Soul Music

The lampshade makes it look like

someone hung the moon with electrical cord

But it hasn’t quite died yet,

Still shining, doing its duty.

It even rivals the full moon outside the window,

The one that keeps getting swallowed by cloud dragons

With soft fangs and scales, not that it matters

When you can eat the moon whole.

 

Inside, the boy has opened his soul,

Cracked open its boundaries like the rib cage of a ship

Like the skeleton of an upright bass

He lets the strings vibrate in the now hollow cavity

As his music spills into the air

Almost like he were beating dust from a book

But she is asthmatic for where his soul is concerned.

Still without the burden he feels clean

And that is enough when she leaves

When she is gone

But she’ll bring the dust back when she returns

To fill the hollow, the skeleton

 

Outside the moon is swallowed by dragons

And leaves the future in the dark

Where it belongs

At least for now.

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Salt Water

The pen will not move.

It sits nestled,

Motionless.

I try to move it,

Make words,

But none spring to the page.

And all is quiet.

 

How can you describe the ocean with only a biro’s worth of ink?

How could I tell you everything?

The thought moves like the tides,

Back and forth,

Day and night,

And how it makes me long for the shore,

The cooling sand,

A million grains of mountain and hard places,

The sea wipes them up and down.

 

And the rustling of the waves is a pleasant music.

 

On nights such as this

How could anyone say everything about the sunset on the ocean?

Beauty when it is true cannot be embellished with description,

And like the sea,

You are beautiful.

Truly,

Completely,

All disarmingly beautiful.

Like the sea you have dark,

you have storms,

No one, not even you, can hide that,

But there is always light.

There is always hope.

And I see it all in you.

 

And with these thoughts

I make the pen move,

Hoping you might one day hear it.

 

And the rustling of the paper is a pleasant music.

From Out of Town

Alone is a place,

A town not far from where you live

Populated by friends and neighbours at one time or another

And they’re all perfectly friendly

And have neat gardens

And grow sunflowers in the summer

And have dogs and cats which lie still when the sun comes up

I walk through alone sometimes

But I never want to live there

Instead I go at night

When I’m in a mood to be honest with myself

And the birds are still chirping even though it’s four in the morning

But I don’t mind

There are worse sounds

 

One night I trod along the pavements

Kicking glass hearts which had shattered there that evening,

It was Valentine’s day after all,

And I hummed a jazz standard in my head

And breathed the air like an unlocked snare drum

And I laughed at the cold

The kind of thing I can only do in alone

Sometimes the empty streets are peaceful

But it always seemed strange to me

That I was the only one in them.

Summer

The bird still sings

Outside your room.

In the tree which I never saw bloom,

And have not dared to see again,

The bird still cries out,

Protesting darkness like an eager soul

Or a child too alive for dreaming.

Awake I swear I hear him,

Even though he is too far away,

And I smile

Because he is alive.

And I sit and listen to him,

Until dawn breaks through the rooftops.

The Forge

(this one is a performance piece I’ve yet to perform)

 

You told me you feared dying,

And old age made you nervous.

And I didn’t want to say anything stupid like “that’s nothing” or “childish” or “out of the blue personal”

And I definitely wasn’t going to tell you that sometimes I feel exactly the same way,

That my nightmare isn’t a monster under the bed but an expanding nothingness that never leaves peacefully.

Or that my worst future would be an old folks home where every breath is forced out of me,

As everything goes away in one long whisper.

Instead I hold you closer and look up.

I hold you closer and look up and ask for the angels to bring down the coals used to purify Isaiah

But I don’t just rub them on my lips,

I swallow them,

so I can start a furnace in the heart of my being and put every word through it.

I don’t make bullets or guns though,

I forge my words into a sword and shield and armour and spears like the old days

And I turn to you and say ok, where are your demons?

I got these callouses from wielding a pen not a blade, but they both fit just fine so what else can I do?

See I will use words to banish whatever monsters are creeping into your thoughts,

And I will do it personally, up close and violently beautiful,

Decapitating seven headed dragons and cursed apple peddling witches,

And it’s not because you can’t take of yourself.

Lord knows you’d do just fine without me.

I know you could kill serpents with nothing but a look and a ball point pen and you do.

But I raise my sword anyway

Because it’s easier to fight your demons than it is to fight mine.

Doubt is a sentient fog, it won’t kill me directly but it’ll lead me into the roads that are less travelled for a reason.

Fear is a shadow man, a voodoo witch doctor sticking pins in my spine and watching me dance.

Death is a great black bird, a murder of crows with 7 billion sets of eyes waiting for each of us and I sometimes feel like he is watching me closely.

 

If I could be a superhero I would be Aquaman.

And not because I thinks he’s the most powerful, he isn’t.

Or the most commanding, he isn’t.

Or even an underdog, depending on who you ask he might be.

It’s because he fights regardless.

Despite ridiculous jokes and a world convinced he is useless,

He fights on anyway.

There is nobility in his sacrifice.

Honour in his refusal to let this world break him.

He exists and does what he does because that is who he is,

He is a force of nature,

And I want to be like that.

 

See we all have our demons,

And they are our own,

But this world tells young boys they aren’t men unless they kill their demons alone.

That asking for help somehow makes you less of a man,

That crying is for the damsels in distress.

It tells women that armour is something for the men to wear,

Neglecting to mention that mothers fight regardless,

Sisters fight regardless,

Women fight regardless,

And they wear just as many battle scars as the men do.

None of us has to fight alone.

And on the days I confront my demons I’m hoping to have an army with me,

Marked with the crosses they’ve all been bearing.

And I hope you’ll be there.

So I put on my armour, hold you closer, raise my sword and say ok, where are your demons?

Yellow

The room across the street,

In another universe,

Is yellow.

The walls of the building are blue,

A midnight blue,

The window frame white and cracking.

A man busies himself with nothing,

Sleeping now and then,

Airing sheets,

Writing,

Typing,

Listening to music,

I sometimes wonder if we are the same.

That One Day in Spring

The trees are still

They do not move with the breeze like they used to

No music will compel them to dance

No rhythm to sway

They are still as prayer

And it is heavenly to watch them contemplate the sun.

The sky is without clouds

As if it were painted, a ceiling on the world,

Brilliant

Blue

Liberating

And it too is heavenly.

Light drapes over the city

With a graceful indifference

Like an absent minded painter

So assured is the sun in its work

And it too is heavenly.

The world is beyond itself today

There are no cogs or machines

Only the trees and cloudless sky and lazy sun

Today is a day of breezes

Cold beers

Friends if you have any

There is no greater joy to be had today

Except sleeping in the arms of a lover

Fingers locked like the door to your apartment

Heads on each others hearts

Rising and falling

God, how I miss it.

But today is not a day for sad thoughts

Today is too heavenly for that.