The silent strength

Take out the trash

And as you bend to pick up stray leaves

You see him standing beneath his grief

He wears it heavy like winter wool, boiled in tears

As a man, he doesn’t have the ways of expressing

All those pent up cries

For so long, he was his only resource

Clamboring into himself even further

A boy within a man, hand over mouth

His outward smile is tinged with sadness

Nobody sees because people want to believe

In smiles more than tears

Except me

I have nothing much of myself to recommend

I couldn’t compete, I couldn’t pretend

The square jawed boys at school

Saw through me, reaching for the swan necked girls

Who purred and swam in batted eyelash lakes

And like this man, I grew up shaping myself coarsely

Sometimes doing nothing more than observing

The way we treat others less fortunate

And I came to recognize pain

As if it painted a sign or put up lights

They say comedians are often depressed

Behind the mask, underneath their wax paint

I only know I see, as he bends to loosen the hose and

Water plumes into a cloudless sky

Giving himself permission to cry behind the spray

He hugs himself with cold arms and I watch

The boy who repeated this action until

He could stand without falling

His strength is greater for his fragility

I want

To save his heart

From the cruel ways of those who say they love us

Those, they hurt the most

As if love were a weapon to be used when you get closer

Everything is upside down and the wrong way round

The grey eyed man says

I have to act the opposite of who I am

Just to tred, the thinnest bridge

I am holding empty days in my hand

And husks of dreams beneath my chest

His face mimics the pain beneath his skin

But he trembled, long enough to see

The stricken moment, like passing ghost

The man he tried to be, the loss of certitude

I told him, hope was the only way

And even

When we believe we can take no more

And even, as our last support breaks and crumbles

Abandoning us in our hour of need

When we think we have lost everything and everyone

Staring at the edge wishing we could jump

Then the wind chime is caught by stray breeze

Faraway birds call into the trees

Then the mercy of a stranger leaves

The bearest memory that once

Before grief got in her punches

Reminder of something precious

Long ago when we had faith in ourselves

The little boy he was

Standing staring at the same sorrow

Decided it wouldn’t be the direction for him

Taking everything he had, he set out

To live inspite of it all

And he did

Now with bowed head he reminds me

Of a fallen angel, wondering how

To continue to fly or purchase peace

And I touch his shoulder

When I mean to reach inside

Warm his soul and keep alive

The silent strength behind his eyes

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Anguish

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anguish

is a selfish emotion

and a raw cry

made from the belly of the beast and all those terrors unseen

something honest and hardly admitted

kept behind fan and sleight of hand

it is something you hide for fear of being told;

do you only think of yourself? Are you aware others have it worse?

why can’t you just GET A GRIP!

You know all this just as you know

you can’t take one more minute

one second longer

staring at now familiar nightmare

feeling it turning you inside out and back again

(as if jaws were attached to your innards, pulling like a lover would)

anguish is an exhaustion

hunchbacked and ready to tear its own eyes

where if you could you would

run away from yourself never to return

where if you could you would

S.T.O.P.

where if you could you would

scream and never quit

until either your heart refused to beat or

something changed permanently

O the salve of darkness, shrouding such horror

how you have begged for change, change, change

please make it BE ANYTHING BUT THIS

and much as you did, nothing ever would

ease up and chill out, letting the prisoners out in the sunny yard

NOT THIS TIME or so if felt when again and again

you returned to

anguish

who is not definitely no

friend

but the enemy you know better than you ever wished

dangling by garter

over an old dunking pond

the shape of witches still burned

screaming in treeline

The fragile cast 

Tell me again

To be fearless

Tell me again

To depend on myself

I am yet a child

Still holding her toy by the ear

I am feeling you give me

The hard water slap of advice

Cold on my cheek, formerly warm.

You say

It’ll toughen me up

But I already know

It has wrought the reverse

I am not

A leathered creature of your creation

I am already 

Quite changed and mangled.

Whilst you 

Suffered and carved expressions from granite

Still you were told, you were a marvel

I was weighted down only with disapprobation

And your searing brand of tough love

Tore me further without support

Gave me greater fears, made me feel alone

In a room full of sound.

You cannot rob a child of their ego before it is formed

Nor nurture one empty handed and pickpocketed

You cannot protect a child by harm

Broken is broken.

We all require, when we start in this world

The unconditional faith of others

In a look, a knowledge, some portion of belief

In the validity of us

Lifted just enough to see over the edge.

Life already begs to steal the best 

We cannot survive by being cast into fire before we learn to walk

It doesn’t forge stronger bones

We live as ash, insubstantial invalids

Longing for the strength of kindness.

Before you break a child

Think of them twenty years from now

Grown on thin gruel and scraps

We who stand in the tempest 

May appear whole

But in our essence we lack

The varnish of other’s meant to grow us tall

It is in the stained radiance 

We find the courage to face the world

Bestowed on us by those meant to protect

The fragile cast of a child.

The absence of light

There is a Devil in my belly

She calls me on a shiny red telephone

Wrapping the cord around my throat

Exanguinating hope

An angel resides in my heart

Her lot is heavy but she refuses to be submerged

Even as we all spy bruised storm, gathering momentum

Life’s hungry dust bowl howls across my bare feet, thirsty for saving

And you 

You write me in posie

And despite the ocean separating us

I feel you clasp me tighter

When I ache, you assuage

When you cry, I collect your tears

To swell the ocean and bring my craft

Over emboldened water

Whenever sickness or sheer twist of living knocks us down

When I fall, you stand 

When you falter, I am balance

We’d have made good slapstick act

We capture each the missing half, with fullness

It is the turn of our dial

Sometimes set on hot, sometimes cool

Arcing time and years like birds on wire

Sleep and yet, do not lose

Their position

You are my compass

It is no longer possible to imagine

Longing, without you

You are my appetite

The favored toast

As we shakily celebrate survival

While day closes her arms and slowly

From Wardour Street we pick our way

In search of open places, like ourselves

Braving against

The absence of light

More than we fear


If I couldn’t

Be relied upon

I would still

Try to stand strong

And if I fell

And those who are my kith and kin

Let me fall, rudderless

I believe I would still

Try to stand once more

This attending effort was not

Born to me

I was a slothful child

Idolent in summertime, slow to come home

Engrossed in the token more than press of life

Missing meaning within magpie’s shiny locket

I may blame a lack of moral structure

But it was ever my way to remain hollow, we are vessels of sound

The rod or the wild, we choose in our forming

I chose the willow path overgrown by neglect

You, it was you, years hence

Bending with an acrobats supple spine

Taught me purpose and value from your own pain

Late and much too past, still never entirely lost

On even the laziest soul, truth can take hold

I thought I knew truth

Until I learned to listen truly

I thought I knew loyalty

Until I witnessed real mercy

It was as if I had ever not, known a thing

And wiped clear of experience

Began anew, shivering in dawn without wrapping

I couldn’t see then, the other shore 

Or how

Waves are measured in metric pulse, known to moon 

I walked among prophets blind

And only saw my own, sorry reflection

I bled and believed myself insightful

When the blood was void of rust

You see, it takes rhat meterlurgic alchemy

To disipher ourselves and then, once seeing, cross that wasteland

I believed my intuition when I only saw shadows

No crucible of real direction I walked without legs, on the back of dry twigs

Until, woven with deception, snap, the pasture denied me 

Even the position of desicated scarecrow

For I was just an approximate, empty inside, tredding fallow

Without hunger or thirst, nourishment naught

Nobody to stand as sign post

If I couldn’t

Get up from my knees, though they were made of lead

And discover the dream, still in embryonic state 

That has been here all along, put away, almost forgotten

For we are, born to dream

Not to linger in collapse but

Leap graceful without weight

The chains imposed, released to fall

Cleanly from their imprisonment

Shackles are no natural state, prisoners of ourselves

Each of us has, a measurement of myth

Wings to fly and imagine if

We let go of shame and doubt

Those habits cast around us in woe

Lift, lift, oh that we could

Find the fabric beneath the world

And swim in unisen to its music

If I couldn’t 

I would not still be here

Trying to prove we are always

More than we fear

Last night


Last night, The Devil called

He said

I’m calling in my marker

You have the wrong stiff, I replied

I’ve been scared stiff too long

I calcified

Turned into crystal

Split apart under armadillo sun

Melted and became a resin lingua, beneath surface, hearing murmur

Of half forgotten plea 
Smoke me if you must

You’ve got the flame

Though displeased not to gain my soul, ponder this …

What you cannot snap in two

What resists

Will one day be called beautiful

And all that pain it took

Just to keep walking

When the sun burned you to clay and turned you finally to river mud

When the last ounce of yes I can

Si su puede

Became Holy Lord I cannot endure

When you felt yourself

Wilt like wax candle of the saints, in midday sun

From alive, to oil, to fire and back again to blood

When Demi-Devil’s mock human weakness

Whispering in your shellac ear
“Try your hand at Lady luck”
You know

As sure as the pain

Will come and sear that moment, right from you

A ripper of joy

Wielding guts by the garter

That no ideal lasts as long as your breath

Captured in entreaty
Oh Great Ones

Who stand, past and present

And know what we, of salinated water, shall never know

Lift us up from our pain

The fear gnashing blind over tattoo soul

Lift us up high enough, to see beyond the mountain of defeat

And like children from their deep sleep, we feel renewal

Fingers of comfort, rounding in caress

You see, evil has no hold, over courage

And still it is okay to say

I am scared, I am weak

When in our transformation we will become

Light

Extinguishing a little of the fear gripping the recess of survival

Refusing to drown 

Say it once

Say it every time

I am still

And the wind blows cool

On my wet face

I feel you near

I know I am not alone

I open the window and whisper

You can still

Hear

In sight of land

IMG_0923.JPGMercy is an unexpected hand, steadying

Mercy feels like rain

Mercy hurts as laughter will, the first time you smile again

Mercy is a series of white flowers, forging out of bleached, dry grass

Mercy is a silver arrow, piercing resistance

Mercy is the face you need to claim, before all air is lost

Mercy is the final flood, a lost song, a forgotten book, page 456, line 34

Mercy is your imperfectly knit blanket over my shoulders, smelling of bonfire wood, shivering against wolf pelt, in necklace of thorns

We pull and we pull

Our teeth, our reach, our ankles

Until dearticulated and reborn, pass on our baton of water

Mercy is a legacy

A line in land, seen from air

The silken scar, cut across suntanned throat

Mercy is hearing them again, whether a moment or year since, beholding under solvent skies

The memory of love, held too tight, between clenched fingers

Mercy is the separation between, what we let go and what we keep afloat

When darkness dissolves resolve

Mercy lends hope