Weekly Poem #200

The Talking Door

 

‘Do you need anything?’

Basic, ambiguous, echoing, pleading, and hopeful,

A mantra, repeated countless times through the talking door,

So simple yet asking a hundred thousand questions more.

Can I get you something to eat? Can I bring up some clean sheets?

Can I listen while you talk about how you’ve been feeling today?

Can I reach into the blackness and pull your mind free of it. Can I? Please?

Each conversation, vibrated through a thin layer of lacquered wood,

Each attempt to understand, each desperate grasp at a shred of motivation,

While my insides cramp and twist and my stomach burns volcanic,

Fighting back the desire to kick the door to splinters, rip the curtains down and confiscate the duvet.

To grab you by the arm and pull you out into the morning sunlight. To save you.

But you can’t bully someone into being happy, you can slap a delighted smile across a wounded face,

You can’t take up arms and fight this battle for them, because it’s not a battle, battles end.

Have you ever loved someone who didn’t love themselves? Cared so deeply, while they thought themselves worthless?

Have you ever heard the person who brought you into the world talk about wanting to leave it?

That was my talking door, my daily dialogue with the dark spectre who stalked our home,

Belching clouds of words which scratched their way through my ears and clawed at my mind,

Reminding me that I’m trying to help someone through something I can never really understand.

Standing by that door, listening to that distant, weakened voice, barely audible from the other side,

Telling me that everything is fine, telling me that she doesn’t need anything. Lying to me, day to day.

Every cliche and platitude ever conceived blasts through your mind like you’re cracking a password

A gateway back to some measure of normality you thought you knew before, but was never really there,

Because you were growing up, and she was tangling with monsters, only now they’re stronger.

Even when you feel like you’re doing nothing though, you can’t stop, you can’t ever stop,

Even when every word of comfort you say feels like it’s shattering against a barricade,

You keep on talking, you never stop talking, scratching away like Dufresne with his rock hammer.

Most days it will feel like nothing will ever change, except that they will continue to slip away,

But you can’t ever stop, because even if it takes a million words for one to break through

And remind them that you love them, and you’ll always, always be there for them,

You keep on talking, you reach that million mark, and then you keep going.

My talking door is opening, inch by inch, and I can see light on the other side,

So I take a breath, I stretch myself, I hold my stance, and I ask again:

Do you need anything?

Weekly Poem #60

Skins

 

I don’t want to be angry anymore,

I don’t want to feel like I need to stamp the floor.

I’ve wasted archives, tomes and trials on you

And for what? A cold, petrified, unrelenting tune.

A tune that vibrates through viable rations

And overtakes logic with impotent passion.

 

I don’t want to be vengeful anymore.

I don’t want the pain to take a walking tour.

One day I’ll laugh and say it all meant nothing

And I’m running at that day, longing to be touching

The barrier that holds me back from seeing truth;

The wall of forged emotions that imprison my youth.

 

I don’t want to think about you anymore,

You deserve to be a ghost, a shade across my door.

It takes a lot of whiskey to kiss a shit-eating grin

And every time I look back at you, the nausea creeps in.

I’m finished being fucked with, I have better things to do;

There’s an important life out there for me, eons away from you.

Weekly Poem #58

Bottom of the Glass

 

It’s harder to walk when your stomach is on fire,

Trying to bleed through a mesh of copper wires.

Aiming for a target that is neither north, nor south

And crying through something deeper than eyes or mouth.

Claiming not to believe in fate, yet fearful of its voice.

Hoping every minute to find the flag that you need to hoist.

It’s harder to stand when your feet are cut from paper,

When you thought you had a second heart, but you grew to hate her.

You climbed the first few steps and then a cruel wind knocked you to the base.

You feel spurned, abused and wounded when you look at your own face.

You’ve done something that’s selfless, you given up so much

But no measure of gratitude can make your hand warm to the touch.

It’s harder to breathe when your throat is solid carbon

But you can’t accept your sacrifice until your fingers harden.

Viva Italia!

I feel bad about that title, it appears to represent to death rattle of my imagination. I had such high fucking hopes. Anyway, I just got back from my holiday in Italy, hence my recent spate of inactivity. It’s a tradition that’s been going on for about 4 years now and represents the benefit of keeping in touch with people you used to know, because you can’t predict who might move to Mediterranean Europe and invite all his friends down every summer to drink too much and swim in the sea (not necessarily in that order). So yes, for the past 9 days I’ve been bumming around in the sun, drinking red wine, absinth or whatever else was going, eating good food and generally lacking for any semblance of responsibility. Hate me.

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I must admit though, holidays in the traditional sense have never really appealed to me. I’ve always seen doing nothing as more of an affliction than a luxury; I mean why do nothing when you could be doing something, like hand-gliding or running away from panthers or painting an underpass or having sex with a Persian dwarf? The typical ‘lie around in the sun’ holiday mold has never really won me over. I can see some sides of it, last time my family all went away it was to the Algarve in Portugal and it was so debilitatingly hot that you genuinely couldn’t do anything, I ended up reading the better part of 2 books and 850 pages in a single day. The great thing about this Italy excursion is that, while it’s chilled, it’s a social experience, so you’re always doing something, even when you aren’t. The beach trips, visits to the town center, parks and rock pools are one side of it, but talking, drinking and making merry are another. I love the fact that the people that turn up to the these visits are often either largely unfamiliar with each other or total strangers for the most part, it’s like Big Brother, but not the worst thing ever.

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Analysis aside, it was a great trip. Highlights included the invention of the Elbow inspired ‘Grounds for Divorce’ cocktail, which was basically gin, jaeger, tequila, sambuca and some fifth spirit unknown to mankind (or merely forgotten for obvious reasons) thrown into a cup and downed as quickly as possible. The results were… Electric. Other points of note involve me drop-kicking two people off of a pontoon, the ill advised decision to play 5-a-side in a park when it was 35 in the shade, someone getting a cat thrown in his face, drunken viewings of Godzilla vs Mothra, Skyfall, Darkplace and other lovely televisual offerings, phallic body art (representative of/not pertaining t0) and a friend of mine reaching an absinthe fueled fever pitch wherein all he could really do anymore was elevate his arms and grunt approvingly when a track he liked came on. We also quoted a lot of really obscure shit at each other constantly.

 

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NOW YOU FUCKED UP

Weekly Poem #16

The Upper Lip

 

 

 

A tap on the shoulder, spikily delivered by a disapproving teacher.

“Head down, eyes closed!” Resonated silently into nerves cramped with growing pains

As I felt the buds of my morphing theology bend and fray from nipping teeth.

In an R.E. lesson I’d said I believed in reincarnation,

They pointed and laughed and it was the teacher, the man of education who led them.

That tapping finger chiseled against a stoic flint skin of sensibility and sparked,

Illuminating me anew for the first time and showing me the home I didn’t belong to.

 Through secondary school, a beige citadel of charcoal black blazers and a tie wrapped

Of burgundy and cream with a copper coin slipped into the knot.

Yet it was still always that little bit too tight.

Home isn’t a place, home is a gliding, hanging dragon with outstretched wing casting

A shadow in stereo over a willing traveller with no eyes for the past.

Cambridge, once the ancient auxiliary of high minds that met my maker now

Not but a statement, a derailing, damming statement which clothed me in unwanted

Credentials and left me soaked and lathered in Eton odors, with ever sloping nostrils.

Destined to quiver back from the sprawling reality set forth ahead of me,

Retreat into some fraternal farmers market and smilingly suffer an accelerated aging,

Then take root in the tiered nest of the local crows, beaks dipped in venomous vitriol.

Overtired, underfucked.

I am a young man.

Not a latter day dandy with an ebony spine and only a bachelor’s window for so-called

Dalliance, fetishized, empty and saccharine.

I’m a dandy of contrasts and flying lotuses and Thom of Yorke,

Out there in dilated dreamscapes of lights and magic that their hopes of replicating
Fell flat and embarrassing. Never go to Warning.

I am a young man, a youth that I feel in every curiosity, pulsating through me untempered, unfettered and oh so very open and when I find a right place

To let all the fuel and fire fade I will know.

Because I will have aged by choice,

Not by age.

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