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

Advertisements

New Tenant

I lease the rates,

Ease my heart out

Tease my heart out

Let another one in,

Infatuation to unpack and dwell

In four slimy chambers

With dank russet iron smell,

Black tarry swell

Clamping tighter tighter

Dark bloody cell

And it, the new tenant

Fitting well

Apt to stay a while

And never tell

Of lost sense

Which scrambles like

Ailing hounds

From hell;

Like plague rats repelled

From Death’s toll bell

And inside I hear

A doll voice-tiny yell

“What colour can I

Paint your ribs?”

Creak as they may

Circling circling bone manacles

That even my lungs could not dispel

And yet I

In dystopian skin

Inhabited notice change within

As ardour sets on small feet

To expel the rot,

Air the place

Clear space

Greet mess

And sort

Bit by bit

Day one my lips were

Lashed to kiss,

Day two veins tangled

In strangled blue grip,

Day three

A path paved to my spine,

Garden in my hot skull

Stained hope at the eyes

Day four

Worried guests came to dine,

Gnawed a bit,

Jostled and declined

An invitation to stay all night;

“Too full,” they said

As they took flight

And then day five,

Humble, quiet

Sat on its heels,

Without warning ignited

Fierce inferno

To burn flesh slow,

Crackling ardent hiss

In flames of rose;

Smouldering under my clothes

See there I am,

There I am,

Glowing and unable to resist

As there you are,

There you are

On fire and hard to miss

Held by your halo

You bastard arsonist

Moon Cake

Birthday cake, yours,

A bloated moon that doesn’t shine;

We gather and ignite

Candles as gnarled as trees

Grown in fairy tales

You are not here

To blow them out

But have still taken root

In thoughts that sit like petulant goblins,

In belongings that slump unused

I cannot fill your boots

Lurking by the door

There is nothing to get you but flowers;

We are heavy

But still sing, uninspired drone

Fan the flames away

In thin whines of smoke

And I see the long wings of grief,

Dogged albatross sorrow

Cutting incandescent night,

Dipping across blackened wicks,

Wax sticks standing small

Beneath their now extinguished light

Like the Ancient Mariner,

I must tell anyone with ears

Your tale

Since eleven years

Have over passed

And I still find myself at sea

With the battering waves

And twisted serpents

Howling up a gale

As long as the loyal bird of loss

Takes time to follow me,

Everyone will know your name