Category Archives: Poems

Underpants

Sliding down a valley.
Falling through a hole.
Tumbling over and over.
Dropping further.
Lower and lower.
Next to my broken ankles.

Underpants.

The Greatest Slumber

Sleeping on green sheets, under two warm duvets, and a thick woollen blanket.
Me and my cat are mutual hot water bottles.
Serenity is in my body but my mind is distracted by the muffled radio sounds through the wall.
A double is fine but a bigger bed is an aspiration; indeed.

Heat trapped radiating in and around us.
The day’s gone contents being chewed up gently in my head.
Fleeced of a rest by some fool shouting next door.
He turns up the radio to drown himself out.

There’s always someone else but you can be settled where you are.
Until the next trawler dredges up old bedded muck.
I’ve never been as certain although at a distance is it both easy and hard.
Letting myself drift into fantasy I notice a change.

Voices cease; a radio off.

The greatest slumber will be here soon.

Framing the picture

Trying to assess how I am
I frame a snapshot of my mind
Cropping out bits to make a good scene
This is how my sanity will unwind

An overreaching attempt to grasp a hot mug
Spillage and pain
A needed drink wasted
I put my head above a burst water main

A sea of movement
An elaborate dance
Feeling between us
Keep us entranced

Monotonous duty
I work to some trance
In vogue so I vogue
I take my chance

This Morning ITV1

Next to a holly tree
The silver fox sat on the forest floor
Hungrily thinking about visiting the chicken farm nearby
For there worked the raven haired girl

The woods were on a hillside
So the fox skulked down to the low field where the farm belonged
Roosting crows flew from the canopy branches as he rustled past below
He made his way to the field verge

It was winter and all the girls were glowing in the biting cold
By the damp wooden shelter he saw the Little Soph with the midnight hair
Soph of the field would smuggle eggs for her silver furred friend
Just as he came to collect his treat there was a colossal bang!

Down by the small piers at the side of the river
There was a pompous buffoon shooting at the birds in the sky
He wanted their shiny things hidden away in their nests
Neither he nor they had the generosity of Little Soph

At the sound of the calamity Soph and the fox made their way down
The blustering fool by the piers was so involved in himself he didn’t hear them
The silver fox barked and growled and so shook was the man
That his feet fell before him into the air above the slippy water’s edge

Splash! He had blundered in a massive way
Wet and cold from head to toe in icy mire
Soph laughed and fed the silver fox some eggs
So the fox went back to the holly tree where he spent the morning content and well fed

A quick decline

My hyper sensitivity and extreme resilience are two sides of the same coin.

I have a lot of those coins.

I should learn to flip on demand.

Instead I want to spend them all on you.

As all my constituent parts condense into one.

As all memories of myself are gone and forgotten.

I learn the best days were the worst days

And the hardest days were the easiest.

Everything speeds up

Spinning slowly

Then faster

And faster.

Stillness.

The end

Concentration

For times longer than I have known.

They predate on our emotions.

Feeding, gorging upon our fear.

Confusion they spread.

Misinformation is read.

They want us to believe in them.

We cannot. We have our sense, logic, and hope.

With that we fight back against it all.

We’re left alone with our books

Alone with our music

Our art. Our reality.

Alone with ourselves

Alone with the truth

Of all we can do.

So we listen and we listen.

Putting mind over mood.

Living every second.

Helping as many as we can.

Stably crazy

I listen to the whispers from the rocks. “Don’t step on me. Step on the soil; it is silent.” The soil cannot speak but would it complain if it could?

The grass here grows long. Thick and dense. Stems snap and screams; more screams fill my head.

Should your voice be different? Of course, but it isn’t, at least, not always. You say “hi”. I can’t hear myself think which is just as well. I’m scared of what I might be saying.

The cars go past my window far too fast. “Honk honk honk” someone toots. I cannot see out but it has been raining. I can hear the tyres slice up the water with a harsh crescendo that diminishes into the distance.

Leaves are falling. That’s nice.

I am writing nonsense again. Good. What to say? What to do?

Why I am breathing so loud? I sleep still. All but for the bellows squeezing back and forth. Until I turn and turn and turn.

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.

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.

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.)

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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.