Paper crowns

Metal hearts and paper crowns.
I anoint you in the night.
Deep when the blackness washes the walls.
That’s when no one can see.
No eyes to validate or void your divine right.
Over me.
Under my benediction which tiptoes into your skull.
Preciousness weighs on our fingers now.
Consequence hangs in our soul.
And as the yokey morn cracks over your eyes.
It may all disappear into the dream.
And buried by the burdens of the day.
I shall lay, to be haunted and spent.
Your prince, left in a pauper’s grave.

Silent shores

4am as the world whispers me awake.
All is calm as the night travels in my veins still.
I slept the day away.
Rubbing the tiredness and memories from my eyes.
Half a world resting in my heart from where I started.
Right where I belong.
The veil is yet to be lifted from my shaded stay.
Talking to me still from the past in a language familiar.
Talks of entangled vines and harkening songs.
A call of the kookaburra who rests on my eyelids.
The red land beneath my feet.
Sticking to me like sand on wet skin.
Rub away these English oaks. This chitter of festivity.
Don’t lead me blind with your patriotic tales.
Colour me sunlit gold and let me sleep.
Crying into the night and drifting away on the tide.
Waking on a shore I pray that I do not recognise.

The Near and the dear

“You shouldn’t be here.” The voice said, slinking off the icy walls.

She stopped then; her feet dug into the powdery snowfall beneath her. The cavern was cold and church like, hanging with an air similarly divine. She shivered, something dislodging itself in her mind with it, and she went across to the glassy wall. A light was twinkling, dully beneath the sheets of ice.

“I’m not there, I’m here.” The voice said, and the light flittered away, through the ice and across the roof of the cavern. She watched it dance, moving with ease and speed, growing in intensity. It started to move away from her then, and she began to follow it; her boots sinking into the snow which seemed to be getting deeper and deeper the further she went.

“You shouldn’t be here, not again.” The voice called out, echoing all around her.

She hurried on, the light sprinkling across the cavern like stardust. She could see a distant light, growing brighter and brighter now and she raced towards it. Her palms were sweaty and itchy in the gloves that kept the cold out. Her breath was laboured. When was the last time she’d even had to run? In that dream, that one where she was chasing that train that was leaving the station. She’d been late, and they’d been early. She had been sad and they had been happy. She never caught it, and watched it snake away into the distance, travelling over watery rails.

“Ow!” She yelled, catching her feet on a rock in her path. She stumbled forward, falling into the wall which smashed all around her like fragile spun sugar. The light burst in and she had to steady herself and her soul to the sight before her.

“Don’t look!” the voice from before came, this time pressing with more urgency.

But look she did, how could she not. The colour and the noise swept her in. A wave of nostalgia and happiness washed inside her mind. A Christmas tree stood in the room, decorated in all the splendour of her youth. The tacky tinsel and lopsided angel atop the tree seemed to glisten, hazed in a gauzy sheen that told her this must be a dream. But her foot ached and her breath was heavy, and she knew it was real. That unlocked something in her, something she didn’t allow to grow for fear it would consume.

A family Christmas, the presents under the tree. 1988, she knew that one well. She knew that was the Ghostbuster’s proton pack there, wrapped up in the green and gold paper. She’d begged all year for that. Christmas songs began to drift into the space, the room filling now with ghostly images of people, bleeding out of the air. Her mother, her father sitting on the sofa, the one with the frayed pink covers that only her mother loved. Her sister and brother, sat on the floor. Scoffing chocolates as they moved the presents chaotically into piles. She smiled, an inner warmth glowing as the memories came back to her now, not just of that Christmas, but all the ones of her youth.

“Stop, please. Do not go on. You shouldn’t be here Jessie.” The voice startled her.

The scene hung there then for a moment, a glitch in the space as if someone had paused and the nun-paused a tape.

“Why?” She yelled back, surprised by her own strength.

The starlight she had followed along the cave now dusted itself from above her, floating down in a form that shifted before her eyes.

“You know why, you know why you cannot go back.” The voice said. Jessie thought the shape was moulding into a hand, reaching out to her, but as she blinked it suddenly scattered, floating all around her like divine motes. Her itchy gloves began to feel very tight suddenly, and she looked at her hands to discover that they were shrinking, and turning pink. Little cat eyes were appearing at the tips. Her feet then began to feel trapped and pushed, and as she looked there too, she noticed her boots had shrunk into trainers; the ones she’d had as a kid. She lifted her left foot, and there underneath the base, a secret key that her favourite trainers had; hidden and fun.

“Jessie, please. Before it’s too late.” The voice implored.

Smack!

Jessie plummeted to the floor, the force dazing her. A smack again, this time on her bum. She’d been turned over, and the force smacked and whacked her. She screamed out, but nothing came. Only the sound of the Christmas music echoed around, jingling in the festive fever. She knew then what was coming. It was as if a box had been opened inside her, and out flew the dark shadowy ghosts of the past. She felt the floor to the side of her fall away, and the stairs appear. She turned away from it, she knew what it was. But a force smacked her again and she turned back to see the stairs, her old house. Down at the bottom the glow of the Christmas lights they’d had around the front door.

“Jessie, I’m so sorry. You shouldn’t have come back here.” The voice pitilessly came, but by then she knew what was coming.

Her hair was yanked, her face stung from a slap which seemed to tickle her teeth. The tears had washed down her face already, though no sound came; she could hear the cries and the pain that they brought back.

A glance quickly, her sister peering at her door frame. Younger, scared; her hand biting her thumb as she prayed for it all to be over. And then it came, the freefall and the momentary freedom.

It was the Christmas lights, the ones tacked up around the front door. Not many, only around twenty. She had been with her mother when she’d bought them, a bargain really, in the Woolworth’s new year sale. They hadn’t had new decorations for years, having sentimental ones passed on by the family mostly. These multicoloured ones reflected in their eyes as they stared at her, wondering if they had gone too far this time. She had closed her own, the lights staining the black space behind with seasonal joy as her body burst with fresh pain and sadness.

Through the gaps in her memory and shuddering aches, the sound of panic and concern made way for the Christmas music to gently take her away.

And so this is Christmas (war is over), and what have we done (if you want it)….

Gravitate to grief

Listen to this episode.


Watching the clouds roll over the sky outside my window, I can’t but think the world is changing to fit my mood. My consciousness seeping out of this skin and manifesting my universe. If only I were that powerful. An alchemic touch to turn the things that are as cold as stone and black as coal, to a wondrous gold.

I touch the place, where my heart used to be. Wondering where this chasm came from. Wondering why it was taken. This wondering keeps me from other things; making copious cups of tea, looking at pictures of you; dancing that kitchen knife across my wrists. (Bury me where you find me)

Nothing has begun to matter. The phone has rung insistently on and off all day. Souls looking for connection. Checking in on me, to see if I’m okay; to check if I haven’t done anything silly. To save me from myself. Silly was always my nature.

I watch the clouds more as they roll on and war with one another. I used to look for things in the cloud patterns. Their bursting explosions that would turn into animals or faces. I don’t see anything there now that I wish to see. Now I only want to tear my eyes out. To stop viewing a world I wish to have no part of. A world without you, is not something I want to be within. It tore my heart out that day. The departure day I have come to know it. Wednesday…. why not?

My skin aches and my head is heavy. I feel gravity’s pull now more than ever. The sad disposition is not my usual sensibility. Hope could always be found by the turning of a page, the rolling of a new day, and beyond the heartache. But someone has drained the colour from my life and washed it with a headache grey. Placed it on repeat.

I pretend to be asleep when they come over. The ones whose phone calls failed to find an audience. Their good intentions on the other side of yesterday grow faint. Like a voice in the distance calling me back. They mean well, and I love them. They have gone through the same, the similar. The maddening familiar. I smile and nod as they place the flowers and rearrange the plates. Not noticing that all the flowers will be scorched now. They do not see that I am breaking away. This recalibration to a life I was apathetic to before, is really me crumbling into something else. Something so selfishly encompassing even God will not forgive.

Sleep. I need this.

You. I want that.

I smash my inner skull open and dive into memories of you. The smell of your collar bone and the way you used to wear me out. A side glance as you cheat at scrabble. Everything there is central. So certain like the rain. This skull begins to crust over, covering those memories with the sickening smell of death. Like being trapped in a tiny kitchen and burning the toast. These memories catch fire and smoulder, choking me and making my eyes water.

They come around again, touching me while I dream and sweeping away the reflections of myself.

Piece by piece they pick me up. I put myself back together. Banging once more on the doors of heaven but turned away. Shivering out the cold of my core. Watching as the bruises heal and the days fade into years. I will not be the ghost that haunts this space. I will not be the body on your hands that weighs you down. I will be the scar on the surface of life, with empty eyes; replaced with tiny pebbles. Taken from the river of remorse.

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