I think it’s a comedy

I didn’t want it to happen again.
No, please, not again.
But at this stage
It’s almost inevitable.
The fist plunges,
The fingers uncurl and stretch,
But the grip has slipped already.

Male voices sing
In 5 part close harmony
Of cacti and angels,
Their words slick auf Deutsch
As I imagine I can feel
The ever faster beating
Of your heart
Through the leg of your jeans and the
Few inches of warm air between our knees.

Take out the bag of oft-worn clown makeup.
Draw a smile on my bald downturned head.
Stamp your foot in the dust and howl.

I’m in the dark again
But for the faint light
of the stars.

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.

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.

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.

If my heart had glass walls it would be a slaughterhouse

In the northern lands
Of ice and snow
Where the winds are born
You made your presence known
Among my thoughts.

Your eyes glowed behind my own,
Like shards of brilliant blue ice.
Your necklace strung with
Glimmering Germanic teeth.

‘You smile too much’
You stated solemnly,
Matter of fact.
‘I will take now what you owe me’

Toothless it seemed,
and thoughtless too,
I wandered for days,
In the heartland of the
Shiver and the prayer for
Safe return.

I gritted my blooded gums
And steeled my breath.
I feared we would not last the night.

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.

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.

A Lot Of Dreaming

Something is very wrong.
In my mind thoughts are clear
And lucidly float behind my eyes.
I can feel soft words,
Some of them for you,
Dangling from my fingertips,
Hiding in the drowned spaces
between my glistening teeth.

But up close this mirror
Is muddied and scratched
With fingernail marks and
Something closely resembling
My very own brand
Of unsettling bullshit.
My tongue drips sour,
The saliva frothing and bursting
And steadily becoming
More embittered and lonesome.
Suddenly there are things
That I can no longer impart,
Not nearly so readily at least.

These problems course
Through my arteries and veins,
Through the skin on the
Back of my hands,
Along the bloodlines
That feed my brain,
My arrow-filled mind.

They lead me to believe
That some creatures were designed
To break with natures bonds.
And perhaps we will always blame others
For what we refuse to believe.
Or hate ourselves
For what we know to be true.

Dreams locked in a dead man’s chest

Close your lips and discover
The bitterness that sleeps
On the tip of your silent tongue.

In the evening the lights you see
From the shore are far off and pale.
They dance to the waves rhythms
And haunt your dreams.
If you close your eyes too
You can hear faint whisperings,
The succinct susurrations
Of children lost to the winds
And the waves’ roar.
Songs of dead sailors
Echoing and ringing
On the zephyr.

The blind see the world but through a veil.
The deaf hear more than they tell.
At night they come down to the sea
To touch fingertips.
They share our secrets with the wind
And their own with the sky.

Intolerance of Sound

I part my lips to speak
But my mouth is filled with sand
and newspaper clippings
detailing world disasters.

The only words that escape
Recount, unerring and emotionless,
A flood in Nepal.
An earthquake in Chile.
Car bombs in Paris and Berlin.
And I can’t open my mouth.
It won’t anymore.

I can no longer talk to people
that I meet at bus stops
or strolling through the park.
I can’t whistle at seabirds
Or whisper to the cat in the shadows
following me home at night.

I have become enveloped in
this great wave of silence.
At first it only lapped around my ankles
And all I was deafened to was
the fall of footsteps on concrete
Or crunching across frozen lawns
And flowerbeds laced with frost.

A bubble has formed around me
Of thick, sickly-sweet air
That only the odd hissing or clicking of a disapproving tongue seeps through.

And the world looks so different now;
More dark and grey and lonelier than before.
It seems that the sun’s rays are
actually more sound than light.
Maybe that’s why the nights were always so noiseless and still.
And maybe why your laughter
Used to seem like warm rays of sunshine
On a summer’s evening.