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A pair of heavy, darkly-polished oak doors swing open, throwing moonlight across a wide expanse of pale marble hallway, veins in the stone winding like sinews into the shadows beyond.

Gilded in silver light, I enter. The steel tips of my heels click out a dreamy staccato, treading in the footsteps of princes, duchesses, rogues and queens. Their faces gaze down upon me from the high walls. Immortalised in oils, their traditional, inscrutable countenances reveal little of their passions, furies and secret obsessions.

I turn towards a chair in one corner, letting the heavy coat damp from the night air, slide from my shoulders. I lay it carefully over the velvet upholstery, shivering slightly in the chill, unmoving atmosphere inside the house.

I move toward the centre of the hall. Click… click… click…. click. My heels tap out an intent. Upon a small table, a crystal vase holds a single red rose. In rude bloom, the rose has let go of three petals, they lie as perfumed tears upon the table.  

An envelope is propped against the vase. Unsealed. Unnamed. It doesn't need to be addressed for me to know its content. Virtually every goodbye I've experienced has been unaddressed: I can't bear them any other way. A personalised parting ladens the heart, eventually rotting away to leave a brand in the exact shape of its pain.

I reach out a crimson-nailed finger and lightly stroke the envelope. The action pulls at the cuff of my silk shirt, exposing four rows of pearls circling my wrist. They gleam mellowly in the moonlight, exactly the same colour as the skin on his back.

I hadn't wanted him to leave, but I was compelled not to have him feel indebted to me. His love was weighty, dense like hard-packed snow and he wore his sadness like an overcoat. A good overcoat, and one which suited him, with deep pockets of melancholia and often-visited regret.

A cloud sails over the moon, veiling a fleeting wish for his return. The moon knows when to place a finger to the lips, lest foolishness begin drumming insistent fingers against our better judgement.

I turn and walk back toward the doors, pushing against their resistance, closing myself off to such thoughts.

In almost total darkness, the sound of my heels echoes again. A determined, resolute tattoo upon the path of my own better judgement.

Unseen, the rose drops another petal.
I am I am I am
Floating,
Sadness, floating
On a well-pool seeing my own face
From above
I am, I am

I tried not to think of you
Scrubbing my mind with bleach thought
And you just came back cleaner

I am I am I am
Sadness, suffocated
Holding down, holding in
I am. I am.
Bare-faced, polished like a stone
gazing into pooling deformation,
rank with artifice
pulled as an oxon cart
over the furrows of time

The sighing heart
misted by sadness
is still full to bursting,
and saddled in well-worn pride

A moving face echoes
with spells yet-to-be-cast
and deeds complicit
in a mighty downfall

Joannes and Sarahs
polluted my wants and wishes;
several of them became ash
sticking to wet skin.
The house, positioned randomly
At a squat, awkward angle to the road
Isn’t the prettiest sight
I could have hoped for
And yet, it looks like home

Three steps rising to a porch
That looks like a wart
Incongruous and ****
Slapped on in a fit of
‘well, the neighbours have one’ pique

and wide, sightless eyes of windows
too much glass
in a pale face of peeling, cracking,
***** white weatherboarding

and yet, it pulls me in
invitingly beguiling
in a hideous, ill-at-ease
kinda way

old lady roses on the hallway walls
faded carpets, bare at thresholds
worn by old lady slippers
and too much pacing

and still, I venture onwards
wrapping around myself a cloak
a warm, comfort of ages
cosy in the past laughter
of fuss-less lives

simply living
a simple life
unremarked upon
by any measure of glory

some houses have a way
of turning nothing into everything
and making it sparkle
with special grace

this home, this house
has waited for me
and, while waiting,
has given itself over
unselfish and whole
to the lives of others.
Rise with a wave
And come down, hard
Water is as unforgiving
As a reluctant lover

Your boots were polished
Shining with warm fury
and silence,
like soft breezes
before a summer storm

the twist was felt, three times
hot tea burning my fingers
even with two sugars
it couldn’t have been sweet
And I saw you
standing at my back in the hallway mirror
reflecting everything I had dreamed
the night before

I rose, twice, on the same wave
My knuckles whitened to birch bark
Eyes sightlessly heavenward
I churned like seaweed, and spun
outwards, upwards into space

my skin burned with your passed-on laughter
and, Danny, I knew
it was all forgiven because
I wished to strangle you,
or perhaps I wanted to marry you.

I flicked hair from my eyes
As the tide came in
Swirling, rising to my knees.
I stared down the sun
And waited.
If you can think about it
Would it be so terrible?
The spoils of a war to be split
No-one carries the winner’s flag
And if I did, it’d break my back
I’m no rider on the storm
Any more than I’m a poster girl for you

So throw it out
Gather back the shattered remnants
Sweep up what’s left
And call it ‘art’
Or call it an experiment
A test of reserve
A nerve of steel
A way to break a heart

Or ten hearts
Who cares?
Who even knows?
or would be interested?

And, darling, what’s the worth
Of a life gone to ruin
Decay was always my favourite aesthetic
my life best lived was always gonna be a mess
it’s my way, my way, my way
but **** climbing a Hollywood hill
for a view of what coulda been

it never was a rosy tale
nor a highlight in the dark
a silly, idle freak of me
a way to break a heart
a way to break a heart
a way to keep the spirit hot
and feel as though the heat
was coming up from somewhere else
across and beyond the spires
the dreaming places of a mind
gone to hell and back

seeing in the dark
isn’t just for cats
it’s for ones who can’t abide the light
we learn to read in shadows
making sense of lumps and bumps
feeling our way along the landing
stubbing toes and cracking hips
and bending to imaginary swords
The weight of all you do for me
has made my back sore.

My muscles ache from your care.
The chafing of each deed
reddens my skin, and I scratch
quietly asking for mercy.

I cannot take another straw
of your love for me, my love.
A single kind word
would break my back I fear.

Oh, yes, I fear, locked up in my head
for days and days,
unending, unyielding
to the release of sorrow or sadness.

Why am I doing sixty crunches a night?
To withstand
the crushing, folding, suffocation
of your adoration.

Ungrateful?
Yes, I must be.
Add ungrateful to my basket of emotional shopping
I’m buying.

I should have got a trolley,
But I didn’t have a pound
and now my arms are aching
as well as my back.

If there’s an answer on the way
I heed it; faster, faster
along on feet of clay.

Love is too great
a weight
for me to bear.
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