Stay positive, stay strong
Unyielding, unflinching
Or neutral, an even keel
Even slightly despondent but never negative
Down, despairing and distraught

Your chest barely moves as you sleep
I turned over and stopped
Paused, checked to hear you breathe
We’ll say it’s the nicotine

Withdrawal, the cleanse
The cold hard look in once bright
Eyes, fixed on you and reading right through
Every word, line, chapter, verse

To the core, seeing nothing more than
A stiff stone where a flame once burnt
Brighter than a thousand analogies
And shining like a tired metaphor

Breathe, stop, calm, control
Repeat, breathe, stop
Stock still, hand on heart
On hip, on the hilt of your sword

Wearing words as weapons
Without a shield of faith, fortune
Confidence or self belief
Attack is the best form of defence

Lean in, put your best foot first
And hope you don’t catch a glancing
Blow, little dancer
Cute as a cat yet far less fast

Intake, pause and open your mouth
Then realise that real eyes see real lies
And you really have nothing
Worth saying, that hasn’t been heard before
Wrote before, conveyed before

In far finer style than anything you could compose
Succinct, snappy sound bites
And quotes you could see
In calligraphy on a stone slate

Four hundred years from now
Yet your words will never be
Anything more than small spaces
On small bookshelves

Shown off by an aunt when she welcomes
A friend, for cake
Coffee and comforting words
About the latest little problems
In all our little lives

So breathe, stop, calm, control
Repeat, breathe

An Elegy For Mortality

Stand up and be counted
Or crouch down, on all fours
And skulk, slink, slide away
It’s better to live on your paws
Than die in any shape or form

Bipedal or quadrupedal, it
Matters not, we all fall and
Rot the same way, like pears
Tossed from the tree to the ground
Far too early, and food for the ants

What would you do with ten more years
What have you done with the last ten
The same shit on distant days
A memory haze
Drip, drop, through the catheter

So, all’s quiet on your front
Or is it louder than a thousand suns
And brighter than a bomb blast
Call it what you will, a day is a day
Is a day, forms a year

Sit down and drink this, comfortably numb
Like your knees and forepaws
Dose yourself, dope yourself
And face another day