Poetry

Round One: Fight!

There’s something to listening to the sound of your thumbs pushing buttons in combos that it’s taken weeks of snatched time to learn.

Reflecting the games of your childhood, which you played with your mates, lugging spare controllers and sometimes whole consoles round each others’ houses so you could all be a team

Or to be pitted against each other with the whole pile of snacks left just outside your door by your mum (not wanting to disturb you all by bringing them in) as the prize.

What that something is, I’m not sure. Maybe it’s the excitement that comes with it, the nostalgia that seeps from every one of your muscles, or the threat of reality lurking just beyond the screen that pushes you on so you can spend as much time as you can in that headspace you love.

Maybe it’s because I can see you as you were before you met me, before the pressures of school, college, work and the rest of life bore down on you and sapped at at your spark. The spark that flares up again only when we’re alone and can shed the clothes of adult obligations.

Maybe it’s because I’m sitting here with you doing the same, my own eagerness merging with yours as time jumps back for us. Maybe it’s because neither one of us is player two, but player ones on equal terms, equally bent on winning this round.

Maybe it’s because you respect me enough not to go easy, and I respect you the same.

Final round: Fight!

Poetry

Response to the Dead Poets Society

If you squash them,

if you bend them,

if you project your face onto theirs,

their minds will break:

reflections shattered, a mass of cracks and holes

where a person should be.

Their bodies will rot, bulge, blacken, weep.

Kindling that longs to ignite

if only to prove that it has some self-worth left.

And at the end of it,

still it will not be your name you see,

but theirs, as it only ever could.

You failed them,

yet stand where they still should.

Poetry

Single Use

The world is full of it,

those thin translucent panes that cover everything:

good enough only once.

Shielding tea bags, bagging berries, covering loaves, holding fancy water.

Filming every moment.

Wrapping everything individually.

Like fish, sea turtles, the bellies of gulls and whales and sharks.

Gathering in beaches replacing the sand, floating majestically beside jellyfish

in a competition the sea will never win.

The sea will never win

unless we step up and stand beside it,

on the same side, not the opposing team.

Tearing down the bergs of pollutants

to help raise the ship,

not sink it.

If we can unwrap our minds,

we can unwrap the world,

let it breathe, expand its lungs

and gulp the air, safe in the knowledge

it will no-longer choke.

Hold our your hand,

hold out your heart,

if those wanting glinting gold

refuse to look,

wrap them up instead.

Poetry

Puzzle Pieces

I’m standing here on this bridge watching you

as I attempt to explain

how I’ve been searching myself for

the traces

of puzzle shapes, so I can pluck each one

out from the whole and analyse it.

My traits; behaviours over the years.

When I look at them individually, it starts to make sense.

 

The way I am me is quite different to the way you are you.

 

When we approached this bridge,

it made you smile when I leapt onto it, running.

 

Placing myself here is hard, but it is the right thing to do.

I know you see me clearly

whether my pieces show or not.

But it would be nice, just for once, if others did the same.

Poetry

Ink blot

My heart is an inkwell, each beat

sending rivers through my veins

that stain my nails black, every

second nearing me to the moment

I’ll run dry; full colour pages

getting fainter and fainter with each sheet.

Every time I am naive enough

to believe that I’ll never exhaust myself,

that I can keep up the image

projected in front of my face,

my fingertips blacken and all that I am

drips off them to the ground,

trodden down and kicked easily

aside by those who are so trained to follow along

that they never even notice I’ve crumpled.

I want to speak up, but my mouth

and my brain are so disconnected

I can only do it when someone takes the time

to give me a pen and paper,

and I can let my blood pour out and form itself into words,

hoping, simply hoping,

that they’ll finally understand.

Poetry

Imprint

I stand now in a green field,

greener than any around it.

I stand now in a mass grave,

more drenched in blood than any quiet churchyard.

 

Touching the soil, my fingers catch

on the lip of a twisted belt buckle,

and the last moments of its owner illuminate my shadow,

their pain becoming my own,

as if centuries have not passed

and we are twins,

sharing the same blood, the same heart.

 

Flowers around me.

Cornflowers, daisies, Lady’s bedstraw.

Bones around me.

Long trampled and hidden, only ghosting up

to those who bother looking.

 

The long grass stains my hands as I pull at the blades,

thinking only of how other blades

drew out crimson:

a stain that would never wash out.

Poetry

Unsaid

You’ve got my back; your firm hands grip my shoulders

as I lean into you and filter the weight of the day

from my limbs to yours. Not all of it,

an even distribution so we can both still stand.

With a smile and a nod, we walk with our arms linked

and our steps synchronised, enjoying the bond

that was always a potential and has now flowered.

Words go unsaid because vocalising our thoughts

isn’t necessary — they’re in the twitch of our fingers,

the skip or slump of our feet

and the spark in both of our eyes.