Did I miss your call?
I heard that you were passing.
tick tock, tick tock, tick…
… only the sound of wings
In the old place, as you snatched your gaze away from me
I saw our futures in the furniture behind your head,
carved from antithesis, set in stone;
you rolled your eyes across an over- stretched conversation
and years flexed and flew.
While I pirouetted into semi dark,
you stuck your colours to the nearest domestic lamp
and remained stoically moth-like. I hardly dare knock
at our last closed door, fearing the beat of distressed wings,
but I come with fresh baked anodyne,
and if you answer, it will make this new morning blossom.
The grandfather clock coughs
and then they are all at it,
armchairs belch their stuffing,
tables drop all their leaves, cushions deflate.
The radiator complains of a temperature;
the bed winces when I lie on it, so
I perch near the moaning fish tank
watching eczema paint peel from sore throat walls.
Later, I grab my guitar, but it winges and slides
out of tune with the day,
offending the aching ears of the television
which begs me to turn the sound down
Time to fix, recycle, sort
make a splendid space for thought
Accoutrements will have to go
add-ons may disrupt the flow
Stuffed up anger all turfed out?
Bag it; bin the old self-doubt
Untangle guilty clasps and chains
dust yourself and breathe again.
I bought some bananas and also some fish,
and I put my bananas in a pretty pink dish;
then I named all my fish: Cedric, Gertrude and Frank,
and sent them to swim in a sizeable tank.
In the evening I sat there and ate some bananas,
contemplating my fish in my comfy pyjamas;
they were pearly and pretty and orange and cute,
and I wondered if rosy barb fish would eat fruit.
Sometime later I wended upstairs to my bed,
washed my face, cleaned my teeth, took a tablet and read;
then I switched off the light and I fell into sleep,
and I dreamed of great seascapes and fish of the deep.
But one of my fishes got lost late last night,
he was there up till bed-time and looked quite all right;
the other fish seem to be awfully upset,
they are swimming round backwards and not all that wet.
I don’t understand where my fish, Frank, can be,
it would have been different if he lived in the sea;
he could have explored, found a cave and got curious,
and met with his God Parents, Doris and Nereus.
But here, in my house, life is normal and tame,
nothing out of the ordinary happening again;
so all I can think must have happened to Frank,
is he ate my bananas, exploded and sank!
War is a wasted land,
a wounded state where none may truly live,
so may not be defended;
whose deep ravines, made from dry, parted lips,
wide, fearful eyes, and broken homesteads,
are empty of prophet, in death, devoid of meaning;
where the very skin of earth is cut,
and love lies bombed and bleeding.
Courage can be a capital city
a freehold space where opponents come to sit
and hope be ever mended;
whose public belvederes and bowers, made strong
by transparent rumination and debate
all teem with life, in truth, where words have meaning;
where the very heart of earth is put,
and peace upheld with feeling.
If I should ever have to choose to be
a pocket or a coat, my answer is a pocket, plain.
Oh yes, to wrap the world in warm is fine,
to comfort children caught by snow or storm,
to zip and tuck unhappy souls on luckless roads, no doubt.
But still I think I wouldn’t choose to be a winter coat.
Why then, you ask, a pocket?
If I may catch the crumbs of something good and gone,
contain the angry fist, relax the anxious palm;
if I may hold a handkerchief where precious tears are pressed,
keep safe a favourite glove, or perhaps a letter felt and left;
if I may hold a secret till it’s ready to be spoke,
then a pocket plain and simple would I choose above a coat.
The quick flick change dealt by the day
is hard to reconcile
when trauma preys on happiness
and grief tugs on its tail
and like a rusty spring, resolve
grows brittle over time
so every heaviness weighs more
than once, when we were primed.
But do not turn away from me
to spare me from your care
I also suffer silently
don’t be afraid to share.
Perhaps, if we tessellate our years
collaborate our smiles
we’ll find new ways to gird ourselves
to bear life’s rocky miles.
Put a light to the day
throw it like a fire cracker
peel it like a juicy banana
wear it like a fancy bandanna
open it up like a tin can
and pour it out like a waterfall
test it like the ultimate cure-all
take it for a walk and
giggle uncontrollably with it
welcome it home
and make it contented
plump it up like a pillow
and sleep comfortably upon it.