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Last stop

This is it

The end of the lines

No more words

Daily pored over

Poured onto pages

Powering down

A hundred days of pressure

Coming to a close.

 

In the beginning I said

This is not what I do

But it is

Things happen

We dress them

In rhythms and words

Rhymes and lines

We use them to make sense

Seek recompense

Or simply lose ourselves

And start again.

 

You don’t have to commit

To a hundred poems

But you can commit

Your words to a page

Build onwards, upwards

Rhythms and words

All your own

This might be the end

But it will never stop.

 

i am sorry about your carpet

(i can’t help it, they just keep happening)

 

 

i keep spilling these tiny heaps of words

i moult them: they are outgrown feathers

they are countless eyelash hairs eaten by sofas

they are sweat as i scream

they are trails left by my fingertips

as i reach out, trying to touch you

 

they are outbursts: maybe they should be secrets

they are loose teeth, then lost teeth

then from my gums grow new teeth in their stead

god, only to be shed and shed and shed

placed under pillows, in hope

 

they are loose freckles kissed onto others

they are spilt from my wineglass

tipped from my cigarette

coughed from me

 

they are breadcrumbs

from my pocket

as i skip, almost lost

through the bigness of this forest

 

if you follow them you’ll find me as i go

the trail of them will always

lead you to my hand

even in the darkness

you can’t miss them: they glow

 

 

 

griff

 

 

read me the phonebook

 

 

i can’t abide the quietness of nighttime lately

so speak to me, shatter it

with low tones from the base of you

tell me anything

recipes, secrets

list details of my body, or yours

murder confessions, poetry

just let there be the noise of you in the dark

to pull softly the splinters of daytime from me

anoint me with the sound of you

tell me everything

or nothing at all

just please don’t let there ever

be silence in this bed

 

 

 

griff

for my storytellers

 

 

 

i slinge through the crowd with my head down

murmuring apologies and farewells

to the good folks who hold up

this umbrella of a show

who gather in it’s protection

while the rain storms down on the rest of this city

and my heart swells:

 

you keep eachother warm here

even if sometimes, it’s a little crowded

you always find ways to make room for more

and here in the cramped, warm dark

to pass the time until the rain stops

you tell the greatest stories i have ever heard

 

not only to drown out the

monotonousness of the constant raindrops

the disasters outside

more than this: to keep yourselves alive

 

so i give a final silent embrace

while the throng applauds another tale

then step out from this warmth we’ve made

the cold and wet stings but i know

that no matter how far from this umbrella i go

the once-upon-a-times we have spun together

will warm me, no matter how far i go

 

 

griff

american wake #2: the apartment

or

moving out is just the worst

 

 

 

 

the thousands of socks that gather

in the crevices of our rooms

are maggots made of cotton

chewing at the elbows of our home

 

you can’t have owned this many

they must have been mating

laying eggs, hatching

feeding on our dust, our stories

 

i place them into bags

purging the flat of them

resurrect it then with

lemon-scented surface cleaners

 

so that when new lovers arrive

with their bags, all they’ll find amidst

the bleached surface

and hideous curtains, will be

 

the spectres of us, replaying nights

so full of laughter that the

foundations were scorched by our joy:

those marks can never be cleaned away

 

 

griff

the eternal sunshine of conversations with friends at 4am

 

(a conversation with Kerrie O’Brien at stupid o’clock about 

whether or not you’d erase bad memories, if you had the chance)

 

if they linked me to nodes

on an electronic machine

that could search and delete

memories stuck on repeat

 

that could restore the sites of

trauma to their former

untouched glory:

street corners would be just

street corners, not minefields

ready to pull limbs from me

with the force of these scenes

restaged by ghost us

over and over each time i pass

 

if they hooked me up

and switched these things off

the lit up spots on the map of me

they might cut the scenes

and gel my celluloid so neatly

you’d never know they were gone

 

but my muscles would remember

my hands would know your shape, still

my mouth would know your breathlessness

my cheek, the tenderness of fingerprints

from your left hand

 

you do not only live in the geography

of this city in my brain

but on the streets of my body

you are signposts and architecture

traffic in my veins

 

they’d have to take all of me apart

to take a shred of you from me

my skin can not forget yours

 

 

Image

griff x

my cousin conor is four and very cool

 

 

you scramble up the blue painted decking

in our grandmother’s back garden

your slippers undone:

velcro is too fickle

for the feet of an explorer like you

 

i scoop you up in my arms

like a ball of golden string and laughter

and place you on the bench

you are so unimpressed but i tell you

that an adventurer with loose shoes

is asking for trouble

 

you fasten one and i the other

so you are ready for the wilderness

and our journey begins again –

my feet beside yours on the steps

are enormous as we dash

 

my steps are thunder

yours just pitter-patter

i’ve walked twenty more

years of world than you:

you are so lucky

you have so much to see

 

we reach the shed and there

you list all the colours

then back in the kitchen

i am sore from laughing

then you and sheila count

as high as you can go –

all the way to eleven

and i am in awe of you

 

 

griff

Lily

Among the dust and rubble
The broken bones and burnt flesh
The debris of a battle
We couldn’t afford to win
Not for the want of money
But courage, of spirit
Another such victory
And we would all go home alone.

What point is there in winning
If all we do in its wake
Is beat down others
And lord at their expense
What point is there
In rising to the top
By climbing rough-shod over everything
You hold to be dear and true?

What point is there in continuing
Tramping the wheel of failure
These precious moments, like children
Are here and gone, never to return
Walk the wide street
Pin the lily to your collar
And ponder
That glorious victory is not to prevail the battle
But to succeed in the drudgery of peace.

an open letter to the dickhead spiders in my apartment

3 weeks before i move to san francisco

 

 

i’d no birds to sing to, or rabbits or mice

so i coaxed the spindly dark things

that skitted around my feet as i cleaned

suggesting they helped

use their lace-webs to mend

cigarette holes in my scarves

burns in the curtains

keep me company like a princess

in an animation from my childhood

at a time when things

were too quiet in that flat

 

but they did not gather for the dance

just gave me eight-eyed dirty looks:

as though to ask why i’d been in my parents

instead of there with them

 

where have you been all week

it’s been awfully quiet around here

where did the tall one go

we liked him

 

so trilling scales just echoed

back from the hollows of

empty bookcases and charity-shop bound

plastic bags of things that

once were precious

 

their rejection was startling,

it awakened a fury, familiar

 

i vengefully considered trapping them

under glass tumblers from the disused kitchen

binding them to pyrex prisons

leaving them in the middle of the floor

and by the sofa, and in the bath

for trespassing, being over-entitled

being heartbreakers

 

here are your crystalline palaces, your majesties

as i lock the door behind me

this house is yours now

i’m leaving for ever, you bastards

this is your house now

 

 

 

 

xx

griff

best friend’s boyfriend’s teenage brother issues

(2008)

 

i was a thin thing

all protruding rubs:

hunger pains unrecognised

for the fresh grief

that swam in me

and i’ve no idea

what led me to your room

 

it definitely wasn’t the film

you wanted us to look at

i’d seen it

it wasn’t great

 

i sat on your bed

you told me i looked sick

i suppose i was

then you brought me

a strawberry yoghurt

from downstairs

like you knew

 

i picked at it, unnerved

and the film rolled

the difference in us

a little more than two years

a barren expanse

i think it was the first time

i felt old

 

i moved, adjusting my angle

to the screen and

my vest rose slightly

with the alteration peeked

a white band of flesh

where my combats slung low

a hip bone taut against

skin, so exposed

 

i glanced to you

your eyes connected with

the angle of me, the corner

by my empty stomach

in a dense second

heavier than

just eighteen to just twenty

 

i let you look a moment

then covered it again

this breath

was leaden

i took a rich hit

from the possibility

of your admiration

it was all i really needed:

the suggestion was enough

 

x

griff