Red Shoes and Life Signs

Red Shoes and Life Signs

The famine started long before this soul could read,

letters giving way to patterns,

stolen colours mixed with second hand scraps

and fashioned as freedom.

A skin that falls away from the bones

to expose the starved sinews, weak from sneaking sensations

in all the wrong places.

Months spent as an empty shell

longing for the sea,

weighed down with sand and plastic wrappers;

cheap treasure, shallow digger.

All that tickles and thunders was buried deeper underground

but detecting only shadow signals

instinct gave way to injured impulse

and lay dying in final defence of the once courageous heart

who lost its rage to a captive life

in a weather-beaten cage and severed from the body,

power seeping out the cells into a muddy puddle on the floor.

But home is where the heart is,

even when it fights back at a crawl

this body will regrow limbs, applying medicines

to clot the blood back into these veins

and the whispers of the wild woman

will echo through each chamber of the heart,

breathing gulps of handmade air

just to howl at the moon.

This Year I Will Listen To Soul Music

This Year I Will Listen To Soul Music

At 2pm, last year breezed past me, out the door,

gracefully granting next year could plant her seeds

before sunset, steadily watered with liquid gold.

‘Hey Jude’ playing over the speakers

and I bless the drunken singers, warbling chorus

enough to cover for our quietness

as we stand there, feeling the corners of our lips

curl up in the sounds of silent serenade,

whilst tiny songwriters etch lyrics into our retinas,

signalling how these soft notes might look good on us.

Paramnesia

Paramnesia

Close my eyes,

try to let go of the grey,

dream of childhood tempers

scaling six foot wooden fences

because Little Miss Stubborn won’t use the gate.

Return to the known terrors,

to the films I’ve re-lived a thousand times,

find the familiar space

between the back of the shed and the train tracks,

feel the comforting quake as they speed passed,

the false sense of safety

found in running away from my problems.

Recapturing: Almscliffe Crag

Recapturing: Almscliffe Crag

Muddy boots, the sign of a good adventure

breeze-dried to my jeans.

It’s Christmas, and anyone who knows lonely

will know how much this means

to have hands to pull you up.

The wind gives me time to steady my feet,

mist lingering in earnest to softly kiss my cheeks

with afternoon colours, greys and greens and blues

and we could be on top of the world.

Now, more than ever,

I understand nature’s lesson;

a picture really is worth a thousand words.

A Lesson in Kinetics

A Lesson in Kinetics

Inhaling time, the Earth spun

twice and a billion miles around the sun

before I drew your lips to mine.

Parted in anticipation of atmospheric change,

this built up energy could start an earthquake,

so grasp my neck and I will breathe it out in rations.

Replace air with adrenaline, savour the taste

of being starved; Andromeda’s stars interlaced

with the chains I beg to be bound in.

Raw Soup for the Skin Soul

Raw Soup for the Skin Soul

Pain pitted me to the post, and in defeat

I drag these heavy limbs across the finish line.

Body battle-worn, at loss

with how to rise from this crumpled pile.

The devil’s flames lick my feet

yet here I lie, stone cold,

crowds hurling their hurt in oblivion

to the collected suffering we already carry on our collective shoulders.

But carry on, we do; and if I have to crawl

over shards of broken glass with a broken heart

I will get us through;

the world has good in her yet.

She promised me once, and I hold her to it,

joy wins the war in the end.