River’s End

Some nights, I can’t sleep
so, I go out walking
following the river
in my discomfort and anxiety
All too aware
of where we’re heading
winding towards that war
no one can win

I pass bonfires of guitars
funeral pyres of pianos
strings all snapped
Art must be rationed out, now
There’s a faded memory of a song
from long ago
that hopeless refrain, lilts
‘these are our final days’

The cities seethe, swollen and diseased
remnant governments siphon off our blood
all the schools are barracks
hospitals lick flames from every window
Kids wear shrapnel like fast-food crowns
landmines pop like party balloons
Lorries scurry the broken masses
from one smouldering ruin to the next

A hatred crackles between the people
the rusted blade edge of civilisation
I feel helpless and heartbroken
panic surging behind closed eyelids
As humanity divides
the two sides meeting twice
once in their compromise
and again at the extremes

The river rushes ever higher
the floodplain quickly vanishes
I mourn the poetry of seasons
the grave of tenderness is washed downstream
I meet a woman, burying her daughter
From an old matchbox, I offer her
the thin stem of withered hope, I nurture
she waters it with her tears

“These are, these truly are
our final days”

When we reach the river’s end
the night is at its darkest
just then a thousand suns light up
this fractured northern hemisphere

Waking in my bed
I realise my dream
But is all this hell
still yet to come…?

[2023]

Thanks for reading. Happy new year! Don’t have nightmares.

Hush Little Nightmare

Quiet, quiet
calm and still
closed eyes can rest
sleepy head can drift

Quiet, quiet
gentle thought
no more mess to address
no more questions to molest you

Finally cut free
spill out, drift on
into a new sea
palms laid on fresh skin

Fretted for years
worried for a living
guilt; it breaks your heart
the quietest of all
let it go, let go
they’ll never know

Reborn, reborn
the duty is renewed
don’t ruin, don’t wreck
just hush your wondering

Quiet, quiet
free from white noise
no more hate to abate
no betrayal to wade through

Let your senses roam
let your hope bloom
no fray in the rope of love
you cling to, now

You’re free, you’re free
the creep can sleep
but must not repeat
don’t speak
just hush
little nightmare…

[2010]

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https://linktr.ee/tomalexwrite

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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Fancy a book?

Don’t Forget To Breathe

Stuttering awake
in the anxious hours
when white noise
no longer lets you sleep
And in the mattress springs
a crawling metronome
some percussive heartbeat
one thought then another
one worry trailed by the next
Did what was said make sense?
was it understood
will this be good enough
impossible options
improbable odds
suddenly so awake
in the anxious hours
Don’t forget
to breathe…

Stuttering awake
in the anxious hours
try to recall these words
line by line
whispered in the dark
piece by piece
fall back to sleep
it’s peace upon peace
and don’t forget
to breathe…

[2019]

Thanks for reading.

All my poems