Archive for March, 2012

i felt things while i walked



two swans beak to beak in the low gut of the canal

necks casting a dark almost-heartshape outline

on the lowtide gut of the canal in the shadow

of the terry gilliam set-piece that is

aviva stadium at sunset


all the light is wrong but perfect in that strangeness

the last dregs of sun hold me while i walk at speed

costumed as my mother in a sweatband

long breaths steep my lungs with sea air

rolling in over the suburbs from the bay

the last of the day’s heat against my skin as though

summer is pursing my mouth open

slipping its arms around my waist

softly kissing me then, for the first time





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the boy and the red skirt



the playschool was in the back of a house near mine

there was coconut milk and i hated it it was wrong

the dressup box was bigger than both of us combined

somehow though together we were drawn

to this red silk thing: like bull-children waved down by

an invisible trouble-making matador in the bottom of the chest

we charged for it but reached it at once: two sets of hands

one little boy, one little girl, one red skirt


we roared on collision

i needed to be a princess

red was your favourite colour

but i saw it first

but i don’t care, it’s mine


we were placed in separate corners while

our fellow toddlers danced to songs about numbers

we weren’t allowed to dance because

we didn’t know how to share

the skirt was gone the next day


i was shocked to even see you there

when we landed on out first real day of school

the eight years of it that followed i never forgot

my fury at you, a red silken thing

until the day you brought james bond goldeneye to my house

we played it on the nintendo 64 and you held my hand on the sofa


you’d become handsome when i saw you again

your voice baritone, your smile familiar

your surname had become your first name

i meant to ask you did you remember the skirt

but i was too busy pretending to not think about it

because that’s what happens when people grow up




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For Christy

"These are the hands..."

The cable wound around your arm

Blue veins standing out

Beads of sweat roll from your face

Eyes closed, blissed out

But this time, you’re not alone

This is a different thing

Eyelids flutter, lips part

Your head tilts

You sing.


And when you sing, you sing for us

You voice our joy and pain

We close our eyes and see ourselves

Wrapped tightly in your chains

We recall your rise and fall

And how you blazed a trail

Somehow, you survived it all

And lived to tell our tale


Your words echo now, around this room

A cavern filled with sound

And hearts are joined together

Twenty feet below the ground

Far from home, not prisoners

Pilgrims here by choice

But where’er we go, your words ring out

Still, we have your voice.

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Raw eggs for sore legs

That smell in the hall

Of damp kit and boots

And brown muddy ball

The end of winter

The evenings longer

The endless miles

The legs grow stronger.



I swear, past my prime

This will be the last time

I’ll let myself be fooled

(Mostly by myself)

Into thinking I can do this

I was done, nearly out

But I can’t

Not yet


So at the end of night

When the pale light

Of the Stockholm dawn

Creeps down the wall

I profess once more

To give my all

For all the good it will do

For them, or me, or you.


I know there will be regret

Balls I cannot get

Kicks dropping short

But on these dark, wet nights

You know the cure

Hard work to ensure

That regrets become the exception

Not the rule.


In truth, I’m only getting going

So much to learn again

And the more you can do

The more you want to do it

One day I will ask

And this body won’t respond

Until then

Pass me that ball.

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Deep down inside of you

There is a hole

An emptiness, an ache

A vacuum to fill.

One day you noticed

That the misery of others

Was a perfect fit

You’re filling it still.


A word, a look,

A sneer that brooks

No argument

Your word chapter and verse

Your only way to feel better

To fill the hole

Is to make others feel worse


But don’t look to me

I won’t lie down

Bow to your greed

Or feed your need

To bring others down

At first unsure

Wiser now

Strong, I stand my ground.

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it’s dangerous to go alone, take this



the sword i held was not made of heavy steel

but squares of bright colour forged so close that

the blade was almost liquid  in it’s seamlessness –

it was not heavy on my graceless child-limbs

as i duelled with it from such distance:

it was as much behind the glass wall of television screen


as it was in a scabbard by my side

i took my swan dive from the highest point of  the deepest split

in red earth-flesh into the racing vein of river below

seeking a temple on the floor of a lake at it’s estuary

the race of terror as gravity ripped breeze against my cheeks


would i catch aflame with the speed and hiss extinguished

at the coolness of the torrents when they swallowed my body

at the end of my journey all the way down?

never: seamlessly eaten by the fresh blueness then

danced along by current, buzzing with glory

forgetting that i was eleven and could barely tread water

forgetting that my hair was still dry, my skin was still dry


she had yellow-gold hair and was the wisest princess

i would save her she would love me because i was a hero

we would rule the kingdom together because i was a hero:

the malevolent forces fell one by one by my courage

the miles my soul walked and the nights that fell in pursuit of peace

every creature defeated my heart became stronger

despite all my fears i’d surely live a little longer so


when the game was switched off and growing up

was my quest where the princess to rescue turned out to be myself

where the monsters were boys who would break your heart

girls who’d jump to stab your back

with words this time, not daggers and

where there is no reset button when your strength flickers down to none:

i knew i had traversed those plains

walked the bed of the lakes, danced in the fiery belly of the mountains

climbed to the keep and held on in the face of terror:

that courage still burned inside me only this time

life was my adventure






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they say after the two years it gets easier



i am a crowd of boys and girls

with sleepy voices and bloodshot eyes

bullets still lodged in their thighs

stabbing men who can’t speak english

only in the shoulder, nowhere that it counts


i am a crowd of girls and boys

who lie to me that they’ve seen the dead

felt them present

flicking lights, knocking cousins out cold

i see ghosts i see ghosts miss, miss –

for a moment of eye-contact

a moment of attention, connection, approval

approval gold star a+

pay attention to me not them i’m special

i see ghosts, miss, miss-


i am a crowd of girls and boys

who are short for thirteen with appendix scars

the length of their arms and can still drive

their da’s jeep on the sly

once or twice around the estates even though

their leg’s in a cast from being kicked in

(they did not fall off one of the horses

in the field,  it was kicked right in

kicked right in)


i am a crowd of girls and boys

who shave their heads and force their accents away

to make sure that everybody knows that

punk rock’s not dead and

they will make it out of here someday

alive, armed with stories and such hope

knowing that no dealer will ever

cast shadow on their path again


i am a crowd of boys and girls

who build shrines to their dead

the corners of their bedrooms

with the jumpers of loved ones

amidst candles and rosaries

to pray at to a god who wasn’t there

the day that he got shot or

the day that she hung herself


i am a crowd of girls and boys

even though for them i am only the woman

at the front of the room while

they sit in clusters half listening

as i tell them that poetry is

what happens when your soul falls out of your hands,

when they write for me

one by one i take who they are in my hands

as i read i take who they are into my head

past the skull and into the electricity that makes me go

then even when the bell rings and they evaporate to history or maths

and when the day’s done and i’m not miss anymore

i am still a crowd of girls and boys

i am always crowd of girls and boys



x griff

(this one is sad, and rough, but will be made amazing eventually. lots of emotions rattling around here tonight!)

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