MY TROUBLED MIND

confessions are self-serving

Category: Poetry

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.

When you’re not here

I listen
to the senselessness of never-ending traffic,
to the way the fridge murmurs its thanks
between burps
as it slurps down power.

I listen and I watch
my hand-me-down fry pan,
filled and simmering                 on one side
like the first draft
of a resignation.

Sent my love downstairs

On my back
Studying the ceiling cracks
In a student’s house.

Sent my love downstairs
To fetch roasting carrots
Spitting orange,  honey smothered
Soft, black crisp outside
Brown toast, butter melt ooze.

Where is she?
I shouldn’t be left alone in this head,
On this night,
In a room so hot
With dishes piled so high.

#1

My ears are cupped in headphones, hood up,
the radio’s drowned
in the river of mid-morning cabs, buses, and rain.

Down it comes in droves
onto my jeans, wet through,
I only catch a word or two
over the wind:
Diabetes, Lucozade, Sugar, Stew.

Coming to my own conclusions
sloshing alongside Chinese Kitchen,
muddy yellow dragon,
no lights, no sweet or sour scent,
sign on the door reads
CLOSED.

Spring poem

I’m outside,
on the corner slate flower bed purple as burst plum,
conjures mother, lent, exhausted
on the speckled countertop, jousting with a can of prunes
juice drip teasing out a crack in the tin.
Pregnant and constipated,
little Isobel on her way, labrador alive!
Huge moaning skull, soppy silk ears, sad brown eyes,
busted arthritic limp, stomach rolling like a black sea.

My forearm’s over my eyes, sun sharp and new.
First English spring, no Welsh, British, who cares?
Many do, the lines in the sand
seem deeper year on year,
like slits carved in supple upper arms,
out of sight and out of mind.

 

Fish & Chips

Rambling mad under the threat of spring rain
Dirty old field, ploughed, pulling up last year’s dirty jobs
City slush grey sky, and the skylark sings
Fevered, flapping upwards full of guts
Bold backbone and hardy in the gusts
Air cool and eyes tight, cheeks pinched
We gotta go
Jolly Roger, sign clanging, cod bites ‘famous’,
Kid in there, eye glasses, eight or nine or years old
Mother fixes his collar, and here the chips
Fresh from the smooth amber glow of boiling beef fat
And salt shaking escaping down newspaper folds
Dad lifting potato with finger and thumb pinch and suck hot
Squeezing vinegar in there, down brown cone swamp
Tart first chip smoking open mouth tongue dance
Steam to the street stagger homeward bound.

Butterball

You’re on the edge of my bed,
I can’t describe it,
you’re balled up and tomato pink,
my baby
my butterball, crying.

Am I autistic or just obtuse?

Probably a foul cocktail of both,
probably from all the red wine I drunk,
probably from the way I smile so smug,
you hung on my arm like I deserve you.

I’ll take advantage of your sweet neurosis,
I’ll let you bet against my house,
benefit of years and confidence
in all the beers I drunk.

God I’m proud, and oh so cynical,

typical of single males in their mid-twenties
secretly all so desperate, aching
for warmth like yours,
under the covers, something platonic,
nothing sexual,
just something to take us
out this tasteless plastic world
and place us some place
peaceful.

I can’t figure it out

The relationship between this desk,
these keys, that glass bottle there,
touchable things, reassuring
in the way they push against you,
push back, like a man snapping his fingers
in front of your eyes
after being knocked down, cold
and
the place we actually occupy,
operate our clunky, fleshy puppets.

Some of us are better at it than others,
almost graceful in the handling of their bodies,
I find it hard enough to drag my feet like iron chains
over splits in the roadside without stumbling,
or to lift my chin. I’ve been told
that I look like a man at sea
afloat, at peace
with his watery fate
the way my head hangs and swings
like a donkey’s tail.

The material world
pushes against me
with the biting persistence
of a whining child
but I’m too far away,
deep and safe
in that other place.

Remembrance

Reminded of steaming windows
one inch rolled out, battery roulette,
and music, always music
that reminded us of places
where we weren’t
and couldn’t be.

How different things are now
looking back.
My Dad asks why I don’t write poems anymore
and to that I say
I no longer have anything to fear.

Last night half way down a paragraph
where I read eagerly of Louisiana sun and tumbleweed,
Houston, Texas, eggnog and peach ice cream,
I remembered
a night not six months ago
where I alone drove my wagon purring
down South Beach Fremantle,
looking for two friends from France,
two buoys in a dark, dark sea.

And I heard only the lapping of summer surf
as a man grasped at my door handle,
as I froze
and waited
and waited.
Someone yelled out
and he turned
head shaved, white, at six feet
tall, drunk and dangerous;
he pounded on my window
like a baboon;
I was ill equipped,
I prayed it did not break. No, I did not pray,
but I willed it so.

It’s different when you’re safe
and stuffed with whiskey and kindness.
You forget your rough edges
but you keep your quietness.

Sofa

Wouldn’t it be fine
to slide down the side of your sofa cushion
in complete and utter silence,
to get smaller and smaller
until your bellyful
of warm beer is no more
than a thimbleful of froth
and times remembered,
to quietly catch your last glance of disapproval,
to rearrange your teeth for a final time
into that apologetic awkward smile,
to slip away with such peaceful ease.

You wonder why you fought
for so long and so hard
to remain seated,
gripping the sofa’s arm
as a grief-mad mother
might grip her doll-limp daughter,
as if this time will and warmth alone
might just be enough.