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.

Drenched in departure

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.
Washing everything.
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.

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.

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.

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.

Seasons of a wandering heart (Out now)

Seasons change like memories. Swelling on a yearly cosmic tide. Never free from change, we move like blood coursing through a body, pumped by a heart under the pressures of life and circumstance.

Discover this photopoetry collection while you drift, snapshots in time across the seasons that wander into your eyeline. From Spring to Winter, course your path across the yearly interval and meet visitors such as love, pain, wonder and friendship.

Wander, and wonder with eyes and heart wide open.

This work is a collaborative collection with fellow artist and poet June Okochi

Book cover tree snow

NOUS SAVIONS TOUJOURS


Peel away this faded grey.
The looming nightmare that hovers on my lips.
Like a poisoned kiss.
These eyes will open, and will always remember.
Screaming gravities that moved through us.
You wanted to see it all for yourself.
The dawning, a reforming of what was left to offer.
A thing moulded deep in the stomach of god.
Once called love.
Now twinkling like a Christmas star above us.
Stripped and salvaged from its tattered abandonment.
Where we found it, flat on the ground.
Walked over and left for dead.
Keep it now, safe and captured.
Like a flightless bird on the verge of extinction.
Like summertime on an autumn afternoon.
It fell from grace, our love; but now moves into place.
Filling the gaps that understanding failed to fill.
No dream.
Just the darkness caving in.



SEASONS OF A WANDERING HEART

Return

A life led well in good graces.
Smiling often, traveling places.
Banishing the darkness, only seeing the light.
Yet on the way she struggled.
Her heart and mind, forever muddled.
For in all that time she’d never found someone who was right.
People were kind, and she made them smile.
And she would stay for a little while.
Before the itch began to scratch underneath her skin.
Forever searching, but never finding.
That one to love, always hiding.
She wandered lonely still until a sudden call within.
Took her away from the crazy city.
The maddening pulse, of pride and pity.
And beckoned her back to the wild from where she’d came.
Through the trees and forests before her.
She made her way, the hidden eyes a stir.
Until she saw the tuffs and silk of a lycanthropic mane.
She felt at home in this new scene.
He wondered where on earth she’d been.
Reminding her that this had once been her home.
And in her smile there came a knowing.
A familiar feeling, a happiness showing.
That now back with nature, she would never be alone.

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.

Silent shores

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

Lost in the faraway

The conjuring dreams.
Of moments in time.
Love lost on your lips.
Your hand in mine.
Kicking this cactus heart around.
Fresh like mint on my tongue.
Calling you out of the clouds.
Out of my bones that feel as heavy as China.
One of those falling dreams.
Like you’re here.
But still gone.

Interstellar insights

The world opens, the moon shines down like a second sun.
Highlighting the scars of the earth.
I sense you and smell the enthusiasm.
Every day is mine to win, each interaction a snapshot in time.
It’s not how we fall, but how we stand that matters.
The heart of the matter.
The rub, the centre; the deep filled gooey splatter of time.
Stretching away like a blurring desert.
I step stone towards the unknown, letting go of uncertainty.
Restriction dropping, heart opening foolishness of youth and wisdom.
I pull you out of the cave, bring you into the light.
Dazzled by your brilliance, and mesmerised by sight.
Too long have we lingered on the dark side of the moon.
Freezing in the ill commitment to abstain.
Come, take my hand and let us drink in the solar flares. Turn the moon to gold.
Get high on the mercury rising and dance into the fire, singing our solar song.

Apathetic by design

These boys and girls, with hidden smiles and transparent trauma.
Promise nothing of tomorrow.
Selling chalky kisses in crises centres, splattered across the map.
Which you now trace your fingers across.
Finding washed out welcomes in every state.
At least those that you remember.
You phone calls go unanswered, avoided like Monday mornings.
They move away and sigh long lamentful breaths.
Dropping almond eyes to the ground.
Feet shuffling to a sound of a country mourning.
A country held prisoner to the promises of thief.
Now tomorrow feels scary, fluorescent feelings that fold like paper moons.
The tide turns too soon.
And you return once more to the ocean, picking the salt from your eyes.
Counting the tears that drip like a million wishes into a well.
Like the one your cast into as a child.
When everything seemed touched by magic.

Retreat

I cannot go outside.
They will not see.
I lock the doors and turn the world down.
Set the moon to wake me, so I can dance in the dark.
They cannot know, they should not look.
I came to disappear discretely.
The void is my own.
Yet a consequence is not from a lack.
The love and respect weighs me down more than you will ever know.
But I have to go, I have to depart.
Sailing out on silent ships that leave you all in fog.
Not a death, not a dim.
A recapturing, of self.
Until I’m stronger to hold back the waves of the world.
Stronger, to survive the sun.

Wandering star

These wandering stars shape the night.
Pushing out the darkness.
You weigh like dark matter.
Heavy and invisible.
Watching as the other stars dance.
Can I taste those nitrogen lips?
Just for a moment, in the vacuum of nothingness.
How you have travelled, lonely across our eyes.
Blinking in and out of life.
Pulling me like the tide.

93

Lost, feeling the way out.
Travelling through the veins of god.
Hearing that global heartbeat.
I want to swallow the moon tonight.
To feel the tidal shift in my stomach.
To spit out the bones of the past.
And the well-travelled tin cans.
I touch this earth, and it feels like home.
Yet when my eyes blink open.
I am crushed by the weight of this world.
I belong here, but a million miles behind in time.
Waiting for the palm leaves and ferns to sprout in my veins.
I wish to return, and remain.
Eating forbidden fruit.
Running with the beasts.
Perhaps the change will come from inside.
Washing over me like conscience.
Seeing the divine in all that my eyes lay upon.
This is our home. It’s our only one.
Ninety three million miles from the sun.

Drive

You wanted to make me believe in love.
Taking my hand and leading me down the highway.
Past the car crashes of former entanglements.
The scars ever present on my mind.
The road stretches ahead, but I’m caught in the pull.
Of trying to glimpse at the dead.
You’re trying to make me believe again.
Showing me peace on the horizon.
But my palm is sweaty, and the fuel is empty.
I wonder if we’ll make it.
But I push my foot onto yours.
And I climb inside your soul.
The pedal pushes and we fly, deep into the night.
Down the road of good intentions.

Begin the begin

Falling freeways that collapse like thunder.
Splattering dust into my open heart.
The sun shines on, blanketing our eyes with dizzying despair.
That road was to the sea, the ocean that promised such departure.
The great wide expanse that echoed home.
So we look above.
Counting trails and streaks across the sky.
Fighter jets and passengers making their escape.
Crawling, flying and fretting to other cities.
Other sights of wonder.
My mind melts into now and I collect my possessions.
All packed into one golden shell I carry in my pocket.
It whispers your name, it breathes your air.
Cinnamon cords that play forever on my lungs.
I crack this pumpkin sky and break on through.
The open road, a littered landscape of longing.
Making my way to you once more.
Stabling the state of mind i’m in.
Begin the begin.

As the city sleeps

Still waiting for the big revelation.
Be prepared for anything, but do you still believe?
Dreaming of big distractions and carbon copied lives.
Left with diamond headaches and pills to make you sleep.
Don’t sleep, dream. Let it in.
Kick start that desire that you are just as good as God.
Good as gold even. Counting zeros on a monthly slide.
They call you the king of commodity.
Hanging on the end of the line.
Hanging onto anything.
Smear the sugar on your lips and catch the bees.
Be prepared for the sting.
Close your eyes as your tongue lolls over.
Cityscapes and supernovas.
Mercury swinging in to shift the traffic.
Allowing you to arrive more easily.
Sleeping another day away.
Swimming in medicated decay.

Oxford’s Eeriest Ghosts

“For heartbroken Sarah, it was clearly too much, and she hung herself from the couple’s four-poster bed. Today it’s claimed that if you see her – and you surely will – but ignore her too, she will either scream and shriek like a Banshee or hang limp and lifeless from the bed.”

A Magazine piece available online Co-produced my with friend and amazing human being Shaunna Latchman.

Click below for the article’s main page:http://oxhc.co.uk/Oxfords-Eeriest-Ghosts.asp