Rain

Tears from god. He always thought of that in the heavy downpours. The type where you can feel the stinging weight of the raindrops on your body, the cold water pelting your face. His mother used to call it that, heavenly tears. What was god crying about all the time?

He’d set off into the night just as the first drops had begun to fall. He’d smelt the rain coming, rushing to put on his boots and set out into the village to catch it. He’d grabbed his jacket but didn’t bother with an umbrella. He wanted to feel the water tonight. He wanted to feel something.

The sun had set hours ago and the hazy glow of the streetlights above him blossomed down the road he was taking. Each a branch up out of the dead black road beneath his feet, offering beautiful orbs of light to the angels above him, and who were threatening to leave. He saw how the sheets of the rain splintered across the face of the lights, little streaks through the glow like tiny missiles before disappearing into the void of the nothing.

That nothing welcomed him tonight as he walked. It spoke to him of a new solitude which he was happy to lay his bones within. The night and the rain were pure and wild, base elements that ravaged the world. He’d stepped into them before, drowning once and becoming lost in the darkened forest of his mind.

Tonight he just needed to walk. To smell the fresh air and feel the waters smother his face. The coldness came with the rain tonight also, and he watched his breath escape out into the air like his soul leaking away. He licked his lips, tasting the rain water; feeling the flecks of the divine in those tears shed from above.

The village began to open up into fields at this end, sweeping pastures plunging down the valley where the water would rush and flow like a tide on land, going out in a grassy sea. He heard nothing but the falling rain, but he watched as lonely cars moved slowly off in the distance. Little specs of light, haunting eyes that hovered across the fields where the main road was. What lives did those little tin cars carry? What stories and sadness did the souls within survive. Somewhere tonight he thought, one of those cars will fall victim to strong salty tears. Skidding and colliding somewhere and snuffing out the contents within. Plunging an unfolding tragedy into the lives of those who knew, loved and would now miss those dying embers. Collecting rain water in the crumpled remains of the squashed tin can.

His mind had become saddened as late. His body had struggled to move in the mornings when the alarm would ring in a new day like a gospel chorus. He muscles and bones a defying demon to the angelic blessing of the new dawn. He would lurk in the shadows of life, disconnect from the buzzing beast of the people he knew.

He only stepped out when it rained.

It would wash something away, something out of him. He felt it down on his clothes, the gravity of the water that was pulling down into the DNA as he walked. And he walked through the village, out towards the fields. Watching the clouds and the little lights that blinked in and out like struggling stars.

Then there was his own tired tears, that he could no longer censor. He would cry his own monsoon when he was truly alone. Weeping out to add to the rain until his forehead ached and his throat was sore. He let the ghosts in, and they would pillage his mind. Playing films in his head that he felt were on repeat. Never able to rewind or go back. Never flooded out by the rising waters that surged over everything, all but the things he most wanted most to drown.

He came to the end of the track he’d be walking. The huge brambles and blackberry bushes converged to block the way. Forcing a path would tear at the skin, ripping open the sore and cold meat that had begun to sting in the frigid air and water. So he turned on the spot, pirouetting like a shadowy ballerina in this hidden dark ballet. Watched only by the audience of nature which cowered in the bushes and the trees, watching for him to retreat.

He walked back the way he came, the roads now washing the rain water down the streets and into the gullies and drains. Leaves and litter sped on those miniature streams, washing away the dirt and despair. He wanted to open a vein and let the vermillion river meet these streams. Wash out the leaves and the junk of his heart and wring his organs dry.

Crossing the street he saw into the windows of the Fountain, the village pub which cast cosy a warmth in the sea of blackness. The huge fire was roaring and people stood and chatted around it with drinks in their hands. The windowpanes ran with the raindrops, tiny tears streaking down giving the people within a false sadness. He could not enter there, he could not be like that. The fire and warmth called to him, but he’d been burnt before. Touched by a heat and love that all too soon had smothered and gone out. He could still smell the dying of that hearth, still remembered the splutter and the death until there was nothing but ash.

He hurried on by, the rain not relenting. It still felt good, it still felt like something. Returning to his house, he stood in the driveway, looking up to the bedroom light which had been left on in his haste to depart. The little light behind the glass cast a shaft out into the night, like a lighthouse warning of danger. He took a step forward, and hesitated. Had he turned the light on at all?

He stayed on the spot and let the rain fall around him, off in the distance he heard the slow rumblings thunder. A struggling beast waiting to get up from underneath a mountain. The light in his bedroom switched off as he blinked the water out of his eyes. He dropped the keys he’d been clutching and turned around, heading off back into the night.

Heading off again into the tears from god.

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Tsunami

We stand on the shore, called down by the ocean.
The sweet swell motions the blood.
Reminds me I am human.
I feel safe in this storm.
As the wind rushes these bones.
Threatening the inevitable damage, I wait for the change.
Holding out for such wild destruction.
This land knows me not, we are but visitors here.
Collecting coconuts of contempt that we store for every season.
Each man an island. Each one built on sand.
Atlantis parading in peril.
Off on the horizon the ship struggles.
Souls shuffle, towards that great divide.
For that I cry.
But the tempest suffocates.
Throws away my tears, out into the eye that hovers.
And weeps only painful laments.
God watching on, lifting no finger.
Remembering the flood.
Soon we are drowning, smashed by the waves.
Broken on the shore of our lives that already began to recede.
I crawled once from the sea.
And too it now, we have returned.
Scattered and in pieces.
Littering the ocean floor.

Clemency

Is it really redemption if it comes so easy?
What cost is paid in tears that no one sees?
You handle me like sad broken happiness.
Planting the dead bits of me like seeds.
A flawed parlour trick turning on sympathy.
Coated in words that stick like regret.
You try to scrub this soul clean, sucking out the darkness.
Breaking yourself, to let in the light.

Odium in the skin

That wind howling.
Striking the tear that sits on a cheek.
Like a queen on a throne, wishing to abdicate.
The flood rising.
Dampening a thought in the dock of the mind.
Waving from the higher ground.
Chisel your hatred into our bones.
Fill our teeth with words peppered in distaste.
Swallow and sink the weight of history.
The flames rising.
Catching little tinder boxes placed in fire trapped hearts.
Wanting the world to burn, like hungry moths.
The earth sighing.
Cracking from the inside out as it shoots through space.
Fading into time, like your lies and disgrace.

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.

Diminish

So eloquent and troubled.
How deep the pool must sink.
The surface never rippled.
Never stuttered.
You never blinked.
And in our hearts we took to you.
Like water from the wine.
As thirsty disciples we followed.
Dedicated.
Yet out of time.
Now as you crumble into nothing.
As the mask begins to fall.
We hold you even higher.
And hang your heart up on the wall.

Flowers for Harold Jones

Sunken, like thoughts of survival.
Down deep where the waters darken.
A purple bloom that summons your winter.
We lay the flowers over you.
Hoping the petals rot into your bones.
Bringing a colour and beauty, to your sweet decay.
The irises glisten still in your eyes.
Reflecting a dull glimmer, from the hospital sad fluorescence.
Your golden sparkle, now alchemized to ruby red.
We’ll cast your soul out on a sea of lilies.
Keeping your head above the serpentine reef.
Floating above those sunken ships of youth.
And poppies will adorn our flesh.
Pricking and pinching our skin.
Remembering the pain you were in.
As the opium tickles our minds.
And we see you laughing, once again.

Stalling

A rusted heart, worn by tears.
Breaking down, in a broken town.
This heartbreak city of shattered dreams.
The water got into the fuel.
The hate got into the love.
Churned and exhausted all.
How long were we running on empty?
As the metal flayed and tore into our flesh.
Juttering to a stop, a stalling of hearts.
Roll down the windows of our eyes, and see where we have ended up.
A place I hate to be, detoured and gotten lost.
The wheels are coming to a stop.
Stalling, and likely to forever remain.
Or to corrode in your acid rain.

The ballad of Nancy Stokes

Clouds rolled in, all over the small town.
The air alive with the smell of chip shop grease and cheap aftershave.
Saturday night, alive and loud.
But not Nancy.
At least not by the end. Down in the canal.
Left to be found by old Mrs Clarence, off to the shops on a Sunday morning.
Her small dog Terry, sniffing at the banks where poor Nancy rested.
Her head covered in an old Tesco carrier bag.
But that night before, she’d dressed up to the nines.
No Tesco tiara threatened her styled hair.
Scraped back with mouse and anticipation.
For the dancefloor awaited, and the eyes were wet.
Leary sockets soaked in her moves.
The jostles and gyrations of decade old motions learned to entice.
To ensnare.
Those oiled men, with receding hair.
Nancy left her friend, who’d found Jesus in the bottom of a vodka bottle.
And then in the stall of the toilets which stank of desperation and piss.
With sticky kebab hands soiling her jeans and soul.
Where Nancy went, nobody knows.
But they left her her clothes at least.
Soaking in the green waters of the canal.
Where Mrs Clarence found her.
Nancy Stokes. The 40 year old girl who loved to dance.
But never learned to swim.

Sky burial

Make way for sad opportunity.
An internal march into time.
Who here has the energy, to battle any longer?
Only kings know when their time is done.
How to lay down forever, which position do we wear?
Tired and tested.
Joyful and sublime.
Making way for time’s sweet blanket.
We do not crawl to the end.
Or lie here waiting for the angels to carry us.
We hurry, back and forth between moments that mean nothing.
In the eyes of god, or the great beyond.

London burning

Heavy scented air, the smell of ash and autumn.
Of change brimming like a supernova.
To watch only, yet still participate; leaves me shaking.
That blood on the sky, smeared into a ruby rose.
It stains my eyes and heart.
I watch as London burns with a fire of sadness.
Of a past ignited into nothingness.
But I’m not looking for someone to blame.
Those flames lick like a consequence that is buried deep in my hands.
Red and scorched like god’s eyelashes.
Choking out the hope and happiness.
It rages on, bringing ruins to our appetites.
Finally snuffed out by huge holy tears.

Empty waves

In the night, when the velvet dark covered my skin.
We walked the beach, feeling each grain of time beneath.
To look into the sky, was but to cast over a hundred million jewels.
Twinkling there like possibilities.
The ocean, so vast and endless lulled me with its tune.
And the ocean spray tempted me at first.
Drawing me in with ideas of Atlantis.
But now, the harsh sun burns down.
Cooking the salt in these wounds.
Listening for you in empty shells.
And now, all that’s left;
is to hold my breath before your tsunami.

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.

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.

Insipid

The world is bored with the grey on your eyelids.
Floating down to cover us in an avalanche of despair.
Those tearing blacks that rip through your eyes when they shut.
Filling your soul in the soup of soured dreams.
Stewed and stuffed in our age of apathy.
It grows weary.
It spins and turns over, melting the poles and freezing the pacific to see where the birds will fly to at winter.
Or if they fly at all.
Dizzied and covered in the flakes of sorrow you proffer.
Give us the rains. Ones to wash away the rainbow hue of a dream that never flew.
Take it from us like an ice cream from a child.
This notion of static. The none moving motion you freeze yourself in.
Cracked like the world’s crust, oozing like the yoke of birth.
Seal your eyelids with the starry saliva of the angels.
Who whisper times of change as they lick at your ear.

Wreckage – adjustment.1

This pain that spreads, that aches like a fire.
Swirling within me like a hallucination.
Is not dampened by these tears from my eyes.
These tears; that do nothing to mask my inner knowing.
That I loved you more than the world.
And miss you beyond the stretches of time.
I was absent when you left.
But I too, died they day you departed.

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.