Constructing A Poem

There are words dancing in my mind tonight.
The sky composes a waltz that only I can hear,
And thunders with a will to burst open.
We breathe together
And watch as ideas fall and disappear
Like motes of dust beyond the oblivion contained
In a sunbeam.
When I shiver from the inability to see through the dusty panes of my heart’s extent
I do
See that the world is ending somewhere tonight.

My friend rolls all his sorrow
and smokes it with tobacco
Under the night sky they painted over a billboard.
He is bored, so he lets his mind wander
And wonder
if he will be able to count the lights in the windows while he’s falling.
There are twenty seven storeys,
Stacked on top of each other:
Tin cans that rattle
with the emptiness of lives that clink at the bottom
Like small change.

My friend wanted to change the world.
His eyes were set with stars named after every
Child who did not learn to smile:
He went to the beach as one and fell in love with foam,
But try as he might to cup it in his hands
It became the sea and flowed away,
Wanting to be one with its kind.
He now tells himself that his depression had a mother
Who never picked up its calls
And figure skated on the edge of his consciousness
Waiting for the ice to thin.

My friend wanted to win
The confidence of his own heart
To be the voice that fills up the entire room
And leaves no place to sit.

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Artifacts

My thoughts are creepers 

Which grow, leaning against reality,

Watered by the night in all its darkness 

And dewdrops in the form of stars that twinkle:

Cool to the touch, glistening with hope

Wrapping themselves far too tight 

Around me – alive and also not, 

like a goat for sacrifice. 
I blink. 
My hands are free to wander 

Above, around, beneath, below:

Against the grain, and sweat from bodies

From which I pull all of my despair out and hang 

It out to dry in the heat of the sun when 

My thoughts shrink back into their pod

disappear from the recesses of mind 

Like acetone off linoleum.
I inhale. 
My mouth unveils my verses 

And raises the hair on the back of his back 

And my neck to stand in ovation, respecting 

The distance between us, like water on the edge 

Of a waterfall receding – slowly; to the rhythms

Of instruments facing extinction, sacraments

Of single copy smudged by fingers of overuse 

Like the language of love. 
I laugh.
My eyes are suddenly a fertile

Ground for tears, a fabric ripped apart 

From the seams of feeling by the agonies

Of life: such is the story, that if I wove every tear 

In this stained tapestry together, close into 

A circle, and hung it with feathers from 

Birds that sing of murder and sleep

It still wouldn’t catch a dream. 
I turn around. 
I walk away. 

My love is a rainbow, my love is the rain 

My love makes me want to play again. 

I’ve been looking around for reasons all along, 

and have only found them 

in his eyes:

I like to think now

how all the time that I can’t see them 

is just because he’s blinking. 

He blinks so much that I can’t breathe

And I feel so much 

That I can’t blink, and

miss it – or him

I can’t miss it

Or him. 

My love left behind a puddle

that reflects rainbows 

in the sun. 

The summer heat 

will have to fight me 

before it takes him away.

I will let my fingers 

wander over the keys again,

hoping that the sound 

can describe what 

his smile feels like,

And that it somehow melts into the sound of his voice:

The slight tremble at the end of his sentences 

And the end of his fingers 

At the beginning of his touch 

And of my hands 

in his hands 

and our hands 

Dancing to a rhythm 

That only they know of.

Will rain let the dust 

settle back onto ground 

Like eager footsteps?

Black 

against white 

against black. 

Can song bring people back home? 

Muscle Memory 

I distinctly remember a stainless-steel box from my childhood, round and full of sweets. The lid was always too tight for me to work open, and left dented and raw the skin on my fingertips. When I hungered for what lay inside, my fingers used to glide over the steel, grip onto the dimpled lid and push it upward till it gave way – or until the pressure revealed that my skin knew a thing called tenderness.

 

The sweets used to give me an aching stomach, and my mother always put them in that one box. She knew I’d rather not have any than have my fingers bruise from prying the box open. Pain was always a deterrent, and I was a Pavlovian dog.

 

But the box, I still picked it up ever so often – muscle memory – and inevitably put it back in the fridge. I imagined it sitting in there awkwardly, quite literally a round peg in a square hole.

 


Today, I overshared again.

 

I let things spill out of me and untether and unravel; and though I wanted them to, they hurt: like a sailor losing treasure, like an oil slick during high tide, like I had a terrible stomachache again.

 

Pain is still a deterrent, and all my life has been lived the way I was conditioned to. My thoughts are willed to remain on the floor of my heart like a half-chewed sweet congealing to the bottom of a box it once belonged to.

 

Today was just one of the days I thought myself to be capable of unlearning.

 

I clamp the lid shut again, the box as full of emotions as could be, and hope the throb of my fingers comes back to me when I feel the urge to open it to the world.

Some things are better this way.

Paint

[ This piece was written for, and has previously been published by, The Infinity Of Mind ]

 I feel small, sprawled 

On the floor

Eyes low and unfixed:

Eyes watering, vision 

watered-down 

like a mixing jar for paints;

Like a desert waiting for the rain,

Unfulfilled 

(Overdue)

A hundred years may have passed 

Like this. 

Everything I see twinkles

Because I rub my tired eyes 

Because of the brashness of 

Reality

Because beauty 

Is grainy to the touch:

My head is spinning in a waltz

And I 

Can smell the colours

On my brush as it once touched your face 

On a canvas 

Embroidered with your name;

I wish I could see it

Trace the letters with a glance 

Or two

(Three syllables)

They had me undone

(I want to unlearn)

The feeling of them 

rolling off my tongue:

Can I?

Should I?

Will you

Lift me off the floor 

Paint tears on my neck 

Of cobalt blue 

Before you 

Pour thick wine over me 

And press a painting knife to my back?

I know you

draw me with my

Cheek against the hardwood 

As I listen 

To the sound of your feet 

To the sounds of the world beneath –

I hear you breathe 

And smell your colours again

Fading 

Faint 

(Blood, salt and ecstacy):

Does my image plead 

And cry –

Are your eyes 

as unfocused 

as I?

Do you listen 

As the desert wasteland speaks:

Don’t throw me down 

To the floor again 

It’s all that I 

Can see.

The Finish Line 

 

To the future –

I hope you and I are flying.

 

I write about the race against time

Which I keep running for, and I’m

Wondering why it never seems to end

As my aching feet of despair portend:

 

I long for hands to hold, and to be held,

For stories of happiness unparalleled

But alas, no hands are held in running race –

There’s hunger for victory, not love’s embrace.

 

Oft I gasp for breath, wonder if anyone else

Can see it, or feel the music of my pulse

Which rises and falls and makes me a whole,

A river running to peacefully end at its bowl.

 

But I only run in a want to stop running

I run in search of an undefined something

Not found without life and much ado;

I draw the finish line, and name it ‘You’.

 

Time builds its course up and up

And a faint determination helps me to lollop

Through it all – even the rough affection

I run along, not losing direction.

 

I write of you, a glimpse of colour in the grey

Flashing, beckoning to meet me halfway

Promising you’ll stay put, patiently wait

Where you would, even If I slow my gait.

 

And I shall let destiny be the ink to my pen

And guide me to the very moment when

On your shoulder I will find my shore

And run I will no more.
 

An Emotion

I am no great conversationalist, and sometimes I have exchanges with people which I end up concluding in epiphanic letters to the known and the unknown – to people, places, objects, thoughts or emotions. So, when I ask you about whom you want to be, and you think about what it really is that you want and respond with ‘happy‘, I have this to tell you:

Being happy is an emotion, not a second skin you can slip into and forget to ever take off; and emotions are volatile – especially this one – and you can’t ever mistake them for the complete person you are. You have it in you to be happy, but happiness is a wanderer – it comes and goes.

I think you have to be okay with happiness being fleeting, with it being just a mood and not something as permanent as the indestructible refuge of the house you build for yourself in your mind; because the bricks you stack upon each other to make it stand aren’t mud, sand and cement – they’re sadness and loneliness and ecstasy and love, they’re the gold and silver of your experiences, and they shine and sparkle differently when the rays of the sun hit them from different angles.

It is important for the sun to beat down on your mind from different angles for you to know just how radiant it is. Each little memory you keep in there is like a tiny memento from the game of life which you see in a new light every time your eyes gloss over it. Maybe happiness can be the dust that settles on these mementos as time passes by, maybe it can be what you find beneath the dust when you pick them up in your hands to reminisce. Maybe happiness can be the reflection you see in the many mirrors that hang on the walls inside as you run along to whichever corner the butterflies of everyday life lead you.

Maybe happiness can be a passing moment in the journey you take – the glimpse of the face you catch in the sideview mirror as your car speeds by it – and not the destination itself; because it is already yours and you just keep letting it loose to take itself on morning walks, because happiness is all the more happier when you find it again and again.