Broken

The tracks shake loose in the cracked cement as he leaves the train and the old majestic homes crumble while the flash men walk drunken, lusting, singing ditties with whisky voices from the docks in the old town.

It wasn’t as if he couldn’t remember where he belonged. It was that he didn’t want to live there anymore, so he stood for a while fumbling with his keys.  The old place was falling down from decades of neglect but it was clean and straight inside and smelled of fish broth and bread from the kitchen.

The daughter hangs clothes on a line out of the window and watching her father, hoping he isn’t drunk so early. She would not be shocked or surprised. He hasn’t been the same since the company shut down the docks.

He falls and the daughter helps him to his comfortable chair and fetches a cigar. He bites a tip and she lights it and he bangs on the arm when she doesn’t do it right. The acrid smoke fills the room so she opens the shutters despite the rain.

The people used to say he was brave man, a fighter. Now they say he is broken and ignored but for the daughter who picks up the pieces of his life. He has no purpose now and drinks more than before, driving the mother crazy. They argue and then make peace.

Drink, argue and make peace. It is the pattern of the days.

In Time

Wounded wandering sleepless on a polished floor slipping unto two deaths, the one you hope for and the one you avoid. Hoping to end in a sleepy fog, mind swimming in tar, down into the shining black death instead of lingering decrepitude. Owning all beyond the time you awake but not owning over the lake of dream sleep.

I am but a dream of the great notion. When it wakes up I will just be a memory to it because when you are gone nothing more exists.

Falling with a tired head unable to do the list of shit you had planned. A hand arises in darkness and slaps your unready face shocking awake screaming cursing cunts and fucking off your attacker.

Mountain dew is slipping in the mildew of the morning approaching finally the mist creeps away from the mountain slope it blankets revealing tortured landscapes orange and russet cubes and bridges roads people scurrying along vultures soaring preying on death as it like deaths lover the vulture, the scavenger the pig dining on whatever it can get away with.

The man throws in a line wondering how it will turn out. Waiting for a bite not really, waiting for death more like it. I can’t see the love people have for the pedestrian. It is something to find joy in the small things and I do. Mostly in men and their creations and the absence of men completely.

What do I present to the world more than my imagination, I am afraid of death so I create. It is why we crave a progeny because we are afraid of death, it’s why men cheat, its why we write, it’s why we build and plant trees and spend our twilight years planting and growing in a small vain hope of leaving something behind because we are afraid of death. Plant a tree. It’ll be here for years after I’m gone. Build a house same reason, Have an affair because we want to hang on the the past to avoid the future. Like a regret, an anchor, a grudge. Stopping us from moving on into the future, holding into the past.

His name is Lover. Her’s is Shiela.

man and woman lying on bedHe stepped over a crack in the threshold she waited wanting him to stay but hating herself for her weakness. They made love, she needed it filled an empty space that needed filling, for him it wasn’t the love that he needed but to hold on to life, to stop it from slipping away, but of course it already had.

He felt owned not by this beauty who needed him but by his wife, his family, his kids, his boss, society, they all took pieces and it was difficult to find himself divided and plastered over so many walls. Sheila held him between her thighs mightily and he wanted to stay. He felt whole for a brief moment. He owned this stolen secret moment and he was himself for this time but not completely. His conscience wouldn’t let him own it. Sheila treated him like a man he hoped to be, Something not real because the real man was splintered and owned by many others. Its why he ran in the brief time he was alone without possessions, without an overseer. Sheila gave him that and not more.

She walked home in red heels wobbling on the cobbles. A silent tram in a far bend between the terraces. Her husband working late in his bar with his mates with another sheila. If he was home already, he didn’t ask. A forced acknowledgement. He just thought who his Shiela was. If he was jealous she would feel something but he barely noticed her. He had his wine in a dark room, the tele lighting up the walls. She went to bed, she washed the smell of her lover away.

Death in Winter

better cemetary

The freezing winter river wind makes suffering for the slums in the shadows grief directed by the trauma affected fades as cruel ice melts from lynching bended branches dripping on the willow banks.

Mad starving mothers nurse corpses glare with hollow dark sockets at spastic mares from the winter mountain ice foraging for grasses there.

The beasts remind the harrowed minds of the divine while sick spirits drip on angel’s wings blanketing an amused muse. The dead eyes glower at the angels power as corpses cower.

The amused muse lifts a skinny fist blanket in a rodent bone room studio. The covers are as warm from the fire as her behind to the blind.

Artist finds rat meat fine and ignores the peeling walls as mad mothers die outside they make love in warm fickle angel’s wings.

The blind artist and the muse amuse, themselves while out in the cold the foraging mares stare at frozen cadavers crusting there.

The Old Wall

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The old wall remains,

And it’s shadow.

Hidden in the darkness is memory,

but our friends only see stones,

not the shells in the soil, or the bones,

that are buried on the hill.

It was an old house.

The enemy knocked it down and left.

They are friends now, but the trust is fragile,

To dust, those crumbling walls we’d tear them down,

and build with bullets in the mortar to remind,

of passing wrongs.

But would those walls be strong.

Walk My Way

If you are feeling alone perhaps it is because you walk your own way.

Lets walk randomly across the city instead and find what we can.

Enjoy the movement, stop to stay a while and then go back again.

Serendipity, finding beauty in torn flags fluttering,

Over a dusty window where the old Greek greets us with a forgotten smile

Plastic buckets piled high in front of the China store like a rainbow,

A love letter painted in fading red on the pavement where she runs for the train

Tasting morning coffee chocolate in the corner of your mouth

Leaves piled against the fence falling down, The beauty of an ever-changing sky,

Just look at it a while and really see,

And walk my way.

Dark Thoughts

Dark thoughts under a broken floor hiding away from malevolent eyes.The stranger waits at dawn in the diminished darkness of the waking house.

The first sounds are the crack of a broken stair tread and patter of paws. A small boy creeps sleepily down holding the handrail all of the way with his trusty mutt following.

He reaches for cereal and milk and a cracked bowl on a brown table. Too bad for the forgotten brother watching up through the dusty floor. The dog knows and sniffs the floor and holds one eye to the gap. The stranger holds up a hand for the dog to sniff but the wood gets in the way.

It’s not long and the teenagers are up and fighting over the single bathroom. The girl loses and complains while holding her pee.

The stranger still watches the small boy spilling milk and crumbs on the floor and the dog cleans it up. The chaos and thumping of feet are not noticed by the boy. They are the usual sounds of early morning.

The stranger waits until the parents arrive to prepare lunches while refereeing quarrels. Saying “no” and “maybe” and sending the children out to the bus and school. The parents then talk quietly and dress and drink coffee and make their way to jobs and the door closes.

The stranger pushes up the boards and pats the small dog. It’s time to rest after the haunting of the night. The old leather sofa is a welcome sight and the stranger lays and sleeps with the small dog and the cat to snuggle up and keep them warm.

Under the Stairs

decaying building with staircaseUnder the stair things lay hidden and forgotten. Waiting for a cleanup, a distraction or a fire to end things. There is no concern for time. It waits and never worries. The stairs creak and groan and dust falls.

There are pictures of kids growing, long buried. 8 track movie reels and a brides dress, faded and unloved. Under there is a portrait of the builder, when he was a child with his girl sister in spats and lace up boots and a wide brimmed hat. Under there is cold and damp and dark except for a dusty beam. There are tiny spiders with pins for legs and piles of cockroach shit in dried up leather shoes that will never walk again. There are puppets, cars, a stroller and headless dolls. Boxes of shiny christmas balls and tin soldiers waiting for war. A bicycle rusts silently lamenting it will never be ridden again. A rifle sits on a rack near the antelope it shot which stares at the unopened door with it’s glass eye.

Under the stair are dried up memories that can fill a child’s mind. A mouse raises a family. Under there is a distant sound of a crow squawk, echoes of running, a shout and a muffled baby cry. The echo of a television and of lovemaking.

Down there the paint peels from the wall on cobwebs and layers of dust with no footprints. A broom hoping to sweep it away, old ladders and cans of paint.

The old house is sold and these memories find a way back into the world. sold off and cast aside. The musty smell is torn asunder by the smell of fresh paint. The old rusty tins look on jealously, they waited but they weren’t needed in the end. There is rocking horse and a chair the people use. They sort through the memories with rubber gloves, dust masked inquiry. Astonished .

The Train

adult city commuter groupLong coated grey men wait for the morning train. There are young people, dressed beautifully for the day, not cowed or cynical. A hundred worlds cram into this rhythmic space. Businessmen, clerks, factory workers and students. The train is a great leveller because here we are all just passengers, going to our work, tired and irritable, wishing it was the weekend, reading our papers, laptops, magazines, phones. Texting, listening, daydreaming. Few stare from the window and watch the world. They’ve seen it all a hundred times without anything new. So we stare into the middle distance and avoid the eyes. No one speaks.

The train rocks along clacking and rocking and swaying into the world. I sit wondering if I am suitably inspired to do my best today.

There is a young woman opposite in a short skirt and a long scarf. I consider her for a moment. She is curvaceous with olive skin and dark almond shaped eyes and a Roman nose, she wears earphones and reads a magazine, oblivious to a young man watching her.

The train noise is louder as we flash past a station. A lady leans against a pole, irritated that school children haven’t given her a seat so I offer her mine. She gratefully declines and continues scowling. The kids ignore her and continue laughing at their private jokes.

Along walks the uninspired conductor. To do his job with enthusiasm would be too personal. The automatic voice tells us the next stop but we check the screen anyway.

I once saw an exhibition on old trains at the old depot. There were vintage trains there, turn of the century trains with women in wide hats and long dresses and porters and orderlies in pill box caps, smoke and whistles and old platforms with steam blowing about. I remember the old red rattlers from when I was a boy and you could hang out of the window an let the wind blow through your hair. You could stand between carriages and smoke a cigarette. This isn’t one of those. This is the type where you can’t open the window.

I want to speak to someone, to connect and make a new friend. I want to chat up a girl who noticed me. I want to discuss the news I heard on the radio this morning as I dressed. I want to tell someone about my day ahead and my hopes for it. I want to talk about the war. You know, That war. An old lady is watching me. She looks too old to be going to work. I sense she in enjoying herself and the silent human contact. She is on a day out, an early riser like me. I want to reach out to her. Ask her how she is.