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.

Since You

Since you
Opened your mouth
And spoke
those few words
I have lost my sense of taste.

Gone.
Isn’t it odd.

Not that much would taste sweet anymore
Anyway.

I remember the moment exactly
(Imagine that if you can)
When it happened.
You had just looked up
And said
‘Ben?’
In a questioning tone
And as I didn’t quite know
What to say,
Or how for that matter,
I didn’t.

I just sat
Close-mouthed
But perfectly dry-tongued
As clouds gathered across the
Darkening London sky above.

Sometimes I notice
That I forget certain

Words.
Or can no longer
Put
One
Beside
Another.

But that comes and goes.

Also
I should mention
Since then,
That hour,
I have been unable to see
The colour purple,
Certain shades of green,
Pink altogether,
Or black,
Although only when paired with
A bright despairing red.

Funny how such words
Such few words
Can have left me
So very
Empty.

Please
Don’t speak them to me again.

McFarker’s Bed

Although in the past
I may have considered myself
More of a ‘brunette’ sort of a man,
Relying solely on the rumoured
Mystery and aloofness,
Your blond offering could yet sway me.

And while I might compare it to
Rays of sunlight on a summers day,
It is perhaps more akin to the odd
Deliciously pale bowl of rice pudding
Or a pat of unsalted butter.
A soft dove’s wing with just the
Faintest hint of the sun’s glow,
If only to escape the food images.

But now the peacocks cry
Calls me out into the garden.
I will sip on tea and
Consider your complexities,
Your intricacies and your silence.

Chanson Naturelle

What I should do is
fall completely
for a girl with small hands
who can play piano with some flare
and who knows all the words
to Debussy’s ‘Chansons de Bilitis’.

Or at least a girl
with delicate wrists.
A girl who can hush me to sleep
with sweet susurrations.

I sit up late into the night,
drinking and dreaming
of perfectly manicured fingernails
and softly spoken words.
I imagine her drooping fringe
and the colour of her eyes.

Green, grey, blue, brown
Black.
It matters little.
I yawn and fold my hands behind my head.
Eyes are eyes.
Love will be love.

Peisinoe clicks her tongue, dangles her feet and complains

I can’t say I haven’t considered it,
Your cold white thighs sliding open
as easily as a book falling to the floor.
A book of poems, of sketches of stretched contorted faces.

But I too often stride waste deep,
Or shoulder deep upon occasion,
Through the mists of impatience and lust.
Too often I fall victim to the
Siren’s song, the cuckoo’s call.

Not tonight quietless one.
Tonight I will not be drawn by any tacit cacophony.
Your woe filled lamentings fall upon ears
Deafened by emotion and
Stoppered up by the belief
That good things come to those who wait,
And those who wonder.

Don’t Hate Yourself For Me. Don’t Love Me For Yourself

The wind tells me when to leave.
It howls obliquely
And I close my eyes.

It’s a strange fact
but it is the hands that I fear yet again;
The pleading golden ones
Waving in the gale
Or your gently distorted hooks
Twisted around my own.

My eyes are black with thought.
Your skin, the feathers of swans.
Seven of them,
Necks all curled like thumbs,
Beaks like swollen yellowed fingernails.

I pull at the skin around my mouth
And it comes away in my hand
Like sheafs of paper.
Leaflets about fear,
About melanoma,
schizophrenia and depression.

I offer you a cup of my love
And you sip at it politely,
Making jokes about Parkinson’s
And the the shivering of my fingers
All about your face.

Settle for Love

Settle yourself and be still
even if all around you
the wind howls
cold and quick
and shrill.

Let your heart settle
for what you always knew
was the colour of it anyway,
the ‘less’ that is ‘more’,
and the uneasiness
that steadily rises in your throat,
with its greasy metallic tang,
may subside for a while at least.

Settle down now for a long wait.
Stare at your hands
and count the scars,
the callous calluses
of your existence up till now.
Breath deep and feel your
blood flow.

And if you can,
settle your head on their chest
and listen to their drumheart
beat,
settling to the
unremitting rhythm
the perpetual part
of their somatic self
and the rest.

And at night
when your mind spreads out
to find them in the darkness
do not fear so if you find
that you have to settle
for the stars.

The Darkness of Your Ways

Your dark apathy
And slightly upturned chin
Are like kerosine
To the wildfires of my mind.

Through the smoke and fumes
I picture us running away together
To light similar fires on rooftops
And in the back rooms of deserted lots.
Your teeth are sharp and bright
in the firelight, your lips pale and perfect

Suddenly the bright sunlight of today
Is cold through the scratched train window.
The sky is shrouded and dark with stars.
I bask in it.

Tright

You some how managed
to smash the large double glazed
Window in the living room.

The glass had shattered
And the pieces were strewn amongst
The coffee table and woven
Into the carpet and my bare feet.

The sunlight, however streamed in
Unhindered or unaided and my eyes
May have been doubly glazed but I swear
That the glass seemed to pool in it
Like a liquid and meld together
To form an imperfect image
Of a perfectly opaque you.

Child

When they got back
the door was ajar,
the handle smeared
with some dark, subtle substance.

The boys were still asleep
and her light was on
but she had gone
screaming out of that place.
You could feel it ringing in the walls
and on the smooth, mark-missed floor tiles
with not a thing to tell their heavy, searching eyes
if she had struggled,
if she had even tried.