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Josiah W Menzies Mar 2013
They tease only because they like what is true.

That is why you call them friends.
So when, in avocado skies,
With the fragrance of fuchsias, 

And perhaps even focaccia, 

And other salty, honest facts of life,
Droning like blue hummingbirds
And Manuka bees,
You seep through my weak and ailing
Ego, out onto the blotting paper of my conscious mind, 

I shall consider what it is they cherish, 

And come, perhaps, to feel the same.

And do not berate me when I do, 

I tease you only because I like what's true!

But here's a precursory thought or two,
Already noted on bibulous blue...

While I write a bottle’s worth
Of evasive attempts at articulation,
The following transpires:

That I have more in common with Van Gogh
Than most care to know, or notice.

That some called him Vincent.

That all I’ve ever written does not sum me up now,
And that the whereabouts of Brighton really doesn’t matter.

That you are the closest I will ever come
To understanding the stars,
And candidness is more attractive
And captivating
Than anyone cares to admit.

That lousy house parties
Are sometimes better than expected.
And you are braver than me,
And I thank you for it.

That speech is, more often than not,
Inadequate, and
Words seldom do justice
(However hard I battle with them.)
And that self-confessing,
Asymmetrical smiles
Are secretly my favorite kind.

That some songs have a hold on me,
That I could never explain much,
And photographs are not my favorite medium.

That poems are often incredibly hard to write,
And it’s all your fault.
(That you’re forgiven.)

And that even the spectrum
Of browns, golden and dusty,
Azul, virescent and viridescent,
Warm and hazy, igneous-red,
Flushed in sunset,
Curled in blazing amber;
The hue of gloriously tawny,
Shaggy apertures
Of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers
Are no match
For the honeyed morning's
Beams of light
Dancing on your head.

'But how can words express the feel of sunlight in the morning...'
Josiah W Menzies Mar 2013
I pace a space of limited freedom.
A space where, when love’s concerned,
We’re rarely in our right mind.
And times eternal lines wash out
Onto white pages in elegant contours of black -
Outlining all it is I cannot say,
Like ink on a body bathed in caramel.

Tonight the roof is open. And enigmatic
Shapes fill the void above our heads;
Incandescent shapes swirling and burning
At night before the eyes of stars,
The stern staring bright shafts of winking white,
And yellow and crystal.

Oh, Pompeian Girl – the old me was young!
Oh, reckless indecision,
Ever evading good sense,
Like shapes in the black;
Light evasive figures of light-lost spaces –
Pinning at hope in the dark.

Oh discontented winter of your youth,
You have been weighed.
You have been found wanting.
You’re going down
And I’m coming with you.

Electricity hurts,
And the Hippie-code is broken.
Placid indifference envelops my heart.
The city reeks of Urban Folk, miscalculation and conceit.

I eat my hand, fingers first,
Contemplating the Epic Cycle,
Like Plato in the shadows of the Beule Gate.
And write drivel
With the neurotic mind of a sonneteer –
Past cure am I now reason is past care.

Still no star-fangled shape of blurry
Minds eye reveals itself.
Still the work is not yet done.
Tilting for months-on-end
Upon the abyss of some nauseating
Overheated, drug-induced-calm-before-the-storm.
I lose my touch,
And touch loose ends
Of quasi-philosophical moments
Of enlightenment, or revelation,
Or some other nonsensical,
Unimportant *******,
Like the etymology of
God and good.

Good God, and giddy aunts,
And aunties that would put the sophists
And the pop world, and the upper class,
And parliamentary embarrassment, and
The football score, and grammar, and
Self-induced debt, and man-flu, and
‘off days’, and awkward dates, and
Broken phones, and insufferable library fellows, and
Hangovers, and the middle class, and first world problems,
And second world problems, and no signal,
And problems with the ex, and
The wrong coloured flowers,
And the fickle whims of fussy eaters, -
The repulsion of grown men at the sight of blood,
Or a reasonably ***** kitchen surface;
A broken string, a bad day, a long week,
A bad long week, a weekend cut short,
A short changing, the wrong sized internet-delivery,
The trivial pursuit of ancient notions of justice,
And early mornings, and morning sickness,
And the evasive nature of
Soul-mates and talent and happiness,
And ******* myxomatosis,
And dissertation proposals
And dissertations, and deadlines and pay-cheques,
And checkups;
Anything that is not fighting for your life
Or for those you love…

…Aunties that put all this to shame.

She is strong.
She eats Odysseus for breakfast,
With his affable, sneering, divine assistance.

Lighten her load if you can.

My helpless heart and I are here all week.
And my velvet tongue will inflame
And be an irritant.
My unconscious will tell me that you scoff,
Though you don’t,
I know you don’t.
Yet doubt and delusion will prevail,
And I find myself
Pacing a space of limited freedom,
Crowded by celestial forms, looming deadlines
And unfinished sentences that...
Josiah W Menzies Mar 2013
Pulling long strands of your lemon grass hair from my clothes,
I consider, as I watch them fall to the ground one by one,
Should I let you go as easily?

Coffee stains, you see my Darling, are not so easy to remove.
And amber stones infect my heart with rapidity.

I stole an esoteric kiss from red, enraptured, trembling lips,
While eyes deep and wide enough to drown in shot me through the chest,
And fingertips
Traced my limbs
Through candle-lit smoke rings.

And achingly beautiful birthmarks, scars and loveable idiosyncrasies
Swirl around my mind, awash with whisky,
And Puccini,
And suicidal Butterflies.
A dangerous, heady, Olive-green elixir.
An ethereal melee perpetuating unrest,
And thoughts of when I'll be seeing you next...
And other nervous questions,
Like where can you get a good night sleep round here?
Josiah W Menzies Mar 2013
You grip my throat sporadically, erratically – not often.
And trickle in through passages and pores I can’t defend.
Treacle through fingers.
But you avoid me too, and I hate it just as much.

I wait for your hand to loosen,
I breathe cool air,
Then I feel your absence.

Your gloopy venom is addictive.
I tasted you once, and now my tongue yearns,
And eats itself –
It flickers and twists and spits its serpentine-self out. In vain.
A vague, dull shadowy lustre remains,
Undulating under baited breath,
For another foul injection.

In reality I fear you. I despise you. I hate you.
If you’d only never return,
I could spit you out forever,
And tongue sweeter, healthier, more benign stuff.
No more swilling,
No more idiosyncratic sways upon social norms,
High Society and empty smiles that stifle natural intentions.

You are a disease, and far from untreated.
You are the last drag, the last hit,
The very last dose that no one actually wants.

I rebuke myself wholeheartedly
At even entertaining the idea of having you in my company. Yet there you are –

In every message, in every ransacked draw,
In every turned out rucksack, every old coat pocket,
Every ***** shirt, every unstitched button,
In every visitor’s news, every car back-seat,
Every dusty notebook, every empty fruit-bowl,
Every old, long-unseen smile, every dowsed fire,
Every man woman and child I sit across the table from.

There you are. Somehow. In some form.
Turning my sweat cold like cheap wine,
In what is otherwise an already disturbingly depressing
Struggle to maintain some kind of equilibrium or serenity,
Let alone with your smug mug cropping up scornfully uninvited.

You ****** me before I recognise you.
Helping yourself to the food on my plate with a wink,
While I do nothing as if handcuffed, and chained at the soul.
Then I move to eat.
Hand to fork.
Fork to mouth.
And it tastes of you.
It reeks of you.
And if I were anything but human,
I’d spit you out onto the kitchen floor,
Stamp on the bile you’ve stolen from me,
Burn you with kerosene,
And wage a third world war on the very concept of you ever existing.

But I am a human.
And moments later you have me
‘******* and thinking of death’
As coy and Marvellian as you like.

I indulge in full-knowing paralysis,
Lapping up your unvanquished honeyed venom,
With a voraciousness that redefines Lovesick –
Giving it a whole new meaning
Going beyond the epitome of disgust.

Enslaved, you have me smash myself against the ceiling.
And eat myself over again from within.
Consuming me like the fire I found you in.

You have me rage and conspire against those I don’t know.
But I will conspire against you one-day.
You have me hate others, but I will forever hate you.
You have me search my soul and grate it upon street corners
And the pavement of city-centres,
While you gleefully, whimsically **** my past
Or polish vain, rose-tinted hopes that without you
I’d know were futile and unjust –
Until I ruin them myself, knowing all the while
That you are the author of my unnecessary devastations.

But I will smash your green demonic skull into obsolescence
In some back-alley where none will find your
Bubbling frothing corpse.
You will be utterly repudiated even by the rats.
And the flies will drop you,
Onto the tracks at Dalston to be rendered into absolute oblivion.
And I will go, a man unshackled, about my business –
Whether it be of importance or not,
It will be with a conscience cleansed.

But for now, vile sham of an emotion that you are,
I do your inglorious bidding.
Zombified and putrid, my actions smell of you.
They reek of you.

You intoxicate what should be left alone
And endured with silence and rapidity.
Yet you elongate these private, personal trails torturously,
In some sensational Cold War.

It goes without saying,
The world would be well rid of you.
Yet godlike, you endure the ages
Just as we endure you.

Perhaps Keats was too afraid to admit it –
You are the original
La Belle Dame Sans Merci.
Pluto’s daughter in persistent disguise.
To be seen presently
‘******* and thinking of death’.
Josiah W Menzies Mar 2013
You may look for me on Oxford Street
At dawn or dusk or night.
Or downtown where the down-and-outs meet
To drink and sleep and fight.
You may catch my shadow lurking on the curb
In the rainy middle-class suburbs.
(You’ll be chewing on the cud and on the curd,)
And they’ll all think you quite absurd,
And pass you by without a word
Without a care.
You won’t find me.
No, I’m not there.

You might get a glimpse at sundown
Of me and The Sundance Kid,
Riding onto Cape Town,
Or sliding through Madrid,
Or stealing through the byways of Turin –
Winking at the bottom of your glass of bitter gin,
Breathing through your window, on your skin,
Guessing what I think, just like a twin
But I swear,
You won’t find me,
No, I’m not there.

Chase my name to the horizon
Or the shores of Timbuktu;
Just be sure to keep your eyes on
Those two feet in-front of you.
I’ll be biting at your heels,
The stinging citrus scent of the fruit you peel,
The whirling hub of your bicycle wheel,
The hassock you fall upon when you come to kneel
In prayer.
But you won’t find me,
No, I’m not there.

Do not think that I will answer
When you ask or shout or call.
The figure of the folk dancer
Will not be me at all.
I’ll be the one that you’re not looking at,
Sitting in the place where you just sat,
Wiping from my face what you have spat,
Sleeping in every dark empty pocket of every new coat that
You wear.
Oh, you won’t find me,
I’m not there.

In every crowd and every gathering
You will turn around to see
That where I am not standing
Is not where you want to be.
Somewhere between you waking and your sleep
I swim the deepest secrets that you keep,
Silently catching the tears you weep,
In the kitchen cooking the food you eat
Minding what you sow you reap!
I am one step ahead of a sentient sweet
And fair.
But you will not find me.
I am not there.
Josiah W Menzies Mar 2013
It’s like biting into a lemon,
Or choosing the wrong pill
Offered to you by a bald man in dark glasses
In some wonderland fantasy exalting a looking glass,
When you choose to chase down memories…
Like a white rabbit bolting down a black hole.

I reconstruct you necessarily…
It hurts – I shouldn’t do it,
But inevitably.
And I compare you to everything;
To everything in it’s right place,
Clinging on to what was,
Or what should have been.

Whoever you are
You were the root of a root,
The sky of a sky of a tree called What If
At the bottom of my glass,
In the first place that didn’t know my name.

You controlled me for a second
With your eyes.
With your hands.
But now you handle me remotely
From somewhere I don’t know
And will never be.

You would say things like
“Don’t you think
That just for one evening
The stars should be
Multi-coloured.” And you
Smile sheepishly
Then stare at the bottom of your own glass
And then say “Anyway
There’s a thin line between love and hate
It’s so easy to have feelings of hate
For someone you love -
You end up caring too much,
And then they do the slightest thing wrong to hurt you
And you hate them for it.
That’s how I see it anyway.”
Or something like that.

As for me, I intend to sit and read.
Then I will smoke and dance.
Because the way I see it,
I live in a city with no memory,
The way money is between good friends…
And my days shall be lazy without end.
Cos the way I see it,
Love makes you solitary,
And all at sea.

Contemplate universal facts that can’t be helped, like –
Straights smoke quicker than rollies.
And yes you can say “this happens to everyone”
No doubt it regularly does –
Probably because you can go anywhere
Dress as someone else.
You’ve don’t that, I can tell.

I guess what I really want to know is who are you?

Here I am.
Reeling at the very idea of remembrance.
In my own historic battle,
Perpetually considering you.
You owe ME.
As I crash land,
Heavily injured,
Into a room you might call “Square One”,
Questioning just how it is exactly
I’m here again.
Josiah W Menzies Mar 2013
What are you thinking? She said.
Have you ever tried standing outside
Late at night and have everything
Sound so silent that you can
Hear your ears ringing?
No. She said.
What are you thinking?
Nothing. She said.

And then you realise,
Staring into wide effervescent eyes,
That your intense willingness to be
Open and honest with this
Daisy-chain enwreathed
Creature of sensation,
Does not compliment
Her nervous wish to maintain
an extraordinarily exquisite air of mystery.

A mystery in itself, no less...
...and rather unhelpful, if you ask me.
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