Roam

He left the fires burning.
Embers alight still in his eyes.
Yet leave, was his calling.
The gulf of the divide, in a way, brought them closer.
He’d settled under their sky too long.
Scratched and irritated them like an unending itch.
The world called him, the only answer he had; was to leave.
So as the flames licked, he skipped away.
Pulling his bones to soil that was untouched.
Unstained by the smiles of those he loved.
Isolation sleeps with the lonely.
A mind strong, only in grave defiance.
The scars would begin to stretch in time.
As home, became a stranger’s word.
A poison on their tongue.
To roam, in a caravan of one’s own.
Satisfaction for the lonely.
Where his heart could not pull.
But to convulse in spasmodic frets.
Pulling him in all directions.

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Border-lining-absent

She waited in the rain.
Caught between do or die.
Flee or fight.
Choking on decisions, each one bitter.
She watched as the world collapsed.
As the people fragmented into another time.
Small pockets of clouds like hurried breath in the cold.
Her feet were once rooted to the ground.
But he chopped that tree of life down.
Digging out all that treasure she had buried when she was young.
And now she alone and penniless.
Older and empty.
Not for what was stolen, but for what he had left behind.

Late night tale

What will be your legacy?

The earth will continue to turn over as the day melts into the misty night of the lonely. The seasons, with all their trappings will parade through time like compartments on a train; heading for an unknown destination but one that feels familiar.

What will you leave behind Jack, to a world already brimming with forgotten stories? Of people who have already done things that you crave to accomplish. Your life sits in the valley of the forever reaching, watching the clouds pass that offer hope and rain.
He held the phone to his ear, the ringing echoing in his skull like a voice in a seashell. He drew a pattern on his shorts as he awaited the click, the delayed static before they spoke. Looking outside his window he could see the half-moon poking its jagged edge above the trees. The clouds fluttered over it, shielding its full brilliance and illumination. Holding back the hope, and the light that didn’t even belong to it. The moon was a thief after all, growing infamous off the sun’s illumination.

“Hello?” the voice answered, the tinge of annoyance already present.
“Hi, how are you?” Jack said, clicking his fingers. He was nervous and angry; which had always been a dangerous mix.
“Fine….” they replied before following with “…you?” God forbid they be rude to the others listening. God watches all after all.

Even the devil? Jack wondered in that moment, as the moon ascended the top of the trees now and glared fully for the first time.

“I’m okay thanks. I was wondering if you wanted to talk?” He asked, trying his best to sound inviting, make his voice something that would open up the soul that had shut him out for nearly a week now. He knew it was a stretch, his feigned reassurance always came across as hostile for some reason, like razorblades in candy bars badly hidden.

“Not really.” They replied. He could hear music down the line, cutting the awkward silence that would be building now like a monstrous hill.
“That’s a shame. I thought by now you would have had time to think, and perhaps something to say to me. You know, you’re not being very fair.” Jack said, his voice stayed level. He was annoyed, it had been going on too long now. The uncertainty was eating away at his impatience, combusting his state of mind.

“Well, I’ve kinda said it all already. What else is there to say?” No remorse, no softly spoken words to reassure. Just the cutting knife of the reality that he had feared all along. Did they know how many nights that week he had cried into the pillow that their head used to sink into?  The smell of their hair long since gone. It had been ages since they had stayed over. A month and a war in the space of their relationship which was now halting, wheezing and ready to collapse into the river of time that pulled all things away.

He wanted to shake their head and heart, unhook the kindness that seemed to have been placed behind iron walls and stony facades. He knew these words betrayed their real feelings. How many times had they said they loved him, how many times? Less than he had ever uttered a nasty voice spat inside his own head. His mind had been a petri dish of all ill thoughts and worse case scenarios this past week. Suspicion breeding like virus as self-doubt was on the rise.

“I want you to say, you’re sorry I guess.” He blurted out suddenly, regretting it instantly but proud somewhat he had said it at all.

“Sorry?! Me?” the voice replayed, taken aback by such an innocent requests which echoed unwelcomingly in their own private world of self-preservation and denial.

“Yes, you’ve not been kind to me. You know how I feel, and you know what buttons to push.” He said.

There was a long silence, the music in the background having been turned off momentarily before. The break hung like Christmas decorations in March, out of place and conjuring conflicting memories.

“I’m…I’m sorry Jack.”

He was surprised, then overcome with panic. It was the goodbye he feared. The closure they needed and the thing he had orbited around. He had given them the ticket to depart and leave him forever. A clear conscience can flee with ease, and freedom only helps you say goodbye.

How long he had stayed on the phone, he didn’t remember. They must have clicked off a while ago as the moon now indicated to him the night had come. The darkness was here, nothing more now, and the nights were to be cold and desolate.

It always rains in my memory

I never let the weeds grow there, but the vines took hold.
Choked out the light and freedom for us both.
That place, darkening now the harder I remember.
You said you’d always meet me there.
Where the street and the sorrow fell away.
Reach for me you said, and you can touch my face.
The essence of divinity here on earth.
Now you shimmer like a diamond, caught in the empty space of time.
Untouchable, yet desired. Clouded by invisible hands.
I always smiled in these places. These foggy bits of the past.
You did that. You put this thing in me that forced the change.
Drew the happiness out like an antidote to sadness.
The weighting of you, and the love that cocooned.
But you have departed on the winds of indifference.
Blown out to sea, lost forever in the sinking ship of us.
In the darkness which suffocates and strangles.
Leaving me conscious, but only just; to see the wreck I’ve made.
And now, it always rains in my memories.
Blanketing my world in water.
But nothing ever washes away.

Elle va bien

ELLE VA BIEN

 

They jostled onto the train that had arrived with a clankering commotion at the station. The vaulted tiled ceiling of the underground station swirled with the sound of metal, tannoy announcements and tourist hubbub. They train had emptied somewhat, spilling out its human cargo which shuffled towards the luminous sortie signs, the basic words even foreigners understood. Ingrained from childhood French lessons and the trappings of travel. They were able to get seats as the train pulled away and snaked into the belly of the city, passing tunnels and bones of the long forgotten.

The seats were as hard as wood, worn down from millions of asses thankful of somewhere to rest for the short journeys between stations. They were heading down towards Saint-Marcel and thankful too to be getting away from the crush and pull of the touristy hotspots. They watched the other passengers engrossed in smart phones, conversations and anxieties of potentially going the wrong direction. Passengers on life’s train of happenstance.

Opposite them sat a lady, listening to her headphones and glancing off into the train. Looking, but searching for nothing. Her brown hair fell around her face, framing her like a motionless portrait typical of those seen meters above in the many museums dotting the city. She sat motionless, listening to her music as the train swayed and hummed down the line. The only movement was a collection of tears that suddenly began to build and breach, trickling down her face. They watched as she tilted her head down, blinking away the collection of tears and emotions that had appeared. One of them jabbed the other in the side, bringing attention to the scene before them in case it was not being seen or felt for the degree that it was. The audience of empathy which was required. He reached inside his pocket and took out a tissue, hoping it was clean. The crinkles indicated it had been with him all day, but looked devoid of anything unpleasant.

He reached across and gently touched her arm. She looked up, surprised. “Are you okay?” he asked, hoping his eyes spoke to a level beyond the language required. She nodded and mumbled words of appreciation, taking the tissue and dabbing her eyes. A small smile appearing at the corner of her mouth, her eyes shaking away an embarrassment that wasn’t necessary.

She looked above her finding the line map, a tiny yellow light indicated they were at Bastille. The train usually emptied a lot here, and she glanced around seeing those exiting and ones awaiting to board. Her hand found the phone in her pocket and she skipped the track on her music. Her mind was suddenly taken elsewhere as her heart skipped a beat, and the chaos around her ebbed away. It had never been ‘their song’, but it was always one that had reminded her of them. The lyrics so seemingly fitting for what they had, what had burrowed inside of her and warmed her soul. She did not notice the two guys sit down opposite her, the limited space between where their knees nearly met. She was off elsewhere, hearing laughter and smelling them on her bedsheets.

The train jerked, and though she stayed in her memory, it shifted along with the train. It had all crumbled, corroded only yesterday. Smashed liked a teetering tea cup on the edge of a kitchen counter. She could understand things not working right now, she could even acknowledge the arguing. But those had been usual relationship problems. To be told you were no longer needed, that you were no longer welcome in their life. That was what had hurt. She could deal with the packing up of possession and the moving on. Going into work the next day as routine propelled her forward. But she could not take the hurt that had ignited within, perhaps lying dormant for the inventible. That she was never the one, she could no longer make them happy. All that she had to offer, came up short. All those reasons she had told herself why she was inadequate rang out to be real in a horrible realisation of truth, a view she had shielded her eyes from, like looking at the sun. It had swallowed her, submerged her in a grey that clung to her like oil.

Putting on her work clothes, combing her brown hair. Seeing the day instead of cowering in her bed like she wanted. The feeling of detachment and lack lay upon her, making her feel that no one really cared for her in this world. If she turned up to work or not; nothing really mattered in a way. The tears welled and broke forth, streaming down her cheek in a warm river. She had forgotten she was on the metro. Her mother would have been ashamed to see her show such emotion in public, but she did not realise. Too consumed in grief and self-piety that she found herself deep beneath the streets of Paris on a Metro train that ran all day, every day. Until she felt something nudge her arm, softly yet foreign. She looked up surprised to see a small tissue and concerned smiles greet her. She nodded a thanks and was able to cough up “Merci, je vais bien,” and she smiled slightly, knowing it was true.

They grey was still within her, but in that moment a tiny part had turned to white.

Nuclear shadows

I cannot unwind the clock in my skull.
The ticking over time that set all the world ablaze.
Who knew the day, when the sky darkened.
And fate eclipsed my heart.
Those running for cover.
Scattering like pebbles on a beach.
Lapped by a sea of hatred.
I cling to the groceries in my hand.
Fruit, dehumidified in my grasp.
Turning into mummies like the bodies nearby.
Burnt in an undignified splendour.
What escaped hell that day?
Let loose by righteous souls who knew better.
A holy war into the mouth of the devil.
As the fire crinkled in the sky, it burnt down upon us.
Imprinting my soul into the pavement where I stood.
Nuclear shadows, snapped like the sun shuttering.
God, turning his head away and closing his eyes.
The light of an age, swimming around those that twinkled inside.
But how soon those lights were gone.

26

Twenty five of them, she’d counted as they’d sung Happy Birthday in the small restaurant that they insisted was her favourite. The other candle must have dropped off somewhere, or the staff at establishment had been given false information. Exasperated by their inclination to not really care. But there they were now, twenty five of them standing up in the frosty platform as her friends and family chorused in with the jubilation. She smiled patiently, looking at the other couples in the place staring at her in quiet satisfaction that it were she that were the spectacle.

The song ended, and they all applauded as she blew out the misleading twenty five burning flames that represented her life on the planet. She hadn’t done it for years, but this time she made a wish while she blew, closing her eyes to make them all disappear for her small moment of intimacy with the universe. The applause died down and she blinked back into reality, reaching for her glass to silently toast her desire. The cake was whisked away from her by the staff, to be dissected for all in attendance, and listened to the others at the table talking about their own progressive years and the fear of reaching thirty, or forty; or whichever milestone society had pegged out for them all to have achieved a certain thing by.

Her mother asked if she’d had a nice time so far. She sat there next to her in her one good dress, or so it seemed, the one she saved for extra special occasions. She had spilt a little something on it up by her neckline, a drip from the red wine she had eagerly been enjoying that evening. She wondered if it would come out, or if this were its swan song evening. She nodded in reply, saying something about having a lovely time and how nice it was everyone could make it.

It was a half-truth really. Though she appreciated the effort all had made, she would have been happy spending the evening at home. She drew a circle of eight on the tablecloth as her mother returned to her friend whom she’d brought with her that evening. Circling around the small stain of her own that had bled into the white landscape that stretched out before her. Her boyfriend squeezed her knee, chatting animatedly with her friend Paul next to him who had turned up late, pushing himself into a space at the head of the tiny table.

She sighed, and took another sip from her glass. It was already 10pm, and she could hear people talking about ordering another round and some coffees to go with her cake. She picked up the small travel journal that lay on the table behind her, a gift she’d opened earlier from her sister who couldn’t be there that evening since she was on the other side of the world. She’d sent her a small, yet expensive looking journal, tied up with old flight tickets from her own exhaustive travels around the planet. She opened it up, noticing a small message at the front:

“Time waits for no (wo)man”

Typical of her, she’d thought, and reached behind to put the book back onto the pile of gifts and treats everyone had nicely brought with them. She sat there again, quietly watching the others. For her own celebration, no one had really spoken to her much that night. She seemed liked a stranger at her own party, lost in crowd of noise, feeling like a spectator to someone else’s play.

She had work in the morning, and she was getting tired. She spotted Katy; her friend from the office who had come with her girlfriend and sat the other side of the table. Laughing and drinking with such ease. Unlike Katy, she hated her job, which she’d started about six months ago and had been miss-sold from the start at what it would entail. The office was grey and dull, and their building was tucked away on the side of town that bled into the industrial estate. She had promised everyone she would look for something else, but hadn’t done so yet; owing herself the biggest apology for being so lazy. Her boyfriend squeezed her knee again, his constant sign of being both there and absent as he drank his beer and chatted with her friend whom, she could tell already, had hastily becoming intoxicated.

The cakes arrived back at the table, the waiting staff smiling as they placed the tiny plates in front of the guests and took orders for more drinks. She pushed her chair back, about to excuse herself, when she realised either side of her were both consumed in their own conversations, so she said nothing. She apologised to a waiter as she accidently bumped into her, nearly sending the birthday slice high up into the air; and made her way towards the bathroom. She stopped, only for a second, and then walked straight passed it.

She left the restaurant, and out into the cold night air where she exhaled deeply, standing on the street. A few other diners stood by the door, sending their smoke swirling around the door like a revolving dragon. She stood there herself now, still in the night with her arms down by her side. Her fingertips moving to a secret rhythm only she could hear. She turned to glance into the restaurant, its glass steamed up slightly due to the dropping temperature outside. She watched as all at her table continued on their merry gathering, laughing and enjoying themselves.

“Avant que ça ne se produise.” She muttered under her breath, and started up the street, in the wrong direction to home.

Too cold for snow

Caught in the teardrop, that’s trapped in time.
Shivering into something unfamiliar.
These bite marks plague me still.
Itching my skin like memories.
If you just let me go.
Watch me walk into that dying star.
Into the fire.
So encased in fear. This icy realm of apathy.
Too hurt to start again.
Too tired of being tired.
Looking at the grey sky in your eyes as you whisper.
It’s too cold for snow.

Embark on erasing

Erasing the love, no time to argue.
I was always alone in this, now the broken hearts magnetise themselves to me.
Please, flow in another direction.
If the pain doesn’t kill me then your apologies will.
Hold your head high, fill it with promise.
I don’t know what I mean anymore.
Words leave chalky marks on my tongue and holes in your heart.
Too much time to question these directions.
Part of it lies, part of it hope.
I throw them into the sky, hoping the sun will swallow them.
Burn out these thoughts and throw a different shadow upon me.
This day is done, and all is fading.
Set sail on a sea of illusion, taking on water, lifting the anchor of you.

Dig

I’ve played the part.
Guilt smeared like oil. Puncturing the lungs and mind.
It dissolved my heart that day to watch you cry.
Disappearing in sulphurous tears, staining your soul.
Touching you, like waking a dream. The hummingbird in my eyes.
The chaos theory on my fingertips. Fragile and strong like a butterfly.
It all fades to black, the soil covers my words.
Ashes to ashes. Wrong to right.
Strung up in the departure. Floating down to the caves below.
Descending in my ascent to acceptance.
The quietening of me.
Dig.
In a few years from now. A million heartbeats from here.
Dig.
Through the oil and coal of time. Passed petrified carnivores and wounded lovers.
And find my bones.
Bleached and mangled, the marrow eaten away.
A Skeleton soul for you to embrace.
East to west, my heart lolled into your direction.
Preserved in time.
Reviving the relic of me.

Stacey’s friend

Stacey Stacey, with golden hair.
Three years old, and without a care.
Into the garden, down the path.
With a jump and a skip, out came a small little laugh.
She chased all the squirrels, and sang with the birds.
Muddied her clothes, and watched the cat while she purred.
For alone in the garden, Stacey found such joy.
Away from the anger, her parents, and toys.
The house always heaved, and weighted her down.
A trial separation, her father the clown.
Yet here in the garden, she was among friends.
The fish and frogs, in the pond round the bend.
This bright afternoon, while the social worker hovered.
She found a small butterfly, broken and bothered.
She picked up her new friend and cupped in her hands.
It quivered so slightly, like a small rubber band.
She tried to be quiet, it must be having a nap.
Peaking in through her fingers, to see beauty trapped.
But the butterfly was dying, having suffered a fatal blow.
The hand of a three year old, thrashing in her merry flow.
A tiny little creature, all alone in the world.
Dangerously surrounded by such chaos that swirled.
It fluttered once more then folded and faded.
Leaving the earth, so young and so jaded.
Stacey watched on, waiting for it to spring back up.
She wanted to dance with it by the daisies and buttercups.
Yet after a while, she seemed to understand.
So she buried the butterfly, by the pond in the sand.
And there she left her friend, encased with a tear.
The day she lost beauty, and found only fear.