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