Foxes (Sleepless)

I wrote this in March 2016, whilst in a relationship that would no longer be relevant two months later. Words can shift shape, transcend certain parts of our lives, be the landing place we can go back to, and see with eyes made wise by hindsight. No bitterness, no regret that the poem survived us, as I wouldn’t be where I am now, happy and authentic to myself.

 

My darling, whilst you slept,

I rose slow

Like a fox from a set

And crept

Down padded stairs,

Then let

Myself into winter’s chill bite

Frozen mandible jaw jabbing

My bones;

Each star a bright

Gleaming molar,

Grinding away the night

I lit a fag,

Deep breathed

Each dizzying drag,

Stood off balance

Under relentless green dwarves

Picking for the shine,

The crying birds shrill sheen

Painting early morning game,

Lemon dye of tentative

Sun in the east,

5am shyly keen

For a burning god’s fame

Space overhead,

Space in between

Planets, constellations, comets;

An empty spot in our bed

Beyond sleep’s reach –

The same.

Soon I’ll creep back

Next to you honey,

To insomnia’s dull buzz

And your arms folding dreams,

Sink into light

Streaming citrine

Knowing you are mine,

Not separated by closed eyes,

Not severed at the seams,

Holding love at the end

Of a line

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Ghost

Technological medium,

Millennial scourge,

It is a novelty to be cursed

By those

That lurk mute

And bend us over boards,

Jangle keys,

That lock us to screens

Lure us to watch

The infinitesimal dots

Of a pending conversation,

Tantalising communication

Equivalent to naught

But cyberspace

Apparitions, they live,

Albeit light in the micro byte

Still catwalk the trend;

Advocate that audible

Spectres are not sexy,

So by digital decree

Stop banshee wails,

Stop unearthly shrieks,

Of ringtones abhorrent

Are mobiles into useless vessels

Are despondent mouth-pieces

For those that don’t

Speak speak speak,

Not in text, or in verse,

Not in English, nor in dalliance

Nor in Roman or Greek

Instead, I read the greats

Classic antiquities,

Of ancient history’s elite

Seeking verbatim reply

From the Oracle of Delphi dumb

Silence to

Become swans

Who become

Nymphs becoming trees,

Dropping leaves,

Satyrs, deities

In rampant pursuit,

Fleet in their heat

Far too flexible at the knees

Perhaps Mount Olympus

Would have better reception,

Zeus lightning-fast on the line,

Or at least Hermes,

Flash on winged feet,

Bacchus loose-lipped

After too much wine,

Artemis on the prowl,

Profile sublime

Under her lion-pelt scowl

That could stare you down,

Sultry and obsolete

But it’s story-book myth,

Pure speculation,

The wish, the expectation

Different from

Reality’s circumnavigation,

Global spooks

Poles apart,

North and south in the freeze

I shudder,

Chilled to the core

As nithered as

Cupid in the nude

By haunting discord;

There are no safewords

That will draw the ghosts forth,

No use for phones,

No materialising calls

I respond

By disappearing too,

Another gone social media

Ghoul far from reach

Absence a double-edge sword

Of Damocles;

If you desire further speech

I beseech a mode uncommon

Please grab a Ouija board

And spell each letter,

A summon

 Skeletal sweetheart scant language

For your chosen phantom,

For her spirit-thin

Limbo on the ground,

I can be your

 Otherworldly elusive woman

In séance to

Perpetually hound