doctor's orders

take one tablespoon of music
the kind that speaks right to your soul,
live, if you can find any.
half a gramme of the highest grade of time,
a tot of wine if you so please.
open a book halfway,
read a line or six,
crack the spine,
fold corners if you want.
take no advice from another tongue,
be it forked or of the purest gold,
seek out the love of a good human (or several),
then tell them all.
step back from the newsfeed,
for hollow smiles bring nothing but shame;
do not be a glutton of nothing.
seek out the sun.
avoid all forms of toxicity.
get plenty of rest.
if symptoms persist, double the dose.

october (2013)

heat beats a slow retreat
clambering on all fours over mountain ranges
jagged and proud in the crisp morning
and skirts are banished to bedroom drawers,
neatly folded but gone all the same.

when I wake, the world is still indigo
and headlights break the sleepy dawn
sparrows slumber in the balding trees
their lust for life dampened
as clouds weep the first drops of autumn.

 


I wrote this five(!) years ago as part of my 50 Days, 50 Poems challenge I set for myself. October seemed an appropriate time to revisit this particular one. 

push/pull

push snooze
push snooze again
push eyes open
push back sheets
push toothbrush
push arms into sleeves
push feet into shoes
push food down throat
push out the door
push Oyster card on reader, watching out for card clash
push through platform crowds
push down inside the carriages
push headphones into ears
push back at space invaders
push out and gasp air
push card to swipe in
push button on lift
push start button to bring life to screen
push delete on emails
push cup under nozzle and push "espresso"
push "espresso" again for good measure
push the hours forward
push problems around, solve none
push away the thoughts of mind-numbing boredom
push away your dreams till 5:30
push "espresso"
push back at increased workload
push notifications
push the system forwards
push button on umbrella
push Oyster card on reader, watching out for card clash
push headphones into ears
push past dithering shoppers
push key into lock
push food down throat.

pull back a chair
pull cork from bottle
pull on comfy pullover
pull open the window
pull back your dreams
pull ink across page
pull reality from the mind
pull open Pandora's Box
pull out all the stops
pull drooping eyes open, again
pull yourself up to look at the stars
pull pullover tighter round
pull further thoughts from where you thought none remained
pull no longer
pull back sheets
let eyes fall closed.

a bear from Peru

they’ve closed the Bakerloo at Paddington;
and three hundred people have no place to go.
they’ve lost a bear, the announcements say,
but he’s here on the platform with us,
and look, we’ve cleared a space for him.
we look after this bear,
this bear with nowhere to go,
he’s one of us.

this bear from Peru, 
we’ll look after him,
cause he’s furry,
cause he’s cuddly,
cause he munches squashed sandwiches from under his hat –
and a bear on the tube,
that’s cool right?
like when a dog gets on your carriage
and everyone’s suddenly fawning,
and human again,
and we look at them,
and we look after them.

so why won’t we look after three hundred people
who’ve crossed seas in rickety boats,
and jumped trains to survive,
like kids here do for fun.
why then do we close down stations,
and put up walls,
and keep them in boxes,
and give them nowhere to go?
because they’re not bears,
but if you chain them up
and make them dance,
they’ll act like bears soon enough
and soon enough the fingers point
and say: ‘see?
we were right to lock them up’
but they too step aside for bears,
they too fawn over puppies on trains,
they too are humans,
like all of us:
we’re the humans who take care of bears
on the closed platforms of Paddington station. 

farewells

it's fitting now that rain falls
in puddles and buckets
and torrents and floods;
flowing and overflowing,
soaking me until I feel cold
and sad and sick of spirit.

cause by now,
I've got so used to people leaving,
that I can't shed tears
or feel anything
bar a flood of nothing:
another number,
a statistic,
that I'm happy for -
or supposed to be happy for,
cause each time they leave
they take a little part of me:
a section of soul that for a second was theirs,
a portion carved of drunken nights
and long stories under bridges
and laughter on silent streets
that made things better,
that made big city life tolerable,
and when they leave,
those nights leave with them
puffed up in a whiff of smoke
leaving only a memory
and a smile of their passing
while their train rattles on
through the night.

in transit

faces raised to screens
eyes glazed at a hundred ways to leave,
and everywhere voices
with no bodies
and no souls.

and delays and layovers
that just go to show
that the waiting game has no rules
and not even really any players -
just waiters,
the bored, sick of their job ones,
who'll spit in your food
just to pass the time.