Little girls are taught that boys being boys, will torment to show their love. Big girls will claim that love makes up for bruises, broken bones and split lips. I am lucky not to have known that sort of that love. I’ve never been struck by someone claiming their heart beats for me while echoing the beating with their fists. When it happens to a man they are reduced to the weaker sex, because it’s bad enough when a woman doesn’t have the balls to leave. Without experiencing the same thing I can’t say for certain, but I’ve carried enough fear with me to understand what it is to cling to the things we know. Privileged, is a tricky word to stick when most of us hide the things dragging us down.
Someone once told me life is like driving with one headlight busted. You can’t see much but you can see enough to stay on the road. It sounded too close to destiny wrapped up as a given for those with cars or perhaps even torchlight to stumble on by. In the moment before the train do you ever wonder… a side effect of an anxious mind designed to keep you from harm by popping ideas in your head with enough force to flinch. But it’s all unreal until enough breath is breathed to put steel into the words the ideas that dance like paper on a line in our heads. New cars have automatic lights. They come on when night falls without the need of human intervention. My car is still old, growing older, it comes with a choice to make.
The slow, relaxed kisses, often led to something else less slow, less relaxed, less clothed more time consuming, all consuming. While the sharp, sweet pecks always on the way past like commas in conversation, were the pauses for breath anchoring us to each other.
His mother is an echo in the tread of his soles, smaller her steps swallowed up by the forward march of man up and carry on. She sees her own father in the square set shoulders, spine now a rod to be turned into a weapon when sadness finally stews into anger. He will tell people how he’s never hit a woman, because that is the same as respect. His mother raised him better than to paint a girl’s skin with fists, so he’ll call it love when he uses words to do the same where it’s invisible, and call it consent when he talks the ‘no’ away to a half yes. When the glasshouse eventually does break, he’ll pretend away the damage. Not realizing that you can’t until the last pane shatters. Bravery mutates into desperation, shame, escape. Nothing else seems to fit when the world is framed that way.
My father had a VCR tape of One Man and His Dog that we could never get to play properly. It’s probably still in the bottom of the cupboard, with the Disney films and MotoGPs that never quite make it across the living room anymore. Some people have got rid of their VCR players these days. There’s nowhere else for them to go but the bottom of a plastic bin so they stay in the dark with the dust and the spiders. That is the way things move on. In October I re-learnt how to be by myself. Sort of. Just me and the dog, and the crunch of autumn on farm tracks. Even the walkers seemed to be absent or perhaps I had fallen out of step with the world. Found the time of day when no one ventured further than their front-door or garden gate. I’d found a time when all of it, all of the emptiness was mine for a while. So I let it swallow me, completely, for as long as …
‘We should really address the elephant in the room.’ Those were the words you tossed out over coffee, like spare change or old candy wrappers, bits of pieces you were bored with carrying around and deposited on my living room table between the books and the plant pots. There didn’t seem to be much point explaining, your elephant wasn’t in this room, or hadn’t been until you kicked up dust clouds into a grey silhouettes. I kept my silence on the matter, much like you had kept yours until now, too cautious about the fall out, about how you might have to hold me together when all the pieces broke apart and ran for the corners in the skirting, white mice abandoning ship at the first sign of storms. I let you think you were the only one holding out a hand, while you explained why I was sad and how it could all be fixed if I tired hard enough and put in the work. You can learn how to listen to the some …
She makes babies clothes for the sleeping children. Started with her own, but just kept going… That’s why she walks the fence line. Knuckle bones pressed white against paper skin. Twisting wool loose. Gathering the lost.
Snow In The Doorway The snow has not melted just of yet it would appear, crouched on the doorstep the last drift remains huddled here crying itself into the gravel driveway fake by flake, until this winter sun steals every single cold tear. §§§ Kisses I think I kissed you once before, when we were both young, before kisses meant things like I forgive you, or stung. I think I kissed you because you were there to be kissed and I did not know that your mouth was a trap to be sprung. This week I’ve not written much due to being under the weather. I’ve got a virus that is slow to clear off and it’s making life a bit miserable if I’m honest. However, I wanted to make sure that I had a go at the DVerse Poets Pub Poetry Forms prompt as it’s an interesting project and it’s always good to stretch your poetic abilities with a challenge. (Even if you do just want to curl up in a ball …
I stopped believing in harbingers, the same way I try not to flinch when passing on the stairs, or hide the sidestep in my walk for cracks on the pavement. Superstition crawled inside my head before I was old enough to name it. Caught up between pie crusts my great-grandmother baked, hidden in the coils of her apple peels. Good Day Mr Magpie, are you well? How’s the family? We buried glass somewhere, years ago, when it broke like ice and my mother feared the things she’d been taught might just come true. Seven years bad luck unless it’s buried. Deeper now, deeper, hide the evidence and the thought. Sometimes it’s simpler not to see the shadows casts as signs. Yet I still count in threes, for these things always come in threes. Crossed knives, tempest in a teapot, do not stir and do not pour these quarrelsome ideas. The worst of it always comes unseen.
Good ideas never really come all at once. Your lightbulb moment is more like the switch on a kettle pinging to off when the water finally comes to a full boil. The stillness can be mistaken for suddenness, but clarity takes longer to steep.