Underneath where the soul lingers.
Light scrapes away all hurt and pain.
And in its place, by gentle fingers.
The ghost of me tries to reframe.
A version of me you will remember.
For underneath you feel the same.
Through wanderings of a hallowed heart.
Untie the science while the rain comes.
Let the silence smother you.
Or little taps of life, crash on your skin.
Blanketing this world in a quiet monsoon.
Layering and prevailing over all before.
Let it seep into those muddy bones.
Purify and personifying a state of being.
Fresh like holy water.
Stinging the sins like acid.
Drown and choke underneath those silent waters.
A vast tide that you wash over me.
Those days that were always numbered.
The borrowed time and delicious decay.
How sour those words met my mouth.
When I asked you to leave.
Tying my tongue into confused states.
Separate systems and traumatic time zones.
A flight into a new world.
Where the clouds coughed around me.
And the skylarks sung our demise.
God raining down sad tears.
That had been building for some time.
To sleep, in a dream that never wakes.
Flying on stars and tears tonight.
Lay me down.
Into the air or the earth.
For that is where my soul seeks silence.
Covered for a hundred years, a thousand tears.
Rusted and weak.
Lay me down, to sleep.
And tell me stories of the future.
A harkening of new truths.
When this time has died into a yesterday.
I will wake and drink the world in again.
TAKEN Everyday nightmares – OUT NOW
What did they tell you about this future?
While the TV played on and you half listened.
This heart you mangled and molded.
These flowers died a long time ago.
Who is to blame?
Your fake departure, when your heart wasn’t in it.
Made all too easy for you.
Red letter days and disappointments. Plastic friends.
Those that melt in the heat while the kitchen burns.
Who dries your eyes now?
Lazarus lies, housewives. Shopping that ego.
Choking on the need to be right.
All those lies have now been tagged.
Selfish. Self-aware. Convenient amnesia.
All built on your version of events.
Apologies now that are forbidden.
Poisonous to the tongue.
Under rug sweeping.
These broken pieces of a person you once knew.
As you blur once more into everybody else.
Dressed in those emotions.
Wore the role you wanted.
Let it drip like turpentine.
You showed me your Jesus scar.
And I cut through the confusion.
You leave me buzzing like a motel sign.
Only you could scratch me that deep.
Rush through me like amphetamines.
What did they say when you returned?
Did you make it feel so numb?
Feasting on cartilage and present tense.
Pronouns and words unspent.
Yet the dark offered such shelter and shadows.
Calling you back to another brilliant night.
Where you looked ahead.
Seeing us there.
Stepping over the bodies of others.
To Look me in the eye.
Celebrate me deep.
They all wanted to be wrong.
Singing up their symphony of sorrow
For a loss that had not yet begun.
Bone and cheek.
Questioning our mortality as you trim the fat.
All conquering weirdos.
Destroying the things they never understood.
Empty and scorched. Your fingerprints all around me.
The metal heart buckles as it burns.
A hollowed out feeling.
A holocaust beginning.
That day you left, the skies got dark.
Which substance feeds this pain?
Gasoline for despair, welled in the pit of truth.
Nuclear burns and white light.
The spreading pain of a headache that never fades.
Brought on by crying deep into the night.
The day masked in the dark. A perpetual darkness.
Here, nothing grows.
Inside the husk, no flowers will bloom again.
This skin is toxic.
This mind now rotten.
And empty shade of loss.
I’m sure you can relate….
Nightmares chapters: NIGHTMARES, DARK, RELATIONSHIPS, SAD, HURT, BODY, PAIN, DEATH, TIME
Miracles chapters: MIRACLES, HAPPINESS, RELATIONSHIPS, INTIMACY, LOVE, PRAYER,
FATE, LIGHT, HOPE
I wish I could believe you. Or at least have the courage to leave you.
Always the same, predictable. She could set her watch by it. Rolling out of bed at four in the morning. The sticky sheets peeling away like unripe fruit. The thick berry, throbbing dehydrated and disorientated in unfamiliar rooms. What was their name? It didn’t matter. She’ll never see them again. She’d never notice them recognise her in the street or walking past the office door clutching a coffee cup. Yet still she came back, time and again. The one.
Don’t look at me like that. I said don’t look at me this way.
Disappointed stares. They dug into her like a scratching animal looking for food. Tearing the skin away and seeing the blood wash underneath. Checking to see if she bled like them, if she had a soul. Sometimes the eyes would ignore her completely. Erasing her like a waft of bad air in from the street, pungent; but hastily dispersed. And despised. She hated those looks the most. They crawled over her, making her invisible. She would smash her wrists against the wall to check she was still whole, that there was something still of her that functioned; that walked and talked and hurled abuse.
And hurled it well. The neighbours had complained of course, those fuckers. The police had even visited. But she could be quite persuasive. ‘Yes officer, no officer. It must have been the TV. Of course, I’ll be more careful in the future. My number? Well, you already know where I live…’
They hated all that. The random encounters. It had been at the centre of most of their fights. She’d said it meant nothing. And of course, it did. She only did it for the attention. Attention that she was missing. Poor little victim. Here comes that pity party.
All those times, what did you think it did to me? I had to look away.
It had never been the same since moving to the city. Some would blame the bright lights, the lure of the sinful. Lust and danger lurking in the shadows of every street corner. If only they knew. The dangers lurked across her office desk. Inside her head. The polite smile in the coffee shop. Already in her mind. She hadn’t changed by coming here, just giving opportunities to pursue her dreams.
Dreams? Is that what it is? Looks like a fucking nightmare to me. You said you’d change for me!
“I know I did, and I tried…. I have. What do you want for me anyway? I’m here aren’t I?” She scratched her skin again just to check. The fading light outside had darkened the room and she had trouble seeing them, even though they were so close. She could smell them. A wash with alcohol and teeth whitener. The mattered hair and the smear of makeup. Who were they to say anything about her?! She worked fucking hard, she let off a little bit of steam at the end of the week. Big deal. ‘You’re not my fucking mother’.
What a disappointment you are to her. She always loved you, you know; despite what you put her through.
That poor woman.
“I said shut up.”
Have you seen that bruise around your eye? The halo that is shining for the devil. That’s not a result of not sleeping or walking into a doorframe. That’s the fear building up inside of you. The darkness pooling like an infection.
She knew others saw it too. When they looked into her eyes now, a chill came over them. Her non-blinking shark eyes. Swimming over the city in survival mode. That, that was what the city had changed in her. Forcing her to keep up with the rest. Go jogging at weekends and drinks after work. Where was the room for her soul to breathe as the miasma of the city choked her lungs and settled permanently in her bones?
She pulled her hair back, feeling the cool air beneath her neck. She knew they liked this.
I want you though. I’ve always wanted you.
She laughed an ugly laugh, full of blackness and mockery. “You want what’s best for us, that’s all. You don’t care about me really. I still have the scars you know, the ones you gave me.”
The itching on her wrists became incessant. Like a bug crawling its way out. Such pretty scars for a pretty girl. A mangled mess of a generation. The hot tap hissed away; she felt the burn on her hands.
It was so easy at the beginning. When you didn’t feel like running away from your feelings.
“Didn’t you hear me? Or don’t you care. Again, and again I scream my thoughts, and you don’t hear.”
What’s the matter? What is it remind you of?
She looked them dead in the eye. A tempest mix of hatred, love and desperation.
I wish I could believe you.
“I wish I could too.”
The low light of the bathroom etched around the corner of the mirror, and the tap she’d turned on began to steam over the glass. Obscuring them from view.
“I wish I had the courage to leave you.”
It had begun to rain, a light drizzle that peppered the people as they walked along Bradley Way. Not the prettiest street in the world, and today it was overcast with a churning grey cloud that dampened the mood and made things ever more ordinary. People walked up and down the road, seeking out the local small supermarket that had opened just last year. It was housed in a former pub, the Bull and horn; the cigarette stained walls and beer marked floors long since ripped out. Outside, the faux Tudor design was kept, hoping the inn-like appearance would entice more customers. But people shopped here anyway out of convenience. The newsagents across the street had closed a year ago also, the owner packed up and moved away after a red Ford escort had rammed into his shop and robbed him late on a Sunday afternoon. Unless you were willing to cross the giant playing field at the back of Ashen road to go to the giant superstore, the pub-turned-metro shop was the easiest option.
Just near to the store was number 46, and though it was starting to rain, Mrs Taylor was found scrubbing the pavement. She had swept and tidied already, and now she was striking the wet brush across the path like she was toiling the earth. She worked with determination, scraping and scrubbing the ground over and over. She never dressed for cleaning. She was made up in her Sunday best, as if she had just gotten back from church. Though the fine rain had settled on her hair, giving it a web like crown, her hair was in place as if she had spent an hour on it. She was an odd sight to those making their way down Bradley road. After a while, she packed up her cleaning materials and went back into her house, number 46, the one with the red door.
It was grey again. It had rained in the morning, and the streets glistened like slumbering snakes. It was Sunday again also, and the local football club had finished their practice over on the giant field. A few kids had wandered off on their way home, stopping in at the local store to grab a drink and some much-needed sugar.
Mrs Taylor watched them as they walked down her road. She was scrubbing again, hot water and bleach burned away at the pavement. The added soapy suds flowed down the kerb and washed up to the drain, down into the darkness. She watched them, and they stared back at her as they walked by. She did not frown; she did not glare. There was no smile on her face either. Just a determination to scrub and wash, and get the job done. By the time the kids exited the store, Mrs Taylor had finished and returned inside her house. She had gone to make herself a cup of tea, her hands stinking of bleach and had become pale. The kids thought no more of her, and carried on their way home, their hands a healthy peach and holding the chocolate bars like tiny swords.
The whole street knew of course. They watched her every week. She used the same bucket, the same brush. She would start by sweeping up the dirt and leaves that had fallen from the huge oak tree that loomed over the garden from number 38. Joyce, who lived with the tree, had never cared form Mrs Taylor. Joyce was a generation away from the woman, and tutted and shook her head to her antics in private. But if she saw her on the street, she would always nod her head in quiet recognition. To which Mrs Taylor would always nod her head slightly back.
It was Sunday again. No rain today. Just thick dark clouds above threatening the worst. A nasty cold breeze blew in from the south, ripping through Bradley Way like an arctic arm reaching from the poles. She resigned herself to a coat today. She had lost more weight than she would care to acknowledge, and her frail body would shiver in the conditions now. Underneath her plum coat, she wore her Sunday best again. The pearls her mother had given her hung over her dress, little eyes gleaming out into the cold. She had also decided to use some gloves, not because of the cold, but because her hands were now so raw from the bleach. She sat at night picking at the loose bits of skin around her fingers, peeling away the hangnails that had appeared, paled underneath from all the toxins. They stung and hurt.
But she did not care. She wanted to carry on, so she used the gloves to keep the feeling in her fingers to get the job completed. To feel the work.
And she scrubbed and rubbed and washed the pavement.
Bundled up against the elements, Mrs Stokes, and her daughter Ivy were walking along the other side of the road. Mrs Stokes lived down on Humber Way, but she knew Mrs Taylor from the primary school morning mums run. She had seen her at the gates with the others, a gaggle of women with their precious little birds waiting for the gates to part.
Ivy watched her as she scrubbed on her hands and knees, the warm water cascading over the lip of the pavement. Ivy broke free of her mother’s hand and crossed the street without looking, going over to Mrs Taylor. Her mum called after her, following her onto the street.
It was quiet that day, few cars littered the road and there was a peaceful calm.
“Hi.’ Ivy said to Mrs Taylor, who looked up from the floor. Her eyes were glassy and tired.
“Hello.” Mrs Taylor replied, friendly. Ivy’s mum came up to them, grabbing her hand.
“Ivy, don’t bother her. Come along, we have to get to the store. And don’t run off like that. I’m sorry.” Mrs Stokes said, looking down at the woman. With that, Mrs Taylor looked off slightly, as if searching the road for something.
“Why are you cleaning the path?” Ivy asked suddenly. They all shivered there in the cold. Ivy’s mum began to pull her away.
“Don’t bother her. I’m so sorry, she’s always curious. Come along Ivy.” Mrs Stokes said, eager to get away.
Mrs Taylor stood then, much more agile than her demeanour would suggest. She popped up like a dog ready for a walk.
“Its fine, kids are curious. I’m just doing a spot of cleaning. The council seem to neglect this part of town, and the road is filthy.” She smiled then, a warm smile as she looked at the little girl. She turned her head slightly, as if she heard something, then turned back towards them.
Mrs stokes, eager to get going smiled back, hoping it would be the end to the conversation.
“But, no one else cleans the pavement. I’ve not seen anyone do it like you, scrubbing away.” Ivy said, determined to understand. Mrs Taylor was silent for a minute and then replied.
“Well, you see there where you are standing; I just can’t get this bit clean. It’ll take some time, but it will lift.” She said, reaching back for her scrubbing brush, having looked more at the spot where the two stood.
Ivy looked down at her feet, seeing nothing but the black road.
“But there is nothing there.” Ivy replied.
“Come along now Ivy. Leave her to her cleaning.” Mrs stokes said, vigorously pulling the girl. Mrs Taylor laughed a little. A small laugh, brittle from its long hibernation.
“You kids think everything is already clean. I bet your room at home is a mess and yet you think its fine. No no, the stain there, it spreads up and across the pavement. I think it is oil, but it’s taking ages to go.” She sighed suddenly, as if reminded of the huge task in front of her.
“There you see. Sorry to bother you. Come now Ivy.” Mrs Stokes said, and this time successfully moved the girl who walked on still puzzled.
They made their way to the store and Mrs Taylor watched them for a few seconds before scrubbing a bit further and then packing up her things and heading back into her house, closing her red door behind her. She took off her coat and went upstairs. She always did this. She went into the front room of the house, the second big bedroom. Hers was at the rear and was slightly smaller, but she liked the view of the back garden. She liked the green. She went across to the window and looked down at the pavement.
“It’s still there.” The little girl said.
Mrs Taylor pulled at the sleeves of her dress.
“I know. I’ll buy the super strength bleach next week. That’ll do it.” She said to the empty room.
She looked up the street as a few people came out of the store. The old newsagents across the road had been turned into kitchenettes. She looked in through the ground floor window, a huge TV screen the size of the wall flashed away in blues and reds.
“Maybe in time, it’ll fade on its own.” The girl said.
She looked down at the spot again. A huge stain on the floor seemed to pulse before her. She closed her eyes and watched the red ford escort zoom away noisily like thunder down the road. She hoped she would never see it again, but she knew she would.
MORE FABLES HERE
Pull out a rib, snapping a finger.
Divert the pain, do not let it linger.
The heaviness pulls like a planet of sorrow.
Flickering at times, but returns again tomorrow.
When did this all get to heavy to hold?
When did the hurt turn as heavy as gold?
The tears fall like lumps of lead.
Splashing on skin, little emotions now dead.
Leaving me soaking and covered in despair.
The alchemy of hope, now no longer there.
When the clothes of life don’t fit us right.
All the world hums in a headache grey.
I wish for it all to fade away.
To drown in the peace of a miracle.
Or to sleep in the air of reframe.
But life is wanton, and but an ocean of torment.
And pain is the reservoir that keeps refilling.
Washing over me, again and again
A pain so dark it blots out the stars.
Rubbing the divine into charcoal.
Left shaking in the wake of skeleton waves.
That snatch my voice into the sea of the selfish.
Loss drips across like oil.
And the reality paralyses.
A bloom of love is choked by the frost of departure.
And my soul is snatched by the shadows of indifference.
How dare you illuminate and steal my heart.
You glisten there with your tide of treachery.
Luring many to the edges.
My heart was strong, yet you broke it apart.
Forcing the pieces to drift in their gravitless state.
You are a thief and a liar.
For the light you shine is not your own.
Stolen and reflected from the sun.
One that gives much warmth and life.
You are cold and capricious.
Showing different faces to all below.
Keeping your dark side at bay until it’s too late.
I wish to break free, to kill you completely.
Or at least break away from your orbit.
You’re the one who comes between us.
Coughing out your IQ.
Slipping your hand behind the couch of the night.
Always slipping away.
Leaving me choking on spent haemoglobin.
My mind is wild and my eyes are wide.
But they scarcely see you.
The black bruise of loneliness settles all around.
Weightless and bare.
In the dark, it all looks the same.
Then you set this all on fire.
Warming your hands by the great destruction.
Casting on gasoline comments of indifference.
These words from you are vulgar.
Yet I thank you for your time.
Breathing them in and setting up homes for them inside of me.
Precious fragile fragments of attention.
Your racing heart surprises, it brings me back.
Brings me down.
Simmering into something else.
I come back to you again in little pieces.
Littering your soul.
In my mind like candle flicker,
a memory burns low, yet still alive.
Holding on through the frost so bitter,
reminding us all how to survive.
A simple thought, easily mislabeled.
A memory covered by the snow of time.
But ignites the hope and good enabled..
That once was lost, will again be mine.
Where do you go, when the anger shows?
The pulsing in the veins.
Threatening to tear the skin.
Close these eyes, in need of such protection.
Blood as thick as oil, and a heart as black.
Words splinter me?
Rising my inner mercury.
My hurt vibrates to sonic sound.
Angels crying to the war in heaven.
The fury felt through a thousand decades.
Torn from the very books that celebrate such divinity.
These thoughts and callous kisses close in.
Peeling back my lips to bare these well-worn teeth.
The bones break and shift.
Ascending my temples as you try to look away.
But look deep within this life.
Into these blackening pools of my eyes.
Do any of us win?
Struck skin and nitroglycerin on the tongue.
Blossoming florets of purple that do not smell sweet.
They only anaesthetise me in an opium blur.
Sending my skull once more into the floor.
Those juggernauts cry to a halt.
Bearing the machines of our love, they slowly die.
Not a collide or a collapse.
I wanted to see it for myself.
To take pictures of that ruinous pageant.
The end came before the goodbye.
Lost in the arms of another.
Eyes forced shut by the glitter in the tears.
Your pain cascaded into mine.
Fading through the line, stretched over distance.
Crawling from the wreckage, I promise to keep a light.
Burning long into the night, and my own car on the road.
Blazing into the dark, offering you hope in the distance.
Where you hide all of our feelings.
Reaching for you as earth says its goodbye.
What is this thing that takes flight.
Soaring through uncharted and terror drenched clouds.
As I look for monsters out the window.
If this plane were to fall from the sky.
Tear into the ground, this thing wrapped in meaning.
Would it leave a hole in my heart? Would it turn me to dust?
A fallen bird needing to fly, this thing called love.
How to fathom the meddlesome mind.
Which wages such war with one’s heart.
A lion on a tiger, ripping the fur and soul apart.
Sweet pathetic eyes.
That shook away the fear.
In an empty heart, of a sad veneer.
Eyes, like broken mirrors.
Which steal the fluorescents.
And dulls my world of its needful essence.
I cannot repair, those sad eyes which stare.
How did the dignity get replaced.
By illusions which sink deep into the skin.
In a world that spins through the sky.
Scattering bruises and opinions.
On the path back to god.
Who holds its head in shame.
She left the earth how she wanted, walking into the ocean as the stars above sparkled in their preciousness. She hoped to join them, to transform into something that burned with a power a millions miles away from here. Her departure may be one of sadness, but it was by her own choosing. It was her own way to transform.
‘Nothing but I am’ follows the life of Eleanor, as read through her journal in her final days on the planet. It washes over her hopes and dreams, loves and despairs at the hands of fate and the disturbance of states that begin to corrode her life. Her death imprints itself on a police officer trying to unpick meaning in her demise as she goes through her words and thoughts left in her journal.
A hybrid poetry and fiction novel, marrying poems with journal entries surrounded by a story of departure.
The flames of life can lick and scold.
Turn the flesh from young to old.
But love is an equally dangerous fire.
A self-sacrificing, deadly pyre.
The Saturn rings look like halos above you.
Don’t move, you look divine.
Around your feet the seahorses play, kicking up moon dust memories.
You find me, deep down in the Mariana trench, decaying like an old wreck.
Do not ask me to play hide and seek now, I do not know the universe as well as you.
1, 2, 3, 4…..Comets shoot across my sky, turning the blackness to fire.
I’m blinded and momentarily lost.
You paralyse me with your tongue, licking sweet sensations.
Then flicking me with words that sink in, deep into the bloodstream.
My nakedness parades in full as I stroll across the moon.
Swim to the ocean floor, swim forever more in the sea that seems beyond tranquil.
8, 9, 10….ready or not.
You found me, just north of Neptune wearing my own crown.
You say it suits you better, everything always does.
I diminish in ill-fitting clothes of the emperor. Falling into threadbare solitude.
Will the trident ever be tested? How much blood needs to flow into these craters to satisfy?
Throw me back to the tide and cast your net further afar.
Let the oceans pull you away, so I never let you plunge my Atlantis into dismay.
My pyramids will be forever mine alone, a place I can go to weep and smile.
Watching the earth follow the moon.