The ice cannot always be seen here

It was dark and he pointed at the street. 'There is frozen?', the guy said in an accent. Hungarian or something. I said yes, the street was probably frozen.
'But I cannot see ice' he said, 'How can you know there is ice?'
I said that you just had to expect it, in this cold. You had to expect ice this time of year. The dog pulled at the lead, my husband's dog. If the dog was pulling at the lead it must have been cold.
'I need to be careful, right?' the guy added, smiling and pulling his collar to his throat, 'The ice cannot always be seen here.'


There are always spare seats

I can see you looking for a seat and I guess that if our eyes were to meet, you would see that you are quite welcome here, next to me.
And I might talk to you - but that's okay, right? That's what happens in these situations. Someone is kind enough to offer you a spare seat, and at the very least, a small bit of conversation is normally conducted; phatic, friendly.
And I know where to draw the line, where the clock stops.
So, there you have it. The kind of thing that can go on in a place like this; "Hey, stranger! You're in the same boat as me! Let's paddle together!"
It's not generally the kind of thing one can do in a regular public place, is it? You can't really just draw attention to a seat going spare next to you and expect a rational, safe set of responses.
People will hesitate.
people will doubt.
people will not recognise that they are in the same boat - which they are.
But when the boat is this big, carries this many people, people sometimes don't even realise they're in the boat in the first place.
So this is where the caution sets in. Why is this stranger offering me this seat? What do they want? Well, sometimes they just want to connect with you. And sometimes you don't want that - and that's cool.
But there is nothing to be afraid of, and see that we are all in the same boat.
This is something that can be common ground, because, underneath it all, we are here, looking towards the waters together.
And sometimes people often see something different to what other people see. Some see calm, some see a storm and the trepidation that comes with it. Others see nothing but the water at night, and the unknown journey through it.
But, here, under our feet, there is only one boat, just as there is only one sea. So, take a seat, and tell me your name.


If you must grieve, grieve.
If you must smile, smile.
If you must scream, scream.
If you must lie, lie.
If you must laugh, laugh.
If you must rest, rest.
But do not every worry,
It is meaningless at best.

The blinds come down gently, real gently.

More roads lead into than lead out of the labyrinth and the sun cannot illuminate them all.
Only the children rush in without fear of ever getting out again.
They laugh, their eyes gladly only seeing a metre or two ahead, never afraid of what might be around the bend or sharp corner.

Only when the sun gives in for another few hours, only then do the children begin to look for a way out.
They glance up, take in the seductive orange and grey of the encompassing sky, and then they notice the shadows which have crept into the labyrinth.

This was the challenge the children did not expect, the suspender of fun.

And as for grown-ups, they figured it out long ago.
They are already gone, short of temper, long in the tooth.

But the children will not be beaten.
They know that one of these roads will lead them out of the unpredictable turns,
away from the closing skies, and into open arms.

The grown ups, they just forgot to remember this.

The rice cooker

I push my fingers into the pan, through the water, into the rice.
I agitate the water, watching as the water swiftly turns cloudy.
The bottom of this pan, only two inches below, disappears from view.
I let the water escape, using the glass lid to keep the rice.
I add more water.

This was the first time I did it like this,
the way which you thought would be best,
if you ever didn't have the rice cooker.

My fingers replicate yours,
the gentle treatment,
watching every grain as it shifts back and forth
and disappears beneath the white clouds.

I think of the watering can,
the flowers pointing towards the blue
as you rain the water down upon them, stem to root.
And all the time watching,
patient and grateful.

You pour the water away,
replacing it with clean water,
and the rice parts for the flow.
It goes into the cooker, and
you turn and nod,
asking if it is alright.

I reply, stem to root,
that all is fine, and I
take a seat,
patiently grateful.

My rice sits in the pan,
the smell of it lifting up to the blue,
and I nod to myself when I
think of you, and I
stand still,
patient and grateful.

Was I looking for your car?

Everything always tears off in huge, bloody strips. I sit here and wait for you, like I have done for years, like I have done for minutes. I am starved from the calm, silent waiting. I have no memory of the taste of anything anymore. Come save me; just your being here will be the nourishment I need.

Whenever I watch you walk home, it is always at dawn. Whenever we say goodbye, it is always under the rain. Time is here, relentlessly here, and vicious, and it is always winning. I imagine you pressing your fingers to the keys, and that life is unfolding in front of you, happening, like the beat of a heart.

Tram lines lead me back to you, to the wish that I had told you I had loved you. Across the table, in the darkness, next to the water; I love you. I would have said it, I really would. But it never came up.

Time is still the years, holding on tight, making me drag them along, as if there was never a time when they were not with me. The years are acting like they are family, and maybe they are by now, because who am I to argue. What do I really know.

Barbed wire on decision sits in my marrow and once in a while tears a strip off the flesh - sometimes with bone, or muscle, and once in a while a tooth or two. My eyes will be torn out eventually, and yet in a way this suits me fine, because it means I will finally stop looking at the clock. There is so much blood around me. There is so much gore in my wake yet you do not see it. You do not even smell it - the living, twitching, damage caused by my decision.

As life saps away, all I can say is I don't know, I don't know. How can even you know. I just don't know. Paralysis, which track to take. The viscera of fear, indecision and complete blindness.



I can lay my head down to rest at night, and I know that the stone is only four minutes away.
I know that, on the exact same street that my window looks out on to, the window above my head when I lay it down at night, you come to them. The graves.

If I got up at four in the morning, I could silently wander down this one street, and within five minutes come to the stone. Black and still, the trees would stop the moonlight from giving anything definition.
And I could lay down here, with my head on any stone I choose, and sleep there instead, knowing that if I got cold and wanted to return to my bed, it would only be four minutes away, up the street that links it all together.

And the ones in the graves, they could do the same. They could leave their place of rest, and come to my room, and sleep in my bed, hungry to lose the coldness that has held them so tightly and for so long.
I would make way, if they chose to do this. I would understand.
Sometimes I want the abscence of warmth, this stifling warmth that fills not just my room, but my every waking moment.
I want to feel what it is like to be cold, to be still, and let everything crawl away from you, repugnant and uninterested. I would take their place, and they could take mine, just for a while.

The wind would follow me to my outdoor sleep, and perhaps the rain would also. But they would be fine as my final companions before that deepest of slumbers, enveloped in peace and perfect stillness.
And I know this could only happen at night, because if I wanted to stay in my new place of sleep, and the others wished to keep my bed, we would need the night to usher us into our new choices.

We would need one night to gently unfold into day, where we could prepare ourselves for whatever is next.
We would be ready for it, I know.
Ready, after just one good night's sleep.


Seven minutes and seven minutes only

You say to yourself, Everything is vapour,
hence why you cannot feel any of it.
You beg, Please let this be the reason -
please let all be vapour (you continue)
and not simply out of my reach,
as punishment,
as a judgement of you.

You say to yourself,
Let this be the regret you deserve made manifest;
the gentle, blinding sun.
The jagged familiar streets (you add)
leading to the cold, familiar seat.
The whiplash effect of the questions
(you continue)
pouring out of those who don't know -
who couldn't possibly understand - that you,
you alone,
here, are poisoned with regret.

You pause, then continue: But at
the very least,
you can learn something from this -
or at least that's the whip
you chastise yourself with.

You say, Now I know why every time someone dies,
someone cries for more time,
If only we'd had more time! (you cry aloud).

You continue, Now I see why
so many see the final event as half-baked, anaemic.
You add, They wish so hard
that they had tried harder before -
sweated, bled, cried,
but never hesitated.

You pause, then say, Now I understand
why the sun never rises over there,
and the moon dangles like this (with a gesture).
I can feel now why the wind
is so punishing (you add quickly),
and the sun so ravaging,
and the cold so entombing.
You pause again, then continue, And I can see why
when we woke up in the middle of the night,
we did it together;
You explain, The first thing of the real world
to fill each other's eyes.

You continue more quickly now, Now I see all of this
but you are gone.
Just cruel moments ago (you add).
You continue, slower, I held you in silence,
straining for the hold to say the words
choked back by unreal pride.
You recall with a smile, You kissed my neck,
the solar winds of breath warming me.
And then you let go (you add, then pause),
and nothing could be said.
You conclude with, You walked away,
then not real.

Then vapour.


Today is like home

The passing of everything, and at such speeds, leaves its mark;
sometimes resembling a bruise such as caused by the acidic, wintery hand of agression,
other times like the imperceptable yet absolute microfractures to the beak of
a bird as it pecks at the warm, unflinching earth.

It takes time to appreciate anything.
Yet nothing slows down long enough to be appreciated properly.
To be savoured, fully loved, and understood.
The fattest, bloodiest chunks are thrashingly removed,
and no consideration is made for whether or not they were the best cuts.
There was no time to tell.
Rip chunks out of nations, islands, oceans and hands. Tear and devour, and then move on to the next one, quickly. We cannot waste time, yet time is wasting us,
delivering us blindly into nothing more than a death sentence.

And, currently, there is nothing but time ahead.
Sometimes, an abundance of it is mistaken for freedom; it looks the same,
and depending on the light, provides the same set of traps.
Lay back, let the moments wash over you, unjudgemental of your decision, even though they are finite.
Don't fill these fractions, unrepeatable cells of existence, with anything because
if you're not getting rewarded, why should you lift a finger?

Racing past; they all come from no where and disappear there again.
There? Then where is here, when they are at this time?
The moments sing, if you let them.
They pour the colors and song over everything, these vessels for every chapter of perceptability.

But that's just one way of looking at moments.
Sometimes every one is a life sentence, other times they are shocks of euphoria.
But if the passing of all is nothing but a slow movement that we all undertake,
then sitting back and making nothing of moments cannot actually happen.
It is impossible to make nothing of what just is - you cannot extrapolate the passing of all.
You can only move to the same pattern,
weaving, rupturing and experiencing to the sound of your own countdown.


The extremist

Now, to begin with; and yet, how
much better would I have felt, having walked away
from the clouds forming over your face,
if I had not caught the final split second glimpse of
that beetle as it glided beneath those forsaken leaves,
confiding in the aspects of nature which
sit upon, but never merge with,
the concrete, shimmering and colourful in the midday sun.

I would have taken comfort in viewing its legs, moving in
grand unison, had I seen it just three seconds earlier.
They would have carried me to a more calm inspection of
your tears, your hidden face. Your absolute disappointment,
which, in all honesty, is not even yours, yet you carry
it like your own sadness in me.
But I have seen it many times before, and I will no doubt
inadvertently bring it out of you again.

There will be times when you will invite in the extremist,
and other times when you will envy and respect me,
not understanding yet swallowing this labyrinthine confusion.

There isn't enough to know here to jettison it all,
perhaps if I just continue it will all make se-

And I can turn it all around so fast, make it all
seductive, positive and forward-thinking.
I can perform magic with what I believe in,
the last fourteen years have had their moments.
But the extremist returns, and he doesn't even need
to knock any more.
He just walks in and gets comfortable
in you bed, or next to your friend,
or on your computer screen, and crawling under
your thoughts as they lay baking in sunburnt confusion.


Now your new is routine

Look in the mirror. Examine the flesh, the eyeball.
Skin like stone, like starlight, like urinal porcelain.
Take stock of those insignificant, attractive, biological things you do
that make you so important,

all available at the cost of a nail.
Greatly helped along, like gum disease. But whilst you're there,
staring, you know that it's all just a conflation of rumour and bad dental hygiene. And you're the only receiver who took it personally.

How much further back can you look?
How far behind the flesh, the fat, the bone and the marrow, the blood vessels, and the arteries can you stare, taking in the mirror, which is serving you the best it can without asking for gratitude.
Can you see your responses, what you said, pumping away like an organ?
There is no light back there, there should never be light,
which is why these things come into the light
undeveloped, weak, and revolting to those who listen.

And yet, if luck was there to help along the premature birth, to gently usher this brain damaged, writhing thing into existence, maybe it would all be okay.
But as long as you remember; luck is fleeting and treacherous.
And it's not like you're going to break that mirror any time soon.
But if you did, take a shard,
and make use.


Time needed more you

This was my finger, running along the stitching of your jeans,
looking for imperfection,
and feeling failure
at finding nothing but perfection. Perhaps it
was just the light. Nothing should be
this correct.

We mistake yearning for grief
- and at this, you nod,
bringing the impetus for that tear to fall, a singular,
pioneering cascade of sorrow,
absolutely and,
yes, now I see it,
perfectly silent and clear.

See the weeks later, laid out
like a meal far too big for two.
Where to begin, and who will
eat what?
The sun has changed you, and also me,
I do not point the finger of blame one way.
Yet can you be blamed for the change?

I say this on a full stomach, when all I
really want to do is sleep or starve.
I am tired of the salt,
and there continues your tear,
drying to invisible powder,
its moisture re-absorbed by
your skin.
Devoured and nourishing,
returning to the self.

It finds its way back in, like food,
through a most necessary fracture.
swallowed, gently torn apart,
Nothing is wasted when it comes
to feeding a hunger.
It must be fulfilled, it
cannot be anything else.
It cannot be a feeling unstitched, its
perfection does not allow it.


Speak in delve tones

A morning routine, faithful.
Stir the coffee to temperature.
Glance out of the window,
Take it all in,
Make it all correct and digestable.

When the tar black is once more still,
Notice the reflection of the gull,
The image then
Of an upside down, skeletal wingspan
As it elopes across the slick.

It captures the eye,
But is gone before
It is fully seen.
But it was noticed,
I noticed that,
Therefore -

This galaxy shifts and pivots
On the sharpness of a concentration,
Wrapped up against
The death of winter.

All is shifting,
Expanding, infinite,
And ready to be
Ignored out of existence.

Here it is again -
The accepted smell of evening.
Toxic whispers,
Open up the tear ducts.

Are we getting used to this?
Night after night?
I crave the mornings these days -

I give you the same thanks
A doctor gives when
Offered a disease to cure.


Held down and eaten

Our eyes met but we did not make contact.
You watched me move,
Was I trying to escape
Or was it just the last drops
Of nerve juice working their way out?

I have now become
The dinner you cannot eat,
The wine you will not drink.
Something has gone wrong
For you,
Something beyond your control.

And now you need someone to blame.
But before you do find them,
Know this of me;

I am here, this is not symbolic.
I am not a metaphor.
My situation is not representing
Anything other than what it is,
And I am this and this only;
Further from home
Than you can comprehend
And losing the light fast.

Do not judge them for this.
Do not lay blame for this
At the feet of one race.

We look to others and say how
Barbaric they are
Compared to us.
This is all we ever think
Of those we know nothing of.


Slight and dashed

Stood still, as if waiting,
We notice the first rays of summer sun
Carried across the branches of trees,
And the backs of birds,
And offered up gently
To our eyes.

And in this, oh calmest of lights,
I am there again,
Sitting gently still in your past,
And yet, where are you for me?

The echoes of children laughing
Are sewn into memory.
Each stitch a new, bright color,
They are swimming, dancing,
And more brave than they will ever know.

With the passing of times comes fear,
But alongside it comes love,
Maturing as we do.

Upwards, away from what makes us afraid.
Take flight, and with the hummingbirds,
Make music of our fear,
And let this sun carry the tune
As we carry its light on our backs.


Kissing the danger way

If only I'd known you back then,
That would have been a good night
We would have had a good night.
I would not have been drunk..

Sat here now
The outside has never felt so small
Intimate and
At the same time

I am inches from you jagged smile
And your golden frown
I am watching
As you
Throw your future
Down a bottomless well
Because what else was it for?

Being with you here
Is like staring out to sea
At the dead of night
You cannot see it
But you can feel the deep staring back at you
You are blind for now
The moonlight will not hold your hand

Back here again, on this night
You turn and think
Of something other than this
But with one swift glance back
Complete with smile
Keeping the sweetened moment
Thinking on your feet

Am I suffocating?
And even if I am
Does it actually get any better anyway?

But here, with me
I can see your live
Electric mind
Raw and volcanic
And I embrace it all

But I also see
The dead tree of your
Night life
Brittle, and twisted shapeless

And you make sure I
Don't see if for long
Your fingers clasp mine
And you manipulate
Like only those can
Who have been manipulated also


In. Some. Near.

This is the hell of
The beginning
The duration
And the end
Of the night

This is the gone
The going
And the going to be...
Whatever they are going to be

The sleeplessness starts here
You distance of distances
You remover of time
Of calm
And of hope

A, chara..

It is because of you that I am here
And seeing what I am seeing
The diamonds of fire in the sky above
watched over by animals of pure beauty
Blind and charging
And more colour than flesh

There is glass between us now
making temptation a presence in the room
Damaging, and all knowing

Are you here now
Hiding behind the seats
Playing with your black hair
And with a look on your face like
A solar system grieving the death of its sun

Ripped my jacket on
That sharp tongue of yours
Get a crowbar to prize
that mouth open wide
Count the awards and wipe the brow

Stay in open spaces to protect your
Narrow nerves for eyes
That have got it all perfect
And figured over and out

Exit one exit two

I want to talk about two things - distraction, and occupation.
There is a difference between being distracted and being occupied. Distraction is temporary, pressure-free, a way of stepping out of everything. To be occupied, however, is to be immersed in something, involved in it. And yet both terms are used when discussing a means of self-removal from something, when that thing begins to get heavy and a break is needed.

In order to occupy oneself, any individual must prepare for the small amount of discipline that it will involve. To stay put and get on with something, even for the sake of leisure, being occupied with it means to make sure you stick at it.
But in order to be distracted, no amount of effort is required. Distraction is everywhere, in what we hear, see, taste and touch. And for a lot of us, distraction is our chief form of occupation when escaping from the everyday tasks life presents us.

To say that one is bored and cannot focus on one thing may be true with regards to anything that is more substantial than a television commercial or a song on the radio; but to be actually, and continually, distracted, our minds sent wandering in many different directions at once (sometimes without us even detecting the changes in direction), it is safe to say that we are occupied with distraction all our waking moments, and perhaps even in our sleep.

Distraction is in the bottle, the cigarette box, and whatever can be purchased with that credit card a few inches from your hand. It is the constantly pressed Refresh button, the endless chapter ones, never allowing anything to get too serious (or, even worse, boring).

But occupation, even if it something that you enjoy (or think that you did enjoy but no longer enjoy because you have forgotten the rewarding pleasure it brings) really can sound like work (and nobody likes that word anymore). But what's wrong with picking up the paint brush, instead of the television remote control? What's wrong with dusting off some long forgotten musical instrument instead of spending another night in an over-priced bar? Is it really so difficult to open a book and enter its world, compared to finding the most uninspiring thing to read in some colorful magazine?

It is too easy for us to lose our way in a world of relentless distraction, and it could take a will of iron to demand anything else. This could take effort, for sure, but we need to take back our interest in what interests us. This are dim times for the life of the mind. Let us take back our passion for what makes us feel alive.


The knife awaits you here

I long for you now
Cold and tropical
Dragging, moaning
You are
And should be
Only here

I know our hours
Are the same length
Not even time
Has the same old placebo effect anymore
It's just hunger
Hours of hunger
Hunger of hours

We have both seen
The life of the eye
We have commented, unshamedly
On what can turn fire to life
We spoke of it

And I think this is all we need
I think this is what it adds up to
Stripped to the ribcage
Exposure of hunger
Surviving on what we need

Last chance for a slow dance

darkness for eyes
Piercing yet empty and silent
Your hair looks smaller
If that's possible
When you wear it up

But when you let it cascade
Down your neck
I am stunned and muted

The moment of your boredom
My secret weapon
That I cleary have no control over
And can fire any time

The boredom enters you
And the distance
Becomes instant and terrible miles
like travelling
At the speed of nothing

Good Winter

With precision, this time
Monstrous, meticulous, and blind.
I see in numbers,
Think in equations,
And sometimes walk in straight lines.

Work within the parameters,
Disinfected love.
Clear it all of germs, of contamination,
Of all outside bodies.

The filth on your fingers,
You push it into my eyes,
And rub it into my lips.
And I just gently stroke your hair.

The dirt from your hands,
You crawl,
And make it worse.
I just watch
Whilst you become more filthy,
Shifting away from this antiseptic moment.

So much rails

Calm, like something being forgiven,
The rhythm takes away everything else,
Or at least adapts it,
Shapes it,
Making it all become as one.

Moving to the same pattern.
Surfacing what was less,
Making it the same as what is more.

And what is more,
This will all last for the duration.
Time, and the rhythm of the rails,
Consuming, gentle and parental.

This is the time for moving away,
To let go and go forth,
Battle on, towards peace of process.

Sunbeams through the clouds.
Their journey is now completed,
At the back of your eye,
And in the blood,
To be embraced, processed,
And sapped of wonder.

The sun is sometimes there on the journey,
But always there at the destination.
Home or not home,
The sun is waiting.

Sometimes above the ether,
Sometimes in a room.
Other times in the excitement
Of the mind, it finds a home and makes use.

The noise is causal.
The noise of the people around, sitting and staring,
Is inevitable.

But the rails are the chariot to the new.
They have taken this journey so many times,
Trust is not wasted on them.
They know the outcome,
They know the need that drives people to them.

And conversely they understand the dullness that represents their
Use for a return.
And they swap their now-dead neon
For another voice.
They are ignored.

Over the rhythm and pace,
They let be heard;
Come back not
To the discipline, the pillars of learning.
Come back not
To these brutes, and their amber-lit numbness.
Come back not
To the hope of a place, a position on a map.

Come back to me.


The great break-up movies

Staring up and watching the movies is less exhausting than thinking of back then.
I do not miss the shadows when no more thoughts come through.

Running in circles,
Trading fists with silence,
I can’t rest at this point.
Someone stick a movie on in front of me.

I’d like to count out these minutes, frame by frame.
I’ve got less people to thank, and so many more to blame.

Look back at your performance,
You should be so proud.
Word perfect. We almost fell for it.

Credits roll, we descend into the outdoors.
Seats are vacated and everyone feels homeless.

You’re the sand that won’t wash out, the missing piece of this fear.
I’d like to take myself to the edge, just to see if the water is near.


Take up something just to take up time

I would have been around seven when we found it. Charlie would have been twelve, or maybe thirteen. We were always off on adventures, especially during the summer months.

It's funny though, when we walked into that old church. You could feel how long it had been abandoned for. Decades, absolute decades. And we slowly made our way around it that one July morning, taking in the light through the long-since shattered stained glass, the first sets of eyes to do so in so long.

And what would god have thought? Would He have minded that we were non-believers, and yet we - two young brothers - wanted to be here, to see His house. To take it in for the crumbled relic that it was? I'd like to think that He would have taken some pleasure from that.
Cain and Abel returning to the house of The Father, so many years after everyone else had fled the roost. Ha!

But what we found there that day. It was something neither of us ever forgot.

The organ was dead. Pipes probably blocked up with dust, or something. The pews were rotten and fragile to the touch. A few Bibles had survived the years, but most of the pages were too thin to turn without tearing them.

We found a few items which we could quickly slip into our pockets for examination in the future; glasses, coins. We even found a wallet with quite a bit of money in it - old money of course, couldn't be spent - and a photograph of a baby. I always remember that baby looking concerned, right to the camera. As if it had something much more important to be doing than posing.

But it was the piano we found, at the back, near the main doors.
That was the real find of the day.
Covered in filth and leaves, and the white keys had faded to the color of stained dentures. We opened the lid, and a thin layer of dust covered the strings, almost giving it some kind of skin.

Charlie pressed down a key.
The dust within the piano's body moved. Particles taking flight, reaching out into existence again. But it was totally silent.
We both hit more keys, using both hands, but still silence. Not even the wheezing of the old strings shifting within its belly, just nothing. A silence that you could feel in your throat, a silence that watched you, daring you to break it.
But we couldn't.
There was just no sound.
A void where sound should be - even the weak, choking sound of that piano.

We both stood at the piano and looked out at the rows of pews.
We both though it, but didn't voice it until afterwards, but what if there were notes coming from the piano, but that we couldn't hear them?
And what if there was a congregation sitting there, watching us play, but we couldn't see them?

They had been waiting so long for us to come.
The old order, the ones who had built the church, had moved on long ago.
Now this congregation was here instead, sitting, waiting for us to one day come, and say the name of their god with our fingers.

We kept hitting the keys, hearing only our own breath as we raced our hands over them.

But for all we knew, our congregation were singing along, opening their mouths and silently singing to their Creator.
Their timeworn eyes facing the crumbled roof and drying beneath the rays of the sun.


What was meant when we said now it's

The paper is thrown to the floor
A contract at the tail-end of the comedown
You didn't need a guarantee, assurance
Anyone can say spiteful things
Just by word of mouth

Breathing and walking often don't match
At any rate, not before the comedown
The street simulates hyperventilation
Worries for you
Does all the legwork
You can just relax
And stroll on in to this unfounded moment
This episode of concern
This ritual of fixation
And Tradition of The Fail

But a gentle tap always comes to the shoulder
Fingers brought down at the correct speed
Calculated, tender
And exploding with pleasure
Electric, they sit
And you turn to greet the release
Gentle comes the end
So much better than the beginning

You turn to embrace the change
I am out of it now, you whisper
But nothing will hear
The space making it so much louder
Concern evolves into a mild shame
Aware now of that which didn't need such Olympian attention
Was that really it?

Out the other side
Muscles can step down now
The crater is filled
Didn't believe we'd have enough to do that

But what of those that witnessed
Will they be shamed by such corporeal distress
Look up and count all eyes watching as

The paper is thrown to the floor


Icelandic jaw

Gently, you laugh,
As if not spoil anything,
Or let anything fall.
The seconds are suspending
Holding tight to one and all.

Debriefed and documenting,
I secretly want to hear no more.
Did you have flames for eyes back then,
And speak with that Icelandic jaw?

This moment is my currency,
And I'll spend it god knows when.
I'd give a fortune to be him,
The one you loved back then.


Second draft (unpublished)

It is eleven at night
And am I really that old?
Youth is to will fire into existence
And to have optimism like arrow heads
Wielding pessimism occasionally like a blunt axe

But enough of that
Age has nothing to do with not saying what I wanted
At least I don't think it does

This is what I wanted to say
But couldn't put onto the page
It's more than just not being able to be truthful
It's about the paper repelling the truth of what is written

Pen to paper and out comes the words
But they are starving, covered in flies
Truth written down is tragic for you, nightmarish and comical
Yet it is not you making it so
But the process and the way it reads
Truth, right here on the page
And nothing more than heroic and pitiful

And so, here is my truth
For you and for you only, but presented here
Before others, where it will be healthy
Another's truth can be seen by strange eyes
Yet is often overlooked by the intended

I would have held you that night
Not just that night, every night
Let's follow the sun around together, I wanted to say
I felt lost next to you
And you were ancient and wondrous
As much dust as earth
I was new, inexperienced
Ignorant to the point of coma
You were the timeless state I yearned to catch up to
This living knowledge
Breathing the years of awareness
As I whispered in the dark
What do I do now? Do I want this?
Do I want you more than just naked?

You think too much, you would have said
In a tongue as wise as Saturn's rings
I would have traversed this vacuum to be with you
I still would
Except you don't know the truth
Which is here

And it is more than truth
It is what keeps me awake all night, every night
It is what helps me sleep, the surrender of clarity
And is is also nothing more than truth at the same time

We bestow kindness upon each other all the time
When in each other's company
I need to know, what does it mean?
Does it add up to more than what I see before me?

Asking will pull it all apart
The ancient will crack and never be reformed
Do not question that which has all the answers
They will naturally unearth themselves
One by one


More welcome than gone

Everywhere has the slow road back,
So take your time and run like hell.
All smiles ache, often like the dull light from the wrong bulb,
other times like a bloodless limb.

Your profile is lit under this, the curing, cleansing, lamp outside.
Eyes as black as the drowned.
Smiles here look like blisters.
Put your finger in and withdraw your last statement,
Safe in the knowledge that this will end,
This will end,
This will all end.

Now you're holding too tight. Let this go,
All goes anyway.
All will move away from all else, the healing of cuts.
Grasping at the mind, wet and sinking deep for a while.
The great confusion.
Solemn, graceful and murderous.
All will leave,
Will change.
This will all end.

The staircase made you shadow.
At once feet first, up and up,
Fingers gliding against the wall.

The crow sits on the wire,
It gives the slight pressure,
Pushing the thick black cable down to the earth,
Making an impression on the landscape.
This straight line, pressed into the heads below.
Crushing the cars beneath it.
Taking out windows, buildings and laughter.

All will be gone.
Have what is now, and lift the poison out.
Be thirsty for what appears.
The dark wound, beckoning, moaning,
Needing to be emptied.

Take this moment,
Sap it skeletal.


Folding, viewing

A knock at the door.

The paper is put down as attention is shifted, like the gentle ripple in a pool caused by some unseen object, submerged, changed, altered and continued.

Fold the paper once; now half its size in appearance.
It is folded again, as if this was its purpose.
Be still, be folded.
Represent this neatness which must be attained before one can shift their attention, which cannot have fold, cannot have creases.
Cannot appear half of what it is.

Yet attention can be supplanted with distraction.
A gentle change in temperature, where the room takes on a more comfortable form;
Unexpected as it is, because
I was thinking of something else.
What was it?

Oh yes.

A knock at the door.

Now at the pathing of this street, and the amber betrays the gaps between the concrete, black and beckoning.
Step over the fold and the creases.
Keep attention lean.

Arrive at the place, and there should be nothing to fear.
Rubbing of hands, making them warm before shaking them.
What to expect now? Pay attention.
The wet teeth of conversation.
Comment on the cold which cannot change it anyway.

Is this the right place?
I haven't been paying attention.

A knock at the door.


Brown stamps

You've pushed me this far,
It's a tiresome walk back.
Sing "Dearest of friends,
How my teeth grind and crack!"

Your memories must fail
Where my own struggle on.
Sing "Dear friend of mine,
Prove my sadness is wrong!"

I'll gather this list
Of the times gone to waste.
Sing "Friend, words of sorrow
Mean not much when in haste!"

And still it goes on
This forgetful routine.
Sing " Once I'd say friend,
Now I've found I'm less keen!"

Friendship; a meeting
On a two-way dust track.
Sing "If meet me you won't,
I might just well turn back!"

And slowly comes change,
To what I thought known
Sing "League was not nurtured,
Now this bird has flown!"

I often look back
At the promises lost
Sing "Friendship is summer
Yet it still has its frosts!"

I'd like to tell all,
But you'd just soon forget.
Sing "Goodbye, you stranger,
Here's my brown stamps, full set!"


An ocean in the drop

That look you held me in
Silent although surrounded on all sides by this city

The air conditioning is on in here
And your lips are red and shine like plastic

I am now a mile away
Am I on your mind

I am now two miles away
Are you still there

Down there at the bus stop of the soul
Embarrassed to be moving on

You look it but that doesn't mean you should be
It's only travel and you're only homesick


Nothing (all at once)

See, see.. yeah.
That's what I remembered to tell you.
I was going to tell you this thing, like, next time I saw you right, but, yeah.. but..
I forgot it, and something just reminded..
something just reminded me of it, yeah?
Must've been that guy. That guy who you got together with.
The rock climber, is that right?
I don't think I could do rock climbing.
Too scared of heights.
And falling onto the rocks below.

Oh yeah, sorry.
The thing I was going to tell you.
Yeah, cool.
So, anyway, what it was was I just had to say that one time, last summer..
or was it the summer before..?
No. It must have been last summer. I was coming down that hill.
You remember that hill we used to climb?
No, the less tall one.
That's it.
Yeah, well I was coming down it one day, and.. and it was so hot.
I remember the sweat stinging my eyes.
But on the way down, I kid you not,
on the way down, five deer walked right across the path,
about ten meters in front of me.

I kid you not.
They didnt.. they didn't even glance at me.
they knew I was there, but they just wandered past.
Elegantly walked out from one side of the woodland which covers the hill,
and just wandered into the woodland over the other side of the path.

Beautiful, I know.
I mean, I just stood there, like, amazed.
I was just amazed.
And I looked back up the hill, and no one was behind me.
No one else saw it.
It was like.. it was like nature went.. went..
Here you go, friend. Have this one on me.
Totally amazing.

Kinda reminded me also of this thing I heard about a Buddhist temple..
or reatreat, of whatever they're called,
that's all, like, enclosed.
But in there, with the monks,
they keep all these, like.. tigers! I'm not joking.
In with the Buddhists.
And the Buddhists, okay, believe that the tigers are the soul of..
the soul of.. you know. Past Buddhists.
Ones that have died and, you know, transcended.

So, as you can guess, once in a while,
a Buddhist gets, like, picked off by a tiger.
I know. It's insane.
And all the Buddhists, they're like, pretty cool with it.
Could be me today, they must be thinking.

I mean, I just don't get it.
How is that peaceful living?
The thing about the deers I saw was..
well.. was that it just happened.
It wasn't this.. pre-meditated..
Ha! Pre-meditated!
Get it? They're Buddhists. Buddhists med..
Never mind.
Anyway, my point is, what's so spiritual about men trapped with tigers?

Where is what? Oh.
I have no idea where the place is.
One of those sorts of places.

No, no. I agree. Buddhism does seem to be the, you know,
coolest religion and all.
But tigers?
That's just insane.


In the reptile house, eating skin

Time is not a hole to fill during hours like this.
It is a wound, bleeding and unhealable.
The day has been thrown aside; let's move on. There's no life left in this one.

Everything drags so heavy.
There is a wasteland next to the mall, and that has more to say about anything than the stores and eateries next to it. What do you put in a wasteland when you have everything in the world right next to it?
You put the dead there.

Take the night by the throat. Do it, or else there will be another wound.
Take the night, and think not of the flesh, of the fat. Think of the eyes, blue and awake to the world.
A lesser person would not be desired the way that desire has arrived at this door, nervous and shaking, but with purpose in mind.

The reptiles are beginning to shed again.
The air is thick with it, and breath feels like heaving sand.
They move slowly across the moments, towards the new, towards the raw exposure of everything's nature.

There are some houses without windows.
There are some homes without open doors.
Some hands cannot hold another.
Some minds cannot move away from the skin, the fat, and the sickening warmth underneath.


Letter to her son, with all her heart

Dear Patrick,
(No. Scrap that)

My dearest Patrick,
(Yes, that's how I would start things off. Like that)

I am writing this to let you know how happy I am
(- hang on, do I say how happy I am, or how happy we are? I'm writing for the both of us. How happy we are? Okay)

I am writing this letter to let you know how happy we are to be here, at the Yankee Hotel once again, reliving our honeymoon, thirty-five years since we first came here. I can't believe you managed to even get us the same room! What a delight it was to walk back through the doors of room 340 again after so long.
(We would have told you this was the room number, because your brother, Nicky, knows this was the room number also)

The room itself looked quite different. For starters, the decor was much more modern - which was to be expected, of course. But the room also seemed smaller. This is not a bad thing, still plenty of room for us two. Instead it just goes to show how memory can make things seem so much more grand than they are.

When we booked the room all those years back, we had no money, so your father asked for the cheapest room with the best view. Never one to mince his words, your father.
(you would no doubt have a story or two by now of how your father had caused you great embarrassment over the years, Patrick. Probably much the same as your brother has such stories, especially as a teenager when people can be so sensitive and everything seems so loud and up against you)

Well, the view from room 340 was magnificent back then, and it is still magnificent today. You can see right along the river. Ferries silently gliding alongside each other in the distance. The sunset fills the room with a gentle amber still, just as it did back then.

We ate breakfast and dinner on the balcony each day we were here, in silence, but so happy. I haven't seen your father this content for some time.

And do you know what we did each evening after dinner, Patrick?

(Did we ever teach Nicky the dance moves? I think I remember teaching him them. I did tell him about the dance, I know that)

We went into the dining hall, where the band had started up, and we did the Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Yes, after all these years, we still remembered the exact moves.

Sadly, nobody working at the hotel today knew the moves. They said they had heard of it, this dance, invented here, at the Yankee Hotel. I told them about how there had been evening classes on a Monday and a Wednesday, where people from all over town came and did the dance here, in this very dining hall. I told them how most of the tables were cleared to the side of the room between half seven til ten, and people danced the evening away.

I said how we had managed to be here for lessons on the Monday and Wednesday of our honeymoon, and we loved it. We never forgot the moves.

We ended up teaching the steps to two lovely young people who work there today, and they said they would look into setting up the classes again.

(Patrick, there are no secrets between a mother and her son. I would have loved you, but I would have somehow loved you even more for doing this, for setting up this second honeymoon for us. As if there were new reservoirs of love that I never knew I had)

The plane journey home was a little turbulent, but it was alright. I didn't feel that I was going to die this time. I was too happy for that, and it made me brave. Your father was asleep right the way through, though. Missed his evening meal, which made him a little grump right after he woke.
(No surprise there, you'd probably say to this. No surprise there!)

But, yes, all in all, it was wonderful, and in many ways even more wonderful than our actual honeymoon.

Thank you, son, for the time of our lives,

(Do you agree with that, or should that be the holiday of our lives? Little too game show-y? I agree.
But, anyway, that's how I would word this letter anyway.
This is how the letter to you would be worded, Patrick.
This is how the letter would read if you had been around to read it.
This is how a letter would have been worded by this mother to her son, her youngest twin by nineteen minutes.
And with all her heart)

your loving Mom and Dad.


What 1978 did to Emmett D. Maddox

January 21st:

The Maddox's youngest child, Walter, gets a B- in his maths test. Although mother and father display outward signs of pride and reward him with coffee-flavoured ice cream, Walter still believes that part of the reason for his slipping from A territory is down to having to sit next to Lee Crowe, whose clothes smell so bad that Walter wants to just throw right on up over his desk at times (especially when Mrs Bywater won't let him open the goddamn window).

February 6th:

Emmett gives Pink Floyd a try, at the recommendation of his best friend, Jack MacKay. Emmett, being more of a Led Zepplin fan, isn't taken by Pink Floyd's elaborate and constantly changing song structures. He gives his copy of Dark Side Of The Moon to his daughter, Sandra, who instantly takes a liking to it. Later that same year she will go to a Pink Floyd concert where she will meet the man she will later marry, yet Emmett will never trust this man and never quite know for sure why. Maybe it's those eyes of his, black as eight-balls. Who knows.

May 25th:

Emmett takes the family dog, Stacks, for a walk over the back fields for the final time. Stacks is so slow by this point, and Emmett gets the impression that Stacks is doing this more for him now than anything. Stacks cannot pass water.

August 29th:

Emmett attempts green tea.

September 1st:

Emmett's wife, Daphne, visits her sister, Jean, whose husband, Ron, has taken off with another woman. Emmett claims that he saw this coming, and although Daphne agrees that Ron must have been having an affair all this time (why else would the phone bill be so high?) she does not verbally concur with Emmett for fear that her husband is just trying to point out how pathetic Jean is for marrying that jobless son of a bitch anyway. At least he isn't much of a drinker, Daphne would diplomatically voice once in a while. Emmett occasionally felt this was a dig at him, but never challenged it.

November 13th:

After the accident with fireworks which cost the new family cat, Mr Gorgonzola, the use of his left eye, Emmett vows to never attempt to set off a rocket on the front lawn again without first checking the area for pet cats.

December 3rd:

Emmett is woken in the middle of the night by a passing truck riding over a cola can. Although he knew within a split second that it was just a cola can, the images in his dream seaped into waking life for a short time, and he thought that it was a gun shot from his grandfather shooting himself through the head. Emmett wonders what his grandfather, William, was like, seeing as the only memory he has of him is when Emmett was seven years old, and William was sitting in a chair in Emmett's father's house, wearing only a vest and insistently asking Emmett if he was his sister, Claire.


Who could have forseen Miss Havisham?

Back down the road, the car moved and at speeds befitting a vehicle such as it was.
And it suddenly dawned upon the driver and the driver alone, who could have forseen Miss Havisham? How can anything be preordained apart from the most simple of deduction and guesswork, the driver thought, as the car took to the darkness as much as it did the road, and Venus was shining incredibly bright by this point, prompting the driver to wonder at first if it was some form of stationary aircraft, lingering in the upper ether, and how long a vehichle could actually stay in such a stationary manner, because all is designed to move and if you don't move the moving will be drawn out of you, and if you are not alone the aloneness will be drawn out of you, as it was for Miss Havisham, no matter how still she should sit.


How the spiders work

With precision.
They move at night and hide by day.
Could be sweat thats seeping off you and onto the bed, but it's really them.
They just make you feel that it's sweat.
A head filled with pressure, enough to blind. It's them again.
Enough have crawled in there to make a dwelling; warm and safe, and you cannot get them out.

The sky today is the colour of tobacco-stained walls.
Light isn't getting through this solid wall of filth.
Everything has a sharp edge today; everything is a warning.
Head's pounding.
If there was a pistol nearby, then we'd find release.

Something is caught, thrashing to be free.
But there's no chance of that.
Soon, they feel the fangs sink into them, and the poison pours in, warm as death, and cold as the loneliness they feel.
Close your eyes; it won't help with the feeling, but close them anyway.
At least you don't have to see your life being stolen.

Eyes open in the dark.
What is that, by the door?
Is that a man?
How did he get in?
He's moving toward the bed.

Let's see what happens.


The Great Procrastinator

Yeah, let's just put it off until tomorrow. Hey, in fact, saying 'Until tomorrow' is too much pressure in itself. Why not just put it off until the time is right? Actually, even the term 'Put it off' sounds a bit.. well.. too much of a connotation of avoidance there; pushing something away, fending it off. That's like implying that I can't actully deal with the thing I'm put.. with the thing I'm currently chosing not to do. To undertake. To get on with. Yeah, 'Get on with'. Getting on with things. That's another term that makes all of this sound so very.. lazy? Is it laziness? I think it's something else other than that. Laziness is when someone is unaware of the importance of the thing they know they should be doing, and therefore do not get on with said thing. This is something different. I know about the importance of what I should be doing, I'm just chosing not to do it yet because.. well, because I don't have to. Now, some could say that this is bordering on laziness, but I diagree; it's different to that. It's not as negative as that. Perhaps it's no more positive either, but it's different. This is about siezing the moment. Doing the thing at the best time to do it. 'Now's the best time!' I hear you cry, but clearly I diagree. The moment has to be right, believe me. Obviosuly, the clock is ticking, so the 'Right Time' better hurry along soon, but I'm sure it will come, this 'Right Time'. It usually does, and just in the nick of time. Until then, I know that I spend a lot of time thinking about the thing I should be doing rather than doing the thing; but thinking about it has to count for something surely! I mean, right now, I'm even talking about it. Talking about how I should be getting on with the thing, instead of just.. instead of just.. I don't know, wasting time on the internet, browsing sites, or checking out cinema listings, or writing a blog..