Snapshot 4

This is what I saw: I work from home, balancing the guilt of feeling as though I am not productive enough, with the desire to see just how little I can get away with doing.  From where I sit at my desk, I have a view through to a bedroom window of a nondescript three bedroom house.  Most days, all I see is the drawn or undrawn curtains, occasionally a view of a person  of indeterminate gender.

This day, with the perfect storm of a clear day and the sun in just the right portion of the sky, the window appeared to me as though highlighted by a stage footlight.  And there, stood looking out through the glass, was a woman. Simply stood, posed like a picture on an advent calender. And she was crying. 

Not the dramatic, hysterical crying of a mourning mother, but a calm, almost serene outpouring of grief.  The reason for this woman’s tears was of course unclear.  But for a few minutes,  I was captivated. To be so still, frozen in place,  but to be feeling something evidently powerful enough to invoke tears…  What was it?  Sadness? Misery? Happiness? 

I wanted to know about her life,  I wanted to sit at her kitchen table, an unseen guest, and learn the tale of this woman’s sorrow. Why is it, other people’s lives can seem so much more fascinating and glamorous than our own?   Why do we often think that? And why do we fail to appreciate, even when we’re at our lowest, that our lives will seem infinitely more interesting to others? 

Snapshot 1

I want to try and write more, and as well as keeping the poetry going, I want to try these ‘snapshot’ pieces of fiction. I have been inspired by Douglas Coupland, who in more than one of his books writes in this style. If you want a good example of his work in this vein, read “Life After God”. I’d like you to be patient and stick with these. I hope to get better at them as time goes on. Thank you.

One day, just as the last morning cup of tea had worked it’s way through my system, I fell down.
It was a shock, because in my mind I was still the youthful footballer, the skillful skate boarder, agile and sure of foot. For a few moments, lying there on my back and looking up at the ceiling, I had an insight into what it might be like to die.
Nothing moved. My entire world was the near 180 degree view of my walls and ceiling. There was silence, just the faint rub-dub of my heartbeat, and the constant low ‘sssshh’ sound that seems to constantly be in my ears.
I held my breath, kept all my limbs and head still, and slowly closed my eyes as though drawing down a blind over a window.
I imagined my inner-self coming loose, untethered, and drifting away like a piece of paper on a still lake. I pictured the scenes that would unfold when I was discovered, cold and alone. The shock, the sadness. In a few moments, a whole lifetime of grief and life moving on was played out on my internal cinema screen. And then I got up, and went about my day.

Your Man 

​I thought no more 
My heart be gifted wings,
And let to soar.
I thought no more
I’d get to see the world
Behind the door.
I thought no more
Would I be granted freedom
To adore.
I thought no more
Would I see life as aught
But trying chore.

Yet here I am
So full of light and love
When hand in hand.
Yet here I am
With strength from you to rise
And proudly stand.
Yet here I am
A smile that stands aglow
And lights the land.
Yet here I am
So proud to tell the world
That I’m your man. 

If…

These words kind of fell out of me tonight. The very first sentence was what triggered it, and as happens a lot, the rest just… Flowed. I hope you like it.

If I listened to the wine,
I’d pick up the phone,
Your voice would be soothing
To hear.
But that way lies sorrow
And things for tomorrow
So for now I’ll just sit
And cry here.

If I trusted the music,
I’d think love was real,
And not a cruel promise
That broke.
And the pain that did follow
With a heart made so hollow
Would not echo with words
Never spoke.

If the clocks could run backwards,
I’d start all anew,
Not make the mistakes that
Were made.
I’d inhale and I’d swallow
All my plans of tomorrow
For no future is too bright
To fade.

London Machine

This small piece came to me this morning, as I had to travel into London for my job. I hope you like it.

Emerging from the crush of the London underground, squeezed through the exit like toothpaste from a tube. The scattergun dispersal of my fellow commuters, out into the morning sun and morning traffic.
Travellers removed from their self-imposed bubble whilst on a tube carriage, to once again engage with the world. Coffees to buy, buses to find, offices to get to.
But just for a moment, to pause in a quiet doorway and really see my surroundings. When the sun shines and the chrome glows, London can be beautiful.
Watching the cyclists as they gather at a red light, the snarling couriers, hipster office workers. Their daily roulette of battling the cars and lorries in the name of avoiding public transport.
The pretty women with their summer outfits, headphones providing their own chosen soundtrack as they hurry to their workplaces.
For a moment, the genuine feeling of being part of an unknowably large machine, the beat of commerce and finance at it’s heart, the individual people as blood cells, flowing through it’s streets as veins.
It is a love / hate relationship. The idea, the image, the idealised thought of this great city, missed when not seen and experienced for a long time, calls to me as an oft’ recalled favourite place. The urge to once more walk among it’s lanes and streets gets stronger with each passing week. But then, upon arriving above ground from another grubby and dirty journey among the tunnels, bumped and barged and banged around by the inconsiderate… The ringing though, “Oh why do I bother?”
But then, I am a Londoner, in heart and in mind. My accent speaks of the Thames, the west end, the great parks and bridges. How can I not feel part of this great machine, when stood in the morning sun, feet planted firmly on the streets of London?

Rain

It’s always the rain I remember.
Whenever someone asks me, “what happened?”, and I have to think back to that day, the day when in a moment my life changed, it’s always the rain I recall first.
Because if it wasn’t for the rain, would I have been there, in your room? Would I instead have been out, rushing through a thousand and one different tasks, each demanding my time?
But no. The rain had kept me in, and as I think back, it was the music of the rain on the window that soundtracked my rude awakening. The soft susurration, in that moment, replacing the sound of my stopped breath.
In that split second, when I read and understood those words, to wish with all my heart that I could go back to not knowing, to carry on living in ignorant bliss; the constant rain denying the fact that I could stop time, reverse it.
Such simple words, a few syllables, once sentence, but with the power to explode my every assumption. To tear away the false facade that was my life, and reveal to me a new future, one of unknown and unplanned for changes.
But throughout those changes, throughout the pain and torment, there was always one constant. The rain.

Worlds

This one came to me just now, while sitting idly in the garden. I’ve not censored or edited it, just published as is. I wonder what you think?

These hidden worlds behind curtained panes,
Where sex and love and passion flames,
In every room a story waits,
Filled with sorrow, tears and hate,
And as I wander down dirty streets,
With tired bones and aching feet,
I close my eyes and see you there,
With sleep entwined about your hair,
Remembering the soft said words,
That sang a tune so seldom heard,
“It’s only life” you said to me,
“That colours all the world you see”,
But in my sadness deep and dark,
I could not take your words to heart,
And so succumbed to misery,
Believing not in you or me.