MY TROUBLED MIND

confessions are self-serving

Tag: writing

Control

I like to imagine
it as an idea rumbled in, wrapped around the rungs
of a thundering chariot’s wheel,
smuggled under the heavy cloth of a toga,
or inhaled in the steam of a communal bath.

An idea as invasive and gripping and seductive
as happiness
working its way into heads at adolescence
like rotten teeth into gum,
often bringing similar rates of agony.

The reason why some men feel
the leather straps of the electric chair
as a mother’s hand, brimming with reassurance,
and the squeak of the guard’s boot on the linoleum
as the crescendo to a wondrous symphony

And why some men burn out of existence
quietly
in the arms of fine lounge chairs
in mansions
or in the bathrooms of five star hotels.

What a dance it is for us common folk;
the clenching of the jaw
the tightening of the bowels
the familiar sting of bile,
the Sisyphean toil
as we
unashamedly
ad nauseam
endeavour to control
that which we cannot –
which, as it happens,
is just about

everything.

Charlie and the universe

And of course poor old Charlie full moon-eyed
and ten thousand years sad
always spalooging around crying out
into just empty tobacco pouches,
and falling asleep on sofas like some heavy-headed grandmother,
and ferreting away this or that charm
or knick knack like food in hamster cheek,
or squirrel with acorn in winter ground –
her and her little sacrosanct plants
against the whole damn universe
trying to make a go of it.

Self-hatred ebbs away like pus out boil,
it’s OK, it’s OK –
life is such a piece of cream pie
once you realise
you only have to breathe
and occasionally
smile.

 


Charlie Lindsay is an artist with big brown eyes and you can find her here

Another self-centred poem

I tried
being a deadbeat alcoholic
junkie,
the nights got longer
and the world darker
and much smaller.

After I tried
sobering up,
drying out,
walking, watching
the dogs, the ducks
play
envious of their glass-eyed
peace.

I began to meditate
and things did quiet down,
I look more kindly
on the dogs, the ducks
now, not that they care
either way
of my opinion.

They’re safe, I suppose
on that Other Shore
while I thrash
and sometimes drift
against and sometimes with
the current, studying
much too seriously
the shadows in the shallows.

 

Hello

The people walking in the street
I cannot meet their eye

The dog that trots beside their feet
I smile at you, say hi

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.

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.

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.

 

1st draft extract #1

I unloaded our little camping stove, which was dented and covered in spatterings of dried tomato sauce and dust, and banged it upside down and placed it right by the front right tyre after standing straight and still for a moment to try and determine exactly where the wind was coming from looking (I hoped) like a very serious meteorologist. I put water to boil in my one good-for-all-jobs pot, which was heavy and good quality and which I had bought for eighteen bucks when I first got to Australia and had that kind of money to throw around.

“Hey man!” I said suddenly looking up from my pot and pointing out to sea, “did anyone just see that? Was that lightning?”. And out to the west was the most strange yet familiar bank of cloud like the type you get over the African savanna, long and low, with the sun deep orange and leaving us, lighting the bottom of the bank in a warm glow. I watched again, and a couple of the others put down the things they were busying themselves with and looked out, and we all stood there silent in the wind that whistled in towards us angrily, and waited for something to happen. Sure enough, and silent as the brooding water below, a gush of lightning dashed downwards, hot and yellow and completely unlike the white-blue lightning I know from back home, and then another strike, and another.

“Putain!” Quebec shouted and immediately took off up the road, pumping his big frame like a piston in an engine, and Luc followed after him, slower and shoeless and cradling a bowl of pasta and sour cream…