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.

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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.

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.

And Zürich below us bathed in sulphurous flames

So much harder this time
Than even before
To leave you

And rise up through the
Late early summer air
Thick with watery pollens
In search of dulcet cow bells,
Hills and music.

Your scent
Heavy hanging
In my nostrils.
The ache of your skin
Has lodged itself in
The nail beds of my fingers
And the crevices
At the edges of my eyes.
And below.

The sky lit up in the distance,
Striking the ground
with silent hammer blows.
And I could see your face,
Lip bit and upturned
In the darkness,
Across the land
And across the sea
And across the night.

Beauty lies in my beloved’s arms

Through the dark Swiss night
The fingers of my mind
Stretch out to caress you
From your little magpie nest.

Though it is cold, I am
Warm without cares.
You light such fires in me
That threaten to burn
Unhindered and wild in my chest.

For so many days I had thought
Ill of this entanglement of hearts,
This engagement of my will.
It threatened to undo me.
But now I realise it was all folly
And foolishness of my heart.
For you are the one I see when I
Close my eyes to the darkness
And your face is all I wish to see
Upon my waking.

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.

Mignonne

When it comes to you
The words come rushing up
Bubbling so easily from below
Like natural springs of
Crisp, cool mountain water.

So many colours and images
Interweave in a myriad of shimmering symbols
From all the languages I have ever known.
Soft, delicate words.
Ferocious, powerful words.
Simple, sorrowful words.
Gentle, loving words.
Words I have never even heard.

Phrases clutter the back-passages
And corridors of my mind.
They slink about, beautiful and subtle,
With wry little smiles on their faces.
They shake hands with grinning similes,
High five the odd beaming metaphor.
They spin along in large open topped cars
Up and down the 6 lane highway
Between my head and my heart.

But none of them is ready.
Not one of them is quite
Perfect enough.
Not yet.
Not for you.