Trauma

We stormed the Castle walls
after the eternal siege,

& saw rotting corpses in ugly sleep,
without dignity
but with a peace
denied to those few we found alive.

Their eyes were almost closed
& damp with pitiful terror.

Their mouths made sounds we could hear
but could not understand.

We looked around us for reason, the evidence
of a final stand,
but we found nothing.

Then the walls began growing,
we were surrounded,
helpless,
scared,
abandoned.

& at last we understood.

Empty Today

Empty today.

Empty.

Today, empty grey sky gave way to weak purple light
& I saw small:
distant stars, so far apart…

Empty today.

Empty.

Today the walls will not look back at me
because vision is just a trick of the light
& so am I.

A dream I think I once had

You smoked a cigarette beside me
in the passenger seat of my car
in the dark, in the park one night

a lifetime ago.
 
You said: “We are born,
we do stuff
& then we die.

That’s all…

I wish I could, but
I just can’t make myself care
that much anymore…”

Spectral blue curls billowed out
from between the clumsy teeth inside
of your beautiful mouth,
& attempted to dance with those lengths
of false-coloured hair
you absently caressed.

You had an affinity for dysfunction,
you told me:

“I thrive among the broken things”
 
& I remember thinking
that it was fucked-up
how much I wished I was more fucked-up
than I already was.
 
I wanted too much:

I wanted your love.

Nothing else seemed important,
not the the future, not improvement,
not hope
or the vast tracts of free & unfettered time
that lay before us.

Eventually,
I drove you home.

Nothing much had happened
yet somehow it still felt significant.

After you had left me, as
I sat staring into the darkness,
the smell of smoke & your presence
lingered

& I was overcome
by sensation so intense,
that all that has followed since

feels like dull disappointment…

 

(This story is fiction, only the stories that composed it are true)

Inside//Outside

He went to work.

He came straight back home.

Gave up his daylight-dreams of improvement
to the comforts of deranged sense & sleep,
& told himself that he would never do it again,
that he would stop thinking about it.

He didn’t.

***

She went to work.

She stayed out in the night.

Not wanting to return home to the stillness, to the nothing,
to the oppressive sound of silence,
she told herself that escape was found in oblivion, & that
she would never return again.

She did.

***

On Saturday, they were no-one.

On Sunday sunlight glided through the windows,
dust motes floated through the air
& the sound of birdsong
rose above the noise of the city.

It all became too much.

So, at different times,
in different places,
they both went outside.

They looked up to the sky
& something that felt like peace
perverted by corrupted innocence
filtered out everything
they had ever taken for granted.

They sensed beauty in the periphery.

They heard noises,

smelled fumes & perfume,

saw beasts & machines.

It all became too much, so

they both turned turned away

& went inside again

alone.

 

“…a greater weight in the region of her heart.”*

 

Gathered together beneath the clear plastic canopy
of a deformed & leafless tree,
the elderly & the mentally inadequate
stand & wait in the 12:30 rain

of a blue-grey Summer without sun.

we are

the intricate accidents

unfolding within the periphery of your vision

The number 52 bus arrives,
& leading our small procession of damaged people-things,
is the Carer attending to his temporary children;

careful to shepherd them safely to their seats
he fails to notice me
& gently we collide…

this man is in possession of the happiest eyes

& the saddest smile that I have ever seen

He says:

“Sorry! Sorry, sorry.”

as if it were his life’s refrain.

I say:

“No, no, it’s fine…”

but my mumbled reply doesn’t reach him,
his concentration is for better things
for the people other people
secretly wish were not there
to see…

because the broken things bear witness to an unbearable weakness;

 to all of the ungracious, hidden little pieces within us:

they are the uncanny light in the eyes of other Apes,

they are the inevitable smell of piss & the trembling lips

of old age,

they are the mucus that runs down your philtrum

when you cry.

We are the flat & hollow sensation of every planned occasion that has failed us.

The number 52 bus returns to movement,
& before I fall into my seat, before
he spills into his
there is between us a silent, complicit pact:

a pathetic, futile, beautiful act
of defiance
against the endless,
fucking desperate
tragedy

of living as an animal
haunted by words
in a world that
does
not
care
at all.

 

*