The workbench wood winks at the rays
familiar with the feeling, and
the knives sit sharpened
waiting for duty.
And he stands silently, in 1967:
unblinking, dead-eyes reflect back,
but they’re unfamiliar,
so is that pang of confusion.
The workbench wood feels:
strange tongues of a different heat
and the knives, sharp as ever,
slowly sink into ash.
He only turns back in memory.
And nobody knows why.
Except one naive, chance encounter
with blonde locks and sapphire eyes.
It has been a few years now…
The roses have bloomed five or six times,
five or six times petals snapped off
in the winds, in the rains.
A few loved ones have passed;
a few scars have been gained.
Yet, here I wait, hopeful;
A life unexamined
is a life not worth living,
yet still a life, surely?
I washed my hands of old times
and I know the dust is yet unsettled
On those ornaments of a grudge.
The dust sits thick and brown,
like my apology:
forgotten, but not quite lost.
Little Liam falls down the well
Hits his head in some hell
Shakes it off and blames himself
Now he sits on Hedone’s shelf
A twist and tale, smoke for the screen
Skinny jeans and kidney beans
Acetone and Ritalin
Falling short on Serotonin
Little Liam lying low low
Who gives a
Cause Little Liam thinks he’s stuck
It’s all done with money
The chopping and rolling of the honey
And he’s in the making
It’s easy once you’re used to faking
What is it we do
To ourselves late at night
As the coals simmer softly in the darkness?
The moon doesn’t exist for us,
There’s too much romance we’ve applied
To that ball of dust in the sky we’ve allied.
We’ve forgotten about the Romantics:
Wordsworth’s rainbows and Blake’s grain of sand.
But we have ourselves still –
We really do.
And we sit in the dark
In our own shadows
Within the shadow of something else.
That pain inside
We can’t quite understand.
All competing for a love we will never receive –
So it goes…
So we blend ourselves into the dark
Like the artist rubbing the charcoal on the page.
We ask questions we don’t understand
So any answer wouldn’t be noticed.
At the sight of a ray of light spilling through
A wooden blind
We see an opportunity to celebrate;
Celebrate not the light
But the unlit.
These tropes of light and dark!
Tiresias who saw all; Oedipus who did not.
Yet Oedipus saw, Tiresias did not.
So what is it then?
This grotesque Romanticism of smudging ourselves?
We’re splatters of one colour
On the same coloured canvas.
But we want to be noticed.
We still want to be seen.
And I made a rural pen,
And I stain’d the water clear,
And I wrote my happy songs,
Every child may joy to hear.
– From ‘Introduction’, ‘Songs of Innocence’, William Blake
When legs stop swingin’
sitting on a high chair,
and the spontaneous bursts
of Crayola-coloured imaginings
fade into a soft grey despondency;
When no more glittering unicorns
appear in the fluffy flowing clouds,
and waking up becomes
the first effort of the day;
When I-love-you is replace
with love-you automatically spewed,
and fantasies of worlds inside the mind
become longings for the weekend;
When sandcastles on beaches
are ignored in favour of the Sunday Times,
And ice-cream truck sirens
become an invasive clamour;
When children cross over
and transition snuffs out their flames,
sadly this when life
their ethereal innocence claims.
You love it when I write you a sweet love poem,
but rage scarlet when I smash you like limestone
with my shiny words and these strange metaphors…
We fell like Icarus, hubris was the cause.
I saw your lusty list of your past lovers,
I was but one under your starched white covers.
Staring at the city with you – I felt whole.
Now I’m left with pepperminted loneliness and paracetamol.
How does it feel to be free from my millstone?
Read between these coloured-in rhymes: there lies my tone.
Now you’ll see me in the shadows of the full moon,
surreptitiously shining on your bed: we died too soon.