I wrap your name around my wrists in red cotton.
that I don’t like the lines
on my face
but I would kill
to run my fingers
along every line
and say out loud
Red rimmed, wet stones look back at me from the other me
The one who has the freckles in different patterns on either side
of a face that sometimes feels beautiful
and sometimes I see the lines and the bags and I can’t look any more
Ah, the things a man will do, with sufficient passion
Slay demons and cut off his limbs one by one
so they grow as a lizard’s tail, reborn, renewed, refreshed
Thicker and stronger and more capable of living
When to the water-side I travel, and stand by the edge
Near the reeds and the cans and the used condoms
Soiled by young passion, seed mixing with the murky depths
But it’s so peaceful and quiet and he stands with purpose
By and by the cyclist approaches, demanding with his bell
that I hop to one side and dirty my boots on the grass
after I’ve spent so long polishing them and making them decent
and he doesn’t murmur a word of thanks
Lay back in the sun, wondering
why I haven’t put my curtains up yet
and staring at the ceiling with my hand
above my eyes
and the other resting
on my thigh
It’s just another day
sipping bitter coffee and honeyed tea
cursing the indigestion that coffee seems to
bring these days
acid rising through gritted teeth
Just another day.
knowing and unknowing
confidence and confusion
A crow flutters against my window
then melts into the room
it’s face terrible and alive
swarming with flies
but he sits, happily on my shoulder
and caws excitedly in my ear
before hopping to the other shoulder
and pecking at my temple
my mother’s smile. She had such big plans.
and now I look at her and wonder
why isn’t she disappointed?
She still smiles
and kisses my cheek
and tells me to look after myself
and regales me with stories of old ladies and
work rotas and never mentions
Roll onto my front
a dull ache from somewhere
untouched for Months
and drive myself crazy
Ink on skin can mean so much
As can a selection of letters and numbers
that hold so much more meaning than
The crow is back
Staring at me with beady eyes
those tiny black marbles
reflecting the room and the window
I’ll place a message round it’s leg
and tie it up with red string
a message of love, of understanding
forgiveness and truth
beauty and cosmic explosions
making new stars
And send it flying
I whisper your name in shades of blue
Moving from sky to ultramarine in shapeless words
as I sleep
and then you transition into dreams
where you hunt with me
or press your skin against mine
or lay in forests where the smell of pine
after rain assaults us and is absorbed
by our pores
sweating and running and turning
Footprints embedded in sand
chasing the breakers
and we tear the night sky apart
Looking for stars that shine brighter
than ever there was
And each one we keep in a box
deep in our souls
Tonight we meet, tomorrow, and soon
at our touch.
Past few times I’ve been out and about, there is always this one guy, or this one girl. And they’re beautiful, but beautiful in the way that the magazines tell us beautiful is supposed to be. Perfect hair, immaculate stubble, skin the right shade, just the right height, wearing just the right clothes.
And they look at me as if they found me on the bottom of their shoe.
Me with my beard, my tummy, a little too tall with a weirdly shaped head.
And I look at them, and I pity them. Because they’ve counted on their looks for too long. They’ve used their looks like a credit card, and one day, they’ll run out of funds. That tight skin will sag a little. They’ll stop going to the gym every day. And they’ll have nothing to fall back on.
I’m not beautiful enough to be in a magazine, but I’m fucking beautiful.
And I see the ugliness in them the second I lay eyes on them.
The dreamers dream words of steel, flashing and sparking around their heads. But at the same time, they are realists, knowing that out there is the dream that they dare to dream, and it will come true, and become truth itself. There is no other way, for these dreamers.
Will it to be so, and it shall be. Forever is within your grasp. Gather around the fires of contentment and love in the warm glow, as the future is forged deep within. Sometimes the depths seem too far to reach, as the fire pops and crackles, but hold steady, and never, ever give in or give up on the dream.
Become and surround yourself with light. You are always worth it.
I sometimes feel like laying waste to everything, just because. Nothing of import, just stuff. Burning fences, and plucking legs from insects. Ripping leaves from the trees, and tearing my clothes into shreds. Flattening the land and rebuilding, just because.
I sense it coming. The good time. I sense it. I see skylines and pine, and weird weather. I see flowers, and paint, and music. I see silences, at last, because silences can’t happen right now. But silence will fall, and silence will be had, and silence will be good, and comfortable, and right.
Until then, I make noise, because that’s all I have. But that’s not all I am.
I want to tear everything down and make this a complete fresh start. And I have done this. I’ve torn apart a whole life, with two glaring exceptions. I’ve rebuilt myself in my own image, at last, at last, at last.
It is so very hard, but I will achieve my goals.
We were good kids.
We rarely drank. In fact, I don’t remember any of us experimenting with drink, or drugs. We wandered the streets, just talking, messing about. Up to the Pink Elephant Park, so called because of the huge Pink Elephant-shaped climbing frame. We’d sit on the swings and push each other over, and chase each other with shaving foam.
We all fancied Ginette. She had a strange nose, not unattractively so, just unusual. She showed interest in my strange ways. I wasn’t quite like the others. I liked more off-the-wall music, I read more than they did, I wrote prose and poetry, and I messed with my hair, making it do interesting things. I developed my own style. She once touched my hair. I had used soap to put it into pseudo-dreadlocks, and she seemed fascinated by me. But she went out with Mark, the least gawky and awkward of us all, by far the most cool.
We wandered, and avoided the young asian lads that prowled the streets looking for trouble, armed with knives and firecrackers. We took the piss out of each other. Sometimes we fought. We went into each other’s houses and listened to Alice In Chains, and Metallica, and Tool. I hid all my friend’s Ash CDs because I hated them with a passion. We played on Mark’s professional drum-kit, and tried to play along to the tunes we loved.
Four of us went to Donington Monsters of Rock, which remains one of the best days out I ever had. A small amount of beer, great music, the sleeves ripped off my Nirvana T-shirt, band names sharpie markered all over my jeans. Pulling Jolene out of the circle pit when BioHazard were playing because she was having an asthma attack and was in very serious danger. Drinking urine that I thought was beer. Dancing, singing along. My first Crowd-Surf.
And then it was all over. I disappeared off the face of the earth, and they became adults together, and I never really fit back in.
It’s good when I see them now. Sometimes it feels like I’m sixteen again, before everything changed.
Through bruised skin and dirty net curtains, the sun shines brightly
Casting no shadow, moving silently over dust and decay
Healing, fixing, knitting together skin and bone
Creating memories and laughter.
The battle is almost over, my friends. Black rubber squealing against tarmac
signals a new beginning, and an end to scar tissue, bright signs and
tannoy announcements in too-polite-voices signify something vital
and something that is long overdue.
Patience is a virtue, and we are virtuous.
Battling odds that to some seem strange, but to us
are all that exist, and all are surmountable
Reaching over and applying paint to the skin.
Summer walks, and duvet forts. Autumn hair and brown eyes
staring into blue, mixing and making ultramarine, somehow
and laughing, and crying, and all that’s in between
Mixed up with everything that ever there was.