The Old Machinery

As young men, we ran through this town
chasing the madness
at the bottom of every bottle
and the warmth of teenage smiles
honeyed with the promise
of new experience

Spinning from bar to bar, pushing the limits
of our bodies capacity for self-destruction
and regeneration
snow melting from our clothes
as we sat and drank and laughed
in the Christmas evening air

Tonight, we’re trying to revive that old machinery
lubricating our shared memories
speaking in the antiquated language
of past experience
trying to reverse
the hands around the clock face

We were young men then
now, we’re something else
there’s less of us left
The barest of bones and dust
well dressed skeletons
if we squint when we look

Those times echo in the canyon between
that ‘then’ and this ‘now’ 
but I don’t have the constitution to return
I’ll always treasure those precious
fizzy memories
but I can’t restart that old machinery…

[2023]

Thanks for reading.

30 Steps

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.

[Written on the eve of my 30th birthday]