Gently now for fear it might break

It has been many moons
Since love has tread
In the halls of my heart.

The tapestries on the walls
threadbare and muted.
The forgotten corpses of furniture
Shrouded in white,
Still as the dead.
The hearthstone lies cold and unused.

The dust is piled up like snow
In the deep of winter
Heaped in the corners and doorways.
The emptiness of the place
Hangs heavy in the air.
Stale and tired.

And yet

It would appear
A single window shutter has been opened.
The fragile morning light bleeds in.
And perhaps it might be possible
To make out the shape
Of a footprint or two
In the grime.

And it could be
That if you stood for a while
In the now-open doorway
You might even catch the faintest aroma
Of freshly picked lavender
And the earliest murmurs
Of a long awaited homecoming.

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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.

Sepia Toned Loving

You lower your gaze
To your feet.
A hand emerges
From deep within a woollen sleeve
And pushes a few strands of
Yellowish-brown hair
Back over a yellowish-brown ear.
Your lips part minutely,
And yet so generously.

Standing under a flickering streetlight
We have been sent back.
Back to a time when
Colour was an idea
That you read about in books
When you should have been working hard
In the fields.
Toiling in flannel and corduroy.

But now I notice your brow is furrowed,
Eyes cast expectantly upward.
I have been staring but not listening.

I send a prayer out
Into the night sky above,
Silent and profound,
And lean down into you
To hear yours.

Pretending to be

Outside the car
In the dark of this November night
The wind howls.
That old familiar wolf call
Whistles and twists above me.

But I am deaf to it
And to the encroaching cold
That seeps into the cabin.

I am trapped
In a bubble of you
3 feet in every direction.
Still. Calm.
Wretched.
Eyes flicker back and forth.
The odd word rings out.

The quiet tears that I cry
Are not my own.
They are yours.
They belong to you
Still.

The bass of the car stereo
Drones, dies and hums static.
It drags me back to reality.
Drowns me in the stuff.

I take a deep breath and a moment
To work up the courage
To get out and open the gate.

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.

Fingernails, silence and anxiety

A circle of salt
With me sitting cross legged at its centre,
Crosses scored into the backs of my hands.

Eyes burn red
from salty sleepless nights.
I see the blood chug
Thick through the capillaries.

Outside the circle the night
Like a wall of static sound
Dark and blatant
Encroaches
Deafeningly loud.

Some days the world heaps itself on top of you.
It pulls at the strands of your hair and rasps
its uncut nails over your semi-healed wounds
Snagging at the scabs and leaving little
Snail trails of your own half dried blood.

Some nights the world leaches into your life
Like an ocean of sand
Grain by blistering grain
Hot and slow
Until you are completely dry
And devoid of hope.

At those times I close my eyes,
Hum quietly to no one
And try and convince myself
That you are worth it.

Change taught us how to grow and grow we did…

The windows in all the houses
In which I have ever lived
Shine opal black in the moonlight.
Like giant dark eyelids closed
To an even darker night.

You have your fingers
In all of my eyes
Donating to my consciousness.
Your fingernails scrape
At the back of my throat.
They entangle themselves
In my vocal chords.

This wind is one of
Change and indifference.
It fills and drys the sheets
And pulls down the chimney
Stacks one by one.

As I drive home at night
I lose my face in the darkness.
The road markings shimmer and glow.
My head is full of the past,
My ears buzz with it.
My nose strong with its stench.
I pull into a darkened driveway,
Black as an open mouth at night.
I move off away into the sky
With not a single star in sight.