Souvenir

Acquainting myself
with the moon
trapped behind glass
we’re exchanging glances
And on my back
a thousand heart-attacks
roll past
My fingers cross and uncross
as she sleeps, so black
back in the real world
paid-up entirely
on her subscription
to actual reality

Might you return
with a souvenir for me
from the envious depths
of endless peace
perhaps a child
or a patient nurse
or some control
with a button for reverse
My fingers press
that longed-for switch
watch deeds recoil back into the body
where I don’t turn that key
don’t cross that threshold
slipping backwards, contentedly
from actual reality

Moonshine lights the shore
as I drag the boat
of all my swimming thoughts
along a silver stretch of sand
where all the land behind
no longer matters
a bowl of sea, insignificantly
the only thing
between the horizon and me
but crossing is possible
with the coins that you earn
waking night after night
and each mile is a measurement
you take
from actual reality

This father feeling takes over
My child
in a superposition
only alive inside its mother
between the hours
of two and six AM
a phantom haunting, stalking
poised with talons drawn
to fly this solipsistic me
and drop him heavily
back in the sticky city streets
of actual reality…

[2018]

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Different Keys

There turned out to be
so many different keys
to the different depths of me
It was truly hard to know
what it was possible for me to show
Different friends reach different doors
Different strangers
peering through different windows

A glimpse… almost in focus
a sweet taste here, a sour mouthful there
the faintest sound of joyous laughter
then the cool stream of tears rolling down
as the image slowly blurs again

Even I found it hard, even I took years
to add up every fraction
to calculate if I was whole
and I was worried there
for a good long while

I never meant to be this way
never meant to give so little away
never meant to set that combination
quite so randomly
I could never really see
who I was destined to be…

[2009]

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Wasteland

In the shining eyes of the girl below me
lit by the dim glow of a Paris night
I see the distance growing
that I’ve been running from
for so long

And there, I gasped
lay by her side, and said
“What have I become?
Do I mean anything to you?”

Inhaling on a cigarette
she looked at me, sideways
and said
“You have lost so much
most of which you gave away
drunkenly, or deliberately
Trying to be something else
but to yourself you’ll always stay
a stranger in this wasteland”

And that’s me
a stranger in this wasteland
Yes, that’s me…

[2004]

Thanks for reading this old poem.

Note: I’m going to post some older poems which I’ve never shared before over the next week or so. They’re all quite early in my writing and are flawed in all sorts of ways (aren’t we all) but I thought they might be of interest to people to see where I started. T.A. 18th June 2021.

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Hurt

All I want to do is leave
but I don’t know how
I don’t know the words
I don’t know what to say
In every word that she purrs
in every smile that she shines
all I see are other lives
are other ways for me
but I don’t know how
I don’t know how…

All I want to do is say ‘goodbye’
but I don’t know if I can
I don’t know when it’s right
I don’t know if I am
In every kiss that she steals
in every lie she extracts
all I feel is a damming shame
and how I want to get out
but I don’t know how
I just don’t know how…

And this can’t go on anymore
I have to stop it now
but I’m not even certain
if this is really me
and the only one I can trust
is the one I want to leave
There is no one else left
there is nowhere to turn

So, I have to decide
I have to be strong
but it’s so hard to admit
it’s too tough to address
I don’t want to regret this
but I don’t want to just settle
I have to be sure
I have to be right
but there is no real ‘wrong’
and there is no clear ‘right’

I’m not scared to be alone
I’m not afraid of the night
but I’m petrified of regret
and know I will miss her so much
and more than anything else
I don’t want to hurt her
but if I do this
then all I will do is hurt her
more than I am hurting now
more than I am hurting now

I have to be sure
I have to be right
but there is no real ‘wrong’
and there is no clear ‘right’…

[2005]

Thanks for reading this old poem.

Note: I’m going to post some older poems which I’ve never shared before over the next week or so. They’re all quite early in my writing and are flawed in all sorts of ways (aren’t we all) but I thought they might be of interest to people to see where I started. T.A. 18th June 2021.

All my poems.

The Distant Lifeboat

Once all our honey has been spread
once the little moments are learned by heart
routine a debt that stalks our steps
and suggestions nag more than they ought
then the waiting boat will take me
to a wooden shack by the ocean
and there, I’ll start again, alone

Once your touch no longer prickles
once our conversations are to walls not through them
no sound but a ticking house that counts us down
and my advice is not heard or welcome
then the waiting car will take me
a handsome driver spurned from some vintage memory
and there, I’ll start again, without you

But darling, until that time, I’ll stay right here
Darling, until that time, I’m yours yet to discover
unwrap me, keep unwrapping me

Once the laughter seems decades dead
once each tick feels designed to grate
the breath of each day too thick to breathe
and nowhere left to sit in peace
then the waiting boat will take me
to a beach shack by the pale ocean
and there, I’ll find my youth again, alone

Once your rough hands feel me no more
once all the years of the love add up to nought
in a clockwork life that subtracts our bodies
If every word becomes functional but formless
then the waiting car will steal me
caught in the still bright eyes of its reckless driver
and there, I’ll find all that’s lacking, without you

But darling, until that time, please stay right here
Darling, until that time, I’m yours, taste every mouthful
unwrap me, keep unwrapping me

The waiting boat can wait a while longer
That idling engine 
will have to wait a good while longer…

[2021]

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Based on a conversation about the little things people tell themselves to navigate difficult or uncertain relationships.

All my poems.

Calling Wisdom

Calling wisdom
to see through all the horse shit
of your flimsy words
Those jelly-limbed actions
flailing so selfishly and blindly
out in front of me
I’m calling wisdom…

Calling wisdom
to untangle all the wires
of your dangling contradictions
Cut through the paper masks
of all your posturing
that you’re completely lost in
I’m calling wisdom…

Calling wisdom
to cast a dim light on your thinking
What train of thought
you caught to get to here
These decided sidings
of this line’s end
I’m calling wisdom

Calling wisdom…
to map a human sense of things
the fucked foundation you’ve been building on
is cratered and crumbling in upon us
and burning bricks and buried bones
are all that I can know now
I’m calling wisdom…

Calling wisdom…
to put in place a forest of words between us
brush blooming plants to hide the muddy path
that we spun down
senseless and scared-shitless
and because you never did
I’m calling wisdom…

[2010]

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The Causeway Between Our Hearts

Tonight, I eye the wind
as it dances on the water
singing of the distance
that no longer can be closed

Well, I told you I was selfish
there were no children in me
Unwilling to stir for a moment
from this endless daydream
where I father my creativity

You told me that you knew me
our hearts beating to that same drum set
and no one must wake you either
That carving pretty worlds
behind closed eyes
is your calling and profession

With one eye knowingly
looking into mine
and the other doggedly at the door
you welcomed my request for kisses deep
while telling me you could feel
that farewell letter in my back pocket
itching to be delivered

You rip away on the mildest breeze
a kite cut free
Could not believe
the words a writer brought you
the words you said you loved to read
You wished it dead, before the birth
and all I did was acquiesce

I tell you now
that letter was no dis-missive
but a list of tide times
The wind thieves it from my fingers
and I watch it whipping out
across the water

Two selfish hearts can coexist
only for a passing moment
then the ocean rises
the road is lost
the causeway closes

All we were is washed away
or wind upon the surface
ripples or waves, decaying…

[2020]

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Torture

You show me your open hand
flash me your smiling eyes
Say ‘come here, talk a while’
then you leave me standing in the rain

You hand me a note stained with kisses
gift me a signed photo of you
Say ‘have this, share with me’
then you leave me standing in the rain

I am such a fool
I am such a fool for you
I’ve been standing in this rain
for three weeks solid now

You meet me at one of our old haunts
loiter in the doorway of our youth
Say ‘Thank you, so much, for coming’
then you leave me stranded in the rain

You write me such an honest letter
show me even more of depths of all you are
Say ‘I’m in need of someone like you’
then you leave me stranded in the rain

I am such a fool
I am such a fool for you
Either you don’t know enough about me
or you know exactly what you do
Give me another taste of all I want
then pull away and make me wait again

This is torture
I could do this to myself
I don’t need you, too
I am such a fool
I am such a fool for you

Why won’t you open up
and give yourself to me
finally and fully
As I stand in the falling rain
soaked through
I’m soaked through for you…

[2009]

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One of Us Was Right To Leave

One of us will lose our head
that’s what I always feared
and when the night finally broke
on us, as we clung to the road
it was obvious; the poetry of certainty
conclusive proof of our mortality
the water fell like some swelling sea
and I drowned in tears of deep disbelief

One of us was right to leave
though heaven knows which one it was
we pushed hard and for so long
when the rope, it broke, we didn’t see
just scuttled hard, to find our feet
a dance of letting go, a balancing act
that pushes us down separate tracks
some hollow lane, an unknown road
where derelict houses line the path

One of us will surely return
the pleading of my heart demands
but stubbornness and ignorance of will
prevent me from succumbing first
the angry air that now divides us
speaks of the fear that loneliness delivers
in words so thick and unrepentant
they recoil so quick, back down our throats
choking the chance to ever repeat

One of us was right to leave
I keep reminding my sad heart
the way these changes must play out
will always make retrospective sense
no matter how unfathomable they now seem
once time has passed, the answers come
the fog of clouded judgment thins
and a happiness so resolute and defined
reveals itself before us as a golden field

And whoever it was
who was right to leave
may they go in peace
and come back peaceable…

[2006]

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(Reposted from Sept 2019)

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