What keeps you up at night
when sleep evades the bloated mind
unknotting dreams out your hair
becomes morning routine
sink clogged with the thick smog of nightmares
horrors that can’t be blocked so easily
will rot your teeth
flossing strings of thought between fragments of memory
rinsed out with mouthwash
a cleanse of the body
running on empty past the exit signs
Awaking from sleep
in a state of still dreaming;
mine, yours, for always?
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.
Lights illuminate this courtroom scene
and I am standing in the central artery,
translucent and immaterial to your reckless steps
as they walk straight through me.
But under oath the words will fail
to accept the lies you hope to spin from your lips;
those spoken but then denied
will testify to the tongue that shaped them
and the mind that orchestrated their sounds to escape
on the exhaled breath,
till all the jury hears is the jumbled letters you have left,
stubbornly scrambled like your sense of morality,
the judge orders a straitjacket to curb your corroding mentality.
And I can feel my mouth running back to me.
“What are men to rocks and mountains?”
The disillusioned know
“we do not suffer by accident”.
So damn these feet, damn unsteadiness
from these damn dreams falling through your damn arms,
I’ll be damned if this is nostalgia,
damn these losses, damn this love so wrong
to love myself through blind corners,
damn laughter, damn sleep,
damn fantasy, damn control,
I want both
I miss it all.
Opening the card, it reads
‘Happy Christmas, love Santa’,
by double figures, means
‘It’s Christmas, from Mum and Dad’,
declining to seventeen’s
And you were what was left
of pass the parcel,
layers peeled away,
and in all the excitement
of what you could have been
they saw not what you were,
the suspicious package
in a neglected nativity scene.
to re-use next Christmas,
to keep warm in winter,
to dress the body modest,
or just for a while,
to stabilise the bones
bubble-wrapped in a box marked ‘FRAGILE’
then set alight to smoke,
breathing in the sticky sweet tobacco,
vacuum-packed for a fresher death,
the little matchstick girl
takes her last breath
and wakes up,
wrapped in your arms.
Last night I dreamt
at the gym,
like even my subconscious knows
we are always in the habit
of eyes straight ahead,
playing running away
without you ever going anywhere.