Compressing Water

And I just
 
Stepped
 
Out
Into the world
 
That looked the same
But was somehow
 
Different
 
Straggled hair
And dusty shoes
 
I wasn’t sure my legs would even carry me
 
I stood in the takeaway
And I felt
 
Normal
 
How it used to feel
I closed my eyes to
The stacked chairs and tables
I didn’t look at the shiny new stickers on the floor
 
I pretended not to see

Haggard tired eyes
Or hear the fraught

Kindness in the voices
I smiled
 
My face unused to the exercise
 
I went back
To a different time
In my head,
There was noise and laughter
The ghosts of happiness
Footsteps, light and free
Haunted the tiles

Where I stood

Adrift in a fantasy world

I sucked in air
It was like

Pressing down on water

My hands dripping wet
With nothing to show for the effort
 
Because whatever was here
Is gone now
 
I could only remake it in my head
I clutched a bag
Of soggy, greasy food
All the way home
 
I wafted the smell of hot chips
Through my kitchen
With tears in my eyes
I fondled polystyrene
Lovingly looking at the limp cheese
And chewing on cardboard meat
 
I remember this
Gone are the days of everything
I settle for less
When I buy toiletries

In half filled streets
Pale, sunlight starved, stupefied masses
Are making their way out
As if the zombies have been

Re-lifed
 
What happened when I was cocooned
In lockdown

Maybe it wasn’t real
Real was somewhere

Outside 

I think I have cabin fever
But no fever
Because then I would need a test
My words run on and on
For so long there has been
Nothing to say
No self improvement
 
For so long there has been
A quiet waiting
The only voices
The ones in my head
A quiet piece of music
A stiltified song unsung

Like pressing my hands

Down through the
thick
deep
water

A noise, lyrical and loud

But not a song

The world off kilter

And I feel all wrong

 
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Unwild me now

In the dead of night
Fingers,
Unfurl
In the darkness
Eyes open and close
 
This is a world on its knees
There are lights here
But no one can see
 
She says who are you?
In the dusky gloom
Comes an answer
Fully formed


Out of my mouth
Before I can think
I don’t know
 
Anymore
 
I am no longer a fixed point
I live outside my body
Twixt
The rooms, the furniture
The functions
I am shrunken


I inhabit the world around me
But it has faded
And I have grown
 
Smaller
 
There is no one here
I must have misheard
That was a voice
On the edge of the darkness
Was I awake or
Asleep
The words came


On the cusp
Of consciousness
So they seemed real
 
And the answer was true
I don’t remember who I am
Only the furniture I use
 
Unwild me now please
Give me structure
Give me bars
Paint my cage with rules
Pedicure, manicure
Haircut
Tim, taut, tan
Make me up
Because
Turns out
I was made up

The trappings of being
Somebody
Civilisation

Are gone
 
There is some- body
Left here I suppose
Arms, legs,
A vague idea
Of being
But me has floated away

Downstream

I lie here in the early dawn
Firm in the knowledge
I am not any- body
Yet I am not anybody
 
Anymore
 
It takes my breath away
But no one sees
So still I breathe
I wake to routine
To tapping on a keyboard
In an airless room
And I am still unsure
If I don’t touch the keys
How is it words still appear
 
How do I know
How can I tell
If I am even here
 
And then the groceries
Arrive
And there is reprieve
Real people eat
I must be something
Sometime once
I am sure now
But I was half this morning
And I remember now,
Once I was complete
 
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Faces in the darkness

I try and make out

Faces in the darkness

The ones we’ve lost

They haunt my sleep

But they aren’t there

I toss, I turn

There is no peace

We struggle on

Beneath the creep

Of slow guilt

Of relentless pain

Of all those we lost

For no reason we can easily explain

I drift through the house

Worried about flour and soap

There’s a world out there

Where there’s little hope

I can’t seem to grasp

The enormity

Of a world that shut down

In a kind of uniformity

We are one together

Yet hopelessly divided

Fed and unfed

Those home schooled

and those denied it

I must be contributing

In ways I don’t know

To this division of lock down

Into those who have

And those who have no

I sit in the bath

Crying fake tears

Because the ones that I love

Are safe and held dear

What do I know of the grief and the pain

I sat here through lockdown

Slightly worse when it rained

I look into the darkness

In the dead of night

Try to make out there faces

Understand their plight

But it eludes me and

Shames me

It stands just out of sight

I am very lucky

But it does not sit right

 

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Toilets, bears and men in chalk

I am worried!

About all the wrong things.

I am worried about stuff…

Like public toilets.
I had a dream last night
They were,
Devolving
Is that the word?
Back to old wooden things
Long drops
And the like
It was probably a metaphor.
I do not consider toilets,
To be my favourite public space
Although I recognise their importance

Still I worry

They are all idle now
Those toilets!
Are they all congregating in the park without us
Is every toilet uprooted somehow
And heading for the gates
Is this the moment all public toilets abandon us
Is there mothership, even now
Collecting them from parks all over the world

I need to remain calm

I am also worried about men covered in white chalk
They appear at my window in my dreams
Can you even get white chalk?
Right now
Wouldn’t paint be better?
How much chalk do you need to cover yourself?
I tell myself I will not google white chalk.
Just in case there’s an image of a man,
Covered, and I cannot unsee it

Lockdown isn’t easy

And finally bears
I have always been worried by bears
I am concerned they are now going to start roaming free
In London
Perhaps they have come here on the planes from Berlin
Which I am sure has bears
Roaming free!
Right now!
Perhaps they are on the tube as I write this
It hits me like a ton of

Bricks

I have landed in the middle classes
Where these are the sum total of my concerns
Somewhere out there is horror and poverty and bravery
While I play Lolly Willowes
In pyjamas as if I can’t dress myself
I want to be useful
But I don’t know how
I am scared
Yoga keeps me calm
But I can’t help thinking

Shouldn’t this be a time for quiet

RAGE

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