MY TROUBLED MIND

confessions are self-serving

Category: Poetry

Candle on the Beach

This beach
reminded us of a place,
and it was bittersweet –
it felt like home, but also
not so, the wind
the gulls,
our age, something
was astray.

I’ve been so deep in my head
these weeks
I’m disgusted with myself,
so for a moment
I just tried to live
for someone else –
you, and your friend
passed –
in tribute
we lit a candle
on the beach.

And so I dug
in the murky
sand and water
for shells, thankful
for thinking only of that –
shells, sand, mud
water –
what peace,
however fleeting,
what peace.

Heron

I didn’t realise how much I needed the rain
until it came, and kept coming
heavy and hard, reassuring
as a bronzed hand on the shoulder, silent,
two of us sheltering under one brolly
splashing, and the wind too, wrestling
with it like a rod reeling humongous carp.

We came to the river under a canopy
of thick red wood, the river whipped white,
boiling, and you shout:

“Heron!”

I didn’t really hear, a wet hood sucked to my head:

“What?”

“Heron!”

I paused too long, didn’t show
enough emotion, you say:

“You’ve spent too long in the city”

You’re right – I watch the heron watch the foam,
the river thrashes in time with my stomach
as my mind crashes against its man-made banks
fragile, fit to dissolve as easily as salt in water.

Breezeblocks

Last listened
in back lanes, dust billowing
in headlights, vest
red goon splatter
kidneys aching, piss sharp needles
automatic gears churning
and moving under 4 ltrs
of metal –
bald tires gurning on the gravel
Joey’s eyes wild
one coiled spring leap
away from the axle

Robin Redbreast

It may not be fashionable, but
it certainly is nice
to go to bed at 11pm on a Saturday.
The air seems lighter,
though that may just be the spring,
outside, the street sounds calmer
trickle, tick in like raindrops
off banana leaves.

Today, I did not wake up
to find marinara sauce
slopped over my keyboard, nor
crinkled lager cans
by the sink excreting their
sweet yet sour scent.

I know it’s not popular
for a man of my years
to walk around a cemetery,
but the sun and grass and graves
hold no opinion
as I stand and watch
a robin sing
under the canopy
of firs.

 

A relatively young man

The defence counsel said
after reading his antecedents
(16 convictions from 25 charges)
“The Defendant is 27, still a relatively young man.”
And I thought christ,
I’m 27 this year.

Last I checked I was a young man
and now this relativity has stolen in
like a bastard homewrecker
whilst I’ve been busy working.

Relative to what
I wonder, a rougheye rockfish?
The Xin dynasty?
The cobalt they hack up
in the heat of the Congo
to pack into the batteries
of electric cars?

Either way
when I go to the bathroom
and look in the glass
I can’t help but think

god, he’s right.

Life

I don’t care about the news;
shootings pile up like two, three, four nights’ worth
of crack rock hard rice and sauce on plate
and I don’t care, I don’t.

It’s not a good feeling, nor one
that’s big or clever, but christ
there’s so much dust and dirt and grime
coming at me like a persistent pounding tide
it’s hard to notice
who or what is persecuted,
why or how we’re butchered;
the recycling must go out,
where are the forks?
where’s the last bowl?

Rizlas everywhere, always, every morning,
the clothes are washed, left wet and washed again,
sirens buzz down the street
bricklayers joke and carry planks of wood;
there’s no life in my eyes
as I try to remember if I’ve cancelled
my subscriptions,
snake oil multivitamin
tablet bitter, bitter
on my tongue.

Leo’s last day

-We do the shit, waiting for the sun, bam, easy life – Leo sits on two water kegs – Fuckin’ hell, thirty degrees to the face, it’s hard, ah, putain, wow – Last day on South Beach, he’s been here almost nine weeks, no licence living in a stationary van, Gang Starr plays, stove set on the floor, the most black coffee hits my stomach, nausea slight, Marlborough  smoke expands like time inside, I lie back on towels, t-shirts, sleeping bag pillow, light comes in strong down the right windows, Luc reaches for watermelon brought in from outside, Leo elbows on knees, nods to bass line – I’m going to start doing my shit – To no one in particular, met with silence, a slurp of melon, turns his head and stretches long tanned arms back to rest on driver’s seat headrest.  Past him the woman I saw topless changing with big dog, bumper sticker – Good planets are hard to come by – Middle aged, whistles to the dog baseball cap purple top no bra, Luc jams to trade – they gonna see-ee – soul singer, bass line rolls away, Michael Jackson style, bottlecap graces the floor, though it’s been swept – In my mind-d – Leo sings, grabs a vest, shunts it into his face, inhales, yelps – One year of stink! Papa was a rolling stone! – Head bobbing like a strutting pigeon, flicks a shirt out and a spray of crumbs and scraps of plastic fly everywhere, scatter my journal – Sorry man – Luc hocking up phlegm, spits it onto the tarmac – Words can’t describe the feeling I feel, oh glory, Hove! – French guy I’ve forgotten name of stands outside reading my copy of Dennis Haskell seriously, hands it back some minutes later without comment. Open sour cream crust paperweights smoked salmon, baguette exposed to the air, joint smokes like a thread from a silkworm into the air, track begins – Is someone listening? Okay … – Dirty towel beige, blue, brown innocent dirt streak hangs over bumbag, tooth brush rests outwards like one side spooning lover. Vested man, 30s, backward cap mirrored glasses and trimmed beard looks in, away as he passes on, backs out in big black late model Jeep, Leo returns, stands outside with didgeridoo 30° into van, Luc flips his guitar to back and tap taps the wood with fast fingers, shouts something in French, Leo back, searches for a lighter, lifts some jumper up four inches, barely glances underneath before replacing it, repeats with the next item the same.

Railway sketch

Railway station in a country town, flagstones wide, dark and wet with rain. Cast iron bolts suffocated by thick beige paint, flaked with age.  Train delayed 11 minutes, passengers sleepy and few in number, apathetic to delay or even cheerful, ‘it’ll be alright’, lo holy British stoicism if only in this crouched corner.  Gentleman across platform studies paper, widespread khaki slacks and slightly bruised red brown leather shoes asunder, thin and aged hand peeks out of overcoat to grip paper tentatively, though firm, like a mouse’s nose out a crack in a wall.  Grey hair not too thin, combed, skin sallow and liver-spotted, chin a wreck of flesh after many years sitting reading papers no doubt, dignified in its way. Pages turn slowly as he bends to his serious study of another day’s events, quiet and watchful as a predator.

Bag for life

My cashier was a tall woman of around 27,
the tips of her hair were brittle as ice chips
and her teeth small and discoloured.
I made a nonchalant gesture
with my bank card pincered
between forefinger and thumb
as if to say ‘let me use this’
without opening my mouth.

Next to me a mother,
I don’t know how class works these days
but I’d guess upper-middle,
was 10 pence short of her shop.
She wanted a bag for life, ‘here’
I said,
and handed her the silver coin.

I felt pretty good about myself,
scampering across the road
so she wouldn’t meet me outside
and be forced to thank me again,
and I kept feeling good
all the way home,
even for the duration of the extra block
I have to take
to avoid the homeless
man sitting like some frigid Buddhist
on my street.

We Are The Boys

We are the boys born
in the bellies of hydrogen bombs
swigging weekend beers
and not worrying about the world,
look at us go!

Poking powders up our noses,
tiny plastic packets of “ANYWHERE BUT HERE”
ignoring, ignoring
the chemical drip in our throats
that ticks like a hot engine cooling.

Even our reflections are tired
of our unfounded confidence,
our masks hang limply
like half melted candles, off our faces,
and have you noticed
those ones as young as 21
looking absolutely knackered?

Our testicles hang comically
in mirrors like alien or ancient artifacts,
and those lucky enough to find craters
to try to make love in
do so, no less cowed of the dark
than our fortunate forefathers,

though the idea that dawn
could bring some form of reprieve
is a notion as antiquated as that of magic,
or miracle.