She secretly collected thoughts
like they were priceless post stamps in an album
or rarest animals in an exotic zoo.
From the moment of their birth
she kept them in a cage
and called them her sweet babies.
They never met anyone else, she would not have it.
She always feared the window draught
might make them fly away
if they should come of age.
No air, no light could enter
through the hatches of this house,
and pot plants perished in the dark.
She started having coughs herself
and died an early age.
When she was carried to her grave,
out of a cellar room a thought emerged,
the only one that had survived her mind
as all the others suffocated long before.
It trembled as it went outside.
This was the best thought that she’d ever had,
a strong one about honesty, original and bold
but it could not survive in light.
Before it was about to speak
and tell the mourners of their cold hypocrisy,
it fell down on the earth,
it moved no more, got trampled
and what remained of it,
was blown into oblivion.
The issue was living in the house
standing between us,
hanging on the couch,
lying in our bed,
here to stay for at least a week.
We had not spoken since the issue came
with all its vintage luggage,
unpacking more and more old pain.
By every sound that entered from the street
there was relief, the bitter silence
broken for a moment. The issue groaned.
After some days its shape got rounder,
more compact giving room
for harsh politeness.
For conversation without fun.
For passing butter and deciding on a shopping list.
Finally an eyeful sadness and a hug
was all we used to chase the issue out.
We made it leave the bedroom first,
then down the stairs it went.
It only left some minor items
in the house to linger on.
Standing in the door,
the issue turned its head to start again
but we gave it the finger.
I stare rudely over coffee in your face
now vagaries have come across.
Anything can happen in this place,
between a blink and reasoning
is room for gain or loss.
The café is about to close.
Staring rudely over coffee,
pondering my odds, my chances
I didn’t notice that you rose and left.
You never even noticed me. I feel bereft.
I watch how you still ponder during the flipping;
heads up or under, there is no telling
how the rolling coin may fall, nor where exactly.
It’s landing on the edge. Now what.
Why wait at all to go away?
The die has now been cast. It does not matter
how the coin falls or how dice roll, what I feel.
Though the penny is still rolling,
no heads nor tails are making up our minds
with the blinking coin for ever spinning.
This is the last game that we play.
The coin rolls on, we let it pass
out of our sight under the skirting.
Decisions have been made without its say.
‘t Was heads. I am so sure it was.
I walk through all your poems as I gasp for air.
I’m much aware this is the voyage of my life
and corridors of spoken green surround me going there.
I feel the whispers that you blow over my face as balm,
soft vales of pinkish lace embracing me.
You speak and smile in verse, you talk of love.
Then such romantic issues float beside us as we walk
to be the buoys for every mile we go across this sea,
so indigo and longing that it makes me weak.
This way I don’t know who you are at all. I seek
the meaning of the whispers that you blow over my face.
All yours I walk through poems and I gasp for air.
More of such moments would mean love,
we both can’t handle that right now
so this must be the end, you say.
You get your winter coat and put it on.
You walk away to catch your train
and there I go as well to be with you a little longer,
for one more of such moments as if I have not had enough.
The rain pours sadness over our shoulders.
I find your hand, still warm, familiar, squeeze it,
this letting go seems like the making of another moment.
You slip out of my touch and I of yours
as trains don’t wait for minds to change.
More of such moments would mean love, you said.
So this must be the end. We both can’t handle more.
The rain is all that’s left of you,
and heaven’s kindness lets it pour for hours.
What we can’t do is not that relevant.
We are not able to fly, yet, why should it bother us
that we are not birds, that we are not fish
and that we can not stay under the surface for ever?
Does a tree mind very much who wants to eat its apples?
To each their own. It does not matter to the fish that he can’t sing
nor that he never tasted fruit. Why should we want to know
what we can’t be? It is enough, all that we have.
Your eyes can tell me more than I could read in books.
The tree won’t know that it needs love,
the fish don’t care of lies and truth,
the birds don’t see the world in thoughts but only look for food.
Then you do all of the above. You take me far
though not where I might want to be. You feed my mind.
What we don’t have, what we can’t do is not what makes us
who we are. That is what I have learnt from you.
Fading shadows mean you are forgotten by the Sun my friend,
your footsteps blown away by a North Western storm,
the seagull cries above your absence, overrules your faint goodbye
that might have lingered on a calmer day,
only what you said before remains between us
to live on a while before that too is gone.
This beach is now deserted.
New clouds, new dangers may take over.
New shadows chase me over land. I stand alone here on this isle,
searching for our truth in the seabird’s silent stare
and for a moment I do see you, a reflection in its eye:
you turn away from me. Yes we are through
and will be strangers from now on.
I know and watch the seabird fly over the greyish waves. The end.
In the early hours after a blacked out night,
my life opens the curtains and asks me how I am feeling.
I don’t remember having invited the skinny weasel into my bedroom
so I ask what it is doing here,
where I am all private part before I put on something decent.
“I have seen you worse,” my life replies.
“As your life, I need to make sure you are not too happy
about your actions of yesterday evening,
from about eleven till three am.”
“As if I want to know,” I moan. “Get lost for a while.”
“I am like a hangover. I shall give you a splitting headache
and you shall regret every breath you ever took
between eleven and three.”
“I take you up on that challenge and ignore you,” I suggest.
“Like I do with hangovers.”
“You had no alcohol last night,” my life nags on. “Why is that?”
“I am living sober these days. You should try it sometimes.”
“I can’t be sober, I am your life, I need booze to give you inspiration.”
“I don’t hear you. And now you mention it,
you haven’t given me much that I need lately.”
“I shall make it up,” my life promises.
It slips into bed. It puts an arm around my shoulder.
“Let’s be pals again. I shall give you entertainment.
Come on, I have been with you all along,
even if you were not happy with me. I am your buddy.”
“You smell of sewer.”
“You compare your life to a sewer now? That is rich.”
I close my eyes. My life won’t leave me.
It whispers sweet nothings in my ear.
“Okay. Tell me then. What did I do
between eleven yesterday fucking evening and three am?”
“You had es ee ex.”
“You and that fellow. The one sleeping next to you now.”
“My husband and I had a romantic encounter. So?”
“I am your life. I do not like you to be happy. Not like that.”
“I know,” I say. And now I see a tear there.
“Come on, old fool,” I say. “I know I am often angry at you.
But look how you have treated me in the past.”
“Hey, there are other lives a lot worse than I am.”
“I know. And I wouldn’t trade you for the world. Feeling better?”
“I want kissies.”
Sometimes your life drives too hard a bargain.
I give it kissies and it falls asleep.
This is my attempt to make a ‘compare’ poem, after the famous poem by Paul Durcan. The idea to make one came from Belfastdavid, the runner of a poetry Workshop (which I didn’t attend btw as it was in the UK)
Sad poems brought me into tears
and funny ones seemed shallow,
I didn’t find what I was looking for in text,
I needed for my mind to be above it all,
allow it to fly out, away from daily life and pain.
I had no clue what I was searching.
It took me years, the poems gathered dust.
And then a window burst and opened,
a breeze walked through the books
in a sudden sunlight beam,
to show me where to find the page.
I read this poem in new light,
it took me over oceans full of drowning cries,
it was the heartbeat of the storm I heard,
I saw new colours and swift murmurations
of black birds dancing in each word.
The poem entered me, became my blood,
and every line went on
to deepest corners of my soul,
it took me over, thus became a new nail to my coffin,
I understood now what life was about, ’t was then
the window shut, the light was gone
and I fell back to earth,
the book all torn, the page now gone.
I never found the poem back.
I wish that I remembered.