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]

Stark

Tom is dead. His party’s over.
Stark and sarcastic
he’s just a memory, now…

So numb, I watch me crack again
in horrific black and white projection
about to jump, in someone else’s bed
so restlessly, I turn away
can’t face up to my adultery
the tempted, cheating, loveless; me

So dutifully, I cover my eyes again
headphones on, I watch me walking
blinded, soulless, vacuum filled
so magnified, I still look small
swallowing my pride, all passion dies
the pointless, aching, hollow; me

Devoid of colour, of life or joy
the putrid skin just falls away
a mess that stains the carpet
One last thing to write about
a death so rough and meaningless
the broken, elemental, rotting; me

(And at the sight of all of this
the spectator me can only laugh
and from my passive lips, a joke
a joke…)

They burn on in the night
dripping candles of my fat
for what I couldn’t give in life
comes from functionality in death
So openly, I tear out my beating heart
the sinning, lost and wasted; me

So obviously, I watch me try to stand
pushing the lens in deep between my eyes
the blue flushed out and burnt away
So covertly, I’m zooming in
I can’t get enough of seeing this
the forsaken, faithless, empty; me

So naturally, it came to me at first
time took my hands so tightly
pushed me into the holes again
stripped my words down to the bone
so pathetically, I put up a meek fight
the tortured, pained, artistic; me

A joke
stark and sarcastic
me
A joke
stark and sarcastic
me

[2003]

Thanks for reading this very 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.

Don’t Look And It Won’t Hurt

Five years of cobweb
decorates the hallway box
the urn inside
holds more dust at rest
well, it used to be your father…

Don’t look and it won’t hurt
don’t look and it won’t hurt

Your brother’s drinking
on a fifteen year bender
so quick to lose his temper
if you ask too many questions
that snake prone upon his shoulder

Don’t look and it won’t hurt
don’t look and it won’t hurt

Your man beside you lies untouched
no communion for years now
still the love is strong between you
but something physical has broken
in desperate need of discussion

Don’t look and it won’t hurt
don’t look and it won’t hurt

I’m always here if you
want to talk it through
heaven knows, you need to
I know it’s hard to face it fully
but I’d do my best to help you

That mantra you’ve been living by
it simply isn’t true
the mantra you’ve been swearing by
quietly, it harms you

Don’t look and it won’t hurt
don’t look and it won’t hurt…

[2019]

Thanks for reading.

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