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Dave Gledhill May 2021
A rodent’s trapped beneath my basement,
Its claws tapping out a statement of impatience,
enticed within by Bateman,
it scrats the walls with nauseous vibrations.

A skittering exertion, claws scrape into cold foundation,
the sickly scent of vermin seeps like oil in bourbon,
a gristle glob gnawed covertly by the curtains.

A tail flicks, a whisker twitch, the stare of bodies in a ditch,
its squeaking symphony at fever pitch,
I grasp and grab to scratch the itch.

A chilling cry, a rending tear,
the rat breaks through the outer layer,
my viscera its evening wear.

I try to meet its sunken glare,
as shadows cast a velvet snare,
it slinks obtuse behind a chair.

I am trapped.

The rat; still there.
Dave Gledhill Aug 2020
Tear open the box,
cast the lid to one side.
Drag a nail down the oak
and the velvet inside.

Smash open the lock
and clutch with your claws.
Glare an envious eye
at the things that aren’t yours.  

Force open the drawer,
spit your ink on my clothes.
As you search for the answer
that only I know.  

Thrash open the base
and bite at the cloth.
Howl at the tickets
and the trinkets you’ve lost.

Swipe at the lining
and carve out your name.
My prize will stay hidden,
and safe,
just the same.
Dave Gledhill Aug 2018
The eagle searches, circling, senses strum like spider silk.
Sorrow’s scent slides up on a sea breeze.
A solitary slave spits sullenly into the spray.
Silently, suddenly, the sentinel streaks down.

Beak breaks skin, breaches bone, crimson blots the ocean’s foam.
Defenceless, relentless, the bird blurs in a barrage of blood.
Banished, betrayed, the ravaged titan sways -  
between the rocks that form his cage.

His foe retreats; a closing caw as crooked claws cleave meat.
Head bowed in defeat, our hero strains as chains bind
hands and feet.
Enduring bonds cut deep and bleed him bittersweet.

Cast against the crags,
this castaway’s castigated cries call out
to no-one.
Chastised, he squints with hollow eyes
towards a lifetime of the bird’s reprise.
Furious. Fists flex,
thrashing against his fortress.
Face furrowed into a frown he flings forward
and for once finds his foot…

Bindings broken, his bonds bite terra firma,  
as first a foot and then a hand finds favour.
Boundless, he bellows at the sky
as the flotsam of his freedom floats on by.

Reprieved. Aggrieved. He is restless in release.
An errant righteous line repeats.  
Relentless in its beat, it rings out like raw steel on teeth.
A ricochet that disturbs his sleep

“Is this victory, or defeat?”

Racked by reminiscence,
his reality and responsibility remain.
Warped roots rammed down
with rock-filled boots.
Resistance seems obtuse against such reoccuring fruit.

Reluctant, resigned, he rattles out a sigh -  
the last gasp of this transitory high.
Reaching for the rope and tack he re-binds the knots
that hold him back.  
With one last glance towards the past
he hoists his soul upon the mast.

Dave Gledhill May 2017
screams the judge,
wielding a whiskey and a weaponised Women’s Weekly,
as I flare inside but choose instead to smile meekly.  
Was my Dad the spawn of Jeffrey Dahmer?
Or the bloke who used to watch Kojak, on a Sunday, in pyjamas?
In fairness though, the absence of the villain of this piece,
last seen clubbing in Ibiza with a girl who’s not his niece,
does nothing to lighten this affair.
Especially with his crimes bequeathed to me, his heir.
The charges apparently too ignoble for repentance,
I brace to bear the brunt and bile of sentence.

Her glib-gab gores each guilty glance.
Each chapter claimed by circumstance.
Her words a whip, envenomed lace,
lashed out anew upon my face.
It matters not that he’s elsewhere,
I stand accused for the genes I wear.
I’d serve notice now, demand redress,
if he hadn’t eloped to a vague address.
The urge to silent scream? Repressed.

Repeal rejected, defence disbarred.
Appeal affected, mis-trial marred.
A deafeningly dead deal is on the cards.
I pause perpetually and play the clock,
Until “New Witness!!” echoes around the dock.

Youngest courtroom entrant in our history,
identity unknown and gender still a mystery.
“Oh, look how wonderful this is!” coos the judge.
Now as sticky sweet and seasonal as fudge.
“Of course this cherub must approach the bench,
with the defendant as mouthpiece to represent”.
“Pray tell, sinner, its testimony loud and clear"
*Cue a minor mandate that only I can hear *
A pause. A private parley. No drama.
As you preside, presently, I’ll present the prion’s prose without palaver:

“I will grow, just like my father”.
For the people who made me write again. For better or worse.
Dave Gledhill Jul 2015
The pen, they say, is mightier,
but is it keener than a knife?
This brittle blade of insolence,
unleashed to lash at life.

'Yeah, innit, Bruv, he got right up in my face,
cos my phone was out in lesson time
and he called me a disgrace.
Like, so, whatever, mate,
I told him where to go,
trying to tell me English,
while I'm textin' my new ***.'

The pen is not mightier,
it is tarnished and obtuse,
a vision of a different age,
wrought blind from its misuse.

Its sapling song of innocence,
split south across the grain
and cast across the classroom,
yanked up and lobbed again.

'Do you get me, Blood?
He was pointing at a seat,
expectin' ME to sit there,
as if it were a treat.
I told him where to stick it
and called him out a clown,
I **** this one-way death pit
as I'm walkin' round and round.'

The pen should still be mighty
and not a strangled stream,
that's crawling up an incline,
like an M. C. Escher dream.

Its muddy banks lie dormant,
both acorn and an oak.

'Cut that ****, you KEENO,
let's ******* for a smoke.'
Dave Gledhill Jan 2015
There, beneath the ice.
An unready meal, unfit for consumption.
A drowning dalek, malfunctioned.
All intellect, no gumption.

There, amongst the trees.
Too eager to please,
all smiles and bended knees,
platitudes float by on breeze.

There, left in the rain.
Torn head stitched back again -
a pale plaster-cast of pain.
Her mask descending down the drain.  

There, amid the crowd.
Talking painfully too loud,
arrogance veils like a shroud,
inside, her head stays bowed.

There, across the street.
Hoping that we meet,
shuffling feet on summer heat,
Her broken heart won't beat.

Here, an open road.
A rerun or new episode?
Traffic slowed,
this time, we go.
Dave Gledhill Jan 2015
I see your hand waver, now you're faced with a ghost,
not the raw, killer features that were nailed to a post.
Just an old, dying cowboy, trying hard to play host.
There's a chair if you've mercy, and a story...come close.

The liquor of youth lights a fire in you, son.
Puts that flame in your eyes and the heat in your lungs.
I wore that expression, before your thread was spun,  
so let me unload, you can shoot when I'm done.

Growing sore in my saddle as the nag became lame,  
I sold off my shooters, then re-mortgaged my name.
But tease out the creases, we're exactly the same;
two felons of fortune, wanting someone to blame.

See, I never got settled, didn't take me a wife.
Sailed a ship in a bottle, on the edge of a knife.
I put stock in misfortune and invested in strife,
took diminished returns, paid no interest to life.

But corralling cattle won't hold them for long,
they're born to roam free where they know they belong.
Soon the lipstick and whiskey begins to taste wrong,
as the backroom piano sighs its monotone song.

By a tangerine sunset I scraped off my boots
and considered an orchard as it set down its roots.
As a buzzing of insects idly nurtured its fruits,
I was deafened by silence. My own garden was mute.

So I clutched at the earth as I fell to the floor,
to ask for forgiveness, as you darkened my door.  
Seems redemption's eloped, like a gold digging *****.  
Just a name on a tombstone, for a few dollars more.

Quite an end would be fitting for a fool so innate,  
who has squandered his years until the hour is late.
Son, unholster your weapon and wipe off the slate,
I beg execution, swift vengeance,  But wait...

Did I catch my reflection as it fell from your face?
Like a hound in a heatwave, too tired to give chase?  
Son, the trail that you're riding is easy replaced.
You can stand in the sunlight, or come sit in my place.
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