confessions are self-serving

Tag: death

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.


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.

Poem For A Haemorrhaged Frog

Something about you
broke my heart.
Something subtle
stung me
in the way you moved
around that pond
in the brick red morning
like an emperor of ancient Rome,
and I had to laugh
to hide the break, defensive,
always one to crack
a smile whenever somebody dies.

I wonder how we get so old
as I watch your smile
like tea leaves are watched
in the bottom of cracked china bowls,
and imagine I can read your loss
right there in your laughter lines.

It’s so cruel
to see you go this way,
so helplessly,
and I’m not comforted
by how natural it is;
when all what made you
you is escaping
and there’s nothing
I can do but wait
and watch
it pass
into the still
green water.

For Auntie Janet

The infinite shining sun
of my childhood is where you sleep,
our history fifteen years past,
passed faster than can be gripped
with any human hand.
My memory is selective-
nostalgic, and not to be trusted.
I wish it to stay this way.
I will that day to remain
as remembered,
remembered through a boy’s eyes,
dipped in liquid innocence
and set to dry
on a stone wall warmed
by the sun.

That day
when I opened the door
of my mum’s moving car just to feel
the gravel ripping
away from us in a blur
of white noise,
louder than the driver’s shriek,
sharper than the sapphire eyes
caught nervous in the rear-view,
That Look I met
with my own two tear pricked eyes
I knew could boil lobsters pink.

In the storm of my scolding
you appeared,
a lighthouse
patiently observing
a dingy flirt with the rocks,
with a hand on my neck so cool
it was as if you’d gone already.

And now,
with the seas long calmed,
I remain
unwilling to forget
the feeling of your fingers on my nape,
as smooth and sure
as the stones
that were shared
among the grieving,
stones glittering
like spittle on teeth,
like brake-lights on a storm drain.


This teepee could be a circus tent
home to paint lacquered clowns, off-duty,

brutishly short, with square jaws and raw
shaven faces. Instead here we sit; jokes

in our own way, caricatures I suppose,
a black eye here, a torn pitfall of nose,

two eyebrows making slow amends,
small ears straining, pierced, painless.

We look to blame the things we see
for the fix we’re in:

a single sock forgotten like a childhood
wish, and cigarette butts scattered as casually

and purposefully as a bitches’ piss.
Some clothes hang hopefully, most

huddle together in dark corners, waiting
for a wandering hand to stir up the stench,

like a stagnant wishing well
disturbed in promise of a coin.

And we’re not alone. A mouse
with a brazen heart beating

a mile a moment just might
fry; wire chewing, clueless

to death’s wet mouth, hidden
where it’s warmest.

My friend is dying

“My friend is dying

dying in the next couple of days

they took out almost all her liver but

the cancer has spread

Next week it’s her nineteenth birthday”

I turn from my computer screen

“Sorry to hear that” I say

I am sitting uncomfortable;

a tangled mess of intestines

chicken breast lungs

a brain, somewhere

alive, for now

in my wooden chair