Poetry

The Monster Inside

The monster inside is restless.

It’s been kicking around all day,

talking to itself and grumbling, never wanting to settle,

never wanting to stay calm or focused,

refusing point blank to relax in any way.

 

The monster inside is doing handstands.

Climbing the walls, the door, the frame!

One minute it wants to scream and shout,

the next give up and lie on the floor, staring at the ceiling.

Oh, how I wish it would end this game!

Poetry

Low fuel

Let’s not confuse the sad with the empty,

though the expressions may be the same.

Tie labels around each toe

with notes on how well the footprints smile.

Are they real, or just so creatively painted on

that you’re mesmerised and can’t see the raw skin

blistering from so much neglect?

Gold stars for getting up in the morning,

lifting up the weighted chains

entwining every limb.

Poetry

Reawakening

It’s a firecracker with karate oomph.

 

No lace involved at this point.

No webs spun, no leaf skeletons

to be collected, analysed, stamped.

 

It took a while to create the right mix

of mineral and powder,

testing and re-testing until the colours were held high,

shouting, ‘we are to return to our maiden voyage.

We are to return

to the sea and its torrents, its salt and seaweed

and the lights of anglerfish in its belly.

 

We are to fight the storms and ride them through

until the calm

spreads her fingers across the surface

and we find the land

we’ve always searched for

bit could never find until now.

 

The homeland of our hearts,

where our roots can be unwrapped

from their protective cloth

and left to spread as they wish.

 

 

 

 

Poetry

Rushing Rivers

Dawn. We kiss, say our

good mornings.

You, the boy who is my best friend,

listen carefully to the account of my dreams.

Sometimes,

night terrors.

You know where parts come from, just as I do.

You know me,

inside and out, like

the motions you use cutting and shuffling cards,

except without the years of practice

yet at the same time

a lifetime of listening and observing.

We get ready for work,

the day ahead planned and uncertain.

We are a tag team, a cassette tape and pencil.

Together, nothing can keep us down.

Poetry

Observations of a face

Each muscle works to form an expression,

a twitch of the mouth on one side forming a half-smile

that exposes your teeth just enough to lightly rest the backs of your fingers against them;

pensive as always

staring off into the distance or close inside your heart.

Sometimes your eyes are mild and calm like a quiet lake on a still afternoon,

but they can change in a beat

to intense as a great maelstrom threatening to swallow every ship headed its way.

Soft brows cannot hide the waves of emotion

threatening to crash forth;

only practice and willpower make them bow down.

And then those cheeks, always lifted in a grin,

but which only ache, wonderfully,

from a true smile.

Poetry

Fossil Hunting

The door to shut the world off

is much lighter than the one to open it up.

Vulnerability is covered by a heavy cloak;

sharing your innermost self is difficult

when those feelings have already begun to fossilize.

 

So when someone appears to sift

through the layers of rock with gentle fingers,

letting them find you is daunting.

Emotions that you long thought had filtered away

spring back,

 

filling you up so much

that they tip you off balance and send you tumbling

into the rock pool, sprawling among schools of uncertainty

and trying to find a way out

that won’t crush the gentle life within

 

but also

won’t cut you and open old wounds.

Yet the hand that found you

won’t let you pull away and hide in the dark;

it challenges you to stay and observe,

to find a way of gaining your footing

even when all sides present a challenge.

 

Poetry

A serving of shells and gems

On the table in the quiet inn

are spent bullets, spelling out the words

‘You are empty’.

You stare at them;

everyone you’ve spoken to before

seems to reinforce

the message as true.

 

Then in the palm of your hand

a warmth spreads out to your fingertips.

You look up to see the barmaid

grinning at you mysteriously, motioning to wave your hand

over the bullets.

 

You do so,

and before your eyes

they turn into gems

polished so brightly

that their brilliance overshadows

all the scars the bullets left on your skin.

 

‘You gave me this power?’ you ask the maid.

‘No,’ she replies,

‘it was yours to begin with.’