The Final Act

The summer is deadly
The woodsmoke a traitor
The heat on my back
Will surely burn me alive
To be conjured back
To that time of longing and hate
It’s a betrayal
With only me on stage
In a theatre 
I continue to Prop up
And the sound effects
Are the birdsong I woke to
The morning after
And the lighting
Is the shard of sun
Laying across my soaking torso
And the props
Are the upturned pictures
Lying on the bedroom floor
The extras all looking on
In quiet acceptance
And me the director
Laughing at the inadequacy
Of the script you wrote
Pretending it was improvised
With us both knowing
You’d planned those lines
And that final act
For decades

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A Little Life

Under leaves and shadows
Dancing over your pale blue
And peach
Tiny dustings of cinnamon sugar
On your cheeks
Your shoulders
You reach up for me
Your defiant arms
Curling around my neck
Icecream and strawberries, cherries
With something else
An earthy, sandy, buttery
You, baked and slippery
I marvel at how you once would fit
Coiled beneath my gut
Sprung out now
A little life
Shadows dancing
Over skin
Under the leaves

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Little Heart

Be gentle with me
She said
Hold me like a baby bird
Just out of its eggshell
Hold my little heart
In your palms
Watch my pulse
Watch me beat for you
Be gentle
Listen and breathe
Lightly over my surface
Be careful
I shatter when the air cools
When the acid spits
When the dark dog calls
But I soar
At a joyful touch
Revelling in my beauty
And spark
Watch my wings
Watch me fly
See me fly back down to you
My love
My lifeline in the chaos

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I tried to re-order my world
The land is the sea
The sea solid under foot
I walked over the shingle
Deep breaths of the sodium air
And drowned

I tried to re-order my day and night
The moon is the sun
The sun is the moon I said
But the night-time world was cold
And my body craved the light
Paler and paler I grew and blind

I tried to re-order my body
I am he I said
But the child at my breast
And the blood between my legs
Laughed loud

The rose kept its given name
While I kept mine
A sun came up
And a moon went down
And another and another

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Standing By

I cannot bear
I cannot bear
I cannot bear
The weight of hate
The sadness tugging
At a heart broken
From the constant pain
The perpetual loss
A motion that won’t stop
Daily death
Daily loss
Sanctioned murder
I cannot bear
That we won’t learn
How to stop
Tearing infants from breasts
Babes from arms
Making them bury their loves
Their lives
I cannot bear the lines
Etched fear
Upon fear
Upon fear
Of oceans or battlegrounds
Of starvation or drowning
Which would you choose
For your child?
I cannot bear
I cannot bear
That I stand by
Sit by
Turn over
Tune out
Standing by
Sitting by
Turning over
Tuning out

Donate to the Red Cross Refugee Appeal here;

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The Suited

Pin striped
Pinned down
Stuck in for good measure
To secure it
To stop it dancing away

When the winds came
The sand storms
The dustbowl builders
With their jet fuelled
Wrecking balls

I watched the tiny thread
Pulled from the weave
Out of step
Out of line
Out of time

With the charcoal and white
Tramlines down your arms and legs
You hollared
And you persuaded
Such powers of dutiful reasoning

If only hindsight
Were a gift
You guffawed
And when they called it
I listened

And I built the towers
Of miniature bones
Bleached by the sun
Splintered by the freezing
Tarpaulin Winters

My head with no room left
For more rip and pulling
The ceramic bowl sped up to greet me
The water chill, my face hot
An acid in my throat, never leaving

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Think happy
Run far – hit those 13 miles in March
Make time for voices and faces
Give up time spent facing a glowing backlight
Eat well
Drink good coffee
Laugh often
Get out and breathe
Stay in and revel in good books
Resent less
And love most
Love like it’s being sold off by the tories
And only has months to survive
Watch him grow
Watch every change
Never judge
And chalk it up
For when he turns 40
Then read him this

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