A tall man shakes hands with a shorter man.
No big deal.
But it is a big deal.
Years ago the shorter man bloodied the tall man's nose
when they were younger
after the shorter man had rebelled against his father
whom the tall man liked
because the father was his friend and
despite the terrible things the father did to his family
the tall man liked him
because the father did things for him.
When the shorter man rebelled and threw the father from his home
the tall man, much younger then, tried to throw the short man out
and return the house to his father
but when the tall man burst through the door full of youthful indignation,
the short man bloodied his nose, turned him around and threw him back out the door.
For over fifty years they lived next door to each other never speaking
at the funeral of a mutual friend
they meet face to face
hands are joined
and a smile is exchanged.
A very big deal indeed.
once, i knew these things
I watched your temple collect dust
As sand fell from your cracking walls,
And I understood the meaning of temporary,
Yet knew I could not raise my head
To pass through your roof or see through your windowpanes,
For they were both stained and yellowed.
I heard the sudden melody shake through your rooms,
Passing through like summer’s sweet light,
As if it could inhabit my heart,
But I was not persuaded,
For I knew how it breaks apart so easily
As plates on dirty marble.
I tasted your barren earth, self-aware, reminiscent
Of days lost and hours spent in murky silence,
Motionless and curling about in the pit of my stomach,
As copious and fulfilling as the golden radiance of your sun,
The rays of which were packed tightly to fill the void
That I knew could not grow more empty.
I could smell your weary autumn air, exhumed with rain,
Your drains filled and your streets flooded,
And when your glow came crashing out from above the clouds,
And I stayed outside your house, in doubt,
For I knew that your deluge would reach me,
Though I had built my dam.
I watched your horizon transition from blue to orange and back,
Each shade passing slowly onward,
And when you went, I knew it would be a momentary event,
As quick and fleeting as cut wicks
From candles that keep the same colours as your skies
Before the wind blows them into smoke.
I heard your rumbling thunder, resounding in the distance,
Your sharp crack and your brief wave
As the air vibrated in agitation for an instant,
But I shook for far longer,
For your storm lingered inside of my mind,
Though I knew that it would end.
I tasted the corporeal expanse between skin and sheet,
The chemical heat of two pulsing, beating shells,
The salty sweat of obligation and desire,
Embodied and as physical as stones in a swift riverbed,
And so my thoughts turned to the beauty of rushing water,
For I knew that love could be neither curse nor promise.
I could smell the mountain pines, covered in snow,
Perched high up on resonant peaks,
Each a slim rod, forming banks of antennas,
Pointing out to the universe,
And I knew that I too was both stem and root,
Though thoughts of death still made me shake.
Once, I knew these things,
And I did not feel the weight of darkness.
But I was a child then,
And I am not a child now,
And now I am not certain of anything.
I feel very hopeless,
I feel the strength oozing out of me,
Pooling up on my bathroom floor- staring up mockingly.
I feel the vibrations of your voice, loud & clear,
They always know where to hit me, just like a spear.
I feel as if I do not belong anywhere I go,
I'm a laughing stock & guess who's the main attraction at this wicked show?
I feel my "loved ones" quickly drifting apart,
I was your rock but reality has crushed me down with a mighty start.
I feel the non believing eyes boring down,
None of you care as deeply as you claim, you'd rather I swallow my misery & hurriedly drown.
I feel you changing your mind about me,
I'm not the person you cleverly made me want to be.
I feel the stomps of your feet though I am thousands of miles far,
You make yourself believe you provided the necessary with a house & a car.
I feel the love I have for you slowly disintegrating,
It's funny how it's your world that is now changing.
I feel myself going crazy, completely insane,
& you're the only one who can carry that blame.
I feel the way this is going to end,
So let me get the blade, my old friend.
Lydia is quiet
going down the slope
by Arrol House
Benedict says nothing
he thinks it best
to let her brood
until she’s ready
he's seen it
in the films before
where the female
opposite the cowboy
has her moods
or quiet times
and the cowboy
lets her get on with it
while he rides off
into the sunset
to fight the bad guys
or have a shot
of Red Eye
in the bar in the town
watching the dancers
on the makeshift stage
he gives Lydia
a side on gaze
her straight hair
her dress is creased
and the cardigan
has a hole
in the elbow
they walk up
towards Draper Road
by the blocks of flats
were rowing last night
something to do
or the lack of it
I could gather
through the bedroom door
lying in the dark
seeing the thin line
from the other room
the old man hates
his best suits
and brown shoes
saw something odd
Lydia says suddenly
looking at Benedict
odd? what was odd?
her thin hands
the nails chewed
my big sister
and her man friend
your sister's always odd
she made me sleep
in the tiny cot bed
which I haven't done
for years as its
too small for me really
she made me sleep there
so she and her man friend
could sleep there
he's been turned out
of his digs
as he calls them
and Mum didn't like
the idea but Dad
in his usual drunken state
said O let him stay
a few days
until he gets himself
so there am I
stuck in the cot bed
over the ends
just about room for me
except my backside
when I turn over
than a cold backside
after the lights were out
and she thought
I was asleep
I heard this noise
like squashy sound
and I lay there
with my eyes open
at the dark shapes
these odd sounds
and the giggles
and snorts and such
Benedict gazes at her
her thin lips
like the goldfish
he had which fell
into the sink
out of the fish bowl
and its tiny mouth
upon the wet
then the bed springs
were going gong gong
as if they were dead
and I never got
to sleep in the end
what with them
and the cold
on my backside
and the trains
the railway bridge
and the shunting
of coal wagons
so you're tired
that’s why you
were quiet just now
thought I'd done
when I first met you
outside your flat
and you came out
with a face
and they walk along
to the Penny shop
where he treats her
to a penny pop drink
fruit salad sweets
and they stand
by the penny
ball game machine
on the wall
and watch some kid
press the buttons
and the ball
until it disappears
in a slot
and Lydia thinks
sipping her drink
are an odd lot.
When I was young
I'm not going to lie
I wanted to be older
I thought I would die
As soon as I hit twenty-one
All was the same
Only there were bills now
All work and no play
Now I wanted to be older still
To having a family
And house just to start
As soon as I got there
The kids grew up so fast
They were gone very quickly
Empty the nest
Now that I am fifty
All alone on my own
I wish I was a kid again
Cause I know whats to come
So never wish your older
Treasure the moments that are young
Because the next thing you know
You'll see your last setting sun
The problems back
You don't understand
You never have
I'm not the bad guy
I'm just a kid
I'm learning how to live
You aren't concerned about that
You just wait ..
Feeding me false hope..
Until you find a flaw
Then those kind words
Now you scream
Now you yell
I'm just a kid
I'm imperfect like everyone else
Don't break my trust
..you already have..
I'm like a rodent
You're test rat, project "x"
I just want to be your daughter
I want advice on life
I want help being a teen
I need your support
But I have to remember
Not to listen the false hope
You'll take it back tomorrow
Like it was fog in the air
It'll always disappear
Can I please just leave
If only these walls could talk
They'd tell the tale
Of you and I
On the outside it looks beautiful
White trim, big porch
Oh but darling on the inside
These walls are stained with red secrets
It's unbearable to look at
All lie inside this house
..Not beautifully broken..
And now I stain my pillow
With the tears of my pain
..Because you've attacked again..
The motherly figure
Locked away in fumes
Smelling of skunk
The green smoke taking her away
To anywhere but here
The man of the house
Glass after glass
If that is what it took
To get even a slight buzz
I sit alone
Adding another mark to the tally
Behind the mirror
Only a few more
Before it is accepted
For my life to end
Unaware of all of the despair
In her family
The only one
Who truly smiles
In our family portrait
A trail of bread crumbs to the witches house,
through the forest that haunted that strange little town.
she was never quite loved-
that lone confectioner.
pushed to the outskirts
by those that live for white picket fences
and the grass growing green and even.
When the authorities came by,
they found two kids, fat and happy,
but not by the hand of the woman.
There was no cage in the house made of sugar;
for what sweetened cage could hold a child?
No, the once fragile and beautiful house
that glittered like spun glass,
sat eaten and worn at the loss of her owner
for little old ladies do not devour children,
but children will kill for candy.
Hope is dangerous
Perhaps that's why it hangs around on street corners
And in doorways
Waiting to waylay me as I pass through
To get my morning coffee
I've been fighting with Hope
But it doesn't fight fair
It has a shiv that cuts deeply into my heart
And the parry fractures on my ulnae
Say more about its victory over my defenses
Than these inadequate words ever can.
Hope has a rap sheet a mile long
And when it comes knocking,
Part of me knows it would probably be better
To turn out the lights and pretend I'm not home
But I'm recklessly unafraid.
And the danger excites me.
And I climb on the back of Hope's motorcycle
Not caring that he's taking the curves too fast
And I let hope sneak me out of the house in the middle of the night
Running away together into the night
Knowing full well that when the morning comes,
He will be long gone.
Hope has me sitting in this car in an abandoned shipyard
Waiting for the drop
Believing, against all sanity, that you will show up
To make the exchange
To continue the deal.
Hope is reckless and fearless
Hope is the explanation behind every one of these scars
I haven't seen you in a long time, but
Foolishly, I still believe in your promise
And soon, the court date with Hope will come
And my love for you will stand trial
Though it's never been anything but innocent,
I know I would be found guilty, time and again
Hope blasphemously sits in the judges chair
Feet up on the railing
As he waits for you to show up and swear in.
Hope brokers back-door deals with me in the passenger seat
Leads me down dark alleys at 2 in the morning
Making promises nobody could ever keep
He keeps my bank account at an all-time low
He holds the gun to my ribcage in the tattoo parlor and asks, one more time
"Will this save you? Will this make you free?"
Hope is an exercise in flirtation with disaster
Except that Hope doesn't know how to flirt,
Doesn't do anything halfway -
It becomes an exercise in falling in love with disaster
Finding beauty in the broken things.
I'm begging you -
I know Hope is dangerous
But please don't tear him away from me
Dear god, please.
Because if you leave this time
If you fail me now
If you walk away, he walks with you.
Despair becomes my only company
And though dangerous, Hope is exciting
Despair just hands me the bottle of tequila
And shaking his head knowingly, tells me
To drink until it's empty
To say goodbye to you and Hope
The only way I can
Phone a ringing,
first time since yesterday as the day was a gleaming,
my life isn't straight,
and I don't want to wait,
but keeping me here isn't a house,
its a girl that laughs like a mouse,
wishing to take it all away,
I choke and say,
goodbye and hang it up,
bags a packed and cant burn no fire,
I'm a terrible liar,
when I say goodbye,
because how can one be good,
the word is used and misunderstood,
you called in a time of need,
and I was to tired to say what was right,
phone a ring, first time since yesterday,
when all you wanted me to say,
was fuck them, and you are the one that makes me ok.