I love the shape of words when they are under the spell of a poet. Every word fights for its place on the page and only the most potent survive. Perhaps better than reading poetry, though, is hearing it performed. There is passion in its delivery; rhythm and reason and life transferred directly from the poet’s body unto their congregation.
Good poetry conveys visceral knowledge that we all share deep down whether we realise it or not. It summons something common to have yet rare to behold, and teases it up towards the surface. It taps into a stream most of us have paved over with asphalt, and brings forth the purity of spring water. The taste will be bitter for some, but that’s on us and our tainted expectations of what truth should taste like. Extreme impacts like violence and drugs are as much a part of the human experience as love and security.
I used to write poetry to explore things I could understand in no other terms. I mythologised myself. Put my deepest feelings into symbol and code. And only my mind was the key that would translate the true meaning. My rhythm and reason and life. I made only one copy of each poem, typed out on an old-fashioned typewriter complete with overtyped errors and emphasis thumped into the paper by my strongest fingertips. Those poems were stolen one day, by a man who wanted my heart in a box. Perhaps, in a sense, he got what he craved.
I wonder, do poems expire? Once on paper in their complete form do they begin to rot without the vital life force of their creators’ key? Perhaps that’s why so many great works are printed on limited runs and cannot always be bought via the usual channels. Perhaps the words leave the pages behind and sink back into the ground, dissolving completely: eternally free now their job is done. Or perhaps they live on in their human hosts, kept close to the chest, ready to re-emerge in alternative configurations in some other place and time.
Everything is not
There is a ringing
In the air though
The bell was struck long ago
A pregnant pause
Like a rollercoaster
Poised to dive
Breathe with me
Make the sounds
Of the rhythm of life
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You have to build your difference, they say.
You are divided for love.
But I don’t know who you are.
Do you know who I am?
I can feel your fingers reaching out to me,
so close to having material form it hurts
like an unstruck sound in my heart.
You are surely a reflection,
but when I look for you in the mirror
the only me there is I.
I project the idea onto all of my lovers,
trying to understand the shape of you,
then when they are gone, I retract you
back into the darkness of shadow.
I saw you in the theatre last night.
Three stages, three shows, three facets of you.
I danced with each in my dreams.
You had raw, bleeding knees from the crawl;
an attempt to save yourself from fiction, no doubt.
But one tug on my necklace, one cry from within
and I knew the fall was real.
How do I write you?
Your essence is somewhere
between the scribbled words
on the mountains
of screwed up paper sheets
in which I nest.
Are you a jigsaw?
I try a word from one attempt
with a sentence from another
to draft a new layout,
an alternative frame;
but still I can’t complete you.
Like Osiris, you are in fragments.
Before I found my will I was always sleepy and covered in dust. It made me sneeze and i couldn’t see where I was going. Instead I just saw piles and piles of where I had been.
There are millions of others, just the same. Unchanging, unmoving, still people. Gathering layers of waste fibres and allowing something else to live through them. But they are still people.
Pining, longing, desperate to grasp
But one gasp
And the connection is cut
The life supply removed
The flowers rot in their cellophane.
The sound of water dripping in a cave Continue reading “Falling Asleep”