Thursday 28 November 2019

Running On Empty
We take care how we fill our shoes.
Our trainers and boots.
Our flats and heels, stilettos and cuban.
They may match our mood, specially chosen,
or be eternal representations of our unified self.
So surely something of us must remain
when they are emptied.
Not just our smells and mis-shapes,
evocative as they are,
but something more fundamental.
Something spiritual.
Something symbolic.
See here
empty shoes
laid out tidily in rows.
Blocked together on a grass field
or concrete yard.
Rows upon rows of them
that once contained the school children
now shot dead,
our children.
See here
empty shoes
piled high in untidy heaps.
Heaps and heaps of them,
that once contained peaceful people
now massacred, bombed, burned.
Our people
spanning place
and time without end.

Wednesday 27 November 2019

Cover The Mirrors
All the mirrors were covered
every night
in my grandmother’s house
draped with coloured cloths
like the budgie’s cage.
She was worried
that a soul might wander
and be sucked into the reflective glass
and she thought
the souls of dreamers were very vulnerable.
I thought that the budgie must be covered
because at night
even with the door closed,
his soul might fly the cage
disappear into the mirror.
Sometimes she forgot to cover the cage,
though never the mirrors
and then
I would examine the mirrors carefully
to check that it was me in there
and not his feathered soul.
I would check his cage to make sure
that he was still inside
with his soul intact
She told me not to worry
that his cage was only covered
to make it dark
so he would sleep.
But I didn’t believe her.
It made no sense
if it was dark anyway.
So I always checked
the mirrors.

Cover The Mirrors All the mirrors were covered every night in my grandmother’s house draped with coloured cloths like the budgie’s cage. She was worried that a soul might wander and be sucked into the reflective glass and she thought the souls of dreamers were very vulnerable. I thought that the...

Tuesday 26 November 2019

Night Sky
She thought the night sky was like a puzzle
where you had to join the dots,
the glittering cairns
pin point sharp
which marked the pathways to the moon,
to Venus,
to the sun
and beyond.
Sometimes a cairn would come apart
and a piece would fall to earth.
She would catch it there,
hold it in her hands
let it warm them
let it shine
then she would let it go.


Sunday 24 November 2019

The In- Betweeners

We are the In-Betweeners
gathered round the fire.
The flames will cleanse,
they said,
make you fit
to fly.
And you can watch 
the ones below
a living fire
of the impure dead.

Gather round!
Listen to them 
as they crackle
and scream.
It’s only hot enough here
to purify, 
they said,
but it’s still too warm
much too warm
hot as hell it seems.
Only enough to purify, 
they said
hell is hotter,
surely not.

So here we are, 
the In-Betweeners 
too warm 
but still
not feeding the flames.
They say there’s a heaven 
that the pure can reach 
when they grow wings 
and fly above the flames
but how can they?
It’s too warm 
for wings
not to singe
not to frazzle

So gather round,
it’s here we’ll stay
too warm
but not in flames
and careful not to fall

Thursday 21 November 2019
"Leave my loneliness unbroken"

Self Contained

There used to be a man
who would sit here
on this bench
every day
at the view.
He was always alone.
He would stretch out his arms 
across the back of the bench
so that he filled it,
completed it.
Though he was
always alone
there never seemed space
for anyone else
he seemed complete
in his aloneness
So there were no conversations,
or even “good mornings”.
He didn’t seem to need them.
So we all passed by.
And now
we can sit there
with the view,
with his view
and wonder where he is.
And wonder if he is still alone.
And wonder if he is lonely.

Autumn Rain

Vertical, or horizontal, autumn rain falls from heavy misty clouds,
but when caught by a sunbeam it makes glistening slides 
shimmering across the rock and falls 
in bright white tails or snakes 
like silver where 
the mountains 
leak it.

Wednesday 20 November 2019

Summers Survivors

It’s that season of mists again.
The season of damp decay,
of naked trees,
of fallen leaves
ready to be walked through,
kicked up,
thrown around,
for prosperity,
for the future.
The season of mists
which blurs the landscape,
as it strives to cover the nakedness
of the trees,
as it hides
the future
which will surely emerge.
Maybe this time
the future
will be orange
like the oaks now,
the summer’s survivors,
the last of the clothed trees,
clothed in orange

Thursday 14 November 2019

A Model Woman

She set out to become a model woman.
It was what her mother taught her.
But her mother’s models 
were rooted in the past,
mannequins really
and no longer in vogue,
so her attempts were confused.
Conformity was the issue
but to which age,
which youth
should she conform
now or then.
It took her a long time,
a lifetime.
A lifetime
of making up,
of trying on and discarding,
a lifetime of self discovery,
a lifetime
to throw away the wigs
and become herself.

Sunday 10 November 2019

A Dormouse Dreams
“Let me out, let me out!”
cried the dormouse.
“I don’t want to live in a teapot,
not even in a dream!
Let me out, let me out
before the water boils for tea!”
“Boiled dormouse!
Now that could be a tasty morsel”
Hatter said thoughtfully.
“But would it be worth the risks
of mousicide?
We must consider”
All nodded in agreement.
“Let me out, let me out!”
cried the dormouse.
“Escape is difficult.”
said the March Hare,
“To escape you must go back,
through the glass like she did,”
nodding towards Alice,
“but backwards
and as we know,
time only moves forwards.”
All nodded in agreement.
“It’s getting late,”
said the White Rabbit.
“But where is the glass,
there is no glass!”
cried the Dormouse.
All nodded in agreement.
“It’s time for tea!”
cried the White Rabbit.
And time waits for no one,
not even a mouse.


Friday 8 November 2019

My little princess.
My china doll with your
peachy skin and
golden hair.
In pink frills
I dressed you up,
combed you and curled you.
Made you into
my special pet,
my little angel,
to be loved and cherished.
My creation.
My little girl.
But all the time
you were making up yourself,
getting ready to
smash the porcelain,
and break out
to become
the creation you had
already made up
even before you painted
and inked your pearly skin,
combed your hair straight,
and gelled it
into jagged spikes
with a pink splash.
Shockingly, piercing the past,
you broke out into your future.
For you were never a princess,
never a doll,
and most of all, little girl,
you were never mine,
never mine to mould.

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Thursday 7 November 2019

This Is Not An Egg
The egg box was so sculptural with it’s peaks and troughs
like a metaphor, a mirror of life in textured paper,
I thought a giant version could easily become
an acclaimed art installation
and I thought I could make it.
And then I remembered the glasses
left behind in a museum of modern art
by error or intent,
real glasses,
not the “ne sont pas les lunettes”
Magrittean sort,
I could feel some guerrilla art hatching inside me.
I fetched the pot egg from under the broody hen
and pondered the possibilities on the way to the gallery.
There, I placed the egg box on a table,
sneaked it in
between the other exhibits
then I placed the Magrittean egg inside.
Just the one egg seemed most fitting
especially since one was all I had.
I had already written the title card.
Such a work deserved two titles
one above and one below the artist’s name,
my name, of course.
First came: “THIS IS NOT AN EGG”
and underneath:
It was perfectly placed
and looked magnificently subversively ironic.
I think Magritte would be proud of my effort.
And now I must wait
to see if anyone notices.

Photography by Edward S. Gault