The peas have podded. I’m not sure if it’s the snap, or your bog standard, good old trusty garden type, but they’ve podded first with the white petals of the flowers still stuck to the green of their shells. Inside the crop is still too small, too young. I checked today. Popped my nail into the seam, slit through the flesh, cracked it open. New growth, old book. They both sound the same. They are not ready for harvest, but when you bite down they explode. They taste like spring, or summer, or something else that’s hot days and sudden rain storms. They tasted like they should do. New and fresh. It’s been a wet one, this spring, this downpour of water thickening the green.
We walk till our soles protests at every stop-sign and crossing place. Like stitch splitting when you slow for breath, the burn thickens. We are far from home, further still from familiar, so we cannot pause on this side-street, or linger on a corner place as we might do elsewhere. We can stretch our steps, gnash the concrete paves into cobbles and pathways. Break highways down to track. Trip over the ache beneath onto older ground. Learn how to read reassurances of new landmarks. Wander until this is home.
You have to swim here. Kick to keep afloat, and scoop the water into yourself, with arms winged either side of a weightless body. Dug out by the flow, a pool deepened by cascade. A bridge masked by track and concrete. This place is thick green almost jungle. Clear right to the sand, easy to pretend I know this place. Too well to be tricked. Safety in confidence I say. Water washes all clear away, but to where, and when, will it come to shore again? A prompt mash up tonight. Ending on a question for NaPoWriMo Day Two and ‘Cascade‘ for dVersePoetsPub poetics night.
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.