Alone and Free on a Tuesday Night

I watched a bee enter through the crack in the window.

It settled on the glass for a moment,

Then it began to circle the old mugs and empty bottles.

Then it hit the glass with a small but defiant thud.

 

Again.

 

And again.

 

As if the next time would bring freedom.

 

I felt pity for the first time in a long while.

Poor bee,

It can only see freedom and not the obstacle in its way.

I left it there, resigned to its fate

While I washed dishes

And stared at the grain of my skin.

The sun was leaving slowly

And the city was beautiful.

In that moment, myself and the bee,

we were still.

 

That night there was a fog

And all the street was quiet

So I didn’t go in.

I didn’t enter the door for another minute.

The trees were industrial saints

With golden halos

manufactured by the street lamps,

Electric suns without an orbit,

Angel makers.

And all the street was quiet

So I didn’t go in for that moment.

And walking up the silent steps, except for the echoes of my own footsteps,

I knew what it was to be alone and free

And I cared for neither of them.

Advertisements

Mist is a Calming Weather

Mist is a calming weather

It soothes all the fire in your guts,

Silences the seas in your head,

The electricity in your veins.

 

The piano in my ear mixes with the ambulance sirens,

As the scaffolding dances around an ornate building,

Unrefined but structured.

 

An old man walks with his chin to his chest,

Heels clipping the ground

And a ludicrous smile upon his face,

Wider than the mist.

And he is dancing.

 

Down the steps, in the courtyard,

There is a couple

And they are still in love,

Holding each other with their eyes but not with their hands,

As friends chatter on beside them,

And they are paying attention and not

Like new lovers do.

 

I am alone and all is background noise.

The street lamps are not turned on.

There is no light but an ambient grey.

And it is beautiful.

 

And it is beautiful.

 

And it is beautiful.

Awake at 3am

That night I lay on the floor

spread like a drunk, on an old mattress.

I had fashioned a canopy out of an old sheet

to keep the sun off my head when it rose,

but it was white and thin so I doubted it would suffice.

That didn’t matter much.

I lay awake staring at the dipping centre,

imagining a night sky

or some ancient curtain of a pharaoh or emperor of Rome.

It was a pleasant fantasy.

 

Then I waited for her .

I knew she wouldn’t come

but I waited,

in part out of ritual I suppose

or loyalty,

whatever that meant.

I’d heard her sing that night.

She must have chosen that song, those words.

How could she not have?

It was a small club

wherever you looked you could name all the faces.

She chose the words and either didn’t think of me or did.

I’m not sure which would hurt more

in a club that small.

Maybe that’s what I was waiting for.

Answers,

answers only she could bring.

Preacher’s Son

I carved out my heart once.

I didn’t die, I just stood there

Looking at it

Beating in the palm of my hand

Blood dripping through my fingers

It was red like you’d expect

But it didn’t feel like mine

So I held it out to you…all of you

You see this was never meant to be a love poem

This is a passion piece

Written in the spaces between stigmata,

I’m here to sacrifice myself for you…and me

 

I always wanted to be a preacher

At least on the weekends

Because that’s when God works right?

But one day my mother came home with blood on her hands

When I asked her why she said

She’d been trying to get hearts beating again and shocking them wasn’t working

It was a Tuesday.

My mother is a preacher.

She preaches with the soft voice of her eyes and the lines in her hands

But every night she brings back the rocks and the hard places with her

Like trophies of war

Some days she wins

Others she says she’s still fighting

I will never be a preacher

I do not have the strength for it

To carry anyone else’s demons like that

 

Now and then I dream of being a poet

It’s a sacrifice I can make

I carve out my heart night after night and I hold it out to you

Listen to it sing into a microphone as it drips words onto the stage

Every poem is a public execution

A crucifixion of demons

One day I might get rid of them all.

 

I carved out my heart once

I didn’t die I just stood there watching it

And to me it sounded

Beautiful. 

I Think I Love Her Still

I fell in love with an American girl.

Her hands were small but full of life

And warm.

I couldn’t tell you the colour of her eyes

Only that I never wanted to stop looking at them.

I think they were and are blue.

 

Her hair was and still is

Blonde,

Not golden like so many poets would lie,

Or some vulgar yellow.

A natural blonde.

And finer than silk to touch,

To feel against my beard as she slept.

How I wish I could run my fingers through her hair again,

Commit sacrilege after sacrilege by touching her cheeks, her neck, her waist, her blonde hair.

 

But I can’t.

So I don’t.

 

And yet the thought remains.

And it makes a man think, almost to weeping.

 

And I can.

So I don’t.

 

Men don’t cry at sunsets.

Despite their beauty.

Despite their impermanence.

Despite their distance.

That’s all my love is now,

Distance.

And yet I see her everywhere with friends of ours,

Laughing and flirting with life,

While I sit with fire in my gut.

 

I used to prefer brunettes.

Zombie

They said it would be quick

Quicker than a bullet through what brain we had left

Blowing out a candle

Or shattering glass jaws

One right hook, click of a trigger and we would be gone to it

They were wrong.

It took us three weeks to move on

We tried to sweat it out, like our bodies were open taps and waterfalls of salt and evil

Our eyes glazed over to stop us seeing what we had become

 

We became monsters feeding on whatever we could find to try and fill the spaces we knew were there

Lungs fighting themselves like the starving over food, cracking under the pressure

Half full of unfinished words too heavy to push back up

Our skulls slowly emptied as memories of conversation and love circled the drain of our spine draining out of our hollow bones into every extremity as they became numb

We lost our humanity to the nothingness

All we were left was the hunger and nightmares of gnashing teeth like applause of ivory for every inch we shuffled

We became monsters

Built monuments of flesh,

inside our stomachs groaning under the weight of memory we absorbed

We put the old world into the safest place we had

Making a city of friends and neighbours in our gut

And wishing every day they would rip themselves out again and drag us with them out of the shell we were lost in

We were landmines too rusted to survive a winter alone but alive enough to create bodies to keep us warm

Sometimes I am grateful we cannot feel

Cannot see what we have done, hear the cracking of bones under our feet.

 

We are monsters now

Shark headed men and women

Learning about the world through our teeth

We see the beauty of being alive in the smell of blood

We are dragons hording souls

Homeless trolls looking for bridges that weren’t burned in the panic of patient zero

We are zombies, hungry landmines

And we will always be hungry

Spring

Mists hang low around the window

And the church tower

And the yellow squares of other rooms

And I’ve opened the shutters on both windows to let the light in

I wonder if anyone else loves the grey

The undefined edges

The smell of wet earth and grass

For the first time in days I don’t think about you

I lie to myself more now

Winter

The world isn’t any less beautiful

The sun hasn’t stopped shining

Time keeps ticking forward

The sky hasn’t fallen

The birds still sing

The people still laugh

I still laugh

But everything has tinges of sadness

Now that you’re gone

Autumn

It began in autumn.

The sunset glow of the midnight city

Swallowed any passing grain of starlight,

Which stuck like pinholes in the black sky

And dared to reach too close.

A pearl moon hung low and wide

Over the dark silhouettes of gnarled oak trees

Close enough to feel every crevasse

Yet far enough to see perfection

The moon watched as we walked home.