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Posts Tagged ‘me’

Poem: This Week’s Snow

This Week’s Snow

It buried all beneath a
blanket of little white lies,
each flake guilty of
momentarily erasing
all our broken truths – a
cracked road, a crumbled
wall, the spill of yesterday’s
life from an up-turned bin –
and in communion with
the great pretence of
all things clean and new.


And even as we danced like
mad and, with joy, like children,
made our own untruths – to
stay away and steal a day –
we knew our feet would scuff
and press and churn to ruin,
that brightest white would
turn to grey and, once more,
with sudden chill, we recalled
the lies we tell, how snow is
never liquid paper for the soul.

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Poem: A Drunk Lover Of Words

The Drunk Lover Of Words

 

I should write, in this fug of

alcohol and dreams and snow,

with words like ripe cherries

waiting to be plucked and eaten,

sweet and sour and stony-hearted.

 

This should be my Ulysses, my Emma,

my Don Quixote, my Scoop, my

Lolita, my Lucky Jim, my Austerlitz,

my Clarissa, my Catch-22, my Nausea, my

Jane Eyre, my Heart of Darkness.

 

I should write, in this haze of

bravura and need and dust,

with words like rare jewels

yearning to be shaped and polished,

bright and hard and beautiful.

 

This should be my Entirely, my Howl,

my Dover Beach, my V, my

Still I Rise, my Life Is Fine, my Brown Penny,

my America, my Dream Deferred, my Romance, my

Always, my Deaths and Entrances.

 

I will write, in this riot

of caffeine and lust and night,

with words like cut arrows

aching to be nocked and loosed,

straight and true and hitting home.

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A Commute Diverted

We shoved and shuffled

in this brighter morning,

blue skies and sun

belying warmth,

cloudy breath and

huddled shiver an

overture to our opera

of epithets and sighs:

a tragi-comic Tannhäuser,

on West Ham’s platform stage.

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Old Pictures Prompted By A Morning’s Frost

A sepia dawn reveals

a two-tone world,

surrendering colour to

frost’s brush,

reminding us of

long ago, of men in

hats with scythes

and Threshing Bees.


A cruel cold heralds

a quiet kill,

testifying intent with

frost’s knife,

reminding us of

long ago, of men in

helms with guns

and Yellow Legs.

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I often wonder in more generous moments if the colossal indifference we, as a society, show the homeless – particularly those forced to scavenge an existence from the streets – is because of the fear we experience in recognising that there is the finest line between the life we live and the life we could live if just one or two things changed.

We often fail to see the human being, with hopes, dreams and aspirations that now ekes out an existence on our streets. Somehow he or she is less than human. And sometimes we see the most violent reaction to a person asking for coin to survive. There is an automatic assumption that they are a scrounger or criminal, that they want the money for drink or drugs (and if they do, that in and of itself is a reason not to give them money). We are more comfortable with attaching a label.

I have struggled to reconcile street living with the values of a civilised society.

I still can’t make it fit.

The Beggar Girl

She appals and disgusts,

this beggar girl,

croaking and coughing

down on the pavement,

thin fingers

groping from her

nicotine threads,

a skin-sack of bones,

heaped in her corner,

trolling our evenings for

pity and silver.


She angers and provokes,

this beggar girl,

shaking and stinking

down on the pavement,

sunken eyes

searching from her

spit-stained hood,

like piss holes in snow,

dead in her skull,

jabbing our consciences with

hunger and shivers.


She defies and disturbs,

this beggar girl,

whining and weeping

down on the pavement,

once alive –

dancing with her

sister and friends,

swimming in an ocean,

eating floss in the wind,

imagining her future of

chances and lovers.


She confronts and questions,

this beggar girl,

pleading and praying

down on the pavement,

now dying –

tiring from our

fearful silence,

forgiving embarrassment,

appealing for release,

grasping her moments of

softness and giving.

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Poem: A Cold Night

A Cold Night

This night is bitter –

like you.

With your words cracked

like ice.

With your smile sharp

like glass.

Ink and songs

like camphor.



I warm myself –

despite you.

With my tears spilled

like wine.

With my sighs soft

like rain.

Blood and dreams

like apples.

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Poem: The Promise

I debated putting this up. I wasn’t going to dip into the back catalogue. However, I wrote this a couple of years ago and was reminded of it by a weather forecast promising snow. It was also written at the turning of the year and so I can still plead New Year.

Snow creates a momentary illusion of a new world, a blank canvas on which to write the day and as a child I always thought that it lay for weeks. In truth, it only lay for days and, as with many things, my recollections benefit from a gloriously over-active imagination.

Still, even now, my heart skips a beat when I wake to blanket of snow and everything looks pristine. Childish, perhaps, but as C. S. Lewis wrote: “When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.”

The Promise

In a curious loneliness of friends,
despite the quiet regard of strangers,
we beg our days – so fast and few – not fade,
but lie, like snow, the virgin fall that sings
audacious promise and begs us step into
a world renewed, where scars are hid and
tired paths are lost to love’s adventure.

In the coldest reckoning of our hours,
as frosts are whispered through our night,
I crave the comfort of your creased smile,
the shudder of your aching limbs,
your weary arms that give up the promise
of your quickening, breaking, bleeding heart:
the safer silence of another year.

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