Thursday, November 16, 2017

Unexpected delays (circa 2006)

i called you on a thursday

it was later than you expected
and later than i’d planned

but on arriving to work on wednesday my boss said
‘welcome to hump day’
and suddenly calling you that day seemed

so i called you on a thursday
to tell you

to tell you it’s been too long

far too long

since i had tasted your lips
since i had inhaled your scent
since i had run my hands across your body
since i had felt your lips
          your teeth
                   your tongue
                             upon mine

i called you on a thursday

because calling you on hump day
just seemed


Tuesday, December 27, 2016

What price this child

Picture if you will a photo
A photo of a town
A damaged, war torn town
Unrecognisable from any other
This town could be any one of thousands
And probably is

Picture in the centre, filling much of the frame
A building, a house
Broken, falling down
Its original design lost in the aftermath
Of a bomb, or bombs
Dropped by an enemy
The inhabitants had never met

Now picture in the foreground
Poking from out the rubble
A small hand, a forearm
The colour of the skin indeterminate
Obscured by blood and dust staining its surface
The face of the child unrecognisable
Beneath the debris
This child could be any child
Of any age
Of any gender
Of any race
But one child among millions

Picture all this, if you will
And then call this picture ‘price tag’
For this we are told is the price of freedom
This the price of peace
The death of children
Ours, theirs
But what price the life of this child

What price this child

And who decides this price of peace

A country whose own children fight
In an army that will kill more of them itself
Through miscalculation
Equipment failure
And human error
Than the enemy will ever see
And their names, too, will become numbers
Tabulation of acceptable loss
But one more price
In the fight for that we cannot win
Through war

But what price the life of this child
And do they think us so unwilling to pay it
That we would not forgo a meal to see once more his smile
That we would not risk the insecurity
Of reducing a military
That cannot protect us
To see her play again
Of limiting a deterrent that does not deter
To hear them all laugh again

But murder is nothing new
War is nothing new
It is a part of us
And has been for as long as our races can remember
And longer
Since man first learned that by bending his knuckles
Curling the tips of his fingers into his palm
He could turn the end of his arm into a club

And no country is without its evils
Its injustice
Its closet full of skeletons
For all colonisation is genocide
All succession, each claim to territorial rights
Is bloodshed
And all conflict gives death to those
Who did not chose the fight

But all I can ask is
What price the life of this child
This life
This potentiality unrealised
Never to run again
Play again
Never to grow
And laugh
And know love

This life extinguished
For reasons not adequately explained

Or any fault of this young corpse
Lying among the rubble
Its home has now become

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

It goes so fast

Five years now it’s been
And I wonder why you don’t
Cross my mind almost every day
The memory is still sharp
The loss as painful as it ever was
Perhaps it’s self defence

There are associations
Interests that we shared
Books, movies, TV shows and games
Situations in a story
Reminiscent of our own
Which bring your memory back
Rekindle that ache in my chest
Fuel the tears forming in my eyes

Sometimes it’s when my eyes
Meet yours
In your picture on the
Funeral program fixed firmly
To my fridge
And at those times do we talk
Or I do at the least
But your memory is stark
And complete
Your responses to my assertions
My questions
Almost echo in my mind
But this too is but one more
Loss to feel

Five years now it’s been
Since you left us
And I know you didn’t mean to
I try not to hold it against
But the loss is still so sharp that
I wonder why you don’t
Cross my mind almost every day
Perhaps it’s self defence

Thursday, April 21, 2016

I've done my part

You ask me how I can justify calling my words poetry
I say I don’t, I have neither the will nor the expertise

You ask me how then can I accept others labelling it so
I reply that my freedom is to write how I will, theirs to decide what it means to them

Then you ask but what of form
I tell you that each product of my pen is structured by my life, follows the form of each experience, shaped by the life it describes, the mind that receives its message

You ask me then but what of rhyme
I respond that every word of every line echoes the call of my soul’s response to the moment they capture

Ah but what, you ask, of rhythm
I explain that each written offering follows the rhythm of my heartbeat, of the song of the universe as it falls on the ears of my soul

And you ask me then to tell you what I think poetry is
And I ask you to tell me what you think it is not