a glittering container
of crystal and mottled mirrors.
an exquisite dome
built around me.
i spin in circles
and you show me how to dance
until you drop my hand and smile
before walking away.
i - must - get - out.
what can i use to smash through?
you take me by the hand once more
and we dance in circles
across the mirrored floor.
rare steaks and raw carrots
my great, great aunt wore canary diamonds
that were said to be the size of gull's eggs.
they decorated her hand like an ostentatious Christmas tree.
she had an antique birdcage carved from ivory
(or was it a doll's house?)
that had been in the family for generations.
she would rise before first light and
be seated for breakfast by five o'clock sharp -
never being late for morning mass.
each day she would descend the grand staircase
in her black silks and fine lace and
float into the mahogany dining room.
the long table was set as though for a banquet
and her seat was at the far end.
they served her bloody rare steak and
grated raw carrots with a squeeze of lemon juice.
these quirks only manifested
after the tragic death of her daughter.
"one of those mysterious fevers,"
my mother would recount.
she had wanted to be a nun but
had been forbidden that life.
the death was God's punishment.
my large family is peppered with eccentric widows of means.
"the widows were the lucky ones in those days,
many of the females had ended in asylums."
discarded by greedy husbands and nefarious uncles.
my mother was made to visit them.
she never talked about it,
aside to say it happened.
before her death, she promised my mother the
hand carved ivory birdcage (or dollhouse).
my mother knew she would never see it.
this always made me quietly outraged,
believing she had suffered a great injustice.
her feelings however, are quite different.
something far more valuable had been gained
in the form stories she could tell to me.
writing poetry in the bath
i balanced my notebook precariously
on the edge of the tub.
the day did not have enough hours -
i do not believe in multi-tasking.
do one job at a time and do it well.
by my own standards,
bath time was not gaining my full attention.
i left my body to soak
and wash itself.
i had been late to everything that day.
late for my morning walk.
late to eat breakfast.
late to turn on the washing machine
and boil the kettle for tea.
inspiration, unfortunately, keeps to his own time.
like an unreliable lover
who is known for cancelling engagements.
you can sit and wait patiently
but he will never arrive as planned.
it's only ever when you're busy
and your mind is occupied elsewhere -
that is when he'll arrive and
frantically ring on your doorbell.
He's here. Drop everything.
the canal in winter
the smell of bonfire
hung thickly in the air
like old velvet curtains.
it was a cold night,
like when you leave
the freezer door open.
the yellow diaphanous glow
that flooded from windows
was my only illumination,
lighting the path ahead
of a walk i know so well.
people sitting atop their boats
did not notice me.
they smoked and played instruments
and the aroma of piped tobacco
filled my nostrils and
comforted my senses.
like a forgotten museum,
having remained hidden
i was stepping back in time.
everything veiled in a misty film
caused by years of damp.
dozens of books
and a variety of objects;
pieces of furniture,
remained exactly as left.
my nose grew irritated
and itched insatiably.
the pungent, cellar like aroma -
musty, rotten, damp.
my tongue tasted the mould.
the wooden floor felt spongy
and bounced beneath my feet,
a spring in every step
as i walked inside.
his desk as he left it.
letters strewn, half written.
in the corner, a framed photograph.
so he did love, after all.
yesterday, i wandered down Regent's Canal.
for hours i trailed the tapering paths
led by the snaky twists and bends.
sinewy lanes escorted by forget-me-nots,
where water slapped rhythmically against the banks.
how long i walked i could not say,
it must have been at least a day.
how is it possible that i have not
meandered through these tracks before.
until my freedom snatched away,
has forced a need for me to stray,
from the prison i call home
and even though i walk alone
aware the consequences of these strolls
that they have started to impose
for me and roaming rebels alike
that we might one day appreciate,
the precious freedom they can take.
are we zombies
am i at least?
my mind, it wonders
and i start to think
of a wandering mind.
what would that look like,
i imagine it contained,
that wet, spongy thing
making soft, sloppy sounds.
it requires a vessel -
a jar perhaps.
would it be different
to be judged
by brains alone?
no shapely skull.
no encased mass.
what would we appraise?
by size, or weight?
would it determine
a lover's pick,
or who they vote
the friends we make,
the jobs we take,
and even maybe
the coffee we drink.
look at this hole
found in the ground.
so dark and deep
without a sound.
and not fall in.
nor walk towards it
nor let it win.
it will entice you
you may feel safe,
but it is deception
and dark, empty space.
how can one succeed
when you look in the mirror
and like not what you see?
is there no rest
for those who run after
that which is less?
if i could remove
the part that does lack
what would become
of a heart that turned black?
and is there a way
to turn back the clock
and somehow regain
that which is lost?
the house it burns around me,
the carpets and the walls.
the curtains fall and crumple,
and melt upon the floor.
the smoke it swirls around me,
and quickly fills my lungs.
but i forget to notice
and remain within the room.
i stand arranging flowers
to make the room look nice.
the house it is still burning,
the pain cuts like a knife.
i feel the heat envelop
and burn against my skin.
but i must arrange these flowers,
to them i am akin.