And endless bloody hope…

When you look at the stars
What do you see
Do you wake up every morning
And think of the sea

I’ve read all the words
Everything you wrote
About spirit and happiness
And endless bloody hope

I look at my life
And I don’t see you
I look at my words
And you’re not there too

Do you do the ironing
Or do you find it mystifying
Do you wash up every night
Because you know that is stupefying

Do you know what it takes
To write silly little words
When the to-do list is long
And you’re not being heard

How many loads of washing
Did you do this week
Or did you sit in the garden
In solace and peace

Because I could write
Write like you I think
If I just had the space
And the time to blink

It wouldn’t always rhyme
Like this one does
I’d make it all spiritual
Maybe mention love

When I see the stars
I often think of you
When I see the sea
I remember I had dreams too

But the dreams have all faded
And fallen from this world
I never got the chance you had
Because I was born a girl.

Wrapping the house

I lay down on the landing
I reach out and pull the house in around me
The light fittings shimmer and shake
The house folds in on me and everything breaks

It wasn’t my intention
to try and make us safe
Every door seemed locked to me
I was trying to escape

I just got tired
I couldn’t seem to sleep
There were no more tears
I couldn’t even weep

Overwhelmed by expectation
I drifted out to sea
I couldn’t find the answer
All the words eluded me

I looked at the sky
I didn’t look at the ground
I wrapped the house around me
And let it all fall down

The ground opened up beneath me
but I could only see the sky
And as I turned to look at you
I smiled and said goodbye.

No inspiration here

The weather is just not suited to serious poetry. So I made it a laugh, I even swore-a really bad word.

Perhaps there’s just nothing to say
In the heat and the darkness
The words drift away

There’s nothing of note
Going on in my head
No words that I wrote

Springing on to the page
My thoughts have all left
They’ve just walked away

Like words in rebellion
They’ve abandoned me here
Just up and gone,
they’ve all disappeared

What is a poet
Who can’t write a verse
Who can’t find a rhyme
Does it get any worse?

Ouch that was bad
Please rhyme it with something
Other than-

Did you see how the rhythm went all awry
How the timing packed up,
And just said good- I

Can’t write that
What was I thinking?
Do I have a brain?
Fuck its hot here,
I wish it would rain.

The wrong words

As you dawdle down the pavement
Do you think that trains going to wait for you?
As you mulch along the footpath
Are you hoping that its late for you?

Do you think poetry writes itself
The words magically appear in your head
Do you think if you wait long enough
Sweetie you need pencil in your led

You need to switch on the machine
Focus on the words
Put in some nouns
Chuck in some verbs

Maybe use an adjective
Perhaps some punctuation
Maybe just a comma,
Don’t write above your station

I wouldn’t worry if it rhymes
You’re no good anyway
Just write down some words
And toss the rest away

I wouldn’t worry about context
Or try to give it meaning
Just write down some words
Don’t make it too unseemly

Don’t try and tie it back
To the bit at the start
You really should give up on this
Its too long by half.

The screw

Long red fingernails slide over long held convictions
Flicking remorse and regret across the bed and out the door

Do you know what you’re doing here?

Do you think its desire?

In a game of he said, she said,
he said always wins.

Do you know what you’re doing here?

Do you think it’s a game?

Truth is a scar you can never erase
It throbs in a darkness.

You can never escape.

Do you know what you’re doing here?

Do you think it’s a sin?

Sanctimonious conviction is a dark red welt on your back
Words you said under pressure.

You can never retract.

Crass comments in public, they shame you
You hide from the light, like an-

Emu?

Your head in the sand, you think you are grand
But you know you’re not right, secrets don’t hide.

Even at night.

Do you know what you’re doing here?

Do you think about power?

The things you held onto out in the dark
Were nebulous and cold and forever apart.

You put on a suit and a tie
But you are no more than the sum of your lie

Do you know what you’re doing here?

You never owned the minds even as you played with the bodies

You can hold it forever until you are dead
But desire and power were all in your head

Yours was a moment paid for with cash
Gone in an instant, no more than a flash

Do you know what you’re doing here?

They thought different thoughts to what you think that they thought.

And now in your coffin, you’re all cold and all still
They go on singing, they dance and they laugh
While deep underground the worms eat their fill.

Do you know what you did here?

Dandelions

When we were growing up,
My Dad had a lot of rules
My favourite one was:

No pyjamas in the green house

On Thursdays, always Thursdays
he would get the lawn mower out
And take it for a walk.

He didn’t like the dog

He didn’t like to hurt the grass
He was thoughtful about the grass
And the dandelions

He always thought dandelions felt pain

My mother on the other hand
Was quite-people said ‘odd’
Never bought us rain coats or umbrellas

She thought of rain as a test for your eyebrows.

She wore a lot of yellow.
She said that was because
deep down inside somewhere,

She was a dandelion

And dad wouldn’t hurt the dandelions
It didn’t save her, of course
Or us, from him

I wear my pyjamas everywhere now

They are silk, expensive
I have them in every shade
except yellow

Because wearing yellow won’t save you.

Some days I come home soaking wet
Because I don’t own an umbrella or a rain coat
My eyebrows don’t work the way they should

Even now. Now.

The lawn mower sits in the shed
The dog is long since dead
The grass grows high
The dandelions die.
I visit her grave, his is far away, I never go
There are things children should never have to know.

I was never quite the same

I have come to tell a story
I have come to say your name
I want to tell the truth of it
I was never quite the same

They said that no one saw it
That you weren’t really hurt
But I saw your body falling
And I know you hit the dirt

I heard the endless sirens
As I was called inside
The soothing words of adults
People never really die

I saw you standing on the roof
Dark against the blue
I saw you jump off of it
I saw you falling too

I never saw you land
The fence was in the way
But I heard the men all calling
I remember plain as day

My mother said I never
I surely never did
But I know I watched you falling
When I was just a kid

I wanted just to sit here
Quiet by your grave
To say that I was sorry
To the man I couldn’t save

Its true I didn’t see it
Your body hit the ground
But I saw your body falling
And I never made a sound

I didn’t run inside
I didn’t raise the alarm
In those precious early moments
I stood there quite calm

Maybe no one would have believed me
No matter what I said
But in those precious early moments
Maybe you weren’t dead

I may have been a child
And absolved of all the blame
But I wanted you to hear it
I was never quite the same.

The Viking Housewives of Essex

I am not sure there is that much Viking heritage in Essex,  but sometimes the women of this county get a bit of a raw deal, so here’s to all of them. If you don’t know Essex, I’m sure there’s somewhere comparable near you.

The Viking Housewives of Essex

And why not
Our heritage is wooden boat, hallowed spear
We haunt the nail salons of the high street
In our sparkled designer gear

Our snake skin heels are poison
Our tans are blooded gold
We of the shiny teeth
Are a sight to behold

We shy away from nothing
We are brave in the face of scorn
With carefully crafted strapless sleeves
And things you’ve never worn

We are sass when its needed
Clueless when its cool
But there’s no mistake about it
You’re the one who’s fooled

We like our men quite chiselled
But it isn’t just physique
If he doesn’t have the right car
He won’t get a peek

We are quite ‘assertive’
And its true we are quite loud
But we’re Essex through and through and through
And we are bloody proud.

I don’t write like you write…

When I wrote my words down
I used to wonder what you’d say
Somewhere deep inside of me
I’m not very brave

If words are my passion
And poetry my voice
I have waited years and years
Without making any noise

I tried to make it happen
I wanted it to work
The words just went on and on
But none of it was verse

My work is full of half rhymes
That never quite add up
Of gaps and stunted rhythm
That never quite stand out

It has taken me a lifetime
To realise the truth
No allegory or metaphor
I don’t write like you

No flowing words of prose
No humble love of trees
My soul is not on fire
I no longer write to please

I finally found my voice
What it is I want to say
I won’t write like you write
I have turned and walked away.

The train

One bald man gets out of his seat
So another bald man can sit down.
They don’t speak to each other.
They don’t know each other.
The do know each other.
Its like a dance.

Every day.

That is his seat,
that is the other ones seat.
They wear similar suits in dark blue.
With a light blue shirt
And a medium blue tie and brown shoes.

I plunge myself into my seat, melting.

And what was he doing there anyway?
Half naked.
In a stripped down phone booth.
Leering at every woman,
As if each one should be grateful.
With his 90s hair.

Today of all days.
They are not grateful.
They just hurry past.
He leans on a strut that once held a pane of glass.
His best days are behind him.
His best days are behind the booth.

There is no air conditioning on this train.

He is playing a childs game
On ear phones that don’t work.
Colourful little animals jump small bridges.
Everyone can hear the arcade tinkle.
He does it deliberately.
Plays it loud.

Most days.

Plunging thumbs,
into a control panel.
It annoys everybody.
It’s a protest.
You are not allowed to watch porn on the train.

All around me the world of trains and men, I feel like a freak.

He holds his head high.
The wi-fi was a little slow this morning.
The trainers are glossy.
He really smashed that avocado
Into the whole grain toast.
A sheep in wolves clothing.

A bit yesterday.

With that beard.
More a toad resplendent in cloth.
Still a toad.
He catches himself in the window.
Looking good, looking good for a toad.

Still after all this time, I don’t belong on this train.