Weekly Poem #196

Pictograph

 

Take a canyon flyover across the palm of your hand,

See the fault lines and rifts which settle there, so softly.

Rearrange them, give them new forms, examine them

And see what translations you can conjure in them.

There’s another language buried beneath your skin,

Whispering and sending out shivering, nervous tingles,

Telling you something you would wish you understood,

Should you ever digest even a hint of the true meaning of it.

You’re scrambling through tight tunnels, painting skylines

And rolling landscapes across the edges, and then losing yourself in them.

You’re jamming a bloodshot eye through a pinhole camera,

Letting the blurs sharpen into purposeful forms, and following.

Sometimes, you can see the cuneiform text scrolling across your eyelids,

Grappling with itself, skittering through the darkness, at play,

But then you fall back into yourself, back into those comfortable folds,

Constricted with a warm, familiar weight, and numbed into deep sleep.

One day, they’ll pick you apart and scan the liner notes, seeing it for what it is,

But you’ll be gone, a glint of light shrinking into the distance, as the words fade

And another dead language is stolen away, and committed to the catacombs.

 

 

Weekly Poem #169

Scowl

 

You step beyond the security gate,

Jaws agape, claws clamouring to penetrate,

And your eyes grew red with scathing hate.

Enough rage, worn and worked from blame,

To set the whole universe aflame,

Justice served, freedom regained,

But no medication for this wrought, rancid pain.

Clean air can’t clear away the rust,

Old, sharp memories, immune to dust,

Which gather darkly beneath the crust.

Lower, the mantle quivers, infected,

It sends out tremors to redirect it,

And even your thick skull can’t deflect it.

So you scowl, you make your case completely clear,

You reject that grotesque, grateful veneer,

But still cameras flash and the people cheer,

And you wish, so hard, to disappear.

Weekly Poem #118

Lamp Post Vampires

 

I saw you there,  shuffling past the bus stop

And trying not to stare, slow your pace or fuck off

But don’t glaze past me with that almost-glare

Trying to fend off some impulse to actually care.

 

I see two hundred of you twenty times a day,

Rattling your head trying to think of something to say,

Some platitude or pleasantry to shoo the guilt away

But it’s there to stay and every one of me will claw it back

Like an anxiety attack because, and let’s face facts,

If you had a moment to turn it over in your head,

It wouldn’t really matter to you if you had found me dead.

I’m litter either way, aren’t I, just a passing guilt trip to occupy your brain.

 

Oh, sorry, have I ruined your day?

How selfish of me, imagine if I’d had the audacity to actually ask for change,

You’d have had to fend me off like like a mosquito sailing through a humid haze

Waiting for our paths to divert so that you can pretend I’ve gone away

But I’m not so easy to dissuade, I’ll keep lurking inside your brain.

And I deserve to be a guilt that you can’t defeat, a worry that won’t retreat

As you picture me on the long nights, slinking through solemn streets

So replete with darkness you can’t breathe,

So stricken with frost it collects inside your teeth.

 

You can work it through your thoughts like a charity flyer

But if it touched with an ounce of truth it would rip like barbed wire,

You can’t contextualise a life so far removed from all your desires,

All your aspirations, all your achievements and all your loves

And I would never ask you to, Jesus, never, heavens above!

I’m not some lamp post vampire, here to make your comforts come undone!

I’ve got far too much of me to repair to set the record straight with anyone.

 

Walk on by if you can’t bring yourself to meet me in the eye,

I’ve slept on too many concrete beds to take it to heart when you don’t say ‘hi’.

If you don’t want to help me then it’s just another day to fight

But if you’re walking away wearing the weight of wanting to do what’s right

Then maybe next time you see one of me you’ll slow your pace,

Perhaps even turn your face and engage with whatever it is you find.

Your life is precious and you need to keep that in mind,

The last thing any of us want is to make you feel undermined.

Weekly Poem #85

Colliding Scopes

 

Understanding isn’t finite,

It can stretch out like a limb of light

And touch things incomprehensible.

Understanding is indispensable.

 

I looked into a red, nebulous eye

And saw ten thousand other skies.

Seasons and timelines split apart,

Setting fire to maps and charts.

 

There’s even fog when we look inwards,

The deeper intricacies of our cranial innards.

If we’re still exploring our own minds,

Imagine what others are out there to find.

 

Consciousness, perception, thought and death.

Notions with hidden, harkening breadth.

What boundaries lie chalked across the air

When the old quarries have been picked bare.

 

There’s no need to be fearful of the unknown

Or to cower backwards from ominous tones.

There’s such beauty in thoughts lying far beyond,

The glorious madness, the soundless songs.

 

 

 

 

Weekly Poem #66

Colder Shoulder

 

Am I a genius? I’ve written more symphonies than Mozart

More tales than Chaucer and more memoirs than Seyssel

But no note has found string and no word has found paper.

My mind is thick with pulsating vines of nervous trees

But my mind is mine, I do not share it.

 

I bundle it off out onto the icy shelf and let it expand

While I perch motionless, letting my body take care of the primal,

The primitive, the instinctive. The mind the genius, body the hunter.

I’ve no patience for the others, I keep them feed on fish

While I dine on solitude, they let me be.

 

I’d always assumed it was fear, but it might well have been respect.

Some presumption of a deep-running understanding of the way of things,

Some aura emanating from my silent, diligent instrumentality.

Because when that thing came crashing out from under the ice

They sent me to deal with it.

 

Imagine that? The lowly fisherman sent to slay the vicious monster,

Armed with only a spear and a club, meant for execution, not combat.

You don’t slay a dragon with a guillotine, do you?

I doubt that ever entered into their consideration,

Fear makes you stupid.

 

Fear can also keep you quick, keep you alert and keep you alive

And I was overflowing with it when I followed those heavy, angular tracks

Out past the furthest limits of our known territory to find it.

I didn’t even know what I was looking for,

Theseus was blind and he had no string.

 

Soon enough though it found me, ice offers no clarity but the water beneath is light as air.

Crystal as the pair of eyes I saw staring back across the frozen ocean,

Framed in skin of perfect marble, an edged, angular shell

Coating a 15 foot frame of four arms, two legs and a fluke

Which dragged heavily across the frosty floor.

 

Thick, heavy hands that hung past a heaving, harsh heart-case

And a skull that splayed out past the eyes like an ancient headdress,

But I never saw beyond the eyes, gently gleaming in the perpetual light

And helping me to understand why I, of all of them, should have come.

The solitary, ghostly fisherman.

 

This creature was no threat, no pest, it was nothing to us because we were nothing to it

It had no concern with beings so young and naive, the synaptic gleam of its eyes

Told me everything, told me that we were the same.

This great, marvelous beast was a stranger among humans.

Just like me.

Weekly Poem #51

Absolution

 

I’ve been told that I’m not a good person,

Been scalded, reprimanded and branded undeserving.

They say that I’m a waste, a blight on society

And they’ve recommended ways I could slink off and die quietly.

It’s something that I’ve carried at the core of my heavy world,

A weight that presses on my shoulders and makes my calves curl.

 

I’ve been told that I’m dangerous, extremely volatile

And that every word I speak sprays out like putrid bile.

My voracious vitriol carries far and ruins lives,

They say that I’m intrusive, that my gaze pierces and pries.

I wanted to be an exemplar, a proud voice for the masses

But they’ve chased me up a tree as if I’ve just raised taxes.

 

I’ve been told that I’m repulsive, that I live off others’ sorrow

And that people just like me don’t deserve to see tomorrow.

They don’t care to remember that I had all the best intentions.

They don’t listen when I remind them they clamor for contention.

The service that I provide energizes the hive mind,

It stimulates discussion and helps people feel alive.

 

I’ve been told that my profession is a capital offense,

That I have nothing to contribute beyond a galvanizing stench.

Now I stand in the shadow of a man towering above me,

He says I’ve done things that are irrefutably disgusting.

All I did was follow orders and bring in the biggest stories,

“Any means necessary” they’d said as they promised future glory.

 

I’ve been told that I’m no journalist, that I’m the lowest of the low.

So I ask you, what’s there left to tell me, before I’m taken down below?

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