The Birds

This room is filled

With thousands of tiny birds.
I hear their feathers ruffle
At the edge of my consciousness.
Are they parakeets?
Are they made of blood?
Such a deep red.
They peck at the stretching shadows 
Across the ceiling of my room
As car lights bleed past outside.
They tap forlornly at the window.
I wonder if they will ever escape.
I blink as they cry and flee 
Backwards into the 
Corners of my eyes 
Until they block up my 
Tear ducts with their leavings.
Their cooing and preening grows faint.
The darkness closes in.

Soon?

While at home,
Yours not mine,
Missiles flare and blank out
Square foot after square foot
Of children, mothers and fathers
Supposedly likewise bent on destruction,

Here you flex and bend
Your head low
Almost to my breaking point.

I can easily overlook death
When you bare your teeth
And curl that tongue.
In this moment
What hold does sorrow have
On me.

But Sorrow,
Sorrow can wait
Leaning against the back wall
Of her Northern Celtic Cave
Eyes cast downwards
The corners of her mouth
Curl slowly into a smile.

‘Soon’

Sick With Doubt

The sky has grown dark and colder.
The hoods of my eyes
Dark blue and quieter.
We shuffle about our daily lives
With a sickening normality.

The essence of you has
Dropped into me
This past year.
Grating past the back teeth
You catch in my throat
And leave the grainy metallic remains
Of your softly spoken words,
Hard to swallow,
Along the roof of my mouth
And the underside of my tongue.

The spring rain falls
Like it did last September:
Slick and even and predictable.
But it reaches the ground
As little more than
whispers and secrets.
The form of your half hidden smile
Ominously sincere.
Like a beautiful china doll,
A freshly painted angel,
So fair and delicate
With hushing tears
That slowed time until
Each droplet took an eternity.
And I held your hand
As if to drain the sorrow from it.
As if to drain it of love.

My heart beats
Heavy in my chest
And when I close my eyes
It is your face I see.

‘Nothing’s ever good enough for you’

Walking past tunnel entrances
That lead down to sea I imagine
Giant dark throats opening to
Swallow me wholly down.

I feel like a mouth full of broken glass.
Numbers written all over my hands,
I frantically pass them in front of my face.
This steady rain is treason on my
Shoulders. It is unwelcome flattery
On the back of my neck and down the
Inside of my coat collar.

Through the web of raindrops,
This tapestry of tears,
The lights make the world
Shimmery and effervescent.
Something to be cherished or despaired.

And I find myself down at the shoreline,
The water frothing and churning around
My ankles, lapping up the back of my calves.
The moon sways on the seas surface.
I plunge deep into the saturnine sky.
I am lost.

111010 Poem Favoured

Sestina
– Ciara Shuttleworth

You
used
to
love
me
well.

Well,
you—
me—
used
love
to…

to…
well…
love.
You
used
me.

Me,
too,
used…
well…
you.
Love,

love
me.
You,
too
well
used,

used
love
well.
Me,
too.
You!

You used
to love
me well.

118th Floor

Sitting at the top of the world,
Carefully sipping a blackberry brandy cocktail,
One can begin to feel somewhat morous and disillusioned.

Below us a million feet stamp
And another million collars
Darken with sweat.

Dollar signs and my eyes are spinning.
With my head literally in the clouds
I am simultaneously incredibly small
and overwhelmingly, disgustingly large.

Faces and hands form and reform in ice.
Away in the night young girls lie down for riches
and old men murmur in their sleep,
Families survive and fall along the side streets
or in small boats perched along the coast,
Eating rice by candle-light
and laughing with ignorant contentedness.

In a world filled with so much
it is easier to strive for nothing.