Island

He could see the rain off in the distance, across the sea. A huge sheet of it moving slowly across the bay. The grey clouds draped like a curtain, pulled back to reveal the essence of nature. The storms here were intense, but short lived. Like the most intense arguments, they usually ended before they’d even begun. Not that the weather really bothered him today, his mind was set on something deeper than the weather.

The hotel was nestled in Hibiscus Bay, on the south side of the small island. Sadly, the name was a historic element as the hibiscus, and most of the natural fauna had long since disappeared. Replaced by cultivated palm trees and stretching lawns of the hotel which dominated most of the bay. That is not to say it was not beautiful, but it was not authentic. Nature with lipstick. Ironically, the main reception’s flower arrangements did include them in the display, their flowers all flown in from the mainland.

He crossed the cool reception, busy now with guests departing and others eager for the organised tours which the small minibuses outside promised. Sweet lime and jasmine floated from the candles flickering away around the reception desk, tickling his nose, mixed with the sun cream from the bodies before him and the smell of the air-conditioning. He swept through the lobby quickly, making his way to his rental car parked under a huge palm tree. As he stepped outside into the humidity, the rain was just coming to a stop, the clouds above him already being blown into a stretched gauze of grey, the blue threatening to bleed through.

His Jeep took the corner of the hotel resort harshly, clipping the ferns and the greens which peppered the entrance way. He knew where he was going, and he knew it would not take too long; but he had an urgency within him now, now he was here. Here, he’d been here a few days already but now was the moment. He’d tossed and turned in his mind what to do. Back at home he’d roamed his house like a lonely ghost. Now in the tropical surroundings, the issues hadn’t gone away, indeed the equatorial sun had shown them up further, almost blinding him. But he’d got an idea, one which may or may not work; but was something. And something was more than he’d had in a long time.

The road he needed took him off the main one, the dirt underneath now spraying up in dust as the car sped down a deserted track. The palm oil plants bloomed beside him, slowly replacing the sugarcane that dominated the greenery and island. The road began to slope slightly, as if his world was tumbling forward into the ocean which he knew awaited him outside of the green lushness of the plants all around him. A small butterfly, beautifully coloured as they tend to be, fluttered inside the opened cageness of his car. It bobbed before him, threatening to rest on the steering wheel before seeming to change its mind, flying off through the open window on the other side of the car. He watched it for a few moments, before turning the Jeep a sharp left and zooming out of the trees.

It was like a jewel now, the bright twinkling ocean, freshly watered further and now being kissed by the sunshine which streamed down through the clouds. Shadows moved out at sea, the clouds above in their own dance. He’d been here only once before, but he knew this was where he needed to come. He pulled his car up to a stop, the tires rolling slightly onto the damp white sand. He sat, his hands clutched to the steering wheel, supporting him and his thoughts. It was very humid, and despite the drive in which the air stirred him, little beads of sweat trickled by his ears, matting his hair slightly.

“Time”. He said aloud to no one and thumped the steering wheel twice before unbuckling his seat belt and sliding out of the Jeep.

Very few people came here, he did not know it, but he was glad of it. He needed the seclusion. What kept them away, he put if down to the weather, but the small area was known to many islanders as a place of sorrow. The fishing was terrible in this spot, the currents mixing frenziedly just out beyond the rocks, fighting with one another beneath the waves. Though the beach was beautiful, it was inaccessible unless you drove down through the plantations. Most of the other beaches on the island were walkable, and you could roam and enjoy the sandy smiles easily before strolling into a village or back to a resort. Here it was cut off, a huge rocky crescent scraping itself outward into the ocean.

He walked a little on the sand, avoiding the lure of the waters which promised release to many things. He mounted one of the rocks and looked across to see what he wanted. There before him was the tiny island, no bigger than his back garden at home. It sported a few trees, and a giant bird took off from one of them as he watched. This was what he remembered, and what he needed now.

Walking towards it, he listened to the sound of the ocean slapping at the beach and some of the rocks around him. The air was hot still, but there was a slight breeze finding the sweat on his skin. The aftermath of the storm. He reached the edge of the water, the sand rising before him like the body of a sea monster, popping up in patches towards the small island. It was a little causeway of sorts, but some of the sections were quite deep in the water, and as he made his way across, the water of the world made it up to his waist. He carried his shoes above his head, his clothes he knew would dry quickly. His bare feet found a few stray rocks along the way, and he winced once or twice, hoping the skin hadn’t broken. Finally, he came to the other side, and he placed his shoes on a rock and squeezed out the water from his clothes, shaking some of it off like a dog would coming out of the sea.

He looked up at the trees there on the island, the palms seemed to rise up gigantically, bending out and stretching over the ocean. There were more here than he’d thought, the illusion of the far away made it seem less complicated. Now he could see the vibrant plants and life this tiny island held. He turned to face the beach, for some reason checking that he indeed was alone. He was, and he stepped forth into the shade the palms and plants offered him.

For a small space, the air was much cooler, and he could feel a dankness, the water dripping in the leaves from the earlier rain. He heard a bird fluttering somewhere, and the clicks and ticks of the insects housed inside the cool space. Going further, he quickly found the very centre of the tiny island and stood there looking both at the trees, then down to the ground. The floor was sandy and soiliy, hard roots tangled everywhere. It reminded him of orchids in plant pots, their strange alien cords in the dusty soil. So many people treating them like roses, over watering.

He dropped to his knees, and feeling like a pirate, began digging with his hands, scooping up sand and soil with his cupped palms. He moved a great heap of earth quickly, pulling up the roots and the rocks which too lay beneath the surface. Not gold, but many grey teeth of the world, each rock precious in their own way, housing millions of moments in time. But he cast them all aside until the hole was big enough for what he needed.

Standing, he brushed the sand from his knees and clapped the excess dirt from his hands. All around him was quiet, the birds that had been their previously displaced and flown from his noisy digging. Just the bugs and shade, the sound of the ocean waves all around, swirling him in a sandy snow globe. He took a moment to gather himself, closing his eyes and speaking in his mind to what he needed.

With his eyes closed he bent forward, retching profusely. Dry and vacant at first, only bits of phlegm finding the ground before him. Then it came, quick and oozing. A black oily treacle poured out from his mouth, globbing down into the sandy hole. A little grey smoke escaped too, lifting off into the nothing as he heaved and coughed, some sticking in his throat. He punched his stomach, smacked his chest and stamped his feet. His heart he squeezed with ghostly hands, evacuating the rotten from within. All of it. He knew how much dwelt inside, and he knew too where it hid.

With a few final retches and coughs he was done. The black oily tar had moulded like molasses in the dug-out hole, balling up like a horrible black marble. The sun caught the ball in a splinter of light, and he thought for a moment he could see a huge eye gleaming at him. He quickly went across and began to kick sand and soil back into the hole, finally back on his knees pushing mounds of it with his hands until it was all covered. He patted it with his feet, careful not to stand too long over it, as if fearing an oily hand might charge up and pull him down. He said something only he and the trees would ever hear, and left the centre of the island quickly, finding his shoes from the rock and charging out into the sea back towards the beach.

He never returned to the small island, or even the larger one which boasted a number of pleasant resorts and attractions. He never saw the Coconut cave or the Belline Waterfall that the island boasts to all the tourists who flood its small little jewel of land in the tropical seas. He would’ve liked to of course, but he knew he could not come back. He could not be so near to something he wanted rid of.

Despite never returning himself, a few people have ventured out to the tiny little island where he dug and buried what he needed to. They came and went with little to report aside the remoteness of the little island, strung out like a pearl at the end of a silver chain. They assumed the purpled plant that grew where he’d buried was a native species to the island, the huge purple flowers crude but intricate, as they stretch upwards for the light. But the truth was no one had ever seen a plant like this before, though many are waiting to grow still; out of the darkness.

Every decreasing circumstance


EVERY DECREASING CIRCUMSTANCE

It’s like a cold and stormy morning.
That day she tried to warn them.
Snapping her twig bones with the weight of circumstance.
Trying to walk away, curled up and tortured.
Dusting the regret from her hair.
She wants to be elsewhere.
Trying to disappear into someone else’s dream.
She tuned in to reasonable fear, Taipei to Tel Aviv.
Skirting the frequency of moral decomposition.
Trailing the warm currents of the sky above.
The damage appeared as they beat the drum.
Pounding in her skull while the water rose.
Feeling trapped like a goldfish in a bowl.
Swimming in her own coincidence.
Roll her over, watch her breathe.
Drinking in the rain as she dreamed once more of far off oceans.
Set her sights on another orbit, while they set her on fire.
Breaking her from the rooted home, and that look in her eye.
A slow dance into dismay.

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Skeletons in the sky


SKELETONS IN THE SKY

I hear the angels whispering to me, quietly in my sleep.
Loudly when I wake.
Cracking my skull like an egg.
Dipping their fingers inside.
This life.
Sun shined yellowed and fresh.
Stretched out and taut like a lamb on the rack.
Hurried time, and love spent.
Empty like a tramp’s bottle.
You gave me the promises you couldn’t keep.
Tucked under my mattress for the day it rained.
Waiting for the monsoon.
It poured, and I was washed away.
Washed out to sea like sardines and ship wrecks.
So I wait now.
For that dark sky to open up and swallow me again.
Suck the light from my bones and spirit me away.
Like skeletons in the sky.
Solar pirates for the soul.
Yet gone before it happens, before the decay.
Drifting in the cosmic sleep.
One you can’t undo.
Until I wake to discover, you loved me too.

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No sound but escape

The last gasp of a city, stifled through individual disdain.
Strapped to that engine of pain.
The eternal clock that moves everyone forward.
The teacup, that cannot un-shatter.
God’s will, the devil’s plan.
Darkness leaking up out of the drains.
Black balloons to cloud our uneventful skies.
Thoughts like a bruise.
Blooming and fostering more on a delicate mind.
They wait around for the heart to break.
The lies to normalise.
The violence to wrap itself around.
Like fingers of priests, going where they shouldn’t.
You want to leave this place.
Crumble the buildings that warren your life.
Cough out the diseases and the dirt and take a train.
Over tracks on water, the straight edges leading away.
To what, you don’t know.
New spaces to inhabit, to sink a soul into.
Uncertainty, the first sign of freedom.
Lighting fireworks in the mind.
Soon the metropolis an old family member.
Seen only on special occasions.
Lonely in your memory, and very nearly forgotten.

What you find inside

It’s not like they could tell he’d been crying.
Pomegranate tears had evaporated on his cheeks.
Left to circumstance and suspicion.
The usual vulnerability crept in like the cold.
He’d wanted to disappear.
Pull his bones from this earth and take the plane westward.
But that knowing.
That fundamental chorus of doubt kept him seated.
Wounded and defeated.
The table was set for him and god now.
A devil on his shoulder painting the walls in his mind red.
Each word that drifted from his mouth.
Drew out feathered lines of inquiry and distaste.
In the mouths and minds of others.
With that future transparency, walking away again.
It was like, schoolyard mornings and lost mittens.
Passing cares, wrapped in their own silence.
The truer placed words that smelled ugly.
Circling the whole.
An inevitable destination, posing as something great.
Through distinction and the dying light, he now understands.
He was never greater than.

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 that 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.

Into the night

It was cold, the floor was always cold. Bare foot or with socks. The coldness seemed to spread with each step, like walking on ice. But it didn’t matter so much tonight.

He flung the duvet back and they woke with a start, their eyes suddenly ablaze.

“Is it time?” they asked, sitting up and pushing back into the deep plush pillows.

“It is, let’s go.” He spoke, calmly but with an urgency.

They swivelled in the bed, pushing their legs out and jumping into the situation. He watched them, agile and prepared, they’d practised this of course. How many times, twenty, thirty? Not enough, he knew that. Time was the essence here.

The darkness leaked inside the room like a can of oil, the little light he carried seemed to dismal in the overwhelm, but it did its job, and he shone the light now in their direction as they pulled on their shoes.

No time to change, just the shoes; they would be running of course.

“Ready, let’s go. Do you have…?” But they had spotted the box on the side near to him.

“Got it.” He said, and he picked the box up now and they both raced out of the bedroom.

He noticed the clock on the landing as they ran down the stairs, in the gloom he could still make out the hands of the grandfather clock ticking regimentally around and around. The clock had survived so much, seen so much. Been restored after many years hidden away from the Nazis, the greedy family members and the corrosion of time itself. Now it stood in full glory on the landing in their house, signalling the time for all who dwelt inside. Now it confessed the time to be two thirty in the morning. Time to move.

They raced down the stairs and towards the back of the house, crashing through the door quickly, not minding it was unlocked. They never did lock the doors; the danger did not lie there. They knew where horror lived.

In their bed clothes they raced, out into the air which was cold on their skin. No moon tonight, or if there were it was hidden behind the huge puffs of clouds that blanketed the sky. It made the night heavy, and they could feel it press upon them as they found themselves into the trees that began the woods at the rear of their house. No neighbours, they were too far away from them. The nearest house was three miles towards Grankvort, and that was in good weather. They made it this way, they needed the space and the separation from others.

The pine trees were close together, and sharp. They felt the needles as they sped through, though thankful for the running shoes which kept the rocks and fallen needles at bay. The little light he carried clung on to life in the face of the breath of the world which threated to extinguish it.

“Wait!” they said, holding up their hand and pulling him to a stop.

He heard it then too, the sound of music off in the distance.

“There shouldn’t be anyone around, I don’t think it will work with others near.” They said.

He looked around himself, trying to locate the source of the sound in the claustrophobic woods.  He saw it then, a tiny glow moving through the trees, like a little firefly.

“There!” he said, and they turned to look also.

“Damn.” They replied, hurrying off without warning towards the light. He moved on quickly too, following them.

“What can we do?” He asked, catching himself on the trees.

“They will have to join us, there’s no time.” They said, seeming to glide through the thicket effortlessly.

As they got closer, they could hear the sound clearer now, the sound of orchestral music drifting outwards, hauntingly. Then he spotted the woman. She was tall, almost as tall as he, with a hood covering her head. He could see her hair tumbling out of the dark hood, like spilt gold leaking from a black lake. She was moving slowly, as if unsure of which way to go herself when they both suddenly burst out into her path, and she turned with surprise.

“Oh!” She exclaimed, but not out of fear. Almost as if she expected someone, but not so suddenly.

“What are you doing?” They asked her suddenly, he held the light up to her face and she drew back her hood in politeness.

“I’m sorry, is this your land?” She returned back.

“What are you doing here?” they asked again, ignoring her own question. The woman paused before answering which agitated them.

“Well!?” They asked, turning to him. “There’s no time for this.”

“I’m just passing through, please I don’t mean any harm.” The woman replied with a smile.

“It doesn’t matter, come along; you’re involved now.” And with that, they took her hand and pulled her off into the trees, running once more.

“Wait, what is going on….” The woman cried but was pulled on through, with the branches smacking her as they sped.

He followed on, trying to keep up. He should be leading he knew, having the light in hand; but they sped on at such a speed he had to double his efforts to stay with them.

They burst forth suddenly out of the trees, and he knew they had made it, and quickly too despite the stop with the woman. She now was hunched over, trying to catch her breath.

They stood by the edge of a ravine; the darkness below threated an unknown demise, but he knew it was not that deep. He had climbed it of course, they had checked out all the areas near to them, and he knew the floor of the ravine was spongy and mossy. The rocks around them jutted upwards, like grey teeth, and he went across to one now and placed the box on top.

“How long?” they asked him, he looked at his watch. They had two minutes left.

“Two.” He said, and they smiled back. He could see the light above them now, streaming down like a dull torch from the sky.

“Wonderful, even though we’ve got a passenger.” They both looked at the woman now who stared back. She was neither scared nor angry at them, she merely stood there like a statue waiting for something to happen.

“Do you know what this is?” they asked the woman, pointing to the box on the rock.

She peered over, looking at the box which now began to hiss and glow with a dull light, its own reaching upwards.

“I’m not sure this is the right thing to do you know.” She said, almost with a knowing.

He stared at her, confused. The box had begun to come to life now, opening outwards and emitting a smoke. The dull lights danced and intermittingly blinked.

“What do you mean?” He asked.

They came over to him, putting their hand on his.

“Ignore her, we’ve prepared for this. If they have to come, it is better than being killed. We’re not going to murder anyone for this. We decided that.” They said, almost whispering.

“It won’t work how you expect it to.” The woman suddenly said, pulling up her hood as the smoke spread out around them, reaching upwards like little hands.

“Wait, wait….” He began but with a sudden flash of light his words were cut out. The box inverted on itself, pulling them in like a black hole. He watched as the woman remained standing, anchored to the spot as the two of them disappeared into the space created now in the place where the box was.

He felt it then, the pinching and the scraping. Slashes on his back and head became more and more apparent. He saw them and he held out his hand to them, they took them, and he could see the same red marks appearing. He tried to speak but the words were taken away by an invisible hand.

And suddenly it stopped, and all was quiet.

The woman coughed, dispersing the smoke in front of her with her hands. She pulled her hood back and stepped forward towards the box. It shuddered slightly on the rock, the lights inside finally dying to nothing and the beam above disappearing up into the dark clouds.

She picked the box up, whispering to it.

“I will keep you safe, but I told you it wouldn’t work.” She said, and she turned from the rocks and began her way back into the woods. Before long, the orchestral music softly began to lift up and out into the trees, as her little light flickered into life. A tiny glow through the dark wood which floated along with the music, like a small eye in a black sea of space.


Distance and time

Lost, feeling the way out.
Travelling through the veins of god.
Hearing that global heartbeat.
Washing away in the flow.
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 memories.
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 also 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 is our only one.
Ninety-two million miles from the sun.

Subconsciously motivated to euphoria

Tell me more about this place where the flowers grow.
Darkness, you say, is but a dream spun in fractured states.
That has little place there.
These flowers, they sparkle like crystals under sunlit ponds.
Inviting us to dive for mislabeled treasure.
There was but a crack on my mind.
Nothing really, but would it matter?
If that fracture, grew worse and worse.
Not there you say, that place it heals.
Swaddling all in divine clouds of relief.
Keeping the broken pieces of the shell in place.
And the mind where it belongs.
What use of the heart then?
The heart it seems is praised.
Raised up high like a crown.
The land vibrates under soft understanding.
While love sews tapestries of tales, and memories together.
They are there too, you know they are waiting.
How could an angel not sit at the throne.
Heaven?
No, not yet. The safer place inside your soul.
Where you barely tred.
I don’t want to stain it all with coatings of yesterday.
These things will be washed away, only lessons remain.
Who can go?
All are welcome.
When can I leave?
You’ve already left.

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.
A king or queen of comedy.
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, decompress and sing.
Close your eyes as your tongue lolls over.
Cityscapes and supernovas.
Mercury swinging in to shift the traffic.
Allowing you to arrive more easily.
Computered to your destination.
Yet missing your arrival.
Sleep another day away.
Swimming in medicated decay.
Remember to set that alarm to wake the city.
Not even giving the dead a rest.

Pain is the only useful feeling

It ripped inside, slashing like a frenzied animal.
Thoughts in pieces, history in tatters.
Reborn now into a new day, into a new lonely state.
Half breathing, barely beating a heartbeat that struggled with each step.
Yet alive.
Pain. It hurt still.
Pulsing and throbbing in his soul.
Licking the walls of his existence like a monster greedy for the dark.
How long must I wander here in isolation.
Blaming fate for my circumstance.
For the clouds I am under.
Yet there was a light.
It grew from his spinal cord, sparking where it snapped.
Growing back something else.
The hope he’d swallowed had bathed it.
In god’s hands he’d craved it, once before.
Lessons learned scratched now across his eyes.
The tears of acceptance washed them clean.
Pain, it seems, was his teacher.
To choose a different way, a different road.
Perhaps less travelled.
Inside his hope chest the latch flipped open.
And flowed a feeling, one of many, which dazzled his eyes like stars.

Heaven is shut/open

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: shut

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: open

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.