Your invented life,
never came back home.
The front door still open,
to your little refugees.
The hall is black,
as the wet slate roofs,
as your chapel’s stone grows colder.
Dust foams on
the floorboard’s worn form,
by the shuffling feet,
of once standing room only.
The walk to the school
was only up the hill.
Learnt the poetry of pierced sides,
the heart and blood
hung on rhythm and rhyme.
All of the majesty,
held up by blue stencilled columns.
All that truth would be shook to life
by the grey pin stripped master himself.
When even town drunks tipped their ears,
and bathed in the baptised spit.
When the new college came,
it took the best,
and with it the towns anaemic breath.
Bramble grows fast and thick,
while decisions hang like washing lines.
A way of living and a way of death,
with its finger nails in the skins of yesterday's,
and streets that grow quiet with age.
They’ll never come back.
They have their own lives now,
away from the palsy dreaming.
Smoke and Whisky
A warm rasp
of bullet tipped fingers on violin,
of a nylon six string hum,
and the brushing of a side drum.
nursing the mood
and tempo between the walls.
We drink from short glasses.
Eyes of black in the electric glow.
until the closing bell calls for taxis,
and out with the current of the crowd we go.
Our watchfires of certainty,
flicking out their tongues
to taste the night.
with secrets of the womb we made there.
Secrets we'll take home,
place on the shelf like pine cones,
and look to,
when the weather ‘comes too much.
A Sorrow on the Hill
‘It's a place to go.'
Here, where nothing comes,
only the bread vans
and the ‘taker.
Men drink in the lounge,
while weigh-ins for the slimmer's club go on next door.
Cigarettes left piss stains
on the ceiling.
But no one’s looking up.
Into jars upon small brown tables,
the gaze lined instead.
The talk and laughs
some angered shouts,
it's a little more than drink talking,
from the dark torus of the room.
Some with a rasping chest behind each line.
A crackle in the laugh,
that becomes a man's sentence.
The velvet gleam of the billiard table,
is the brightest thing,
in the centre of the room,
like a slice of spring in the thorn.
Money only went down the hill,
stretched from lamp to the sea,
and it left them up there,
in their houses no one wants,
longing for someone to start singing a childhood song
on a Saturday night.
Someone is to blame,
but the blame falls wrong
and nothing gets done,
all knowing that pride and lore isn't enough,
to bay the slip of hope,
to stop the brewery locking its doors.
It was a place to go,
that place where nothing comes.
News Report of a Trawlerman Lost
It was a welcome sight,
only known to them,
hooker and line.
The lights of the pub and the quay side chapel
shine out to the dark
where the salt grey reaches.
Those horizon sat stars,
guiding the hearts back home,
to the hillside fortresses of family arms.
that home-come relief
is cold at the sight of these pricks of light.
Upon the shoreline breaking,
kindred rally on a word of worry.
Their view so fixed, like drift wood rooted,
and the silence drowns the pitching surf.
In the stew, the harrow asking,
‘For whose prayers have been forgotten?’
That answer comes on a cert of bobs,
the steamily slow course bow.
Its engine sounds clacking loud,
like the hooves of the pale horse messenger.
‘Come quickly home,
come safely so.'
were the singing graces for the leaving crew.
Now whispering pleas of grasped amens,
‘Lord, don't leave their love forsaken.'
Then the halt of beat upon the mark,
brunt knuckle white around the heart,
as the name is said,
so softly so.
Sorrow for the loss and a good man too.
And waves roll on that hallowed soul,
their wash of grief through the cockle shell floor,
the spindrift tears touched the lips,
and the taste is of a man’s last breath.
Through the calling hours of curtains closed,
the wake beers bought in lieu of flowers,
their prayer hands still clasped together,
and they're told, with hand on heart,
'the voice of the Lord is upon the waters'.
Guilt in relief,
the end for others.
The lamb walks under parking signs on the main street after dark.
She lives on an island where the asphalt meets
the Pacific, with the mountains behind her,
and the street light switch,
hums lullabies of the night.
Her thoughts came out of her head
like tree roots,
when she wasn't trying to fold them away,
and her spit tasted of the sea.
Small hickeys of stigmata lay out the star signs,
on her arms and feet.
and the occasional thick lip goodbye.
All are forgiven.
She owned the night,
as much as the glimmer-time held her up right.
Contours of her hips, like arrows to her limelight.
She is desire.
She is an apple,
turning on the orchard floor.
She is and is always alone,
walking a different track, when weighed down
on back seats of chance.
Bad luck on her shoulder, whispering ok’s,
like a pimp of promise which never comes.
The lamb walks under parking signs,
on the main street after dark.
Sits under war paint in the bathroom light.
Loves, but doesn't love.
The fish hook lights,
Ex'd in their standing,
burning yellow bait,
staggered in the course,
like picked ribs
stood on a wet flensing stage.
The emptiness softly burning,
above the rushes
of the blood and the marrow,
the to, the fro, red and the white,
along the silver spine,
the monster's innards hollowed out.
My onward moves in straight lines,
with the back end canvas
of a white van in front,
framed to one side,
that glare of the white marrow rush,
to the other,
the dark bracken,
where the wild dogs wait.
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Charlotte Perkins Gilman Poems
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