Fundamentally a confused period of wheel spinning

A mud that clings, sticking like the saliva of sin.
Was just darkness.
Covering completely.
Rooted, yet lost.
What miracles could be made in the dark.
When we had forgotten how to spark.
Collectively they comforted.
Wrapping words around like arms to keep us safe.
Yet the fires were still burning.
The neon plumes of dangerous magic.
All out of control.
Nothing moved but danger.
Nothing thrived except fear.
And death crept on near.
Inactive seeds of hope.
Littered the floor once more.
Those hands of light crept back into the void.
And we were once more, covered in darkness.

Death in neutral

Death comes, not in the sudden felling of your tree of life.
That monumental crash in the wooded realm of existence.
Or in an avalanche of silent demise,
Crashing into white off a precipice that follows a climb.
Death never leaves a new life.
It breathes silently on your skin.
Like a misty voice, cold and condensed.
Dew dropping its pain along the way.
Watching as your petals of life fall.
A new one each day.

dead rose skull


Taken from
Seasons of a wandering heart

book cover snow and tree


 

Something to stay awake for – Stain

Listen to this episode.


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

Comes back to then

The red country hung before us.
Our life now a great adventure.
Your love was all I needed.
Your smile I planned to treasure.
Days crumbled, eyes tightened.
We were no longer tender.
The gulf began to widen.
I couldn’t stay.

Ten years in, I hoped you believed.
All of my love and my heart on this sleeve.
I cannot cry, I cannot lie. All I can do is die inside;
On the day that I had to go.

You told me to meet you.
Down by the Yarra river.
I wanted to keep us.
In my heart that had begun to quiver.
Life shifted, dreams folded.
My instincts ignored for worse or better.
We cried and imploded.
And then I left.

In all of my time, I barely ever touched what really was mine.
Life briefly showed me, everything that never really ever could be.
A cruel revealing, a maddening feeling of seeing all that would never last.
The joke from above, putting such beautiful future quickly in the past.

Tiny empire

Discovered by mistake.
A breaking heart hidden under the couch.
Buried beneath the earth.
And if it broke and if I died; what world is left behind?
A towering empire of loose threads.
Pulled at many moments in a life undone.
How precarious those moments were.
Towering up to god, a shaking finger of Babel.
Crying out in many tongues to a deaf creator.
The holder of my heart.
Now these racing rats and spiders which crawl over me at night.
What a sight, it is to see a hollow mind explode inside out.
My little world of mistakes, dew drops to effort.
Tsunamis of remorse.
When heartbreak altered my course.
A treasured time where the earth held still.
And I held my breath, for you looked inside.
And watered my garden.
Tended to the flower that had crawled away from the sun.
My tiny empire, rebuilt by the one.

Heavy

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.

Conversation with mortality

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.

Come home

A sky threatening to swallow us whole.
Disappear into blue.
Lost in me and you, and the pulls of the earth.
You wandered too far into the outback.
Too far from my feathered touch.
Now the oceans recede.
And the heavens close.
The stardust of hope may sprinkle these sheets.
Matched by tears of absence.
Yet inside a birdlike song sings.
Come home.
Come home.

While i slept

To collapse but not to shatter.
Yet veins of the break spread deep.
Frozen in the reckoning of our time.
Managing a mosaic of madness.
Fleeted days, encapsulated by hurried tensions.
Pickled in the wine of the year.
Sadness stalked my fields.
You set fire to my home.
It burns still, the flames will not recede.
Your words breathing oxygen to its devastation.

Leave us where we lay

His heart, now the colour of his wife.
Ashen grey and broken.
The urn smashed, scattering them both across the clouds.
Little flecks of life stuck on the window of the world.
As the volcanoes rumbled and the gods groaned.
Down they both came in the rains.
Licked up by the wood spirits and the humans below.
Pooling in the heart of the world.
Cells and shells, finding the seabed of the soul.
Undulating to the sound of time.
Those tears of the gods which fell in this passing.
Are drunk only by the sinners, like sweet wine.

Conflict(ed)

The ticking clock moves my bones.
Vibrating to a new chorus.
Such fear and bravery dogfight within.
Triggering the gunfire in my heart.
Bringing other humans to their knees.
It stains this soul.
Are we cast out of Eden?
Ordered here under the guilt of honour.
Directed there by badges that shimmer in the sorrow.
A broken moral compass, scratched by time.
Left stranded out to sea.
Struck by the passing grief of that tide.
The one that washed over me.
Seeing death in the eyes of those all around.
Feeling hope strangled, feeling fear take hold.
Who really wins the fight, when we lose ourselves in the struggle?
Stretched and stricken, sunk by the force of your hate.
Every tear here brings the ocean higher.
With every cry, a family welcomes in a stranger.
A void, the blackness. The stories to tell a generation.
Of the great fight, that felt so wrong.

Ghosts

A Collaborative poem with ‘Enshrined Poetry’ (not the first time, more here).


It splits my soul.
Dragged back towards these melancholy shores.
Running through the downpour of emotions and memories.
Slick and sticky.
Covering me completely.
The ghosts gather, licking their ectoplasmic lips.
Feasting on the flesh of a thousand mistakes.
The subtle beasts, stealing my lazy reveries.
They haunt me still.
Rumbling up and down these bones, while I shiver towards catatonic sunder.
The god shape hole is backfilled with the deeds of the devil.
A By-product of love maneuvers and binding selfishness.
Like evolution.
The toxic waste of time.
………………..
Oh El I, El I….
………………..
Sweet and short reprieve.
What libertine hope is haloed into these thought chests?
Where ghosts hold the keys and cover the locks.
They never had the power of speech, yet their words haunt and taunt me.
They know the reasons for these tears.
Smiling at the circumstance.
With a spectral hand they reach in and catch me off guard.
Talismans dropped and facing away from mecca.
They whistle my lingo, until I’m driven into solid black and white.
Kiss me over and over again, staining my broken lips with shame.
As I absorb the white noise.
The crackle and hisses coil.
A mountain of monsters merge into one.
All names fade away, into the pinhole of the shadowless.