Why the fear
Of Not Being Here?
Why the fear
Of Not Being Here?
Roots crushed by asphalt, Iris stands her ground.
In everything hopeless, hope can be found.
We saw humanity itself,
Cut into flesh and bone,
Of young and old:
That love and love’s self-righteous fire
Ignite the icy flame
Of hatred cold;
That cowardice and bravery
Alike can end in tears,
Or beauty hold;
That jealous rage and parents’ love
Are sibling seeds to sow
The end of days.
Competing vanity of gods,
Like clouds in still water:
Our mirrored ways.
The tide is changed by whim, or turned
By heartfelt quest for truth,
But wet it stays.
In Homer, just as now, we live for show,
And miss the mad adventure as we go.
The richness and the poverty of all
Is in the savage beauty of her fall.
In the stale car, it’s hot
And smells of crisps.
The tinny sound of old
Cartoons through headphones
Mixes with the birdsong.
That thing which frightened me:
It found me.
I knew with total certainty
I would be
But sometimes we surprise ourselves;
Our strength is
I fought the thing I dreaded most
And I have
I just forget it’s you that pulls me down.
I sometimes think it’s me, that I am bad:
A useless mother, weird, a waste of space,
A coward: lazy, pointless, going mad.
I just forget that you wait in the wings
For your first chance to sing about my faults;
You wait with sweaty palms and gritted teeth
To mock me, shamed, before the real adults.
Then, suddenly, you speak your words in flames,
They dash across the blank grief of my mind.
Your drawl, smooth and familiar, shrinks my spine:
And fondled, touched, my memories unwind.
With glee, you fling my laughter to the dogs;
Achievements, skills are torn, mocked and defaced.
You hop and dance and kick salt in old wounds;
You push away the ones I once embraced.
So under this internal, cruel abuse,
I cower, cringing, knocking my scarred knees
And, jeering, spitting, come your playground friends:
A crowd of puffed-up bullies. Angry bees.
The first is Shame, who laughing, climbs my back
And, forceful, presses down my thumping head.
She covers my white eyes with rancid claws
And calls to Guilt, who comes with heavy tread.
Before them, I am naked and alone.
I search blind for a person I once knew.
But, sickly sweet, it’s Suicide who comes:
Seductive, painting death in a new hue.
So sudden is the onslaught, I am lost.
Her subtle voice, that slides beneath my skin
Is leaking poison, spreading, gaining ground.
It wants the very root of Self within.
I stop. That core is fragile but it’s mine.
To build it I’ve worked hard on self-reflection.
It’s taken years of honesty and pain
And anxious re-starts when I lost direction.
I will not give it up, despite your taunts,
Although you’ll hide it from me for a time.
For I have grown within a seed of hope:
And from it springs a ladder I can climb.
You told me I was making their lives worse.
You told me just to leave the life we shared.
But now I’ve found the friend within myself.
We will outgrow you. Soon you will run scared.
Click and drop of water pipes,
Slightly off the beat,
Startles silence, cracks the hum;
Sacrifices sleep for heat.
Plaintive howl of aeroplanes:
Tired, waiting to land,
Dragging those who fled the grey
Back again from sun and sand.
In musty air, the gentle speech
Of ones who seem to know
About the world and politics
And how things ought to go.
But in my bed, I stretch my feet.
I wriggle my hips down.
I am the queen of duvet-land;
The pillow is my crown.
And, just for now, it sinks away:
The complicated stuff.
This sleep-soft world is all there is
And maybe that’s enough.
Eaten into dark beams,
The breath of those
Both strange and same.
Beer-soaked wood is sticky
With long tired relief
Of workdays old
And in the grimy folds
Of cracked-seated chairs
Sit our short lives.
Warm light, as though flame-shone,
Enfolds us like a
Mother’s happy myths.
Amongst the heated noise
A shared mad question
Of our purpose
Hangs and waits in amber
Whilst we laugh. For some
It waits through tears.
And left to feel the vain
Weight of knowing first,
The pub endures:
Feeling in its bricks, which
Crumbling hold, the quick
Of mortal joy.
For still we come to play,
And maybe always.
Finding in her years
The truth of our days.