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A Few Short Words

Dense not thick

Category

Poetry

Interruption

Jenny makes a play of detaching her head and putting it on the table to face the rest of the group. ‘Sorry,’ it says, giggling, ‘I just get a sore neck from watching everyone talk. It’s like spectating tennis, sometimes.’ We weren’t forcing an exclusionary point, so the move feels brattish and the LOL in Lolita manner is disturbingly forced, those mealy blue orbs bouncing back and forth between us, watching smugly while her body crosses its legs and folds the hands on top. ‘Don’t let me stop you,’ the head says, but, as usual, Jenny’s killed the conversation.

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Woodpecker Sounds in the Night (We Were Sitting on the Couch When You Looked at Me and Suddenly I Died)

I don’t have anything to say

when she looks at me

I’m empty

hollow, I think she says

not much by way of greeting

meeting her halfway, deep

in fleeting moments, chasms wide

my hand feeling what I ask it to

it lies

upon a curvature of thigh

heavenly inverse sloping

porcelain trained swell

I think, hell

and don’t speak

as time unfurls

sitting there for all the world

like nothing ever happened

she says, hollow

are you even there?

Moulded

She plays hard to get
the way jelly sets,
an easy indifference
in different flavours.
I wonder if she savors
what she does to me?
If she does it deliberately
or simply exquisitely?

Neutral

We go forward by default

it’s not our fault,

simply habits inhibiting,

learnt with time,

ingrained on our unconscious mind.

We sit on cardboard cut out couches

eating dinner from a box,

living in die-cast diorama dreams,

where sometimes feeling feels too hard

and talking about something real

is hard to imagine unless its on TV.

We play games made of electricity,

fused with no spark, sitting in the dark

faces infused with flickering blues

glowing wherever we go.

Communication broken down

into bits and bytes.

Digital rights that shouldn’t be left

to register on an analogue scale.

In an age of scrap and metal

where information falls like hail

and melts more easily

than the machines we control,

we go forward by default.

The Day We Drowned

Once, you held my hand

and smiled.

You took my hand in yours

and said I love you

through your teeth.

You sat with my hand in your lap

and told me what was wrong.

What was wrong with me

happened differently,

at distance,

back turned,

shoulder cold,

eyes cast like iron

filings flung into a lake.

Once, I tied your heart around me

with second hand string

and swam out after you,

choking for all the good it did me.

I took your hand in mine

and tried to save you

from yourself.

Heart Donor

You must not please me

Put your heart against me

Because didn’t I see you

In your dreams

Or is it a place

Where I love you

Heart donor

Haven’t we lost this dance before

Kilned

Using hands that held me as a child

my mother crafted a cup

with soil from the earth,

painted a veneer

with words from my soul,

and presented it without ritual.

Silt bound into substance,

burnished like the truth,

glazed like eyes into the past,

empty like so many promises.

Lips

She has beautiful lips this girl,

plump and firm, pale crimson,

if that can be said.

When she smiles

it takes on the air of a spectacle,

a Broadway performance

as they slide gracefully back

revealing the uniform white

light of teeth,

an ensemble cast of joy.

They work in tandem,

lips and teeth, with her eyes,

those deep-set green forests of thought,

so that when she smiles,

when the curtain is raised

and the show commences,

her eyes work the room,

a talented spotlight to attract your attention.

And all the while she never sees you.

Vixen

She moves

like propaganda disseminates,

She emanates,

a willful charm

you can’t disarm,

that holds you still,

enraptured,

caught and captured,

bound and wound

around her finger

the more you linger.

Heart elusive,

tongue abusive,

she’s a vitriolic vixen

you can’t ignore

but only fall for,

more,

and more,

and more.

Meaning in the Air

I wander the night in search of meaning

but all I find is cold, stale air.

My teeth chatter, a rattling tattoo

of sombre notes and mournful tones

played for one inside my skull.

My friends, I wonder, what of them?

where are they now? At home?

I hope, but knowing not their names to seek

for all that was has long grown weak

I huddle in and breathe

this cold, stale air that rapes my lungs

and having passed just leaves me

stung, hollow, done and gasping.

The Come Down

Coming down from LSD,

supposedly,

I tell my friend

I’m going to kill myself

and he smiles, thinking me a fool

and it’s true, though not for his reasons.

He thinks it treason, my attitudes

my lassitude,

my apathetic discontent,

my seeming relent,

but he doesn’t understand my embrace.

I have chosen

and having decided

my fate is freed.

There is need no longer

to feed on malcontent.

I am liberated from deliberation,

alive in a land of opportunity,

knowing my death

waits at the end of my hand.

Player Piano

You sit down and for all intents

you play my chords the way they’re meant,

but I’m not sure, it just sounds hollow,

you play a tune that I can’t follow.

It seems to me upon inspection,

your finger’s movement,

placing and inflection,

the way they hover over keys,

only roughly where they need,

and now no longer in your thrall,

that you’re not playing me at all.

All this time I’ve loved your talent,

your style and grace,

your gaited ballad.

I’ve admired your composition,

your fleeting touch

and sharp precision.

But it was merely artifice.

Performance true but not a fact.

A simple farce, a way to lure me,

a little act, a tune in your key.

So now your lie has come unthreaded,

the gorgon gaze has been beheaded.

I see me how you saw me then,

the way I think you see all men,

as instruments or simple tools,

you play us so we play the fool,

but it stops here because now I know,

I was just your piano.

A Beaten Heart

Lonely convulsions

A beating heart

Beaten fast

At home in the stars

Above the troubles

Of life and love

Above the casualties

Of causality

Isolation dreaming

Bound by vice

Held in thrall

By the deprivation

Of a beaten heart

Absenteeism and the Shape of the World

Her laughter fell around me

like rain in crystal goblets.

‘How much do you want it?’

‘Enough,’ I lied. ‘What is it to you?’

‘Nothing,’ and I knew that it was true.

She had no vested interest

but for a fleeting fascination

with the machinations of my mind.

I often asked her for the truth

in those dying days of ours

though she would only smile,

rankling my spine with her indifference.

Apples Roll

He looked at me and shook his head.

‘Son,’ he said, ‘you don’t think right and it bothers me.’

If only I’d fallen further from the tree.

I search the bough and dig the roots,

footing loose under leaf cascade

I strip the bark and count the rings to find a gauge.

Kicking rubble clear of recesses I have mined,

I find kindnesses kept in corners, and dust them clean.

Dirty, lean, forlorn faded scenes,

moments rendered in muted pastel mosaic.

Sic transit gloria.

Such brief euphoria

A cobbled collection of passed injustice,

weakened bliss and cracked smiles

draped over miles of life and lot

and lessons since forgot.

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