

Like this, right now.

 

A kiss that was missed,

Lingers on the lips,

Until then, I’ll feel,

Like this, like this.

 

A butterfly in your tummy,

Scared to lose everything,

What is this feeling,

Like this, like this?

 

An eternity to come,

Yet without realisation,

A feeling like this,

Like this; is love.

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surviving fragments

the beast mounts its head on the wall

outside a woman sells papers

inside they drink coffee

and debate their next move            

                                

                                 *

 

the beast drops from the mountain

to the middle of town            

paces the canal’s banks          

they say it can’t leap out        

                                               

                                 *            

 

the beast falls from the sun

the beast rises from grass

the beast’s burned from shrub and tree roots

the beast strikes a kernel

in stone                         

to be chiseled out

                                      

                                 *

                       

the beast welcomes them

calls them its guest     

                                      

                                 *

                                      

it arrives with the sun in its mouth

with hollows of hills scraping its back

with rivers circling its arms

it arrives without looking toward or away

it carries the world with it unraveling

 

                                 *

                                

please give us your body

they said

give us your voice

give us what you carry

and cannot take with you

we’ll relieve you                    

they said

we’ll release you

 

                                 *

 

they kill the beast accidentally

at the top of the hill

they build a bridge          

away from them in its memory

                                   

                                 *

           

from its arms                                  

they make the city streets

from its eyes                

they make small animals and groves

from its mouth          

they make the space it lives in

they fill as they speak

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UID: 7018 • PID: 140285 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

fable of the poppy

o sleep                                                

visit us with your seeds      

bead our noses with sweat          

 

                        *

                                                    

please come to us together

as you come to one alone

not by force again                    

not to pull us apart again                    

not to take one by the arm                       

into manufactured light       

and leave the other waiting

stubborn not blinking        

                 

                        *

                                                            

an idol with sleep’s face                 

opening your mouth               

asking after the buried           

flowers the rooms                  

like carried earth                    

              

                        *          

                                    

to turn and to forget the turn

to forget there was anything

to have turned away from

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UID: 11978 • PID: 140287 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

The City of Jasmine

(‘The City of Jasmine’ is a colloquial Syrian name for Damascus)

 

How may they reach to grasp the unseen,

thoughts in the ether where one has not been,

against nature of self to bow so low,

seeds of demise they accepted to sow.

 

How may hope have been allowed to glean,

thoughts to be free of machinations obscene,

against nature of one to cruelly demean,

The City of Jasmine, before its foe.

 

How could the might of arms be crowned,

king of the realm and all who sound,

calls for equity, faithful and true,

bannerless, whole, and glorified too.

 

How could malignant vanity abound,

king of this ancient hallowed ground,

call for serenity as cannons pound,

The City of Jasmine, her woes accrue.

 

How would the primordials, Ashur to Athene,

goddesses of war and conquest have seen,

this shattered earth, its craters deep,

suppurated scars and stones that weep.

 

How would this land have otherwise been,

goddesses and men on pastures evergreen?

This shattered dream on ruins Byzantine,

The City of Jasmine, to fall so steep.

 

How do the crimson stars shine bold,

before a field of chalk in verdant hold,

o’er a darkening night, never to cease,

through the nine circles and infernal caprice.

 

How do the bones of empires old,

before fields of chrysanthemum and marigold,

o’er holy words see our rapture foretold,

The City of Jasmine, may it find peace.

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Untitled | MMCXII

A secret admirer can burn,
burn the midnight oil until an
Old flame dies.

 

Lassoed by cigarettes and smoke

 

I reminisce that summer of Jejune;
’twas a heart-to-heart season still tipsy off
a bottle of
St. Valentine’s “Day-dream spirit“.
I reminisce the wet monsoon;
’twas plain sailing watching waves wash
you away and away because
“Boys don’t cry” was fashion back in
the day.

But the candle clock crossed
not for our time to rekindle following the
good riddance!

 

truly,

 

the lovesickness had left me
bedridden ever since I touched your heart.
Raw meat contaminates

 

doesn’t it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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UID: 11968 • PID: 140295 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Writer’s Block

My constant desire to write
is a sign that every line in
my mind should be heard,
released like a bird.

 

But I’m faced with writer’s
block a hell of a lot. It hits
me like a rock, freezing my
muse like an antique clock.

 

Am I rambling? Indeed I am,
because I’m ambling along
a rain-soaked lane so I think
I have the right to complain.

 

O sweet muse, where art thou?
You have ceased my creativity,
tampering with my divinity…

Okay, I’m far from divine, I just
like to rhyme from time to time.

 

Listen, I didn’t sign up for free verse.
I’m going in reverse, I’m going back to
quench my thirst for internal rhyme.

 

A forlorn crow squawks in despair,
broken, without a care, standing
alone in its graveyard home, lost
in thick mist, forgotten, dismissed.

 

Ah, I feel better already. I just needed
to delve in to a dark scene, I’m rather
keen on being descriptive when writing
a poem or a tale because it’s all about
the detail.

 

Vivid imagery is my favourite device,
I feel it’s like a slice of lemon on ice,
a sweet ingredient to a dull recipe, a
necessity for lovers of colour and art.

 

I haven’t written in a while, this isn’t
isn’t my normal style. The signature
touch that I maintain when writing

a quatrain has vanished.

 

I’m hoping my flair will return,
for I yearn to immerse myself in
the oceans of poetry once again.

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UID: 11968 • PID: 140297 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Pain And Passion

Stranded in a sporadic summer,
suspended in a stormy spiral,
sunlight is shut out by stark
shadows. 

 

Several seconds of serenity are

sufficient to subdue shattered

spirits, splintered by severe

schizophrenia, scarred by

segmented suffering.

 

Splenetic symptoms surge from a

solitary soul, a stream of savagery 

and sorrow are split in to shards 

of shrapnel, separated, segregated.

 

Satisfaction is scattered, strewn

across a sea of sadness, secluded

in a sunken sarcophagus.

 

So what can be salvaged? 

There is but one substitute. 

The potent pastime of poetry.

 

It is perennial, yet it’s perceived by

people to be pathetic or pedestrian, 

a perplexed perspective is plausible 

when a person is promised perfection 

or a pristine presentation of prowess.

 

Poetry is pure, it may not be seen as 

popular but it’s published around the 

planet. It’s proof that the pretentious 

aren’t as pompous as people presume, 

there’s many places where poets can

promote what they preach.

 

With a pen and paper, they possess 

the potential to paint pictures with 

precision, while writing a powerful 

piece that can prevail pessimism.

 

After a lot of prudent pondering, 

perhaps there is a parallel 

between pain and passion.

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UID: 11950 • PID: 140298 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Anne Boleyn

Drifting through the halls, wearing white, dancing in the sunlight, I thought –
Isn’t it strange how we all just die? But I’d found God, so that was alright,
Right? I could speak French better than my sister, and she’d risen high:
Mistress to wine and gold and silver, and the French King, treat him tough,
But, for me, that wasn’t enough.

 

Catherine, with rosary hung
Across her old, pale, queenly hands,
Wrote verses for me to come, from France,
To wait on her and pray to the saints
Each day, in England, purging taints.
I agreed, pure intentions, left
To my own devices, inventions,
I grew too reckless, put on a mask;
Unwittingly caught me a king.

 

He prowled up to me, “Can I get you a drink?”
In anonymity, I did what I pleased.
But the masks came off and he wanted more
Than fun, I knew not if I could give a son.

 

I thought about God too often in those days;
Heretic words spilling onto him always.
He’d never liked the Pope anyway. His wife
Was useless, he told me. That’s what they all say.

 

I knew that all hated me before child
After child ripped through me, leaving only her.
Big blue eyes, flame-haired, she would be the fire queen.
I loved her dearly, but the King was busy –

 

– With accusations, flowing fast
Were the lips of the gossips, twitching
About my brother and I, and how
We’d been in my chamber, the ball room
The stables. Unholy fables
Of other men too, in my room.
Stories of men on me, around me,
But no princes came out of me;
A debt I had promised, still unpaid.

 

He trialed me before the court, distraught, face fraught with anguish and
Fear. He’d given his kingdom for an heir, but got stuck with women instead.
Bad girl, lover, mother of none, my child didn’t count as one. They
Demanded confession, redemption, but these pure hands need no correction
So he’ll chop off my little head in return for my affection.

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The Enlightenment

The Enlightenment

 

When my mother could walk, my father breathe,

and all my sisters made sense,

I was a debater of awkward topics.

I couldn’t stand equivocation.

I liked to know where people stood.

Nonsense I called nonsense

and a dying child would have drawn no lies from me.

 

I didn’t fight, if by fighting is meant

bruising and drawing blood,

but I worked my way through a forest of argument

like there was no better course.

Every dubious view between heaven and hell

I endeavoured to disprove

and made plain offended me.

 

So I grew old, I grew old,

and the years brought pain

and when I sat alone,

as it appeared I liked to do,

I would see my finger probing wounds

and hear my laughter ringing in a sad room.

 

Outwardly I was brusque and stern

but the edifice of righteousness had collapsed within.

My sympathies grew like green moss on a broken path.

The dead, the withered, the crazed,

smote me inwardly.

I couldn’t help but be quiet

when there was so much I could say.

 

The young, too, I began to notice.

I would come home sometimes

through the raucous hordes

stumbling as if my joints were loose.

In particular, the high and mighty,

the little kings that swept me aside –

as the philosophers of my childhood would say:

they broke my heart!

 

Now I wonder what is left.

Regret, perhaps, but not for the vanished certitudes,

and joy, joy wiser than my reasons,

but also gratitude,

for the love I had and the love I hid.

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In the Valley of Wonder

In the Valley of Wonder

 

I, having habits as rigid as my bones,

must breathe in the garden a little before I lie down.

So, aching and squinting, I rise

and step into the balm of night.

 

How fantastic it is sometimes!

 

Freakish winds to allay the whirlwind in my veins

and an offering of leaves, the tree bowed like a supplicant,

freshly scattered on the lawn.

 

Last night it was like this.

I drew in my breath and there was Orion and Perseus.

 

But almost at once clouds of a milky whiteness

I had never seen before making their resemblances:

long-headed kings in cockeyed crowns,

penitents, anglers in leaky boats,

jockeys on galumphing great dragons and pugilists!

 

It was as if some titanic blast had scattered

the contents of a crazy museum.

 

Again and again they came looming and bulging

out of the west to hang in the zenith

and then, having grown almost familiar,

they would be snatched away

leaving the stars to pour their light in the valley of wonder!

 

And we, too, are swept through darkness and time

woken, we don’t know why,

to abide the winds that rule here.

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The Effects of Time

His eyes are puddles of muddy
water, shallow and brown.

 

His nose is a jagged cliff
face, eroded by the sea.

 

His teeth are piano keys,
half-clean, half-rotten.

 

His beard is a cobweb,
wispy, dusty and grey.

 

His face is a representation 
of mortality, an image that

defines the effects of time,

a dilapidated portrait that 

presents two conclusions…

 

This man is either a product
of unequivocal ugliness or he

is the end result of a long

and gruelling existence.

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Imperceptible

I’ve seen the destruction of a dozen
cities, decimated skylines, crushed
horizons and a sea of broken bones.

 

We can’t sit back and allow avarice to
dismantle our world, we must fight
against the machines of despotism.

 

I used to be around all sorts of people,
the intransigent, the melodramatic and
several hypochondriacs, but I chose to
move away. If I had stayed- I would
have decayed in less than a decade.

 

I am a vespertine, always active in the
evening. Making origami animals by the
light of the moon brings me equanimity,
I find it therapeutic, it’s my own brand
of self-counselling.

 

The early hours of the day demand my
company, but I yearn for the company
of night. Now I’m alone, a hollow shell,
a ghost that has forgotten to die.

 

I am a drop of water, evaporating
next to a flame, I am a pulse in the
darkness, dissipating in the silence.

 

I am imperceptible,
inaudible, invisible.

 

Very soon- I’ll be gone.

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Surviving The Odds

A chemical escaped, an infection spread,

now all of my friends and family are dead.

Antidote failed! Must commence fighting!

is embossed on a wall in spray-can writing.

There’s bullets in the barrel, ready to fire,

I must get to a place that’s safer, higher.

 

A pack of hyenas laugh and play,

in a dusty graveyard of slow decay.

Doomsday has arrived, the end is nigh,

an indigo inferno burns in the sky.

My memories dwindle, little remain,

as I board an evacuation train.

 

The Pelican Peninsula was still unscathed,

rivers were clear, elephants bathed.

Hurricane Hunter- the name of a plane,

soars over valleys through silver rain.

Surviving the odds of elimination,

Earth repairs the devastation.

 

As a scientist starts to elaborate,

survivors begin to congregate.

She stands outside a ruined city,

explaining the cause for calamity.

People move on, starting again,

covering up their inner pain.

 

Dying fires become a distant glow,

extinguished by the cherry snow.

Insanity forgets to wear a disguise,

pouring numbers inside my eyes.

My head feels like a big fishbowl,

fish are swimming around my soul.

 

A mixture of feelings explode from within,

from acidic anger to the urge to grin.

Fireworks crackle, zig-zag and lined,

an image of hope is etched in my mind.

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One

As I walk out this midsummer morning

Sorrow, sat on a wall, can see me coming.

 

When I draw near, she makes to flit

out of sight

 

then jinks back

to land on the other side of me:

 

goes scavenging through the dry leaves

by the side of the road

 

observes me

with one bright eye as I keep on walking. And

 

even if she hid herself

her voice would claim me.

 

Nothing in life

abashes her, and the dead

 

she loves. She can’t be dimmed

by any weather. Even this clouded sun

 

is enough to grant shine

to her white shoulders

 

her black-and-blue satins.

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Seal

You take her word: yes

but you hide the sealskin.

 

Do you think the sea is

so strong in her veins

you can’t believe her?

 

                     – like a fair day

the four winds, the pull of the moon will turn

to wrack in a heartbeat?

 

Or do you know yourself

fisherman, how that salt call

is deeper than the deepest love?

 

how if you’d taken a land-wife

for your own, you would be

always leaving her?

 

But that’s the way of it

you say:

 

men must work and

women must weep.

You take her word

 

and you take these forked steps

to make it sure.

You make sure only

 

she’ll leave you

when she finds her self again.

 

 

 

 

(The lines in italics are from “The Three Fishers” by Charles Kingsley)

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Preservation

After the flood, we froze the City Archive

arrested the water damage, rot, infection

locked them in ice.

                                   

All that history

in stasis, like an ark in space.

Or a castle, its inhabitants all

stilled, inside the hedge of

 

a cold enchantment.

Then one by one

we awakened them.

 

It was slow going but

every charter, book, letter

was dried and disinfected.

 

Every page was patched, smoothed

put together again.

 

And it was the work of years:

no handsome prince

to kiss them suddenly free, by magic.

This was a merchant city –

 

none of your fancy business here.

Just bargaining, selling; contracts signed

and broken; tallybooks;

small claims.

 

The cook was disenchanted

ready to finish clipping that boy’s ear:

on the same page

 

the boy was freed

to snigger and dodge her hand again

 

as we made them ready for

planet-fall, and its dangers.

For a world they’d find

 

like and unlike their own.

A world the flood

had long receded from

 

its cases settled, damage

carefully noted. And its documents

the first in line to join them.

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Outside the Centre

Hope drew up these buildings

and the encouraging little pictures of their clean lines.

You know the sort of thing I mean:

the shiny plaza, populated with young trees

the neat people

shopping for little luxuries.

 

Hope resides where frost

is nothing more than a surface twinkle

– no broad, deserted spaces

it can ice-rink there. No concrete slabs

it can pry apart. And there’s no green-algae staining in

Hope’s dream kingdom.

 

Down here at least they have stopped

the ritual sacrifice of saplings:

pulled up the last of the snapped stems

and covered the soil with gravel, glued together

so it can’t be thrown.

 

And although it’s true there are people

to be seen about the concourse

as the last shop-windows shutter down for the evening

and a cold wind comes skinning the angles

skimming the face

 

you do not want to meet those people

trust me.

                  Hope is

nowhere to be seen. They say

he bought a Victorian villa in the suburbs:

you know the sort of thing I mean.

 

In the catchment of a good school

with a gently-sloping garden

maybe a treehouse for his children

 

a cat asleep on the terrace

and big, south-facing windows

in the light of which he draws.

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UID: 10856 • PID: 140318 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Bedding Down

When God skimmed a stone!
In an underbelly of projection
There was an A of trajectory
When God skimmed a stone.

 

When God skimmed a stone!
In wonder, wonder-might and wrung home
What dreams splash? Asunder had,
When God skimmed a stone.

 

When God skimmed a stone
and stone skimmed
water
water gasped
‘Thirsty!’
and thirst was not known
When God skimmed a stone.

 

I’m bedding down for the night

when night bedded a cosmos of tired and world-weary
weary bones
And Gods were once boys
and Boys once
could not find
such flat stones.

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UID: 11987 • PID: 140323 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

The past

Digging up the skeletons

assimilate with points of view

subcutaneous    somatic isotopes

of calcium     beleagured truth

 

Dancing with the corpse

excreted steps detest the musics    

                                             groove

more than moribund hung from me

with cheeks polychromatic hue

 

Bedding static melanin

idolatry beyond the sleep fluctuating moment caught and raped so I may reproduce the                                    

                             thoughts 

 

To reproduce the thoughts

theraputic examation made apparent

          broken patient

now anything but pain is just a

                                   corpse

 

AND I FUCKING HATE THIS TYPE OF POETRY

SO WHY’D I MAKE THIS TYPE OF       POETRY

                      perhaps I’m just a fraud

searching for applause

 

 

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UID: 11989 • PID: 140328 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Fear’s Angry Way

I am angry out of fear.

For you, for me, for us

But mostly for you,

My sweet baby boy.

So fragile, dependent,

A medically complex

Strength to behold.

 

In fear I’m watching, surveilling,

Detecting vessels of disease.

Prepared to whisk you to safety.

What did you touch? Who held it prior? 

Purging my worn hands so I can sanitize yours.

At best they crack, at worst they bleed.

It’s been the way since you were born.

 

In fear I’m reading, researching,

Devouring medical studies.

On the fringe of discovery.

Why do you hurt? How can I help?

Unraveling at my seams so I can mend yours. 

At best you’re whole, at worst I tear.

It’s been the way since you were born.

 

In fear I’m weighing, balancing,

Juggling risks, benefits, pros, cons.

Decisions that plague me at night. 

What tell these tests? When is enough?

Neglecting my interests so I can guard yours.

At best I sleep, at worst I think.

It’s been the way since you were born.

 

I am angry out of fear.

Even fearing the day

You fear my anger.

And how to explain

It is all out of love?

When love is slow to anger

But I am not. 

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UID: 11988 • PID: 140329 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Purple In A World That Favours Red

I am a new breed of curiosity,
An entire world within a person.
I long for more questions and less answers,
I long for pages in books to be never ending.
I wish to never belong to a place or to a name,
I am a stranger amongst society.
I won’t hold on to memories because my head is full,
I will not accept darkness in daylight; save that for night.
I will smoke to find the spectacular end,
Life will have no moral and every story will be a cliffhanger with no sequel.
The end is just the end and a new beginning is just false hope,
Because I am a living person; that is what I was told.
I am just a world inside a girl,
A force that was never meant to exist,
Purple in a world that favours red.

 

 

 

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UID: 11990 • PID: 140332 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Indigo Interlude

Watercolour dewdrops fall from her eyes
Melancholy iris
Like Van Gogh’s Starry Night

skies
Acrylic brushstrokes kiss her skin
Sorrowful symphony
Artwork splattered with sin.

Draped in poetry and drowned in

words
Alienated soul
Dancing with paper and origami

birds
Lyrics pumping through her

lungs
Sadness in charcoal
Symphonies salivating on artisic tongues.

Intertwined with the embrace of

time
Monochrome vision
Remember when our heartbeats used to rhyme?
When we didn’t have this
Patchwork division
When we were
Part of the same piece 
Part of the same song
Where no pencil line was wrong?
I cry my own chorus 
I paint my own poetry
Please
Come back
And finish my broken words.

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UID: 11993 • PID: 140334 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

” Mommy, are you live?”

I feel a nibbling sensation on my left ear by a phantom that resembles myself

whilst my right weaves through a simultaneous laugh that seems disunited.

 

Every second, thousands of kisses come my way

viewing the lips of strangers that have the same shade of lips.

 

As the lustful ones arrive the disloyal servants disperse

forcefully blurring my eyes as their tongue strips, me naked.

 

Until I retreat into the world where semen can talk

cursing the son of Adam at the tip of my tongue.

 

The alter ego of a widow seems to lack the zest

that a pervert’s balls would have.

 

A buttery caress from my child; alerts me that” I am alive!”

Placing my phone down while my mind to a far-off land.

 

I spit out the word feminine and tattoo women on both of my breasts

until I fell back into a universe of no moral’s

 

That masked the screams of my own kin;

the only sounds I heard were his crushing bones under his mother’s foot.

UID: 11993 • PID: 140334 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11990 • PID: 140336 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Nowhere is North

I want to get in a boat
And sail to Nowhere.
Where the night sky is kissed
With a mosaic of stars 
And sweet honey dipped dreams
That were once ours.

I wish I could dance
In the colours of the Northen Lights
And get drunk on the burning nectar of The Sun
Where responsibility doesn’t exist
Where souls are free
To sing in eternal bliss.

The alarm clock screeches
Driving me insane
A scream like maggots crawling
Burrowing in my brain 
I lose grip of my boat
Fade from my dreams
Drown in reality.
I am now here.
Don’t worry,
I will come back
And use my pillow as my map.

UID: 11990 • PID: 140336 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11997 • PID: 140340 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Teary eyed apparitions

A solitary tear is perched at the corner of my eye,

A silent rebel that has escaped from the abyss of my heart,

where it was shackled to my past;

Riding the train of unsolicited memories,

it has somehow pierced my skin.

It trembles on the edge of my vision,

blurring my perceptions;

It’s like looking at the world through a droplet of dew,

both poignant & beautiful,

reminiscent of the melody of “On the nature of the daylight”.

 

 

The men & women are nothing but disfigured silhouettes,

with two mouths & no eyes,

Everyone equal in their imperfections.

Clarity feels redundant,

when we are all living in a dream within a dream;

The sights are liquid,

where my prejudice has dissolved,

and the lights are neon,

slashing my diffidence with their colored opulence.

When nothing is real,

where will I safeguard my fears?

If everything is vague,

how will I continue to hate?

 

 

Leaping away from the planet of interpretations,

realizing gravity is just a permanent hallucination;

We are searching for reason & meaning,

by looking at the world through a keyhole.

But now everything is visible,

free from the limitations of binary understandings;

Frauds & idiots looking for answers,

when there are no questions;

Accepting randomness as freedom,

& imbibing flexibility as religion,

is the only door to comeuppance,

against this world of mirrors & reflections.

 

 

UID: 11997 • PID: 140340 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11998 • PID: 140343 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Waning

Waning

 

I lay with the old moon
all cracked face and slumping breasts
She, a fading, fallen star
pregnant with wisdom
curled up crescent-wise
on the jagged, ragged peaks
of my ancient rocks and carns.

Her dying light
spilled
ethereal blue washes
still and silent
as she transfigured
her worlds below.
Then night smothered her in warm absence.
I hear her weep and wail
until, accepting
darkness falls.
She and I
lost.

This new moon
she understands nothing!
She will grow
I have seen thousands of her kind
so soon
so brash
twinkling like the stars
skipping across the sky
shaping lives.
I envy her, her destiny.
Mountains take so long
to die.

 

 

 

UID: 11998 • PID: 140343 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11998 • PID: 140344 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

parting

Parting

 

Who is there that doesn’t enjoy a little sadness
doesn’t saviour the sleazy summer edges of autumn
the bitter-sweet, frosted fringes of winter’s bite
melancholy russets and siennas
chewing on the rim of tomorrow?

On the platform lie
forlorn yellows
oranges, magentas, vermilions
fallen comrades
(it’ll all be over by Christmas)
and her
still in sandals
simple summer skirt
battle scarred knees
freckled frown (trying to be brave)
auburn hair.

The rails clack.
Time squeezes the throat of now
Tears spring.
The station?
Empty.
Abandoned.
Mist swirling.
evening steals in.
You run
pool of light to pool of light.
Between?
Bears.

 

 

UID: 11998 • PID: 140344 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11998 • PID: 140345 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Rain on a Hot Tin Roof (A Rainstorm on Lake Victoria)

Rain on a Hot Tin Roof: (A rainstorm on lake Victoria)

 

Drumbeats.
Rhythm.
Hissing.
Steam.
Small, green grass-snakes
everywhere.
Djembes tumble
baboons cavort
bugger cats and dogs
hippopotamuses crash onto corrugated iron kettles.
Window panes become liquid flow.
Dry dust plains peppered with huge bullet holes.
Entire continents consumed.
vast estuaries of boiling mud
emerge
converge
are one.
The lake’s glassy stare
now a carpet of jagged icicle-knives.
Peace, serenity, ripped to shreds.
Forests of escalibers
angry swords
water-spume weapons.
Sullen cloud settles
sulky
onto her bed of nails.

Days.
Weeks.
Later.

The drumming softens to a patter
tippy-finger caresses
gentle, cradle rock-a-bye.
Outside
python snakes slither
crocodiles smile.
But I
in my womb bed
safe
so safe.

UID: 11998 • PID: 140345 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 12001 • PID: 140350 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

The Mind Of A Creative Will Always Be Bittersweet

In the morning there’s a stillness,
Time to inhale, count down from ten
In the silence there’s reflection,
An exhale, ink spills from pen

 

Always chaotic, there is no beauty
Behind the scenes of what you read, 
Calligraphy won’t illustrate
The way in which those words did bleed

 

The finished discourse, a translation,
Warped with a regular beat, 
For empathy and easy listening
Of raw emotions, personal defeat

 

The expression of a poet
Will never quite be complete,
For the mind of a creative
Will always be bittersweet.

 

UID: 12001 • PID: 140350 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 12001 • PID: 140351 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Temptation

Licentious, tempted or temptress,

Agab is overpowering me, 
He’s in my blood, embraced my mind
With sin of the seven deadly

He’s sordid, he’s iniquitous,
He lights my wick with his red hot flame,
I’m dissipated within his presence,
Hedonistic, and he’s to blame

UID: 12001 • PID: 140351 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 7935 • PID: 140353 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

My Little Rainbow Shop

I think I’ll jar a rainbow

And put it on the shelves 

Then sell it on to customers

Who can’t jar one themselves

I’ll tell them it will disappear

If they loosen off the top

And of course I’ll make a fortune

In my little rainbow shop

 

They’ll come from far and wide

The news will get around

Jarred rainbows are a must

They’ll  keep you safe and sound

They could be good for any ailment

Any ailment and more

So come and spend your cash

In my little rainbow store

 

And believers are good for business

I’m pretty sure of that

So I’ll sell them a rainbow t-shirt

And I’ll sell them a rainbow hat

And we’ll sing the rainbow chorus

And we’ll dance the rainbow bop

And I’ll be all high and mighty

In my little rainbow shop.

UID: 7935 • PID: 140353 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 12001 • PID: 140354 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

No Empathy To Spend

Is it through naive eyes
that I perceive? 
Through rose-tinted glasses,
I self-righteously believe

 

When one points a finger
Two angle back, 
How is it so grey? 
With thoughts white or black

 

Intricacies fueled by capitalist view,
Sly politics, hypocrisies,
Far more than few

 

Immaturity
Like I cannot comprehend
From the might that is man, 
With no empathy to spend

 

A distinct lack of morals,
Absence of mine too,
But if I’m deemed the empath
What the fuck does that make you

 

UID: 12001 • PID: 140354 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 12001 • PID: 140355 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Ricin

Like a serviette laced with ricin,
Not to realise on what they choke,
They take a breath, breathe you in,
Unaware of consequences to words you spoke

 

I doubt the intentions were innocent,
Deny it, but I’m not so naive
Within your presence I remain cautious
You’re not to be trusted, nor to be believed

 

The castor plant is only lethal
Once strategies are deployed
The danger is in the ignorant,
Who indulge and are opposed to avoid

 

The poison remains untraceable,
To those who lack a sharp eye
Your intellect enables destruction,
Your methods wise, practiced, sly

 

Underlying your open, brash persona
There’s much more to you
A thrive for power, your motivations
In the words you chose and things you do

 

Maybe I am to critical, synical
But in your presence I watch darkness seethe
I cannot avoid it nor control it
Around you I shall not breathe

UID: 12001 • PID: 140355 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 7935 • PID: 140358 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

A Mother To Be

She fills her floppy dress as she sits

She speaks of future days as she knits

Her head is full of motherhood 

Loving, caring as she should

She remembers with a smile her childhood days

Her growing up, her evil ways

And then a movement a sudden kick

She calls a friend to share it with

There expressions are one, there heads a whirl

Is that the kick of a boy or a girl?

And then the calm, like a sea without waves

Like a silent factory with dusty lathes

But the still is broken to scratch an itch

Or the answer the now familiar bathroom twitch

These problems are small, another child to fate

And she feels like a Queen in her pregnant state.

 

 

 

 

UID: 7935 • PID: 140358 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 3585 • PID: 140360 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Beneath the Berliner Dom

Beneath the Berliner Dom

 

Bright slaps of colour on October trees

in the Lustgarten, a busking band loops sound off

huge granite steps and columns. No plans to visit,

lost tourists, we’re looking for the Museum

of ‘Vor- und Fruh-Geschichte’. We want Nefertiti,

we weren’t planning Evensong, the golden chariot

of an altar, a PA system testing as we sit, under

the blown-glass of seven-thousand organ pipes.

 

We are fixed to our seat, too tired to pick-up

an Order of Service we will not read. A man in black,

a woman in black, share lectern and microphone,

beneath the re-rendered sky of a cathedral dome.

The man speaks German, the woman echoes

the English. My Deutsch verb conjugations fall

as leaves, the translation clear though in the air,

reduced and charged in these cloisters.

 

‘Forgive us our arrogance.’ Not ‘trespasses’,

only the ordinary word spoken plainly here.

Man-woman, dual-vocabularies, black-gold,

pews made for uncomfortableness, a House

of God built on the scorched precinct

of a tyrant, in which every word rings true.

We’re rooted, my hand between her knees,

Candle-flicker drawing her head to my shoulder.

 

We are as close to naked and bound as ever,

under the marble and onyx organ flutes. ‘Let us pray

for the peoples of Israel-Palestine, Turkey, Syria.’

Our weary feet feel fixed to the floor by rods,

invisible, drawn through slabs to the crypt, damp

soil of the River Spree. Faith may be this: waking,

at 4am, wanting to make love, her skin ultra-violet

in a street-lamp through the hotel curtain.

 

If this stone, this hard-hewn will to build, can rise

from a pit, where flames on the river are preferable

to falling rubble, and thousands die just to reach

a despots’ empty hall, I could reach her, but I stop

before her sleeping arm, awakened by accident,

to something less violating, besitzen. An elder,

eyebrowed for prophetic utterance, ushers us

to a side-door, a falafel-stand, a dark sky lit by music.

 

UID: 3585 • PID: 140360 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 12002 • PID: 140362 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

My Noon Conundrum in Park

I wander-went to seek the shade

from tree to tree and glade to glade.

Each one I met did offer hope,

I took from it the time it spoke.

Until in turn, the heavens vent,

the antithesis of lament.

It chased me out from blessed height

to start anew my harried flight.

UID: 12002 • PID: 140362 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11958 • PID: 140368 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

The day your dad died

The day your dad died feels like a made up memory.
Blurry round the edges, hazy views,
Pictures racing through without clarity,
Unreal, surreal, empty.

 

Sad, said the press,
So many well meaning wishes.
Yet for you your whole life changes,
The weight of responsibility on your fragile shoulders.

 

My love I wish magic really did run in my bones.
I imagine a snap of my fingers,
Images rewinding like a tape,
Words spoken backwards, scenes relived.

 

I want to take it all away and give you your life back,
I am so powerless.
Meaningless words hang in the air,
Ghosts lingering in this atmosphere of death.

 

I choke with tears for you.
Hot liquid spilling from my eyes,
They flow without control,
My grief is unsurpassable.

 

Darling I wish I could do more.
But I can’t except love you.
With every inch of my soul I always will,
Whether you want me to or not.

UID: 11958 • PID: 140368 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 12006 • PID: 140371 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Hanna

I feel your absence like a loaded gun,
All cold beauty and terror.
You are at my throat like a knife,
Every drop of my blood burns your name.

I used to write love stories like Greek tragedies,
And poems about girls with eyes like hurricanes.
But, I cannot write so easily for you,
Not when you are every line I’ll ever write again,
Every breath I’ll ever breathe.

I used to write about kisses that felt like dying,
And boys that tasted like letting go.
But, where your lips rip through me like bullets,
Every wound brings life.
Every scar you leave blooms roses,
Like a drop of blood in a bowl of milk.
You are every storm I’ve ever felt,
Every slice of rain on my skin.

You’re like lightening and I am drift wood,
But you bring fuel as well as fire.
You are Whitman: wild and wonderful.
Your body is a great poem,
And we are an ouroboros,
Ancient breathing gods.

There are stars behind your eyes and there is my heart in your hands.
Your kisses taste like prayer as much as they do fear.

You asked me to write you a poem,
But you are already every word I write.

UID: 12006 • PID: 140371 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 12005 • PID: 140373 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Cockles

Jua Ren, along with twenty other men,

Stand on soft sand,

Nets and sacks in hands,

To stoop and scoop treasures from the sea.

They’re told to stay ‘til after dark:

Fill those nets! Xin Yu barks,

High tide is not for hours.

 

But time ticks quietly

And quickly by,

Soon the sun slips from the sky, and now

The tide –

The infamous tide of Morecambe Bay

(Quicker than stampeding horses, some say)

Here it comes to make its claim,

Sooner than predicted,

Earlier than Xin Yu had insisted.

 

Urgent calls, staccato shouts,

Orders are spat out;

The men begin to run

Towards the distant lights of foreign homes.

The sand sucks at their feet,

Sticks to their soles,

Slows them,

Holds them,

Controls them.

 

The bitter water pocks their skin.

Cramp sets in.

The sea is at their knees,

The panic makes it difficult to breathe.

They shout but there is nobody to hear,

The waves gulp at their voices,

And snatch them from the salty air.

 

Jua Ren begins to slow,

The sea flooding him with blackness, with cold.

His heavy heart thumps like hooves.

Above him shines a doleful moon –

The colour of a cockle.

UID: 12005 • PID: 140373 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 12005 • PID: 140374 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Hospital Blinds

The room is full of flowers and family,

Machines and wires; a noisy fan.

The sheets are stiff and white and fresh, and

In them lies a shattered man.

 

His face is full of soft fat folds, the

Right side waxen, flaccid, dead;

His fingers trace lost river courses,

Search for feeling in the beds.

 

Channels of communication

Knackered: messages aren’t sent.

His symmetry is shot to pieces,

Cause and consequence are rent.

 

Memories rear up towards him –

Four wild horses soaked in sweat –

They kick up dust, then turn and canter:

Hoof beats toll inside his chest.

 

He turns away from all the strangers,

Speechless. And now his eyes

Moisten as they face the sunlight,

Slanting through the hospital blinds.

UID: 12005 • PID: 140374 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 9871 • PID: 140381 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Clarisa In Galicia

 

CLARISA IN GALICIA

 

Geece gather like parishioners 
At a harvest dance, shy at first
Then curious at her advance

 

After an Atlantic journey.
The long grass of the cemetery
Caresses her limbs like cats’ tails

 

As camellias prime their blooms
For her inspection of the tombs.
So Galiza greets Clarisa:

 

Her proud galega pedigree
Proclaims itself on parchments of
A forebear who left San Xurxo

 

Two hundred years ago to join
Spain’s army in New Granada.
And now the ruins of his pazo

 

Greets the Bermúdez de Castro.
But I knew where home was for her
When she drank the hot, vegetal

 

Air of Santa Marta and smiled
As vallenato accordions
Swelled to sweeten her long exile.

 

 

UID: 9871 • PID: 140381 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 8708 • PID: 140386 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Escape to Hangzhou

My mother remembers

fleeing from Shanghai to Hangzhou

the day before her denunciation;

 

the teacher’s name

on the teenager’s list

of Four Olds.

 

(I couldn’t slap his face. My beloved

teacher’s bruised and broken face.)

 

My mother remembers

the mosquitoes

surrounding her like a curse

 

that would never lift; the ring

of fire she sat within

to keep their mouths at bay.

 

(They drew blood. They were ruthless,

those mosquitoes, those Red Guards.)

 

My mother remembers

the silence

of sky, whole

 

afternoons begging

for noise, waiting for a letter,

a Chinese script she could recognize.

 

UID: 8708 • PID: 140386 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 8708 • PID: 140387 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

The Rugby Players

There are three boys in the photo.

One of them is me, but it can’t be –

I have breasts. Yet there I am, one

of the boys. They are my brothers,

though I have none. My mother lost

them all. In the photo, we are playing

rugby – a sport I detest. We have too

much muscle; I am too short. The boys

are posing for someone, perhaps a girl

whom one of them fancies, or another

boy who is my brother’s lover. We are

white in this photo, but I am Chinese in

fact. It bothers me that the photographer

made us white in order to be worthy of

his photograph. I won’t be showing this

to my lover. She will say go to the gym.

 

UID: 8708 • PID: 140387 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 8708 • PID: 140388 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Safe Space

where the logic of hips isn’t a stranglehold to the heart

 

where you kiss my breast with the windows flung open

 

where a sudden light in the corridor soothes like a cure

 

where no one wrings the air like a drawn-out expletive

 

where I am naked in the shadow of morning & unafraid

 

UID: 8708 • PID: 140388 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 12007 • PID: 140391 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

I fall in love

I fall in love when I look deep into your eyes,

I fall in love when I hear your story,

I fall in love when you need me –

to listen, or to talk

but my wisdom is best when matured on a page.

 

I fall in love with the smile in your eyes,

the lessons in your words,

and – sometimes – the rebuke on your tongue.

 

So,

Give me a piece of your puzzle,

Friend,

and I’ll be content.

 

For I am a collector of such things;

 

Human Fears,

Human Hurt,

Human Love,

Human Words,

and Human Silence,

 

Of the stories beneath and between the ones we tell.

 

Let me slip between your lines,

For that’s when I fall in love. 

 

UID: 12007 • PID: 140391 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 12008 • PID: 140393 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Reborn

Like the breeze breathes new life into the world,

        and the rain washes away all sin,

     cleaning us not only from the outside,

          but also, what lies within.

 

The sun has risen, and a new day has begun.

  I have faced my darkest demons,

       and today, I have decided,

                 I shall not run.

 

My armour may be torn, and my soul may be drained.

My energy might be running low, and my skin may be stained.

 

But my heart is still beating strong and loud,

           and even though I stand alone,

it’s far better than being immersed in the wrong crowd.

 

I do not know how much time I have left here, we all have an expiration date.

                    Time is limited for us all,

but death is something that I no longer fear.

 

         I shall keep it always, in mind,

to appreciate the fact that I am still alive.

Pushing myself to make the most out of my life,

            As I now know,

                           I don’t want to just survive.

 

I shall keep God in my heart, and I shall pray to keep my soul and mind at peace.

       These dark days shall be behind me.

        For on this life, I have a new lease.

UID: 12008 • PID: 140393 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 12008 • PID: 140396 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Turning the page…

I cannot rewrite you,

you cannot be erased.

 

But, I can choose to leave you in the past.

I have the power to turn the page.

 

That chapter of my life has been written, and read.

I’ve let myself be so publicly exposed, to clear any residue of the pain,

from my heart, and my head.

 

You destroyed me again and again,

but you were never my enemy.

I know that now,

And I knew it then.

 

You broke me, so I could put myself back together.

You left me lonely, so I could learn to face the world on my own.

You are the truth that I needed, to face and accept alone.

 

I shall not forget all that you taught me,

And I will no longer resent you.

For you are the best thing that has ever happened to me.

 

Through all the adversity and the pain,

through the snow storms, the twisters, and the hurricanes.

 

                          I found the real me.

 

You taught me to be strong, and brave,

And most of all, how to love myself.

 

To me,

that is the greatest, and purest form of wealth.

 

So, thank you.

Sincerely, from the bottom of my heart.

 

You have made me new again,

you have given me a fresh start.

UID: 12008 • PID: 140396 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 5684 • PID: 140399 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Belittler

 

At it. Doing her peeping.

 

Me and that garment,

a donkey jacket, when I was gamine.

Me and that argument.

 

I loved the shrines out of existence.

Lourdes and Medjugorje, Knock.

Frazzled my nerve-endings

with spiky time-wasters, hurtling water,

hurting. Met a mother with a shock

at the base of an icy bath, a sheet of too intimate

light. She doesn’t want me to read or write.

Sometimes she behaves like an educated guess.

Sometimes she talks as she works:

‘I will leave a little scar’.

 

 

UID: 5684 • PID: 140399 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 5684 • PID: 140400 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

BOOK OF BLUE

 

Mid to ¾ way through a gold and crimson century

a monk, glad from Nocturns, committed himself

to fix a thousand words, all slippery and impure

for secular posterity. His papery hands illuminated

each one, extemporising nipples, buttocks, quim,

with quick strokes of a vigorous quill. Ignoring strictures

of obedience, he privately celebrated created beauties,

praising the bawd. Apathy kicked in at 666. 

The great Bede himself was piqued. And Father Abbot’s

eyes—averted—watered.

 

 

UID: 5684 • PID: 140400 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 5684 • PID: 140401 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Poetry’s Place

 

I have found where Poetry lives.

If you’re surprised she’s alive

at all you won’t be surprised to hear

she was seen by the checkout

at Tesco, in the graveyard shift,

done up like a sex doll with handcuffs

and muffs, a negligee stuck with static

to the small of her back. I asked if she

needed a hand. She turned quickly at first

till she saw my sex, then told me

‘I clean here (aisle 17 stinks

sometimes with spilt milk, exploded

keffir), and loiter near toilets

opportunistically, for spillage

and leaks. I’m hampered, of course—

it’s convention—’ She nods to her tools

with a blush. ‘But there’s always a late-night

shopper, behind the trolleys of stacked

boxes, who’ll oblige with a naughty mop,

and it’s as if I’ve done it myself, and that, dear

boy, is the difference, as the Oxford don says,

between heaven and hell.’

 

 

UID: 5684 • PID: 140401 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11925 • PID: 140402 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Going Out Alone

She could hear them in there.

 

Voices emerging from the crimplene and linoleum,

 

The tedium and support stockings.

 

The polish masking Death’s stealthy approach.

 

 

Who did they think they were fooling?

 

Garbled voices from garbled brains.

 

Brains once bright – now garbled.

 

Mad as hatters the lot of them.

 

 

Dull hearts, dry lips, breath rattling

 

Like the grey October wind through elm and oak.

 

Fifteen to One was on.

 

She heard the telltale ticking through a window ajar.

 

 

Rain was coming; the sky said so.

 

They would be looking for her soon.

 

To wheel her back to Murray mints, mildew, weak tea.

 

Gnat’s piss – that’s what it was.

 

Her memories scattered like leaves,

 

Crumpling to nothingness in her fingers.

 

 

His hands. She saw his hands –

 

Sturdy, calloused.

 

“Maureen, are you out there again?”

 

Fine hands, the hands of a worker – a craftsman.

 

“Maureen…?”

 

 

His laugh rippled over you like water;

 

Ripples of pure joy.

 

Joy – there was a word.

 

No joy here.

 

 

“What have we told you about going out alone…?”

 

There it was: the rain.

 

Fat drops washed her cheeks,

 

Cold but not unpleasant.

 

 

He liked it, the rain;

 

Made him feel glad to be alive.

 

And she still was – only just.

 

Heavier now, and leaves falling

 

Like ashes

 

Or confetti at a second wedding.

 

 

 

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Christmas Surgery

 

The waiting room ceiling was hung with twisted

paper chains and frowning angels on gold twine.

I took the required number of tablets

and turned towards the beige-faced nurse

with the velvet hands and hunky-dory feet:

Please may I leave now, I asked with my eyes.

She motioned me to a lime nylon cushion

on a deeply stained armchair. Her velvet

lips purred like a pony’s and she pawed my

shoulders not unkindly. Then heaved a hard

black valise onto a pile of Homes and Gardens

and sorted swiftly through a range of tinkling

silver spikes, curettes and scissors, coming

to something like a melon-baller

which she sterilised and held to the

twinkling fairy reds to check for fluff.

My old grey spirit, under the influence

of medication, folded its limbs beneath

itself, trembling. She piped some steaming

primrose liquid which smelled of cloves and

apples into a silver bowl and dunked a white

napkin right down to the bottom, wringing

it till it was a hard baton which she used

to prod my belly where the wound was.

Sensation vanished to the extremities and

the soft white floss of her beard tickled

my neck where she leant, as she worked

away. ‘It’s Christmas,’ she said, drawing out

a green streamer of pus, festive

as muck, from my omphalos. ‘Christmas—

and you so much of the world.’ A star

in her eye flickered and the clock ticked.

No other patients had stayed. ‘We’ll have

devils on horseback,’ she said, ‘before we

have our crackers. Hold tight.’

 

 

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UID: 5684 • PID: 140405 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

How to Wring out Seven Devils

 

A swift rite left over from reforming

days. You have the best and blackest

heart, fugu with fudge and cream. Unrealistically

you resemble the Arnolfini bride, silken but sluttish.

Here’s a conduit for your gushing slaver. You have the look

of a book of swatches of indeterminate yellow, jejune

as an ailing liver. I could roar, you linger like a murderer

amazed at your clever no-clues. Sadness switches sides,

I thought I was on the other one and they’re scrawling

something in freesia on the feature wall in

Franglish. Appetite sings off your gills. Why don’t you

give me a call.

 

 

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UID: 5684 • PID: 140408 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

All Souls’ Day, Masham,

 

                                            and Autumn has been gashing herself in the gardens early,

her gammy leg suppurating crimson in the hedgerows,

splashing Japanese Maples and dragon trees, and depositing sick orange

onto copper beeches, as she limps and wobbles to winter. In her uncertain progress

she hauls down horse chestnuts whose burnt hearts show behind spiky plackarts—

sick with armour. A thin silver dolour winds through the season.

 

November 2nd, and I am back at the grave,

still risen like a dowager’s hump, unrepentant.

I leave blood-red geraniums.

 

There is a goat’s broth of a gathering afterwards,

the passing round of soupy condolences.

A shadowy man in a maroon velvet jacket

and tap dancer’s shoes, stirs spices into a tureen.

‘We could have a song now, in honour …’ he says,

looking at me. I demur, putting a hand to my throat

where, I’ve forgotten, I’m still wearing her choker.

He hands out individual pork pies, like recriminations.

 

The Heaven Ladies come in after late shift, pulling off beanies

and letting shot-silk blue hair tumble. One of them calls me over

and gives me some forms, everything to be completed in turquoise.

‘There’s no rush,’ she says, ‘only they’re always changing rooms

and it will be less confusing—’ (someone hands her a glass of mulled purple)

 ‘—if you do it before midnight.’

                                 

The print doggy-paddles in front of my eyes,

wheretofores and whereuntos and notwithstandings coagulating

like raisins in cake. ‘I’m not sure,’ I begin, but they’ve all turned away

to where someone has started up on the piano, and is serving low curves of jazz.

 ‘And don’t forget the wax seal!’ one lady spits back

through the gristle of a pie she’s chomping. Someone phones

 

from the hospital to say there’s been a mistake, no-one

has died, and the funeral is thereby declared invalid, if not

actually illegal. The words are bluebottles circling the room,

causing outrage and sniping. The maroon-tapdanceman

seems to hold me personally responsible and says he’ll be in touch

for expenses. The Heaven Ladies suppress little sighs and smile

maternally, buttoning themselves up against the east wind

and calling out seeyousoons.

 

As they depart, I stand in the doorway like a broken sheep.

I say ‘you are welcome’ but am careful not to let my hand stray

too far from the latch.

 

 

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The Winner Takes It All

Can’t believe I am here again, judgement day
The room is harsh, their faces cold
My life changing message looks out from the banal white paper on the desk
We sit in silence exchanging knowing looks
Daring each other to utter the first damning sound

 

 

Again the treacherous disease has returned like a haunting ghost
Materialised from a lifetime of fear to a reality
Swooping down when least expected with intense strength
Onto a weary battered spirit of a seasoned warrior
The challenge of another dual with mortal stakes

 

 

A battle of endurance borne with politeness and courtesy
White coats, toxins and cups of tea
Needles, rich tea biscuits and false smiles
Appreciating the world’s hateful things
In case they are soon out of reach

 

 

Who will emerge the champion
Lifting the mangled trophy of life
Mustering the stamina and energy to make the war worthwhile
Leaving the mind and body intact to do more than exist
To bear the pain and anxiety of years to come

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Diagnosis

 

He said he had rotting hair,

falling teeth, greasy skin,

a dowager’s paunch, flat creviced feet,

halitosis, a boxful of ticks, myopia,

lack of confidence with strangers, tendencies towards incontinence…

 

‘And the dog,’ the vet enquired: ‘You think

all this is affecting the dog?’

 

 

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Reflections in June

Take this longing from my lips

words, lies, promises, kisses.

two trips of the tongue

to whisper my name as I lay

in chains of diamonds and pearls

tonight a thousand curves

tonight I am the spy in this house of love

Mata Hari contemplating killing a man

in ermine furs to adorn pale skin

spiced with amber

golden in shade and in scent

warm to touch and to taste

on the tip of a tongue or a finger

gilded brilliant in Klimt’s embrace

days on fire and nights of burning embers

and strangers in the afternoon.

Senseless sex and soulless living.

O sycophantic lover I ask you this:

does beauty come from heaven or hell?

is our love divine or infernal?

Forever to reside in eternal bliss

or perhaps this here, a mere transient kiss.

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My Uni-Verse

 

 

 

The Sun that rises with the dawn

Our nearest star on fire,

Providing all the light and heat

our planet may desire.

 

 

Of Hydrogen and gas it’s made

A million miles across,

5 billion years still left to burn

But still it is The Boss.

 

 

The Earth will orbit once a year

Around the Solar plane,

Summer winter spring and fall

The Axis tilt to blame.

 

 

24 hours is all we have

Each and every day,

The sun will glide across the sky

Then night returns to play.

 

A mediocre star at best

Our distance seems just right,

Not too hot to scorch the earth

And not too cold at night.

 

 

We are but such a tiny orb

In this huge expanse

So are we part of some big plan

Or are we here by chance.

 

 

 

Mike Hutchings 2017

 

 

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The circus

greatest illusionist best show around Performing trickery
broken minds
walking the tightrope
blinded eyes
ring of fire burning inside

 

Magician Sawing unwanted thoughts 
lock in a box
round of applause

Face of a clown people want to see

block the frown inside of me
Paint over tears
leave no watermarks in sight
going to be the star of the show, tonight

 

Open wide lions head
playing deadly Russian roulette
One more go
will wait and see
If the lion gets the better of me

 

Fortune teller
crystal ball
palms read
will tell you all 
not of reality, or true life itself
only the make believe inside your head

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Jess

Tethered in a dark room

searching the window for answers.

The tea cup stands half empty, cold.

A trophy of past desires

welded to the work bench

by its own dehydrated over fill.

 

 

Weaving a dress of abnormal conventions.

Reinforced seams for a smooth finish.

Tattoos and visions stitched into the lining

every suture a divisive deception.

Bunion feet squeezed into narrow boats

unfit for sailing choppy seas.

 

 

I am a compliant captive.

The bond between us a much better leash

than any jess could ever be.

Catching the lure because it’s there.

But in the moment before talon touches glove

you are shocked by my regressive eye.

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THE RED MIST

When the red mist swarms

Even the most peaceful mind conforms

To ugly ,intransigent ,utmost horror.

There is no battle. No wrangling. This is instant capitulation,

and unconditional,and alarmingly superficial.

 

When the red mist clouds

It creates the most impenetrable of shrouds.

There is no escape, it’s futile to even try. Counting to ten offers no trade,

The mind blanks at that appalling charade.

Understanding the why is no good either

Because all rational thoughts are butchered in an instant.

Swatted away like flies; a quite benign but infuriating irritant.

 

When the red mist forms – contrary to what the experts say –

pretty, temperate thoughts must be mourned.

The meadow, the beach, the sunshine and the priest

Could well ameliorate a savage temper and this is

Something you should well remember says the lady on the couch

With the glasses and the mortgage and the personality shortage.

 

When the red mist swarms consequences and rules and perfectly

Preserved good manners are made quite spectacularly redundant.

When one doesn’t care if one lives or dies (in that demented, hideous instant)

Who cares if you cut off long-term emotional ties. And if someone cries,

Well that ‘s all the better. It feels good to infect another existence.

To corrupt it forever.

And ever.

And ever.

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The Quiet Ones

THE QUIET ONES

 

Back in the Old School it must have been thought

that in quiet there resided some powerful magic;

 

otherwise how credit our elders’ relentless pursuit

of it. Not the ringing silence of the classroom,

 

counting itself out,  fingers on your lips.

But the quiet that came later with dead wide grins

 

after the huddle in the factory yard broke up

at the approach of the foreman, for instance,

 

him or his clueless, blabbermouth nephew;

or the quiet enforced by rattled newspapers,

 

dry coughs and creaking doors;

the throat-clearing quiet of rooms without books,

 

or any to speak of; the quiet refusal not only to speak

but even to read, never mind sing, ever, in “public”;

 

a quiet that meant anything but consent

when it couldn’t manage exile or master cunning;

 

a quiet nonetheless accommodating

generation after generation in their showing up

 

at roll call, playing truant with the dawn chorus,

those quiet ones who once treaded

 

the murky waters of silent newsreel footage

but who now, having deserted the cemeteries

 

as definitively as they always have,

are wondering what it is that detains us,

 

as they gesture unflaggingly from the other side

of our hand-held screens, trying to attract our attention.

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Castle View

CASTLE VIEW

 

The mounds and mounds us rangy chisellers

crawled around; vultures for punishment, we were,

 

when nobody’s house sat far from a building site.

Ruined castle turret and monastic tower hunkered down

 

among truckloads of muck and gruff leftovers,

quite tolerable worms and hills only the sturdiest

 

could be kings of. Crowned with crusted paint tins,

the rusted nails of a holy god searching for hands

 

and feet to be proud of, bloody but unbowed,

mammaried but turning feral as the voices called

 

through the five o’clock shadows. But who needed tea

when you could sleep over in Sloppy Joe’s,

 

your skeletal uncle’s place that, between mouthfuls

of his hard cheese unearthed in silver paper,

 

gave you the lie of the shack you hid in, nightly:

what was under the Santa suit of the shag pile,

 

what lay behind the Mickey Mouse plastering. 

And it wasn’t even Anthony Perkins’ mummy:

 

under the bare bones glare of a forty watt bulb

was the real estate, peopled by little men

 

with Havanas huge in their father’s faces

looking for shelter from the marked cards

 

falling around their heads in a manna blizzard,

changing the rules of the game they just lost,

 

the hand we were all about to be dealt.

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Excercise

EXERCISE

 

This is just to prevent me falling

into The Error of the Thirty Two Views

of one screen too many,

each with its own dog to be walked

around the sloughs of inertia

without once wetting my nose, a killer

if you’ve got X amount of work

to hand over to a heavenly

watcher in the woods

 

where it’s all go still despite

recent poor attendances,

the definite article

for a first person singular

to get lost in, a thief

hungering to be caught

since the law first stood up

on its hind legs.

 

This is just not bothering

your heavy duty self

with emissions, roundelays

and bottled tries for an acceptable

slice of grandeur, all under

the one tin roof.                 

 

Outside, it seems

there is a village, after all;

beginning just now to stir

in this last first light

recalling the neat trick

of inducing terror at the look

of teeth, a quickening of the breath

with the noise of too much hair

 

(All this before the livestock

developed their actors’

voices and all the daytime

shows began to revolve

around the fridge)

 

That sweat you wake in,

after dreaming you’ve lost your phone,

is in your blood and your grandmother

now wants the tears she shed for you back.

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Our Moon

Look​ ​up​ ​at​ ​night​ ​to​ ​see​ ​the​ ​moon,

A​ ​crescent​ ​or​ ​a​ ​face,

It​ ​sometimes​ ​isn’t​ ​there​ ​at​ ​all,

Just​ ​darkness​ ​in​ ​its​ ​place.

An​ ​airless​ ​world​ ​so​ ​still​ ​and​ ​silent,

It​ ​hangs​ ​there​ ​like​ ​a​ ​pearl,

We​ ​spy​ ​but​ ​one​ ​side​ ​only.

It​ ​never​ ​does​ ​a​ ​twirl.

The​ ​surface​ ​strewn​ ​with​ ​craters,

And​ ​seas​ ​of​ ​dust​ ​so​ ​vast,

 Man​ ​has​ ​been​ ​there​ ​several​ ​times.

Since​ ​many​ ​years​ ​have​ ​passed.

We​ ​plan​ ​to​ ​go​ ​back​ ​someday​ ​soon,

It​ ​really​ ​is​ ​our​ ​goal,

You​ ​never​ ​know​ ​what​ ​we​ ​might​ ​see,

A​ ​valley made of ​coal!

I’d​ ​like​ ​to​ ​drive​ ​there​ ​in​ ​my​ ​car,

But​ ​from​ ​the​ ​Wife​ ​I’d​ ​cower,

‘Cause​ ​it​ ​would​ ​take​ ​a​ ​million​ ​years

At​ ​TWENTY​ ​miles​ ​an​ ​hour!

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At the zoo

At the zoo

 

Visible longing

A glow of stripes point towards an exit

unreachable,

Eyes smash glass in a bid for freedom

 

Ideas skip in the ignorance and fly

swing free,

tiny hands entice a leap

not sensing terminal incarceration

 

A grassy bank provides no distance between you and the outside

But weighed down pure muscle you trudge

as people stare

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Immortal

Immortal

 

A pain in the neck signals

the beginning

  confusion, sensory piercing

coiling a detachment.

Inside tightens

No way through for Arterial.

Limbs lie limp in

          Stillness

defying death.

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UID: 11961 • PID: 140439 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Impressionist

On the sky she made her mark. It hangs over me,

the way she used to see

slow-dancing clouds that only mock me with the rain.

 

 

I won’t escape the world she built in strokes, I cannot stop

the way each coloured drop

has seeped into the soil, splattered off the window pane.

 

 

‘I toured the seven wonders of the world,’

I try to write about the girl,

‘But they were only you and you again.’

 

 

Don’t taunt me! Laughing colours in the fire come apart.

They’re a rip-off of her art,

just like the scrunched up poems that they burn, echoes of my brain.

 

 

‘I toured the seven wonders of the world,’

I write my lines of punishment 

until the chalk is only dust, until they’re pulsing through my veins:

 

 

‘But they were only you and you again.’

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Boy

Here you sit, broad-shouldered, gentle creature,

with two clean plates between us. 

I search the surface of your face, square moon,

for the image of a man

as a climber fumbles for footholds

or a young pincer poises 

open and expectant on the sand.

 

 

I, Miranda, proud atop my island,

once denied all want of man. Who could want more

of rancid Prospero and Caliban?

Now in the cleft of Hanging Rock I stand.

 

 

My grapple hook found you, sharp-edged, pristine

tabula rasa, pearly

as the unripe flower in your hand.

My heart’s an open clam. Discovering 

one pallid drop of colour, it will sing,

‘That is the brightest thing I’ve ever seen;

now at last I understand!’

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Six Months Have Passed Along the Lake

Six Months Have Passed Along the Lake

 

I thought you might like to know about this;

it is now winter.

The surface of the lake holds the sun – that golden blaze

brushing across her frozen face

in a direct line to where ever I am;

a blinding reflection

that seems to skip across the grains of ice,

sinks in but does not melt her surface.

 

She holds these suspended curves of wave

mid stroke,

snow folded across in windswept commas,

like the way you used to pin your hair,

just like that,

fading softly to blue then, further north

silver, then back to white – your last photo.

 

Daylight reveals a seam down her belly,

this new color hinting of a distant spring; deep green.

The grey silt, mixed-up and cold, follows

in a slow-motion dance.

From her floor she moans and creaks in subtle undulation,

The surface answers, like when you tried to speak

but couldn’t – let out a whisper instead;

Winter’s pale breath,

 

then moved your eyelids

so, I knew you could hear me,

that you were trying to see

the picture

I was showing,

the wildness held there;

how it could still remain.

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UID: 12021 • PID: 140446 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

A Throat Between Songs

A Throat Between Songs

 

There have been all these eagles buzzing around me lately,

I don’t know why, but the surprise

is how they make the softest of songs,

gently rolled up against their deeper silk throats,

suddenly streaming out, all at once

in lyrical descent, smooth and bold

like a torch singer in pre-war Paris, (Queen)

working the crowd, spaghetti strapped

satin dress you can’t help stare at,

only eclipsed by that velvet voice

leading to one long held note (opening),

then, the Mesmer of silence,

that’s when I know they are getting ready to fly;

looking straight out to the pin fall audience

so they can hear the wind rise,

which way to go.

 

I wait for an answer (heavy),

on the other end of the telephone

you are too busy to talk,

hold a long pause, so that you have

my full attention.

You mention bleeding out,

tell me just as an aside (cooing),

when it has been going on for quite awhile now,

and the next time I call there may not be

any conversation left, high note (sustain).

I see you there, bare shouldered,

leaning against the next curtain fall;

eyeing the horizon.

I am listening.

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Without

St. Giles Church – just outside Cripplegate –

is flanked by the towers of the Barbican estate,

so that I have compared it once before

to those low spires that nestle in the Voralpen.

On the day that I visited the doors were open,

the pews were empty and the walls were bare

and, as my guidebook promised, Milton was in there:

Cast in bronze he stands apostrophising

his spirit muse. His stance here tells of change;

retrace your steps – outside, you’ll see the strange,

elaborate plinth on which the poet stood

before the first great air raids of the war.

Then, in the margin, photos of the time

showed men in helmets, Milton on the floor,

their hands beneath his head as though baptising.

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Sleep Encounter

As paper soaking instantly,

After all these years she casually tells me,

 She saw you as something real today,

You are looking well, she told me, in spite of the time passed,

As if you were as close to death as a morning moon,

But still beautiful; as rich as myth,

Resonating through the aureate hue of childhood,

And now a guardian of sleep from the grey sleeve of the present.

 

But she is in my sleep and not yours,

So when you tell me of this,

I don’t let the nerves sour me and reveal in my face,

That you are my most pervading and perused dream;

Coming to me at the brink, before the darkness splits.

You are almost as true as warmth in that moment,

Before you slip like quicksand, again and again,

An hour glass between the entangling blackness,

And the flat blow of first light.

 

 

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The Show

She never did come to see the show,

But they mentioned her name before the opening,

And there she appeared next to my seat,

In the stalls and behind me all at once,

Like she has always been, through crowds and sleep.

When I think of her it’s the light snagging on her cheeks,

And around me everywhere, a strange woman’s half face appearing,

Fracturing the counterfeit dark,

The same cragged precipice down into the tide of lips,

Too high and too close, I never did mind falling – it was all I would ever have.

Into the waves my body would stab with all of her at once,

A sharp inhale to pierce the time open,

And then the autumn yellow floods the classroom,

It suspends the pure blue oscillations in her wrists,

And calcifies my lungs made of coral, pink and young.

 

Soon I would bloat with all the warmth of you,

For a moment that’s what it felt like, to drown but be alive,

And then to die, or breathe,

To sink into the velvet crease of the seabed,

Or wash up and be blanched by the sun,

Before I can choose, the women like her rise from their seats

And start clapping like fish out of water,

They were never you.

And the curtains fall and it’s all finished,

Flecks of unwelcome silence settle,

And then thousands of rocks and shells raining in encore.

For a moment I shelter in your memory, in the clavicular dip,

And then, once you’ve really gone, I go onto the stage; purple and floating,

Back up on the wings of the cliffs,

The white fibres below unravel.

It has been ten years since. 

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Rose

I cannot compare you to the slow cessation of autumnal light,

That, with its descent, makes a memory palpable on the note of a sigh.

Rather that you are a souvenir of that gentle fire between charred land and diluted blue,

The ember of a thought solidified between the viewing of two paintings,

The abstract piece: the dust from the afternoon pouring through the sieve-like linen,

To the distorted, violent expression swinging on a nail above the bed.

Between both kinds of illumination, the kindling feeling of you is the most desirable,

It is what made me; and men,

Bewitched as ballet dancers on the tips of our feet,

Painfully pulling our knees up from the roots, so as to move every length of the stage,

To drink the warm amber of you.

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UID: 6867 • PID: 140459 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Inadequacy

I’m scaling a climbing wall,

The multi-coloured pathways

just out of reach, no ropes

or belay to help.

 

Trying to succeed

is slippery smooth, impossible to

grip on to. It leaves a

residual layer, a taint clinging to my palms.

 

I swallow a gulp of sour milk.

The cloying tang rejected

by my gag reflex, even as

it slips down.

 

‘Not good enough’ whispers

Like the scaly rustle of dead

Leaves. Noisy but the reasoning is

unclear.

 

Gut-twisting uncertainty:

Something is wrong. A misstep

Created in my brain.

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Snapshot: Paarl 2006

Blue, white and yellow blommetjies rokkies framing awkward,

scrawny girls. Sitting on an unused tennis court

playing juvenile games, some read books or laughed –

we were happy.

 

The girl I walked to Clarinet lessons on Thursday afternoons,

who ate to survive not because she liked to.

The girl who loved horses and her long distance boyfriend,

who fell and broke her pelvis – we didn’t see her for weeks.

The girl who laughed like a horse:

In our blommetjies rokkies,

we were happy.

 

The girl who found me crying on the stairs,

the girl who was pig-like and mean

calling me fat, causing my tears.

The girl who loved snakes and was depressed,

but we were too young to know –

we were all happy.

 

The girl who had us all scared witless

by the ghosts she pretended to see.

The boy who made us all laugh,

the girl who dated him from pity,

the girl who loved him later.

He married his soul mate before 10 year reunion.

 

The boy everyone loved,

the girl who was raped at school,

the boy who got away with it.

She has a family now.

The girl who was raped later,

and ran away from life.

 

We thought we were happy.

 

*blommetijies rokkies – blue and white flowered dresses

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425 Hz

When I try to call, it is two infinities pinging in succession,

One of truth on the mountain; observing all below,

The other of love crouched on the hill; staring above.

And when there is nothing left, neither sight nor smell,

Both peaks are lit up like beacons,

To signal the uprising of a past that cannot be beaten–

 

Beaten down by a pallid lust or moonbeam talks,

These are fires that do not spread but try to connect, then and now,

Through their sonorous light and sonar flames,

Their fervour promises me I’ll get back to you again,

But they fail to carry out the message,

A conduit with no ending,

Though the distorted grey water lies below, the silence in between the rings

Swells beautifully,

Not with memory, which lies in the smoke,

But with what could have been.

 

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Inside my head

Despair swirls: 

cloaking my throat,

like Vicks clouding the steam of the sick.

 

A flat browned memory remains:

 

A pressed husk of the first flower

blackened, decayed.

 

An ancient journal bursting with

the musk of spent adventure –

tormenting, tantalising.

 

The secret letter faded, dated

sepia tones of a long lost faded portrait,

the last illusion of happiness.

 

A curl of hair – abandoned –

lustreless and greying.

 

The remains of an everlasting love,

memories rattling around, choking my brain.

A capsule for the future –

a bitter reminder, faintly scented with lavender.

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UID: 11153 • PID: 140467 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Just another day at the office

“So how was your day?”
Sudden urge to cry
“Went pretty good”
A well-practised lie.

 

Simulating levity
During family meals
No way of expressing
Exactly how she feels.

 

Time for bedtime stories
Children tucked in bed
Push aside her troubles;
Focus on them instead.

 

“Mummy, what do you do?”
The youngest child asked;
“Why, I work in an office
Where I do what I’m tasked.”

 

She must avoid such probing
Focus back on fairy tales
Where good always trumps evil
And nothing ever fails.

 

At first sleep evades her
Then come movies in the head
Replaying endless highlights
As nightmares they are fed.

 

Long days tracking ‘bad guys
Logging exactly where they go
For higher pay-cheques to decide
When to strike that blow.

 

Target in the cross-hairs
White furnace; then cloud of black
Wait, until dust has settled;
Now there’s no going back.

 

Survey the scene for hours
Observing what they do
Until the shift is over
Replaced by another crew.

 

For her, no warrior status
No ‘right stuff’ claim
Just another day at the office
With tomorrow just the same.

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Slaves

Souls sucked through seductive screens
Connected to the matrix; sharing
But somehow not; communicating
In 140 characters or less
Over 1000 miles or; sending
Just 1 metre.

 

Self-worth; judging
From ‘likes’ by ‘friends
Or is that strangers; providing
A brief heat, but no lasting light
From virtual Tinder?
Encounter-vending-machines; degrading
Courtship, intimacy, touch, and time.

 

Edited stories; scripting
Perfect worlds; portraying
Images: contriving
Onlookers; deceiving
And self; deluding
Projected idyllic lives; cloaking
Idyllic lies.

 

Twittering egos the Cloud; seeding
Silent yet strident prattle; creating
A cold polluting fog; obscuring
Metamorphoses as yet unseen;
Digital disciples; surfing
Vast oceans of distraction; digesting
Small fragments only; drowning
Vestiges of reflection.

 

Vested interests; promoting
Privacy; denaturalising
Democracy; diluting
Efficiency; exaggerating
Empathy; eroding
Humanity; sculpting
Autistic slaves; serving
Intelligent machines; making
Stupid humans.

 

Souls sucked through seductive screens
In virtual space, we hear no screams.

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UID: 6219 • PID: 140476 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

MINOTAUR

The minotaur lurks somewhere under the Elephant and Castle

And his sister is mooing and drooling  above Spaghetti Junction.

Further north, cars shoo away the air,

While the beast buzzes and dribbles with

Pleasure at  his schadenfreude sinking in

To prevent him from lashing out in fury.

The Athenian hero lost the Cretan princess

To barrelfuls of wine,

To the anarchy of smashed bottles.

The dangerous jerks sang,

Shot dumb guns to give them  a voice,

Laughed at the blood-strewn gullies

And the winds that had charged through the

Naxian temples and wrecked them.

Ariadne, what have you done

To your own congregation?

You’ve sided with the crazy

While Theseus returns to Athens

And, preoccupied,

Forgets to hoist up the white sails

To replace the black ones.

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Bluebells

Bluebells; first sign of spring
The mood it rises, as blackbirds sing
The woods are carpeted in glorious blue
On shaded verges their heads poke through
Bluebells; a quintessential British bloom
Nature’s art, dispelling winter’s gloom.

 

But wait!

 

There’s something that’s not quite ‘right
The blue is ‘wrong’, it is too bright
And the stems are much too straight
Undermining the traditional state
Our ancestors joined that garden club
Spread its seed through wood and shrub
So a new migrant form set the trend
For with British natives it would blend
Making vigorous hybrids from their seed
But stoking anxiety about indigenous breed
Some gardeners viewed this migrant flower
As turning good British soil most sour
And so they wanted to pull them out
So ‘purer’ Bluebells were free to sprout.

 

But such radical changes to our woods
Could now impact on our other goods
So the people were asked to speak
A small majority then showed their pique
Scorn on this foreign flower they pour
Wanting British bluebells again to soar
Woods again carpeted in ‘right’ tone of blue
So things would look like they used to do.

 

But the lighter Bluebell now has deep roots
So each year towards the sun it shoots
And as some gardeners pull out the stem
Other gardeners plant them back again.
But the Bluebell’s future is now unclear
And many gardeners suppress their fear
About the promised new Bluebell spring
And flourishing summers that will bring
God; he smiles as he hears this plan
While briefing nature to bypass Man.

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Your Rejection

Your rejection seeped into my pores to its antipathy I became resigned, it inched along the canopy of my consciousness then into the cloisters of my mind.

Your reject shrouded all my sensibilities then debilitated my need to resist, it shred my rational thinking then quelled objections from my tongue and fist.

Your rejection pulsed through my veins then spat its venom into my jaded heart, it pierced the ramparts of my fortitude then slashed my composure wide apart.

Your rejection released a maelstrom of instability through my wretched and pining soul, it drop kicked my waning confidence then taunted my pride and my self control.

Your rejection traversed my vulnerability then bound it with ligatures of increasing disdain, it languished over the carcass of my sanity then laughed at my humiliation and my pain.

Your rejection became a swirling vortex of inevitability that engulfed me in loathing and doubt, it flecked my pooling tears with a doomed realization before they finally came tumbling out.

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SINGLES BAR

There’s a bar full of men and women

Idling away a tiny bit of their future

As it morphs in to past.

I chatted to Sarah,

Lips-glossy, face angular in the bar lighting,

Her shoulders twitched while shrugging.

I didn’t know what I was doing here either.

I didn’t know how loud her make-up was;

Or whether she warned me with her fetching stockings

Like someone waving a handkerchief outside the shop so that the whole

Street would know the tax inspector was on his way.

Her girlfriends were all clutching handbags

As if they were a form of resistance.

They tossed back their long locks or brushed them aside.

A nuisance fly was hovering around.

I drank the potion.

 

First fear, confusion, swirling.

My legs gave away and then oblivion.

When I awoke too early, it was in  a room with a mattress

Sparse and forlorn,  overused and under- upholstered.

Nobody there except a crushed cigarette in a rebuking ashtray

Moneyless, I staggered out into the dawn street.

My head was screaming

and the atmosphere had thickened since the previous evening.

I tried feasting on the air,

And  lied to myself that I would never drink again.

It sounded too much like an excuse to be serious.

 

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Ruskin’s Contract

 

If he mashes your breasts with his caresses, Ma,

it won’t go good for you. Little Ruskin was a worrier,

 

a careful guardian of his mother’s ways.

The roughhousing of her various lovers

 

was what concerned him most. The beard rash

which raged for days and had him pounding

 

aloe vera for its soothing pith; applying it

with skilful little fingers. The lovers who left her

 

with white spots atop her tongue and a husky

voice from kissing: Ma

 

he fixes lemons for a cut-sore-throat healing drink—

I’ll look after you now. His silver fruit-knife

 

works away, slicing, flicking, with incredible

delicacy and skill— a natural noblesse.

 

 

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TLDR

It’s Too Long; Didn’t Read
Headlines only, get news at speed
For we digital natives do multitask
Our Twitter feed does all we ask
Collecting ‘likes‘ and lots of ‘friends
Or keeping up with latest trends
No time here for complexity
Keep it simple sans perplexity
Tell us what we want to hear
Or no longer will you have our ear
Eliminated at lightning speed
Like this; Too Long; Didn’t Read.

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Distracted

We are the king and queen of distraction
With an obsessive need to explore
No matter what’s the action
We need a new info score.

 

We must always be connected
No matter what we do
We naively think we are protected
We are the digital savvy new.

 

We believe in the myth of multi-task
We’re better than what’s gone before
The internet sun in which we bask
Our souls we have to pour.

 

Headphones embedded in our ears
Eyes fixed on our magic screen
We shut out the world and its fears
Become part of the virtual machine.

 

We think we can walk, cycle or drive
While virtual ‘friends’ updating
Injecting minutiae on which we thrive
Ignoring the thin ice we’re skating.

 

We make calls or text while driving
Though as dangerous as being drunk
We ensure the practice remains thriving
Because to such depths of ‘me‘ we’ve sunk.

 

Our gods gave us many senses
We are beautifully designed
But we now employ techno fences
To render ourselves deaf, dumb, and blind.

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WASTE PAPER BASKET

Paper DVD covers lurk amongst  receipts,

Torn wistfully, less in anger, more in sadness

At the cost of it all.

Torn- up half- written paragraphs

Scrap with crushed tissues.

Half- forgotten ideas, resurrected then rejected again

This time for ever,  lie between

Multiple copies of teaching materials where now

Only one copy is necessary.

Witticisms and line upon line of cracked platitudes

That speak of their tenacity by being visible,

never hit the target, who is either not there or slinks out of the way.

Fragments collide in the soft chaos,

An uneasy coexistence.

And dry junk mail shrieks:  from 10.99 to 9.99,

Prices slashed!

Little splinters of imagination wait, not substantial enough

To scramble up out of the base and

burst out from untidiness’ skin.

They’ll be waiting for a long time yet

To be retrieved

If they’re not already thrown away for ever.

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Cockaigne

 

after Edward Elgar

 

 

The smack of wet and loud in London town;

a puff of steam and flap of fog; a hoop, a top;     

a bowler, a boater, a merry-widow hat.   

 

Cheeky streetboys—cocks of the walk—hawking wares,

chasing dogs and horse-drawn cabs, bobbing, weaving, alive

to the rollicking circus. A carnival of sins of the chirpy

chuckling kind. A cackle or two. Cockles; eels; steak pie.

 

Round the corner a cockade—brass band!—and London’s heart

swells. A man would be a brute not to stand and salute

the Empire, the Empire. And all still to play for. 

 

And now, again, old London bustles!—as fast as modern ladies abandon

theirs, for sleeker silhouettes, and ‘Votes for Women!’, and cycling 

in Hyde Park; a march to Hampstead Heath, in mud and powdery dust.

Here’s raucous singing, all the craic—‘Down at the Old Bull & Bush’.

 

Take a peek in the park for displays of licence.

A line of nuns: flipped over to show their bottoms.

A peal of bells; and lovers loiter, mutually appealing.

Wide green spaces unravel, and it’s for all the world

like Malvern, Malvern, hills and sky, and running wild with kites.

 

This, intertwining with the filigree circus—and rivers of milk

and beer… Champagne! A belter of a city. Cockney savvy veering

into sheer noblesse. Medieval England speeded up to a melee of sharps

and toffs and old cockers. Cockaigne. Our little Eden, burgeoning with pride

and never shy of its underside. The orchestra blazes—

this London, this drug. 

 

 
 

Note: ‘nuns flipped over to show their bottoms’ is a detail from descriptions of ‘Cockaigne’, a fictional land in medieval literature; ‘rivers of milk’ are also associated with this subversive and mythical place of plenty, which by Elgar’s time had become whimsically identified with London.

 

 

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The Beast of Expectation

Its hunger is insatiable
This Beast of Expectation
Fed junk-food promises
By leaders of the nation
Beast’s girth then so inflates
Its demands rise even more
Yet none dare tell the truth
Lest hell burst through the door
So golden futures are promised
For delivery on undetermined date
Or it’s given another lie injection
Thinning more the ice they skate
This Beast of Expectation
The politician’s voracious pet
Its cage stores disappointments
Of those promises never met
Till one day the Beast escapes
Seeks souls of those it blames
They that failed to manage it
Perish first in dragon’s flames.

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Thinking Dreams

Images passing in the night

Shadowy dreams, covering light,

A shape manifests in my mind

Mixed emotions, the truth does blind.

The day’s events are taken in

At night is when it starts to begin.

Nightmarish thoughts, twisted faces

I am taken to strange, dark places.

What does this mean? I hear you say,

A dream is too complex to display.

Explain this as a metaphor,

daytime thoughts cocoon like a core.

When sleep arrives, dreams are derived

Evolves into a butterfly.

Joy, tragedy, simply good or bad

Entwined together, am I mad?

This seems to be linking, it all starts by thinking,

(The human mind) I think you’ll find, complex

is the human mind.

Imagine a place where you’ve never been

Where light is said to be a sin.

All our normalities in this world

Transformed into a parallel.

She looks the same, just as I,

But has a strange glint in her eye.

Same looks, same traits, same thinking pattern,

Exists her brain on another plane.

One is kind, one is ruthless

But in their world’s the other is useless. 

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Being Strange

They label me strange and not much fun
But as a problem-solver I’m number one
Their obsessive sociability I can’t understand
With no attention to detail, they never expand
They are so easily distracted,  they make no gain
And their lack of routine I just can’t explain –
Yet they label me strange, and so cause much pain.

 

Born with a brain-filter tuned really high
Excluding irrelevancies, so precision can fly
While my inner world is not a bad place
But others have needs that I share this space
So they come knocking, must join the crack
Must play their games, be one of the pack –
Yet my brain is wired for a different track.

 

My need to focus and perceived lack of tact
Obsession with routines, details, and fact
And nuance and irony simply pass me by
So ‘aloof’, or ‘arrogant‘ becomes the common cry
Lack of sociability can make me appear rude
And absence of guile makes me sans shrewd –
Plenty of scope then to miss what is good.

 

They label me strange, yet now seek to be me
Eyes glued to shiny screens –  it’s all that they see
Headphones in ears and gaze fixed down
Thresh in Twitter-waters, trying not to drown
No crying baby, no outer-space must distract
Social skills degrading as sliding fingers act –
Training for autism, embracing Devil’s Pact.

 

Seeking re-tweets or to collect lots of ‘friends
Feeding the stormy churn of latest trends
More comforting than the world outside
Status proclaimed, boasting gadget pride
But in connected isolation they are not like me
Constantly distracted, they are far from free –
Strangeness indeed in humanities’ new sea.

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Stocktake

Third tuna can

for the thirtieth night.

It doesn’t count if it’s dark, you see.

As long as I don’t exceed thirty

and I can eat it in three sporkfuls 

in thirty minutes.

Otherwise it goes up to sixty.

 

My blood is at high tide.

I sit in the aisle and try to stay still,

but the school

 

Twelfth sticky note

with the spiky edges.

Seven of them are red, unfortunately.

So I need to find another two

and pull off eight of the nine spikes.

In three minutes.

Shame the gum is on the spikes, though.

 

swim in and out of my veins and their fins cut

through my skin and make knots in muscle.

Sometimes I’ll

 

Eighteenth morning customer

curious about the spikes.

They can tell they’re missing, strangely.

Four of them ask if I have any tuna

and I tell three about mercury.

In seven minutes.

Because the fish are slipping out of my mouth.

 

scratch my arm and I can feel their scales

bend backwards. I know now that the sea shivers.

I’m scared of

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Sick of Myself

 

Constant and unrelenting,

it always had to be about me.

Delirious or depressed it was only ever

my narrative that was allowed to

grace the front page, propelled by a persistent,

almost physical need to prove something

by having everyone look at me,

talk about me,

desire me and find me fascinating.

 

If anyone else held the attention

for a second too long in I bounced,

eyes sharp and fists raised.

All smoke screen, naturally, behind

a demure smile, a short skirt and a witty retort.

 

How I laughed at everyone else

but never at myself,

how I criticised everyone else

but never myself,

how I envied everyone else

but never myself.

How I loved to hate the rest

by hating to love me.

 

If I wasn’t paid just

the right amount of attention

I would stamp my twitching feet, reclaim

my misinterpreted independence and throw

my attention elsewhere, always looking

for someone else to pay.

 

This sickness has a diagnosis,

and now I am sick and tired

of being sick and tired.

Sick of the lies and deceit,

subterfuge and denial.

Sick of constantly maligned moods,

and harsh, cruel words smashed amongst

broken promise as I duck and dive,

managing to manoeuvre out of harms’ way as the

missiles cascade around me.  

 

I’m sick of this cold emptiness,

hollow and dank,

my mind scrambling for the constant

contradiction of oblivion and excitement,

using sex and alcohol,

prevarication and greed,

self pity that always leads to self harm,

the endless escape from being me.

 

Sick of needing reassurance

at every conceivable opportunity,

especially when I am demanding and false,

when I fail to listen, hell bent

on proving how amazing

I am and then overwhelmed by that

taste of shame and disgust.   

 

I’m sick of seeing pity on everyone’s faces,

sick of being the cause of the chaos,

sick of waking up trapped in my own

sweat and thoughts of dread

because of the new day ahead.

Sick of losing my mind,

and my self-respect.

Sick of planning my own eulogy

and pretending I will be missed.

 

Self pity makes a bitter companion and

when I feel misheard, misjudged or

misunderstood I now choose to

explain my actions, swallow my pride and

seek humility, to return the courtesy

others have shown me, and to provide

protection and support for those

who too suffer from this sickness,

this dis-ease I was born with but

have the ability to recover from.

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DEcADe

Always the same memory…

 

I am standing at the foot of a toothless mouth with an oak tongue,

And a quietly persistent beckoning from out of the blackness; your grave.

 

All are welcome it seems to say; those silently gathered rebuff the invitation – a digging in of heels against the pull of its slow gravity.

 

There in the foreground is my sister, inconsolable, wrapped in a secret guilt; she would be in jail soon (A small consolation Dad you never lived through that).

 

Her hair catches on a sudden gust – odd for a still day. A single strand breaks loose and I watch it gracefully unfurl; a Golden Eagle finding a thermal.

 

It floats, refracts light and glints. Then spirals down to be swallowed whole; everything including the wings – a morsel for the gluttonous chasm beneath.

 

I recall Mum; ashen, unflinching, unbelieving. Not noticing the tender squeezes of her sisters – unforgiving of the vicar who had called you David.

 

I longed for a fast-forward, wishing 10 years away in a finger snap, seeking the soft cushioned sanctuary of time.

 

And then…

 

As if in pursuit of a whisper I am drawn upstairs to find you.  A locket of your hair has been living for a DEcADe in a small urn set on a drawer in the bedroom.

 

Some sideways physics, perhaps a minor Earthquake, has transported this vessel on a slow voyage to behind the forever smiles of my wedding photo.

 

I fish you out, lifting the urn up through the scattering motes of familial dust into the light of an afternoon window. I speak three times;

 

“She’s still in jail dad.”

 

And…

 

“I don’t know what to do about that.”

 

And…

 

“Sorry.”

 

Somewhere in the house, one of your grand children is revising for his exams. I hear two others in the kitchen – they are baking a birthday cake.

 

Their muted metallic tinkling, faintly transmitted through ceilings and floors, are like my ever-distant memories of you.

 

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A Whiff of Phosphor

 

I lay quiet by a nun while she divided air and parsed light

through her discarded veil. Without a wimple she brought to mind

 

a serious sweetshop proprietress I remembered from childhood, though

this nun smiled wide like one of those ninety-mile beaches in Oz.

 

I wanted to ask her ‘How long?’ but hesitated to have the conversation

become two-way, out of politeness, out-of-steam. The word XXXXXX kept

 

stuttering up in my throat and pole-vaulted my lips in the early hours,

towards three.  ‘That’s one of my words, yes,’ she acknowledged, smiling,

 

and balanced it between us on the unaccommodating bolster. There was

activity in the coal shed before dawn, rough-hewn voices, vocal

 

scowls, disembodied bluster and cussing. I got out of bed to lift the blind.

Light was peering in, amicably. He caught sight of the nun and bowed before her,

 

draped and tiny. Then angled his arms and raised hands for her to begin

looping wool in huge skeins around his wrists until they became heavy and

 

he dropped them, loosing the spools. ‘Unkempt like  Kempis!’ she declared.

At Nocturns the new novices raced through the psalms raggle-tailed and breathless,

 

clutching their flying habits as if cresting dunes in sight of the sea. A lay-brother,

like me, busied himself with balloons, inserting a £10 note into the neck of each

 

one, before inflating them. ‘A nominal contribution,’ he clarified. In the refectory

we were given wine in honour of the feast, viscous, ruby. Only Mother Prioress

 

gave the ‘no’ nod. We fifteen slumped collectively but consecutively as a Mexican

wave of torpor unmanned us. Let the earth crack open and crank forth a Saviour,

 

one of the hermit nuns was moved to cry. The voice seemed to come from the higher

rungs of a stepladder and the sound pulled at me, got inside my gut, like a baby’s

 

cry. Your deliverance is near. I am your server for tonight. Angela Superatus. Call me Sister.

 

 

 

 

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moth man’s baptism

It’s okay, there’s nothing to worry about.

Everyone’s at Laci’s pool.

You know, the one the whole town was baptized in?

Except you, obviously.

 

Don’t ask me that.

Because then I’ll worry I’m too calm.

 

It’s fine. Yes, I’m sure.

 

I can just show you my drawings if you want, the ones

that don’t make it into the comics.

No one else gets to see those.

 

No, we don’t have any. Sorry.

 

This one? That’s the moth man.

He didn’t make the final cut.

No, it’s not mean. He’d call himself that

if he spoke.

See the holes in his jacket? That’s why.

 

No one’s going to find out.

 

Oh, that was a continuity thing someone pointed out,

so I turned it into a little quirk.

Do I? No, I don’t. Really?

Well, anyway, he was the first one I drew.

Everyone thought I was going to kill him off,

and I was, but after that I didn’t want to.

That’s the reason his hair looks like that.

 

Have you stopped worrying yet?

 

Only recently. Probably September.

I don’t know,

it suddenly felt easier. Some other guy did it too.

 

She was the worst one to draw.

She’s everyone’s favorite. Honestly,

I don’t like her.

 

He is, I think.

Your voice reminds me of him.

 

Your smile is dripping

down my shoulder.

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Bag for Life

“Scalpel?” “Check” 

“Swabs?” “Check”

Diseased, inflamed, dying.

Malnourished, underweight…on borrowed time. 

 

The cold, sterile, clinical walls of the theatre,

somewhere between a prison cell and a mortuary.

The finality,

the point of no return.

 

Eyes open, 

a stranger in the mirror.

Eyes shut.

Eyes open.

 

Screams – “Put it back!  I don’t want it!”

Cries that deafened the entire ward.

Unclean, unfeminine, unhuman.

“But it saved your life?”

 

Resentment, anger, frustration,

Healing, recovery, acceptance.

A body decorated with scars,

A mind strengthened with courage. 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tea Anyone?

James reckons that people only like him from the first time they meet him to roughly 20 minutes later.

 

It’s all the capacity he has.  After that it gets difficult – too much potential for violence. That’s why he’s unemployable. He says.

 

He has a friendly dog – he gets on better with animals. We spoke about this for longer than twenty minutes; and yet an attack never came. I like James.

 

Steph is a boy girl or a girl boy. I’ve met him/her here before. This time he/she says, as I hand over some tea.

 

“Gilbert and George.”

 

The artists?” I enquire.

 

Steph says…

 

“They are standing at the gate.”

 

I myself cannot see them.

 

Steph adds…

 

“They’re disgusting.”

 

And…

 

“Perverts.”

 

This last utterance coughed out as a kind of full stop. I am not familiar enough with their work to comment.

 

Sugar? I ask.

 

‘Six “ He replies.

 

All the customers take six sugars in tea. 

 

Tom used to be a commoditised creative. Those were his words. He worked in advertising. He went mad, got sectioned, became homeless. That was his ‘narrative’. I think he’s still in advertising.

 

Miranda runs the place on a voluntary basis. She worries about money and keeping the larder full. She once told me that God usually provides.

 

A few weeks ago the freezer broke down. I later organised a quiz night and raised more than a grand. I saw then what she meant.

 

In an unusually quiet moment at the counter, I notice that the clock on the wall above the urn has stopped.

 

I reach up and manually move the minute hand forward by a few minutes. I’ve fucked up.

 

A customer barks at me.

 

“Can’t wait to get out of here?”

 

Another…

 

“Got somewhere else you need to be?”

 

Everyone waits for an answer.

 

I say…

 

“No.”

 

And…

 

“I was… err.”

 

And…

 

“Tea anyone?”

 

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Run

Ever had that feeling, like running in the dark; of a creepy demon trying to steal your spark?

Hearing footsteps quickly sharpen, as they chase your own

Growing scared and frightened, lost and alone

Mysterious figures, shadows all around

Only the scariest ones are within; I have found

Trapped beneath the poison, that have become my thoughts

Tortured and tainted, I am suffocated and distraught

Slapping on a big smile for those all around to see

Burying this guilty, hopeless feeling deep inside of me

Holding back the tears and pain deep within my eyes

Searching for an answer, is it buried and disguised?

I do not know why I have this feeling, eating me alive

If only someone knew – could they help me survive?

Battling two loud voices deep within my mind

Words screaming at me – bullying and unkind

‘You’re a bad Mum, you can’t be bothered, what is wrong with you?’

‘What’s the matter honey? I guess I love you too’

The answer burning in my soul, if only I could find

The missing piece to my puzzle would help me unwind

The voices shouting louder and stronger, so I believed

The voices so familiar, was I being deceived?

In my gloomy pit of vulnerability, I listened to their tune

Surely postnatal depression was just making me a loon

I couldn’t take any more, the words just hurt too much

Grasping the handle of a knife, my skin began to touch

The cold blade sliced my skin and blood began to pour

With every drop I felt better, my limbs growing sore

Then my eyes fell upon the darkness, the voices in my head

‘What are you doing honey? You should be tucked in bed’

It was my love, my life, my daughters’ dad

Staring and crying at me, but why was he so mad?

If it wasn’t for his voices, his brutal tones of disbelief

I could not believe what he was saying, why was he giving me so much grief?

He’s the one who chased me, in my darkest hours

Wishing that I had been buried, deep underneath the flowers

If it wasn’t for my love and the strength that I had gained

I would’ve remained under his thumb for him to manipulate and pain

For I broke free, escaping his hurtful twisted ways

I escaped his confusing, controlling and painful gaze

For he was my love, my life and my soother; In fact, truth be told, he was my abuser.

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Paper Flowers

 

friends at first sight
desperate to fight the good fight
holding their memories
tight against the fading light

 

emotionally deaf
crouched against
the lining of the earth
inside the pockets of death

 

underneath the chandeliers
of barbed wire and crystal tears
hope has now retreated
washed away with the missing years

 

decaying bodies
without skin or voice
a wasteland of sacrifice
comic book heroes without choice

 

the bleeding earth
comforted by the plough and peace
the empty shells and souls of men
are now finally released

 

fields full of paper flowers
gravestones standing on parade
uniforms full of wasted hours
Empty spaces without names

 

on the day the guns fell silent
a cross was nailed to the sky
the army of the broken hearted
still need to say goodbye

 

 

 

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Monday

across the early morning sky
the greyness holds the daylight by the throat
smoke drifts gently
from the chimney of the meat pie factory
and a stranger wipes the remains of his breakfast
across the back of a passing thought

 

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Happy

I’m fat but I’m happy
Scratch that, I’m fat and in pursuit of happy
Cure the athletes foot, pop those zits, and make sure those tits don’t get saggy
I’m not sad, I am in pursuit of happy
I can control what I eat, so when I vomit at my feet, it’s all good because I am doing it to be happy
If I could fit in that size 6 dress, I will be able to impress that boy who is yet to be a man, and so is unable to accept a full figured woman and is wanting a stick with some ass and tits, and when I get him, I will be happy
I will be happy
I will
I preempt the feeling of feeling full when I am with one who is empty
Empty of emotions, but so experienced in getting a woman’s hips to move with the motions
Devotion to sex, and a body image sold in the magazines
I’m not a slave to the ideal, I’m happy
Happy to self massacre in order to attain that which I am expected to have
Food is for thought, and I am full
I can smell your judging eyes burning my skin
And beauty is skin deep
I weep, and then I run
Don’t you know starving oneself can be so much fun

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Handing in my Notice

The concrete is swamping;
The walls closing in,
and no amount of stomping can
change anything.
Some like it sodden, whilst
some need it drained.
There’s a soil for each blossom –
can’t come here again.

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In the pizza house

 

Looking around for her old-fashioned self

I don’t register this blonded, made-up

business-suited woman with the fussy blouse

 

but she’s not offended.

She offers up her hilarious change

as something like a miracle, even though

it’s made of lip gloss, bleach and tailoring.

 

Later she moves the salt, pepper and sugar

round in an endless shuffle

‘I felt like a glass-cased clock,

with all my works on show, levers nodding,

the little toothed wheels turning.’

 

She passed the walls

of the convent one night, sitting

in the cream upholstery of someone’s car

and later, entering it, became a postulant

 

in a cell with lino, iron bed, basin.

She remembers the nights, the intrusion of bells,

the hollow silences, the weeping.

 

Leaving, she did a marketing course. Now, she sits

in a City church at lunchtime

keeping in touch with whatever might fill

the empty places that keep opening up

and that she may fall into.

 

The fragility of being.  I look into her excited eyes

searching for the dark space where we think the other lives

even though it’s clear there’s no such space

but only matter: muscle, fat, bone.

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Passing of Ben

I opened the door
and there was death
waiting underneath the street lights
as the darkness caught its breath

 

door to door angels
waited in the shadows
cold like frost
with drowning hearts

 

the tears of a thousand tortured souls
fall softly on the concrete skin
where the ghosts of chance and fate
turnover the tarot cards
play the music of forgiveness
and burn the poetry of endless sin

 

horse drawn epitaphs
walk the alleyways of birdsong and stone
sculptured memories hang on the weeping walls
a gallery of childhood dreams and forgotten photographs
music gathers on the lips of every mouth
as death makes the final journey home

 

dust now the bones and skin
let the dancing of the soul begin

 

 

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A photograph

How odd it is to be in other people’s bathrooms

with their worn toothbrushes, dirty ends of soap,

underwear hanging above the bath on plastic racks

 

my aunt’s bathroom for instance, a greenhouse heat,

every surface covered with economy packs

of soap, toothpaste, toilet rolls, the smell of hot talcum powder – Yardley’s freesia – that

scented her fat embrace

 

and then the kitchen with chair next to the Aga

saucers of cat food, piles of newspaper, tracks between them to the living room, more tracks

to the table and her big over-cushioned chair

 

around it and on every floor dusty stacks

of books and catalogues that she padded between

(It wasn’t polite for us to notice this)

 

in the garden her shrinking husband cultivated cabbages and

holed up in his shed with his microscope

as she ballooned bigger he focused on butterfly wings.

 

All this was what she went back to after her trips

to the city with its stores, its taxis, its theatres

with bars where she sips her interval gin and tonic

 

and drawls her criticisms of the play. Wearing Culture

like a brooch on her bosom, she takes me

to London where we see Paul Scofield as Lear

 

and in one theatre has drinks delivered to our seats –

this is the high spot. But I’m detaching,

noticing the way she talks to waiters, enjoys tipping.

 

How a life goes by and she becomes, as I watch, a breathless old lady

 

with an asthmatic cat that eats from dirty saucers

and leaves its hairs on her bed. She still pronounces

in her affected drawl but now is not listened to.

 

She serves us brandy with the Christmas lunch

insisting it’s champagne. Afterwards we’re sick

poisoned by undercooked turkey.

 

When she and my father were children they sat in a moon

in a photographer’s studio, he in an Eton collar, her in ringlets,

she looks out inquisitive, greedy for stars.

 

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Goethe’s theory

In this house by water light arrives

as a greyness against night, colourless in dark,

blooming in the silent hall as

blotches           dimness          spaces                        

 

through the open windows

world becomes more textural

and present, displaying

thickness         roughness       gleam 

 

and light, hurrying through dark space,

meets matter, brakes, stops, floods it                      

revealing form and colour, revealing detail

and world now becomes real.

 

Walking into the air we watch the gradual blush

of colours dawning, filling out the roses

sharpening the greens

deepening the pastels

 

and through the summer morning

the spectrum broadens

brilliant, chromatic, fanning out

in yellow chords of bright heat

 

till light reaches every corner

trampling, searching, glaring,

a shadowless zenith blaring

and colour dies in incandescence of whiteness.

 

The relief when blue returns

creeping in as haze, as fringes round bushes,

as patches of violet shade along the water’s edge

where iris watch the lilies floating

 

blue making shadow pools, creating distance

bringing the far woods into relief, summoning darkness –

first weakened by light, then gathering, purpling

till colour silts down into horizon’s dust     

 

into a thin line that flames

on the water’s surface

then falls and fades,

draining the world again

 

and shapes grow dim

and the dark blooms

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The Eating of Your Heart

The Eating of Your Heart

What happens when you begin to feel the eating of your heart?
Does everyone in that moment don off their masks?
Or is he the only one –  apart?
A lover’s betrayal eating at the edges of my heart –
A piece of it – it’s dead! a part!
A lover’s betrayal eating at the edges of my heart –
Should I? Do I?
Do I…keep going
till there isn’t anything left?

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Waking in the night

Waking in the night

in a room full of our breathing

I came slowly floating up

strands of dreams catching on me

like seaweed, detaining,

as I felt my way along the bed

past your unconscious feet,

my own feet bare and dabbing on the tiles.

 

The house cooled around me

radiating heat into starlight

and I saw my ghost pass

in a mirror on the landing.

 

This is how life tastes, said my ghost.

Bite on it now, this briefness in the dark –

the touch of rough plaster, the flutter of moths on the stairs,

moonlight on the bathroom floor,

the smell of sex, the smell of hot piss.

Listen to night, the dogs barking deep in the valley,

and feel how the mind, a swimmer already,

longs to dive back into night pools

and seas heavy with dreams.

 

But before sleep, look out

at the sharpness of black hills against black sky,

at the many shades of dark.

 

 

 

 

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Patience

In the hours after twilight and before death, I lay awake playing with the rhythm of my breath.

Shallow and weak, my faith begins to creak and show its cracks.

Gaping holes emerge as I submerge myself in thoughts considered beyond crass.

Propelled by boredom, or myopia?

I crave ecstasy and opium.

White powder and power rolled into one.

I am in possession of the former, but it is the latter that I want. 

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Rock and Roll Tramps

left in emotional darkness
by the side of a restless road
I wait to be collected by strangers
a runaway in search of his soul

 

the returning tide rolls over
childhood dreams are out of reach
time paints pictures in the surf
the sleeping bag army are on the beach

 

an empty space without belonging
a pagan church without belief
a congregation of vagabonds and beggars
the closing of the doors is now complete

 

seaside sweethearts tattooed on the hand
working class wisdom
buried like stolen treasure
in the coldness of the sand

 

memories hang like pictures
in a cider house by the sea
the souls of the lost generation
now rocking wild and free

 

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Regret Sonnet

Living within submissions synonym

Apologetic shock siphons horror

Sinking capsized dreams forcing you to swim

Only ever taught how to tread water

Existing here still, and circling a dream

The sky reflecting ghosts upon the tide

Daffodils unfurl inside a sunbeam

Whilst innermost passions gently subside

Paradoxically intransigent

Both feet stood waiting for the stone to set

Held captive by the gods of sentiment

Casting love away till a silhouette

Drift on a day dream till you fall asleep

Grief is a promise only time will keep

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Obeh (Herat, Afghanistan)

While the waters of Obeh remain calm during the winter blizzards, the heat of the summer months reveal something of an unmerciful lizard.

For the water begins to twist and turn greatly, awakening the devil which lays in its underbelly.

The awakening gives rise to heat which begins to boil the blood of the bodies which dare to enter the water, and soon enough many become as lambs to the slaughter.

Marched to the Ghazi stadium in the heat, blood drops in the form of sweat from the ISAF fleet.

Reminiscent of the initial Anglo insurgency of the late 18th century, Afghanistan yet again validating itself as the graveyard for international military.

The Akilees heel of empire, the roar of Malalai enough to force the British army to retire.

As moths to a flame the westerners never learn, those who fail to remember history are destined to get burned.

Whilst the Americans have left no stone unturned, the devil seeks refuge hidden within an urn at the bottom of Obeh as a lizard dispatched by Alexander Burns.

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Debt Sonnet

An automated intimidation

By obligation to know what you owe

Agitated sweats, unjust damnation

Brazen observation strikes a deathblow

Considered by few who need pay no mind

Delivering a promise of coinage

Commitment to pay in full and on time

Dare not be a source of disappointment

Empty your pockets and sell all you can

Faceless corporations are people now

Empowered by law, the law of the land

Freedom emphatically disallowed

Gently persuaded into apathy

Governed by individuality

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Child I

Small child, angels dance freely

From your tongue

To weave the weird patterns of your mind.

 

In those forms that make us smile, 

Are also found the daggers in our side.

Think you, what makes us cringe.

You anger by displaying what we would rather hide.

 

How we envy the beauty of your tripping nymphs,

And wonder if, by chance were we to loose our tongues

Would we hear, once more, our childish angels dance.

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Homecoming

Words hurled like knives 

which wound deeper than the flesh.

Key turning in the door

the sign for battle to commence.

From her dark corner

where she sat coiled through the day

The steel-sharp weapons fly,

tearing the heavy expectancy of the air.

 

Prepared, yet defenceless,

The target absorbs his daily share

In mute acceptance:

Almost no sign of the slow death by a thousand wounds.

Only a tightening of pursed lips;

A steely withdrawal behind grey eyes.

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like ocean waves

Crash,

            but do not break.

 

Break,

            but do not still.

 

Still,

            but do not dissipate.

 

Dissipate,

            but become inevitable.

 

Like ocean waves.

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The Watermill

 

“Let’s go to the watermill,” you said
As evening came round
And humans headed home to bed,
leaving us to the ribcaged rock, and the sea.

It wasn’t much to look at in the end.
A rude block of rough-squared stone,
Piled onto the bank at a bend in
A meagre stream, bricked up and dammed.

A muddy path lost itself in the wild growth
before the black gap of the door,
And a smell of decay rose
From the algae-smothered surface of the pond.

I shrugged. It seemed a dismal spot.
Abandoned to the past without a care.
No sign of why the wheel had stopped
Or what the stone once ground.

Not everyone can see it”, you declared.
“It’s kind of hidden from the beach”
I said. You nodded once and stared
As if at something out of reach.

 

II

“The Miller had a daughter, plump and dark,
Nestled in a basket of Eucalyptus bark.
But a Spring tide and North winds blew one May,
And a freak wave swept the girl away”.

“The Miller sat for years beside the shore,
Pleading with the sea to give his daughter back.
But his entreaties were ignored,
Until the mill, and Miller, turned to wrack”.

“But when the North wind blows
On a full moon, the locals say
A seal will drag itself up to the stones
Of the old mill, and wait for day”.

“They believe that when the millwheel
Is replaced and turns again,
The Miller’s child will free the seal
Ending her, its, and the Miller’s pain.”

 

III

That night I woke to the murmur of a full tide,
And wandered restless to the shore, where
The moon tipped ripples silver in a wide
ribbon, from the depths to the sea’s edge close by the mill.

I paddled through the foam towards the ruin,
But just as I drew close, a wave rose up
And with a cold embrace drew me in
To the salt stinging surf, and took me down.

There I saw a trillion shellfish live and die,
Their husks sinking to the floor for aeons,
Being overlaid, and crushed to stone by
Other rotting vegetation, flesh and bone.

Just then a briny hand dragged me to the surface.
In the fierce moonlight I saw the seafloor
Rise into the night, tilted by an enormous
Claw, those bones now one skeletal stone corpse.

The waves tossed me one last time onto the shore,
And gasping, I watched as the cliffs wore and crumbled.
The wind howled hollow rocks, the sun parched pores,
The rain dividing what the elements had jumbled.

Then came men. And taking stones cast down,
They fashioned blocks, and these they placed
Beside a stream on levelled ground,
And fixed a wheel, to turn stone, to grind meal.

And as the wheel turned, I turned to sea
Where a dark head glistened in the foam,
And though I can’t be sure it sang to me,
It called: “Look for me upon the stones”.

 

IV

At breakfast, you ate kippers,
Wrinkling your nose at each nibble.
The local paper open at the middle.
Adverts ringed in lipstick
For a diving mask; cement;
A pair of flippers.

“Last night, I had the oddest dream”;
“A mermaid dragged you underwater?”;
“Somehow it was the Miller’s daughter.
But then I saw the beach transformed
Through an eternity. The very stones
Were living or so it seemed.”

“In this place all men dream the same.
A seal-girl calls them from the deep
And not all wake from their night’s sleep.
But few are granted what you saw,
The tightening of history’s gyre.
I guess that I’m to blame.”

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UID: 10348 • PID: 140563 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Truth

We met one day

on an empty road

leading nowhere

of much circumstance.

 

Truth and I

walked a way

together

as old friends.

 

Have we met before?

I first inquired,

upon meeting

my friend of old.

 

And with a smirk,

a wink, and laughter,

he said, yes,

each day I hold

 

my hand out boldly

when I meet you

on some road

leading somewhere

 

of some circumstance

to you.

But your hand is in

your pocket. It is cold

 

outside, perhaps.

You are rushing,

thoughts a’ humming

in your mind,

 

and though I know,

having met you

times before

as friends of old,

 

that you are kind

and sometimes

happy even,

you are busy

 

oh so busy

for a friend

of little

circumstance.

UID: 10348 • PID: 140563 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 10348 • PID: 140564 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

A Different Anchor

You need a different anchor,

for as I see it,

you refuse

to put down roots

into this good earth.

 

And so you flail

and fly and float

at the mercy of

those earthly currents,

yet without wings or sail.

 

Duly, you feel battered

and look torn

and oh so wearily you cry

for rest and harbor,

but seeing refuge—flee.

 

You jump up into the wind

and down into the current

and out into the ether—

willfully alone,

infinitely terrified.

 

But it is you—you

refuse to put down

roots into this good earth,

and scoff at anchors

and run from harbors.

 

If you must go,

if you must run,

if you must fly,

cease pining for the earth

and seek a different anchor.

UID: 10348 • PID: 140564 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 10348 • PID: 140565 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Meet me in the firelight.

The ridges on my face

are gentle in the firelight,

the hollows of my eyes aglow;

the shadows of my sorrows 

spark to life in the firelight,

emboldened in a lively dance.

 

I promise, in the firelight,

my face aflush with borrowed warmth,

my cheeks ablush with borrowed radiance,

my eyes agleam with borrowed passion,

I’ll borrow too, the will to live,

to burn inexorably bright, 

to kindle everything in sight,

with primal vigor, primal need;

to burn as long, as bright, as strong

as fuel exists, as air suffices,

and everything I touch

I will obliterate, incinerate, or spark

until the sky weeps ashes

and the earth weeps light.

 

But only in the night, dear—

only by the firelight. 

 

The dawn will break and you

will wake true life, to true light.

Stir not the ashes of my gaze

to seek live embers, 

for in light I throw no shadow,

emit no glow, no warmth, no life

 

—a self-consuming fire,

a self-effacing might.

 

Forget me in the daylight.

UID: 10348 • PID: 140565 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 10348 • PID: 140566 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Beauty will

And we screamed at the world— 

 

World— 

How dare you be beautiful,

when we are broken?

How dare you be beautiful,

when we are terrified?

How dare you be beautiful,

when we are dying?

 

And the world replied— 

 

Little beings—

it is you sing arias of loss, 

write nocturnes of longing,

tell legends of strife,

paint suffering on canvas,

and in Beauty forge them.

It is you who light flames 

 

that outlast you,

and you, who stifle light

you did not spark.

It is you, who spill blood

for forgiveness—

and love.

 

How dare you—

in your frightful finitude?

 

Forgive us, world—

it is our salvation.

UID: 10348 • PID: 140566 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 10348 • PID: 140568 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Youth

We’re all special.

Special little flowers.

Special little wilting blossoms.

 

Soft gazes unfurling dreamscapes—

 

A waking into spring—

into wonder, wondering,

wondrous visions.

 

Oh, if it is already so beautiful—

 

my fragile petals,

the sunrays stroking them,

bees courting my fragrance.

 

Already so beautiful—

 

life, and I—

and I having just woken,

am already dreaming.

 

Embrace it—I embrace it—

 

the light, warmth,

scorching heat,

oh, precious petals.

 

Miraculous being—

 

I blossom—grace life—

soak in the downpour of

scorching sunrays.

 

Take me life, spring—

 

For I am wondrous

and nothing is too much,

nothing is enough.

 

I am insatiable—

UID: 10348 • PID: 140568 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 10348 • PID: 140569 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Fall

I have seen many autumns,

but of falls, I have seen more—

and borne.

 

I have seen autumns dancing,

iridescence swirling in my eyes,

and felt

 

forthcoming winter, my own steps

echoing his own unto a white embrace,

and sighed

 

in acquiescence. Yet falls forewarn

me not of their approach,

nor cry

 

a whispered warning of what follows.

And as I stand up, uttering no word

nor sigh

 

of recognition to that fallow land

before my gaze, I neither see

nor feel

 

a long while after, for my thoughts

thunder loudly, fear remarks profoundly—

I fell.

UID: 10348 • PID: 140569 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 10348 • PID: 140570 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Parallel Planes

Perpendicular lines,

the bike and the boy.

Taunt as a spoke,

and a spoke of a rose

in his hand.

A firm hand on the handle

and eyes as gentle

as the dream of a blur

of wheels, rolling.

Rolling in my eyes

the dream that the boy

and the rose

are for me.

So longingly.

 

Waiting and pacing,

watching planes landing,

a boy with a bike

in one hand and a rose

in the other.

She thinks—why, he waits

for love to land,

take the rose,

then take his hand

and ride away on the bike

together.

Gone forever.

 

Perpendicular lines,

the bike and the boy.

Polished too,

to the spokes on the bike

and the boy’s black

polished shoes.

Pacing and waiting

for the face of his dear.

She, thinking—dear,

you’re already here.

 

The gaze of her eyes

is a breeze on his cheek

for she is the blur

of a willow weeping

silently along the road.

One glance, one thought

she’s gone.

Again alone.

 

She waits too,

scans faces in the stream

of loved ones, landed.

They wait in parallel,

a girl and the boy.

Dormant joy.

 

Perpendicular lines

the bike and the boy.

Searching blue skies.

Such eyes.

 

We’ll never meet.

My blur-dream wanes—

 

We are but parallel planes.

UID: 10348 • PID: 140570 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 12044 • PID: 140574 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Do Not Tell Me Their Secrets

Do Not Tell Me Their Secrets

 

I carry so many albatrosses now

slung across my chest inside my shirt

that often one will poke out a wing

or an odd eye will gleam through a rip

 

Lines of bones that could splinter

feathers matted and slugged.

They have weathered more than you or I

they stink of survival and blood

 

I try to hold them in, muffle their cries

until they die-the eely flesh

rotting off drop bones is a relief

after such shoving and throbbing

 

I wrestle each new story into my ribs

so it can never be seen again

None of them were mine, given unwanted

now mine to keep silent until silenced.

 

They fascinate people. They want to be fed

What happened? How did he do it?

How long for? How did she die? 

How horrible, the ghouls smile

 

I keep my arms folded

against the thrumming on my heart

Wave the savage scavengers away

These are not food for you.

UID: 12044 • PID: 140574 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 12041 • PID: 140576 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

The Inspiring Power of Beauty

Beauty in life knows no limits,

day and night we see it around, 

it brings us all happy spirits,

it simply never fails to astound!

 

Beauty is endless, it has no measure – 

it is immense just as the sky,

it gives us great joy and pleasure

and makes us believe dreams never die.

 

You look up and see the sun shining bright,

you hear a favourite, much-cherished song,

you admire the countless stars in the night

hoping their sparkle will last all night long.

 

You see the smile on a child’s face – 

isn’t this beauty in all of its glory?

You walk through a wildflower meadow and praise

the blessings of life – they are not just a story!

 

A gift from nature – beauty is so powerful,

it creates a place where we strive,

its wings spread in a world so colourful

and once born, we must keep it alive!

 

 

UID: 12041 • PID: 140576 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 12044 • PID: 140577 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

The Fair

 

The fair

the wanting to go to the fair

how important it was

how exciting it was

The sodden grass, the red lights

I wasn’t allowed to go but I did.

wearing denim, smoking fags

looking at boys

 

 

Now I sit in the office

desk to desk she says

her daughter has been to the fair

every night this week

She found money on the ground

she went on the Waltzers again and again

And I smile and stare back in time

and think: don’t let her go alone.

 

UID: 12044 • PID: 140577 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11901 • PID: 140579 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Jesus, He’s a Friend of Mine

“Jesus Christ,
Am I not your brother?
Jesus,
He’s a friend of mine.
He’s not worth your silver or gold.
Everything that’s said of Him,
Is said of me, too.

 

It cannot be one rule, for you,
And another for me.
We live our separate lives,
Day by day,
Thoughts take on new life.
In desperation,
We want miracles.
But I dare say,
We believe in them.
But I dare say,
We believe in them.
Desperate for a sign.
Life,
show me something extraordinary,
that I won’t believe with my eyes.

There’s no shame in saying Grace,

for everything you don’t believe. 

 

They say it aloud,
It echoes throughout centuries.
I walk into the temple,
And laugh out loud. 
I say, 
“Jesus,
He’s a friend of mine.
He’s not worth your silver or gold.
Everything that’s said of Him,
Is said of me, too.”

 

They still can’t get it ’round their heads. 
Where is our great Lord and Saviour,
If he’s to save us from ourselves?
Where is He,
If not a miracle in our Minds, at the very Idea of such a Man?
But I dare say,
We believe Him.
But I dare say,
He even existed.
Are we not worthy of His God like gaze?
Are we not the One Hand that blessed a thousand men in days of old?
Did we not bear the Cross with Him all the same?
Do I not walk with Angels and see the blind with Visions of Heaven?
Am I not the Light of Illumination,
And the Shadow of Reflection?

 

They say it aloud,
And the same stories and whispers echo throughout centuries.
Hearing the Church bells ringing now,
It’s the same as it was when He was burned at the stake.

Have we not learned by now?
I walk into the temple,
And laugh out loud. 
I say, 
“Jesus,
He’s a friend of mine.
He’s not worth your blood and tears.
Not even your silver or gold.
Everything that’s said of Him,
Is said of me, too.” “

UID: 11901 • PID: 140579 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 12022 • PID: 140582 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Budget

If I were like my grandfather

and budgeted my month

for breakfast out

on Saturdays

and oatmeal at work Monday through Friday

would I age past ninety

like him?

Satisfied and in love

Oh! and brunch on Sundays. (you were wondering)

 

My grandmother was also wise

not allowed to have a bike

(not ladylike)

she saved the weekly money that was meant for Shirley Temple

and spent those evenings in the library

Then that Fall she bought a bike

and pedaled herself in a dress to the YMCA

where my grandfather stood shy,

blue eyed and Irish,

among the other Navy boys

 

Finally for Lady’s Choice

she said to him:

Enough staring, you wanna dance?

and over his shoulder she told her friends to scram

UID: 12022 • PID: 140582 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 12022 • PID: 140583 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Gold Toenail

Her toenail glowed gold

up at him

like a Spanish coin

from the elevator floor

and instead of stopping on 2nd

he took the lottery and kept on going

or maybe he had

just one fountain wish:

 

    Rid me of this vertigo

UID: 12022 • PID: 140583 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 12041 • PID: 140584 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Christmas Glamour

The season of magic approaches again,

it’s the festive time we long await – 

let’s feel the joy in the air when

a world full of cheer we all create.

 

We hear the sleigh bells ringing sound

and hope we can see the snow

that slowly covers everything around

in such a white and beautiful glow!

 

The joyful Christmas carols we sing,

the smell of the pudding Mum makes –

so many happy memories they bring,

now the merry holiday spirit awakes!

 

Children gather around the Christmas Tree,

with ornaments most wonderful they decorate,

their faces are lit up with such glee

as they dream Santa’s presents will be great.

 

May the season’s happy feelings that are here

spread love and peace in the Holy Night – 

to warm our hearts throughout the year

and give us hope our way will be bright!

 

 

 

UID: 12041 • PID: 140584 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11870 • PID: 140585 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

We are re both lying

Heartbreak
Heartache
Mistake
Promises half baked
Am I awake?
My soul slowly
Turning to flakes

 

My body you take
And I lie awake
Looking for reasons
Why
Even my belly aches

 

I am not a sweepstake
You have taken out
On life
Nor a rite of passage
A stepping stone
In your own awakening
Discovering
Rules breaking

 

You trying, attempting
To climb out, jump off
Break free
From the crabs in
Your life’s bucket

 

Confidence growing
Past dilemmas resolving
Agonising childhood traumas
Analysing, tranquillising

 

I in the corner standing
Watching, waiting, wanting
Feeling used, not abused
As a puppet in your show
Looking pretty though
Not entitled
To express true emotions
Only those that you find
Inviting, appetising
And all round tantalising

 

Not the ones so boring
Sadness, madness, melancholy
Anguish
Despair, emptiness, grief
Blackness
Not desirable in today’s society
You keep away from these
Avoid me
Ghost me
Look at me blankly

 

So I stick two fingers up to
Your indecisiveness
Make up your mind
Hurry up
Take a leap
Have faith in
This love you profess
Or else
I’ll be growing sick and tired

 

Bored, disillusioned
Distracted
I prefer to walk away
Before you entrap me
Into a life unattainable
Made up, false
A life in which
We are both lying

UID: 11870 • PID: 140585 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 12022 • PID: 140587 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Tristeza & Pastel

Why are you so afraid?

It’s a fair question

but reasons

          like February days

don’t always add up

 

At midnight he’ll deliver his last telepizza

and meet me on the street

Wherever I am I’ll have lost something

A plane ticket, a phone number, a talent

I’ll have lost track of how many bridges this city has

 

He’ll be wearing my yellow gemstone ring on his pinky

Loose

so it slips with my temper and sinks

in the Guadalquivir

Look, he’ll say, you don’t know what you want

But I know

 

I want to say sadness and pastry in a sentence

 

that explains this need to not go home

 

UID: 12022 • PID: 140587 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 11901 • PID: 140589 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Jesus, He’s a Friend of Mine

“Jesus Christ, Am I not your Brother?
Jesus, He’s a friend of mine.
He’s not worth your silver or gold.
Everything that’s said of Him, is said of me, too.

 

It cannot be one rule for you, and another for me.
We live our separate lives, day by day, Thoughts take on new life.
In desperation, we want miracles.
But I dare say, we believe in them.
But I dare say, we believe in them.
Desperate for a sign. 

Life, show me something extraordinary, that I won’t believe with my eyes.

There’s no shame in saying Grace, for everything you don’t believe. 

 

They say it aloud, it echoes throughout centuries.
I walk into the temple, and laugh out loud. 
I say,  “Jesus, He’s a friend of mine.
He’s not worth your silver or gold.
Everything that’s said of Him, is said of me, too.”

 

They still can’t get it ’round their heads. 
Where is our great Lord and Saviour, if he’s to save us from ourselves?
Where is He, if not a miracle in our Minds, at the very Idea of such a Man?
But I dare say, we believe Him.
But I dare say, He even existed.
Are we not worthy of His God like gaze?
Are we not the One Hand that blessed a thousand men in days of old?
Did we not bear the Cross with Him all the same?
Do I not walk with Angels and see the blind with Visions of Heaven?
Am I not the Light of Illumination, and the Shadow of Reflection?

 

They say it aloud, and the same stories and whispers echo throughout centuries.
Hearing the Church bells ringing now, 

It’s the same as it was when He was burned at the stake.

Have we not learned by now?
I walk into the temple, and laugh out loud. 
I say, “Jesus, He’s a friend of mine.
He’s not worth your blood and tears. Not even your silver or gold.
Everything that’s said of Him, is said of me, too.” “

UID: 11901 • PID: 140589 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 12022 • PID: 140591 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Triana

I must be in love they say

when I ask about you

In love with your alleyways

                           that smell like shoes

                                                         tapping

 

Even though you know I need that trin trin trin

         of chairs around a table

at midnight I lift anchor

In the morning I set sail

 

And so they shine

your streets at dawn

where fallen oranges roll around corners

making their way

to the lowest part of the park

by the canal

 

Come on,

Come on tell me where you plan to be for coffee

 

I’ll be in a cold sweat remembering

a million bird peck besos, abrazos

extended hastaluegos on long, long seas

          to New York

          of dry nods and thrifty triple shots

where Soledad

isn’t just a woman’s name

 

UID: 12022 • PID: 140591 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 10350 • PID: 140596 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Missing Out

I can no longer pretend that I am not getting older. 

 

When we are young, each year feels like a graduation to something more important – 

and this eclipses the awareness of getting older. 

 

And then people find out I am only twenty four (nearly twenty five). So they laugh and say 

‘HA! You are only twenty four (nearly twenty five)! You are not old!’ 

(and they laugh harder to eclipse the awareness that age only goes in one direction) 

 

At twenty four (nearly twenty five) she felt a touch more comfortable in her body and thought – 

‘Why did I not feel like this when I was less blemished and scarred? When I was younger?

What a shame‘ 

But age only goes in one direction (comfort following, beauty opposing) 

 

At 45 she will read this and cry for her twenty four (nearly twenty five) year old self. 

‘She was so young. But, being burdened by the awareness that age only goes in one direction, she could not enjoy. 

What a shame‘. 

 

 

 

UID: 10350 • PID: 140596 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 12051 • PID: 140599 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

A moment I did not wait for.

Fluid and flavoursome you approach me
with your refinery and finesse. I am moved.
There is something hidden in you
something deep and dark, distant and near.
I heard you before, before this moment.
A million times in my past you resounded
resolute and revolutionary. Of all of them
you were noticed, for your perseverance and
permissiveness. You have been fighting,
the fight of Kings and princes and you
have not lost. My own fight leaves me
and finds itself in your eyes. I have found
a moment I did not wait for.
Sudden sounds and lurching lights terrify
me, your entourage of followers fighting also.
You will not leave me.
I want to be cleaved to you for eternity
Never to be lost amongst the everyones.
You are strong and subtle, attractive
and alluring. I fear your strength
Will overpower me and own me
All at once. And I will be gone.
Trust in one so earnest is not easy.
When falsity abounds to the furthest
corners. Habit is a hound hovering and
ready to pounce. You have been to places
I have never seen. Places in the soul
which echo in your earnestness.
You will not leave me.
And I will not leave you.
Slowly
and carefully I look at you, scared of
losing you before you have found me.

 

UID: 12051 • PID: 140599 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 12051 • PID: 140600 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Who I am?

 

Do you know who I am?
Perhaps this sentence should be
a kind of threat. Except I myself
don’t know who I am.
I appear to have lost myself
on some kind of freeway.
I am wandering and I
don’t know where I live
perhaps I was once of
some importance to someone
perhaps I wasn’t I don’t know
I am surely now of little
importance this much is true.
You are so and so they tell me.
What is it. You are this way or
not this way. They tell me.
They must surely know me less
than I know myself.
But their labels stick the more
I want to escape them.
This world tires me. I am past
caring what people think.
I am past caring what I think.
Non thought would be a blessing.
Perhaps I am ready to move on.
But the movement is slow and tedious.
My mind appears to have gone
before me I know not where.
Should I know. I should know
something. At least who I am.
My past means nothing, I recall
it not. The present is all I have.
And I would rather like to
enjoy my rice pudding.
Without wondering who I am.
A question for another day.
Perhaps.

UID: 12051 • PID: 140600 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 12051 • PID: 140601 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

About You. About Me.

I can’t tell you what I know
Or what I don’t know
About You. How often they
have said about Me
blah blah such a thing.
I won’t say the same
About You. Put you in a box
Labelled. To be put away.
Not fit for use. Not
About You. About Me.
But it could have been
Anyone who wasn’t

Exactly like them.
About You. About Me.
I have only one piece of
advice. Don’t listen.
They don’t know
About You or About Me.
They talk of themselves
their own fears. Their own
inadequacies. Leave
About You to You.
And perhaps Me.

UID: 12051 • PID: 140601 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 12043 • PID: 140605 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

embers

sitting here watching abstract animation

in my sitting room on the first floor

I cared not a jot for the rest of the nation

or what lies beyond the front door

 

the night it was warm not a bit cold

as I sat there in mood of reflect

silent and late day had grown old

yet my mind still stood up erect

 

I sometimes think in all of this world

we have bars and are caged all our lives

no room to roam sails are still furled

don’t get out the suicide knives

UID: 12043 • PID: 140605 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 12050 • PID: 140606 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Black Dogs Silver Phantoms and the Noumenon

Black Dogs Silver Phantoms and the Noumenon                               (22 lines)

It’s a pitch black night and misty rain falls

Steady dull nebulised

A filthy and relentless torrent looms

 

The dogs are glistening with tiny drops

Repelled by their oily coats

And held by invisible static

We pause at our terminus from which we must retrace our steps to home

Under the one lonely street lamp they look like Silver Dusted Phantoms

 

It’s a night for witches to pull their dark cloaks tighter

For covens to meet indoors and cast their spells to flood the world with cursed water torrents

 

I falter losing my will but the dogs look with the eye of faith into the nebulous deep

I Summon the Noumenon : and I do so with absolute silence and commitment

She is to guard and walk invisible beside us like an angel unseen : our mother everbeen

It’s a long way home for one man and two black dogs

 

Constitutions and work done we start back to the light and warmth of domesticity

Leaving the woodland creatures to watch alone

And gaining ground to home

 

We seem to float into the safety of the human world

And though she leaves as finer mist than we can know

The  Noumenon  indicates her leaving by our knowing loss

Hurry hurry we don’t delay when she is gone

And yet we can be safe once in the ground of home 

Let the bestial night go on without us and let the new day be a bright morning

The Black Dogs settle their bones and with their gentle looks:

They give me leave to end the day and sleep

  

UID: 12050 • PID: 140606 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 7892 • PID: 128336 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Failed Victory

I convinced myself victorious

Draped armor protection infallible

The welcomed applause so glorious

Once sweeter now seldom palatable

I strip it from my body and face

Clanking metal striking the floor

The hushed laud and softer cheering pace

Glaring reflection eyes abhor

Scars coat and stab my mortal skin

Useless shield betraying my trust

My eyes implore, “Never again!”

Truth unveiled, embracing the rust

Drifting gaze, I see my hand

Shaking and striking the other

The only sound of grandstand 

My own and nary another

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UID: 12049 • PID: 140607 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Country Western Guitar Blues

All it takes is a slow southern drawl,             

a shot of whiskey and an acoustic guitar       

to send my mind into the black descent

of heartaches and lost dreams once forgotten

 

While the radio blares the country western blues

into my head so deep I can’t sleep,

the rhythmic rhymes take me back to the time

I was center stage in the Grand Ole Opry     

 

I made my mark on the Nashville scene

with ballads of love, hate and despair

with flair before I lost my wicked

soul in the bottom of a liquor bottle

 

Running from the pain of lost love, time

running away from me in buckets of gold

as the lines of time etch into my face,

I must grab the spotlight again before it’s too late

 

Must hurry to catch that train to carry

my soul back to the Opry and return me to

my rebellious troubadour roots,

so won’t you please send me back to Tennessee

 

To see gouchos yearn for my sultry ballads and I’ll rip

their hearts out where I swear to bring the house down,

and­­­­­ all it takes is a slow southern drawl,

a shot of whiskey and an acoustic guitar 

 

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UID: 12050 • PID: 140608 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Now is the time

Now is the Time                                                                      (28 lines)

 

The viscera know and tell the brain

through low gut murmurs

and fishnets of filamentous nerves

which light and flash inside the dark channels

and body cables

 

There on the tablets of the unconscious

life lesson plans are formed

their pattern traces remain and fade

remain and fade

 

That is how we know its time

time to change

through the heart and gut and mind

time to know something

realise something

something old and obvious

only seeming new

 

And now we know

the slow and quiet epiphany

steals silently through the bones

and there it is

the way forward

like a morning view

 

Or perhaps a vista often seen but overlooked

proof of a kind that a man is ready

only when heart and mind and eye and bone melt together

not so much a flash of insight

but an osmosis of truth

permeating the whole flesh

 

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UID: 12049 • PID: 140611 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Bandits in Disguise

As the rainforest released

its magical powers of

crashing thunder and pouring rain

and the fortune wheel

laid out its fate,

the psychedelic geckos and leopards

danced in the symphonious storm

while I was left high and dry

 

Mesmerized and tranquilized

by the flashing neon lights

burned into my brain

I was kept frozen to the

endless mechanical

art of deception

 

The melodic sound of a flute

wafted from the distant waterfall

calling the zombies

to free their inhibitions

and pay the piper again

 

Until the crisp greenbacks

flew from my wavering hands

and the Toucan laughed

and mockingly taunted “you chump,”

who else could know I was

mesmerized and tranquilized

by the flashing neon lights

and the secrets of the rainforest

 

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UID: 12048 • PID: 140612 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Suburban Harvest

Suburban Harvest

 

I left a trail of breadcrumbs

Nothing to show, my efforts wasted.

A greedy circling of crows, a single wicked robin

Spiralling down from a gun metal sky.

 

The lost garden trowel, rusting in the nettles.

Never to fruition, the hopeful June strawberries…

A good season for slugs. Engorged and glistening

Orange aliens laughing silently at my handiwork.

 

Delicate plum blossom. So promising in April.

A flighty tease. The cold snap just an excuse.

You do not deserve your regal name.

 

Sweetcorn – I gave you the summer

September reverently unfurling to reveal your milk teeth.

Desiccated, a neglectful sun refusing to nourish

The mice were unimpressed as they turned you on the heap.

 

Kale Peasant Cabbage, bitter and fly-infested.

Strange-tasting potatoes. You will return next year.

Uninvited.

 

Residing in the shed; the only success

Vast courgette.

Dutiful and stoic – but without purpose.

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UID: 12049 • PID: 140613 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Time Passages

Tread slowly on beach

the rolling waves will retreat

for seagulls and man

 

sands shift so softly

marine life escapes loftily

as treasures to see

 

while the subconscious mind

wants to halt precious time

at the awesome sea

 

tread slowly I say

the rolling waves will give way

to seagulls and man

 

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UID: 10905 • PID: 140614 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

IMAX

Later I will go…

               you and I you and I…

 

to the

torturous apocalypse movie.

 

Skyscrapers

              imploding.

Waves washing it all

away.

 

I’ve brought myself

back from the edge,

             felt the edge so close like

a mirror with breath

                           I’ve seen it there.

In the dark of the cinema

I regained my sanity.

 

The Christmas movies

of disappointment loss then

               reclamation

(none of the barbarous daring of Shane MacGowan’s

Fairytale of New York).

 

When you died

in November

I saw everything with no

              discrimination

and whatever I watched it seemed

as if it had been crafted

for the freshly

                bereaved.

 

The ticket-girl

unknowing,

             knowing nothing of the

sacred burning being stood before her

with incandescent shooting blue eye-flame

(grief makes gods of us all)

                           burning like Elvis

in his ‘68 Comeback white

jumpsuit.

 

Longing to be told

something, or treated

so tender.

 

 

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UID: 4174 • PID: 140619 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Unwritten Pages

Like the river, caught in memory, 
Beautiful images intertwined, 
And like a moth, all you see is light,
Within the peace of wild things you’ll find. 
(A new love)

Like despair, grows unintentionally, 
Of what my future life has become,
And I lay bound, forever alone,
Whispered promises are now undone.
(A lost hope)

Unwritten pages spread out, 
in all directions once more, 
See the fallen day blind stars, 
strewn upon the floor.
Unwritten pages spread out, 
sinking into the abyss, 
How did unanswered questions, 
end tear stained like this?

Like the sea, make calm your memories, 
Beautiful images drift behind, 
And like the sunset, you say goodbye, 
Within the dark of wild things you’ll find. 
(A lost love)

Unwritten pages spread out, 
in all directions once more, 
See the fallen day blind stars, 
strewn upon the floor 
Unwritten pages spread out, 
sinking into the abyss, 
How did unanswered questions, 
end tear stained like this?

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UID: 12018 • PID: 140622 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Iguanodon

In the darkening park the statues stand

twice-removed: old effigies of older

truth, fossil guesswork, going to moulder.

Though false, we recreate with modern hand

these bold old-fashioned images anew.

Iron, brick, cement and steel. Solid, horn

on nose, quadrupedal: wrong. Do we mourn

these symbols of the past, and wish them true?

Then let us hear Great Orators disgorge

on where their green and pleasant land has gone!

Cry God for Harry, England, and St George!

Sing up, sing loud, when Rule Britannia’s on!

They praise Eternal Britain, heaven-forg’d.

I wave a plastic green Iguanodon.

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UID: 12018 • PID: 140623 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Orange Walk

I remember the bright sun

Its glare on the water

of the New River

 

(I remember this moment)

 

The mangy black stray dog

lapping at the shore

I remember

 

(I remember it well)

 

And out in the stream

watching, waiting

crocodile

 

(and yet my journal)

 

Submerged monster

swam closer

hunting

 

(has no mention)

 

Motor boat!

croc fled

spurned

 

(no mention)

 

Dog ran

too

 

(Was this)

 

Peace

 

(real?)

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UID: 12053 • PID: 140627 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Last orders

Down in the east of London,  not far from Bethnall Green

There stands a war memorial, you may have never seen

It lists the names of heroes, of East End Boys at war

They died one hundred years ago, that very first World War

 

Now thousands of those East End Boys had volunteered and gone

To fight in muddy trenches at Wipers and the Somme

And nearby stands an East End pub,  again near Bethnall Green

That’s full of modern East End Boys,  enjoyin’ the modern scene

 

But if you stood them side by side,  apart from things like clothes

Be hard to tell the two apart,  be hard for you to know

So let me introduce you to the players in this show

The Barman in the East End pub, the Sergeant long ago

 

“It’s Friday and the East End Boys are meeting down the pub

They’ve bought each other rounds of drinks and finished up the grub

The working week has finished and the weekend’s just begun

They’re laughing and they’re joking and they’re having loads of fun”

 

“It’s Friday and the East End Boys are waiting in the trench

Some mustard bombs are landing and they’re choking on the stench

Fresh orders boys, we’re charging soon so fix those bayonets

Just stick it in and twist it, it’s as simple as it gets”

 

“Some fresh-faced boys are standing there, they’re all of seventeen

They’re not the youngest to be served, the youngest to be seen”

“Some fresh-faced soldiers standing there, they’re all of seventeen

They’re not the youngest to have served, the youngest to be seen”

 

“Last orders boys, last orders, that’s a pint of lager top

Last orders boys, three Carlsbergs and a pint of lemon pop

Last orders boys, last orders then I’m gonna shut the shop

Last orders boys, ten minutes then the drinking has to stop

 

Fresh orders boys, fresh orders, let’s get ready for the top

Fresh orders boys, ten minutes then the guns are gonna stop

Fresh orders boys, fresh orders let’s catch Jerry on the ‘op

(The whistle blows) Get scramblin’ up them ladders to the top!”

 

“Fresh orders boys, the wire’s been cut! We’ll run straight through the wire!”

Last orders that they ever heard, as Jerry opened fire

 

 

 

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Welcome to the East End

The multi-racial melting pot where every nation meets

We are the east of London, we walk east London streets

We take the tired and poor, those yearning to breathe free

We welcome them with open arms to live near you and me

 

We took them blinking ‘ugenots to make east London Lace

We took the Jewish money men and gave them peace and space

We gladly make them Londoners we gladly take them all

From Pakistan to Bangladesh, from Mumbai to Bengal

 

No matter your religion, or the colour of your face

Or your sexual leaning, no matter what’s your race

We are the cultural melting pot, a mixture of the world

And everyone’s an East End Boy or else an East End Girl

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UID: 12058 • PID: 140633 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Believe in we.

Black people can be racist too this is a fact not a point of view.
I learnt this from an early age,
when my brother brought home this girl filled with rage.
she had so much hate that it filled the room.
and heart was darker than Solomon tomb.
This came as a shock to me
because I thought it was only white people who want hang others from trees.
If you are different and maybe don’t like grime.
If your not mad about reggie that should be fine.
If you like a bit of classical and Take That too
Why should you be ridiculed for this point of view.
If you don’t want to wear your trousers half way down your ass
and don’t talk in a accent from ancestors past.
Calling people names for there sexuality
isn’t something that’s going to impress me.
Call me a coconut but I’ll be who I’ll be.
So what if I love a cup of tea.
I’ve learnt in life you have to be who you are
And think of life’s journey as a speed in car.
It flies by so fast you have to take it all in.
You don’t have time to worry about him or him.
Thinking or not thinking you decide
Because for me life is for living and you must enjoying the ride.
I teach my kids to be kind to others
And to embrace the different as we are all sisters and brothers.
We all live on this planet and we share the same sun.
Let’s all enjoy it’s and as John Lennon said live as one.
Because if we don’t and let our minds take control
Then our beautiful world will pay a heavy toll.
I have a dream and I want it to come true
For you and you and you and you.
That we forget about the them and just believe in we
So we can enjoy this planet for eternity.

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UID: 12059 • PID: 140637 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Novocaine

And gradually,

so slowly and yet

so furiously

I lose all feeling.

 

Away with the wind,

my head is a wave

in the air, floating

to meet my maker.

 

Watch me,

so slowly and yet

so furiously 

losing all control.

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UID: 12059 • PID: 140638 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Desserted Fly

A fly runs

from me,

my leg,

 

onto a black, 

circular

coffee table

 

where it finds

it has trodden

upon the

 

remains of a yum yum;

white,

delicious.

 

I cannot

tell if it

is agitated

 

or indeed,

enjoys the yum yum,

I can see

 

only that

it moves

so quickly,

 

so quickly.

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UID: 12059 • PID: 140639 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Urn

Black spiders dance

on the thread you used

to tie me close.

 

Gentle, their steps

as they look to get in,

as they come to meet me.

 

You see them shimmer.

The reflection of their bodies

pins your eyes open,

 

dazzles you,

yet you sweep them away.

You look at me and sigh.

 

For here I am, the dust you keep,

and no matter what happens…

 

Just keep me close.

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UID: 12041 • PID: 140641 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

A Seaside Story

The sun is tired – it falls asleep,

in darkness hides the sea so deep.

The sandy dunes are going silent,

giving home to memories so vibrant.

 

The moon rises over the bay,

the heat is suddenly taken away,

the sea gets slowly cold again

and the brightness shrinks away as a grain.

 

The coast is now sleeping quietly,

but the lighthouse watches over tirelessly – 

with its brightly coloured light

it happily greets the coming night.

 

Mighty darkness spreads around at once,

still the waves continue their elegant dance.

It sends to them a magic spark

and it no longer feels that dark.

 

But when the morning starts to awake,

the silence and gloom easily break,

the warm rays of the sunlight shine – 

‘A new day begins’ – tell us their sign!

 

All the pretty colours of the sea

sparkle and make us smile with glee,

as the blue sky so distant and clear

completes the magical realm of seaside here.

 

And the horizon welcomes the sunset soon,

once again we can see the moon. 

The night has another story to tell

about the sea’s endless and beautiful spell.

 

 

 

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UID: 12057 • PID: 140644 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

THE FINAL RALLY CALL

I saw the old man stumble,

Then watched him as he fell,

He looked brittle, weak and feable,

And must have known it well,

 

I saw some youths pause to stare,

Then each one, they passed him by,

I watched them laugh and joke,

“That’s life” I heard them cry,

 

So I approached him as he lay there,

He knew his time was near,

I saw The Reaper circling,

But the old man knew no fear,

 

I extended him my hand,

As a small but kindly deed,

But he just turned his head to speak to me,

For he was of harder creed,

 

“Son, I’m now an old man,

And have been for much time,

But now I hear the final rally call,

From the young men at The Rhine,”

 

I said, “I beg you, please forgive me,

But I know not of what you speak,

Though, I’m sure you mentioned Arnhem,

And the fight for Oosterbeek,

 

But next, he looked unto the sky, and said,

With his eyes now glazed in tears,

“Boys, I’m sorry I made you wait,

All these long and drawn out years”

 

And then I saw him leave this world,

Yes – I watched his colour fade,

But I know he’s at that rally point,

His heavy cross now laid.

 

 

 

 

 

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UID: 12061 • PID: 140649 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

A Friend’s Diagnosis

A Friend’s Diagnosis

 

Syllables of the intricate diction

Could never speak louder than the smirk

Quirks not even the strangest understand

Charm of the purest gold

 

Merciless is the fate tested, time again

To a patron who was more heart than human

I wallow in the mere implication

Yet nothing is set in stone

 

Couldn’t imagine even the mouthing of complaint

Nor would such be expected

For when purpose matches purity

Selfless life is embodied

 

Kings and queens that fake the aura, naturally radiated

He’s the poster child of poster children

I curse to the heavens and perhaps to hell

For how could either demon or angel allow such heresy?

 

So see I, the smirk long bewildering

As if the news was no more than a blip in the drift of time

How I envy such strength

My mind in tatters by the fear alone

 

Pride lost and Shameless I beg to the High

Show pity on the soul which is perfectly thy.

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UID: 12061 • PID: 140650 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Apparently/Surprisingly

Apparently/Surprisingly

 

Settled now are tides long climbed

That brought forth minerals from worlds afar

The crash of cascade lulls the Earth

With simple caress of blue to green

 

A push of warmer waters

Wipes away the waste, bring forth the new

So as the sand slides grain by grain

And settles in it’s temporary permanence

 

It all looks the same yet it’s brand new

To know that feet aren’t in the same spot

Except by GPS coordinates

All so familiar, all so new

 

As the ocean molds its baby, Earth 

Of the young age of 4.5 billion years

The waves continue to shape

What’s been the same for years

 

Yet it’s all new

Yet it’s all showing itself. 

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UID: 12063 • PID: 140654 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Be Bold the Night

Be bold the night

When shadows and thoughts make dark its heaviest

Long follow of ghosts real and imagined

Silent sounds of nothing and everything

Aching fear beholden to no one

Dusk only a memory

The sun a distant ally

 

Be bold the night

Hour’s span reaching its zenith

Time relentless and uncaring

Slumber turning a blind eye

Alone again in the quest

To die in the night but not perish

 

Be bold the night

When the climb meets the purpose

Head up, stalwart

Blood returning to the body

Heart accepting the rhythm

A promise out of grasp but not of reach

 

Be bold the night

The black sky blinks first

Giving way to light’s knifepoint

Cutting darkness into a new day

Morning delivered

The ultimate promise

 

 

 

 

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UID: 12062 • PID: 140656 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Stick figure

Stick figure

 

After all these years I still can’t attach

flesh to her bones, or face my father

who said it was my fault she left us:

I didn’t love her enough, didn’t see her

as she was or insist on her mothering.

 

But I was just his assistant. For him,

more than the one time, my mother

disappeared. Then he’d fetch her back

and make her vanish again, a one-trick

magician expertly performing sleight of fist.

 

After her last exit, in art class I drew her

as a stick figure without arms or head,

just a forked stick which could walk itself

to the river’s edge and float away.

 

I’ve seen it and I know sticks can float

a long time–unless battered to bits,

say, by a rough descent through

rapids in a glacier-fed cataract–

 

floating where the river runs through

a flat land or whirls in the eddies

below wet boulders mid-stream.

(Did my mother know this, though her

stick-figure self had no head for knowing?)

 

Floating provides respite from wild waves

around the bend, but no matter: eventually

water enters every dead cell and drowns

the weighted branch. Or maybe one bit,

 

torn by the wind from a living tree,

is tossed ashore on a cliff-guarded beach

and takes new root in foreign soil:

 

Grows tall, blossoms, bears fruit.

 

Maybe it happened to my stick-mother. Maybe

some scrap of her escaped from the floating

and the battering, flowered outside the narrative

(like a monk’s braided roses bordering the copied

text, not part of the manuscript but illuminating it)—

 

free from any story I can conjure to give

false substance to her weightless soul.

 

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UID: 12064 • PID: 140659 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Cosmonaut

Dear Yuri: What do you think of

when you wake in the morning,

press your eye to the glass

and look out to see the earth spinning

in her orbit, inching farther then closer

then farther away? What to you dream

when you fall asleep in the glow of oceans

reflecting a sun you can’t see?

Who do you talk to, when you hold

imaginary conversations; who do you see

in the television’s black screen?

Do you ever want to step out

into the darkness, trust your tether,

let slip your feet, and float into the void?

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UID: 12064 • PID: 140660 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Ossuary: Bone House

Basilika St. Ursula, Köln: On seeing I am struck

by the thought that it’s all about space, the gaps

between a shell of bone that once held hearts,

stomachs, lungs, lovers, the idea of holding

anything shown to be temporary or temporal –  

an instant lost in a universe of vast time and

space, again, it always comes down to space,       

to the emptiness that is not empty but a void      

or vacuum, an absence that may still contain life

and that may yet be filled, whether it be with

atoms or cells multiplying or simply the shined

carapaces of beetles and a film of spiderweb,  

not to mention the nails, metaphorical or cold

hard iron, holding it all together.

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UID: 12064 • PID: 140661 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Cosmonauts

Neil Armstrong said they saw

signs of others, heard voices

from across the vast seeming

dark before they turned white

clad backs to run; picture now

boot treads crunching into sand

in slo-mo, the scatter of sweat

and stone in rhythm with hearts

and the clenching of hands, eyes

fixed on the sealed shuttle door

and beyond it the long distance

to home; picture the confusion

felt and caused, the loss of all

certainty about their tiny world.

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UID: 12064 • PID: 140662 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Language Lessons

1.

 

Breath is the air that shapes

words, fills lungs; to breathe

is to pause and take it in.

 

 

2.

 

Out of place really means out

of home, means that home is

lacking or we are unwilling

to make it where we are.

 

 

3.

 

To be queer is to be open

to that which lies outside

some thing we call a norm.

 

 

4.

 

To understand branch out, imagine

a tree limb or a stem, the splitting

of flesh to send out new sprigs.

 

 

5.

 

Fidelity refers to promises

we swear will never break.

 

 

6.

 

Back home evokes what has been

left behind, the desire for a life

spent within the best of distant

memory.

 

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UID: 12065 • PID: 140666 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Reflections from One Solitude to Another

The sounds and songs of the wilderness echo endlessly

in found spaces at times repressed, rising to the surface

like the trout hitting an errant mosquito, inevitable death.

 

The kick of the tail, the collision, a splash, and it’s gone.

 

Ripples take over, at first in small repetition, compact

rings, rising to a turbid crescendo in an unsettled mind,

where peace will, with time, be found in places where

an almost unperceivable movement licks the far shore.

 

In moments or in years.

 

Cityscapes                   removed from             the wild,                       placeholders of lives,

some despair,              journeys met               by ambulances            then hearses,

travelers                       riding for free,             inert, spent                   and rigid, unmoving,

in pressed skirts           or shirts,                       unrecognized              by themselves,

new, old,                     strangers, friends,       reunited,                       huddled together,

the void                        in front to fill,               exchanges                   of furtive, eyes-lowered

glances, reflected        in that now                  new story                     of once, when.

 

Ascending or descending, across and back, back and across, all amplified in waves.

 

Seeking children          play freeze tag –         that nearby park,         a sky

filled with kites              near and far,              all darting and              weaving in

resurrection                  with the wind,              blown across                surfaces

ranged by women,      men, and                     children,                        entangled in

fantastic forgottens,     like snapshots,             blurred                          polaroids

of fading colors           never meant                 to last,                           seeping like tears.

 

If only.  To be forgotten.

 

No permutation like another, discreet in their own

place and time, time-less, with and without time.

 

Frenetic, furious, lathered, roiling, tortured, tumultuous.

 

We fight to find our place in order, the meaning escapes,

unable to bear the weight, of expectations torn from pages,

fluttering to unknown destinations, written in annals,

unretrieved in their own time – soft, silky, spun – to remain

irrelevant by those who count and record histories’ past.

 

We find our place to see and feel the ripples, as they race

through the spaces of our mind and heart – our remembrances

honor those deserving of so much more, oh, so much more,

but still preserved and canonized by our memories not words.

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Splintered wedge once there now gone

I am fraught with eternal longing

Not spared nor loved nor cared for

Not unlike a lone dove who wept

Held back by far reaches unmet

Red spider without peace or sleep

Untended nest swallowed whole

 

Absurdists eat dust for lunch

Fur caught in clenched teeth

Tangled in that at once obscure

Splintered wedge once there now gone

Demanding audience unflinching

To be sure of wrath or worse

 

Turned faced turned again again

Prism shards of fractals launched

Upon the stroke of a punched key

Upon the waves of distance galaxies

Wishing for song in the silence

Lit upon wings submerged then until

 

.  I laugh so as not to cry

 

Dot on the page

Pixel on the screen

Needle in the haystack

Grain of sand on the beach

Star gazed in the universe

Dimensions yet unknown

This moment unraveled untold

 

Shattered mine eye the vesicles

Laid out in symmetries ordained

Compression in fists of rage

Bursts in cataclysmic explosion

Eroded faith in composite integrity

Impossible content lost or stolen

Shattered dreams unleashed forever

 

It is my mourning and I’ll never forget

Her wishing I were gone or she that

Twisted time against the tide so fast

Hurling epitaphs at howling winds so

Lifeless, bounced back in fractures at

Emptiness in a chair sitting all alone

 

.  I laugh so as not to cry

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I turn to you and ask why

Unwieldly sets of words guided by no master

 

A thing tried on consumed two times faster

 

As ill-fitting as a squire in a sunken square

 

When a vassal is not a vessel, only a spare

 

Hard drives in overdrive at unrelenting pace

 

Stings of water, salted, my punctuated face

 

Hunger forced upon a beach once there not there

 

Wrest ‘way from thinning wolves voicing pure desire

 

Scavengers of souls left alone, left untended

 

Tickles up my spine, screeching car upended

 

Coupled licks, enigmatic lightening’s hue

 

Strokes against a once pale sky of blue

 

 

I turn to you to ask if it’s true

 

You turn to me and you ask why

 

You turn to me to ask if it’s true

 

I turn to you and I ask why

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UID: 12065 • PID: 140670 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Orange Slices at Halftime

Orange slices cut cruelly in cross-sections

Left bare to bleed, unnoticed yet appreciated

As grabbed furtively by young sweaty standbys

Greedily grabbing, panting and breathing hard,

Oblivious to grass stains, mud, and blood,

Dripping, taking turns at the fold-up table,

Thrown into mouths to be bit down upon,

Teeth hitting the flesh before the edge of

The peel, chomped on unceremoniously,

Accelerating the gush of streaming juice, droplets

Dripping down sides of lips, made complete

By the pressing of the peel firmly against

Barred teeth, then subsequent nibbling search

For more to chew among the last remnants,

One last tiny juice vesicle of citrus to burst into

A gulp of liquid for satisfaction and rehydration.

 

Girls and boys of Fall, in ritual caravans of

Bleary-eyed aspiring athletes, their expected

And sometimes forced servitude to sport

And time-forgotten traditions of parental

Expectations some headed gladly, others

With reluctance for lack of sleep and desire

For warm beds snuggled into deep dreams

Of forget-me-nots.  The mechanical grind of

The automatic sliding door opening to allow

All of the contents to emerge, pouring out

Like little soldier ants on the Ant Hill under

Attack or bumbling, more-scary-than-funny

 

Circus clowns, packed into a too small mini

Under the Big Tent, some scabbed knees and

Bruises mark the war weary, taking their turn

And call to action as that sacred commitment

To fulfill the wishes and desires of authority

Figures orchestrating grand plans over them

As field generals on the battlefield, only years

Removed from this training in sport to that

Patriotic training in death, authoritarian actors

Much the same, still present and demanding

In all of their fidelity to the cause and pride in

Association with the team for which they play.

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UID: 12065 • PID: 140671 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Miracles Show Up

Where the trickle hits the sun and glistens on the first rock,

That is the fountainhead, the wellspring, the source, where

Small miracles are made.

 

You once made me.  Your radiant essence blazed through your

Body in explosions of light, myself, wrapped in your warm embrace,

For you are miraculous.

 

What of the fountainhead and meteoric light made flesh?

Each a starting point that leads to vast uncharted oceans,

Miracles as if by fate.

 

I am taken there by high trails and switchbacks doubling

Over a crest of freshwater falls, decorating mountainsides.

You are my destination.

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UID: 12070 • PID: 140676 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Tomorrow

I want off

This rollercoaster

Too fast

Too loud

No control

Where’s it going?

Who knows?

Tight chest

Short breath

Light head

In the clouds

Clouding thoughts

Misty eyes

Pouring rain

 

Let me off!

 

The ride stops

Should I step off?

No way

Storms pass

But I’ll remain

Reset brain

Start again

Tomorrow

Another day

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UID: 11766 • PID: 140681 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Vestigial

they thought it could be an anomaly, the way he ventilator,

the way he machine, like washing machine lull. puffs out chest

like pufferfish, underwater, floating to the top as pool scum

while they wheel him past fresher kin, hanging out the dead

in unlucky spaces between floors. 12 to 14. airing a wound.

wrapper crunch where the numbered go, they velcro, they

floor bounce. they elevator silence. red as rascals, know-

nothings ripening. they ripen as tomato brush, no blushing

for growing boys. they grow out as destiny manifested,

as cowboys skinning shins, expanding west as they know,

the inheritance. taking what’s rightfully theirs.

 

when breath turns to acetone, what human could be left inside?

don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, he says. a crumble of

a saltine. not talk for coffee shop banter. better for rush hour, under

lights, slight quantum disarray, a crumb in a car seat. better to be

fatherless and on the go, lest idle. contemplates supporting life,

to be supportive, trading ties and chambray for tape twills soon.

behold, what I have to look forward to. thinks in inheritance. as

beneficiary, as best son, reimbursed. as compensation for nuclear

disaster, for other women. thinks these things and swallows softly,

I organism, I half-man, I half-inherited from these ribs, these ones

spoiling, these half-between realms, these centrifuge.

 

when I had forgiven him enough, and put my foot down, I did so in

time with the pedestrians, the car horns. I understood the need to

soften around the edges, the vignette let down, to take away from

the thing small and bleating between us, the wounds needing re-

dressing from women in red dresses. letters sent home with baseball

cards for good measure. bright and bleating, ICU apparition. red

dress in fan span. suspect unattested, the seven year itch. testimony

regression, like hairlines, like a foot in the door. How I yearn for

your separatism, your corporate glare, the taste of laminate in my

floor crawl when I unfaithful, I scoundrel. I inheritor. how they

watch me from the hall, how they relish in my prodigal downfall,

the incarnate, vestigial. the lamb, fit me sacrificial. I’m under

no allusion of my sacrilege. I couldn’t outgrow you if I tried.

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UID: 12074 • PID: 140684 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

The Least Evil

“BED, s. In Scotland it is deemed unlucky by many, in making a bed, to leave their work before it be finished. The least evil that can be looked for, is that the person for whom it is made will sleep none that night. It is hence accounted a sufficient reason, that they were making a bed, for servants not answering the bell or a call given in any way whatever.”

–         Jamieson’s Dictionary

 

I rang and rang again

pressing my finger to the buzzer

as the bus splashed off into the rain

 

towards the next village

leaving me stranded on the front step

of my first manse with all my luggage

 

laid out in a damp heap

at my feet – alone in that strange place

but for a scattering of sheep

 

who watched in wet silence

as I rang, then hammered on the door

of my own house with waning patience.

 

My mood was turning sour

when after several more minutes

of this – though to me it seemed an hour –

 

the door began to creak

reluctantly inwards, revealing

an unlit hallway. Too tired to speak

 

I dragged my dripping things

across the threshold, thinking to find

one who might help with my belongings

 

stationed on the ground floor

but finding nobody – nor any

footprints on the carpet thick with stour –

 

I bore them up myself

to a room where the bed lay half-made

and a defaced Bible on the shelf

 

told me to go to hell.

Nonetheless that night when I retired

I believe I never slept so well.

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UID: 12037 • PID: 140687 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Old-New Love

And it feels like we’re
young again, trembling
nervous first-timers holding
Love in it’s infancy; precious
cargo between us
see-saws
my way then
your way ’til we’re almost nearly
getting to – find us some kind of balance – ’til the
hard bit is over once we’ve
kissed
on
the
slide.

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UID: 12037 • PID: 140688 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Who?

She slowly approaches the hood of kids, stooped mutes
around a splintered tree
pouring out
cans of the favourite beer,
hearts strewn in littered grief…

She’d strived at the front of their class one year,
chipping away to be heard.
This silence falls hard as the guillotine, she
cannot ask the word

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UID: 12075 • PID: 140689 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Conquest

 

Shambles gait the body under the molten iron shower
To move off the mind of strong willed embedded power
It seems to be like glowing metal in a furnace
No way to displace any inch of my belief though menace

 

Dangles down the head with a dreadful cable wire
Vehement torture to boot out the solid credence inlaid desire
Dirty the face with hot blooded goo dribble from the mouth
No winch to astray any bit of my faith without doubt

 

The head and body cover with fountain of boiling blood
The mind and soul putter with no tears of gunk flood
A harbinger of no fear showing the perfect way to the grave
My faith and belief make a desperate craving to be brave

 

Possible to burn my heart but not my soul
Tie up my body but not my goal
I am the owner of my faith
I am the possessor of the patience of a saint

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UID: 12037 • PID: 140690 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Wild Food

The burial-chambering squirrel takes ease and
rests his flinch on an acorn break, as
the cat composed out of God-spattered leaves
stops,
sinks, calmly in wait at the
back of the storm-hammered tree.

Sunk in the
mulch of a
million spills, she
skulks ‘neath salivary drips un-til the
hunger-drawn scream of her jungle-soul flings it’s
luck on the terrified feast.

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UID: 12075 • PID: 140691 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

The Truth

Night seems as black as soot from chimney
Looking for a peace in a sense of misery
Can’t find the way for cease fire in the darkness
Failure in agreement as for dissimilar perceptiveness

 

Wonderful scene of solid buildings and ancient artefacts
Brought down and flattened with dreadful artillery attack
Cities and towns turn into militants strongholds
Brothers, sisters and friends look like enemy and foe

 

Aftermath of combat dead bodies and corpses can see
Like a wild forest fire burn down the innocent trees
Guns and bodies laid around near the fortress
Left behind all the family members in a great distress

 

Extremist errant action of terror attack wayward misfire
Make virtuous people as scapegoat for an unfulfilled desire
No law and order in every corner of the world
Security of entire human population important for all

 

World notorious leaders can’t be a great legend
Don’t make stepping stone on race or religion
Provide humanitarian support to all mankind
Let’s people live in the world with peace of mind

 

All of the sudden my eyes cover with smokes
I look around but fumes make me choke
In the plight and horror my body being extremely shook
Just a dream in a little nap reading a dreaded book

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UID: 6353 • PID: 140692 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Equilibrium

Equilibrium

 

A minor storm felled

the oldest English elm tree in the world,

separating its time encrusted head

from hollowed-out trunk

along the grain

                          like an axe would.

 

Mammals and birds fled in uproar.

Older civilisations came down with the elm,

their cosmos a ruin.

 

You prepared to start school soon after,

taking pleasure in dresses, clips, mirror-black shoes.

The shadows under your panic-clouded eyes

suggested it was almost too much to bear. 

 

It’s not weight of experience that breaks you,

but the lack of strength to support it,

and for four-hundred years the tree

maintained that balance

                                        strengthening

from the eager sapling

that stiffened a hedgerow

against enclosure’s discontents,

to a thickset giant’s leg of a thing

that could bear a great canopy for centuries,

surviving three millennial storms,

the two prophecies of Malthus

                                                  and genocide. 

 

You had the strength of course. I knew you would.

The fey universe of infant school reassured

as it frenzied, bending you to its gravity.

 

But, if the old elm’s life was lengthened

by her twin’s embrace

in the dark earth between them,

how long can she now survive alone?

 

The world will fill your head

with harsher truths soon enough my girl.

I hope you find some way to bear that weight.

And troubles will come, but you too have a sister

to cling to when the winds blow

                                                    bound at the roots.

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UID: 6353 • PID: 140694 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

In Transit

In Transit

 

A five o’clock pick-up was deadly

on a cold Monday morning after a heavy weekend

with the promise of Christmas gone,

but our cuckolded driver was a stranger to such concerns.

We were on site for seven,

regardless of distance,

and Arthur was only late the once.

I often prayed he would be,

but no-one was ever listening,

except the day I didn’t want them to.

 

Winter had its consolations.

The velvet-warm van rocked us back to sleep

until we arrived, then hosted intense card games

as we awaited the lights of the day’s first load.

We would locate our stiffened gloves then,

splash shovels with diesel and crunch out

in boots heavy with yesterday’s tar

to scratch at the road like birds in dirt.

When the machine steamed and spread hot black onto frost

I’d stand and breathe in the fumes, toes itching in my boots.   

 

Small pleasures I know,

but cold flatters heat, and vice versa.

After one day’s work under an impossible sun

I drank chilled pints straight down with my father

and felt authentic as he told tales of the old-timers.

I was only pretending though,

and they quite rightly despised me for it,

but feared the Old Man more. They knew I’d soon go,

and life on the gangs – cut with weekend nostalgia –

beat going back to a place that never was.

 

We sons moved in intersecting orbits,

like dogs tied to stakes placed eccentrically around a field.

One scrambled over his father

with inherited drive and better nutrition.

The rest lurked in their shadows, or hid in less obvious ways.

And what of adopted Arthur?

He looked after his family with all the insurance money could buy.

First name down for double-pay nights. Compliant.

Reliable. Ox-strong. You could set your watch by him,

and some did. If only he hadn’t popped home unexpectedly. 

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Their Ups and Downs

Ah Love, lie back and
reminisce on endless years of
wedded bliss in
effigy, deep in the crypt; stone whippets at our feet and,
writ above – our final script:

‘SHE WAS HIS AND HE WAS HERS, OVER AND
OVER ‘TIL THE CLOVER BURST’ it’s
silence:

“Oh! – so at last those bastards packed it in? Who
smashed our stems to smithereens and left green
juice where we once had leaves?
How the hell will we explain away these injuries to the
specs on the desk up at A&E?”

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UID: 12072 • PID: 140700 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Lady With A Veil

I recede into my imagination.

I am anyone, everyone.

I am a dandelion seed on the wind.

I am final judgement.

I am here, but I am not.

I yell orders from the wheel of a ship.

I lay upon the branch of the blackened tree of Sïx Kôrix, my happy place.

I am among the stars.

I journey inwardly, into the infinity that is the human mind.

my human mind.

Reaching new depths.

I look upon reality through a veil crafted by my own imagination.

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UID: 8934 • PID: 140701 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

The eyes for the night

The eyes for the night
roll in time with the
cars on slicked roads outside

 

And the hum of the rain outside
On the leaves that stoop and droop
Under the water’s yoke and sigh

 

And it’s better for you inside.
You scratch and scribble on the
sepia stained pad beside

 

You sitting too long in
the dark like a relic. It’s all wrong because
that’s when the cracks fall in

 

And you fall in to the lockstep
To the grave with the rest: all bolted
Into the sleepless doubt.

 

The night too is bowing to some stars
That shout then press the switch
That shuts the dreams out.

 

The dark knew peace but now it hangs
and tosses and whimpers when day
stands alert to the sun.

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UID: 12079 • PID: 140703 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

When we were short-lifers in The Bury

When we were short-lifers in The Bury

 

And here were the people somehow left behind,

who hadn’t made it yet to Wild Street’s sumptuous 

bathrooms and electricity, who lacked the push, 

that sure vocabulary of rights, to get themselves

 

decanted before we arrived – our careless caravan

of bean bags, marijuana and home-brew kits –

allowed to occupy the voids pending demolition.

A lav on the landing was small price for the chance

 

to play house at a peppercorn behind the Coliseum,

where Dickens lingered in the old photographer’s

yellow vulpine smile, in the three slim sisters’

identical chignons, in the pantomime-costumed

 

bell-hop who beat his wife, in someone’s mother

who could not leave her bed. These left-behind –

box office, porters, messengers for the Inns –  

past the time of employment, edged warily round

 

us gong-voiced incomers who knew nothing

of Brasso, of turn and turnabout, who echoed all hours

in the flagged corridors, drowned the accordionist

playing shanties to soothe his homesick Devon wife.

 

We colonised the air with our rootless music,

the bathroom cubbyhole with our profligate steam,

left the lav unlocked for tramps to doss in,

were there and then were gone.

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UID: 11967 • PID: 140706 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

As if Nothing had Happened.

 

As If Nothing Had Happened.

Outside my window
An accident happened.
Three cars strewn like 
Erratic modern sculptures
For the unholy god of speed.
These ‘accidents’ by nature of the word
Always waiting to happen.
Injuries today, 
Death inevitable tomorrow
As Christmas bigotry
The air stank with
The complacency of car- crazy Britain.
Everyone by-passed staring
As breakdown services
Cleared the mayhem.
Voyeurs at someone’s ‘broken dream’
Never even musing
That it might happen to them

One day.

 

 

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UID: 11967 • PID: 140707 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

The Lanterns.

The insects fumble and bob along
Bumping blindly through
The clear but black night.
Inside the world is resting
Whispering silently, carelessly
Where is the day? 
Is it amidst the wavering leaves
Of a windless evening, 
Of summers’ tentative breezes
Amidst the darkness unseen? 
The glow worms keep on bumping on
Scouring, searching.
The lanterns of the far-off town
Are crying in the midnight air.
Whining, shining in the watery haze, 
And timeless moments
Spent on dazzling heights.
Then darkness once more.
The lonely road before you, 
With the town desperately far away, 
Lost in the mingle 
of home’s sweet thoughts.
Worried smiles, sleeping miles.
The impatient trials, 
The cursed viles, 
Scattered to fall in the starry night.
The Polar star 
Guides the Shepherd
Or is it the lost sheep home now? 

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UID: 12072 • PID: 140710 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

The Daily Roadkill

I can see what you once was.
I can see your face frozen in it’s last expression,

right before that fatal impact.
It’s sad really,

you were so full of beauty.
Then that obnoxious

interfering

machine

hit you square in your innocent little face.
Now look at you.
If only you had looked where you were going.
You would still be here,

yourself.
Instead, you disgust me.
I can smell you.
Flies swarm you,

breeding their hate within your already rotting body.
Total inception.
Your body is no longer yours.
It is home to a thousand corruptions.

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UID: 11564 • PID: 140712 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Outside Time

 

Spring

 

Sun soaks into cloud fabric

to tie-dye morning,

thermals of lark song and hills

hoist me up,

sunlight flows through the moor, my heart

beating on Harcles Hill.

 

Summer

 

I’m lost at last in stillness, no one

but an echo of lark

in a deep blue sky, waves of hills

and cotton grass

billow from horizons, the curl breaking

into a rubble of surf.

 

Autumn

 

Willow herb seeds migrate south,

a final fling into sun

and north wind, feathered cloud

and sky larks float

across the blue and I’m walking

weightless at last.

 

Winter

 

A silent stream, panpipes of icicles,

snow blazing

into light, as wind breathes, meditating

on moor land –

no past or future, just the instant’s

intensity.

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UID: 11564 • PID: 140713 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Winter Rising

 

1)

I’ve forgotten how to dream

and nights are blank

and the days.

Orion climbs Harcles Hill,

never quite catching

the pointless Pleiades.

An incomplete moon  

and Sirius reflect on ice.

My dog sniffs moonlight there.

 

What is this darkness

I wear like a coat,

keeping cold in and stars outside?

A coat of only one colour

that I cannot take off;

a skin of sky

that fits too well,

sized for sadness

and an evening like this.

 

 

2)

We walk the world away,

pull each other up the slope;

my limping dog Ben,

these halting thoughts,

then oxygen,

the heart pump of hills,

and legs driving forward.

The sun rises up.

Will we see Ingleborough?

 

The moon sets in ice blue.

We hurry to Harcles Hill

over peaks of frosted mud.

We bring each other

to the cairn at last,

take in the cold, clear air

on top, the horizon

between Bull Hill and Pendle,

and then Ingleborough.

 

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Requiem For Grenfell

The eerie structure

haunts the clouds,

its charred skeleton

arrests the rush-hour traffic

and confuses the migratory birds

who seek a nest

amid the debris.

 

Exhausted neighbours resume their daily pilgrimage

past galleries of faded photographs

whose innocent faces

contemplate another day in limbo,

their drained hearts

trying to tune into

the latest episode

of this never ending saga.

 

Corporate manslaughter

is the severe dictum  

that gives yet another turn

to this absurd

tragicomic

libretto…

But corporate has no faces

and bestows a convenient anonimity

to the real culprits;

and MANslaughter

falls so short of including

the women, children

and those of mixed genders

who, along with cats, dogs and parrots,

disappeared on that terrible night…

 

My strong empathy has a history

for I, too, was not accounted for,

during endless days in my younger years,

forcibly hidden behind a dirty hood

in a concealed basement

in a distant corner of the world.

 

My comrades missed me in the barricades

which we erected

against a cruel dictatorship;

my loved ones moved heaven and earth

in the hope that I would still be alive…

They finally found me,

and unshackled me

and sent me into exile

to these cold islands

where decades later

I had to witness the sad irony

of seeing so many who also came here

to escape an abysmal past

or an uncertain future

finding themselves betrayed

by indifference

and inequality…

 

Ashes to ashes

is written in ancient folios…

The names of the Grenfallen

are also recorded

in the Book of Life,

a memory that no one

can erase;

and they will be remembered

and honoured

with the respect

and the dignity

that they could not find

on this side

of destiny

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UID: 11564 • PID: 140715 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

No Dry Stone

 

just rain and a whistling wall,

where I wait between bouts

with the battling wind.

 

My cold-thump headache lifts,

sudden sunrise accelerates  

from the horizon, takes off into space

 

and loses itself behind the cloud.

Weather-cock trees point

to where the wind has gone.

 

I drip like the wire fence.

Rain pours into the valley

from a jug of cloud.

 

Here is high refuge for days like these.

Magpie-thoughts fly off

and whip through weather,

 

thrown here and here, they rebound

off the inside of sky and skull.

A foam of white pigeons

  

gives itself up to the wind,

the tides of air, the rip current

across the front of the hill.

 

Street lamps are still on,

confused by the dark.

Houses hunker down for the morning.

 

 

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UID: 7944 • PID: 128511 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

looking for love

The break of night waves,

leaping, dancing, falling over the sand.

                                                Miniature white coated Dervishes.

Here and there, faint stars

sparkle and illuminate heaven.

In her scarlet dress,

she sits, and wonders

if the cotton ball moon

sees inside her heart;

her vague                    loneliness,

her need for                love;

her need to be                        touched,

gently,          rhythmically,

in time with      the throbbing    waves.

                                                She looks intensely         at    the stranded starfish

                                                rejected by the                       ebb and flow

of    some  angry       storm      tide.                          

She lifts her head,                  slowly,

blond hair,       in the moon,    beau  monde;

listens to the breeze and

incessantly whispering waves

and,  in the midnight  silence, sighs  

and trickles   dry        sand,   thoughtfully   

through           her      fingers,

struggling to recall     her childhood                         dreams.

Her fingers     touch her         lips;

She      salutes the      faintly smiling            moon;

struggles to her feet               and      turns    homeward;

                        the cotton ball moon 

is swallowed                                         by the wrack clouds

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UID: 11564 • PID: 140718 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Negative Thoughts

and how to take care of them

 

 

1)

 

Offer them generosity in the yurt of your skull.

Offer them tea and sweetmeats.

Sit with them, cross legged in circular discourse.

Offer them tea and talk, toast and the telling of stories

and when it is time for them to go, let them go.

 

2)

 

Let them leave, let them walk away from you.

Let them be themselves,

walking through the house of your head

and out the door at the far side.

Wave to them and wish them well as they depart.

 

3)

 

Do not reject and do not force them to leave you.

Do not from attachment prevent them from going.

Let them have their say then let them go.

Say goodbye with kindness and compassion

and wish them well on their way.

 

4)

 

Sit with the dark thoughts and hold their hands.

Sit with the sick and dying thoughts,

hold their hands, comfort them

and talk to them as their strength fades.

Stay with them and comfort them as they pass away.

 

 

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UID: 11564 • PID: 140719 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Circus Roar

 

The wind is walking down

the telegraph wire

from Top of The Moor Farm

 

to the Moorbottom Road,

swaying in the breeze

of its own making,

 

balancing Blodin-like,

no net, just spider’s webs

and whinberry bushes

 

and trees gasping

at the audacity,

salaaming to the ringing rope.

 

Under big tent clouds

flung-far birds trapeze the day,

link up in a troop

 

and tour the countryside.

No wild beasts

just wind pawing the grass,

 

leaping from the centre pole

of Peel Tower at a clown

with red nose, baggy pants

 

hair plastered down.

Rain chucks itself in buckets.

Thunder cracks its whip.

 

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UID: 2205 • PID: 140720 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

The Ice Porter

Four in the morning and
the ice porter worked at speed.
Shots of absinthe set on zinc for
routine of shifting ice.

 

‘Jean-Pierre’, he said, once resting.
He offered a thick right hand
and poured a thumb
of rum into my coffee.

 

‘Tell me a story,’ he said.
I stopped to think for a moment.
‘There were many men
in a predicament,’ I said.

 

‘Tell me about them all.
Recount them one at a time,
even if they are the same.
Go on,’ he said. ‘I am listening.’

 

‘Like a homecoming vagrant,
I will try,’ I replied.
Spiced dust hung in the air as
skinny-bone memories came to my mind.
I gently leaned back in my chair.

 

 

 

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UID: 2205 • PID: 140721 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Sonnet Forty-Seven – Akhilandeshwari

There are words we have exchanged that are
universes. Full, like eggs, they amaze us with
sutric lyric, image and rhyme. You ride on your
crocodile! And remind us that wisdom gives
powerful, limitless opportunity, grasped through
being broken, surrendering to change, hatching
reality. Kabhee nahin toota nahin; no need to
be constant, nor even alive! Fragmenting,
endlessly recreating, dancing dervishly so bold
glimmers of new possibilities, shafts of light, strain
from cracks in chaos, you illuminate our souls.
Oh, Universal Goddess of Surrendering to Change,
we will meet you by the moonlit sea at Narbonne.
We will know the Mediterranean as our home.

 

 

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UID: 11564 • PID: 140722 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Holcombe Hill with Ben

 

I throw his yellow ball across the sky

and the sun comes with us over the moor.

 

Ben looks up as he limps along the path

as his pain is eased with the sun’s light-oil.

 

We are roped together, so Ben takes the lead

then I do, as we pull each other up the years.

 

Ben carries the yellow ball in his mouth,

breathes on the flame and carries it forward.

 

Dandelions catch the fire and fling it back.

The ball fills with sun and he gives it to me.

 

I throw it along the road and bounce into sky

then record the song of a skylark reeling

 

magnetically through my head. Electricity

flows with Ben’s panting generator breath.

 

He sniffs out the morning as ley lines of scent

lead him on, as larks are pulled up into the sky.

 

Ben runs to the top, glows gold in the sun.

We are on fire, lark song flickering around us.

 

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UID: 2205 • PID: 140723 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Cry, Wilson Octaveus, Cry

Well, of course, we must capture
all the important events at the moment
they occur, or else they are lost.
Hoarding memories like banknotes
under the bed and dreaming of
an idea that is domesticity, he found a family life;
a hole in the ground in spite of himself,
where the spirit remained abundant and potent.

 

Blessed and mortal is Wilson Octaveus but,
lost without wife and children, says:
‘This is my wife’s head. It has been eaten by dogs.’
The world, gnarled as desiccated skin on
chalk dust bone, has served you wrong.
Cry, Wilson Octaveus, cry for your family.
Cry for yourself, Wilson Octaveus.
Let tears fall and blend with the rain
that dissolves the dust that is your wife.

 

That was your life and now your days
of toil away from home and blood,
and the guilt that was your absence,
are changed, as are, inevitably,
your thoughts and dreams.
Your life has gone and now
and now, no choice but to stay home
and regret and remember the
thoughtlessness of your toils,
the carefree bubbles of a life on track,
on the back of an idea of how you
might provide for them and still be free
to be your own man.

 

It’s over, Wilson Octaveus. It’s done.
You are done and she’s gone and you are alone,
scrabbling with the bones of your family.
It can’t be you, it has to be me.
The pain, it taunts me like a looping url of shame.
It shouldn’t be you. I want it to be me.
My name is Raoul. I shoot to kill.

 

 

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UID: 11370 • PID: 140724 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Huntingdon Elm, Sheffield

in times like these/ to have you listen at all, it’s necessary/ to talk about trees. 

(Adrienne Rich)

 

I Roots

 

She drinks deeply, drawing pink milk

from the belly of the earth to ward off

the beetles that gnawed on the skin of her sisters.

 

She watched them fall, but still stands tall

on the corner of Chelsea Road.

 

This morning she yawns, flexes her calves,

carving channels through soil, shell and bone,

cleaving rock and stone and, finally,

the welcome warmth of lava between her toes.

 

We see only modest mole-hills of wood up here

gently nudging the surface, cracking fractures

in the bonfire brittle of tarmac and kerb.

 

 

II Trunk

 

Bees swirl in the womb

stacking her hollow with scarlet honeycomb.

 

Women used to boil the bark for burns, stewed

or else chewed, bitter and tough, for wounds.

 

Now we string bright flags of protest around her waist,

weld our wrists, stand in a ring and sing to keep her.

 

They say the tight twisted grain was good for boats,

and water pipes and coffins, for furniture and boards

 

but now she stands alone, crusted with honey

and wax, scattering the dark confetti of drones.

 

 

III Canopy

 

Blood flowers             drip from her limbs                  cluster her twigs          

finally sprout wings                             catch high winds                      and become cool stars.

                       

This morning she stretches her spine                tilts to the sky                           reaches further     

unfurls                         and stirs the clouds                               with toothed emerald leaves.

 

Down here we glimpse             silver velvet                             the secret underbelly of soapy green.

 

 A crown          of rare butterflies                     entrust domed eggs                              to her buds.

 

Lime caterpillars          hatch                splashed with raspberry            then shrouded in pastry and

burnt        with complete faith                  they will emerge cocoa-dusted                slightly rusted.

 

Jointed legs                 pick across petals                     for nectar.                   

Giant glass eyes                        see nothing of walls                 or saws.

           

In times like these                    we have to talk about trees.

 

 

 

 

 

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UID: 12083 • PID: 140733 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Passing On

                      Passing On

 

Churches on the landscape now

Look solitary; bereft of zealous souls

Their rigid sombre forms no longer know

Authority; nor mete the same goals

Stirring crowds like football stars.

 

Their age of hell and awe inspires

Fewer than a score of righteous folk;

Adorned with castellated tops and spires

They have that lost and forlorn look

Of castles whose primary use is done.

 

Armies; congregations have passed on

To soccer clubs and fields where men

Are gods and need no one to atone

For being less; their very acumen

Assures faithful fans will come in praise.

 

What will become of churches Godless?

Their rituals may live on in plays:

As moral disciplines reminding us

Of guilt; forgiveness and the old ways

Once, for meeting death like going home.

 

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UID: 12081 • PID: 140735 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Good Wood

Chasing down fireflies in the twilight of July
With childhood dwindling beneath a vast, pink, velvet sky
Toes dodging landmine weeds residing in wild grass
Stones and twigs dig the seeds of tomorrow’s pass

Any sweeter wind would be kin to fleeting hugs
And any sweeter moon would grin upon these bugs
When father takes us all to town, mother wears her yellow gown
No bother in her brown eyes as she looks upon the path
As no other southern man can steer this round with wrath

Fairies between the leaves, we can see them as we speed
Dancing in the blurs of trees, their fancy wings are freed
The gravel clicks and flicks beneath us on these dried out streets
To travel with tricks without trampling sticks is a marvel of all cheats

White river foam caps float by our home saps which father planted last spring
Mother’s at its banks washing clothes without thanks as we listen to her sweet voice sing

This wooden world is lost in time but not lost from our minds
It’s old now but a golden ground to which my soul still binds
It’s that little place I see at night and just before I wake
Things are tough now in this year, but there my heart can’t shake

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UID: 12085 • PID: 140736 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

The Sometime Superfluities of Reading

Books with words in martial rank,

T’was here my soul, it supped and drank.

To claw above clouds of word digressions,

Beguiled to stars of profound impressions.

 

I seek for shelter in sepia wastes,

To quench a thirst for shifting tastes.

Rich feasts of words that flavour souls,

I delve deep for diamonds,

But, alas, find only coals.

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UID: 12083 • PID: 140737 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Forever Endeavour

Forever Endeavour

 

Having no exceptional talents;

And economic needs to achieve goals

Mean having to create a balance

As best I can with worn soles

 

In order to succeed; I had to strive always

For small attainments. Others seem to breeze

Through life collecting medals; trophies

With some sort of magnetic ease.

 

Were they born with triumphal genes

Destined to win at all they do?

Plodders like me have heavier means:

Always to sweat and swot to get through

 

Half of their gifted achievements.

Do they never hear voices of caution?

I do. When I write or lift a tool immense

Doubt grips my wrist like mental iron.

 

I often think, one day a door will open

In my head and I shall do everything

Without effort. That’s not likely to happen:

The best I guess for me is lighter plodding.

 

Perhaps the “B” team is my natural place

And university for those more clever;

An ardent trier though is surely no disgrace

Dedicated to forever endeavour?

 

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UID: 12085 • PID: 140738 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Afloat. In Life… In Death…

If I were you and you were me,

And we were floating on the sea,

In inky blue and ebony,

Our minds in crystal clarity.

 

If I were you and you were me,

And we were floating on the sea,

The gulf breeze blows amid the gloom,

In wine dark waves we rise and swoon.

 

If I were you and you were me,

And we were floating on the sea,

We swim as one to farther shore,

That beckons forth in rocking roar.

 

If I were you and you were me,

And we were floating on the sea,

Those depths conspire to suck us down,

While o’er head skies now darkling frown.

 

If I were you and you were me,

And we were floating on the sea,

We swim as one in just accord,

To precious shores the sea abhorred.

 

If I were you and you were me,

And we were floating on the sea,

We rise and fall, in closer view,

That golden land we see anew.

 

If I were you and you were me,

And we were floating on the sea,

Our eyes espy a canopy,

As lie do we in slumbered sanity.

 

And all this life… aye, my friend, is little more than vanity…

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UID: 8536 • PID: 129934 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

If I, or you, then we.

We stand stubbornly
at the brink of extinction.
Under and over thinking.
No mid ground to be found

 

– take a look around.

Extreme left an’ right.
Push us up, force us down.
No middle to meet in, nor government to confide in.
No patience, between us, to find, compromises.

We underestimate evil.
Overestimate the worth of ‘like and share’.
We are all aware
That this time, may be the last time – 

 

We have the luxury to listen, to the cries of those before us.
The paintings and poems that serve to warn us.
Fall on deaf ears.
If I, or you, then we……

 

Media Feeds our fears, segregates us – “YOU WIN”!

We cry.
“NO”!
I say, “QUICK! Tactical vomit”!

 

I will not stand and listen to what you say,
“NO WAY”!
When all you say is scripted,
manipulative.

 

I will listen and hear mine peers.
See with mine eyes, process with mine mind and feel with mine heart,
For if I fall, or you fall, we all fall apart.

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UID: 12085 • PID: 140739 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

The Story of Thomas

Behind eyes so deceptively bright, is that what you see, a solitude of night?

 

When children play in summer’s tall grass,

You sit and gurgle with limp eyes in trance.

 

Never to gaze at a sky’s purple haze,

Or catch the dew scent in fresh sunlit rays.

 

A soul adrift on this turning Earth,

Unseen to its sorrow and its sorry cruel mirth.

 

When Mother came to hold you as only she can,

Did you feel her love seep as your lilted heart rang?

 

You gurgle and dribble with open wide mouth,

On high plastic throne in this old silent house.

 

Released will you be of this precious weak husk,

As the children grow pink in the pallid pink dusk.

 

When Thomas had gone, a little grave lay,

In quiet of solitude, ‘neath sun’s golden ray.

 

But a dream I did see in the ink black of night,

A young boy alive in the dewy dawn light.

He laughed with such triumph amid summer grass,

Cut from his bondage, released from his trance.

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UID: 12037 • PID: 140740 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Just Me

Who was I?
A “Nobody”?
(No torso/head but merely limbs? – joke!)
Some undiscovered Dickinson? (oh laugh)

Or that short paragraph of ‘friends to meet…’ in
the local rags obituaries? (should friends exist, should
these friends read…)
A cremated, crispy autumn leaf to a
silent wisp of tendril steam
subsumed in storms with famous names – washed
down Hell’s grate of
hidden dreams?

Who was I?
A nobody’s
attempts that drained ink-years away
to lend itself to poetry?
No, painfully, just
me.

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UID: 12085 • PID: 140742 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

Bears of Kabul Zoo

War sounds thick in the air, along the far-flung hills,

As lay he did in dank despair, in bitter Afghan chills.

His face an empty mask, behind chipped and sodden bars,

Dreaming of forests green, beneath canopies of stars.

 

Fed with soggy scraps of food from the keeper’s cautious hand,

Victim of a bloodshed he will never understand.

Caught by Man’s incessant greed as a fallen, twisted leaf,

Wasted body, broken wood, upon the craggy reef.

 

A smiling face outside the bars, as if to mock him in his pain,

As clouds gather cruel bullets, as grey incoming rain.

He never asked to be this way, so naked and forlorn,

His empty heart and aching gut, as stolid granite stone.

 

This fine beast, I have to say, deserved much more than this,

A loathsome death in blackened hole,

 

Forgotten and unmissed.

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UID: 12085 • PID: 140743 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

A Glass of Water

Is the Cosmos but a glass of water,

Within which we all must swim?

And is God the Holder of That Glass,

The Holding Hand, the Looker In?

 

I gaze within this glass of water,

To see the motes as they glide by.

Each a teeming world of matter,

A Source of Life of the Most High.

 

Within this murky glass of water,

We on filmy motes, in lives and loves.

Released at last from languid depths,

As Spirit Birds, as Freedom Doves.

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UID: 8536 • PID: 129939 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

March on Rubáiyát

March on, re-birth, crawl out from your cave,
The smell of milk carried through on warmer, calmer waves,
Distracts me from the life ahead and cradles me with joy,
Softens blows with blossom buds to keep my eyes in shades.

 

Radiance upon us both, now there is a boy,
We share and play and laugh out loud, the world itself a toy,
The days made to remember, softly comes the drunken rain,
Colours bright, life so surreal, each momentary inch, a game.

 

Now the wind she begs and screams in self-inflicted pain,
The rain he scratches boy and me, and pulls upon his chains,
We did not choose this dying branch it was us chosen,
Through bleeding reds and oranges we’re left, to run, away.

 

And now our toes are numb, we are bitter and we’re frozen,
We’re connected by orange scars, a picture perfect broken,
The ice thickens, drifting off and the darkness overtakes,
And I am left, without my boy and words, I’d never spoken.

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UID: 12081 • PID: 140744 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

The War Remains in the Mind

The war remains in the mind
With a silence licensed for time
Nothing to test at this stage
And all that is left is the rage

Kiss the desert floor with wings of steel
Wish the lesser more with every meal
Sand grains everywhere even in the heart
Keeps the skin dry thereafter from the start

Echoes fade in the blinding wind
Billows trade with the grinding spin
Dead centuries scrape and nip the lip
Sped sensories wake and split the wit

The war remains in the mind
With disdain from all but design
Nothing will rest at this age
Nothing but the nest in this cage

To live this life in peace is unreal
To give life without grief is to steal
The shouting is inside but from afar
The doubting of lies gave a solid scar

Don’t try to tell me I’ve not sinned
You’ll never understand where I’ve been
From the Kandahar to the Corengal
It’s where I stand now that’s hard to tell

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UID: 12085 • PID: 140745 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

I am the Wild Wind

I dream of hill,

And misty stream,

My soul it climbs to heights serene.

 

On windswept moor,

In howling gale,

My soul is calm and pure and hale.

 

In high grown grass,

Bent down by sea,

Is where I find my reverie.

 

The hodden sky,

Unfolds a sigh,

As lie I in heather by and by.

 

And dream my dreams,

Of long ago,

The day unwinds and cold winds blow.

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UID: 12085 • PID: 140746 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

The Mirror’s Confession

I offer you this face to see,

As Time Unfurls it altered be.

 

I do not speak, I have no need to,

The Truth is all I wish to feed you.

 

That truth of bag and sag and crag,

When once in youth you’d smile and brag.

 

I see you stare, I watch you frown,

As sometimes with conceit you’d drown.

 

A mute Witness of you am I,

You catch a glimpse, I see you sigh.

 

You see the face that God bequeaths,

But I see that that lies beneath.

 

And so it is that life rolls on,

As you see me wink from far anon.

 

Until your life, it cease to be,

I offer you this soliloquy

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UID: 12085 • PID: 140747 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

One Night in a Russian Town

It is 2am and the Russians are sleeping…

The chattering market vendors parted from their gleaming white stalls groaning with groves of cheese and honey,

The solitary muffled fishermen, the shuffling babushkas,

The young fresh-faced boys with their black woollen caps and cigarettes,

The young sure-footed girls coated in tight jeans and high-heeled boots,

The worn-out trolley-bus drivers, the crack-faced and unhappy museum women.

 

It is 3am and the Russians are sleeping…

The high winds howl from o’er a petrified Volga amid tall and crumbling flats, buoyed up by a voiceless communism.

The damp, slithery streets reflected by neon lamps, stripped bare of dignity by cold, caked thick with ice miniature lava flows,

And a frozen Lenin declaims in rude granite upon a wide plinth in a silent square, witnessed by long-vanished, word-enticed crowds.

The blood-red communion of flags has faded and is no more.

 

It is 6am and the Russians are stirring…

To the birth of a new day squeezing its way between nights,

With sepia light faintly staining the sky.

Radios thud and cackle in the air, an endless sore throat trickle of static voices announcing elections.

Heartbeat thumps through wall-pipes blood coursing through vessels and veins,

As agéd buildings heave back to life.

Voices adrift from beyond plastered walls, forlorn sailors lost at sea,

With the journey to work now beckoning ahead.

The nervous routine whir and hum of the lifts,

Creaking and cranking,

Creeping and climbing,

From floor dust to dust floor.

The grey-brown rivulet streets buzzing with old cars,

Metallic, mechanical flies.

As huddles of grey clad figures begin a slow waltz around the twin sisters of Snow and Slush,

The night has deftly slipped away and day has been recast

Like a ghostly apparition.

Perhaps it was never there…

UID: 12085 • PID: 140747 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

UID: 12085 • PID: 140748 • Order status: wc-processing • Printed:

France from a train window in winter

Electric towers in lampooning meditative stance,

Eyes calm closed, arms outstretched in mute worship of a fog-clad land.

 

All things scoured into silence,

Life leached, bejewelled with frost patches rusting a cold and tired earth.

 

The Sun floats across thick soup skies,

A blazing eyeball coasting behind a milky firmament,

Buoyed above the pearly fields.

 

Tunnel wall panels and grooves jerk and hiccup

As my racing eyes follow their manic lines.

 

The Sun now a glint of pale light in a grey grim ceiling,

Bright effervescence, gently chiding an end to bleakness when Parisian suburbs hove into view.

 

Little box houses, a spider symphony of roads, of pristine orderliness a-mixed with ordinariness.

 

Tunnel walls transform encrusted with garish scribbling proclaim a high trumpet note of jittery neuroses and dense populated living.

 

Frozen cranes crowning mouldering concrete.

 

Walls inlaid with lidless eyes.

 

Wooden shutter eyelids.

 

The iron road makes its abrupt halt…

 

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Only in echo

The music on high, let me know you’re alive
Not in body, for that is long ashes.
But in spirit, special lager, in absent minded mind
Give me something; if only in drunken flashes.

 

I don’t know if I’m sad, for it has been too long
Nor if I’m still angry with your selfish egress.
Although you were, and are, the only one;
Your absence no longer aches in my chest.

 

Only in echo, as I search for yours – 
And wonder what you’d make of all this.
As I pitter patter through empty doors;
I remember that sad house, blessed with a sad kiss.

 

For you were gone long before your depart
Out of your head and stained on my heart.

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The Pantheon in Paris

Monastery of the Mind and Nation’s Dream,

Illumined in Soufflot’s musings, soaring silent, serene.

Relief festooned Palm, opaque in opal light,

A verdant garden, paradeisos, of sensate clear delight.

I sail in the brig of mine soul, on convulsive seas unseen,

A sing-song sparrow in flight amid canopies in The Deepening.

 

Open mouthed and in amaze, with blood pulsating nerves,

Mine eyes implore that Inner Firmament, explore those unctuous curves.

While o’er all the Moonstone Cupola, of star-corundum light,

Refracts the Eye of God, a nimbus, of Otherworldly Sight.                  

Beneath that Holy Grail, Optic Cusp, through a wisp of amethyst,

The Great Men slumber beyond our reach, beyond a worldly mist.

Catacomb entombed in grey dust, upon a stony bed,

Whilst above is Genevieve athwart in lambent blue and red.

 

Alabaster faces birthed from marbled blocks, muted and forlorn.

From the ever patient Eye of God, I am aloft now borne,

To at once view with wonder a pendulum Heart Divine,

As inner sanctums lie still, inveigled, supine.

That radiant orb of topaz which swings on breaths of thread,

Counting Time in rhythmic motion, for each moment it has shed.           

 

‘Tis true these visions fill and whelm the oceans of the senses,

As fingers fumble to capture them, on chiming camera lenses.

Is this Place that Way where Pasts and Futures merge?

A mirror to our souls, a refuge from the surge?

I clamber past the bulwarks of a melancholic mind,

But it is, Alas! the voiceless face of Free Will that I find.

That bare and brackish choice of a New or Darkling Dawn.

Yet my soul yearns to commune through vapours, above this Babylon.

 

Transubstantiation in the crucible of my heart…

 

Mon seul desir.

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Rabling Road Rambles: sample sketches of a summer’s day along the Dorset coast

Pearlescent sky dunes lull me sane,

With mind melodies of Don Maclean.

 

Sun mirrors sea and melts to quicksilver,

As beetling ramparts defy flirtatious waves unappeased.

 

Butterfly lovers intertwine entwined,

Moist skin studded with bespatter massacres of insects.

 

Jam roly-poly hay bales,

Shine in baked blankets of sweated gold.

 

The chatter of children in their Golden Age,

Before the dark hood of adulthood synthesises into cynicism.

 

Keen sparrow arrows dart by hedgerows in free delight,

And awhile cry “Friend, come hither, hither with me o’er the hills”.

 

A gaggle of gulls in high sky laughter,

Surf the sea-lanes, moody currents,

Fiery feathered sails etched in breezy bronze.

 

Cloud-shadows, tree-shadows, bend and bow to Mother Earth,

As timeless silence envelopes to rein in all daylight life.

In darkness now seas whisper to the slumbering, forgetful land.

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Summers of Istanbul

About the sheen of Bosporus

Of Byzantium we ride,

I and you.

Adrift between the pink cream mansions,

The tiled tombs of Suleiman,

And Viziers Köprülü.

 

The sea sleek smooth as Edirne porcelain,

A glossy licked lokum.

The bazaars alive with liquid chatter,

Gaudy gleaming goods festoon.

 

In cool air and with harem caress,

On sun-glazed neck and chest.

In the Cypress shade café,

With silken coffee,

We find reprieve and rest.

 

Amid the musk of spices,

The minarets scrape sapphire sky.

To the muezzin’s melting call,

And crisp bak-la-va,

We watch these lives go by.

 

The emerald-eyed Golden Horn,

A Bosporus sibling sea.

And Justinian cries in delight betwixt the porphyry:

 

“Oh, great Solomon, truly, truly, I have outdone thee!”

 

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Impressions of a Wingéd Soul

Am I that Bird,

That soars so high,

Above the gales now flying by?

 

Am I that Bird,

Now all astray,

In morn, at noon, at night’s affray?

 

Am I that Bird?

From storms I hide,

Awaiting now a Peaceful Tide.

 

The tumults seem to never cease,

But o’er winds in Coves of Peace,

Is where I’ll find my rest at last,

From tidal surge, so seeming vast.

 

I’ll chart my course,

I’ll soar so high,

And by-and-by,

I will espy,

A verdant land,

Arrayed in Love,

And Blessed to All from High Above.

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In Joy of Wind and Sea

A spray of gulls atop the sun,

In silver sheens the sea-roads run.

 

Betwixt the crags as they fly by,

We catch a glimpse of God and sigh,

Our souls climb high, and higher fly,

Atop the sleeping hills we lie.

 

I heard his voice, I hear it now.

This truth is clear, I will avow.

“You will forsaken never be,

In mirth and joy of wind and sea.”

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A promise of forever

 

There is a bench outside heaven
On which loved ones they do wait
For the ones they promised forever to 
Before they can enter the pearly gates

 

Sometimes they wait just days
Sometimes they can wait years
But always they are reunited
In loving embrace and joyous tears

 

But what if my time came
Too early, I still in my youth
I’d wait there on that bench
For you, my love, my life, my truth

 

The years would pass me ageless
As I waited to see your smile
Patient and devoted
But on earth it’s been a while

 

Couples again reunited
Leave the bench once again as two
Their waiting has paid off eternally 
But I still wait for you

 

Then finally that day

One decades in the make
I see the face I have dreamt of
And suddenly I wake

 

Standing slowly to my feet
You walk towards me
But you are not alone
A new love I can see

 

Holding her hand tight
Not seeing the bench and I
The woman you pledged forever to
Unrecognisable you pass by

 

You walk into heaven
With the new love of your life
And I must wait forever
On that bench…your first wife.

 

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We are The Tree and the Leaves Departing

We are The Tree and The Leaves Departing                      (15 lines)

I’ve watched your memory leak away by degrees

I’ve watched the book of your life compress to a few pages

And then the pages only look like short minutes written as a play for others

Just the here and now matters to you

Just necessities, just needs, just needs must

 

You don’t know me anymore

But I can never forget the treasure

So I will remember the times that you cannot

And still see you as the woman of my dreams

Still know all the mystery and majesty about you

 

Do you see those oak leaves blowing gently away?

Each one is a little piece of life that has to go

Each one will change to dust then give life again

You and I are the tree and the leaves departing

It’s the saddest most beautiful thing and I love you so

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Answers

His schemes for self-improvement bought

Permission to be still at night.

To cross an item off a list,

Was happiness.

 

She reached each day into her throat

And pulled from it a sequinned cloak

She wore to dazzle Death with trite

Complexities.

 

So neither had an answer fit

To play their private god, and yet

Sufficed to keep them busy whilst

Love did its work.

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Coffee

Now

As the first blots of morning bloom
A shuffle of first sleepers morning loom
A golden cast on silent slumbers sleep
Whistles in the kitchen greet

The moan of unwilling feet
The first dose of coffees more then intense sip
And feel the weight of last nights embrace slip

 

 

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The Purge

Oh measured tone, you left when we had drunk
two or three glasses. Off you go again
to Purge yourself. In the Amazon
you can drink a liquid and it really helps
she says. I cried and cried and cried,
Until I could not stay in that room
of his. It went then, but it comes back.
I did not cry at the funeral. That is written in one of his
books somewhere. He left slowly
He drifted off, over days.
And we felt relief,
and loss, all in one.
Better than a counsellor she says.
I get it, I do, and if I were you I might go too.
With everything you have dealt with, oh beautiful soul.
That impulse, that need.
But it’s a drug I say, that is what they do,
they give you side effects.
I could have left it. I could have just agreed.

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Fuchsia

Fuchsia

 

When I said the slow green creepers, what I meant was sex.

There was a low light, and your beard was a tree

with knotholes, into which I placed things. Low light

was a way of saying fire. Your veins were encrypted,

a network of stems underwater. You couldn’t make sense of it.

If I called up flowers, this would signify guilt, if I described

the way they blazed at the ends of courgettes, certainly

if I made them blue and spread them over meadows.

 

The morning wakes up all of your confess