Poems Read Aloud…

In the mood for a poetry reading?

I had the opportunity to record a couple more of my poems this week. I’ve added them to the poetry playlist on my Soundcloud page. Feel free to have a listen.

Thanks for listening.

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Division Street

I heard that telephone ringing
at the one remaining box
down on the street
on Division Street

If one of us answers the call
they ain’t coming back
whichever one of us goes
to answer that phone
they ain’t coming back

I woke up restless in the night
opened a window for some air
the whole city poured straight in
over siren wail and drunk’s lament
I could hear that ringing sound

Moonlight is at our glass again
the summer heat is rattling the pane
I can’t sleep for the life of me
through the sound of that phone’s coarse plea

If either of us answers the call
they ain’t coming back
whoever it is to answer that phone
they ain’t coming back

Well now, I haven’t slept
since my birthday week
that ringing has been robbing me of sleep
I think I’ll have to go down
and I may be some time…

[2015]

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Eccentricities

It’s the eccentricities of normal people
that makes art exciting
it’s the connections gifted minds make
that sets the canvas alight

The sexiness of confidence
paired with some intrinsic wisdom
O, just look at what they chose to say
and how they said it
sets the page alight

Shine your twisted mind
all over me
drape your incisive rhymes
all over me
pour your unique charm
all over me

With originality
with your eccentricity
all over me…

[2014]

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Love on Borrowed Time

Walking the tracks again
with my face to the rain
every step I take in fear
of that ever-nearing train

I cheated death, I cheated truth
and now there is no proof
more than what my accusers say
yet they increase in number
with every passing day

They shout ‘He stole’
well I admit
I may have borrowed some
and I may have lied
when they looked me in the eye
and I may have given them something
to keep quiet

Every step I take in fear
of that ever-nearing train
every sound that I hear
lights a bonfire of panic in my brain

Every insect buzz
could be a rattling in the rails
every splashing duck
could be steam cloud trails

Cheating in love
I don’t deny
my neck it aches, from looking back
at the tracks of my life
down the tracks of my lie
always looking for that train

I’m walking the tracks again
with my face to the rain
every step I take in shame
for that ever-nearing train…

[2007]

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Bite The Bullet

The planets above wink down to me
‘It’s now or never’ they’re implying
I feel her hand brush mine
as we’re walking side by side
her house is just around the corner
I’m leaving town tomorrow
it’s now or never…

A deep breath, I take
I breathe deep
stop my walking, suddenly
she stops and turns to face me
it’s now or never
I tilt my head, crack a smile
make a joke, stall a while
and asking if I’m ‘okay?’
she steps one step toward me
it’s now or never…

I take her warm hand in mine
draw a breath deep down
Think of all that could come of this
she looks at our hands still holding
then back up at me
and for a moment
we share a moment…

But I break our gaze
walk her home
hug her perfume divine and close
as I walk away, alone again
I concede, it’s never
now; it’s never…

[2010]

Photo credit: https://www.instagram.com/nightwalkermagazine/

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Tears of a Bitter Man

Just like your father
you sing that fearful song
spelling out your anger
in seven shades of bile
peeling back the hate
of the bitter man

Just like your father
constant exclamations
in the lexicon of loathing
vague and barbed
the angry poetry
of the bitter man

How saddening to hear
you singing your father’s song
How sad it is to hear
you singing his bitter song

Yet, here I find myself
cold-eying old friends in new photographs
nerves twisting
at a stranger’s conversation
silently debasing the happiest gestures
nurturing the hateful hollow

Here I find myself
clinging onto glaring disapproval
Ready to beat up on the helpless
misguided in my sense of sureness
everyone else’s fault but my own
becoming the bitter man

How saddening
to watch my grip slide
find myself crying
the hot tears
of the bitter man…

[2012]

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The Garden

I’ve been remembering
the garden we once tended
I’ve been thinking of the petals
that fell each autumn
I’ve been working through the list
of things we said but never did

And the rains that fell upon our garden
and the snow that covered all

I’ve been remembering
the garden we once enjoyed
I’ve allowed myself some moments
to reflect with clarity
I’ve been feeling sadness for the trees
that have since been felled

And the sun that fed our lawns
and the snow that covered all
and when it thawed
you were ready to be gone

And all the seasons since…
Now you’re with another’s child…

I’ve been remembering the garden
the flowers but not the thorns
I’ve been reminded of the feeling
when spring was all we knew
I’ve allowed myself some hours
to wander through those flower beds once more

I can remember how that snow felt
even now; I can smell the rain
I accept that all things end
that’s just the way of things
that’s just the way
of all things

And all the seasons since…
I hope your new garden
is blossoming now…

[2017]

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Nocturne

Floating through the house
all curtains open
lit up against the night
let the people see what you want them to

Curating the moments, so carefully
trucks pass
lost walkers returning from the fields
catch glimpses
see slivers
of the character you created

A sensual, lost, bright mind
the answer, the home
to any lost soul…

Close-up on your pale face
painted, pained, so perfectly
the precise nature of your openness
a second thought and then it’s revised
a second thought
and something not quite right; vanishes
you vanished it

The scene is so moodily affected
controlled and filtered
so accurately gloomy
in brooding midnight
An ambiguous painting
our eyes can’t help but dwell upon

Seeing all we want to see
seeing nothing real

A beautiful, longing, artistic mind
a destiny, a home
to any lost soul…

Do you remember
do you recall
who you were
before you were the imagined answer
before you were the suggested home
for all those lost souls…

[2014]

Photo credit: https://www.instagram.com/p/B9rsX-UpDjJ/?igshid=i10rhrxl0hk6

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Thrill of The Compass Spin

Can I claim it as the artist’s curse
the love for new adventure
the pleasure of magnetic hearts
freshly spinning so close to us
whipping the iron filings of our creativity
into some explosive blur
a manifest bright energy

This fizz, the ghostly drag
invisible hands guiding these wanton bodies
I feel my compass spin
drawn in endless circles

Is it a curse at all
happily getting lost
the thrill of the compass spin
drawn off course by that force

So confusing, so all-consuming
and fizzing on my tongue
I want it here
I want you
fizzing on my tongue again…

[2015]

Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/oskay/4581193346

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Shadows Climb In My Cold Room

How I long to sleep tonight
forget these thoughts
and rest
Ease my body free 
of anxiety and worry
but the more I try
the more I fail
I fidget fast, roll in frustration
cursing my debt
and conversations that won’t end
Where are those waves of darkness
when will they wash my brain
Where is that tide of sleep
of empty-headedness 
of ignorance
and bliss…

Six hours now
I’ve studied ceiling cracks
A new day hangs two hours away
when creeping up in me
come hunger-pains from hell
itchy hair and sweaty palms
I drop so close to sleep
then jolt back into the room
a cushion spared to shield my eyes
from that solar-flare
that blinking clock
And shadows climb
in my cold room
now the sun, it rises
soon so do I
not blessed with dreams
or ignorance
or bliss…

[2006]

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Return To America

Lit by the distant sun 
in a backyard beer-garden 
overlooking the meadow
my swimming brain spins out
through adventures of the past
forgotten journeys 
by coach, by plane
through unfamiliar landscapes
to the desert 
in California

We rode the Greyhound 
between the sun-drenched cities
your head lay on my lap
and when we could tear 
our eyes from one-another
we’d watch the world pass by
in technicolour, all new

We stayed on Sunset Boulevard
you lay naked on the hotel bed
while I stared hard at maps 
and planned
before turning my gaze to you
we ran down Long Beach
never questioning our love

So, this evening I wonder 
if you will ever 
return to America
will you share those moments
with someone new
can he afford to hire a car
so you don’t have to 
ride the Greyhound
stare out of the window
laughing at the wind farm…

[2006]

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You Are My Priest

Is it not the beads you count?
Is it not that blessing?
Is it not your seated position
on the far side of the screen?

It’s here I come to spill
twisting myself as rope
endlessly unknotting
in constant confessional

And through the cracks
behind the mesh
I feel your furtive eyes
licking my salacious lines

Dear reader
you are my witness
you are my priest

Is it not the way you briefly kneel
when you step beyond the booth?
Is is not the cross I bore
through every line
I could not make rhyme?

Is it not the lies I profess
while carving out my perfect story?
Is it not the way I leave, relieved
lightened in my daily load?

Dear reader
you are my witness
you are my priest

Let me be yours…

[2019]

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Image borrowed from: http://margaret-durow.com/

Idle Flame

She came to me with pride
and her sealed conditions
said she wanted someone she could trust
with a rousing proposition
to ease her cobwebbed lust

It was cold out there on the avenue
I’d been walking lonely for some way
it was the idleness of her greeting
it was the hint of warmth within

There was little choice to make
and nothing smart in my reply
‘just come inside, keep it between
the universes of you and I’

It was an idle flame that we both tended
its very dimness was the whole idea
but standing up to leave one morning
I must have knocked 
a pillow into the flame…

[2019]

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Image borrowed from: http://margaret-durow.com/

Restless (Sequel) [with audio/music]

Writing in circles again
I’m chasing your tail
self-referential
to edge of pointlessness

The nihilistic streak in me
vibrates at the thought of you
It’s like I take my pulse
while getting your name tattooed

You’ve got your phantom hook in me
just deep enough to tear
welcome back
o, welcome back…

The most concise statement I ever etched
the most desperately impassioned verse spilt
it’s emblazoned with your image
it squawks for your attention

That devil on my shoulder
lights a cigarette when you smile
it’s like an ache
and all the pills I can take

You’ve got your phantom hook in me
just deep enough to burn
so welcome back
welcome back…

Be gentle with me
say as little as possible
to me…

It will never be as good as it was
it will never feel like it did at the start
but welcome back
welcome back…

[2014]

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[A sequel to The Sea At Night Does Not Rest, written 4 years later]

We Were Beautiful

The complication of those earrings
the texture of the paint around your eyes
the sun’s highlights in your hair

The redness of those parting lips
such belief in everything we said
the pristine shape of your nose

Lying on the roof
your head close to my heart
summer blushing the sky
weren’t we beautiful
weren’t we beautiful then

Nothing to fret about
just prolong the passing day
swaying through the city
weren’t we beautiful there

The precision of our jaw-lines
the optimism in our hearts
skidding through that midnight snowfall
spelling out each other’s names
as I caught you in my arms

We were so alive
so in love
so beautiful
at that moment in our lives…

[2018]

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Restless

When normally I’d run
why do I cling to this one?

I have money, I have time
but I have no partner in crime

I’ve been a lonely sight these past few weeks
fleeting glimpses of my footsteps on windy streets
indentations in riverbanks
ink-stains on flower beds

If I keep my pen on the paper
this nib keeps bleeding out blue desire

A rational mind gets cross-wired sometimes
now, to what should I aspire?

O, I have money, I have time
I have smiles, I have wine
but still no partner in crime

When normally I’d run
why do I cling to this one?

[2010]

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The Friend You Lost

Forgive
accept
let go
empathize…
There have always been two sides
relax the pains
loosen the hurt
you’re not the only one
you’re not the only one
who couldn’t cope

Forgive
see common ground
smile
at peace…
of course; the other burned too
imagine what they went through
moved too fast? Awful timing? Yes
you weren’t the only one
you weren’t the only one
struggling to move on

Don’t drown these precious things in anger
don’t lose sight
of all that was beautiful
such indelible jokes
and love and laughter
Forgive
accept
let go
smile at the friend you kept…

[2011]

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An Actor Writes From Their Dressing Room…

The room turns cold on my entry
chilled by the endless winter in my heart
which came one day when I was younger
and never began to thaw
Now the icicles of loneliness reach
they hang above this crooked form
this bent back scribbling at its desk
Well I’ve tried to fake some warmth
I’ve stood outside and screamed at the sky
but this emotionless, empty heart
will never melt, or heal, or bloom again

Now all of the love I’ve acted out
just inverts into hate and boomerangs
and I can’t stand or leave this chair
I refill my pen and pour more wine
reclining under the weight of sadness
that I could never be blessed
with love, or loyalty, or warmth
all I do is write about my missing pieces
unsure if, or when, I’ll ever find them
maybe I am not deserving of saviour
but I’m still vain enough to hope…

[2005]

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Touching Souls

Where are the keys,
why do we suffer these?
Nine to five, making the best of things
six to twelve, not making the most of me

Where is the doorway into,
the life we always thought was ours?
Five years pass, soon ten years have passed
I’m older now but no nearer to where I want to be

These prisons
these cells
why do we dwell here?
Are you the key
are you the one for me?

Closed eyes at work and dreaming
I am alive somewhere in words and rhyme schemes
your mind’s on fire and always turning
momentary escape through creativity

Closed eyes at night and kissing
we’re alive, somewhere in the alleyway
your tongue is in my mouth and we are beating
two hearts filled with the thrill of living

These prisons,
these cages
why do we age here?
You release me
but always so briefly

Those things you make and speak inspire me
but still I stay here
Those things I say and do consume you
but still you stay there

We were one chapter, now just a recurring character
in the long story of each others lives
you were a glimpse of all that might have been for me
in the long story of our separate lives

but for a moment there
for a moment
we were not trapped

We were touching souls…

[2011]

Note: Title by Joni. Artwork credit: https://www.saatchiart.com/alisonmarydunn]

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Backwards

There is a place
I’ve kept it secret
where answers come before the question
and what is made must be undone
a place where love will follow heartbreak
a place where life begins in sadness
I go there to forget…
I go there to forget everything…

So, kiss me…
Kiss me in the rainbow calming water
electric lips to shock it out of me
strip the corruption from my eyes
tell me it’s not true, it isn’t real
I go there to unravel…
I go there to untangle everything…

There is a place
where waves lap back out to sea
to go there is to come back regressed
shrunken, out of time
it helps to watch the rain form
and fall into the sky
knowing everything is being erased
I go there to come back…
I go there to come back to everything…

So, drown me…
Drown me in the rainbow fizzy water
burning lips to scold it out of me
scratch the images from my heart
tell me it’s not truth, it isn’t real
I go there to unravel…
I go there to untangle everything…

I get out of joint, dislocate my head
slip out of time
I go there to forget
I go there to forget everything
but I can never, really forget
I can never get away
and I come back
back to everything

unresolved…

[2003]

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