Marici

Marici

Once,

twice,

three times.

This canvas

delicately painted with waves of craving

that crash before we reach the shore,

with sand warm against my bare back,

Your face shielding my gaze from the glaring sun,

a showcase of your freckled skin,

traced with raised edges

where I dug my nails in.

Sunday’s sin can be forgiven

when it was neither seen nor heard

but spoken in tongues.

You want to know,

you want me to teach you

the ways of my God

like how this beach becomes one with the sea,

but my God doesn’t obey the prayers

formed between a man’s clasped hands,

first he must dare to get his feet wet.

You’ve Got Mail

You’ve Got Mail

Dawn; when the wild birds

serenade me into waking,

for even at 5am there are war wounds to nurse,

new peace treaties to sign.

The words I write are wet from last night’s rain,

folded into a paper aeroplane

and dried by the wind as it journeys to your door,

where you’ve sat up waiting for the news pages.

Today’s headline is ‘Growing Pains’;

the weariness when the hard work comes,

when our love hits the breaking wave

and we’re thrown in new directions.

We become the weekly crossword puzzle,

finding the missing letters of how we fit together,

the clues by which we are defined.

Turn to the classifieds, all that’s seeking and selling,

the ones you’ll read over morning coffee

with tired eyes from yesterday’s late to bed.

There’s my scribbled message in the margin,

my simple advert for a better life –

‘If I can keep you, I’ve already found mine.’

To The Pilot Who Didn’t Follow The Flight Plan

To The Pilot Who Didn’t Follow The Flight Plan

Too many of us grow up and forget how to play,

become lazy in settling for the mundane

Monday to Friday. We convince ourselves

to stay in the steady job, the still mildly satisfying

but faded relationship, semi-detached house, because we signed a contract,

we made a commitment, we think of the money

and material we’d lose or gain and weigh our options accordingly,

decide what’s less risky at the risk of wasting our life. Dig our heels in

till we’re all stood just the same – at the alter, in line at the lunch queue, school pick ups

in the playground, all ignoring the sound

that pounds at our guts. You’ve learned

to block it out, it’s started to learn to shut up.

I’m not saying we all need to be Peter Pan

but the boy had a point. To live true to ourselves

doesn’t mean we all remember how to fly; but I bet

you don’t even jump.

I bet you don’t even try.

Golden Pneumas

Golden Pneumas

At first the wind carried me,

catching my weary legs once crippled with worries

and careless whispers, now cradled by the warm breeze

and wrapped in the sweetest words.

I cannot remember the last time I uncovered this skin,

exposed it to sunlight, to movement, feet aching

from the walk across hard pavements and hill climbs.

Your hand on my bare thigh

takes me a moment to recognise it’s mine;

I watch in awe of the goosebumps that grow,

how our miracle bodies react to the cold,

bruised and scratched but satisfied.

Let me rest on this birch tree, exchange a smile

with the panting dog – he knows I know

what freedom feels like amongst the pines.

As do the birds, they haven’t stopped singing

since I stepped outdoors and their gentle presence follows me

like little Cupids,

arrows flying towards the soft lips of my new lover,

alone, as she speaks to herself.

The Night I Spent Staring At Beer Mats

The Night I Spent Staring At Beer Mats

I sip my glass of reality slowly, let its carbonated contents satisfy my thirst for presence, so sick of sinking into places I don’t belong. Arms, sofa cushions, the spaces between words – I haven’t figured out a way to stop getting stuck. I’m here, world, and I’m trying to sit still but this seat isn’t sturdy, it shakes with the strength of self-destructive thoughts and I’m scared someone else will swallow me. “Research suggests counting in situations like this”, he says, “it’s supposed to help with the grounding”; but he can’t focus to count past one and all I can count is the number of times I’ve needed to shape-shift – become smaller, softer, less secure, silent. So I stand, we leave, and I try to subtly avert my eyes from what you don’t want me to see. Or is it that you don’t want me to be seen? Outside, the sky is speckled with stars like the freckles on your skin. I start to join up the dots.