On A Train

Not my little girl
She’s a good girl
He drawls as he trawls
Through the pages of his red top
Stopping to hover
On the third page
Never looking up
Or making eye contact
With the father
Of another daughter
Opposite him on a train
Seats filled with
Fathers of daughters
Eyes down
On those pages
While the school girls
Bustle through the aisles
Eyes too cast down
Book bags in tow
Filled with reams of text
Of learning
Why the caged bird sings
How one kills a mocking bird
Understanding the pride
And the prejudice
While the fathers
Watch some other daughters
Of other men
On other trains
Reading red tops

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Still Counting

I put one bare foot in front of the other
The blades damp, reaching up
Between my toes
The trickles over the tops of my feet
The breeze on my bare skin
Taking a layer off
Peeling away the dirt
And the time
Washing off your evil, mundane work
Your everyday behaviour
Your daily beatings
You, the perfect father
You, the loving husband
You, who broke me
Staring up the skies join the rooftops
Those tiled lids balancing
On a solid base
Housing all manner of ills
I float a little
Feel a dull buzzing
Then I rise
Seeing myself laid out on a ground
A peace falling
And my goodbyes are made
I fly higher
Over the London Eye
The buildings filled with men
Counting beans
Instead of us
They should be counting us
Summing our parts to a total
But higher and higher I climb
The reds and golds stunning me
Racing now I’m gone
Free on the wind

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The Shadow

In the half light
You could be mistaken
For anything other
Than the person you are
The shadows hiding
The budding bruises
The dusk masking
The sodden sheets
Those dreams
Where you run
But stay on one spot
You scream
But your vocal cords
Have been cut
You claw at the sides
But stay in the well
Are a waking nightmare
An every day life you live
Those roundabouts
You spun on
Air through hair
Face upturned
Where you’d gather speed
Were the last
Real time
When you felt alive
Too many decades ago

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When I lie and stare up
Or out, down or in
And the world has become
A tumult of hate and sorrow
A powderkeg of wrath
When all that my weary soul
And tired eyes
Can see
Is pain and loss
I try with all that I am
To look past
Back and forward
To you
A light in the darkest of ages
The lily that floats
That radiates joy
For joy’s sake
It is all that I can do
To reflect that love and joy
Hoping it catches the wind
And carries to the four corners
Hoping it’s felt
Hoping it helps

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At Play

Sometimes as you play
I watch and listen
Astounded by your little worlds
Built from gold and goblins
Trees and magical shores
I want to join you
And be there hidden in that wood
Sharing your skies
And climbing your mountains
I spy your limbs
Perfection in miniature
Downy peach
And a glassy blue stare
That would floor any stony giant
A voice like sticklebricks
And toffee
Breath a cloud of icing sugar
And sleigh bell laughter
Your energy
Waking and suspending me
Watts enough to power a planet

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Coming Home

There’s no place like home
So with a flick of my heels
My ruby reds kiss
And I’m back

A soft embrace
Comfort in the ordinary
Like stepping into sheepskin slippers
The old familiar curve

Of a land I’ve walked over
A lake I’ve swam through
A depth I discovered
After searching a lifetime

I slip inside and up close
I breathe you in
And rest my lips
Shoulder to shoulder

And I sink and drift
Held and warm
Home and safe
Loving and loved

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How do I hold it in
This anger that builds
That can take down cities
And countries
With its force

How do I do as I’m told
When the telling
Is off
Disjointed and blurred
And skewed in your favour

How do I learn
When the teachers
Are my juniors
In intellect
Ability and wisdom

How do I teach
When I have no voice
Won’t be heard
Merge into the background
And have no impact

How can I be
How can I exist
How can I thrive
When you poison the well
And own the land

How can I grow
When you stem my flow
How can I fly
When you clip my wings
How will I exist

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