On not saying hello

It was on the 8.30 to London and I was lost in a poem
more to pass the time then for serious effect
when I looked over and saw a basement squat
and a time when you and I were friends.

More to pass the time then for serious effect
I imagine leaning over and apologetically reminding
you of a time when you knew me and my brother.
I turned back to my poem and remembered why not.

I imagine leaning over and apologetically reminding
you of my brother, now dead but scared of life yet
I turned back to my poem and remembered why not
as the train announcements make you stir.

Of my brother, now dead but scared of life you
won’t recall but it’s when I lost my world
as the train announcements make you stir
I see his face sketched now only in my thoughts.

I won’t recall when I lost my world
as I look over and see a basement squat
so as the train announcements make you stir
I’m lost in a poem on the 8.30 to London.

SOUTH Poetry Magazine

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The Shoemaker Writes at his Window

Today I write to tell you I saw Sarah again
her neck curved, each move of ballet grace

I took her calfskin shoe and placed a warm,
innocent foot on plain paper to trace

Then, as now, she is moved to speak of the patterns,
and shapes of signs that make us die or live

She laughed and mentioned that when six, Karsula,
the cow chased her down the neighbours field

so she learned not to cry out loud when running
We smiled and told stories of weddings – mine

clean fresh water and a simple soup, hers, herrings,
apples, and a plain sponge cake

We kissed cheeks and said, ‘Let’s meet again’
for we have become scratchy voices on tapes

a pair of weekend monuments for bored picnics
while out of sight, the shoes stack again

Published in Ink, Sweat and Tears

 

Falling without stopping

Perhaps if I had imagined you as a lily,
your lips stained with dust blown on the wind,

dress green with the touch of moon white
and you there waving as you danced away,

we could have been the sea on white sand,
the flash of silver, skimming the rustle of waves,

dolphins that leaped and twisted the air into circles,
or boats with linen sails where we drank champagne

but I found you as a winter birch hard lined with frost
with dry stone walls broken but still too high to climb

and no birds in branches that would sing in dawn
on a cold moor where even sheep huddled for warmth

yet when we meet wearing other people’s happiness
let’s not forget once we kissed not wanting to let go.

Published in Your One Phone Call

Learning that madness is the sane thing to do

We laughed about the misty weather
it was Cornish sunshine we said

The Sunday lunches and the truth not noticed
stayed as ever unspoken

I admired how well you were looking
you joked about eating for two now

Once you screamed saying it was a nightmare
when I woke you with a kiss

You were something big in publishing
and I pretended to be jealous like old times

To stop love becoming sex you
once pissed over me

We said we must have a coffee at the new café
as they do such lovely fresh things with chocolate

In the end you ran out naked
to become catatonic

We kissed on the cheeks to say goodbye,
you barely flinched and walked away straight-backed

I wish his death had made you free
but as you would have said so does the lie

Published in Your One Phone Call