Great Ocean Road

How good it must feel
as you stretch out in the sun
The relief of open-handedly letting go
Said your goodbyes
moved to the other side of the world

Now, you unwind
top down
a breeze coming off the sea
the sun on your back
driving up the Great Ocean Road

How I know that you deserve this
the unfolding grace of living free
no longer working to repair something
All new, all you again
with fertile thoughts
blossoming
as the past is blown away
charring in the sunset
and life has you smiling again
hurtling up the Great Ocean Road

Such vast happiness at last
lit by the campfire light
at the end of the day
the two of you together
under canvass
And what joy is lurking there
sparkling in your mind
hand in hand
as the sun rises again
and you’re flying up the Great Ocean Road

How powerfully
the image of your happiness
comes to me
The horizon stretching out
that beautiful blue expanse beside you
speeding up the Great Ocean Road

I think of you smiling
and I smile too…

[2014]

For Alex

https://linktr.ee/tomalexwrite

Greenland

The bell clatters ‘Time’ on another quiet night
tucked off the shore front
In the precious warmth of a Sisimiut tavern
I take another jar, tilt it back and drain
but still there are no answers waiting
Slouching on the bar stool
and licked by shifting shadows
lulled to doze
by the constant comb of a shuffling sea
An absent-minded shiver washes over
and, suddenly, so softly
your pale arm around my shoulder
You put your hand on top of mine
My fingers splay
and for the briefest moment
yours warmly slip between them

How did you find me
I’ve gone as far as I can go
and still you reach me
I’ve run as far as I can run
yet still you’re haunting
In every cell of me
there lives an apology
always longing for release
I’ve got a skull full of sea
and the sting of that thing, it lingers
squid ink, blotting out my smile
A cloud of darkness, I always carry
And like the sci-fi turquoise skies above
your patient ghost won’t let me hide here

Through the coloured houses
spilling warm light on the snow fields
The endless beauty of this country
does its best to ease my soul-ache
I stand by the winter-beached boats
as the ice shelf cracks and sheers
ten ton tears crashing hard into the brine

And I wonder
which will be the first to end
the frost of our faded friendship
or the world…

[2022]

Thanks for reading.

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.

All my poems.

Houdini Song

Spitting it out in the hope of releasing
unlocking the cage stifling my growth
burning it all selfishly brightly
and the feeling is back again
pounding my head again
to just let go…
just let go…

Spewing it up with the aim of escaping
fleeing this habitual and too perfect a world
shedding the handcuffs worn in contentment
and the aching is back again
haunting my thoughts again
to just get out…
just get out…

Dreaming it up in the hope of fulfilment
melting again in the heat of the lime-light
always around and forever predictable
and the wanting is mine again
consuming me whole again
to just let go…
just let go…

Welling them up in my shining eyes now
both of them bursting in the wealth of emotion
as red as your face when you listen to these words
the Devil is my friend again
scorching my faith again
Screaming ‘just get out…
just get out…’

My demons are strong again
twisting my arms again
almost convincing me
to just let go…
just let go…

[2003]

Thanks for reading this very old poem.

Buy my new book! ‘The Ship-wrecker’s Lamp: Selected Poems 2010 – 2020’ available now.

N.B. I’ve since decided I should NEVER use the word ‘just’ in a poem if I can possibly help it.