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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.

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.
Faded gilding, rubbed through to cracking, flaking wood.
A glamour of ages, sliding, flies to the breeze.

The little bird perches on a once-fine moulding;
Head tilted, one bright eye turned towards the mantle
where a half-blind mercurised mirror barely reflects
an army of creeping vines, consuming naked angels
and the God of this house.

Our hero’s velvets are ruined, dripping and eaten through.
Where riches have lived, decay succeeds.
Nature’s velvets; opulent mosses and emerald lichens
are devouring damask
and smoothing over marbled hardness.

The bird listens for footsteps.
The lady would scatter crumbs on the windowsill
and he would flutter, unafraid,
to peck at her sweet feast.

Once, she drew him.
Fine-lining passerine delicacy,
her pencils fetched him,
and bestowed him an artist’s nobility.
He turned, this way and that,
flashing gold-touched wings,
miming a duchess snapping open a fan.

She’s gone now,
and so have the crumbs.
The bird senses no sugar on the sill,
nor the faintest reminiscence
of lavender perfume, glittering as star bursts
at the hollow of her throat.

He sings regardless,
a mournful beauty
longing to return to a glorious, lustful age,
where light refracted in cut crystal,
danced upon frescoes
and illuminated the ugly –
- to render them enchanting.

He swoops to dance on the mantle,
answered by the mirror
and sits a while, preening.

The gentlemen and ladies are gone forever.
Ejected from history to echo as ghosts of fancy and excess,
undeserving of remembrance or pity.

The bird will never forget.
And knots up secrets
kept tightly in his breast,
committed to his tiny, fierce heart.
The Goldfinch is my favourite bird - both owing to its numerous appearances in Renaissance art and as the silent protagonist in Donna Tartt's book bearing its name.
Give me the ***** princes
Who glitter in the dark
The ones with crooked, broken teeth
Apt to leave a mark.

Give me a fallen angel
For I can’t abide a saint
Mephistopheles, yes please!
A pietist he ain’t.

Give me sight of every scar
Each blackened bruise behold
A man by passion’s furies burned
A thousand truths untold.

Give me a heinous lover
Not a lap dog to a girl
I shan’t demand a loyal serf
For my petals to unfurl.

Give me a howl of ecstasy
A stiletto in your side
My dear dishevelled Jesus
To inverted cross be tied.

Give me up for treason
Should I question such intent
By bloodied light of dawn I rise
Unrequired to repent.

Who cares for perfect manners?
Profanity’s divine
Give me your hell-bent lust, my love,
And rapture shall be mine.
My lil' homage to Sebastian Horsley, Jeffrey Bernard and all the other **** fine rogues I never got to ****.
Tell a little secret, yarn away the night
Smash the atom, darling
make the darkness bright.

But darkness is as darkness does
here in which we dwell
who is counting up our sins
or sounding out the bell?

The bell which could but save us
were secrets only kisses
I'll put down my head once more
upon the block of wishes

And when your axe comes crashing down
to part me from my craving
we're ****** to hell and back, I fear
this love was not worth saving.
The truth rings out
an unwarmed bell on a winter morning.

You, dear, were never really here.
And whenever you returned
it was only for a fleeting moment:
in selfish pursuit of a long-lost ideal.

Being crushed agrees with me:
a seven-year cycle of rebuilding
renders greater strength,
in my fibrous, defiant heart.

You alight only to assuage
a need for reassurance
that I’m still as pathetic
as I was back then.

With glee you recalled
my anxiety and shyness,
and recounted scenes
I failed to remember.

You wrote a script
into which I never stepped.

Twenty-eight years later
I’m free,
from your passive aggressive *******.

You’re looking older, finally.
Trust me when I say:
there is no glory
left for me to discover.

A bell is silent
for the greater part of its life.
When the scales fall from your eyes and you realise the person who you thought had the greatest hold on your heart is nothing more than an empty, meaningless construction.
To dream of you, my nose bleeds
I smell metal as I wake
another feather pillow wrecked
another day to ache.

I should sleep on only earth
give my essence to the ground
another link uncouples
as you the couple found.

She doesn’t seem so much to me
as a photo can but tell
gritty-featured, highlighted -
send me straight to hell.

How comely of you, darling,
to pick an Essex girl
it’s where I left my guts for you
mixed in with cockle shells.

I see you don’t yet trust enough
to picture your accord
trust that I shan’t murmur
the bile I can’t afford.

I shan’t waste time to wonder
at the steel of your affair
curse my spiteful stomach!
I cannot help to care.

It twists me to oblivion
and sunders me to tears
my lower lip is bloodied
as my pillow, so I fear.

Cast the feathers upwards
into the fatal blue
caught on gentle thermals
perhaps they’ll find their way to you.
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