SHELL OF IMAGINARY IMAGINATION

Strange little threads that are held on to.
Causing commotions in my morning coffee.
Sinking feelings that cut too deep, simple systemic exposure.
Buzzing like the office fluorescents, dialling a tone.
Naked and running. Leaving myself at home.
Heaven bubbles in my veins, blowing blooms along my spine.
Disturbing the herons of this mind.
Take me down to the water.
To the catacombs of the happy, were they hoard their treasures.
This middle distance, which keeps us at arm’s length.
Puts my past to sleep, and rip open my mind.
Something so obscene.
The devil can dip its fingers in my soul (if out of sight).
A sunglass reflection in the mirror, which at first seemed so close.
Cut the distance and pull the cord.
Curtain calls and swallow whistles.
Finding me alone on that wondering star.
Flying, down Mulholland drive

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THE NATURE OF THE NIGHT

It had only been twenty minutes, and already I was sick of being in the car. The heating had taken ages to kick in, so I shivered in the cold and frosty conversation. The argument had begun on the way back to the carpark. It didn’t matter what it was over, it never really did. These miniature versions of global wars, shrunk down to my own proximity; petty power plays and name calling could be over anything. We traveled home in silence and I watched the woods from the window as they slipped into a green blur before me. Within, numerous animals and tiny lives played out in the canvas of trees. Thronged within the forest’s bulging beauty.

Though it was freezing, the wet rain had begun to pelt the car. Icy splashes attacked the window like a rapping inside my skull. I glanced across to the driver’s seat, watching their movement. The quick flow to turn on the wipers, the gear shift to go slower and the change of the playlist. It all seemed synchronised, as if in some way it had all been planned. The sky above was dark and ominous now, mirroring the mood between us that sped down the road faster than I would care for in the rain.

I took off my shoes, not to annoy them, but because my feet ached. We had been walking most of the day and the confines of my old boots had rubbed and grated on me, reminding me not only that they were old, but also of my lack of outdoorness recently. I hadn’t really been out of the house for weeks, curled up into the fetal position watching old movies of hunched over my laptop. Watching the world always through screens, either on my computer, the television or my phone. I had ridden my day of all of these things once. Switched off my phone and left my computer untouched and ignored as I let my life and world return. But it had only been a passing fancy. The desire to feel productive or recognised as alive, even if only by a machine had overwhelmed and succeeded.

My feet stunk a little, so I kept them on the floor. I would usually rest them on the dashboard or bring them up to the seat. I sometimes sat crossed legged on long journeys. Doing nothing for my blood flow but perhaps self-nursing my own comfort, replaying childhood thoughts of sitting crossed legged on the school floor back in primary school. If I were feeling more inclined to be irritating, I would have put them up on the dashboard, but I couldn’t be bothered. The argument had already sapped most of my energy and inclination, and now I was just tired and wanted to go to bed. Yet I knew already, as they put on the music they knew I didn’t like, that we would have some go through when we go back. The civil remarks asking if we wanted a drink or use the bathroom first would chip away at the snowy exterior that had rose in the time of driving back. Making way for the falling glacier to tumble into the oncoming night.

They checked their phone, reading some message that buzzed through illuminating the car in a moth like glow. I turned away, watching the trees slip into farmer’s fields and small farmhouses off in the distance. I could see some lights over on the hill, a tall house with the brightest glow like a lighthouse in a sea of farmland. The view in the day must be lovely from up there I thought.

The phone was returned to its cradle, the track on the playlist skipped to something more bassly irritating and they reached then for the cigarettes. I held my breath as they puffed out the first exhale which always filled the car unnecessarily, before rolling down the window. The car sped on and the rain flew in from all angles, soaking their shoulder and blowing the smoke further deep into the car and my senses.

I watched as other cars pass by, less frequent than before the further out we came; but still busy for this time of the night. Their lights would glow off in the distance like trapped creatures caught in a static sea. I would let their lights burn into my eyes as they passed, allowing the white haze to flood my brain and x-ray my soul slightly. I could see no taillights however, which I always liked to see, especially in the rain. It made me think of a red eyed beast lurking off on the horizon, threatening to rise up and attack the car. Fleeing some mythical creature gave the drive a much more interesting flare. But no so tonight.

The smoke was irritating me now, but I noticed the cigarette was almost done. Soon to be tossed out into the dark. Used, burned and thrown away and never thought about again. Looked on by anyone who would find that charred thing as an annoyance and sign of the times. Another car zoomed past, washing in the splashy sound of the road that held a lot of water after the sudden downpour.

Sometimes I would imagine leaning over and forcing the steering wheel to jerk to the right, slamming our car into another’s and obliterating our lives forever. Throwing us perhaps through the windshield or crumpling us both into a bloody mess of bone and loss. I knew if we crashed I would never survive, not if I knew that was what fate held in store. My heart wouldn’t be in it to cling on, live through any deliberating injuries or even roadside assistance. I would listen to them try to keep me conscious for a moment, just to see if they really cared, and then slip away into the sweet relief of death.

But I couldn’t do that, I couldn’t force others to be caught up in our crash or our calamity. Our problems were our own, and though the end flickered worryingly close like a butterfly at times; it was our self-made ice-age; and we had no reason to complain of the cold.

Reverse back to tomorrow

I travelled down that road, only to get lost again.
Trying to get back again.
If I meet you there, I apologise; I would’ve failed.
Seeing the destruction in your eyes.
A strength you needed was not coursing through this DNA.
The magic in my makeup was only to enable disappearance.
To be made of steel, with golden wings.
Would be a tale for another time, and another version of me.
These signs that I pass, trying to be born again; or to shift the paradigm.
Tell me not of where I am headed, or where I have gone.
They only illuminate where I should already be.
Holding out for tomorrow to be different today.

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.

Arrive/Depart/Transfer

Stripped back today’s waste (your suspicion rises).
What you choose to do.
Prepared to turn me inside out again.
Airport lighted, with the sun still sleeping.
Bore me down to my appled core.
Picking out the seeds you planted.
And that I washed with tears.
Alighted.
My boarding pass heart to see such new wonders in your eyes.
Breaking from home.
Rest your head on my shoulder and I will read you bad poetry.
Whispered deeply.
Into your heart.
You loved me today, as the night colours away.
Returning from Saturn and watching the universe tip over.
The others none the wiser.
Souls that were drawn out of committee. Leached from the darkness.
Hard to take off. 3am while travelers sleep.
With you, I always fly. That north western sky.
For you are everything.

Lost in the faraway

The conjuring dreams.
Of moments in time.
Love lost on your lips.
Your hand in mine.
Kicking this cactus heart around.
Fresh like mint on my tongue.
Calling you out of the clouds.
Out of my bones that feel as heavy as China.
One of those falling dreams.
Like you’re here.
But still gone.

Echoes in space

Don’t leave me here with that all over me.
Spinning into cotton spider webs. The dusty Milky Way.
I tried to give you everything, and now I feel diminished.
I don’t know why you’re so cruel to me.
My gold is just as good as anyone’s.
24 carat.
Invisible floating carrots from your Midas touching.
Yet only I see in the blackness it seems.
Left in the dark again. Left out in the coldness of space.
Tired of this fuzzy dream. I’m not those pretty people.
Where do you think this will end?
It seems you’ve travelled light years to escape my questioning, my reasoning and our solar symmetry.
The scrap feasting and bone munching you force me.
All must end.
Spinning my own planet on my fingers tips, as I wave your shuttle goodbye.
No more echoes in space. No screams for which no-one will hear.

Converging emotions

How did I fall, from my lonely little star?
Forgive this self-pity as I splash dust in my eyes and ice in my hair.
Following the comet, trailing in its wake.  Orbiting your sun.
Set me down, cut these strings that both hold me up and dance to whatever beat you decide.
I brush the mud from my knees and start the trail out of the woods.
Following no path.
Making my way to your heart.
I hear the wolves as they howl and devour things in the night
I see the woods in the trees and the eyes in the light.
Shiny dwelling diamonds with teeth of steel and empty stomachs.
I wander over mountains, I trudge through deserts.
My soul is thirsty and my heart is parched.
The oasis is a kiss, on the edge of your horizon.
The smell of your skin makes me swim in the salty ocean of you..
Until I finally land, bleached liked bones in the sun upon your shore.
Pull me, hold me close and swallow me down into the whale’s stomach of love.
Keep me forever in that tiny cage of your heart, swinging on a perch in deluded bliss.
I will sing us to sleep with a melody of toil and journey’s end.

Coordinate my heart

Trying to find you on a map today, elusive and disorientating.
All lines and colours.
You’re lost to me, like thirty minutes in the wrong direction.
Asleep on the train.
The thorn in your side is me, the smile and frown pulling you under.
I barely stay afloat myself, holding on to these little rejections.
Devastated, my heartbeat quickens.
Deflated, the blood thickens.
No coercion in love, no help from above.
Just sweet words that fall to the floor.
Faster than the time before.

Beneath your waves

The world collapsed around me as I re-discovered you in my bed.
Columbus and the natives, rediscoveries of lands long ago known.
How did we drift so far apart, how did our continents slide away from one another?
Maybe it explains the volcanoes.
Your tectonic emotions that batter and barge into me, leaving me glistening with devils sulphur.
I want to set adrift, burn all I see and slowly disappear into the vastness of ocean tides.
But my circadian rhythm seems linked to you, I rise and fall when you are near and far; like the moon and the seas.
My world was rebuilt, the Atlantis in me rising from the depths that were your hurtful departures.
Let me crown you now, let me sing and bow and kiss the heels of your trident stance.
Tides, and the ties that bind force me to anchor your heart to my skin and my bedpost.
Underneath the waves of the sheets we can once again rule the seas.
Hold my soul in your hands like the ocean in a tiny glass, drink me in and swim.
Certainty is the shore I’m searching for, the land on my horizon.

Class: Fiction

He skipped the to the last pages of the book that he held like a bible in his hands. Words danced on the page before him, the ending made no sense as usual. He searched his thoughts as to why he’d begun it in the first place. Ahh, that’s right…the cover looked so intriguing.

He placed the book back, nestled it in-between an old copy of Harry Potter and his well-presented and orderly kept cd collection. There it was to remain, unopened and unexplored for an age as the dust that collected hung to the tops of the pages like a glossy film. Over time the spine faded and the adventure was lost.

From the shelf, as if the characters had crawled from the pages to investigate, it was noticed how a new book was begun and captivated his time. Other volumes cried tears of time as they were passed over again and again in favour of this new and intriguing yarn.

Until one day it was no longer present. Unbeknownst to those who viewed from the shelf; the book was lost on a rainy Tuesday in the month of November, whilst travelling on the underground. As is the case of public transport, too many souls shoved together in a tin can made for distractions and wandering of minds. Making sure his jacket was straight and his phone was buzzing like always, he had left the book on the seat next to him. A careless gesture one might say, like the throwing of a used cup out of the car window; as the residue drips from the inside. But secretly, he did not mind too much as the new book didn’t interest him as much as he had let on. Maybe someone else is reading that story now, on the Hammersmith and city line.