Told me your fingers go cold at the tips,
something about blood, blood spilled perhaps.
It certainly sends a shiver down somewhere,
maybe the alley behind the flats,
maybe just my spine.
I linger at the back of queues with my passport hidden
without baby steps to make my decisions,
wisps of smoke falling out of my ears,
grabbing onto cold hands, frozen memory.
Told me there’s a gap, somewhere,
where the blood won’t pump.
Something about memory
something I said, perhaps.
Look at us; the babies.
There’s a photo standing on your bedside table
and it’s us, smiling, the grins of girls who grabbed on tight
to ideas that floated above us like balloon strings.
We sit and sip coffee, still fresh faced and new
but not like in that photo, there was never a hint
of how we would laugh and moan and smile
and the silences that would fall in the gaps we left.
The smiles shine from the photo frame and sing a different tune.
We laugh at the babies who look at us, awestruck,
the babies who we want to love.
These velvet streets will miss us
when we’re gone from their view.
The fog that fills up behind us comes from nowhere;
my vision is clearer than ever.
You count on one hand and can’t make seven
mathematics means nothing off the paper.
It’s quite probable we mean nothing, too.
I stare at the ceiling and forget about the dishes
I wonder if I ever thought about the dishes.
I’ve always been somewhere else but, God,
I love these velvet streets.
and these velvet streets will miss us
when we count further than they can.
I cannot get a grip on the ladder
that dangles in front of me.
Somewhere else there’s somewhere different
and I’m hardly here already-
my feet are slamming and my brain’s tip-toeing
Trying hard to feel it but I’m up here floating
and my words do no justice
to how my boat is sailing
and I’m a girl overboard.
Among sofas and laptops and sunglasses and tan.
On pavements and lamp-lights and coffee and dance
all I can see are stars
but they do nothing to light the way.
Robert tells me over curry
I’m sick of immigration,
stuffs Masala in his mouth and
sips his cup of tea.
There’s a poster on the wall
above the table in the kitchen,
There’s a diner, people laughing,
and a jukebox by the side.
Robert loves the ‘50s,
the dancing and the smiles-
when Britain won a war and
only 60 million died.
The carnival and music
passes by his window
he dances and he laughs,
marvels at the lights.
And when his car gets a scratch
He blames them on the corner
the shifty looking bloke,
He should go back home.
Robert tells me over curry
We’re going down the drain
and romanticises a past
that hurt more than it helped.
The tadpoles disturb the water’s edge and we smile.
The flowers upon flowers laugh in the sun,
rabbits chase each other up on the hill
and flies buzz about the bin
bickering over the last slice of fruit.
The wind whistles over empty bottles
and the smell of damp mould rises-
I turn my nose up, the tap off.
We paint you yellow, and
Don’t you look neat,
clean and shining in the heat.
The birds sing and it’s somehow still silent.
The months have passed since the cold
and life began again in the spring
(for the other things).
Looking at you
it feels like only the beginning
with stupid words and unkind men
circling my head.
I look at you now and in pain I grimace-
at least the flowers that die off can be replaced.
The stars linger a little longer tonight,
dancing in circles, the luminous light
pooling in puddles- I pinch myself.
I dance this shine away, the orange glow
of worn-out streetlights hitting the kerb
with nothing in return except the slightly blurred
memory I’ve got to give you before you go.
I write it all down, learn it off-by heart,
the way the light hits my hands when I skip in the dark
and yours too- I pinch myself.
The rain hits the windows and the door
doesn’t open; the stars stopped caring when
the night ended and the sun came out and then
no one cared any more.
I pinch myself at midnight when I hear your voice downstairs.
I pinch myself at midnight, because I know that you’re not there.