There is a collective misguided assumption, that we know the words. Singing like rusted taps, gargling and spluttering our way to the chorus where enthusiasm trumps experience, and pipes swell and burst so all is noise and furious revelry. The wave of it crests breaks, washes us along to the next line. As real as the misting of our breaths as we sing. The cold is not felt in the thick of it.
I gathered the stones myself, stacked them before you like a temple offering, my skin the sacrifice as I bared it inch by inch and asked for a blessing you denied me until the pile was fragments and my flesh peppered with your approval.
Placed you up, out of reach, where you could be loved like an object. Perfect. Worshipped your tears and howls, as you begged for freedom.
Instead of speaking she breathes across the skin of her coffee. Whispers, the words unwanted to an empty chair across and closes her eyes, sips her drink, when nothing is said in return and blots a last goodbye on a napkin from the counter.
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 …
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.
‘You realise no one is going to buy this place, right?’ Adam’s hand appeared above the back of the sofa, stray screwdriver retrieved. Sally took it off him, one knee wedged so firmly between the cushions that she stayed stuck when she tried to stand. ‘It’s a fixer-upper,’ she shrugged. ‘People like that sort of thing.’ ‘No, they think they like it,’ said Adam. He’d stood up and Sally choked down a laugh at the dust wig haloing his bald head. ‘What?’ he asked. ‘Nothing, nothing,’ Sally spluttered. ‘Just maybe you’re right. It might be time to get a hoover.’
all smiles and glitter staring back at you
in that echoing space
I’m still getting used to this lion in my mouth. But sometimes the notion of seen and not heard still aches in my chest, despite the waterfall of words I seem to spout whenever my lips part. When you’re trying to stay silent, some times it helps if you cover up the abscene with something meaningless and hollow, like empty poetry. Laughter is also good. If you can laugh about it, it can’t of been so bad. But time can chip away at you if you let it. Too much silence can eat the soul of you completely. Not matter how small the seed. If we just don’t mention it, ignore it and carry on, then it’s not that big of a deal so why make a fuss. Women always make a fuss. At night I feel silly, walking with my car keys turned to the sharp edge of a key-chain, cold and hard against my palm Alone is when I think about the school corridor, his face …