Encore

Let’s leave the city
Leave it wanting more
An ovation innovation
For once not honouring the encore
Run flat out on our flat feet
To a place where we can find
Some semblance of self

Sit beneath the trees in the old orchard
And who cares if they’re rotten
Or if this dry grass is long dead
Wiry, dried out and gone
We can still breathe the air
Where we had fewer cares
And brighter skies
Those stars flickered through
With no smog to obscure

To hold back a heartbeat
Or a celestial body
To grasp either in one’s
Hand is not for the likes of us
So live and let live
To die another day
A long time from now
As we stroke our fingers through the dew
And the dirt

We’ll be glad we never outstayed our
Welcome and a welcome home
When we reach that front door
Would always wait for us
When we returned from
The bright lights and tight streets

Charging breakneck through fields
With a sense of finality and urgency
We urge ourselves on
Toward the tower, sat alone
On a hill as it always had
Since long before we burst forth
And will be long after we’re gone
All of us

Let’s leave the leaves
The grass, the skies
Leave the country wanting more

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Conflagration

Fill the grenade with grenadine
We’ll reutilise the war effort
Repair, recycle and reuse
In such imaginative ways
Yet if all our swords are ploughshares
And all our bullets turned to bracelets
We’ll only beat each other
To death with farm machinery

I’m all for hugging trees
Yet sometimes you need to carve out a
Spear handle and use the light from
That spare candle to whittle out a
Sharp point to penetrate and pierce

We won’t be here much longer
The way we carry on
Carrying out covert ops
Covering the tops of our
Hidey holes with thick foliage
Thin branches delicately draped
Across the entrance

And yet these new school
Retro, remade, post modern
Contraptions keep on turning
Ammunition into pencil sharpeners
And gasmasks into fishbowls
We can deny it all we want
But we all know we’ll need it again
Soon, wipe down the respirator and
Chamber the parer

Bear down on them with teeth bared
And our right to arms a necessity
When it’s been ingrained for so long
A culture built on blood
Soft, slippery surface to lay foundations
Upon
They did it anyway

Fine days and dark nights
Fly by without much more than a whisper
Flickering and flitting through
As we cling on to what we hold dear
Drag it deep down to comfort us
We’ll sit here watching the world burn
And brush dry tinder toward

A forest fire
Breathing in the pine
As it crackles and chokes
Into life
A conflagration for the flagburners
And the deathbringers
The wild, the hungry, desperate and dreary
No survivors set the world afire
And none of us ever expected to make it out alive

Health and Her

Take no photos, make no sound
One day you’ll realise
It’s better to live your life through the iris
Than live it through the lens

One day, one more day is what we all
Hope for
And not one spent in suffocating suits
With collar chafing tight
Around your neck
A millstone made of menswear
Bought for far too much in a store
For people who put store in counting coins
And ticking boxes
Instead of counting blessings

It’s not like me to be esoteric and meaningless
Crumble some creole into the mix
Natty words from a native tongue
Will wow the now crowd but I
Do it for myself and not for them

And if pleasing anyone but family
Matters more to you than your own
Peace and piecing together
Some form of fabric in which
You can live and lay down roots
Then three cheers for your cares
But I’ll take mine to the wire,
Waiting by the phone for those
Three words that nobody ever tires of

Heard in halting breaths
Between exclamations and sighs of
Delight, when we light up the fields
And call it a celebration
With flares, not bombs
And binding blankets that wrap
Us tighter than any razor wire

But it feels like home
Right here, in this moment
In this place, with you by my side
That house is three thousand miles away
Yet all I need is here, is her
All I need is my health and Her

Feline Fierce

One day you might need that hand
When you’re drowning in deep, dark
Water, waiting as it washes over you
Helpless and choking for a breath
One breath, yet you’ve wasted every one
Up until now and you’re thinking

Do I deserve another
How many chances do you get to prove
How mediocre you’ve become and how
Little you can add to a world so full
Of better ideas and nobler causes
I mean, it’s going to hell in a handbasket
And you were there every step of the way
Rubbing oil deep into the flaxen wicker

But you weren’t the prime cause in a world
Without a prime mover
Yet apathy breeds antipathy and your contempt
Could care less who started this shit
So perhaps every hand you snarled and spat at
Was a golden ticket, a chance that comes along
Once in a lifetime and you had your nine lives worth
You felicitous feline with fierce teeth and sharp claws

Matted wet fur dragging you down and sinking your shitty ship
All that promise and potential means so little
When you look up into the eyes of your saviour
And see nothing more than a flicker
Passing across a dull iris, dimly peering back
At the wretched wretch retching rhymes and rhythms
Onto a slate so discoloured and stained

From every time they tried to wipe it clean for you
And set you on your way with backpockets clinking
Fit to burst with the weight of ten-penny dreams
In a land not fit for dreamers
Who refuse to grow up or give in
Or mould themselves, weld their skin into the wheels
And cogs of this macabre machine

You envy the saviour yet they cannot save you
As you savour the favour of the cynics and nihilists
The cut throats and cute thoughts of those
Who think they know more than the little that they know
They keep rocking the cradle, the basket
That little handbasket whilst you play with your yarn
Yarn, yawn and drone on
About better places, times and things you could do
Seizing yesterday and doggy paddling into the jaws of defeat
With a smug little grin, singing “c’est la vie”

Glamor

Out-thought, outfought and out-gunned
Pinned down in a mental trench
With ammo running low
And the supply train backed up
Several miles away
Behind those hills

You’re knee deep in
The shit you’ve been spouting
And the shovel you hold is the
Only weapon you have to hand
So keep on digging
Deep, down

Where your mental fortitude meets
The furnace that has long since
Been abandoned
It’s no more than a hatstand my friend
You are just a pretty face
With all the lacquer run thin
And the wax weeping from the canvas

Plainer than the plains and planing down
The sand, taking a belt sander to that
Rusty old brain box and you’ll crack it open
To find you’re two screws short of a shed
And you’re the not the sharpest tool

Weave your glamor
Cast your wide net and hope they’re
Ensnared
Unaware and meeting what you’ve
Allowed to approach their eye

The ewe and I graze greedily
Munching, chomping down in the pasture
I take turns with the tern on my back
To guess why we graze
Yet the ewe that is you
Plaintively bleats back
I’ve heard that we follow the herd

When all that you’ve said
Cannot be done
When every river bed you’ve followed
Has run dry and the road has ran out
When you’ve exhausted all hope
And that body lies limp
Remember that you did the best with what you had
Which is more than many or most

Crickets

We’ve all found places on porches where crickets click
And in these dreams the sun is setting
With a pinkish red hue, hazy and bathing
Us, as we bask, blinking as the last of the light
Slowly slips away

Clutch that cardigan tighter, slung over
Sloping shoulders as you lean back
And put your back into the swing seat
Sip on the straw and run thin fingers
Through rich ringlets of hazel brown

Relax and breath, and breath and relax
Little gasps of life enter your lungs
Between the drags
We’re living in the gaps between the day
To day, as each day ends

Whilst this weather holds
And whether you’re still holding her hand
When the seasons change
There’s no reason for ruining rhyme
With a shot of reality squeezing through the catheter

So click, clack and skip away little cricket
Grasshopper, locust or whatever you are
When you’re at home in the garden of my home
As the sun sets and the tide of evening
Takes hold, you’re still sat warm and waiting

For all of this to end, for that alarm to shriek
And buzz, as you stumble into life
Head-first and blurry as it washes over you
The clamour and scuttle of it all
You envy that locust, that cricket

Sat there on your lawn in the dusk
Chirruping, chiming away
And recognise that it’s not the girl
Nor the drink, but the insect
Who truly defines your nights in the gaps

After all, after the blast
The clicking and chirruping is all you’ll hear
Not her, not even the swing of this bench
But only an insect, a noise
To soothe you to sleep with a beer in your hand

Injure Eternity

Sometimes it’s just a matter of time
The time to take the time
To embrace the time
Having time enough that time is well spent

It’s a currency you can never have too much of
Or, if you think you have, then remember that
On your last day, with your last breath
A thin smile creases your ripped lips
As you think
How lucky I was, how blessed
And how great a fool

To think I could have had too much
Of a good thing
The greatest thing
And a far wiser man than me once said
When he was wandering the woods
And playing in trees
As if you could kill time without injuring eternity

On that one thing
And many more I’m sure
He couldn’t have been more right
Now and then we all have the time to write
To right the wrongs of words we never said
To say out loud the mantra that is crashing through our
Heads

But when few enough hear it and fewer still
Care, it becomes harder and tougher and well,
Leads to despair

So forgive me when these jaded green eyes
Impassive, pass right through you
I’ve seen far more than I care to see of apathy
And far too little of life to have a valid opinion
Not every poem can be a battle hymn
Not every verse can shake you
And this line is no elegy
Just promise that you’ll find time for me
And I’ll take the time to keep scribbling along

Spurting verses that sound better in one’s head
That on the pages that nobody has read
If rhyme doesn’t sound wrong then look for
No reason more
Than surface meaning not surfeit layers
Nor anything buried deeper
Than the skin
I’m just here to scratch itches not open up wounds

I’ve taken alliteration as far as I can
And wordplay innovations no longer hold you in ovation
I’ve shown all that I can give
And given far less than I should
Though it’s more than most care to hear