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2010 Hangover Stolen from my mouth I don‟t know where my words are. This isn‟t a year for them. I have been trying to make Sense of it all But I don‟t think there is Anything to make sense of. It was truth that I needed And when I turned to find The words They had left me. The woman opposite me Looks as though She has had a very hard day. She has a sense of suicide about her, Like a break up or a job loss Was on the cards for her karma today. And I wish we had The type of society That I could smile Wish her well And lift whatever veil Ills her thoughts But we don‟t And I remember That the words Have been stolen From my mouth anyway. So I will turn away From the reflection I watch her in And leave well enough alone. All twisted hair And frown lines Where once Smiles danced. And once again Wordless I will let another poem drift to nothing.

Another train/Another Station Another train Another station Hooked into Soundtracks at play. The darkness outside Flows pass Like the ink it is. The mood is commuter blue, Faces carve out space Well dressed distraction. Pleasant eyes that pierce concentration Not adverse to plucked eyed brows Drawn back on. She bites into an apple tearing off pieces passing them across the table to her young feeding them like baby birds whilst ignoring their behaviour. she has done her job warmed and regurgitated the food. Next to them a Revolutionary of age Discussing the state of now. A kind of British Low rent Burroughs Without the Joan gun history. Digging into the plastic inspired suitcase He carries wishing he was breaking into beats On the road. Talk Text Scribbles Different ages At one table. Another train Another station The gap on tracks Heading home.

Moving boxes The box I am in Is in another box We are both moving. One box slower than the other But both moving. Dragged along by two motors One muscle One mechanical Both producing so much power. Moving us forward In our boxes To further boxes With entertainment on other boxes Performed by other people In their boxes. All of us moving Forward Forward. The boxes age And crumple And the sides yellow, Decay and decompose As they must. And the box I move forward in Has a fragile sticker on its side. That even I missed.

Memory need not be a trickster Far away But not in the distance Just on the edge of eye sight Back lit by the sun She stands. A wind blows her hair lightly Ruffles it gently from A brow that is fixed quizzically. The twinkle in her eyes Catch the last of the orange From the sky Before it slips delicately to black. There is a smile on her lips That she bites with small laughter. She is waving Not desperately But attention is being sort. She beckons Closer Her arms out stretched Warm. The embrace is given A heart beat lifts the moment Making it feel like home Making it feel like this world belongs. That it should be here right now in this place. Standing together Far away But not in the distance Just on the edge of eye sight. Eyes close. A sigh that Echoes.

Gentleman Soul You left. It was your time apparently. The universe saw fit To give you 47 years To tread this earth. It wasn‟t enough. But I can‟t be angry at a world That gave us you. Even for the briefest of days. At least I got to Call you friend. To embrace you. Smile, laugh and Create chaos with the very nature of humanity with you. Even if it was for the briefest of days. The world will be A very quiet place Without you in it. The heavens will be A much better place For you being in it. All things considered I‟d rather you were here now Sharing tobacco And a song or two. Hearing me take these steps and finally letting my voice fly free. The voice you always said I had but I never believed. But you had To leave. So there you went. Glad to have known you in my life And to have given you a piece of my heart to keep. Thank you for looking after it so well. Even if it was for the briefest of days.

For Desmond Spence, a gentleman soul who left on the 7/1/11

Tales of the slapped monkey He stole my nuts So I slapped that monkey. He stole my insanity That jumps up and cleaves The world in two With its continual Jibber jabber conversation Vying for dominance In my already Over populated head. Christ, it is screaming In there Louder and louder Demanding attention Like a five year old Having a fit Over not getting its way. I slapped that monkey Because there was Nothing else for me to do with it. I had to put it back in its place. Hide it away From my sanity Letting it ride on My shoulders Some more. And it smiles Shows me its arse Picks it And clambers into the trees To fling its shit some more.

Drunk Poetry 101 you shouldn't write poetry drunk or indeed drunk poetry you might say what you feel to those you feel for that would never do hiding is a much safer option. so I hide.

God bless the inane This is a place where Family serves family. Where friend Sits as stranger. Where the giggling Check their status. Where large dirty laughter Echoes with the egg and bacon. “The years have not been kind.” She said “You will have to see a doctor about that.” So many death faces Leaving their seats Replenished but not complete Smiles hard to come by Wallets empty Of the hope that brings. “God, she has a tramp stamp,” he said “To go with that face, eyes, smile and figure That launched a thousand teenage flag poles” Easy listening music In another language Because it reflects the owner Of the establishment place of origin? In another language Because it doesn‟t invade The spoken words of the customers? In another language Because it gives out A misplaced sense of class? Don‟t know. Just wish it wasn‟t Julio – fucking – Iglesias Pumped into the space between The silence in this cafe of the inane. Paid Tipped. And once again off to join the Human race already running.

Teaching Buddha to boogie Me and religion Are not easy bed fellows. It always seems to steal More blanket then it needs Especially on cold nights such as these. All I know is that Sundays use to be a Drag when I was a kid when I had to go to God‟s house To sit with his angry keepers. Perhaps I was born into The wrong religion? Should I have tried all The others like a giant Pick n mix bag of faith? Does Buddha boogie? Does Mohammed do a blinding stand up routine? Does Krishna play a great ukulele? Does God play a mean pinball? Does Satan paint by numbers? Does it keep you warm Knowing that you are part Of some plan? I won‟t know that answer Until my time comes and life‟s bluff is called. Until then I will believe in Human‟s being. Hoping that the love We make is greater than what we take. Until then I will respectfully decline To take part in your need To kill in religion‟s name No matter how you dress it up. Because the hole in my soul has Nothing to do with being empty of god But more to do with Not having a love in my life To help heal it. That is my faith. But I won‟t worship it if you don‟t mind. Just try and work it out the old fashion way.

Running to go backwards When we hung around Drinking cheap cider And eating jaffa cakes Smoking cigarettes Shooting super 8 movies To feel bohemian by We never made promises To ourselves. We never tried to cheat Our future selves. We just stayed in the moment Making bands up based On a name and who could Throw a few licks out On a guitar and bass. We were children With no handbook for being adults When we hang around Drinking expensive wine And eating take aways Smoking cigarettes Shooting HiDef movies To feel employed by We continually make promises To ourselves. Trying to cheat Our future selves. We donâ€&#x;t stay in the moment But make dinner reservations Based on an internet recommendation And who can throw money out On a credit card or two. We are adults With no handbook for being children again. Running to go backwards. Doing everything we can To regain what came before The slide.

General lack of motor skills This could be about so many things But my lack of vocabulary will turn it inside out And show me its obvious guts once more. Bullish I will look you in the eyes And throw you the same old lines, hope you donâ€&#x;t mind. I could present this to you in so many ways But my lack of imagination will turn it into A half hearted attempt at anything. Bullish I will kiss you on the mouth And steal the love from your lips. We could hold on tight to the moment But my lack of faith in your heart will Make me want to protect mine even more. Bullish I will stand in front of you naked And advertise my fragility without further need of words. They could test the very core of me But my lack of conviction will confuse them As I contradict my way to their answers. Bullish I will offer everything And pay no mind to what becomes of this. It could be so simple just to relent But my lack of intelligence enables me to be Bloody minded with only a small side order of guilt. Bullish I will laugh like Canute On his day off from trying to turn back the tide.

The Bureaucracies of Imagination I have to file the requisite paperwork with my brain If I want to use my imagination these days. It has to be presented in triplicate. White copy goes to planning. Blue copy goes to accounting. Puce copy goes to time and motion. That‟s even before I have run the idea up the flag pole And seen if my cerebral cortex salutes it. Mired in the bureaucracies of My own imagination At the mercy of my brain. Sending my own thoughts back Stamped “Invalid” in red smudged ink. All because I haven‟t filled in Requisite paperwork. And I am too tired to think. And I am too tired to fight. So I shall switch off the light for tonight. Turnover and sigh into my pillow And hold my fledgling thoughts close Like a new found lover. Because tomorrow the paperwork will Still be stacked in my head Ready to be tackled in the light of a new day. Forever optimistic That my own red tape won‟t get me Before I have finished saying what needs to be said.

Tap dripping music So here I am having breakfast At a slower pace than normal. A stop on the way to an appointment, An hour before I should Have been where I am supposed to be. Staring at the street waking up about me. Sat in a corporate coffee house Because all the independents still slumber. And I get the sense of a waiting room With cappuccino on tap. We are all gentlemen of A certain age in here this morning. Women folk bustle in and out Pulling off Sunglasses That hide their morning blur. And we feel and look desperate As if we donâ€&#x;t have Anywhere to go And the pubs arenâ€&#x;t open yet. Except I have somewhere to go. I am just stupidly early for some reason. The lady in black smoking a cigarette In the early morning light Leaving trails in the air like angles breath Is now walking through the door. And I am strangely content To while away this hour Making up lives of others To the tap dripping music in my head. It is a stop on the way to An appointment I am far too early for. A place where even the ghosts Of the morning need coffee.

Complicate This is what we could come up with. After all our growth, development and Expensive scrabbling in the dirt This is what we came up with. Orange and leopard print young souls Hurtling themselves into tomorrow Without a sense of today Let alone yesterday. A breed of selfish souls That gets their ethics sprayed on weekly. If they can‟t buy it break it or fuck it They just don‟t seem to care what it all means. When the cogs stop grinding and rust to a dramatic stop It is not their hearts falling into obvious traps. They have protected theirs. They are alright jack, no take backs needed to feel human by. So yes, This is what my generation came up with. Advanced, selfish souls who just don‟t care Whether the world falls from the heavens.

My girlfriend can kiss your ass You are not really looking at me. I know that. But I hope you don‟t mind if I make believe you are. I look away. So I guess you are now staring at me. I look back. You are staring in the other direction. All pensive and serious against the early morning light. So I will look away with a coy smile Because you will be looking now. Even though I am now looking down I will angle my eyes above my glasses To see if you are catching a peek. Flirting with me from behind my back. Except this time I see movement across from you at the table. And from behind the sugar counter I see you are sat with someone talking. Someone I didn‟t see before. And he is male. Fuck. I was right. You weren‟t really looking at me. My own imagination Screws me over yet again.

Catching raindrops in rusty cans He saw this dream Clearly at 3am. She was lying to him again With a smile on her lips. Her eyes were kind and gentle But her words were bitter to the taste. Breathe deeply. Switch the channel. There is another dream on Somewhere else in his head. One that might not be So hard to shake in years to come.

The day that crept up on me You are streetlights on the way home You are a smile of my lips You are thoughts that have echoed You are my door key You are the security chain You are the flight of stairs I climb You are a telephone conversation after many written words You are my bed You are my blankets You are my pillows You are cool clean sheets You are the shipping forecast You are the world service You are tired lids You are sleep You are the day downloaded in dreams You are possibilities yet to be seen

Fingers and thumbs Falling too quickly All fingers and thumbs Yet There she is Making me smile Even when I had forgotten What a smile was I was built for laughter Not tears. I was built for love Not for being alone. I was built to be a part of someone And someone was built to be a part of me. But There I go Falling too quickly All fingers and thumbs. I have a big heart Room for so much more. Let me Have this world I am owed. I just Donâ€&#x;t want to Cry in joy and pain Alone anymore. Is that such a wrong wish to throw into the well?

Slamming doors My foot is In the door that You are currently slamming shut. It should hurt But years of practice Have taught me To just keep my Foot right there Until it Bleeds or breaks. So I do.

God is in the Darwin God is in the Darwin Or is that the details? Never could get those Two facts straight In my tiny little head. One is man. One is omnipotent. One is real One is something we have Dreamt up to explain away things Science hasnâ€&#x;t discovered a Latin name for yet. However Sitting here Sunset in the offing I am not thanking Darwin But the other guy For the creation of colour That dances across the sea. I know science can explain it. I know that Darwin has nothing to do with it. Or indeed the greatest myth of our time. I believe in one not the other. But do you know what Thank you to you both For my eyes tonight Because neither of you Can adequately explain this feeling away And I am fine with that mystery.

Bowler hats to pie crusts Did you know when you put on that suit You would be selling your soul slowly? Bit by bit you would be giving it away like a free gift. You went from pie crusts to bowler hats And no matter how much you splash your cash You will never go from bowler hats to pie crusts Because there is no way back. You passed go. You collected your 200. You signed the contract. And trust me those guys aim to collect. So make sure the tie goes with the shirt And blends well with the nine to five Because you my friend will be wearing it Like a straight jacket for as long as you are alive.

Lust hairdo Do you like my lust hairdo? Aint it so cool? I spent good money on that. They are artists in that place. It aint hair being pushed about It is looking deep into hair marble And seeing the sculpture within. I am walking tall with my lust hairdo. I am a peacock baby. Strutting my funky hairy stuff. See how it shines in the light. Pedigree on show. It flows as I walk It glitters whilst I talk. There is more than brains Under this lust hairdo. Backlight my lust hairdo, Take a picture It will last longer. Defining this moment in time. You will tell your grandchildren About this. It is a happening. A gathering. A reason to stand and stare. My lust hairdo will launch A thousand ships and sink the rest. I would let you touch it But you might turn to stone, Because with this lust hairdo You will never be alone.

Cracks of my own Creation i am deep inside again holding on to the edge trying to put my feet down in the shallow end. gasping for breath every sentence is confused. the stuff has been talked right out of me. i wish i could make the entrance that you want of me but i tripped on the welcome mat. i will be the one standing in the corner looking at the floor making eye contact with the cracks of my own creation for i am not allowed to voice opinion to the wind for it always blows the other way.

How are you? He draws a box roughly on paper The edges as straight as his eye allows them to be. He places an X marks the spot in the centre of the box And for emphasise he darkens it with several more strokes of his dull pencil. “This is me,” he says pointing at the X. “This is me on a good day.” he continues matter of fact. “All this, “he says sweeping a hand at the space Outside of the box, “Is everything else.” “This is safe.” he continues jabbing at the X. “All the other stuff scares me.” he shudders despite Not needing to punctuate the example. “So how do I,” he asks picking up a rubber, “Let all the other stuff in?” He roughly rubs one of the lines out, “And not let it continue to scare me?” “I don‟t want to be in the box.” he continues, sitting back Ideally chewing the pencil‟s end. “I want to be out there in the space With everything that frightens me. I want to feel alive again Like I did when I was a child And knew nothing about the world.” His face slackens as he drifts into thoughts he doesn‟t want to share. He finally straightens. Smiles shyly. Puts his pencil down and screws the paper up. “Anyway.” He says quietly As he crushes the thought into A paper ball which he launches at the waste paper basket in the corner. “Anyway.” So quiet now only he can here. With that he clears his throat. Levels his eyes and asks “How are you?”

To be Still When he sits still he can hear heart beats slowing. He can see dilations of the pupils and feels the trust in his nostrils. When he sits still. But he is moving. He is travelling through life with inbuilt music and blinkers that do their job some-days too well for his liking. He wishes that the still moments were reflected in his movement but all to often they are cartoon shapes with speed lines and speech balloons sign posting his way. He has lost so much over the years that even the lint in his pocket is rented and his life experiences wouldn't even fit inside an empty match box. He is too busy being but rarely living. Only available for the still moments once he has woken to the fact that movement forward isn't the only way to be.

Inching towards Sunset "Every day, " he said, "I am inching towards the sunset." He then laughs at the absurdity of his own statement. So pompous and pretentious all he can do is giggle until he has to suck breath and wipe a tear from his eye. then he goes quiet. he calms down. checks his thinking. re-frames the question before letting the smile slip from his lips. he stares out into the middle distance mindful of the tide coming in the sun sinking below the horizon the breeze lightly playing on his cheeks. "Every day, " he starts again, slower this time, meaning it, "I am inching towards a sunset. It could be mine. It could be yours. It could be hers. It could be Gods." He looks away from the blue turning blood red slowly disappearing into shadow. And as the last rays of sun glint in his eyes he says, "But none of them are beautiful." he falters on the words then punctuates, "Why is that?" His silhouette trembles and his question is lost to the night.

Mundane He feels his legs give way as his head swims with light. This isn't the epiphany he has been waiting for. It is probably low blood sugar. He sits breathless on the carpet focusing on a fallen bit of pasta which lays there curled and dry at the edges from the previous nightâ€&#x;s dinner and he is thinking, "is this it?" The seconds turn to minutes and he realises that, unlike the pasta, he is still moving and breathing alive in this world. Slowly he gets to his feet. Rubs tired hands into his eyes clearing the light by smudging it with darkness for a moment. Then he scoops the fallen pasta from the carpet and carries it to the bin in the kitchen and with a metal clang it is gone. He stands there looking at the bin lid swinging back and forth until it comes to rest without further sound. He refocuses to the seventies inspired lino picked out by his live in lover of two years gone now and sighs at the mundane. Nothing really happened. Just another step forward to the floor he always finds himself on. When the doors are too stiff to open.

Dinner Party Heart He left his heart at the door next to the muddy boots and wind damaged umbrellas. He left it casually hanging next to the rain coats and smoking jackets. His eyes were on the prize the warm blanket of conversation and welcoming eyes. Without his heart he could pretend that he wasn't lonely in this crowd. He sipped his white wine and balanced his plate made positive comments about the cake. He was well versed in the politics of the room and knew when to shine and agree with the gloom. Without his heart he could cast his eyes across the romance blooming and stand apart. He knew that when it came to drunken mumblings leading to fumblings he would be nowhere near the hurt. When the time ticked to homeward bound he left his heart in the lost and found and jammed experience carelessly back in its cage. The door slammed shut on his grown up self and he shuffled into the night empty inside finally he had nothing left he could hide. He liked the air on his face. He liked the rain in his eyes. He liked the sound of night. He liked the fact he had no heart and with nothing left to break he simply melted with the ghosts of the lamp posts and was gone returned to sender he simply went home.

Moment of lost happiness He can see her face above his her hair hangs creating a curtain of light funnelling his attention to her beautiful eyes which twinkle mischief. He kisses her gently. One hand cradling her face the other her nape. He kisses her gently. His eyes open locked to hers dancing. He kisses her gently. His heart opens up and spreads like a tree. He kisses her gently. His mind stutters and skips a beat. He kisses her gently. His soul energies and flies free. He looks up at her face. She smiles. Turns away in slow motion. Pushing her hair behind her ears. Lays face down in the pillows for a moment then turns to look at him. One twinkling eye and half a smile peek at him from the pillows. He holds his breath. She whispers, "Are you alright?" Quietly he says, "Yes." He feels the bed turn to clouds and he falls.

Middle Class Coffee Heaven He is sat in middle class coffee heaven where mobile families push double stacked children's buggies and meet other owners of double stacked children's buggies with a cry of delight that this middle class coffee heaven has new chairs as if it were the highlight of their very day.

Jealous Much He generates the kind of rampant self belief That could take down a drug cartel bent of flooding The streets of Farnham with Cocaine With only a mobile phone, Elvis lip curl and two days worth of beard. He generates the kind of rampant sexiness That would convert a nun And stop a frisky bull dead in its tracks. He generates the rampant intellect Of a whole tribute band of Einstein‟s Dressed as Darwin whilst impersonating Hawkins Juggling the very building blocks of life As if they were bean bags. He generates the rampant charisma Of a dead movie star hand gliding Whilst writing a sonnet to the Sun God Ra. He is a colossus In a checked shirt and 501s And winkle picker shoes Made from the ass of a cow bred only For the making of winkle pickers. If he were a medallion he would Nestle between chest hair of the finest silk Sparkling an awe that would make Mr T. Look like a wearer of Ratner‟s rejects. God damn This man could do business on a phone Cook dinner Put the children to bed Solve hunger Third world debt Whilst writing a dissertation on the “Inner working of the soul and how They relate to the joys of internet shopping.” Yet. He has a soul of a slob. A could do better. A dribbler of life. That little piece of knowledge Makes up for his fucking great hair.

The Flash He looks back for just a moment But that is all it takes For him to be caught In the white flash Of the reality that has dropped On his head like a nuclear bomb. And putting up his umbrella against the fall out Isn‟t going to work this time. And putting on his sun glasses to shield his eyes from the glaring light of truth isn‟t going to work this time. He is stuck. A shadow Blasted against the brick work. He is a body torn apart And sent back to the heavens that created him. So much carbon Floating in the cosmos With other twirling souls. He gets a feeling That this journey Is about to run out. He doesn‟t like it But there is no doubt That the curtain is falling And he will be alone On the stage Crying past the tears.

Cookie Crumbles He is unhappy. He has cried tonight Because he is unhappy. He wishes there was a better word. Wishes he could express how he feels. But all he can come up with is the word unhappy. He is not stupid He knew it was coming. So he can‟t really blame anyone but himself The fingers and thumbs idiot Falling for what was always going to be. He should just cage his heart And never let it come out ever again. Maybe that‟s the way to go? Maybe that‟s the answer? Cut the fucking thing out. It has never been any use to him. It has never been any use to anyone else. Why bother with it at all. It has never been owned So it will never be missed. And that As they say is the way The cookie crumbles.

Milk of Human Kindness "Yet doe I feare thy Nature, It is too full o' th' Milke of humane kindnesse." He stares at William's words and feels nothing. There is no human kindness He thinks to himself And then screams at the wind. Even those who say that they are in it with him are only really in it for themselves. He denies that reality daily. His cynical disposition is always clouded with a tinge of hope, But even that hope has now slipped away into misplaced promise. There is no human kindness. This makes him sadder than he usually is And he forgets to hide his reaction for that moment. His guard down he allows the world to crash his party And set camp inside his perimeter. There will be fires. There will be debauchery. There will be misuse of livestock. There will be enslavement of the soul. Hope will be shown the door and made to pay For its naivetĂŠ. Has he finally reached the tethers end? Has the string he has been following round the maze broken? Has the torch finally gone out Indiana? Has his milk of human kindness finally boiled over? He fears that it has William Because nature shows its teeth All too often And it is never as a smile.

The Fool He is a fool. He doesn't wear the hat or carry a bladder on a stick or neither does he adorn his shoes with shiny bells but none the less he is a fool. As such he wears the pointed hat with a big red D printed on it by a vengeful child for all to see. He is a fool. He has tried so hard to find the right words but he doesn't have the vocabulary. He is a fool after all. So he dances. And he has learnt sleight of hand to feel human by. He has learnt the smile that only the foolish know. He greets the world open handed knowing full well he will get a fist in return. He knows his cheek has been turned so many times he doesn't know his right from his left. He is a fool. Knotted so tight he is a tight rope of hope balanced on the steel of promise. He laughs because it is expected. He can hold a conversation but only if opinion isn't required. He is self deprecating. He is humble. He is a shadow in the moonlight and a ghost in the day. He is a fool. He has never been loved. Not even one day. But a fool such as him has no right to think that tradition and tale can be so blatantly ignored for the romantic and the whimsy. He is a fool and as a fool it is foolish to believe that anyone would ever love him even for that one day.

Broken Telephone He hears hurt on the end of telephone And can do nothing about it. He hears the kind of pain That no one deserves Let alone someone he cares deeply for. But he knows this is goodbye. He can hear the tears streaming Down her cheeks even if he canâ€&#x;t see them. The voice goes quiet. He holds his breath for her. So much upset for someone so beautiful. But he knows this is goodbye. Then she is gone Not because she wants to but because she has to. He is left sat staring at the phone His heart breaking for her. His heart breaking for him. And he knows this is goodbye. The card he bought her As a parting joke for their time apart Looks at him accusingly from the bed Where he left it. No longer funny And this was always going to be goodbye. He is where he Has always been Broken by a telephone Dying for the voice To smile on the other end Instead of having to say goodbye.

Plain Sight "This conversation," he says bluntly, "This inner monologue is not that interesting." He looks away, "I am agreeing with you." he continues picking up his coffee cup Finding it empty he places it down Fiddles with his shirt collar Watches a customer place a tray down on a table Counts the mugs and the cheese cake Watches the faces of the other coffee house ghosts "I am agreeing with you." he says once more. This time not so sure that he does. As a child demands And lovers awkwardly hold hands As papers are folded and read And the crosswords are done. "But I don't have anything useful to say," he continues. He tries to smile reassuringly But it comes off like he is passing wind. "So all I have is this inner monologue," he mutters apologetically, "It might not be much but it is all i have got. Right now." He runs a hand through thinned hair Scratches a phantom itch in his beard Pushes his glasses back up the bridge of his nose. "I know it is not enough for you." He looks back "Let me know when it is." He sees the world Cover its eyes and count to ten As he runs and hides in plain sight once again.

Hold the tree was slightly to the left of the field which was full of poppies swaying in the breeze thunder clouds framed the horizon he stood with his back to the bark his hand resting against the mighty giant as it breathed. he leant his head back and closed his eyes in this place far away from traffic far away from the city far away from people and questions he looked for peace in a single intake of air. he held it. held it, held it until he could feel his lungs burning in his chest. until he could see lights dancing in front of his closed eyes. he held it held it, held it until he could hear his heart slow then stop for a moment. Silence nothing but silence. then he let it go with a splutter and a gasp and the world rushed back in. the traffic, the city, the people the questions. he opened his eyes and middle distance came swimming back in. he sees the poppies swaying in the breeze. he sees the thunder clouds wrestling with the lightening. he sees the rain flattening the leaves all around him. taking one step forward he leaves the embrace of the tree and lets the water baptise his head and eyes. he lets the water soak through his shirt, his trousers, his socks and shoes. Soaked to the skin he looks for the same peace in another breath this time his eyes wide open the sky is crying for him which he is grateful for and he holds it holds it, holds it.

Taken So Long There is a tune on repeat in his head. It had taken him so long to trust again that He had made the mistake of forgetting What it felt like when his trust was broken. He holds his hands over his ears. He can remember her eyes that night. They were hollow looking right through him. The voice had no warmth even when she laughed. Trying to stop the sound from leaking out. The conversation had been controlled. Timing was everything and he was A puppet dangling on broken strings before her scissors. Trying to keep the happy memory from escaping. He knows that this shouldn‟t be hurting. That he had made a deal with himself that it wouldn‟t. That yet again he wouldn‟t be the one left standing alone in the smoke. But it is a losing battle. He hears his voice saying the same old things Trying to leave it in peace instead of pieces As he brain screams at him from behind tired eyes. He doesn’t have any more fight left in him. It slips out through his fingers and plays to the night. Another sad song drifting in the wind With so many other lonely broken souls.

A day of happiness, a day of sorrow If he had the makeup He would paint his face like Grimaldi or any of the great clowns That laughed on the outside but Died with every joke they played. With every day of happiness He finds a day of sorrow Hiding in the mirror ready to Smear his painted on smile Across the waking memory of the day.

Once More with feeling In big fat marker pen he scrawls The following cliché in neat block capitals: “I love you but I‟m not in love with you.” “It‟s not you, it‟s me.” “I‟m not ready for a relationship right now.” “You want more than I‟m prepared to give.” “I think we‟re just meant to be great friends.” He steps back from the wall he has just added this graffiti to And contemplates each and every meaning. Trying to make sense of it all. Trying to make him feel better for an hour. He wants to play with the emotions he is feeling. He wants to put them in whatever box he can And simply move on Pass the ridiculous tears and hurt that haunts his day. He would appreciate the break from the self indulgence And he is sure that his small group of friends Who vaguely give a monkey shit about him would appreciate it. He does have a tendency to spray his sadness Like an incontinent cat marking its territory. As he reads the words back again He remembers something a Doctor once told him About another one of his break ups many years ago, "Don't worry; if your heart was broken you‟d be dead." This statement makes him smile, despite himself, He likes the practical nature of it As appose to the clichéd nature of the words he has written on his wall. He knows this isn‟t the end of it. He will feel better for a couple of hours And then he will catch himself thinking about her. It is inevitable. But there is something about clichés written on a wall That makes the whole thing feel Like a motivational poster of a cat hanging on for dear life And this makes him laugh. He likes his laugh. Putting the top back on the marker pen He looks the day square in the eyes and it winks back.

The letters that never get sent He sits with the memory And holds it gently to his chest Hearing it slowly gasp its last breath. There is one final exhale. Then when the struggle is gone Memory falls silent. There are letters that should have been sent. They would have explained a lot and hidden a lot more. But now there will be no more writing. There is no more time. There is no more will.

Expiry Date "i don't cry anymore, "he said, "I am done with that." But he is lying because his eyes betray him. Sure, he might not actually shed tears but he still cries each day. He might not wake thinking about her which he marks as sad progress but progress none the less he still misses her. he is still not reconciled as to how the switch can go from on to off over night with no sign of even being missed or thought about when thinking was what drew him in. yet even he has to admit that there is no point in hoping. the decision was made the first time they ever kissed. he should have seen the expiry date it would have saved a lot of time. "i don't cry anymore, " he continues to repeat in the hope that one day he will believe it once again.

Tired Eyes Today he has let the corners creep into eye sight and allowed them to form creating a box that is closing about his head his breath is laboured his head swims his eyes dart back and forth his brain fires quick flight or fight messages which he ignores he knows better but he still lets it slide over his head and strangle him like a plastic bag his thoughts are full of yesterday when today is up front banging on the door to be let in and closing his eyes doesn't make it go away so he sleeps with the knowledge that his heart will dictate his head no matter what he does to fill the void or choke the memory from the inside of his eye lids

Speak and Spell Machine It was written on his face in his best handwriting. Smudged at the edges but None the less readable a mile off. He shouldnâ€&#x;t be left alone. That way leads to thinking And thought is his enemy right now. Like an unfinished book Well thumbed and bookmarked He was placed back on dusty shelves. The elegance of his words Are hidden between pages Yet to be discovered.

Letter to me I am going to trim my beard to artistic. I am going to clear all preconceived thought out of my head. I am going to park all memories of what has been. I am going to put some beautiful music on. I am going to make myself a good cup of coffee. I am going to spark up an endless supply of cigarettes. I am going to rearrange the view outside my window to sunset. I am going to use my best fountain pen. I am going to bring out my best writing paper. I am going to scribble an open letter to me. I am going to start it Dearest David. I am going to ask how I am. I am going to hope that I am well. I am going to make a joke about the weather. I am going to compare it to something allegorical. I am going to ask about the family. I am going to enquiry about the job. I am going to sympathise with the current state of the world of arts. I am going to leave a statement hanging. I am going to shift the tone. I am going to get serious and talk darker things. I am going to display an underwhelming concern. I am going to take a side swipe. I am going to tell me to grow up. I am going to use phrases like, “Grow a pair.” I am going to verbally slap myself around my bearded cheeks. I am going to give myself such a hard time. I am going to make up jokes, mottos and puns about my situation. I am going to talk about designing t-shirts that denounce myself. I am going to make sure that the line is drawn by drawing a line. I am going to ramble on for a page and a half about faux bravery. I am going to end it with, “Everyone seems to like the idea of me. Just not the reality.” I am going to sign it, “with my fondest infection” (as an attempt at one more joke) I am going to put the writing paper away and put the lid back on my fountain pen. I am going to stub out my cigarette. I am going to drain my cup of coffee. I am going to reset the view outside my window to now. I am going to turn the beautiful music off. I am going to put thoughts back into my head. I am going to fold the letter carefully. I am going to put it in a fancy envelope. I am going to put a first class stamp on it. I am going to put it on my shelf. I am going to post it sometime.

Some days Some days are meant to hurt. Cigarettes are lit. Coffee is drunk. Brows are furrowed. He is thinking far too much for a Wednesday. With distraction gone He is left where he has always been. A doubting Thomas Poking at a wound Asking why? Some days are meant to hurt. Today hurt. He knew it would.

Dial Tone He wanted to pick up the telephone tonight and talk to her like they use to. He felt that nothing he was doing meant anything. That all that he was had been questioned and found wanting. He needed to hear her voice. He needed to feel wanted and understood. He wanted to have that cool calm collected scientific brain tell him not to be silly. He wanted to be embraced by words. He just needed to know that someone, anyone, was in his corner fighting with him. He felt so alone, tired and beaten by the world once more. Then he remembered that He can't make that phone call any more. So as before he boxes what he feels Into words on a blank page And listens to the dial tone in his head fade.

Silent judgement In a Cafe (sorry fella) Please god, don‟t turn me out like that man. All large bling crucifix round his neck Chunky ID bracelet and big ass rings. Decked out in casual Nike gear from toe to head. Even the bag over his shoulder is branded with that tick Making me think for a split second That his underwear must be positively endorsed in the same way. He is fifty if a day and looks as though He has mugged a teenager‟s wardrobe. I find myself pondering that This is more than a mid-life clothing crisis. That there is deep dark work a foot Or an incredible self assurance the like of Which I will never know or experience. I don‟t know. I am not going to ask. All I know is that if I ever turn up at your door With a big ass bling crucifix round my neck You have my permission to nail me to it.

A baptism for the unbeliever. He stands arms out stretched Catching the drops in the palms of his hands. He opens his mouth and fills his throat. Close to drowning in all this symbolism He laughs at how many people fear the rain on their face. For him, not all days have to be blue and sun drenched To make him feel alive in it. He takes one more look at the sky Wishes it well as the clouds gather further and Shuffles off towards his destination. All the while being gentle with himself for a change Enjoying being a ghost amongst the umbrellas.

Inventing progress The field was ploughed And the paper scarecrows Were only just remembering their power Poking their tongues out at the circling birds. The sky was borrowed from Ansel And dreams echoed to the distance And bounced right on back with company. The morning air smelt of fresh baked hope And the traffic performed its music All rhythmic steel and tarmac hum. Into this he strides with clipboard of purpose in hand And pen of possibility pushed behind his right ear. With a quick eye he silences his critics And snaps his smile back and flashes crooked teeth. He sketches. He draws lines and fills in the shade. He takes all that this field is giving him and throws it without mercy at the page. He doesn‟t wait for polite introduction or the niceties of consent He just rips the view from the hooks in the sky. Dipping his pen in the brown earth, the blue heavens and the green trees Draining all the colour he can get hold of. Committing it all to history Robbing it of any more chance to grow. Now he is going to tell you a story. He is going to show you how easy it is To invent progress with a few easy strokes. He is going to take the fabric of nature and bend it to your ears and make it scream. You will listen to it crying and you will sympathise but you will be Buying into it lies because it will be pretty on the page. He presents you with a vision of concrete, glass and desire And people in matching jackets who smile at you as you glide by in a trance. There will a parking space just for you right next to the statue of Adephagia. For that‟s what he is good at Turning nature into a brand. Rubbing the dirt from his fingers he will take your hand in his And lead you all the way until the screams become the sound of muzak. And you no longer care that once where you stood There was a place that would have given you much more than Buying a cheap 48” HD colour flat screen TV ever could.

Colouring outside the edges Paint by number words None of them meaning anything Just random lines to make music by. He gets himself in a four/four kind of frame of mind. A little light high class restaurant jazz playing in his head. He rat-tat-tats the same old shit out on to the page. Just because he has a deal with himself to Continue to colour outside the edges. Instead of saying the truth out loud he writes: He can‟t feel his finger tips He can‟t feel his heart They are numb as he rolls yet another cigarette. He feels sadness nagging the corner of his eyes And he rubs at it like a smack itch. The light was brightly shone on him And instead of staring back at it he looked away. He fusses and moves the words about his screen. He tries different fonts and placement But they just don‟t mean a thing. Abandoning the thought to the unfinished He slams them between other words And assigns them to the poem that might have been. He hits save.

Writing on a strangers wall “Forgive my impertinence,” it read, “But I haven‟t spoken to anyone today. No one has called. No one has sent an email. No one has sent a letter. Not even a postcard. So I have been kind of starved of company.” A : ) ushers in the next lines, “I didn‟t mean to pick on you. I don‟t know why I did. I guess you just looked like you had a kind face And that maybe you wouldn‟t mind a few lines from mine.” It continues, “I came into this world silent, And it has never talked to me since. I have tried to get it to speak to me But it does its best to ignore me.” And that is where I hit delete. I should have done it at : )

Today of all days I wanted to write something beautiful today. Today of all days When a world looked back And counted its dead All because we still Don‟t know how to Just talk to each other No matter the language. No matter the belief. I wanted to put words down on paper That showed you how I felt when I woke up this morning. I wanted to express my profound sense of loneliness For a world that bares its children But pits them against each other And shows very little love. I wanted to just find a way of holding you But you are guarded and out of reach As you have always been. I wanted to let you know that despite Everything you are here with me now And that no matter what I won‟t let go. I want to let you know that This too will pass As many things have passed before And the beauty I have been looking for Will once again lift a tired cried out heart. It has to. For if we don‟t live in Dreams of possibility Life will continue To slowly fall And the ground Will always be there to Greet it. Sept 11 2011 – ten years on

Ready or not Dusty head lying on the pillow Eyes closed tight Watching pictures projected on the lids Rattle through the gate of the night. Twisted on sheets of promise Thrashing my legs against The progress I am not making Running on the spot is not movement forward. I don't need to hide and count to ten. I have been covering my eyes for a life time Waiting for the coming ready or not. The arms that hold me Are cold to the touch Never knew that being awake Would cost me so much. All I want to do now Is hold my hands up to the sky Grasp at the clouds and pull them Round my shoulders and sleep. I don't need to hide and count to ten. I have been covering my eyes for a life time Waiting for the coming ready or not. There is nothing between The opening statement and the closing lines. All that we choose to speak of Is what was yours and what was mine. Streamlined down to the bones of me I am naked before you now Cursing that I never got the chance to Just spend one more day in your heart. I don't need to hide and count to ten. I have been covering my eyes for a life time Waiting for the coming ready or not.

A list of guff A face in the crowd Centred by what Never could or should happen. You pass Like all those who have passed. Difference is you don‟t know me. You don‟t know that: I have enough hang ups to fill a wardrobe. That I don‟t know another language. That I am passionate about humans being. That I have trust issues. That once I fall, I fall for a long time. That I no longer like the heart inside my skin. That for a fat man I move quickly. That I write all I feel down. That I am a damn good kisser. That I give good hugs, That I cry at the drop of a hat. That I look crap in hats. That I am not as serious as this suggests. That I do my best to be despite of me. You don‟t know me. So do yourself a favour Keep on walking.

Caramel Slice This is a great shopping centre To sit and feel self pity in. He has sat in a lot of shopping centres Feeling the same thing so he knows what he is talking about. This one is spacious and airy With refreshment available at great height. So you can sip your latte Whilst watching the life of your times scuttle like ants. He loves the symbolism of The glass lifts and the Stairs circling down into the Pits of Danteâ€&#x;s shopping inferno. It is a joyous experience for him To sit and look sad in a moody Dramatic way across from Clinton Cards advertising Grandparents day. It is a hoot to be in tears In a crowd that looks Away concerned more with Their bra purchase from La Senza. It is truly awesome to hear His heart breaking To the sound of cash registers And the Yo Sushi belt spinning. He likes how that even whilst in the middle of All his melancholic bullshit he can sit at a formica table Drinking a bucket of coffee lonely but here And get a caramel slice to go along with it.

Outside the circle He loves nothing better Than to stand outside the circle Squaring it for himself But he can‟t get the edges to stand up straight. He has tried everything You could imagine. Has been honest with it. Told it outright lies. Bribed it. Sold it. Even lent it out to others But nothing makes the lines Connect and box him in. Guess he should be grateful For small mercies Because at least it means He isn‟t trying to find a way of Circling the square. That would be a waste of his And everybody‟s time.

Thin Lines If I stood here laughing Really laughing The men in white coats Would think that I had The greatest joke In my back pocket And I was being mean Not sharing it. If I stood here screaming Really screaming The men with the butterfly nets Would think that I had The heebie-jeebies And I was being kind Not sharing it. But through these walls I hear laughter and screams Vibrating the sleep out of my eyes And nobody comes a knocking Demanding that they stop Even for a minute. No one comes a looking. No one says a thing. No one offers arms to sleep in. No one offers to sooth the beats within. They just let them fly into the night Resting on the backs of seagulls Sending them as messengers to A buttoned up lip of a world. Silent questions never spoken out loud to be touched. Thin lines we all dance until our legs Canâ€&#x;t hear the tune anymore Because behind closed doors the trouble is Somebody elseâ€&#x;s never yours.

Poignant life lesson in the post Dear Son, When approaching situations That you have no means of controlling Whether in business or indeed matters of the heart Remember this one piece of advice: “Look them in the eyes Hold them in your gaze Make sure they remember Your face for days. Then steal their wallet.� Call your mother She worries. Love Dad.

Locked door You locked the door Leaving the key on the hook With a brown paper tag on it That read “In case of emergency.� Printed in the neat hand writing You always used when you were being serious. To this day it hangs in the same place Catching rust, brown paper tagged words fading. You left strict instructions On what to do if the emergency ever came to pass. You stressed the actions that needed to be taken. They were dutifully typed up, laminated and stuck next to The key on the hook with the brown paper tag on it. They were simple rules, a list from one to three, Printed in bold and underlined for the entire world to see As if lives depended on them, which in that moment, they did. To this day it is stuck in the same place The laminate has cracked and the paper caught within has yellowed. You tested the handle Giving it two sharp tugs and rattles. Assured that it was locked you left. The key shook on its hook as you passed And the brown paper tag fluttered a wave goodbye All of which you ignored in your haste to depart. To this day it sways in the same place. Waiting for the time you will return and use it to unlock the door you made the rules for.

The Card At the back of the cardboard stuff carelessly between Old bank statements and long overdue bills You find the only valentine card you have ever received. It is bent, battered and fading after twenty-six years Of being shoved from box file to pile. It immediately raises that half smile you do because Having forgotten it was there You are once again pleasantly surprised to find it Almost as you were when you found it the first time In your school locker all those years ago When you still believed you deserved love. You re-read the DH Lawrence quote That somebody wrote out for you on the inside cover. You look at the handwriting even now looking for some clue As to who sent it many years ago? You still can't work it out. You marvel at how the hand that wrote Those wonderful words is your age, possibly married. Kids. Car and walking with dogs at weekends. There is something you have always liked about this card. It has a sense of your history when some much about you doesn't. That is why you have kept it beyond all others. It is time and place, Hallmarked and soft With its yellowing bear clutching a faded heart but above all What it represents is that for at least for one moment in your life Someone bothered enough to care, and that Twenty-six years on that still makes you crack that half smile. You place in back on the stack of letters where you found it Already looking forward to the next time where by accident You will find it again and come alive for the briefest of moments tingling with teenaged memories. Then you find what you were looking for. Shutting the cardboard door you get on with your day.

A simple game of you A pop quiz hot shot (Dennis Hopper voice is optional) You have in front of you Multiple choice questions Or a cryptic crossword Which one do you choose? Which one do you choose? Now before the decision is made Remember all the questions being asked today Are about you and you alone. Not about being alone, Shit, hot shot, Grow up and grow a pair of brass ones. This is just a simple game of you. Think of it in a quasi-religious way If it helps you to frame your response. You were a catholic once. I am St Peter and I meet you at the gate. No, numb nuts not a garden gate. The gate. The pearly one. Got it? Good. Now I am going to ask you questions about you. It can either be a case of chose answer A. B or C Or it can be something a little more obscure where you Have to hunt about in your subconscious for the answer. Whatâ€&#x;s obscure? Shit, hot shot, if I were you I would go multiple choices all the way. After all this is a simple game of you. Okay, you ready Freddy? Question: When you were a kid did you: A) Pee on the carpet beside your bed for a week? B) Put tiddly winks in your cup of tea and then drink them? C) Take all your clothes off as a dare only to be caught out by your Mum? Now take your time. I know it is a long way back in historyâ€&#x;s book. When you had hair on your head not just your chin.

Come on. Don‟t want to rush you. Can‟t you see a queue is forming? A lot of people to get through this gate. They aint on their holidays you know. They are important people with places to be. Shit, hot shot What is taking so long? It aint a trick question. In which memory do you belong? Ah, you‟ve seen through me. Ya right, even multiple choice questions Can have even more than one answer. Sucks being you don‟t it. Maybe you should have gone for the crossword. But then again you do enough of that Don‟t you hot shot? You are always either one across or one down aint you? Well, thanks for playing. It‟s been a blast. If I could find the key to the gate I would let you right on in But I misplaced it Somewhere with the laminated rules Hanging on a hook getting rusty. So you are just gonna have to wait a while. See the bright side And illuminate it once again with that smile of yours. Remember hot shot You use to laugh at the ridiculousness of it all. You use to hold life by the scruff of the neck. You use to cry with laughter. You can again. A pop quiz hot shot You have in front of you Multiple choice questions Or a cryptic crossword Which one do you choose? Which one do you choose?

Awkward out loud Standing in the corner As the party takes things over I am being awkward out loud. I am clutching my coat still with one arm in a sleeve Whilst the other clasps a bottle of unclaimed wine The host graciously declined. I am letting my eyes drift Trying to work out the dynamics of the room Whilst looking for the cheese balls and peanuts. I do that half shuffle dance across the lounge Pretending that Dion Warwick‟s “Anyone who had a Heart” Really doesn‟t move my feet. I am still jigging on the spot Wrestling my arm from my coat When she appears with a corkscrew. For the bottle of wine, she says. I look at her blankly for a moment Then she gestures at my other hand. I finally understand what she is talking about, Acknowledging this by shifting the bottle from one hand to the other Getting it caught up in the sleeve of my coat in the process. There we stand. Dion slips in to sounding like Neil Diamond. All I can see is her beautiful smile and out stretched hand. I want to show her my Swiss army knife with its corkscrew attachment To demonstrate that I am prepared - but think better of it. Instead I finally take her kind offer of the utensil. As I grapple with my coat, bottle and Newly acquired corkscrew it is at that point I remember my wine bottle is screw capped. Trying not to look ungrateful at the gesture to pop my cork I make my best attempt at pretending to pull a phantom one Whilst sleight of hand unscrewing the cap furiously.

Like a hawk, she stands there watching me her smile getting bigger. This must be her personal corkscrew, I think. Maybe she goes from party to party with it helping those in need. Maybe she is some kind of wine bottle angel. Her mission is to bring real cork back by watching Others pull them violently out with a satisfying “pop”. I continue to struggle with my magic trick All the while I am trying to think of what to say As a means of distraction rather than a chat up. As a thought enters my brain and engages my lips The corkscrew slips against the metal cap and Stabs into my hand lodging itself into the fleshy part of my palm. Now I am juggling my coat, bottle, a borrowed corkscrew From a beautiful smiling girl who is getting impatient And the urge to faint through blood loss. I quickly yank the corkscrew out Jerking the bottle sideways in the process Causing me to deliver a glancing blow to this cork angel. She goes down like a sack of potatoes. As Neil starts to sound like Glen Campbell. Throwing my bloody hand up to my mouth all I can do is squeak. Of course this movement, means that the now open bottle of wine Quickly empties out down my shirt and trousers Managing to make me look like I have wet myself. She comes round on the floor clutching her head. With a look of horror she‟s see me standing over her My face covered in blood with a large damp patch round my crotch. There is a stare off. Neither of us moves. Wham! „s "Club Tropicana” comes on the stereo. By this time you would think that the room would be aware of this scene. Nope, the party still goes on about us, chatting, flirting and playing naked Twister. Some people do stop mid-twist and watch thinking we are a whacky cabaret act. I stumble an apology and hand her back her corkscrew. I then roughly take it back before she can get a grip

And wipe the blood off it against my damp jeans and hand it back again. She opens her mouth to say something but only exhales. She looks confused as she sits there on the carpet Holding her prized corkscrew as if she was holding a bag of dog shit. I spot a bowl of peanuts and for some reason feel the urge to offer her one. She declines, well I think she does. She is just sitting there staring at me, incredulously. So taking that as a no to peanuts I replace the bowl and back away slowly. Mouthing apologies and showing her my watch hoping she Recognises it as the international symbol of I must be going. I turn on my heels and beat a hasty retreat for the front door Pulling on my coat as I go even over the now empty bottle I still have in my hand. All the while feeling her eyes burning into the back of my skull. My host intercepts me at the door and ask me, why am I going so soon? As I try to form a plausible lie about having been called in by MI5 To infiltrate a terrorist cell in Bognor Regis the corkscrew bounces off my skull. This is followed by a round of colourful sailor talk As cork angel has found her feet and is now railing against me From the other side of the room. Guests have stopped playing naked Boggle And are paying a little bit too much attention now, As I try to placate cork angel with the same old look at the time gesture. She is having none of it. Not content at throwing the corkscrew She reaches for the bowl of peanuts and launches them. Now, knowing that the peanuts are coming gives me an advantage. I duck and the bowl flies over my head Michael Bay like and takes out A delightful couple form Frome stood admiring a Toulouse Lautrec print. Cork angel is horrified at bouncing her nuts Not off the head of their Intended target. The couple from Frome arenâ€&#x;t best pleased either. The host of the party runs off to get a dust buster. I take this at my cue to quietly slip away As the fuss over the Fromes and spilt nuts continues.

I pull open the front door and make my bid for freedom. My tracks are stopped by the sight of the corkscrew Laying on the carpet still covered in a faint trace of my blood. I hesitate for a split second then in one swift movement I dip down Liberating the corkscrew from the carpet and I am gone To the sounds of Adam Ant floating in my wake. The night air hits me squarely in the face As I tare arsed down the garden path laughing like a loon Disappearing into the moonlight brandishing the spoils of my victory. Like a big game hunter stuffing and mounting a Meerkat I bronzed that corkscrew and mounted it on cork As a reminder of being forever awkward out loud.

Voice The voice is commanding. It tells me that there is a plan. That the mud I am slogging through will thin. That it will bake and harden as the sun comes out and the rains stop falling. It tells me that I am to believe what it is saying. That I should pay it more mind than music, poetry or inner monologues. It tells me that to listen for the quiet moments Ignore all the noise that surrounds my ears daily. The voice is and will always be my friend Poised on the edge of good advice Warm words of encouragement And hope for a better understanding of the times. This is no devil nor indeed god whispering Trying to find ways of running the soul. It is simply reason and it wears many guises And speaks with many tongues. I for my part let it talk to me When I lay in bed at night picking through The thoughts of the day hoping that They will frame the next in a context I can work. Some nights I listen. Others I let it add to the white noise. Mostly I just let the voice talk itself into silence And unheard I allow sleep to take me instead.

Words we might say Broken elegance of words. Circles in the sand. The art of giving form to signs. Expressive, Harmonious And skilful. We are nothing more Than blocks of letters Scattered at feet. The connection across the page. The lines sliding gracefully. A hand guided by ink and emotion. Significant, Melodious And practised. The rock inside our chest Solidifies the words we might say And we are done speaking. We are tearing at our house of words Hearing them tumbling down Rattling off the roofs of our mouths. For all the words We have in our throats For all the words We have on our lips We manage to say very little.

Thanks for caring It doesn't take much. Just hit reply. Type a few lines In response to The answer to a question You asked in the first place. Shows you care Or at least did once. But I guess none of it matters It was a game we were playing. We needed to cling To something To make the nights seem A lot less cold. It didnâ€&#x;t matter Because we never had Each other hearts. Emotional contraception Was applied as we took Each other for a safe ride. Then wrapped in tissue Then flushed down the toilet. Letâ€&#x;s leave It at that.

Statue You are a wood statute Carved by the hands of an amateur. The rough edges needing sanding and your eyes need painting in. You have no mouth to speak of, Just a jagged scratch Across the surface of your skin. You speak no words. You donâ€&#x;t have a voice that melts away doubt But you are immutable even when unfinished.

Collywobbles and Codswallop Collywobbles, He has got the belly joggling collywobbles. A nice round sounding word That sums up nicely how he feels. Codswallop, Utter out of the bag and round the tree codswallop. A nice round sounding word That says more than a cuss word ever could. Collywobbles and Codswallop Heâ€&#x;ll have a nice slice of Collywobbles and Codswallop. Two nice sounding words That make him hungry. Collywobbles A feeling of nervousness or discomfort in the stomach. Codswallop Nonsense. Nervous nonsense. He has got a life time subscription And no matter how many times he lets it elapse He always finds himself signing up for more.

The law of averages The law of averages states: “That outcomes of a random event Will "even out" within a small sample.” Or at least that‟s what Wikipedia says. I‟m no scientist or great thinker, So I am going to have to take its word on that. You dig a bit deeper and you get into The mathematics of the statement. It starts to talk about, “The Mean, the Median and the Mode” Which helps towards understanding the average. Which isn‟t average statistically speaking.... Someone, somewhere is geeking out now As I have got that wrong, I am sure of it. Again, not a scientist or a great thinker Or apparently a mathematician. Another take on the same statement is: “The principle holding that probability Will influence all occurrences in the long term.” Alright, I can get my head round that. I think it is basically saying: “Shit happens and that shit happening Will eventually affect other shit happening Somewhere down the line.” Or if you prefer: “Shit rolls down Gathers momentum Creates a big shit ball of chaos and mayhem That sweeps you up in it faecal wake. Only to offer you toilet paper to clean it all up When and if you go to the shops and buy some And don‟t buy a bottle of Jack Daniels And a port pie hat instead.” Again, not a scientist or a great thinker, or mathematician And I also don‟t seem to have a way with words. Now why, am I sitting here, At twenty past eleven on a Tuesday night Contemplating the law of averages? Don‟t really know, but by my reckoning I will Find out that answer sometime next week Because apparently that‟s the law.

This is mine No matter what happens What they say How they want me to be This is mine No one can Take this away No one has a right to it This is mine I only have to close my eyes Block all other senses There I am This is mine Within it there is hope There is memories of love Of times when nothing else existed This is mine I am still Breath shallow Rhythmic This is mine It makes me sad Happiness overwhelms me Grief takes my heart and squeezes This is mine I have lived Sketched briefly in to others souls Unfinished dreams and lines This is mine.

Dangerously nice “You don‟t have that dangerous look in your eye.” She said in all seriousness “What does that mean?” he asked. “You are...well, nice, safe....” came the reply. “Okay,” he nodded, “Okay.” He was last seen after that conversation: ...mainlining cynicism in a derelict building. ...sword swallowing hope. ...walking over broken shards of heart bare footed. ...slicing his wrists open with words. ...drinking down humble cider pie in a shop doorway. ...tying fire crackers to soul shape cats and lighting the fuse. He returned to the conversation he thought a better man. “You don‟t have that nice look in your eye.” She said in all seriousness “What does that mean?” he asked. “You are...well, dangerous, horrible, unsafe....” came the reply. “Okay,” he nodded, “Okay.” He paused, looked at his shoes, and then looked at her face. “Is there a middle ground I should be aiming for?” “No, not really.” she shrugged. “Right, “he said resolutely, “So just dangerously nice is how you like them?” “Something like that.” she agreed. “Complicated aint it?” he offered. “Always is,” She granted, “Always is.” He was last seen after that conversation Selling guide books to relationships Out the back of a van. Each of the pages were blank But it had a nice photography Of a beautiful chiselled couple laughing on the front cover. Idyllically metaphoric in hard back for £7.99

Blank Faced Boy One morning. As the bath water was getting cold and The bubbles having long since evaporated He gave up. Taking a razor blade Old fashioned and Sweeny Todd inspired He dragged it across his face finally Removing all that was old and tired. Wrapping his frame in Egyptian cotton towels. He pads across the landing and Laid out his still store tagged clothes. Tea and toast. A little breakfast news. Then a short brisk stroll to the bus stop. Thirty minutes later Another walk to the doors of industry. Nine to five. A cubicle. A pen. Paper. Pushing. Hour for lunch. Packed. Ham and mustard on brown. Photocopy. Duplicate. Collate. Staple. Walk from industries doors. Bus stop. Bus ride. Thirty minutes. Evening draws in Autumn leaving its mark in the sky. Front door. Key in lock. Home. Domestic duties. Feed the cat. Feed himself. Spaghetti Bolognaise Homemade with garlic bread. A little television. A couple of chapters of a generic book. Brushing of teeth. Clean crisp sheets. Light off by ten-thirty. Asleep.

It’s late and I’ve got to get up early again It is late. The street has gone back to being covered In concrete instead of people. I can open my windows again. I can let the cold air in Instead of the background hum That comes of living On the street of restaurants and hair dressers. Now don't get me wrong The sound of humanity Conversing, laughing and Flashing their libidos Have got me through some Very lonely nights. Just it is late And I've got to Get up early again. So thank you drag queens For challenging the macho Bullshit of the punters Stood jeering outside the pub door As you pass. So thank you students For drinking your grant cheque And screaming "Angels" As close drunken harmony at three In the morning after the clubs kick out. Thank you taxi drivers honking for your fares Even though this is a built up Area and it is illegal past A certain hour. Thank you random guy In a plaid shirt screaming obscenity into your phone As if no one else in the world Can hear you.

Thank you bunch of girls Who prove that women Punch as hard as any man. Thank you running singing man For your 80s walkman screaming Of System Addict. Thank you break up dialogue From the mouths of the desperate that seems to have been written for them by Soap Opera scriptwriters. Thank you for the punch ups that flow in waves Of "Kevin just leave it." Followed by animal screams. Thank you homeless guy Who tries to flog copies of The New Statesmen And the New Scientist Instead of the Big issue To the alfresco dining crowd As if the high brow nature Of Doctors wait room Reading material is gonna get him more results. Thank you. Sincerely. Now Can you all just Go home And let me Be with my own Background noise Because It is late And I've got to Get up early again. Goodnight.

Tick Boxes I do not have a body that is average, athletic and toned, or even stocky. I don't like to sit on a sofa with a bottle of wine, cuddle and watching a DVD. I don't particularly love weekends away exploring places that I haven't been to before. I am not a massive fan of the countryside. I wouldn't say my personality is easy going, enthusiastic, helpful, generous, Spontaneous, confident, thoughtful, sociable, sensitive, funny, reliable, or reflective I don't want to make the most of my spare time, I brood, that is a full time job. I am not average, attractive, very attractive, or I'd rather not say. I don't have a good sense of humour. I don't want to see the world on the back of a vesper. I don't have any animals. I don't have any kids. I don't own my own home. I don't drive therefore I don't own a car. I don't have a best feature that is a sweet spot not on the list. I am not a tick box, category or list. But if you insist: I am athletic and toned. I am so god damn attractive I have to wear a blind fold so I don't fall in love with myself when I look in the mirror. I have a great sense of humour, not just good, but great. I so love exploring new places at the weekend, Especially coffee shops and antique emporiums. My spare time is filled with volunteer work at a blind kitten shelter. Cuddles, wine and a good old DVD, there is nothing finer. I have a small castle which puts Buck Palace to shame. I have a zoo's worth of animals in the grounds of my aforementioned small castle. I still don't drive, but I have a person that does, in my once owned By John Lennon Rolls Royce. My personality is easy going, enthusiastic, helpful, generous, spontaneous, confident, thoughtful, sociable, sensitive, funny, Reliable, reflective, modest, daredevil, humanitarian, roll on under arm deodorant advocate, a maker of small raffia based party products and low key cheese enthusiast. The sweet spot that is not on the list is my penis. How about it? Fancy a date?

Tin Churches Tired angry faces skitter down the street Movement like demented hawks caught on foot. Yellow fingers clutching burning cigarettes Lovers of the slurred conversation and the fallen laugh. They are wearing death as a coat. “This use to be a lovely church.” She says pointing at a door in a stone facade. She clutches at his hand for support As she rocks, nearly falling over. Taking a fresh grip on her can of Stella She tugs at his hand to reemphasis her point. “For fuck sake, Shell.” He spews. All he wants to do is stop this Sightseeing and get down to proper drinking. Carrier bag weighed heavy with cans. Oblivion in tin form awaits them And he is thirsty to drink. She just lets go and stumbles to the door. She is quickly berated For labouring the inconsequential facts That were her childhood memories Now washed away in tides of alcohol And domestically abused brain cells. He takes her by the shoulders Spins her round and back down the street. The smile she gives him is faded lucidity. There is an itch for life in those lips Even if she is busy filing it under forgotten. Clarity slips from her face once more As he guides her on with gentle nudges. “There is only one church,” he says rattling his carrier bag, “The only church that either of will ever need.” She looks back, once, Lot turned to salt. Then they are gone.

The Plate The etching was careful prepared. Burnt in acid on copper. Polished to perfection. The application of inks Layer after layer Built the colours up. The paper stretching As the roller glided over itâ€&#x;s surface. The indentation of imagination made solid. It is gently peeled aside To reveal the scratching of the soul Wet, vibrant and in need of air to dry. It is beautiful. Full of intricacies. Full of fascination. Simplicity distorted by truths Captured by the eyes of the left wanting Ready to be hung in any hallway.

Friday Night Sitting under ugly yellow bar light He chases the bottom of the glass Mouth by mouthful Each time he drinks a little bit Of beauty strips from his perfect sky. The faces are damaged Ugly beautiful souls Being buffeted by the sounds Of the constant maelstrom of out loud thought. No one uses their inside voices anymore. He would buy everyone in here a drink Just to see them silent for a moment. Just to see them statutes So he could knock arms off And rearrange this angel tombstone cabaret. Broken at the end of the bar A soul like him catches his eye They exchange cynical smiles And tips of half full glasses. Returning to the middle distance Without further fuss of interaction Solid figures on bar stools As the world around them runs In time-lapse to the sound of Spanish guitars. He wants to make it beautiful As he reaches out and touches the people Rearranging them into a scene That he can work with Rearranging it into something He will remember always When the day is draining from his eyes. He canâ€&#x;t. He can only look At his world from the bottom Of his emptying glass. Then raising his hand he Orders another dream to go As the last bit of blue Bleeds from his day Leaving nothing but A black and white night To take home and hold Till the sunlight cleans His eyes once more.

My Belly is singing Reaching out, with big dough eyes, gruel bowl in my hands I ask please sir, can I have some more and they laugh. This hunger isnâ€&#x;t just gnawing at me from the inside I am hearing the rumbles of discontent from the cheap seats. It is clawing at me pulling at my stomach wall Roughly it climbs my oesophagus and spews its bile. The words Are rapid Rapid play Dancing Back and forth On my tongue Stick on my lips Across my beard Flowing from my nostrils The plate is empty and I remain hungry. Reaching for the menu It would be so easy to order more. To pile the plate high, let it rot and be forgotten. Instead I roughly tape up my mouth just in case I let slip Words that I could no longer digest. Screams to murmurs Guttural and elegant Poetic and prose Loose lips sinking Plenty of ships My belly Is singing Singing Loudly with My heart

Lean in and grin Lines of faces Store bought personalities Automatic responses cued They lean in and grin Hitting play their lips start moving Even if their eyes are dead With the dance of a bell They swap seats spilling bits Of their desperation in their wake Flick book pick ups Ripple pass the consciousness Clawing the flight or fight Itâ€&#x;s a live action version of Guess Who? Snap decisions made in a blink of an eye Based on the cover not the book Paying your money and taking your place On the conveyor belt to anywhere Happiness is only a box tick away Social interaction reduced to buzz words With a two drink minimum No touching of souls or other bath suit area parts

Look back in disinterest This scrap heap Is full of promises. It is a comfortable bed To lay a tired head on. The shrapnel of years poke through And bury themselves deep into yesterday. Scavengers pick their way Over the still warm charity. Eyes glaze over, cracked and Forgotten on the horizon. Looking back with disinterest Striding forward with curiosity.

When we were free When we were free We traced the pattern On the carpet with our toy cars They were our motorways. We constructed elaborate castles Out of cardboard boxes and toilet rolls They were our homes away from home. We drew our way to adventure With pens, paper and felt tips They were our friends in the playground. We knew tomorrow would Come too soon for us And lead us away sobbing For our childhood As they placed the yolk of Responsibility round our necks Making us pay for our place In a world already formed. The trees we now climb The knees we now skin The flights of fantasy we possess Are tempered Are controlled Are bound by the laws of maturity Sticking Your tongue Out at it all Sure feels nice But eventually You still have to Play their game Because it is their ball And they Sure as shit Will pick it up And go home.

Midnight Coffee and Cigarettes the ipod shuffles a mixture of sounds from your youth and tunes to remain youthful by the four walls yellow further they have seen a lot of midnight coffee and cigarettes possibly they will see many more it is quiet the street has gone to bed the only sound is the failing of the lap top's hard drive as it is pushed for a few more nights of company you are lonely but you are here you have said it before many times each time the truth of the statement chips away at you until it is nothing more than just lines even you don't recognise any more they have no more meaning then they did when they were written all those years ago in yet another self reflective mood you have never been know for not saying what you don't say especially at midnight especially with coffee especially with cigarettes yellowing with your walls shuffling your mind as your ipod does the same done for the night make up laid out for the next taking a fresh grip ready to let go once again the cup is emptied the cigarette is ground into ash as midnight ticks towards once more

Let’s play world’s greatest dead lovers In those moments when I regret no arms To hold me or a heart to call my own I play this little game at home. Valentino dead at thirty-one of pleurisy Orpheus searching for his snake bitten love Eurydice in Hades Gianciotto killed Paolo and Francesca over books read King Solomon so wise with his three wives to warm his bed Casanova died bored and frustrated amongst peasants Mumtaz Mahal, got the Taj Mahal from Shah Jahan which was one hell of a death present Marie and Pierre Curie found love over polonium and radium Catherine The Great, insomniac, death by a unkind stroke The greatest lover we have known All went look for that place they could call home Only to find the same doors and locks as the rest of us. Not much of a game, granted, but It helps to keep my romantic feet planted To the hopes and dreams that one day My eyes will meet with another‟s Across a crowded room. She will wink at me and I will know It‟s not just a stray lash in her eye.

Easy lines on paper (unfinished thoughts) Rhythms linked to the heart beat of a lover Slow drum beats building and building and building You breathes she breathes. The night steps aside and lets the angels take control Laying hands and lifting heads Moving you forward with all that they hold. Easy lines on paper Not so practical off the page Where reality meets the dreamers stage.

There is eloquence in screaming “There is eloquence In screaming my friend.” he said As his fingers nimbly twisted the Rizla paper Round a line of dried tobacco. With a crack of a match He lights his begged cigarette And follows it up with a sharp Inhale of a person Who hasn‟t smoked for a day or so. “The trick is to pick What you are screaming about And make it an art form. Package it, sell it to masses. There will always be someone Willing to enjoy somebody else‟s pain.” Another long drag He blows smoke rings A satisfied smile crosses Unmissed lips. His whiskers greyed through battle. Eyes dull through a thousand Conversations about the same thing. “I have been here before.” He continues, “It ended happily for me.” He cocks his head At a bed of cardboard And his world he carries on his back. With a level stare Appreciative nod of the head He takes to his heels Blending with the street hustle A cracked angel with Battered but not broken wings, Walking with a stutter Above the pavement. His final words to anyone Who was near enough to listen, “All you have to do is accept That the sun shines when it rains.”

Words I can write “Come kick leaves with me”, you said, “Let‟s just laugh like the children we use to be. Let‟s just take each other‟s hands And spin with the world revolving.” Collapsing into a heap of jumpers and coats Our laughter vapours in the November air, Alive, hearts beating with exertion, with promise. Picking a spot in the sky You pull the clouds in tight Rearrange them into words I can write. You spell them out Making sure that I get every line That is in your mouth. You draw me close, wrapping me in your arms Resting your head to my chest Wanting to listen to the music of me So you said. You shut your eyes not caring If the spelling and punctuation is in the right place Only the meaning of what you have seen. To hear you talk moves my hand Across the page and into the borders. “My whole body is singing Can you hear it?” I ask. “Yes.” you reply Putting a finger gently on my lips. “Now be quiet. Let me listen.”

Dawn of a conclusion It is like this: A pen with words to write With no ink in it. A line of a smile With too much grief to draw it. A speech held back by teeth With no way of saying it. It is like this: A secret in the palm of a hand Next to the key to unlock it. A combination to a safe With no way to crack it. A bank to rob With no money left in it. It is like this: A time and a place With no way of measuring it. A revolution to start With no belief to ignite it. A peace to embrace With no arms to hold it. It is like this: A fleeting look of love With no eyes to capture it. A heart beat skipping With no rhythm to keep pace with it. A dawn to paint With more than enough hope in it.

Happy centres Spent the day balancing spinning plates Manipulating the poles, shaking and watching them twirl, Trying to help them to find their happy centre. Always on the edge of falling and smashing into a million pieces. The transmitter turning, creating static, Crackling and squeaking protests in the brain. Regulating the dark corners. The anger of the day boiling on the stove. Memory of slumber on mattresses afloat. Sideways looks at situations gathering as a mob. Hunger at work in the belly. Twisted muscles protesting against comfort. The list is endless. Full of matter facts and you should do these. The fun is taken out of the game. The plates wobble, wrist flicks, Happy centre is found again.

A working life This is the place where i sit All of me hangs Over the bowl A metaphor now Falling with tiny splashes My trousers round my ankles Cold Exposed Not for the first time And I am sure It won't be my last

The resting soul has far to travel He spent years inside standing at the window Watching but never pushing pass the pane. His counter culture clothes and attitude Always made it a fine day to do the crossword and nothing else. He didnâ€&#x;t have a thought beyond coffee in his heir loomed china Passed through the ass of a weasel, shit roasted to perfection. The muesli he ate in the morning gurgled in his belly Providing distraction for the bowels. As the silent world time lapsed in front of him He would constantly be at the opposite ends of the same thought. Always ready to back the same words, Ready to speak the same lines, Stumbling slowly to the same conclusions Simply because he needed the sound of his voice in the silence. Time would splinter, scattering seconds like glass on to the carpet. He would hear it tinkle and roll to a stop. His brain firing impulses slowly at first and then in rapid sequence That would register a flight or fight response to his heart. Adrenaline surged and the smell of home would Keep his fears ultimately at bay for a few more hours. His finger tips counted on his hands To know what they needed to hold on to. Then one day he pushed his hands against the glass. It cracked and the noiseless world beyond rushed in Engulfing him in sounds he didnâ€&#x;t know existed. With wide eyes he sort for the words and familiar lines He had recited to himself time and time again Only finding a mute tongue of disagreement in his head. With faltering steps he placed a foot out into space, Finding the air beneath his soul solid, concrete, ready to take his weight. So he let himself fall. He is still falling. The resting soul has far to travel. No longer lonely behind handmade glass. No longer a static shadow in a world full of movement. No longer questioning the validity of different conclusions. No longer afraid of being human.

Stored Words It has been difficult for him to find the words. But he is looking. He is looking for them in the sky. He is searching for them in the sun. He is pushing clouds aside in his journey for definition. There are a few words he has found But they are not enough for him to express what he feels Here, now and somewhere over tomorrowâ€&#x;s hill. So he stores them, for they are good words Words that don't deserve to be wasted. The words he has are not an exact science and he is grateful for that. For they are made from pieces of the heart Stitched together with thoughts from the head Held tight by emotion and longing Made strong by attraction and blood pumping They are words worth mentioning out loud and he plans to roar them.

Say it again and again There is a space I find myself in At twenty past two in the morning Floating on the edge of sleep But needing to just get that one last thought out. My conversations with myself at this time Are basic, functional, downloads of the day Ready to be catalogued and filed By the librarians running about in my head. With the sunlight stripped from the sky The moon creeps in through a chink in the curtain There you are in the semi-darkness of my room Lit by the corner of my deliberation. Your beatific smile reaches out Taking me in to the sweetest of embraces Holding me gently to your soothing silences I just want to fall asleep wrapped in there. Cradling my head into your neck You smooth my brow of its worry lines Kiss my eye lids one after the other I am dreaming on my feet

Fidget kick He would kick his feet Against the wooden support of the chair That his grandfather made his dad. Oblivious to generational love In each dovetail and hammered wooden peg. Rhythmic, thump, thump, clumps That would spell out a Top of the Pops tune Or perhaps a theme from his favourite Television programme of the moment. A far off stare would wash over his face Fixed with concentration only a child could have As he tried unsuccessfully to decipher The many messages and directions he had received in his day. None of the screwed up faced absorption was needed Or indeed made sense to him but he tried to figure it out anyway. It was as if to fail would mean that he would Have to start again at the bottom of the snake Rather than climbing the ladder to understanding. He didnâ€&#x;t like the sound of that. So there he sat. Fidget kicking his way to enlightenment. Years pass. The chair slowly rotted. Used eventually to light a barbeque During a drunken night as a student. Family history dying with the underdone beef burgers. Thoughts went from the theme to Danger Mouse, To grades, to girls, to career, lost on the maturation tide. He did take his fidget kick Along with his locked off washed out stare into adulthood. Except now, he knows the answers he was always looking for. The innocence of the child searching for the truth In any situation large or small has been swallowed. All he has worked out is that the ladders and snakes have a higher price Than just the tears and tantrums he once threw.

Brightly Coloured Balls The pleading is unspoken. A haunted hunted kind of expression, Get me out of here and all the gold In this plastic nativity is yours. I will even throw in the Frankenstein and Mire A childâ€&#x;s misunderstanding Of gifts for Christ not found at Argos or on EBay. He just wants out. His mother is coming. He wants to be at home Far away from piped muzak With tinsel based lyrics. He wants his bed and death Metered out at the hands Of an Xbox play station. He wants gluttony and sloth To jump his bones and Ride him like the punk He thinks heâ€&#x;d like to be. His Merry Christmas face is Pressed against the gaudy wrapping paper Suffocating him into having fun At the hands of relatives and loved ones.

Lean In and Grin  

Poetry By David White (C) DWhite 2012

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