Thought is diffuse and soft,
Feelings are liquid organic,
Light and dark are shades of one,
Movement is within not without,
Wrapped up snug and close,
Encased awaiting revelation,
New mechanics of self,
Old shapes absorbed,
While new structures bud,
Morphing meta shifting,
Quantum drift relating,
Such subtle consciousness,
Efflorescence from within,
Old waves fall, a new wave rises,
The chrysalis crystallises.
She watches the bubbles rise to the top
Forgetting her craving, unable to stop
Impatient and thirsty for the first sip
The warmth as it spreads, the panic that dips
She doesn’t care for the taste, she needs the relief
Effective anaesthetic, by the forth or the fifth
Friction that burns, just by existing
Is soothed by the salve and mistaken belief
She drinks, and she drinks, and she drinks, and she drinks
And when she comes to, only then does she think
What the hell happened?
Who did she attack?
How did she get here?
To this bed in this flat?
Who is beside her?
This young brown-haired man
To piece it together
With no clues and no plan
Her head begins pounding, to a 4-4 kick drum
Which is nothing compared, to the shame that will come
As she picks up her clothing, and creeps out the door
Full of self-loathing, regret and remorse
Making earnest pledges she intends to keep
Only to break them at the first bottle she meets
Her single solution to this rot in her soul
Is to drown it in liquid, lose all sense of control
Obliterate herself, and wipe her memory clean
Find more bubbles rising, awaken thirst in her genes
Until one morning she feels it the path as it forks
With a brimful of dread an unknowable force
Asks with a whisper ‘Are you done now?’ Because
What’s next is a choice between the end or a pause
Where you go to a room full of stories like yours
She feels a special kinship with these fellow drunks
She asks one of them to help her, her heart’s so loud it thumps
As she dries out and defrosts she realises what she wants
Is to feel the sunlight on her face and her spirit free for once
God has many pencils
in many hands of many colours.
Here, they teach me English,
give me words to barter with others:
faith, trust, belief,
relief that I am here
where they give me this pencil to
circle, underline and then erase;
to begin a new journey,
to dance the dangerous ground
between ‘you need’ and ‘you want’.
So many words flood in.
I learn to swim a sea of carefully constructed
for every ‘certainty’ there is an ‘un’.
for every ‘trust’ there is a ‘dis’,
And this I know:
Words can twist, and bind, and trip;
Some build great walls,
Some tear them down
And here I am,
Still adrift within these feeble words,
fashioning myself with this pencil.
Is it a tool, or weapon?
In either case, I’ll keep it sharpened.
‘Things take time,’ they say,
and equip me with Capital Letters
and italics for emphasis,
but I feel more at ease with ellipsis,
an indefinite series of fullstops
suggesting so much more
than just you and me…
The swirling dance of the pen from her manager’s lips funnel me back,
Back – to a distant memory.
A languid haze of smiling smoke fills my gaze –
Instead – another time, another place.
Take me away from this mausoleum of an office and back there!
Let me inhale that perfumed smoke sensually slipping from her lips
Into mine. Back in our student days.
I could even hear The Doors, our music to get high by.
A wave of nostalgia hits me as the distinctively distant Hammond organ
Pounds over my line manager’s words.
I remember her name – the unusual name.
A name that was like an out-of-body experience,
When you stopped to ponder it.
Like a band name that becomes familiar with habitual usage,
But peculiar when you hear it again from a distance, as if for the first time:
Smashing Pumpkins, Meat Puppets, Soundgarden.
The first time again. If only.
If only I could seek my refuge in those dreamy, narcotic-filled dorms.
To get back to that sanctuary of lost youth – with all its hope and ambition.
To be in that precise moment – a vestibule to a moment that can never be again.
Even to go back would not be the same – tainted with lived experience.
Still, I take refuge and pleasure in
Momentary mindfulness in the home of those memories.
As the pulsating rhythm of the office printer whirs me back,
To the ever present Now – I wonder, what would I say if I could go back,
To my younger self. Of what I’ve become. Of what we’ve become.
I have to take action to find refuge
– there’s no peace at home.
I can only control some things:
– stopping what does not work
– relying on my luck
I can’t assume that a stranger will have empathy.
I’m trying to move from chaos to quiet.