Posts tagged poem
Posts tagged poem
I might stop treating myself like lost property,
shortchanged in underhand acts of charity;
how many times do you expect to define yourself as worthless
before it becomes your asking price?
how many times do stars really cross?
The sky isn’t playing chess
with itself anymore than it is advising us where to move next
and yet we still hedge bets, read horoscopes,
plan certain tomorrows accordingly,
postpone particular sorrows
until our zodiacs allow.
Now comes the nighttime,
and yet you let yourself be caught unprepared,
watch your phone run breathless out of battery,
then tell me if you’re scared.
Don’t always be.
through the woods
at stars to thank
in the grandmother dark
feels like home to the wolf,
and you too
have always had
something lupine about you.
Walk yourself out of the gloom
with gingerbread footsteps
and no need to leave breadcrumbs;
now you know your way out of the woods
let’s hope the path doesn’t feel as treacherous
Teabags accumulate a little like a body count,
some dishwater warfare, some conversation’s ammunition,
sometimes I pace the tiled floors,
hold armistice in an empty kitchen.
Sometimes I forget how beautiful thought is when it colours a voice in sunset shades, when each idea is delivered like a poppyseed bread roll, split and buttered by the care and love intelligence uttered, presented in open palms, take communion this service is ours.
Teacups accumulate a little like an empty train;
carriages and passengers vacated exhausted in exhaled opinions and imaginings,
whistles blown in sighs and shy and sly smiles,
kisses blown in nods of heads and sleights of hands in private looks more tenderly passed salt down a dinner table than shaved ice gritted into a cocktail glass.
We wave goodbye like war wives to the beliefs we married in secret and harboured like fugitives and bore like suffragettes and will lose like widows and find again like saints,
we wave goodbye slowly, like age, to each other, like friends, like brothers, like strangers, lovers, neighbours, husbands, conspirators, undercover allies and comrades, confederates.
We get over ourselves, our mountain ranges; we hire Sherpas learn the lingo, then unaided without oxygen, then alone in blizzards then thawed and embraced like summer until eventually hissing tension on a griddle.
But thankfully, we no longer eat at barbecues;
we sup on discourse, repast and repose,
what a thing to have Ginsberg creep back into my toes and throat,
lord zero knows
we succeed your deep gossip,
raise you three shots
and dare you come haunt me now,
besotted with possibilities;
summer’s on the washing line.
I’ll lend you a bedsheet, ghost
If you’ll let me be your eager host.
I am restless
and hollow to the brim
pretending some infinite weekend
is still yet to begin.
He giggles stardust,
he grins tempered thunder,
I have my doubts
Sorry enough to still be awake
as evening leaves and morning takes
its cue from me,
searching for hieroglyphics in the gloom,
else making this bedroom prison my tomb.
I hear my phone buzzing
bright noise through the walls
I see butterflies in their sunshine, court.
I make tea for three,
milky white in the early grey,
verdant green in the wilting May,
a flask of bad coffee
tasted only by the gurgling drain,
muttering Scandinavian wisdom
as if it were my tongue
when all I really wish is to simply sit, smile and kiss, belong.
I admire my graceless lords;
we sabotage the abattoirs,
build theatres of thought,
faded signatures are our sponsors,
sweet promises carved bark in trees,
engraved initials bear witness to these,
something wed with every secret shed,
some bond broken and then reset,
be a splint,
some fire kindled and fizzled to cinder,
be a flint,
our loathed and beloved suburbs
and wait for fields to grow, recover.
Until the knuckles of the hills are exposed
by our densest blood still spilled in prose,
Time sits still, our world corrodes;
hooked to the drug of company
or whatever lurks in this crooked three.
Hold on to the rigging, to the mast,
earn a living, living’s past.
Here comes the sea change,
be merciful heat wave.
I hear heart sorrow plunge
like swallows to the shore,
I hear your voice break and beat
the airwaves like an oar;
turn that anchor on its head,
make it a brave arrow instead,
trust the compass, not the torch,
all maps, all hearts, all paths point North.
Having tasted what it is to bite the ink,
to dive in biro blue and sink,
hear my worth rattle about the cabins of my head in
ballpoint black bullets spilling from a mint tin,
in sighs and slow typing and clicking and nose picking, restless middle age,
teachers learning and unlearning sunset to death and no longer caring for its glow,
their cats uncurious, their mouses furious sweep of some young thing’s paper potential.
Having tasted what it is to invent shades of beige on a Thursday and paint some gormless open mouth a brand new porch in magnolia,
a reception for yawns and filing cabinets filled with good mornings and good days,
to chase the sunshine’s neon path in highlighter promises of fact and fact,
to pace the floors of regret realising I left my keys eight pavements ago
on a windowsill and heavy snow
separates me from whatever shelter I have,
some satellites rest wealthy quiet
as my night is spent in clockwork silence;
I have a pixel hourglass as company
I’ll evaluate, discuss, describe, analyse, justify
I’ll forget my candidate number,
I’ll cram impulse into the echo of specification, I’ll study only what makes this blood buzz thud
foreign evenings shall be my case study,
after exhausting every neurone’s flicker
having tasted tomorrow brave and bitter
I will supper only on solace,
nurse my calloused fingers by clumsily picking raspberries,
in stained pyjamas, regain sincerity
earn an education worth having,
having tasted belated mediocrity
and eaten my fill
I’ve learned to fall and rose hungrier still.
conversations between poets
Even maps fold in on themselves,
even the noble lose themselves;
balloons pop under shoes
like shots fired at the back of the throat from shelves
to the lips
from hands to the hips
from hands to the hips to the hair to the grips of the neck
to the chair to the wall to the bar,
but this is too dystopian,
and not the night I knew with them.
When all their saved and spent affections
tread gingerly towards midnight
like some beast or princess dragging a great trap of a secret of a past transforming with pumpkin wrath
clawing back fistfuls of distance for fistfuls of fivers, then I have found
a nightmare where there should have been an island.
What we had was paradise;
Time was not the circle of a watch, direction refused to associate with the compass,
to witness our young minds lost in
hurricane bliss was enough, to know we’d done this
All a blur with horizons beneath our eyelids,
each other’s smiles on our minds.
Yes, we were oblivious to quicksand sadness,
yes, our minds began to trespass,
communicate in stifled sighs
but teacups or boulders as paperweights
could not withhold the sea-change
that all begins with a last goodbye.
The boys in their father’s suits or their father’s image or their mother’s
and the girls all sunkissed til smothered
fill the garden of acoustic Gatsby,
giggling and queuing for the ladies’ lavatory,
spilling like fumes into winding staircases,
spilling like hands into bad embraces,
killing their chance at immortality
for 'another round of Jaegerbombs please.'
This is the Trojan wall defeated,
this is where brave Medusa retreated;
here in the knotty confines of the gloom
is where we measure life in millilitres.
Now I sit with my eyes to the orchard
with a glass of last night’s bedside water
breathing in the morning like it’s new to me,
our revels ended and we drowned asleep.
I know what it is
to be caught in the Holbrook monsoon;
with shade playing tennis on the living room window,
thunder playing chess on the garage roof.
To be lost in the grips of tireless ambition;
my mother wants to give back to the mountains
which already claimed her best friend,
my brother wants to give in to inevitabilities,
rather than withstand,
my father knows the rough in me,
watches my clumsy plans,
well, my feet feel far too distant from my hands,
my head steals hope from the sea and land,
my fingers type with the urgency of birds,
and the damned.
I want to know what it is
to toss my cufflinks into the pond
awake in sheets of rich damask,
brunch in town with dreams still caught in my hair
and upon each eyelash.
To chat to
boys you met at some Halloween party,
some lost station platform,
and girls you find in bookshop upstairs’
and exchange gentle gossip in evening air.
Too soon, I’ll have June before me,
with its breath of summer,
its taste of honey,
and we deserve to claim it.
Too soon, I shall write farewells
to all my loves,
my many loves,
and litter the bluebell woods with my ballads.
Too soon we all grew up to find
our heads hit the ceiling of the shifting sky.
Sometimes, I favour the silent affinities of train passengers
over the hubbub of playground politics.
I’ll stand on that station platform,
from the staircase vaunting loud
to the suitcase disarray,
crying to the crowd,
‘dig out your gorgeous octopus broaches,
your tabloid tattle,
last night’s samosas.
Book table seats, so there’s space
for your thoughts and yourself.
Consider spontaneously placing
over your destination.
Carolina Jordan waits there, smiling American air at strangers.’
Do so and you’ll miss
children wanting nothing more than noise,
just noise, shiftless girls and freckled boys
who look out windows at factories and quarries and cry out
‘oh my god, it’s a palace.’
And they’re right,
in both, power is made.
Don’t ignore the Stamford houses stood like grandparents by the trackside;
they are chateaus in all but everything. France would have them back again,
claim them yours with a second glance.
Canals still sit like ghost-laced veins with still blood in;
the still remains of noble Albion,
between lonely trackside horses
and Cambridgeshire savanna;
where can a mind wander when the land is so flat
you can see your ideas run
to the horizon and back.
What an idea;
have your grandchildren wave at passing trains,
you’re guaranteed to raise a smile.
The quays and the locks of England
suggest we have a secret to keep only our waters may know.
Our voyage is salted
by the train conductor’s curses,
and if you and your mother hadn’t rowed,
you would have never made my verses.
Returning home is always spare buttons
and mediocre green tea evenings;
cradle the haze, gather loose change
where complimentary ginger muffins
sometimes await. It’s worth it for the chance.
It’s worth it for the chance.
Three nights of Tennessee liquor
and their bitter black skies,
with little light
taught me to
fuck this melancholy.
Building moments of gloom and glory,
to mark a story
long since gone to print in ash,
applauded by the puddle-splash,
criticised by the raindrop,
turned firework on the bus’ glass.
I stood in the noble urinals,
I took in the CCTV horizons,
I read so far between the lines,
I forgot his full stop could just mean
From a porch,
under April’s evening umbrella,
we saw airplanes composing
we saw cars skidding like
I asked the underpass to do my bidding
and settled for the river
Denying deep long breaths
of reckless youth,
I favour secondhand sunsets.
Lead a life,
impulse, with restless
spent pens, smudged desks.
I’ll chase the whiskey with a green tea,
knowing either way I’ll cleanse,
he’ll flow in poetry and prose,
making straight and intricate bends
and if I ever dredge him up,
I better keep it between friends,
because who knows who you can trust
when the plot twists once again.
My thoughts grow less remarkable;
they’re fraught with shards and dark troubles.
They dull like blunted blades on flint,
with fading wonder spent and skint.
I talk with cadence falling short,
I wretch to find my meanings caught
and trampled, dragged like brutal giant’s
grasp down fell and valley side.
I suffer the utter unchecked wrath
of adolescent careless laughs;
I’ll choke the joke at the source.
Jaded fools hold no remorse.
Regret, you have a crevasse-clasp,
I am uncramponed, unprepared.
Neglect, you seize a weekend fast,
then leave me to my streetlight prayers,
creeping like a glacier to the coast,
teasing the beach’s shallows.
I sought my future in turtleshell hills
to realise they were hollow.
I am retreating up the valley slope
to holidays of long ago;
treading water in Salcombe’s bay
and now I’ve found a cause to stay.
I will relive February bliss each time
the sky forgets its grey.
I will build a Devonshire heaven.
I can topple worlds.
I will seek the supreme Southbank sunsets I crave
in the orange indigo of the estuary waves.
The open plains of my coursing veins
will stage the great migration south;
if bluebells chimed I would hear them sing
‘all this earth is lonely now.
Scatter starlings, scatter darling’
and I’ll run until my feet give out,
for why would I not take the opportunity
I chased down to the southwest sea?
If I’m leaving home, then let me go
to the ends of this land and arrive alone.
Reykjavik bared its teeth to me;
its bay an open mouth asleep,
its blocks were concrete studs
in tarmac gums
and from it sprang a midnight hum.
I, awake with Iceland’s frost in my blood,
heard the beat of the Valkyrie drum,
slunk through corridor soft and dumb
to seventh floor balcony-come-clifftop,
where the dozing busses and snoring cars
played soundtrack to my soaring heart.
This city’s foreign slumber,
dreaming deep oblivious under
Aurora. I glimpsed Valhalla’s gleaming floors.
I stood, pyjamaed tourist, unworthy of this
private promise the sky was making,
that I could belong to an island waiting
to rejoin the myths from which it came.
I stayed awake half the night,
so I could write on the back of a postcard,
'I'm sure I saw the sky alight.
Send all my clothes on the morning flight.’
I would gladly spend my quicksilver youth
standing on the black sands of the Atlantic,
hands pressed to the glass flesh
of iceberg nests in endless headspace.
Instead, I crept down from the fire escape,
imbedded myself in hotel duvet,
woke at five to dejected disarray,
packed a cracked mug in a suitcase,
took a packed bus to an airplane,
boarded and sat, crushed by altitude,
realising all I was about to lose
as my precious hollow filled
with tomorrow’s mundane mundane.
I sighed off the plane and into home,
and missed and missed the ice and stone,
and wished I’d sipped more meltwater from the glacier,
so it could feed my bones,
my knuckles and knees
and teach my tempest mind to freeze.
I hope you’re feeling sunnier, lover,
I know that you’ve been darker colours.
Your palette is patchwork pain and promised better-tomorrows
falling short again,
falling like morning; all adolescent and weary,
trudging into traffic
and easing into light and life teary-eyed.
Dawn breakfasts by itself and its dewdrops frame spiderwebs,
rain is soft as felt and comes in gusts of winter breath
unsettling the hairs that down your cheek,
your lashes are feathers that flutter and keep
the water from finding your eyes.
The water will find you when you next cry;
let it shed,
next time you’re compelled to sigh;
make it said.
Our thoughts confer
like flocking birds;
populate the silence,
don’t leave it dead.
I hope you’re feeling sunnier, lover,
I know right now the clouds have covered
but you shall not be standstill dark.
We have lamps and streetlights,
We will make our own glow,
neon to cinder,
we have our own fuel,
kindle the tinder.
If you’re gloomy then know
we can fix that, it’s whether
by light you’d just see the darkness better.
I was eclipsed tonight;
my flesh fell out of favour,
and so my skin fell down like paper,
onion shells about my bare calcium
hell lurked in these bones.
I lacked an old Indian dignity,
the fervour of confluent Ganges,
instead my blood was puddled in
my vessels, boiled lust in rusting kettles and in the rising mist were nettle stings and their dripping toxins held only him.
Filter coffee granules litter the sink like static ants, where time left my poor Mother running late;
swerving frantic pottery collisions into cooling dishwater as she exited the kitchen
and I half-wished she’d had a daughter.
I embargo you successfully. My nation navigates trade agreements with your warring state,
hot chocolates for hospital visits, crossed fingers for makeshift crucifixes.
Laying palms flat on linoleum, in walk the disciples of medicine in tunics cerulean,
anaesthetise the burdened, so the cross they bear is light as gas and air, until they fall under like saints into the water.
Easter’s boulder rolled into a forest where no one heard the tree fall cold.
Easter’s rising will be a hungover Simon blessing the water for not being wine.
Easter passes in idol masses dawdling from church to high school classes; I am in the grasp of that restlessness.
Give me tea in flasks,
and your best wishes.
For Lent I’ll give up listlessness,
or attempt, then break my promises
like fast, and feast on equinox’s kiss
or relent for next evening’s eclipse.
I am not indebted to you.
There’s little left for me to prove,
There’s some respect I’m yet to lose,
So I will bury it
Certain fathoms deep
Beneath the safety
Of a pebble beach.
When the shore beats,
And it will,
Against the stones and sand and silt,
I’ll still have that piece
Of my pride
Outside the reach
Of stranger tides.