Is there though?

There’s a limit
To how much useful music you can make,
To how much tension you may instill,
To how much damage any one person deserves.

There is a limit to how much
Despair
Will soak into the pillow cases,
Into the sheets on her bed
Or the tips of your agitated hands
Or the soles of her yellow harried feet.

There is a point at which the night gives way
To a grey and rainsoaked morning.

And when you hit that wall,
When you reach that bluff,
That endless, precipiced edge,
Breath a sigh of relief and close your eyes.

Don’t be afraid to fall.

140406 Poem favoured

The Poem
– Leonard Cohen

I heard of a man
who says words so beautifully
that if he only speaks their name
women give themselves to him.

If I am dumb beside your body
while silence blossoms like tumours on our lips
it is because I hear a man climb the stairs
and clear his throat outside our door.

The Box

At first he thought,
Somewhat presumptuously,
That the box contained
All of his words.

He had been silent
So many months
That he assumed that
His thoughts had been dragged
From his lips
And placed into the box.

For what end, nefarious or otherwise,
Well in truth he hadn’t considered.

He longed for the box to be opened
And had tried all the keys he could find.
He had opened hidden boxes before.
Many mysteries had been uncovered.
But this one was stronger,
More resolute.

Finally she came.
The key bearer.
She who would open the box
With it’s intricate carvings and inlay
And release his words
For him to use.

She was so beautiful.
She brandished a small, bronze,
Heart-shaped key.
It had to be her.
It had to be…

The key slipped in the lock.
It turned noiselessly.
She lifted the lid.

He peered in.

The box contained nothing.

But not just nothing;
Less than nothing.
A void-less, soulless, sleepless nothing.

And too late he realised
That the box was not a box of words,
His or anyone else’s.
It was a box of silence.
Complete silence.

The lid closed
With the slightest of clicks.
Footsteps faded away
On roughly hewn cobblestones.
The ages gathered.
The box remained silent.

Elizabeth’s Court

You are more than a dream
But surely dreamlike.
Whenever I meet you I empty
My pockets of all the words
And spend our time together
Trying to gather them up.
I hold the slivers of phrases
In my hands like disparate clues
At my affection.

This leaden smile darkens
And the sky is flush with fear.
But your silken beauty
Spreads out into the salty air
Calming the souls of the sea birds
Easing their despairing crys.

I am locked in this garden.
I pulled the latch on the gate myself
And now there is no way out.
I will grow old listening to
The fizz of insects,
The gentle sway of the trees
And the roses quietly dying.

Wringing

This small wooden boat,
A dark stained rosewood,
Rides this wave of doom,
Of rising guilt.

We are perched precariously aboard.
Every time I reach out to touch you
It is out of fear. But the bruises I leave
Are dark with infatuation.
It seeps into your skin
Leaving its discoloration
for a week or so.

But once again my feet are predictably growing cold.
Water seeps into the boat and we are sinking.
You are sobbing thick disconsolate tears.
I try my best. I take a hold of the oars and pull.
The wood comes away in my hands.

Finally though, after many years,
You take them in yours,
lean down and close your eyes.
I do the same and the world
is suddenly dark.
Quietly we survive.

Of All The Luck

All of these stars above us
Are as distant as your eyes
On the days when you betray,
The days you dream about him.

On those days I am a dreamer too.
I am a dancer in the dark, my mind
Full of deep reds and cigarettes,
Flower boxes and the Suffolk coastline.

Your gaze, for now, drifts back to me.
Your stars shimmer in a haze and vanish.
I relish the hours of neglect
And dream of days and her.

Minefields Ahead

I want to write
of your gentle, sloping smile
but it’s not there again.

I want to tell of your
fingertips and your heartbeat
and of your turning, twisting words
to strangers on the
other side of the planet
but the truth is
I am lost.
None of these things
belong to me now.
They have fled like
children from the dark.

And now even the elements
I had longed to forget:
your holding hands,
your callous caress of his shoulder,
and the three words you whispered,
on the cusp of sleep
on a bus just outside of Mulranny, Co Mayo,
that I almost never knew,

I pull at the strands of them
as they unravel in my hands.
And there’s nothing there
to replace them,
save for intolerably intoxicated nights
and cringing, broken embraces
and the darkness.
The indefinable and indefinite darkness
that I dread.

Sentiment

You spread out
your hand on a piece of paper.
I remember it was yellow
legal paper actually,
the sort that’s too thin
and you can see right through.

“Are you watching?”
your smile said.
And taking some odd felt tip pen
you traced it out
carefully.

Passing it then
to me
“Something to remember me by”
your eyes said.
“Not to worry,
I’ll be back”
your lips lied.

And I appreciate the sentiment
I really do,
but in the end
I am left here alone,
and in the end
it was only ever sentiment.

Courage

He put her slippers
in a clear plastic bag
and hid them inside
an old shoebox
under his bed.

When she asked
if he had seen them
he told her he had
burned them
in an old oil drum
out by the docks
with the seagulls
screaming overhead.