Tuesday, 25 April 2017

A Girl Sits Atop A Train

I can feel the words stirring in the back of my mouth.
My throat not yet a desert. The thirst doesn't consume me, yet.
I stand, neck thrown back, eyes peeled open, at scores of book stores
down an insignificant street.
I consider how I have travelled here, how I had hopped
across the tops of trains
without sitting in their worn out seats, without
making eye contact with the other passengers beneath me
staring out of their dusty windows
at the sunrise, perhaps, at nothing more than earth
blurring by in a whirr of time, something to reflect on, later, later
a changing view, nothing new
to me.
I think about the desolate landscapes inbetween the regions of kindness
that Naomi Shihab Nye described
She, too, on that rumbling train. I watched her
with my periscope shaped like a book, a poem
Laying flat against the rooftop of that train. I watched her.

The train approaches the insignificant town. The tracks begin to crumble away,
and so it slows. A voice echos up.
"Exit here for the experience of a lifetime!"
I swallow.
My toes curl inside my cheap, clean shoes.
I have read so little. I have felt so little, and so much
The windows I was supposed to look through on my ticketed seat,
I merely glanced at.
Distracted by my own reflection, distracted
By thoughts of a destination
Before I eventually made my way upon that roof
Charming a hapless guard with a poem,
or a kiss.

The bookshelves swallow me whole with their density,
the desert dust stings my eyes, but I cannot close them.
the words begin to crawl out of the pages,
like thousands of insects desperately scattering
in no particular direction
in my direction
I know I have to consider things seriously.
Re-read the books, as many as I can, before the next train departs
to a chapter of my life that I don't think I'm ready for.
I wonder,
Will I make my way back into the open air of that moving train
Back to the wind rushing past my ears, whistling a tune, a wordless poem
When all the books are read.
Or will I take my seat with the others
The more knowledgeable, perhaps
For a lifetime spent looking through the dusty windows?

A girl sits atop a train.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Getting Out Of Bed (on days like these)

Getting out of bed (on days like these)
My heart says
Offer your wrists
Upturned and open
Your blood is just ink,
When you don't think
you're coping.
My mind says
Be stoic.
Stand still on your own.
You can bypass the pain
If you just turn
into stone.
My body says
I'm fragile,
Just, please stay in bed
These soft sheets can't hurt you
or your achy head
The sky says
"Come join me"
It begs me to leave
To soak in some blueness
& bear witness the breeze
The birds say
There's music,
just loosen your ears
Come, join in the choir
We've been waiting
for years
The heat says
Spring's here now
There's no need to fear
This coldness will leave you
eventually, dear
I turn to the window
I turn down my head
I turn down this pen
and I get out of bed.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017


I don't recognise this place but I'm told it's where you live, now.
Your friends fill the room with their black suits and black shoes,
rolling a quiet applause across the floor.
I stay by the door.
I don't like it here - it doesn't feel like you, or your Living Room
with it's blankets thrown and music strewn.
A beautiful piano plays out of tune.
The people with their heads down, they rush by and by,
so I call out your name to the thundering sky.
You do not reply.
"He's unavailable."
"You just missed him."
"He was here just before..."
I turn round, and see your coat disappear out the door.
My hopeful heart crumples and falls to the floor.

It's been nearly a year, now, that we haven't quite met.
My calls ring, unanswered, you can't take them just yet.
I start to wonder if it's something I said...
Did I write far too softly, were my rhymes not quite right?
Did I hold too much heaviness for your arms through the night?
I'm sorry
I tried my best.
I dream of this meeting, and what I would say -
to cocoon back in your body, to ask you to stay.
Just, please, don't go away

Unavailable. That word. The sting of the bee.
This "love", meant for others,
just never quite me

I wake into greyness, and look to the Spring
His chest softly falling, his lips poised to sing
I rise and tread softly over his floor
searching for shelter, but instead
a trap door
with old faded lettering,
and parts of it torn, and fingerprints still visible
of past lovers, adjourned


Sunday, 2 April 2017

Washing Dishes

There I stood, my mother's daughter
my hands lay soft in soapy water
the light was dancing on the walls
the music running down the halls
something inside me shifts
and falls
to my knees
to my naked bare feet
kissing the earth
somewhere beneath

With dirt on my lips,
I savour the sweetness
a hazy mix of what feels like completeness...
Maybe this is what joy tastes like?
I inhale it, release
My heart swells open, obese
in belief,
and in nothing at all
in this,
feeling, so enormously small

It does not leave my lungs with the air
I suppose this is what I would call a prayer
To pay attention
To notice
Suspend time in midair
Or perhaps just to be here
Washing dishes

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

The Spring

The Spring arrived.
With a strong, gentle knock.
I cracked open the door,
Unfastened the lock,
and I let him inside.
There was nowhere to hide
from Him.
Just goosebumps.
And the cold
from the floorboards beneath,
How old
they had grown
As they creaked with the grief
left behind
after Winter's long stay
I wanted to run, but
I could not look away
I could not take my eyes off him.
as the birds began to sing
as the bees poised to sting
my lips with his kiss
you know, my tongue
doesn't recognise
this... Honey
He walked through the corridor
as light followed behind
Illuminating my windows,
As they let in the sky
And I watched as the flowers
grew from under each step
that he took
through the hall,
through the rooms
I had wept
His branches grew easy
climbed right to the top
through the concrete
through my walls
as though nothing could stop
him from going right through me
and around
Until my fingertips bloomed flowers
which dropped
to the ground
and into the bedroom
where music would play
as I undressed my heaviness.
As I asked him to stay.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

The Storm

"It's a bit like cleaning up the aftermath of the storm
before the storm has even hit."
I stand, calm
looking myself directly in the eye.
I have come to feel physically safe in this world,
even in the darkest of moments
When the most chaotic television static
starts filling up my life
spilling out of my insides
Merging into reality like oil and water
I am still aware there is an "off" switch
(I am reluctant to press it
for fear of missing something)

I always seem to come back to safety, security,
feeling sure of something.
When I'm spectating, I understand it.
How the nature of nature is to change and let go.
It's safer to watch from the edges of the abyss
As the tiny figures dive off the edge so smoothly
into something
I can't comprehend.
But when my turn comes
and I push myself to the edge of the board,
Fingernails twitching
My rationality is sucked away into the vortex
before I'd even time to leap after it
So I stand there, dithering
Like someone who I am
Like someone who I'm not
And so, I retreat.
And then, I repeat.

I hang my head and grieve the man who did not leave
Even when I stood, motionless inside my tornado
Making eye contact with the eye of my storm
Who did not try to save me,
but watched in fascination
as I swept the floor before it arrived
as I did not brace when it hit
as it revealed me with a gust of wind.
Without a piece of me in order
But my confusion still intact
He just tilted his head in curiosity
and winked.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Learning Self Love

Self love isn't blocking pain from entering you
It isn't hissing at the enemy, or drowning in self pity
Or promising yourself to love less, next time
To care less, to allow less to hurt you
Self love is not becoming hard, strong
Self love is allowing yourself to stay soft
Self love is allowing things to come and go as they will
And being peaceful in the knowledge that you will want to restore yourself
Should you become damaged in the process.
Self love is not self protection.
It is self preservation, it is the commitment of gardening and nourishing your own soul
Learning the ability to hold yourself at your weakest
And acknowledging that this is very hard to do.
So, next time your self love involves a wall
or an arrow
or a knife
or a tub of ice cream
Look at the wall, brick by brick, and take it down with care, not because you don't need walls
but because you prefer the view behind it
Try using a different target, and take an archery class instead
Take the knife out of your own back, and use it to cut dead branches from the trees of the things that no longer serve you, or you them
And enjoy the ice cream.
You really, really, can't go wrong with ice cream.