A postcard to a beloved

She dances like dust in a beam of light.
Entranced, I’m a rabbit in the headlights.

I want to sing to her but I have the smallest voice. No one can hear me whether I whisper or scream. So I delight in my silence.

So today I wrote, quietly and alone, a message within a message, for once, without my phone.

Autumnal Peacetime

The air is cool. No wind to speak of. Feeling my heart beating away in my chest.

Bright blue skies and fluffy white clouds. Every tree, every leaf, perfectly still.

My mind is buzzing with everything I’ve ever learnt. Not all at once but it’s all in there somewhere.

My cat is mellow today. Affection is going a long way. Thinking about last week’s confusion seems a long way off.

My flat is a mess but the speakers are singing to me and I have a cup of tea in my hand.

Paper skin

He’s got paper skin; peeling away, red ink and all.
The words don’t matter; he is what he feels.
He lashes out at those around him; so fragile.
Full of yesterdays news but he hasn’t read anything.

His paper skin doesn’t inform.
He won’t let you close; he’s so ashamed.
Not of himself because he’s always right.
Just ashamed of his words; it doesn’t add up in his head.

There’s a patch on his arse that once was page 3.
It’s the only bit he likes.
‘Not vulgar, this is moral instruction.’ Is it’s message.
Flesh on flesh and it just stinks.

In fact, all of his paper skin smells rather bad. Unelected and unwanted. A buffoon at 10. He’s a buffoon all day.

Cliché? Touché

Life. Never to be the same again.

The last day of the week didn’t get off to a good start.

My alarm went off. I showed you my painting I thought it was red and you told me it was green.

You took me for a walk to your hills where I planted my flag. The wind was lacking but I could still feel a bite on my face. A tear. Your footsteps in the snow will be gone tomorrow.

Back home you sat by the crackling fire and sang the saddest song. I cried; became afraid of my actions and words or lack thereof.

Would it even matter if I disappeared into thin air? A faint trace of your smell left on my hands from the night before. You have gone now.

Emptiness. A new hole. The pain is back. Does it never cease? In my dreams I walked to your hills but they looked like different hills and my flag was gone. There sky was clear but there was no moon. The ground was wet. My face was dry. Something forgotten returned from the mist like a wisp in a woods. An old ghost drifting through the trees; weaving a path through the thickets. It was my worst enemy. A mirror. A chasm. Just darkness. My safe place.

Diary

An enormous furnace of radioactive burning gas just pitched up on the horizon and blasted my bedroom full of luminous energy. Fuming! It’s almost everyday at this point…

Being a bee

Honey in my throat. A buzz in my brain. A hive in my stomach. A queen in my heart.

Every thought a flower. Each memory a breath of wind. The distant hills are not our home. This brick has everything we need.

You didn’t give me my wings but you taught me to fly.

What you give to me

The sweetest taste on my tongue; a feeling my brain adores. A safe warmth in my feet spreading up to my head. A glow brighter than the sun in a land of perpetual sunny intervals. A shine from my heart that lasts longer than a lifetime.

You give colour to the trees; your leaves each more varied than the last. Your swirls and strokes have more life than the seas. Your smile feeds on pain and gives out love. Your words calm those nearby and promote harmony.

Those out there somewhere might sneer at our joy; their deficient empathy can’t slow us down. Their lack of patience can’t force our movement. Their blue and gold dresses can’t tempt us to fruitless avenues. Their misunderstanding can’t teach us otherwise.

Inner feelings. Beautiful senses. Outward protection.

Thank you.

The Memory Shack

There is a cosy wooden shack centrally housed within the dark grey garden by the torchlit woods in the left side of my brain.

She stands in there most days, warm and content, painting her mind. The canvases are ever changing maps of who she is.

Standing close to apply strokes of colour, she is a light that is always on, in an otherwise flickering domain. I smile at her as she lifts a painting and puts it to one side. It is a blue and red streak dancing on a grey background.

I look at the painting and then at her. Carried in her glowing eyes is a flame sparking comfort; affirming my affection.

She sometimes leaves to sow seeds in the garden. This time she takes out the compost bucket too. A ritual of emptying painful memories into the universe’s empty space for renewal.

Distracted and alone I look through the window, the first clouds of the morning replace the starless sky, a dawn breaks bringing a new light to the room.

I wander outside as illusions tell me there are things to be done. It is dark and she is not there. I cannot see into the black depths so I head back towards the shack’s door.

Back inside I see her by the window painting the sky. Adding trees and light to the canvas. These are her abstract memories and feelings. She paints a purple orb afloat on a wobbly grey ocean.

A bird through the window calls me. So once more I step outside. In a boat lashed with wind and rain, I see the bird flying around the opposite side of the shack, I raise the sail and follow it around. My eyes track the wooden panels and shapes around the outside of the shack. The wood, not yet aged, is just one or two years old. I am trying to look inside but there are no windows, just backs of canvases, still wet with paint and reality.

Adrift I grasp at the darkness. It is cold and unyielding with it’s ever changing silence ringing in my ears. The bird appears and for a split second I can feel her warmth once again.

Lightning strikes and I am lost. I awaken somewhere new and unreal. I touch my blanket as a hungry cat jumps up to greet me looking for his morning meal. I check my phone and find a photo of a painting. A purple orb afloat on a wobbly grey ocean with trees in the distance and a cloud filled sunrise in the sky.

I’m a dummy

I’m not sure you will like me once you have met me.
You will see I am a featureless dummy holding up a mirror to the world.
I hope you realise you are not so bad after all when you look at me.
You might forgive me for having little substance of my own.

The Roughest Stone

I am the roughest stone on the beach.

Abrasion scrapes grooves in my voice.

Uneven wire towelling scrapes at your heart.

It hurts. It hurts. It hurts. I’m sure.

It’ll heal because it feels good.

Keep me and polish me smooth.

2003

There was a man in PICU who didn’t say a word.
He paced around in his underwear flinching at all he heard.
He went out for a smoke with a coffee in his hand,
then marched back inside for medication on demand.

* * *

(This was about a month I spent living with a mute patient amongst others at a Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit when I was 16. He had a tattoo of a small cross on his leg and I tried to shoehorn the blaspheme ‘Jesus!’ into something I said within his earshot. He was in his own world until I did. He got up from the chair and marched around for a bit. I felt bad for deliberately offending him but I’d never seen him react to anything other than smokes and coffee. I guess I was just trying to get him to say something… It didn’t work.)

Brain stem clip (loop)

I find myself on the floor again. I kick myself one more time.
Brittle and unkind. No intent towards others just to my own expectations and desires.
I need to want the things I already have.

I’ve got to draw a line between things out of my control and my own thoughts and actions.

I’ve got part of my brain exposed to the world. It’s a strand. A cord. Red raw. Sensitive doesn’t go far enough.
There’s a clip on it. I’m feeling the pressure, hearing external noise amplified.
I need to make distinction between incoming sounds and outgoing frequencies.
Without this filter there is just unsynchronised resonant discord.

Detach the clasp. Ease the pain. It’s not my fault. I can handle this now.

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You climbed a tree and looked down at me.

You spoke with your face.

I could see. You weren’t happy at all.

I had risen my voice. It didn’t feel like my choice.

I walked away. Like this was a play.

But this was no act.

You didn’t want to know. What you already knew.

My temper had torn our bond apart. Left holes in our hearts.

So I wrote to you. ‘We can see this through.’

There was nothing to see.

You built yourself a new home. A new start.

So in the heat I lay. Wishing for a new day. By the tree where you looked down at me.

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Time makes the highs low and the lows high.

The esteemed are just the flavour of the month. Change occupies all.

Ambition at an all time low but I feel bliss sat next to a cat.

Adapt to the situation don’t try to change it to fit you.

Water dips and flows into every crevice of the rocky sea shore but is slowly shaping the hard, strong cliff wall.

If you are like that, you are life sustaining, the lowest of low, making all those around you feel high.

Feed your friends and treat them well and they will return the favour. A painted glass teardrop can mean a thousand things. It can be treasure. It can be crap. The value is not in the pieces you hold; it is inside of you.

A tic is an sudden, repetitive, voluntary response to an unwanted urge. It is our way of measuring time.

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Sitting by the lake. You are by my side. Looking at the cotton sky mirrored in the fisherman’s playground; a thought enters my head. I turn to you to whisper my idea but you are not there.

I watch the grass grow at the side of my blanket. Bees and flies pass by; secure in the summer’s plentiful bounty. I can’t help but feel powerless. Possibilities number too many and decisions too far away.

A cold breeze blows so I pack up my things. Leaving all as it was. If I could get you here would you even share this pleasure that hits my chest. Short and sharp, painful like a spasm, yet warm and reassuring. I feel better.

I thought I heard your voice but it is just a bird alarmed that I am nearby. Walking on the way back I see a kaleidoscope of colour on the graffiti mural on the side of the shop. I am steps away from you and my heart begins to pound.

Key in the door and the room lights up. Cat greetings with a purr and demand for food. Although just a roof over my head; the place smells of comfort. This is your welcome and I am back inside you once more. I am home.

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Take me away from this night sky I’ve inhabited for so long.

Withstanding wind and all kinds of atmospheric tension.

A shout from my past scars seeping works of sap into being.

I will leave a bare branch but it is in my bark my legacy lies.

Textured hope and virtue exceeding a butterfly’s beat.

Leaving the deceptive darkness let me live through the pure spring breeze.

A two fold cycle we’ll ride until we are within each other.

Laying my roots down in your garden. I’m sorry if I’m irresponsible.

I feel like I’m dreaming. Stable and still. In silence I’ll think of you.

Trying not to upset your environment. I’ll breathe oxygen if you need it.

Will I get visiting wildlife? Maybe that will change my course. Certainty is distant.

Cold comes from the North and East in these parts. Memories will come and go.

The sun can heal your trauma. I don’t want to cause you to suffer.

Though trees bleed and leaves fall down life pushes us forward again and again.

Is it enough to share and appreciate the good things that happen?

Endings are inevitable. As the new day rolls in; I do not know what will be.

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I fear few know you. But what it is to be known? To hold faith that this dream is no dream at all. Possibly.

Your golden potential unravels day by day. An untouched block of wood being carved notch by notch. It is my melancholy pleasure to watch this process. It gives me life.

Such a gift is yours to give. But does it loosen our ties or make them stronger? That depends on my stubborn mind. My ongoing boredom and hypnotic drudge.

I want some motivation to continue my activity. You provide this. I am receptive in spurts. Like a bird flying high for a view I leave the shackles of this land momentarily. Wishing you were up here with me, you are, you are the sky.

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(I want you to tear this to shreds.)

* * *

I can be your nothing. The thing in your life that doesn’t really matter. A background feeling. An underlying thought pattern. A goose with orange striped eyelashes.

While your everything comes and goes I am there. Washing dishes on a cold day. A cooling breeze on a hot one. Repositioning things on the mantle. A horned lemon with a sweet sweet tangy syrup dressing.

With all the potential I stay still; rarely showing any form. A shadow flickering in candlelight. The feeling of ‘what shall I do now?’ An unexpected hand gesture. A silken scarf with an image of Delia Derbyshire riding a resplendent golden moose represented by colourful sequins.

My best friend

What is this chaos?
I didn’t choose to be born.
What is happening?
I see patterns that are destined to go awry.

My brain is not clear and calm.
Driven by a predetermined tick.
Pushing through the things I do and am going to do.
An addiction is holding on: Don’t stop me yet.

These stories start with a moment of intense change.
Curves flatten out and plateau.
You can be the catalyst for me to refresh.
A starting point in every moment lived.

To feel loved is to forgive yourself.
The guilt the blame the shame.
Start again and learn.
A wobbling cycle where the circles slowly get more unstable.

What is this chaos?
A dream. Nothing more.
What is happening?
Something worth experiencing.

A pleasant rant

I want to share my feelings with someone. My cat isn’t the most receptive… He was lovely this morning though. Laying next to him at night is nicer than laying next to no one. He follows me around and looks after me. He’s a good boy. Sorry this has already gone off at a tangent.

I miss holding someone. Just feeling another person’s warmth. If you were here I’d hug you as much as I could.

Life here is not idyllic. It’s grim… but the noise of burglar alarms and police cars, smashing glass and drunken kids is sporadic against the constant chirping chatter of the sparrows and the starlings. The regular sound of the passing buses is synced with my internal clock. The sound of the gears shifting down, the rumble of the engine, the hissing brakes and doors opening is like a regular tick of a clock in my head.

Not far away are rugged hills home to lizards, bees, butterflies, herds of deer and endless moorland. Once hallowed ground built upon by bronze age people, it has evolved through attempts at farming, transport, water management but now rests as wild land.

I’d love to take you on a walk around here. To have you see what I see. Smell what I smell. Feel what I feel. I hope to one day soon when we are both well and happy.