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

The Struggle of Acceptance

His dreams were chaos, the ground maggots

eating one another snap after snap after snap.

A vacuum pulled them in, and he with them,

squashing their soft, wriggling bodies against his skin

until they were pressed together into one.

Discord plucked on a silver harp, played

by her, who he’d never know again.

There was no telling what he was now,

crawling, belly low, through the neatly trimmed grass

attempting to exit the maze of cropped box.

Everywhere were deadlines, corpses of the past

left to rot against them. And he drinks from

the sullied stream where they lie.

Poetry

Sugar Coated

Behind that sweet exterior,

painted, crafted, structured:

a persona loud and clear.

 

I can see you.

See how your eyes do not reflect your

bright-red grin,

see how your long sleeves lift

to reveal silver filigree

around your wrists.

 

But whenever anyone asks

how you are,

you tell them you couldn’t be more fulfilled.

Everyone’s social media blares out their happiness –

so you have to keep up,

don’t you?

Poetry

Tied Up

Every plait

can be separated

out into the individual strands

that make it.

No matter how long they’ve been bonded for.

 

These strands can then go

on to make new bonds

or hang freely

to

catch

the sweetness of the air.

 

Growing stronger than vines,

lush as wild forests.

Why should they tame themselves

for the benefit of others –

small, preserved, squashed –

 

when they can fan out as they please,

dancing on light toes

throughout the day?

Poetry

Patchwork

It’s said that every seven years,

our bodies change.

We shed who we were and take on new thread

to spin into a suit of current experiences

and timid goals.

 

We can’t lose our previous selves completely.

 

At a deep, stubborn level,

our essence never morphs.

It lies in wait

gathering parts it likes

and casting aside those it doesn’t,

so that eventually, when the time comes

to accept our truest nature,

we can be as comfortable in our own skin

as we were before the influence of others took hold.

 

We are a patchwork of our lives,

well worn in places,

freshly pressed in others

and often oddly put together.

 

But we are human.

We are flawed.

And that’s what makes us.

 

Poetry

Timelines

We once talked about your stay in hospital.

At first, I couldn’t remember.

It was during the time when I didn’t know who I was,

but I knew who you were,

and who you were wasn’t someone in hospital.

Who you were was the person who made my reluctant self

talk about the things that bothered me,

telling me not just that it was okay, but that it was fine to feel that way.

Fine to have emotions. Fine to be angry at the world. Fine to accept we’ve had our dreams crushed by those we love.

 

I can remember now, if I really try.

I don’t recall your stay being lengthy, though you say it was several weeks.

Something about that just doesn’t settle in my mind.

Strong, grounded, dependable you

out of action, recovering from an operation

that was not like the game we used to play.

One that for you, was very real, and for me,

just fizzled from my mind

so that the image I have of you never wavers.

Poetry

Stamps

How many times can you see a shadow,

the same shadow, in a day?

Different people, different stance, different persona

stamped with the shadow,

followed, tied, a trail of darkness

pulling faces at the world

while getting trampled on.

Unnoticed. Invisible. Despite

its clear lines.

Poetry

Seedlings

And why the tapping of bamboo

against stone,

to scare away the birds

as the water starts to fill?

Spilling over the sides into the sand beyond,

clotting it into mounds that crumble

as soon as they dry.

The seeds will still grow even

if they’re scattered by ruffled feathers

making a mess of the business of eating

in a public place. They may

become willowy and wild,

the berserker runs thoroughly through

their system. Their comfort. Their home.