NaPoWriMo: Day thirty (we made it!!)

There was an old film

Black and white

The lead character wore a trench coat and spoke

Half cigarette and half bourbon

All the women were dames

All the music was jazz or a sweeping orchestra

Every plane had propellers

And a pilot with a fur lined jacket and an official looking hat

Each scene was introduced by the man in the trench coat

He seemed unhappy all the time

Maybe just tired

Like he’d seen it all before

He probably had

He had a walk that said

“come near me in the wrong way and you’ll know what a revolver feels like”

There is still a small part of me that dreams of America that way

Humphrey Bogart and femme fatales

I know this isn’t true

But I can’t help but feel

That if I walked into a New York bar

There’d be a woman sipping hard liquor in a red dress

And she’d have a hell of a story


NaPoWriMo: Day twenty nine

If grey has a scent

It is of wet earth

The smell of a dead storm

The giants that we are

Reached out and picked pieces of the air

One breathe at a time

As hungry as vultures

We shed our feathers for fresh clothes

Less ragged

Less heavy

We told each other stories about how we each survived winter

You pointed to scars that no-one else had seen

And for each one

I gave you a story

Of dragon wars and raging wolves

In each there was truth

And then we lay there

In the cool light

All our battles done

NaPoWriMo: Day twenty eight

Everyone assumes it begins with the heart

In reality

The first thing to go is the stomach, the gut, your instincts

When your eyes first brush against her new smile

Being directed at a new man

Your stomach will drop, heavy, shattering across the pavement

Releasing the moths you mistook for butterflies

As you try to pick up your broken pieces like a toy soldier who hasn’t realised he’s lost.

From that moment on you will be incapable of acting in the moment

Afraid, you will meticulously obsess over every detail of every action

To make sure you never have to suffer the surprise again.

The sinking feeling is caused by the secretion of adrenaline combined with the prioritising of certain muscles over the stomach as part of a fight or flight response

And trust me you will want to do both the moment you can trace her laugh back to him

But instead you will remain rooted using all of your concentration to offer up the thinnest smile and act like you are ok

And somewhere you know you will be

But not today.

NaPoWriMo: Day twenty seven

I want to travel round the world

Leaving three line poems in visitor books

I want to travel as far as I can by train

Just because it is categorically the most romantic way to travel

And if I travel by train I want to fall in love on a train

While the rest of the world pulls itself along the windows

I want to love in a tiny universe of train tables and coffee stains

She would have bright eyes that smiled at anybody and love to watch the rain tap dance along the windows

And I would have no chance

No hope or prayer

Of doing anything but falling in love with the way she seemed to kiss every word into a conversation.

In short…

I want to live a life that would make an indie film maker wet himself

Travelling around the great unsung beauties of nations

With the woman from the train on my arm

And we would dance and drink in every bar we could see sold more than just alcohol

And she would turn the neon lights into the marks of God

Plucked from the sky

We would collect stories in notebooks

Pin poems onto the walls of our apartment

I want to travel until I find home

And then

I want to travel with her.

NaPoWriMo: Day twenty six

There was a river

It ran through pine trees

It never froze

One winter

After watching the only film that ever spoke to them directly

A boy and his girl ran away together

With nothing but a few spare clothes

Three books and a typewriter

With enough paper to make them both happy

They pitched a tent near the river

The boy fished and made decorations with the scales of those he caught

He hung them around the fire

So the light would catch and reflect

The boy looked at his girl and told her they were fairy folk now

Nothing but myth and in being so

Were more real than anything they left behind

The girl agreed

She began writing the account of their time

About her and her boy

And together they were happy

It was several winters later that they both returned

to the forest

to the tent and the river

The river had frozen over

Neither of them noticed.

NaPoWriMo: Day twenty five

Hold on to your feet!

I hear there is a storm coming in the shape of a woman

Who will knock all the socks clean off

And rip the ceiling clean from its walls

I hear that when she steps to a microphone

She becomes a five foot nine volcano

Spitting words with so much fire

So much heat and light

That passing aeroplanes make emergency landings

Just so the pilots can find the faith of their parents again

All hats within a five mile radius have collectively vanished

Every nervous man in love has been infused with the ghost of a lion

Every woman the ghost of a giant antelope

Of a matriarch elephant

Animals made for peace that refuse to quit a fight

And they both turn to one another and say

“HEY! If you want to love someone like the world was ending (and it just might be)

I’m going to find out where this voice came from

And I want you with me”

If you dare to love this woman

The conjurer of valiant

The remainder of whatever made Norsemen believe in Thor

Be careful.

She contains too much of the big things of this earth

And you may end up the pebble in the mountain river

Trying to become like her

She will wear you smooth

But every now and again

You will feel over the scars of the stories that you shared with her and smile

Because at least for a brief time

A mountain knew your name

And you heard it in the thunder.

NaPoWriMo: Day twenty four

If God

Where a man

He would be a hobo

Like the old school comic book hobo

With shoes with curled up toes

Rosy cheeks between a five o’clock shadow

And a red and white polka dot  sack on a stick.

He would ride the rails every day

Playing gospel on a harmonica

Eating beans from a can

And when someone would ask him why

Why he chose to come back as a hobo

He would simply nod and smile

Sit them down by the fire

Hand them the can and a spoon

And tell them

With a voice of quite thunder

Of sunlight at dusk

Of trees growing

Of an ocean

“Sometimes the serious stuff happens when everyone isn’t taking things too seriously”

NaPoWriMo: Day twenty three

You know some days it’s ok

When perched on the corner of an empty bed

Window opened as far as it will grow

Sun beating its chest high above the clouds

Wind a child’s laughter

It’s ok

When the pen refuses to move

And the page lays open

As quiet as the prayers of church mice

And the silence gathers around you

Thick and heavy

It’s ok


To admit that things are not ok…

NaPoWriMo: Day twenty two

He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf Stream and he had gone eighty-four days now without taking a fish. In the first forty days a boy had been with him. But after forty days without a fish the boy’s parents had told him that the old man was now definitely and finally salao, which is the worst form of unlucky, and the boy had gone at their orders in another boat which caught three good fish the first week. It made the boy sad to see the old man come in each day with his skiff empty and he always went down to help him carry either the coiled lines or the gaff and harpoon and the sail that was furled around the mast. The sail was patched with flour sacks and, furled, it looked like the flag of permanent defeat. The old man was thin and gaunt with deep wrinkles in the back of his neck. The brown blotches of the benevolent skin cancer the sun brings from its reflection on the tropic sea were on his cheeks. The blotches ran well down the sides of his face and his hands had the deep-creased scars from handling heavy fish on the cords. But none of these scars were fresh. They were as old as erosions in a fishless desert. Everything about him was old except his eyes and they were the same colour as the sea and were cheerful and undefeated. “Santiago,” the boy said to him as they climbed the bank from where the skiff was hauled up. “I could go with you again. We’ve made some money.” The old man had taught the boy to fish and the boy loved him. “No,” the old man said. “You’re with a lucky boat. Stay with them.” “But remember how you went eighty-seven days without fish and then we caught big ones every day for three weeks.” “I remember,” the old man said. “I know you did not leave me because you doubted.” “It was papa made me leave. I am a boy and I must obey him.” “I know,” the old man said. “It is quite normal.” “He hasn’t much faith.” “No,” the old man said. “But we have. Haven’t we?” ‘Yes,” the boy said. “Can I offer you a beer on the Terrace and then we’ll take the stuff home.” “Why not?” the old man said. “Between fishermen.” They sat on the Terrace and many of the fishermen made fun of the old man and he was not angry. Others, of the older fishermen, looked at him and were sad. But they did not show it and they spoke politely about the current and the depths they had drifted their lines at and the steady good weather and of what they had seen. The successful fishermen of that day were already in and had butchered their marlin out and carried them laid full length across two planks, with two men…

NaPoWriMo: Day twenty one

They lit cigarettes like signal fires

I do not know what they were calling out for

But what I do know

What I did see

When the smoke of the fires

Plumed and billowed  like a great bird

The ghosts of the city held hands in the smell of burnt cedar

And told each other secrets.

There are secrets in this air

So thick you can almost taste them

The sky is the most beautiful shade of blue and diluted gold

The moon is a sickle

Harvesting starlight

Into a big sack

The buildings are just windows

That is all

Squares of glass floating like doors to heaven

There are so many!

All are heaven.

Between the smoke and the sickle moon

Every word hanging in the air is harvested

As the passing cars move by

Sets of headlights and radio noises merging into traffic

But here

Among the trees and the grass

That sprang like a home

For inner city frisbees and barbeques  and ghost stories


How ever many worlds there may be

Have all found a piece of whatever they were looking for.