Saxophone Echoes

Lamplight pools on rain spattered pavements,
Holding back winter darkness
As candles burn low, the city’s eyes closing
With every sleeping couple.

Illuminated softly,
Bathed in rippling waves of jazz
Flowing from basement bunkers
To pluck at the hearts of lonely lovers
She stands.
Shoulders hunched against November’s icy voice,
Eyes turned down to the floor, face hidden
In a thick woollen scarf.
Breath spirals through fibres in a fine mist
Wandering in to the chill of the night.
She waits.

He turns the corner,
Emerging from the black velvet of the shadows
To bathe in the lamp’s amber glow.
Tired eyes rise from the pavement,
Fixed on the approaching figure’s face
Bright with anticipation and desire

But disappointment turns them dim,
The light seeping into the chimes of midnight
Vying for supremacy with bursts of brass
Winding from the belly of the city.

He is not coming.

A sigh escapes soft lips,
In recognition of sadness, but not surprise.
Down dingy alleys she meanders
Drawn to the drums, lights, crescendos
Of the clubs, losing herself in blaring sound,
In booze, stale cigarettes and jazz.

Moonchildren

Ravenous December Chews its way through the trees Snarling at resolute pines Devouring fragile flowers, harsh winds Scouring earth of life and sound, Leaving behind only the strong and the vicious. The night draws a veil over the sea of black firs, … Continue reading

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 seemed to move through molasses,
Protesting against the day.

Raven hair in the distance;
Hair I had seen 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.
I could still remember its silken touch,
Tickling my face to keep me from sleeping;
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,
How they hold 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
I knew how they would be. Thumb gently stroking
The skin on the left, as it clenched the small carrier bag
With knuckles 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.
We talk. There is an echo of affection in her words,
An effort to spark the same closeness we once shared.
But the flame falls on damp kindling, sputters
Dies.

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!

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.

To The Cousin Who Made Me Realise I’m Growing Up

 

How can the tempestuous winds of life
Harm love built in the heart of a storm?
It knows the tempest’s strength; chooses to scorn
Rather than fear its hand. Husband and wife,

A bond beyond the slow measure of time,
Stretching in infinite loops. Never torn,
Though the years beat upon it with fists born
Of envy. Envy of love, pure, divine.

From the outside, looking in, I see
Only this hyperbolic view of your
Happiness. And I hope my sight is true.

Because you deserve this. To me, it seems
You have earned the right to bliss. And before
This gets cheesy, cut it short. Here’s to You.