Exchange

On a breezy summer day
I walked with grim purpose down an alley
Green with the leaves of the season
To the soundtrack of a small army
Of screaming children.
Despite all the energy around me
My legs seem to move through molasses,
Protesting against today’s grim purpose.

Raven hair in the distance;
Hair I had see on a hundred nights
Splaying a sable fan on the pillow,
Black strands mirroring the branches of
Oak trees that frame the road.
Couldn’t smell it from here,
The hint of lavender stayed with me
Long after the scent left my nostrils.
Even now I could remember its silken touch,
As the breeze whipped it into a frenzy
Covering her face. But still

I knew it was her.
It’s odd what you remember. The
Way someone sits, might as well be a signature,
Or holds their head when they’re sad,
How their legs cross, and when they’re anxious
The top one bobs like a metronome,
Bouncing to a nervous tune.
Even her hands. Still too far away to really see them, but
Still I knew how they would be. Thumb gently stroking
The skin on the left, as it clenched the small carrier bag
With knuckles clenched white-hot around the handle.

I hadn’t even noticed the approach.
A few feet now, her daydream lifts
As the headphones fall from her ears.
“How are you?
(I’m not going to tell you)
I’ve missed you, you know”
(Stay silent, it’s easier)

Small talk now, how’s uni?
How’re you holding up?
As always, I brought up the issue
“Here are your things”
(This conversation is over.)

Walking away I know she is
Watching.
Hazel eyes like the bark
Either side of me.

What Scared You

Your greatest fear, you said
Was that one day, you’d wake up
And the stars would have lost their light.
That a time would come when you were
Oblivious to the winds cool, soothing touch,
When you ignored the pleading rain on your window pane.

You would know it was over,
If you stopped reading the pain in people,
If you could walk through the world
Without seeing the colours that seep from the skin
Of every passerby and acquaintance.

It scared you most that you might be dead,
Before you ceased to live.
That your heart, would keep beating
When your soul had packed it’s bags,
And headed home for the winter.

So, wind in my face,
Spray on my tongue,
Armed with the unbreakable ignorance of youth
And the simple knowledge that I loved you, answered.

“You’re the bravest person I know.
You’ll never die. How could you?
You’ve never been afraid to live.”

Things That Are Not

Life is not a heartbeat monitor
Beeping insistently in the background of
Some cold clean hospital cell.
It can’t be found in the pages
Of glossy magazines,
Or the latest, greatest, most versatile
Piece of furniture from Ikea
Or whichever home improvement titan
Is currently in fashion.

But i’ll tell you what it can be.
Or at the very least,
How it seems to me.

I see life in your eyes,
As you talk to me about love
Or poetry, your passions, your fears,
Your hopes and dreams.
All of these
Make the air around you shimmer
With a vibrance that cannot be ignored.
Life is in people my dear.
Not in the beating of our hearts,
But in the way that they sing!

My Eyes (In Yours)

Would that I could see my words
On her tongue
Or my habits
In the turn of their cheek
That in the song of sound she spoke
I could hear my own melodies.

But all I see is her in me
In the way I hold my head
Or sway to the music of the world.

Would that I could mean so much
To someone worth the world to me.

My GCSEs and what they meant to me

On results day, only six letters mattered;
ABC
DEF
I managed to get ten.
A*A*
AAAA
BB
DD
Do they even matter?
DD
(What about my other grades?)
DD
(But I passed all the rest!)
DD!?
(Aren’t you guys proud of me?)
DD!
(but i did my best…)

All I heard was I didn’t try hard enough
That I should have done more than I did
So if my best just wasn’t good enough
Then i’d do what I wanted instead.

Writing about writing when you’re struggling to write.

My little black book
Sits in my back pocket,
Collecting the words
That slip off my tongue.
With a little black pen
That touches my temple,
It filters a record
Of all that I see.

So I strain through the truth
In my little black book
Try to present it
So you’ll understand.

But my words are stained glass.

A fragmented picture.

They don’t quite make sense.

When you can’t see the lines.

Dragons

I often feel as though poets are dragons
Our tongues, flames of
Passion, fury, envy or love.
There is both creation
And destruction
In the way we burn.
Because before the fire gets out
It must work its way through
Veins, lungs and throats,
Scorching our insides in the hope
That it can scald you also.
Know, that if our words burn,
We are already blistered.

Soul Windows

For a moment
Everything stops.
A single silver string suspends
Five years of half hopes
And dangerous desires.
My eyes bore in to hers,
Searching for a flicker
For anything
A single spark to show
That all is not lost.

But her pupils
Are dark, deep as the ocean.
The moment breaks
A wave upon her pale blues iris.
And all I have left
Is the turn of my heel,
The lights of the city
And the echo of the closed door.

Brambles

Brambles flourish in the dark,
Flay your mind and choke your heart,
And if you feed them fear and hate,
Of your soul a husk they’ll make.

Wolves will paw at bolted doors,
Starving, tunnel under floors,
And if, by guile, a friend they make,
Swift and sure, your soul they’ll take.

Anger dwells in human hearts,
Lurks and spreads it’s evil arts,
But crush it down with life and love
And it will never harm you.