Persevere

“…poetry makes nothing happen” -W.H. Auden

For J

A wish to kiss your eyelids &
                            lift
the heavy weight of images
hidden beneath,
                torturing you.

Guillotine quick & clean
the blade
         glistening
in the most golden morning light
we’ve ever seen in our lives,
nothing but beauty would survive;

                                 but
light without darkness means nothing,
so maybe joy needs suffering.

Is there even any memory you
would want to lose?

Regardless, this
                poem is impotent
& yet still it persists:

the wish
to take those heavy images
& leave you only with those that help you

to persevere.

 

 

Suppose

Surprise surprise,
                what’s the price?

Suppose you lied, suppose
the scars bring you pride
because they display your fight against life

            &,

since there’s no shadow without light,
no death without life,
you fought life & death &
                            you survived.

Suppose, suppose you
            posed like

the question came as a surprise – why
not try to act like you don’t know
what made you
strip naked & run screaming
into the abandoned building
licking flakes of old paint from walls bleeding cold
skin:
    petals on the floor lost to rot
            decaying fray-
                              ing & ignored, what
does the paint taste like, why
did you decide to stop when
the dirt-black sky
ran to hide from the bleeding sun that never dies?

Suppose,
suppose you only wanted to try & fall

suppose that you never meant it at all.

Different colours, different shades*

The track was carved too shallow to follow
but still remains & always will;

water warmer than blood & a bandage
of elastic bands & any paper
to be found proceeded by dreamless sleep.

In the morning a red-stained scene
of failure & a shame deeper
than the track that missed its path by an inch,
& lead instead to survival.

Weeks passed without a word
until, where the track ends
something was discovered
to be beautiful & trembling with life**,
in unknowing defiance of winter.

Then a morning came when
I awoke to the smell of your skin, &
the hope
that the journey would never be
attempted again

until the time was right
& the endless night would arrive

in due time.

*New Dawn Fades – Joy Division

**Three Peaches – Neutral Milk Hotel

Enough

You have a favourite tree in this city,
& the one he hung himself from
is in the same public garden.

You took me there once:
                        2 am.,
we were drunk.

You climbed the trunk & sat on the branch
where he swung
for hours, years ago, until
the grounds-keeper found him in the morning.
& quit their job soon after.

He is always somewhere in your mind,
the memories you want desperately to survive
come flooding back to you sometimes
& the pain in your eyes is unbearable.

So much trauma.

Every year
you plant flowers at the base of the tree.
Every year
you despair as age reminds you again
just how young he was.

So much trauma.

I asked permission
& you let me sit on the branch with you.

Looking down on the ground,
every suicidal thought returned &
I realised I wasn't ready;

                        I wanted
to lay beneath a cherry tree
& bleed, buried beneath fallen blossoms:

no,
I wasn't ready then…

was your friend?

You asked me & the only answer
that I could find
was that some of us need more

than life can provide,
but we search
                    until the searching

becomes too much.