Temporarily Demolished

The dark hand hovers, swoops in to snatch the light.
Bathing me in shadows and crashing the sun into the moon.
Shaking the tectonic plates of my life.
Shaking out a fountain of tears.
Breeding the germ of loss, which spreads around my heart,
and eats away at my bones.
Questions and corrections, always too late and never answered.
We come full circle, back to home.
Returning to where the memories swim.
Tugging me in every direction.
The drop of hatred swells, oiling my blood until a rage torrents.
Darkening the world further.
But there are eyes watching, and hearts beating.
And tears that need drying that aren’t my own.
Though I cannot see the dawn,
and it’s colder now than I’ve ever known.
Inside, the candle will always burn.
Keeping me warm.

Elle va bien

They jostled onto the train that had arrived with a clankering commotion at the station. The vaulted tiled ceiling of the underground station swirled with the sound of metal, tannoy announcements and tourist hubbub. The train had emptied somewhat, spilling out its human cargo which shuffled towards the luminous sortie signs, the basic words even foreigners understood, ingrained from childhood French lessons and the trappings of travel. They were able to get seats as the train pulled away and snaked into the belly of the city, passing tunnels and bones of the long forgotten.

The seats were as hard as wood, worn down from millions of asses thankful of somewhere to rest for the short journeys between stations. They were heading down towards Saint-Marcel and thankful too to be getting away from the crush and pull of the touristy hot-spots. They watched the other passengers engrossed in smart phones, conversations and anxieties of potentially going the wrong direction. Passengers on life’s train of happenstance.

Opposite them sat a lady, listening to her headphones and glancing off into the train. Looking, but searching for nothing. Her brown hair fell around her face, framing her like a motionless portrait typical of those seen meters above in the many museums dotting the city. She sat motionless, listening to her music as the train swayed and hummed down the line. The only movement was a collection of tears that suddenly began to build and breach, trickling down her face. They watched as she tilted her head down, blinking away the collection of tears and emotions that had appeared. One of them jabbed the other in the side, bringing attention to the scene before them in case it was not being seen or felt for the degree that it was. He reached inside his pocket and took out a tissue, hoping it was clean. The crinkles indicated it had been with him all the day, but looked devoid of anything unpleasant.

He reached across and gently touched her arm. She looked up, surprised. “Are you okay?” he asked, hoping his eye’s spoke to a level beyond the language required. She nodded and mumbled words of appreciation, taking the tissue and dabbing her eyes. A small smile appearing at the corner of her mouth, her eyes shaking away an embarrassment that wasn’t necessary.

She looked above her finding the line map, a tiny yellow light indicated they were at Bastille. The train usually emptied a lot here, and she glanced around seeing those exiting and the people awaiting to board. Her hand found the phone in her pocket and she skipped the track on her music. The new song crashed in, her mind was suddenly taken elsewhere as her heart skipped and beat and the chaos around her ebbed away. It had never been ‘their song’, but it was always one that had reminded her of them. The lyrics so seemingly fitting for what they had, what had burrowed inside of her and warmed her soul. She did not notice the two guys sit down opposite her, the limited space between where their knees nearly met. She was off elsewhere, hearing laughter and smelling that someone on her bed-sheets.

The train jerked, and though she stayed in her memory, it shifted; along with the train. It had all crumbled, corroded only yesterday. Smashed liked a teetering tea cup on the edge of a kitchen counter. She could understand things not working right now, she could even acknowledge the arguing. But those had been usual relationship problems. To be told you were no longer needed, that you were no longer welcome in their life. That was what had hurt. She could deal with the packing up of possession and the moving on. Going into work the next day as routine propelled her forward. But she could not take the hurt that had ignited within, perhaps lying dormant for the inevitable. That she was never the one, she could no longer make them happy. All that she had to offer, came up short. All those reasons she had told herself why she was inadequate rang out to be real in a horrible realisation of truth. A view she had shielded her eyes from, like looking at the sun. It had swallowed her, submerged her in a grey that clung to her like oil.

Putting on her work clothes, combing her brown hair. Seeing the day instead of cowering in her bed like she wanted. The feeling of detachment and lack lay upon her, making her feel that no one really cared about her in this world. If she turned up to work, or not; nothing really mattered in a way. The tears welled and broke forth, streaming down her cheek in a warm river. She had forgotten she was on the metro. Her mother would have been ashamed to see her show such emotion in public, but she did not realise. Too consumed in grief and self-piety that she found herself deep beneath the streets of Paris on a Metro train that ran all day, every day. Until she felt something nudge her arm, softly yet foreign. She looked up surprised to see a small tissue and concerned smiles greet her. She nodded a thanks and was able to cough up “Merci, je vais bien.” She smiled slightly, knowing it was true.

The grey was still within her, but in that moment a tiny part had turned to white.

Run

These leaves, they cover and smother me as my mind claws and scrapes at the end.
Called down to the lake, past the rotting trees.
No one came looking for me.
Broken bones and a honeycomb heart that heaves to an old tune.
Tasting tears, and welcoming fears to consume and throttle me.
Adrift along that quiet sea of loneliness.
Watching the lighthouse of hope slip beneath the sky.

Nuclear shadows

I cannot unwind the clock in my skull.
The ticking over time that set all the world ablaze.
Who knew the day, when the sky darkened.
And fate eclipsed my heart.
Those running for cover.
Scattering like pebbles on a beach.
Lapped by a sea of hatred.
I cling to the groceries in my hand.
Fruit, dehumidified in my grasp.
Turning into mummies like the bodies nearby.
Burnt in an undignified splendour.
What escaped hell that day?
Let loose by righteous souls who knew better.
A holy war into the mouth of the devil.
As the fire crinkled in the sky, it burnt down upon us.
Imprinting my soul into the pavement where I stood.
Nuclear shadows, snapped like the sun shuttering.
God, turning his head away and closing his eyes.
The light of an age, swimming around those that twinkled inside.
But how soon those lights were gone.

Tears in the chrysalis

Who knew the fury in that silent smile?
Little iceberg teeth bitten by the frost of circumstance.
Does she look to the sky, hurrying the rain to fall?
To wash away the paint on her wedding dress;
the coal in her brain or the handcuffs around her heart?
What song does she hum along to, that drifts in her world.
Staining the air around her, cloaking her against ill intent.
Like a red string around the wrist.
Drawn free from the granite and the prehistoric amber.
The carbon colouring in her eyes that repeats.
All tears mass-produced.
At the sight of the grey shadow in the distance.
The lonely cry of a wolf sent, to scare away the butterflies.

Home

She sits alone as the twilight encases everything.
The end of a night that offered little in the way of change.
She carries a sadness with her, down the escalator and into the train.
An unpicked flower that danced at the wall.
Bating those eyes with all the world to devour.
Those lines on her tights that follow a path to another solitary bed.
Sheets that will smell only of her, and a mind left free from interference.
Where does she travel to on these tracks?
With those unkissed lips.
Those eyes that contain a secret reason for her circumstance.
I watch her go, out the doors and into the cold tunnel to the surface.
Stalking in death strides to a land I never wish to return.

26

Twenty five of them, she’d counted as they’d sung Happy Birthday in the small restaurant that they insisted was her favourite. The other candle must have dropped off somewhere, or the staff at establishment had been given false information. Exasperated by their inclination to not really care. But there they were now, twenty five of them standing up in the frosty platform as her friends and family chorused in with the jubilation. She smiled patiently, looking at the other couples in the place staring at her in quiet satisfaction that it were she that were the spectacle.

The song ended, and they all applauded as she blew out the misleading twenty five burning flames that represented her life on the planet. She hadn’t done it for years, but this time she made a wish while she blew, closing her eyes to make them all disappear for her small moment of intimacy with the universe. The applause died down and she blinked back into reality, reaching for her glass to silently toast her desire. The cake was whisked away from her by the staff, to be dissected for all in attendance, and listened to the others at the table talking about their own progressive years and the fear of reaching thirty, or forty; or whichever milestone society had pegged out for them all to have achieved a certain thing by.

Her mother asked if she’d had a nice time so far. She sat there next to her in her one good dress, or so it seemed, the one she saved for extra special occasions. She had spilt a little something on it up by her neckline, a drip from the red wine she had eagerly been enjoying that evening. She wondered if it would come out, or if this were its swan song evening. She nodded in reply, saying something about having a lovely time and how nice it was everyone could make it.

It was a half-truth really. Though she appreciated the effort all had made, she would have been happy spending the evening at home. She drew a circle of eight on the tablecloth as her mother returned to her friend whom she’d brought with her that evening. Circling around the small stain of her own that had bled into the white landscape that stretched out before her. Her boyfriend squeezed her knee, chatting animatedly with her friend Paul next to him who had turned up late, pushing himself into a space at the head of the tiny table.

She sighed, and took another sip from her glass. It was already 10pm, and she could hear people talking about ordering another round and some coffees to go with her cake. She picked up the small travel journal that lay on the table behind her, a gift she’d opened earlier from her sister who couldn’t be there that evening since she was on the other side of the world. She’d sent her a small, yet expensive looking journal, tied up with old flight tickets from her own exhaustive travels around the planet. She opened it up, noticing a small message at the front:

“Time waits for no (wo)man”

Typical of her, she’d thought, and reached behind to put the book back onto the pile of gifts and treats everyone had nicely brought with them. She sat there again, quietly watching the others. For her own celebration, no one had really spoken to her much that night. She seemed liked a stranger at her own party, lost in crowd of noise, feeling like a spectator to someone else’s play.

She had work in the morning, and she was getting tired. She spotted Katy; her friend from the office who had come with her girlfriend and sat the other side of the table. Laughing and drinking with such ease. Unlike Katy, she hated her job, which she’d started about six months ago and had been miss-sold from the start at what it would entail. The office was grey and dull, and their building was tucked away on the side of town that bled into the industrial estate. She had promised everyone she would look for something else, but hadn’t done so yet; owing herself the biggest apology for being so lazy. Her boyfriend squeezed her knee again, his constant sign of being both there and absent as he drank his beer and chatted with her friend whom, she could tell already, had hastily becoming intoxicated.

The cakes arrived back at the table, the waiting staff smiling as they placed the tiny plates in front of the guests and took orders for more drinks. She pushed her chair back, about to excuse herself, when she realised either side of her were both consumed in their own conversations, so she said nothing. She apologised to a waiter as she accidently bumped into her, nearly sending the birthday slice high up into the air; and made her way towards the bathroom. She stopped, only for a second, and then walked straight passed it.

She left the restaurant, and out into the cold night air where she exhaled deeply, standing on the street. A few other diners stood by the door, sending their smoke swirling around the door like a revolving dragon. She stood there herself now, still in the night with her arms down by her side. Her fingertips moving to a secret rhythm only she could hear. She turned to glance into the restaurant, its glass steamed up slightly due to the dropping temperature outside. She watched as all at her table continued on their merry gathering, laughing and enjoying themselves.

“Avant que ça ne se produise.” She muttered under her breath, and started up the street, in the wrong direction to home.

Somewhere in this memory

The snow had begun to fall early that evening. Though the sun had long since slumbered down, it was around six o’clock when the few flutters of snow started to whip past his window. Daniel had left the curtain s open like he did most evenings, watching the wild sky drip away beyond the horizon. It had rained lightly that day, and it took a while for the snow flurries to leave any impression on the ground. But as he watched from his small window, his face illuminated by the Christmas lights, he watched as some people came out of their houses to investigate the snow. A few kids ran about under the street lights, already bunching up snow into cold balls to throw at one another. It was shame, Daniel thought to himself, that Christmas had passed already and the snow had waited until after. Another bleak grey day that offered only the magic of the season than from the endless possibilities of the weather.

He went to the kitchen and made himself a spiced tea. The smell of cinnamon and spices hung in the air, warm and inviting. He then went into the main room to where the Christmas tree was, sipping the tea which burnt his lip. He’d put it up alone this year, the first time the ceremony had ever been performed that way. He looked at the huge golden bell that sat a top of the tree; sparkling, like everything else did, in the strung Christmas lights that dotted the place. He couldn’t remember ever buying that bell, yet it appeared every year to tip the tree they always had. He sighed and placed his tea down, pulling one of the boxes towards him. He hated taking the tree down, or the Christmas decorations. As a child he’d always pleaded to his parents to keep them up longer. But they were bound by the laws of the season and the far away court, and all the decorations had to be down by the twelfth night. Why? No one could ever tell him, that was just how it was. Yet this was how things were now, every year it seems. Him, alone taking down the very things that were put up to enliven his life if only for a few weeks.

He started to take off some of the ornaments, some of which he remembered putting on the tree even as a child. These must be so old he thought suddenly; vaguely aware of his own decent now into adulthood. His phone began to hum into life nearby, but he ignored it. He wasn’t in the mood to argue again, and that’s the only thing that phone was offering to him this evening. He placed some of the baubles carefully into their homes, snug in a box that would keep them safe for another year. He turned up the music he had playing, his new tradition; Christmas songs to ring out in the stripping of the tree. In a way, such a violating act. The trauma of the season. He hummed along to some of the carols, there religious message washed away now he thought in the progression of the years. He felt old, and tired. Like his youth had slipped away without him even noticing it. He might as well be boxing up his memories instead of these decorations, freezing all he ever wanted and all he dreamed off in these magical days of Christmas. Spun up like candied sugar and placed away safely, to be removed once a year along with his heart.

He sat down on the rug, patches of glitter peppered the tufts still from the wrapping paper that had been destroyed last week. He closed his eyes as the choir music filled the room, taking him to a place in his memory. He watched as his younger self ran down the stairs, eager to see if Father Christmas had been. His parents, holding hands and smiling as they watched their children tear at the presents that had been carefully placed hours before beneath the silver Christmas tree. Though the tree was fake, over time it had faded and fallen apart, much like the marriage and the moments he now saw in his mind. The presents, along with this love within the family had been torn apart and forgotten about. Thrust up each year like some special spectacle. Packed away when all were done.

His phone rang again, bringing him back. He opened his eyes and looked at his phone on the table, lighting up and convulsing in an epileptic dance. He ignored it again and went back to the tree to finish off. The lights were always the trickiest. It was easier with someone helping, and fun too he thought as he remembered how they had joked around putting the lights over one another, pretending they were trees. The time when one of the fuses had gone and the whole house had been plunged into darkness, not before the sparks had succeeded in frightening them both. Lights were always a pain to put away, but he resigned himself that it would be another year before he had to worry about them, and balled them into the old shoebox he kept; sealing the lid and the doom of the lights till next year. The rest of the decorations found their way into boxes relatively quickly, only a few things were placed around his small house as it was. He nearly forgot about the wreath on the door, only remembering it when he glanced outside to see how the snow was. It had come down pretty heavy now and he thought about going for a walk later when he was finished to enjoy the winter landscape.

He finished his tea and snatched up his phone, looking at the missed calls. He sent a message quickly and then stood back looking at the barren tree, back now to its natural coat. They usually had a fake tree, but this year they had gone for the real thing. It stood now, just a hair smaller than him, shedding pine needles below itself like some defecating potted creature.  He closed his eyes and could smell the aroma of the tree, the fading pine of a dying spirit. He wondered where it had grown, what bird or beast had called it home in the time it grew to its seasonal perfection. To be adorned and beheld for a few weeks only to then be thrust out with the other junk of the season, left to decompose in the street awaiting to be whisked away to somewhere out of sight. In that moment he saw the death and cruelty of Christmas. How things were cherished, only for the moment, then forgotten about and placed away. His phone nearby rung a reply, and he glanced at the preview from where he stood. A small tear appeared, and rolled down his cheek, the air leaving his lungs before a gasping inhale.

Daniel went to the french doors and cast them both ajar dramatically. The cold winter wind swept into the room, and some snowflakes fell onto his carpet. He snatched up the tree by the middle trunk and took it out into his garden. His bare feet sank deeply into snow that had settled already, but Daniel did not care. He went back inside and picked up matches that rested by the Christmas candles. He returned back to the garden and struck three matches at one time, letting the oxygen breathe life into the flame. He threw them onto the tree and lit some more. The snow whipped around both him and the tree, but eventually the flames took and it began to burn. Flames licking the innards of the branches as he stood in the snow that numbed his feet. Drifting from his living room, ‘O Holy Night’ lifted into the air and encased them in that moment. Frozen for that blink in the eye of god.

 

Too cold for snow

Caught in the teardrop, that’s trapped in time.
Shivering into something unfamiliar.
These bite marks plague me still.
Itching my skin like memories.
If you just let me go.
Watch me walk into that dying star.
Into the fire.
So encased in fear. This icy realm of apathy.
Too hurt to start again.
Too tired of being tired.
Looking at the grey sky in your eyes as you whisper.
It’s too cold for snow.

Beneath

To live alive, and breathe and sigh.
Is folly to an untrained eye.
But to harken devils down in the depths;
of that blackest sorts. Whose intent unknown.
Leaves me shaking to the bone.
But in that sea where monsters dwell.
There lies a ruin, an unknown hell.
Yet I cannot bask in that sunlit waste.
It leaves me breathless, returning home post haste.
Into myself where I shine and glow.
A truthfully tale.
We all swim below

Down within

Down to the water’s edge.
Beneath the willow and the sadness.
He stopped his world for a while.
No hand to pull him back.
Only invisible fingers pushing him forward.
Reeling in his mind like spinning wheels.
He lay on the cold bank.
Shedding his tears into deeper pools.
Pouring out his misery and loneliness.
Until he drowned the flying fish.
An ice crept across the water.
Licking his bones and sealing his eyes tight.
His heart caught between a beat and a break.
Hurrying this ice-age that would sweep the world away.
Yet he does not dwell unobtainably with the gods.
Or at the end of a book to placed on the shelf.
His small pool of sorrow lies within.
Every time the change of seasons ring.
Each day your body sways and splits..
He aches once more for the shore.

Wash over me

The thread from my bones was caught and tugged.
Stuck on that rootless tree.
That dying ember.
Give me a place where it’s quiet in my head.
To rest and melt away.
This lake-shore I wander upon, littered with Prozac pebbles.
Stubs my heart and calls me to the water’s edge.
Reflected in the glassy eye of tomorrow.
Is nothing of what I cherish today.
As birds fly above, they swoop in and steal my thoughts.
There is no protector of my mind.
Leaving me numb and silent.
Dancing once more in the darkness.
To a rhythm only I can hear.

Her birds inside cry

She always comes a minute too late.
Peeking over emotions.
Waiting for the birds to take flight.
She named each dream in her mind.
Building for them a special home. A place of comfort.
But the fires, they raged for almost ten years.
Burning them all down to cinders.
Destroying her spirit to ash.
So now she steps. Carefully and broken.
Side-stepping hearts and crowds.
Like the pigeons in the square, she is present and yet vacant.
Keeping all at bay, as she paddles in her shallow soul.
For her waters are no longer there for swimming.
The sharks left nothing behind.
Silent and full of feathers.

Embark on erasing

Erasing the love, no time to argue.
I was always alone in this, now the broken hearts magnetise themselves to me.
Please, flow in another direction.
If the pain doesn’t kill me then your apologies will.
Hold your head high, fill it with promise.
I don’t know what I mean anymore.
Words leave chalky marks on my tongue and holes in your heart.
Too much time to question these directions.
Part of it lies, part of it hope.
I throw them into the sky, hoping the sun will swallow them.
Burn out these thoughts and throw a different shadow upon me.
This day is done, and all is fading.
Set sail on a sea of illusion, taking on water, lifting the anchor of you.

Stacey’s friend

Stacey Stacey, with golden hair.
Three years old, and without a care.
Into the garden, down the path.
With a jump and a skip, out came a small little laugh.
She chased all the squirrels, and sang with the birds.
Muddied her clothes, and watched the cat while she purred.
For alone in the garden, Stacey found such joy.
Away from the anger, her parents, and toys.
The house always heaved, and weighted her down.
A trial separation, her father the clown.
Yet here in the garden, she was among friends.
The fish and frogs, in the pond round the bend.
This bright afternoon, while the social worker hovered.
She found a small butterfly, broken and bothered.
She picked up her new friend and cupped in her hands.
It quivered so slightly, like a small rubber band.
She tried to be quiet, it must be having a nap.
Peaking in through her fingers, to see beauty trapped.
But the butterfly was dying, having suffered a fatal blow.
The hand of a three year old, thrashing in her merry flow.
A tiny little creature, all alone in the world.
Dangerously surrounded by such chaos that swirled.
It fluttered once more then folded and faded.
Leaving the earth, so young and so jaded.
Stacey watched on, waiting for it to spring back up.
She wanted to dance with it by the daisies and buttercups.
Yet after a while, she seemed to understand.
So she buried the butterfly, by the pond in the sand.
And there she left her friend, encased with a tear.
The day she lost beauty, and found only fear.

Funeral procession

There’s a prayer that I say that always brings me closer.
Closer to you, though we’re miles apart.
The shadows of death stalk us, licking at our flesh; threatening to spirit us away to nothingness.
Sky shifts and heaven shines. Leading the way forward.
Yet I cannot let go, and you pull me towards the light.
The choir sings and the eyes stare, whispering quiet goodbyes and long buried secrets.
Why do you take me with you? Faith fits me, not you. Not us.
I’m not ready to believe. I’m not prepared for the finality.
Do I know this from somewhere?
I look into your eyes and your halo blinds me. You let go.
All I can smell is turned soil and coffin wood.
Each nail drives its way home as the feet trundle away, descended the mountain I forced them to climb.
Quietness hangs after much searching. These souls shuffle back into the everyday, forgetting where I lie.
Forgetting that I lied.
Making me a saint in their own afterlives. Travelled finally down my own road.