Poetry

It’s not always winter

I take the knife and carve away a slither.

The exposed skin reddens at the touch of cold air

and regrows its protective casing.

I try again, carving away another slice,

yet still the ice seeps in and forces retreat.

Moons change and the casing grows thin,

I cannot depend on it for support much longer.

The crushing air outside is still strong…but wait!

Is that a warm spot approaching in the distance?

I can last just a little longer. A fraction more.

I reach out

and it takes me with it.

The memory of warmth becomes real,

I shed my casing without worry.

Poetry

Age Rings

My age is shown in armoured plates,

shells coating my body. Each one no thicker

than a single hair and full of patch jobs

from nicks and scrapes I’ve received

clawing my way here through thorned words,

cactus remarks, daggers thrown at me with a single look.

Sometimes, not even I can remember who I am underneath,

and I know I would feel naked if I stripped them back.

But that lemon juice you offer is so fresh.

Poetry

Sand Castles

It’s the way you sit,

palms out with fingers stretching towards the horizon

and the crashing waves

dancing to the beat of your heart.

 

Your skin is weathered, cracked,

but every wrinkle holds

a lifetime of memories.

 

Flower picking at midnight under

a bright moon.

Breaths held as tales of ghostly galleons approaching the shore

are told.

Diving from the waterfall

into the lake below, ignoring mother’s warnings.

 

The clouds part at your exhale,

and you fold into the sand

as the tide pulls out.

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

Bard Dance

We paste on our faces and squelch down our thoughts,

produce positive, can-do attitudes to adhere to the court.

Seething inside, maybe; overwhelmed, swamped under,

forever unable to give in to our thunder.

The days melt under the heat and converge into one,

a conjunction of swarming bees whose tasks are never done.

Bodies we are close too, silent they must be,

still encourage us with a gesture only we can see.

And after the hour-chains finally let us retire,

we crash under waves that we have perspired.

Poetry

Name games

Thanks, sweetheart. Thanks, angel. Thanks, love. Thanks, sugar. Thanks, pet. Thanks, darling. Thanks, treasure. Thanks, precious.

Words of endearment stream from people’s mouths so easily now,

I begin to wonder if they’ve lost their meaning.

Complete strangers calling me more names than my family,

my friends, even my spouse.

 

I never hear them call the boys ‘love’ or ‘darling’.

I wonder why that is.

I hear ‘mate’, if any at all.

Thanks, mate. Good job, mate. Nice to see you, mate. Well done, mate.

 

Sometimes, everyone seems to be a star.

But why?

We’re just doing what’s been asked of us, what we’ve been trained to do.

I suppose that’s it.

You’re just responding in a way you think you’re being asked, in the way you’ve been trained.

Where a boy cannot be a treasure, and a girl cannot be a mate.

You might not think that anymore,

but the words remain from when you did.

Poetry

So what would a diagnosis mean for you?

The spectrum runs much deeper than we can see,

maybe we’re on the precipice,

maybe we’ve already reached the bottom.

Dragged through the world, forced to be immersed,

or constantly waiting on the edge, wanting an invitation

but blocking up the letter box.

Time opens up, divides, expands.

The clock ticking provides a distraction,

my body sways in keeping.

Why is yellow such a bright colour?

It rains on my head and splashes in my eyes,

a tidal wave of unpleasant butterflies

and the number three.

All I crave is quiet. pH7.

Poetry

The Waiting Room

A kettle boils somewhere in the house.

Cold. Distant. An echo.

A woman in a black veilĀ falls

into the wash of the waterfall.

Whispers in the front room,

a herd of puppets

knocking in to each other:

frequent looks to the wooden case on display.

 

Tink, tink!

 

The herd’s attention is drawn,

as the kettle shrieks,

to a single speaker whose vague body

just about distinguishes itself

from the bled-out decor.

Dry words. Pale words. Words said with a wry grin and frail voice.

Lost.

All at once, the herd vanishes.

 

The kettle gets poured.