MY TROUBLED MIND

confessions are self-serving

Tag: nature

Ritual Washing

What started as a western squat
strains gently into an eastern squat,

the gum soles of your shoes
pressing into damp sand, flat

and you bring the flannel, dripping
up to your left armpit, first

then the right, and the water is cool,
the sun bright.

River weeds release their easy grip
from their easy bed and begin to drift,

tendrils reach out to flannel, flannel reciprocates,
and the union is brought over your bent head

as you stare past your forearm submerged
to the wrist, and dead skin loosens

muddy, like city snow. And you might not breathe
at all, or let out long slow lungfuls

like leech let blood. Too precious
you know them to be now,

those simple, peaceful
moments.

Desert Storm

Trouble followed me effortlessly
across the desert three thousand miles, a dirt shag rug lives
at my feet, black armies scurry in mad method,
distant dark clouds are bloated
with message, trees seem dead
all year round, hollow trunks brittle and still,
shrubs offer only thorns, lightening snaps
at featureless plains, grandfather storm clears his throat

to begin a story that must stir
the muddy banks of river history,
bored with war’s broken record,
bored with how sweet men still find the taste of blood.

Something heavy thumps near, dust animates
under wind’s command, rain squabbles on the roof.
I thunk close doors, I roll up windows,
I prepare
for whatever is coming.


I drew inspiration for this poem from this song by Ismail Ahmed

SHOWBOATING

The procession started,
they carved downstream

all guts, glory and flags.
Ribbons sliced the stillness,

an inflatable duck smacked
about a wake, something torn whipped away

to a howl of horns.
The river rolled her tongue,

a pelican, startled,
started up, away.


‘Showboating’ was first published over @ Cadaverine Magazine

Picking up trash

I watched a documentary on my phone
about Chernobyl.
Wow-
I thought to myself-
Europe a waste
and I wasn’t even born.
I turned over and went to sleep,
I had horrible nightmares
about my car being caught
in sludge,
I was pulled from the broken window
and thrown off
a cliff-side turn
by an unknown assailant.

The next day
I tried my best
to wipe the oily
remains of last night’s fear
from my face
in the rear-view mirror.
I was breaking out again.

I don’t think too much about the end.
I squint at safety,
I accept that it is an illusion
in the same way I accept
that one day
I’ll have to bury my parents.
But I do make sure
my doors are locked at night.

That afternoon
I was picking up trash from the roadside:
beer bottles, soda cans, soda boxes,
newspapers, toilet papers.
One tin can was deep bark brown
with rust. I let him stay.

I read somewhere that if we left
tomorrow,
in ten thousand years nothing would remain
of what we’ve been.
Except the pyramids.
I crouched next to the can
and watched
an aeroplane in the sky.
It was like a drop of blood
in water.

Roadtrain

I feel him coming
through the base of my seat, under
my thighs the vibrations spread
like disease as darkness
holds its breath
and my oil bubble trembles
at the edges,
the spectacle-
all red lit
like a Coca Cola truck
is here
and gone
faster
than Christmas day.

And you’re left
with the left overs,
the next day
turkey sandwich sedans,
and wagons
like dry mince pies
all gunning hard
as you like,
weighed heavy
by the soundless night,
which clings to everything
like pollen.

My roadtrain’s wake
is littered with these shimmers,
they drag
harmless as bullets
through water,
and are as unengaging as nature
is for most of us.

And so this is how I quantify you.
Now I can measure
to the gram
how much hurtling steel
is enough
to make me forget
you, if only
for a moment.

LOVERS’ DEAFNESS

He’s close enough to sink
into the swirling galaxies
and worlds of her pores, close
enough to struggle
in the whirlpool and torrents of hair
fanned in ceremony
upon the grass.
Flowers of a rose hue
grow quietly out of themselves,
each petal like a written word
spoken confidently aloud
and there can never be silence.
The wind anxiously rattles on
it speaks of scalpels
of drills
drones
and machines of war
words which patter
harmless as hail
against a yawning deafness
born when their finger tips first touched.

SCHOOL MASSACRE

Something grey something fast
crashes shivering past my eye
A seagull, babe young
fusses about the bins
like grandmothers fuss over
afternoon tea, biscuits, and grandsons

One leg is gone, completely and though
his wings are spread in a grand gesture
they prove useless in my tight alley
so close to earth, still,
instinctual, they flutter

flutter

flap

pause

he is thinking

he is thinking about his options as
his mother looks down from the roof
as only mothers can and ignores his cries

Nature, I think,
folding my newspaper carefully on my knee,
the headline reading:

‘SCHOOL MASSACRE, OVER 130 CHILDREN DEAD’

Nature can be very cruel

Old Fields

A mess of moss and broken dead wood

underneath my boots

my jacket, military handmedown

had wire in the hood that made it hang

over my eyes

We tramped on, looking for nothing in particular

A stone’s throw from the road

Seven years ago I was in one of these fields

with an old girlfriend

it was grass stain spring

We stood on hay bales

wrapped in plastic like frozen meat

Marvelling at something so big;

I punched the black plastic

with a tiny boy fist

It was like punching a rhino’s flank

We laughed

God it was easy

Carpark Snoooooze

Wake up! To stains and recollections
Memory’s working overdrive
To decide which words were reckless n which were wise
Outside, lift up legs sleepy head and fully clothed
There’s a sunrise the colour of new born baby toes
The sea is lapping – quit napping!
Back slapping and glass clacking
Squeaky cough at mountain top
Blurred smiles, bloodshot eyes and high fives – moving on.