Poem

This thing I see ahead

And so I turn a page and see
a future moment ahead of me:
a future memory of what’s in store,
of the past I have lived before.

There before my mind’s eye
I think about the time I die;
the moments I took without thought
and hard lessons that life me taught.

A distant time on a windy beach,
the sweet taste of a lover’s reach;
many moments encased in gold
sit in mind, wait to be told.

And on this page a picture bright
my face wrinkled with some fight;
yet the sound of my children’s voices
remembering I’ve made good choices.

But this is not the final page
upon which chance sets the stage:
I snap right back to this time
knowing, now, I’ve done just fine.

A Textual Reckoning

Soft fluorescent candle-light flickers
warped shadows: the Forms
in this cave.
Crickets chirping: a choir of beeps
surrounding him like his yellowed books.
A light, the light! Oh, Paradise.

You need to go now, it’s okay.
The Guide; the Muse.
Let go.
ABANDON ALL HOPE!

Clear!

What a shock: this green light I reach for
in this tunnel of light.
Oh, innocence; oh tyger tyger burning bright
so gently you came rapping
tapping at my chamber door;
in my madwoman attic nevermore!

Time of death?

A new gyre unfolds once more.

Meditation

Feet touch soil
so silent
but still sound.
Vines and trying times
creep and grow
around his weary ankles
and up his legs
anchoring him back to dust.
He waits in hope
that roses will grow
a crown upon his head.

His eyes are closed now:
he is expansive in his mind only;
at peace down those ten steps
into his own little Paradise.

Rest, now, breathe.

The New Boy

Panicked anxiety
soaking deep into the classroom carpet
on day one:
‘Hi!’
‘Hello!’
‘Who are you?’
Who am I?
Spider-Man watch’d; shaved hair.
I’ve closed the door tightly
and bolted up my self:
please don’t, please don’t please don’t.
The smell of plastic covers and
freshly printed cover pages,
and Pritt glue – 40g – the big one,
an acrid cloud filling the room:
a smell that brings me back – still.

No one to play with,
but my shivering shadow,
day in and out –
wave to the metallic blue Citroën
each morning from Mrs Peterson’s window.
Maybe today the sunshine of friendship
can soak up the damp carpet.

An Hour

Hold on for just an hour longer,
my Friend.
I miss you already
and the way your eyes smiled
at life
even though I know it isn’t easy.
Please put down those pills so sombre
in your shaking hands
and walk with me down the street.
I love you enough to care
in these riptides of sorrow and strife,
and I just need to hug you,
for you more than for me this time.
Don’t write that note much stronger,
call me and let’s go
on that trip we always spoke of.
In my head the tenses are confused
because you still are to me:
not was.

Hold on for just an hour longer:
please put down those pills so sombre;
don’t write that note much stronger.
Because you still are to me.

Between stardust and I

High, dry memory throws up:
a tying of knots in a tent in a house
(which reminds me of music in grade 3
and Mrs Whatsherface with the immovable hair).
Moments of wander (or is it wonder?)
sprinkle my memory like some hopeful
seeds scattered in the zephyrs of tomorrow.
“These moment will haunt you later in life!”
a voice whispered then, which only reached me now.
(I really do not know if I’ll ever feel this moment again).
But blackjacks appear out of nowhere
(yes, that’s what we called them!
they stuck to our socks and pants
like memories we don’t want)
and suddenly I’m back:
waiting for my Dad to drive away,
with a heavy feeling inside my tummy I didn’t understand
(until I studied Psychology much later on).
Or that time, etched in black trauma,
of being betrayed for believing someone’s pain
or trying my best but not succeeding.

Gentle, gentle, over the top, boys, mighty Gentleman!
You know not what lies ahead.

In Mourning

My soul is dressed in black today
as I attended another one
and my anxiety is back
(I can feel its kneeding in my chest)
and I’m blinking to keep away tears.
It’s a dusky dawn of drain,
my thoughts of care just a stain.

I walk around mute
but it’s loud inside my mind
with thoughts of this and that
how maybe I said something wrong
or didn’t do enough
(despite knowing I did more).

But I lower another one
into the cold, hard soil of memory:
Rest in peace, what never was.
Rest in peace.

Piece of me

Looking at a rainbow
their backs are to the sun,
and this is how it is:
departing wasn’t fun.

He to the far cold east
and she to the glum west.
Separate paths for separate souls:
relationships pose the hardest test.

She felt something weighing her down
so she searched her heart’s pocket
And there she felt something gold:
while he, afar, cried holding half a locket.

When I have time

So who doesn’t have time now?
Amid the pandemic.
Alongside the hours:
bodies moving slowly
in small spaces
going in circles
like second hands
on a weathered clock
hanging on wallpapered concrete.
“When I have time,
we can make plans.”
Saving face;
biding time.

“Hello, can I help you?”
“Hi, yes. I’m looking for…”

Time.
Measured in loneliness.

Deeper than skin

Seven autumns have passed
leaves fallen
trodden on
swept up
much like dreams forgotten
(abandoned).

Renewal: cyclical hope of change
illuminated by colourful explosions,
a simple wish from crying eyes.
“Please, hear me.”

Sometimes it arrives
like an unexpected flowering
in the middle of a dry winter.
A chance encounter, but brief.
Yet beautiful enough to sustain hope.