She asked me.
“Do you want to live forever?”
“Interesting question.” I said.
It’s a tempting offer.
What if you did make me immortal,
able to defy death,
outlive everyone I hate and dance on their graves.
Happy, until the time comes when
I see my wife die, then my daughter die, then her daughter die.
At what point I wonder would my feelings die?”
She laughed then said.
“You could see Empires fall,
civilisation crumble and this planet crack and burn.
And you worry about three people.
One day you will stand at your families graves
and you will struggle to remember what they looked like and
who they even were. You will walk away
unsure of why you have a bunch of roses in your hands.”
“You say I could see this planet crack and burn.” I said.
But if this world remains as shit as it is now
that is going to be a long wait.
And you say I will be uncaring| just staring at the stars
while around me injustice spreads like cancer.”
She slowly smiled licking her teeth.
“You will have power, you could be the force that changes it all.
You could feed on the rich, pull them down screaming
from their ivory towers, bring justice and liberate the poor.”
“Though once the rich are gone. “I replied.
“All that will be left to feed on is the poor.
Can I still make this world a paradise then,
and what paradise has ever welcomed monsters?”
“You asked me if I wanted to live forever.
Putting my life on pause while the world carries on around me
where memories become sand I can never hold
the king of a broken world sitting on a throne of the dead
Only wanting to be a saviour but never able to shed the name monster.
I think you know my answer.”
I clothed myself in shadows,
then went searching for
all my hidden secrets.
I found the biggest one
curled peacefully around you.
I left it undisturbed,
a dark lie to remember me by,
as I leave you ignorant to the last.
Outside I flick my lighter until
it reluctantly sparks.
Then with a cigarette glowing on my lips,
I emerge under the street lights
like a B-Movie bad guy.
I set off passing underneath
a patchwork of windows, whose glow
showcases silhouettes, slow dancing
under their shower’s spotlights.
Uncaring I stretch out my arm,
my cigarette falls to the ground
like a fading shooting star.
Before it hits the pavement the bus arrives.
Its windows glow,
like funeral candles.
Inside the terracotta passengers
Indifferent to the opening doors
and the shadow of the driver,
welcoming me aboard, like an old friend.
if Poetry is really a gift
I wish the receipt had been left in the box.
So after playing with it briefly and getting bored,
Next day I could easily take it back to the shop.
I constructed these words from scraps of leather and bricks,
forged them in the white hot heat of love and relationships.
I wrote these words while in the Arboretum or down by the cut,
inspiration flowing like smoke from my cigarette butt.
These are words that came to me on the bus or in my flat,
I wrote them down late at night on the wrapper of my kebab.
I took words from literature and scrawl from toilet walls
I took everything I loved and etched it deeply it on to my soul.
My pen has become a viper in my hand,
each time I start to write
it shakes off its cold-blooded slumber
to strike the paper,
injecting venom in to my words.
And now I fear to stop writing,
worrying that if I even briefly pause
this viper will then turn on me.
Before I go I want to …
Not be dependant any more on my meds
End the pain within my head.
Not lie about how I feel like a fraud
Conquer the petty set backs that get me annoyed.
Remove all the monkeys from my back
Give optimism another crack
Be proud to display my scars
Escape from my illnesses’ prison bars.
Find a grain of hope in which to believe
Wear my heart proudly on my sleeve.
Recover my long lost inner peace
Have just one night of uninterrupted sleep.
Dark clouds are gathering behind my eyes,
inside my head an imperfect storm is brewing.
Black waves of thoughts froth and swell
then surge and crash
against my resolve.
A resolve that is a castle,
a castle built of sand.
Whose smooth walls have
withstood many storms and
although some of its parapets
crumble today the rest stands firm.
Once the storm passes I
lower my drawbridge, then
as for the rock pools of doubt
left behind, I tread carefully
round them.Wary of what
they might conceal.
Yesterday I forgot
that I only needed to stretch
and the stars would
have been easily
within my grasp.
Instead I scrabbled for
dirt, that quickly
slipped through my fingers.
Today I have promised myself
that I will stretch
and pull the stars down.
And even if they burn
I won’t stop until I
hold the planets in
my hands as well.
This is the poem that refused to stay dead
it clawed its way out of my head.
The words struggled and scrambled for the light,
pressed together in a shambolic incoherent half-life.
A poem eager to escape the shallow grave of my brain
a rhyme I thought I’d buried and would never see again.
This is the poem that came back from the dead
that has no heart or spirit left.
Verses that have no right to exist
an unliving, unloved family of misfits.
Constantly struggling just too even breathe
yet unwilling to die despite being so ill-conceived.
This is the poem that should have stayed dead
it shouldn’t live, it should be six feet under instead.
With no obituary pinned to a church noticeboard
no wreathes of roses and no time and place to mourn.
It will be buried tonight in another dark corner of my mind
and I hope that this poem will now quietly lay down and die.
And you know as sure as hell that your
black dog ain’t gonna let you be.
Howling outside your window
scratching at the door
impatient to be let in.
That hound can smell fear,
it’s drawn to it.
So let it in, let it come close,
then slap the lead on it.
If that black dog’s gonna follow me
the least it can do, is learn to
walk to heel.