It’s not a war to be won, but…

And then quite unlike the
Way in which she left,
The muse returned.

I knew I was in trouble first
When I woke to the
Thought of her
In green and navy pajamas,
Hair a golden mess,
Carrying a tray of tea and toast slices.

The dress that I saw,
A shimmering grey
A pale mint
That was no longer
Behind the shop glass but
Twirling around flower beds
Above a pair of bare feet,
Was a bad sign to be sure.

And it is now that I find myself
Lying awake deep into the night, Biting into my pillow
And cursing myself,
That I know the real battle
Has only just begun.

We talk about things that you can’t see

Your hands are soft.
Your fingers achingly so.
They lie silently,
Motionless on either side of a vision,
Comparable to Heine’s Rhineside portrait.
In my esteem at least.

A curious porcelain mask
That wafts in front of
My eyes and drags
My thoughts
Dangerously northward.

You are far.
And I will soon be further.
Thus is life it would seem.

One could be forgiven for assuming
That this would get easier.
Thank god it doesn’t.

Belfast

Nights like tonight
Are what living was made for.
Even if I nearly
Ended my own ability
To keep doing so
By standing in the road
Waving at your car
Until it was out of sight
With the starlings
Wheeling about overhead.
How did I forget
It could be this fun?

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.

L

Of all the ways
that you could have hurt me
this one was by far
the worst.

This long lingering feeling
of doubt and insecurity.
You really had no clue.

It’s amazing that
after so many moments
when I have left you behind,
and staggered forth
into the misty morning,
you still claw at my collar
and twist at my heels
and drag me back down
this slippery slope of you.

Laura is.

Laura is
in the face of adversity.
Sitting unsteady,
head cocked,
puzzled brow.
Every atom quivering.
She’s confused.

“What a pretty picture!”
the lady dentist said.
“Ah,” I returned, “but this is no picture.
This is a puzzle for you to figure out
with your hands,
with your lips,
with your slow touch.”

“Thank you” she said.
And she took the puzzle.
And she walked away.

Trouble.

I had the thought to
slide my face up against
the hot, rough skin of the tree that grows in our front yard,
jagged brown bark,
and maybe tear a hunk of it off.

A lump of steaming flesh with that
glistening yellowey fat
shorn right off.
I would stare stare stare.

Actually I think it would more resemble
some whiting flesh.
All feathery and soft and cold and silvery
and quivering.
I’m not pink inside.
I’m not a seeping red.

I can imagine
how I’d feel with
such a large chunk of me
missing.

Tender.

Snippity snap

I was listening open-jawed,
wide
to that soprano
you didn’t like.
I could tell.
Highs and lows. Your cheeks
would burn.

You were playing board games
over your legs.
No ladders,
but I could spy snakes galore.
Biblical proportions.
And they were such that
I had to stare at all the polished shoes
of the cellists in front of me.
But I was stealing
secretly.
Glances of you. To sell off to myself later.
Oh, what an honest thief!

On the bus back,
before we had to get out and walk,
you held my arm in your hand,
Your little grip on my heart,
And slept slept slept.
And I was so warm
and the moment so beat up with hammers
that I tried my best to cry quietly
so I wouldn’t wake you.

Easily iconic.

This is one of those ‘lie awake all night’ things
isn’t it?

Your face is small in the dark
of a thousand unlit street lamps.
Our coats couldn’t hold out the blusters
but our hands held
out the cold.
Your heart held out.
Your cigarette smoke hung on the air
and on your lips.

This is one of those lingering, quivering smiles
isn’t it?

Why won’t you let me sleep?
I’m waiting for you to explain.
And when you do
all my prayers will be answered.