Exhumed

Underneath and in the ground.
Buried deep without a sound.
Lies my body, its shell and bones.
Under layers of rocks and stones.
A tyrannosaur heart that roared at first.
But all too soon, swelled and burst.
You killed me once with your flaming comet.
Across my sky, your departing sonnet.
Our love, which first, defied distinction.
All too soon embraced extinction.
It could not survive the battles we raged.
Like warring beasts, housed in a cage.
You bit, and snapped and left me dying.
A fallen giant, cold and crying.
And so my flesh transformed to oil.
The precious black gold beneath the soil.
And you evolved and then migrated.
Our DNA of trust abated.
This amber love was thus entombed.
Waiting in time, to be exhumed.

Heaven is shut

The plane took off, soaring into the sky as the sun died on the horizon. All was safe, all parts working. Wheels stored safely as the streaming sound of pressure encased them. He looked out of the window and watched the ground give way. He sighed. He’d hoped for a failure. Maybe later when they were out over the ocean, no chance of rescue there. No one ever survived a plane crashing into the sea.

Closing his eyes, he saw their face. Lost and troubled as the chaos of the street bustled by. The taxi had hurried them, throwing his bags into the boot hastily before cars honked behind. They’d said their goodbyes already upstairs. Held on to each other as the tears threatened. At least he’d held on. He was unsure now how hard they had pulled into them. Deep inside his brain a voice had whispered ‘they want you to leave’.

Opening his eyes, he saw the seatbelt sign switch off, the little ‘bing’ sounding all around him but nowhere particular. The plane levelled off and he saw the land corrode into the ocean. The lights from the city behind already blurring into a distant memory. People got up, walking up the gangway as if their restrictiveness demanded a rebellion in movement.

He turned again to face the window, the little tears of condensation streaking backward like the ones in his eyes.

The flight was uneventful, and despite his longing, did not crash into a blazing wreck into the sea. He was somewhat thankful, no need for others to descend into nothingness because of his own wants and needs. The country had changed now of course, and he felt like a stranger in his own land. He felt as if he’d outgrown that little island, when in truth, it had all shrunken into ambivalence.

The next few weeks were a haze to him. He slept longer than his body needed. He ate less than what was required. The maddening howls of loneliness engulfed, playing out a wicked pageant each night. Pagan dances of despair trooped through his mind as he imagined the worst. And the weeks fell away into months. The sun rose and died each day, giving way to the moon which seemed more allusive and tauntful. Appearing and disappearing with differing brilliances.

And nothing changed.

No word came. No celestial movement of fate. He prayed of course, every day. Wishing, hoping, threatening…apologising. Words tumbled from his mouth like a waterfall, lost in the roar of tears that welcomed the rising pool of pain. He was confused and sad. These descriptions falling short of the abject horror that they encompassed.

He got up late one Wednesday. His bed had become a grave, and he pushed away the covers like soil from his skin. The weather was grey, and he saw little movement outside his window. He could hear the birds whistling their busy tunes and saw a couple of collared doves pecking away at the grassy bank at the side of his house. The birds circled, one seeming to protect the other as it scoured the grasses for something.

This was his life he thought there in that moment. The tragedy of nothingness. The on repeatness of filling hours that stretched like days.

Sitting down on his bed, he joined his hands together. They had marks on now of course, bloodied scabs that were struggling to heal. Punches to the ground and walls in frustration. His hands stung when he washed them always, bits of skin pealing off and disappearing down the drain to their own hellish adventures. Mostly he would pray in his head, but this morning the words came forth strong, if not shaky. He prayed for others, for those he loved. He asked why his circumstance refused to alter. He prayed to be sent the needs to change his situation. If god was refusing to give him what he needed, then at least give him the chance to change it for himself. He saw the light, felt the feel of god’s hands upon him and trickle into his heart.

This prayer lasted a long time. The doves had flown away by the time he had opened his eyes again, and a light rain had begun to pepper his window. The house groaned around in its ordinariness. Things were quiet. Things were the same.

He went about the day, holding onto something which he would never tell anyone. Like something stolen and now hidden in his pocket, he buried this secret in his heart which struggled to beat in a comfortable rhythm. The day came and went. The tasks and encounters rose and fell with the usual absurdity.

It wasn’t until the following night when what he had tucked away bloomed again. A flower of thought that had grown from the thick mud of despair. He had played the game of this life, by the rules he never agreed to. He was of service each day, giving and giving; yet never receiving. It never used to bother him for he had much to give. But when you lose everything, you become stricter on what you give away.

Now he felt like the coconut husks in his garden, pecked at each day by the birds of life. Strips of him torn away, revealing nothing underneath. His prayers had gone unanswered. But he stopped that thought then. No, this was not true. His prayers had been answered, when he prayed for others. When he gave and prayed and wanted the best for other people. They got what they needed. Even the rotten ones he was obliged to love. As if blood bound them in an unspoken covenant.

Prayer works. But not for him.

When he wanted…no, needed something. It never came to him. It was as if the gates of heaven had closed to him in a display of much unfairness. Why was he so beyond getting what he needed to make it through the day?

This thought stuck in his head, like food stuck in a throat. Uncomfortable and unpleasant. He was angry at God. But who wasn’t at times? But he felt more than anger, a betrayal almost. He fell asleep that night, not pooled in his own tears like always, but shaking into a fevered dream of reckoning.

He woke early, the rhythm of his heart thundering him awake. His phone was silent, barren. Nothing in the night had sprung forth despite the difference in hours. What were they, seven hours behind? They lived their day while he slept dreaming of them. They dreamt of something else while he navigated through the day thinking of nothing but them.

Rolling out of bed he went to the bathroom to wash his hands. Purifying his body, washing away the dreams and nightmares. He looked in the mirror…..

A:

What stared back at him made him weep. A man stood there, but a wasted vision of a human. Sunken eyes, gaunt expression. As if the sadness had spoiled from the inside, wasting away the flesh. He noticed one of his eyes was a milky colour, his once hazel views into his soul fading away into a grey of nothingness.

What to do now, he thought to himself. Brush his teeth, fix his hair. Get changed and through another day for what purpose? The same as yesterday, the same as tomorrow would be. A parade of nothing and inconsequence.

He knew he had fallen into a depression. He had hoped to shake it off or fall out of it again. Why was it so easy to get pulled in, and not the other way around? But something extra covered him today, that final magic element of hope seemed to have disappeared as he slept. A rousing song, or prayer usually helped. Taking stock and being appreciative. But no, something was different today. The same grey clouds outside, but something was different there in his bathroom. He could not even hear the birds that usually chattered and warbled beyond the walls.

He took a razor and made two clean cuts, long and deep. It was the kindest thing he could give himself, and the biggest apology.

B:

What reflected was a surprise to him. A little light glistened in his eyes and more haloed above him. He turned suddenly, hoping to catch a trail of it around his skull. But it seemed to follow him, quick as a flash. He felt it then, a sudden strength lift within his bones like they were being pumped with magical force. He made to pray but remembered suddenly and abstractly that God should not be called upon in a bathroom. Negative spaces.

Running from the room he collapsed onto the landing, the banister casting a ray of light over him like prison bars. He watched as they seem to lift upwards, the sun disappearing behind a cloud. The bars faded, and he closed his eyes.

He pictured the world above in his mind, the ascent of this man who had become so troubled and desperate. Hands guided him; little voices pushed him further until he was at the gates of heaven. With one push, the gates parted. He opened his eyes there and bowed to give thanks. He let the words tumble out, washing appreciation over his life.

How long he remained, he’d not known. The bars of light did not return, but when he stood, he noticed the sun was hovering off in the distance now beyond his window. He wiped the tears away and stood in his new world, just as his phone in the other room began to ring.

You are the ocean

The cuts spill a gold.
Where the bone is exposed, a strength shows.
Rebuilding myself like a starfish.
Grown back, from ripped apart.
Those are not pearls, but diamonds in the blood.
Strong and timeless.
Clankering around my metal heart.
Each soul contains a treasure.
This golden light of the ages.
Liquid wonder and most precious to the divine.
Dripped down in time.
Spilled on the floor where you left me.
Soaked up through my veins because I had to.
I needed it, to get away.
The undulation of time.
Sets forth a storm of unfolding.
A revealing of a love you hoped to lay sunk.
Rotting like a shipwreck on the ocean floor.
But no more.
The stars in the sea salvage us.
Hauled to the shore to gasp again on palmed beached air.
At that place, where I promised you forever.

Nothing wrong here

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.

愛 (Love)

I dare not touch, a hair upon your head.
Or your skin that falls like rain.
Into my arms I dream you would tumble.
Kissing your lips that welcome me like a traveller’s light.
Burning out of the darkness.
Threatening sweet cherry deliverance.
I would peal back your skull and dive into that sea of thoughts.
Swimming with you in circles.
Hand in hand on a celestial ocean of knowing.
To know you. To touch you.
To take the pain you feel and burn it within my own bones.
I place this pedestal only for you.
Keeping you safe and aloft, closer to the heavens.
Where you belong.

21:09

Staring down the dark street, he watched as the lampposts flickered in and out of light. Luminous reflection seeming to be running off an invisible heartbeat. Stuttering. Struggling.

He felt the same. He was tired. He’d run the last two miles and his calf muscles now ached. He’d stopped momentarily to ease the stitch that was spreading in his side. Stabbing needles from Satan’s fingertips.

Nearly there.

He saw the traffic had built up on Bower Street, he’d actually heard the car horns and the angry shouts before he saw the rows of taillights snaking away. A great stationary monster of red eyes going nowhere.

Turning left he hurried away from the angry voices and quickly checked the time. 20.45. It had taken longer than he’d expected. The transport had imploded on itself and the city was heaving in unpreparedness that night. He felt the sweat on his forehead, the stingy sizzle of desperation and determination. A light rain now flecked onto his skin as he passed by houses. The glow of life inside reminded him what he was doing this for. The eyes of the buildings glowed with little tears from the rain, happy that people were inside. All together for the first time in years.

He sprinted, tripped and surged on. Finally getting to the door five minutes later. Too little, too late?

Better late than never he supposed, rapping frantically on the door.

The door swung open hastily. The smell of candles and coffee greeted him along with the flood of a welcoming light and a relieved smile.

“Thank god.” They said to him, as he collapsed into their arms.

Tears, sweat and rain ran unabashed down his cheeks. His heart, which had threated to give up on him, pulsed to a different beat. The feeling he got whenever he saw them. The tingly skin sensation that tickled around his ears and neck. He smelled them, hugged them. Taking these new feelings deep within himself.

“I can’t believe it.” They said as they broke apart and he stepped inside.

The small house threw its arms around him, beckoning a safety.

“It’s pandemonium out there”. He replied, stepping further in and following them up the stairs. He glanced quickly at the front room; the warming sweet-smelling candles flickered within while the television screamed out silently with the volume down. The news informing no-one to things that everyone already knew.

“I’m glad you made it; I was getting worried it would be too late.” They said, settling down onto the bed. He took in the vision, the moment and tried to keep himself together.

He followed, not bothering to take off his shoes but throwing off the jacket which the light rain had clung to.

The clock on the side clicked over to 9pm.

They drew into one another, kissing tenderly. Touching each other’s hands and diving deep into one another’s eyes. Tears swelled, wiped away by fingers that trembled with tenderness in the glowing room.

“I had to be here. I had to come.” He said. Knowing that they already knew.

“I didn’t expect it to be like this. I’m just glad you’re by my side.” Their voice stuttered. “I love you.” they said, as they closed their eyes. Not out of shame, but to a sad realisation it would be the last time.

“I love you.” He replied. “And I will find you again.”

They held each other closer as the lights died.

21:09, the time the world ended.


Taken from Dislocated: A Short story collection – Out now

Baptised by you

That endless world they talk of.
A Drowned world.
It opened in my heart when the starry waves washed inside.
When you looked at me.
With that light of god in your eyes.
And in that moment, like that pebble in your hand.
You grasped at the infinite.
You consumed my soul.
And we would remain forever bound.
Like that pebble in the ferocious stream.
Washed endlessly by the cosmic current.
Until clean.

Take a bow

Nothing to fear, but the beauty unleashed.
As those velvet eyes unfurl for the world to shiver.
This collapse of an age, of a time now expired.
Blown into the dust of yesterday.
How heavy it must sit. The weight of youth.
Trapped in a moment, encased in expectations.
Those lips, sudden to crack like an earthquake.
The tuneful words scratch, like a raven’s song.
Beneath this magnitude, sits the one I love.
Grasping silently for escape.
I promise to take you away.
From it all.
From here.

Vindication

As lips part, unleashed dogs rip and wrought.
Choking on the tiniest thought.
That burn away nirvanic benediction.
And grabs the wood for your own crucifixion.
For a pox you are in eyes of scarlet tension.
A strangled lie of incomprehension.
That simmers to a sinner’s plea.
The fragile-ness of complexity.

Arrive/Depart/Transfer

Stripped back today’s waste.
Our suspicion rises.
What you choose to do, what flounders.
Prepared to turn me inside out again.
Airport lighted, with the sun still sleeping.
Bore me down to my appled-core.
Picking out the seeds you planted.
And that I washed with tears.
Alighted.
My boarding pass heart in hand.
To see such new wonders in your eyes.
Breaking from home.
Rest your head on my shoulder, I will read you bad poetry.
Whispered deeply.
Into your heart.
You loved me today, as the night colours away.
It breathed new life inside.
Returning from Saturn and watching the universe tip over.
The others none the wiser.
Souls that were drawn out of committee.
Leached from the darkness.
Hard to take off.
Now night-time while travellers sleep.
With you, I always fly.
That south western sky, heading to the red earth.
For you are everything.
And all I need.

Spirited

You see?
All of this remains.
Before. Behind. Way after.
The crucible cracks and splutters in its creation.
Offering golden wings in which to ascend.
Where will those heavy wings take us.
On that lunar breeze which blows from the lips of god.
A substituted living now folds into the ocean.
This blessing of cotton wraps around my eyes.
Yet still I see.
If I wait for you, what dies in my veins?
If I go now, will you remain?
The hesitation catches me like asthma.
Your love pollutes my body like oxygen.
Fixing me to rise only when your lungs heave.
At times we are at a distance.
Calling half a world away.
Yet still I remain, waiting for you to see.
Waiting and believing.
That love in your eyes.

You’ll see

You will see, said the little whisper.
The sound within.
A distant whimper.
From the voice inside the cracking skull.
The quiet reasoning.
The heart’s strong hull.
That sails beyond a galaxy.
Down here on earth.
In complexity.
These defiant words did manifest.
Into action.
And I must confess.
That I was able to walk away.
From all that trauma.
And sad decay.
And close the book of you and me.
A tired old tale.
Which you will see.

Bord / Edge

Debout sur cette rive une fois de plus.
Sur le bord de l’existence.
Je voussens dans le vent.
Je me sense arrosé dans le marée.
Est-ce que je me vois marcher sur cette plage?
Ou je me sens perdu dans un million de grains de sable.

Stand on this shore once again.
On the edge of existence.
I’m standing in the wind.
I feel watered in the tide.
Do I see myself walking on this beach?
Or feel lost in a million grains of sand.

Beauty trapped

Bind my heart, break my bones.
Sneak in when the lights are off.
When my guard is down.
Snap my soul and slip inside.
Overwhelm and consume me like heroin.
The addict in me pulls you near.
Breathe me in, suck me out.
Spun up in your mind like a crystal chandelier.
Precarious precious beauty.
Your hands on my innocence.
Pulling me down, knocking me over.
Teaching me how to fly.

Sweetness follows

Jasmine lips and honey eyes.
Dance on my flesh like miniature dragonflies.
Growing roses in my heart.
The ivy of my mind to twist into.
Licking your skin and tasting the ocean.
Chasing your wave and finding sand in my shoe.
You.
Blue and free like the sky that pulls over my eyelids.
Whispering into my skull, the tantric movement of tomorrow.
Taking me off to another land.
Where your skeleton slips into my skin each day.
And crystal tears carve a path right through me.
Amber shivers and slumbered eyes, welcoming these dreams.
Tip-toeing through the water lilies of your world.
Hovering like the hummingbird of your heart.
Beat and hum.

Love come rescue

Arrived, 4am. Too tired to see the world for what it was.
Slipping into the cracks and shadows that fill my eyes.
Too numb to notice that I couldn’t notice you.
Standing with arms outstretched like wings.
The wren that always had strength to fly.
That slipped into the open wounds and found our hearts.
It patches us up now, flitting inside our skin.
Pulling feathers over broken bones.
It does not notice the cartilage cage it builds up around itself.
A prison to its good intentions.
It too now needs help, to lift up and soar again.
Love, please come rescue us.
Make us fit to fly and leave this place.
With only fallen feathers to show we were here at all.

Something to stay awake for – You hurt me like no other

Listen to this episode.


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.

“Shut up.”

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.”


More fables here

Lurk

Malcontent to stop me dreaming.
A bitter play that keeps revealing.
Scenes upon a static stage.
The macabre heart for this new age.
For doubt replaces it’s bloody setting.
A pumping organ that keeps forgetting.
That you lurk inside this hazy past.
A haunting ghost that always lasts.
And wades on through our murky trauma.
Pining for a love that former,
took the place you now reside.
And kills this love that I tried to hide.

Everything (सर्वेषां स्वस्तिर्भवतु ।)

When the world wind weeps around you.
May the universe dry your eyes.
And happiness make you smile once more.
Sarvesham Svastir Bhavatu.
I cannot keep you safe from the conflict.
Or the wars within you.
But I offer you peace, from that of which I’ve known.
Sarveśām Shāntir Bhavatu.
You are taken from the mountain,.
You come in pieces.
And I too, but together we are more than less.
Sarveśām Pūrnam Bhavatu.
And if you fall, I will not catch you.
But I will watch as you rise again.
And applaud your strength, with an outstretched heart.
Sarveśām Maṇgalam Bhavatu.
We are but pieces.
Love is the is the whole.
Versions of the same form, spun from the same gold.

Break the dawn

To kiss you into the night.
Would be more than I could pray for.
Lost in a world where you are my religion.
The transmigration I envisioned.
Waiting for that flash of crimson slitting the night sky.
Instead I made you cry.
As the ripe fruit of dawn broke over our lives.
I reached for it, I reached for you.
Finding only empty space.
And spent light.

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.