Breathe

The horizon slits the throat of the morning sun
& we become the mistakes
we filled the night with our complaints

of how your father hit you;
the man who raped you
& your drunken mother.
                               
All I mention is my punishment for carving

“Nature is a whore” onto my desk at school:

My suicide attempts could wait.

Blood spreads across the sky &
we’ve drunk all the wine.

So what do we do now?

Return to the pain & the same
old memories we long since learnt
                                                          to repress?

Or should we press our flesh together
 
laying like cats in the sun;

surrounded by the silence that speaks from the trees

 

& breathe?

Persevere

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

For J

The wish to kiss your eyelids &
                                lift
that heavy weight of images
living beneath,
                forever haunting you.

You’re no Princess & I’m
                        no Knight:

I cannot rescue you &
                    you can’t rescue me.

Yet,

    I still so madly want to believe
“I am with you / and know how it is”*.

I know nothing of your suffering,
                                only
that yours leaves scars & so does mine.

I’ve nothing left to write about, except
                                the dream
that will not leave me:

a Guillotine quick & clean,
the blade
         glistening
in the most golden
morning light we’ve ever seen in our lives,
leaving only beauty behind,
                            even
the beauty of suffering.

Until all that remains are the memories
that help you perservere                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

 

The present absence

A present absence expands & contracts,
hollow at the core as
                    thin thoughts
convinced that words
can poison internal organs
                    collapse
into a pool of stagnant water
where no light survives.

The days
                    fold & fall away
leaving only the faintest trace
of what once
existed…

                grotesque
& never-ending,
a thing somehow still alive, like
                a zombie
convulsing on the floor
in a room
with an unlockable door;
the Will conflicted, torn
between hatred
of daylight & fear of the night
bringing tapeworms beneath the skin:

rip them out, one by one
until the arms are nothing more
than wet ribbons of red;
            tattered remains of flesh
draped across bone.

Then wake up
                    alone
without hope
that this will end the way it always does:

new meds, new promises

& the slow return of memories that always
break your fall;

                    the pale shimmer
of phosphorescent ghosts.

Evergreen

With all the inevitability
& perfect frailty
of autumn’s final fallen leaf

the secret violence of our silence,
stands exposed;
a distance so vast in a space so small.

Every word we once shared
now hides, & the meaning
of their patterns

The summer is turning it’s back;
darker mornings,
colder evenings.

Will the winter destroy the warmth we need,
or will we find a way to keep our dreams
from fading?

Can we still cling to the belief,
that there is some hope remaining,
of reclaiming

what once was, because, after all,
not every leaf will fall:

some trees are evergreen…

This is how we live now (if you were born after 1984)

Expensive mistakes made to wait
for the cancelled screening of lost futures.

                            Never mind,
just watch the trailer;

sentence brought forward for bad behaviour,
particular particulates chosen
                            for both air & water.

Which method of suicide would you like?

No need for haste,
we have a decade to waste first,
                            & anyway
the decision was already taken
from us.

We just failed to notice.

                ****

Desperate times & desperate measures,
insanity as reflex against insanity;

                            a litany
of clichés & new prescriptions
for yet more medication.

Don't question
the efficacy, or the necessity
or the cause,

just take what you're given & be grateful
someone is pretending to listen.

This is how our problems are solved now…

                ****

Pull out the roots & the flower wont grow,
just like weeds won't;
                            to consider
weeds to be as beautiful as flowers,
is to consider the power of words
to change the world.

To hold contradictory thoughts,
                            is to survive
& thrive, like weeds become flowers.

To speak of flowers is to disappear
into the ideas of others but this
is consistent with the insistence that
                            nothing can be
new until it's too late:

words no longer matter on the page.

Now only screens change the world
& dreams are as useless as a pearl necklace,
draped around the neck.

                ****

Those of us for whom the drugs don't work
are told to focus
                on the small things
& ignore the world dying
all around us.

So:

crouch down to a round, purple flower,
notice the green-tipped wing of a butterfly
upon it.

Reach for the phone as reflex
                to take a photograph,
& watch as

the butterfly
flickers away…