Still Waiting…

Throwing away another spent calendar
I toss another slice of my heart into the wind
I’m still waiting…

I feel all I have known is the length of this wait
and all I’ve been doing is biding worthless time
still waiting…

What difference has it made to me, this waste?
what have I gained so far for my blind patience
and still waiting…

O, nine years… nine years!
I’ve been waiting
still waiting
but I don’t know what for

On this moon-lit beach
in this silver-soaked bay
cliffs hung high over me and you
please tell me it’s you

Tell me it’s you…

[2009]

Thanks for reading.

Listen to my poems on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/tomalexwrite
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Great Warmth of a Curious Heart

Lurking in the natural world
there are sentences, still unspoken
always waiting to be written
frozen in time
waiting for the great warmth
of a curious heart

Haunting the edges of the living world
are spirits of the unspoken connectivity in people
dead and alive, the as-yet unborn
caught between planes
waiting for the flashlight beam
of a curious heart

There is an untapped seem of precious understanding
running through the foundation of all things
reverberating in the soulful moments
ringing just loud enough
to be heard by the ears
of a curious heart

Melt me
shine upon me
hear me
with your curious heart…

[2012]

Thanks for reading.

Listen to my poems on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/tomalexwrite
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30 Steps [with audio]

The city is drenched in gold tonight
the sea is wrapped in silver, like my temples
my hands feel older now than ever
but my mind is so much surer
than back when I was younger

I’ve run from love when it got tough
my hair was bleached in boiling light
I helped as many people as I could
my thoughts were darkened in the wilderness
felt alone in crowds of smiling happiness
I learned to speak, to see, to feel this reality

I’ve understood, been understood
I’ve compromised, been compromised
I’ve judged, been judged
Fairly, unfairly

There has been a heaviness in my limbs at times
and there was a divine light that shone
from somewhere I never knew could be in me
I wronged and cheated with a pathological absence of care
which boomeranged around and sunk me in the end
it’s rough to open your consciousness to reality

Siblings, parents; undulating friendships
the push, the pull of love and life
in trying to align the poles in me
I was blind, but thought I was seeing
I was blank, but thought I was saying something
the painted stones I carved, I threw them out to sea

I’ve deceived, been deceived
I’ve contradicted, been contradicted
I’ve believed, been believed
Justly, unjustly

So; I take off my shoes
take out my headphones
I want this wave to wash all over me
The short hand, the long multiplications
I laid out all my working for you to see
trying to crack the code of something real
the combination of what is me

I’ve been taking thirty steps away
from where they forged my heart
I’ve been taking thirty steps toward the tide line
where I etched my childhood
drew a line beneath it and paused to watch…

The waves of youth lap out
the waves of youth
the waves
the…

[2011]

Thanks for reading.

Listen to my poems on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/tomalexwrite
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[Written on the eve of my 30th birthday]

Hunger Hill Farm

Darling, where have I been?
I’ve been out driving
I’m driving again
down Summer lanes at night
in the faded light
like I used to
when I was young
back before I knew you
back before all of this, now

I’ve been out driving
where my mind is freed
I can think, but I don’t have to
just keep the car on the road
along I go
the music playing loud
louder than you’d allow
how I so love to hear it
feeling the place and time
like it is an ancient place and time

Where I’ve been is really ‘when’
I’ve been back to where I fell in love
with a life so open wide
with so much opportunity
so much I could have been
and though the car was empty
I swear I could hear my old friends talking there
voices coming from the back seats
and they were laughing
how I’ve missed that sound…

I’ve been out floating
through those streets and villages
beyond the commuter-belt handcuffs
hurtling down a slick-black river of road
sometimes, I stop the car
in the ditch by Hunger Hill Farm
I lie on the metal roof
watching the stars
timeless, unfazed, above me
like we did when we were younger
like when I first met you…

Sometimes, I imagine you’re beside me
but the ‘you’ when I first met you
so free, so open, so in love with everything
and she whispers in my ear
‘All of this is ours
whatever we may want
we may… yet… be…’
and I smile with shining eyes

I’m sure I loved you
I’m sure I loved you then

Then slowly, I drive home
you hound me for where I’ve been
complain about your day
as I open my first beer
imagining I’m still out there, somewhere…

I’ll always be out there
a part of me
will always be out there
somewhere…

[2009]

Thanks for reading.

Listen to my poems on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/tomalexwrite
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Why So Blue, Sweetheart?

Sweetheart, you’re black and blue
Sweetheart
from the things I’ve done to you

Now your dead arm swings loose
and that bruised eye won’t open
Sweetheart
these things I’ve done to you

An evening among friends, descends
now we’re alone
Sweetheart
now you start, on me again
buttons all pushed, again

You try to stand your ground
but I always shout louder
Sweetheart
surely safer for you to just settle down?

Cower, out in the bedroom
give me space to throw my weight around
Sweetheart
don’t start those waterworks with me

Sweetheart
right from the start
you knew
I’m a passionate man
when it comes to you
Sweetheart

Those knocks
are just acts of love, gone wrong
slightly astray
Sweetheart
a light ‘tap’ on the face, Sweetheart
and you know that I love you

You’re shaking in my arms again
just like when we first met
I can still do that to you?
O, yes I do
but now you’re black and blue
Sweetheart…

[2009]

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Listen to my poems on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/tomalexwrite
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(For a friend and an ex-friend)

Your Poem Is Still Young

Your poem is still young
I have not mastered it just yet
I am constantly revising
still working on the phrasing

Your poem is still young
though its meaning is defined
I only have the final line
those last three certain words

Your poem is still young
each year instils new ideas
your actions suggest more rhymes
and we have many years to go

Your poem is still young
though I recite it constantly
my aim is to perfect it
through every day and night

Your poem is still young
I’d hoped to have found a way to say
to address all of the beauty and joy
there is in you, by now, but no

Your poem is still young
and I am glad to say that
it remains unfinished even now
open on the pages of my favourite notebook

Your poem is still young
still improving with every moment
as we lay together, safe in the flames
until the end of time, I’ll sing;

I love you…

Thanks for reading.

Listen to my poems on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/tomalexwrite
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Letters To Old Lovers

Why should anyone still care
why should anyone raise an eyelid
the news is old
Perhaps, eight years ago
you may have gotten
some reaction
to justify the price of ink

Still you persist in writing them
letters to old lovers
letters they may lazily reply to
letters they may not reply to
the news is old

There’s no reason now
there’s no alliance
Perhaps to reminisce
for a short while
on a long cold afternoon
but nothing more
in these new lives

Still you persist
in writing them
letters to old lovers
letters that strain not to say
letters that overtly long to say
‘let’s try again’

And every time the letterbox snaps
its steel chops around your words
old lovers don’t bat an eye
old lovers just drive to work
(and teach)

And perhaps some time
they might recline
maybe a word or two then
they may spare for you
‘take care’, ‘go somewhere’
the news is cold

And still you insist
on replying to them
letters to old lovers
letters that don’t know when they’re beat
letters that don’t know when it’s time to stop

You don’t know when
the news is old…

[2007]

Thanks for reading.

Listen to my poems on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/tomalexwrite
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Let Down Your Guard

Do not be afraid of the flames
they are the best thing I have ever known
Do not try to apply your logic
for it holds no currency here
You’re welcome to try and hide your joy
but there is no point in fighting this
it will take you – if it wants to

Do not be afraid of the flames
take the chance we all must take
please risk the ‘getting burnt’
for there is no better way
there is no better purpose in this life
Lay yourself down, open your arms
hold out your heart, to give

Do not be afraid of the flames
there is nothing to fear
The love cannot flow
unless you let go
Take a chance
the chance you take
I promise you I’ll honour
Do not be afraid of the flames
I will not let you burn
I swear…

[2008]

Thanks for reading.

Listen to my poems on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/tomalexwrite
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Cabin To Cabin

At the bar, watching you work
breaking the waves
going cabin to cabin

An opiate look across your eyes
pushing to feel the rush
surging into the night

There’s a high between those thighs
you’ve been falling
for the feeling of falling
hooked
on the commodity of love

See them capsize
or to splash inside another’s eyes
the static shock of fingertips and kisses
the life eclipse
seeing nothing but the falling in love

Going cabin to cabin
boat rocking this way and that
the feeling fades as you plough on
breaking the waves

It’s the modern, western way
the start of love is a drug alright
but love isn’t just the falling
or a solution to all ills

If you want to fall
then here I am
a hole in front of you
let’s share this fickle fizz
then helplessly watch it ebb

Going cabin to cabin
through our incessant lives…

[2017]

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Listen to my poems on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/tomalexwrite
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Fulfilment [with audio]

Senses softened in the dark afternoon
This year is charring in the fire grate
So, I pour out into the haunted fields
looking for loneliness, for lines, for clues
to get a handle on all that’s happened
to make predictions on where I am headed

All around my body, the world’s covered by a sheet
life’s decorator is preparing to paint the new year
this land spills on for snowy miles
my past reels out somewhere behind me
In those paths taken, in those choices made;
there are glimpses of the shape of my future

The Grecian islands, the Cornish coast
those petty milestones, those brave goodbyes
from swollen ankles, to exploded minds
Portuguese walled-towns, to Derbyshire hills
From a decade planted, then uprooted and moved
the letting go, the keeping a hold
surprises; surprising, plans made and fulfilled
much falls away, much more presents itself
weddings, worries, work; with friends
consciousness glides across the ghostly fields
comes to rest behind my smiling eyes

So, now I have the things I’ve always wanted
the peace I chased, the love I imagined
the tools I’ll need are all within me
and she is waiting, with her key, somewhere

By the gate, I pause, look up into the nothing
time stands still, my eyes adjust…
the pitch black night is full of stars
(when did I last see those?)
My gaze breaks, my footsteps in the powder flow
time moves, I need for nothing else…
I go back into the house

Toss my wondering on the fire
pour a drink, talk to my family
I’m satisfied
and warm…

[2011]

Thanks for reading.

Listen to my poems on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/tomalexwrite
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Bullet Holes In Backyards

Wound up
some nights
I go out to think…

Of all the truths we share
there are little reminders we choose to keep hidden
fix up the front porch

but bullet holes in backyards
they go on…

We may not know what they mean
but we know they speak
of a scarred and pock-marked past

Did the children stand beside the pond
where they were sprayed and felled
did the family huddle close to the brickwork
razed by mad ideals

The past has cratered skin
the past erodes, underfoot

But bullet holes in backyards
they go on…

Some nights I go out
some nights when we fight
I light a cigarette
draw it deep
and push my fingertips into
into…

Bullet holes in backyards
they go on

Each scratch, each groove
shifts my perspective
chills my fiery mood

And I can go back inside…

[2014]

Thanks for reading.

Listen to my poems on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/tomalexwrite
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Dedicated to (but in no way about) Harry O’Neill. His shared memories and comments were such a great part of WOL and he is missed. He responded to this poem very generously and reflected on his past in a way that meant so much to me.

Then Give Back…

When the song is sung out of me
and all breath wheezes away
When those closing eyes are mine
and that silence fills up my mouth
then I will give myself back

When the turning wheel is staid
and the longest road is walked
When gravity is satisfied completely
and all my poetry has been written
then I will give myself back

I will give myself back
to the ground
to the soil
I’ll lay myself down
give myself back to the earth
from where I came

When the flower’s head is closing for the night
and the worms surface from below
when the tune I’ve been humming is finished
and the daydream of all I’ve known is broken
then I will give myself back

When the trivial moments are beyond mundane
and the steady hand-hold no longer offered
When the night is bruised black and star-less
and every wish is washed clean away
then I will give myself back

And in giving back all I’ve ever had
I’ll fuel another chance for life
I will give myself back
to the ground
to the soil
I’ll lay myself down
give myself to the ground
from where I came…

[2008]

Thanks for reading.

Listen to my poems on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/tomalexwrite
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The Ropes Are Fraying and Soon I’ll Sail…

“The ropes are fraying and soon I’ll sail”
pencilled grey
along the edge of my notebook page
a heart-breaking phrase
sure to inspire, somehow
 
Flicking through, I read it again
and pause to lament;
That boat washed out
its anchorage severed
silently, in the night
no words, no words
 
He’s gone
and into that sad darkness 
so many other ships would follow
The town seems quiet this evening
our town feels colder, somehow
I stand on the harbour wall
no words, no words
 
What can be done
move the hands around the clock
reverse the face
repeal the laws and absolve it all
ah, the ropes are fraying
and soon I’ll sail…

[2019]

Thanks for reading.

Note: For Wolfgar (David) and the others who left WoL.

Listen to my poems on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/tomalexwrite
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