Bob and Diane in Quarantine

put the face mask on, he said
through his own face mask, now
turn around and fold your arms
she did what she was told

he slipped a single duvet cover over her head
pulled it down over her shoulders, just how
we got into this mess,
she felt alarmed
panicked a little and muttered, I feel so old

hang on a mo while I do the same
he struggled with his double duvet cover until
they stood like two big spuds in flowery sacks
and only then did he move much closer

wrapping his duvet clad arms around her tired frame
remember when we used to stand up on the hill?
we were a right pair of Swansea Jacks!
me in my loafers and secondhand motor

we watched the sunset every night, she said
and everything seemed alright back then somehow
she wiggled her bum reminding him of her charms
he giggled, now you’re making me feel bold

they held each other like newlyweds
till death do us part was what they’d vowed
we must look like we’ve escaped from the funny farm!
or two giant spliffs, stuffed and rolled!

I love you Diane . . . our love is an eternal flame
I love you too Bob . . . and I promise I always will
he lifted the duvet from Diane and stepped back
at 2 metres he did the same, regaining his composure

I’ll put them in the wash, he proclaimed
she replied, this quarantine business gives me the chills
yeah I’m desperate for a drive with you in the Zodiac
same time tomorrow you old duvet lover . . . ?

 

 

 

thank you for thinking of me

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another momentous day

the monk drew his habit around his shoulders
it felt comforting as a prayer uttered in private contemplation
warming as a shroud laid on a corpse
he’d seen many of those over the years
brothers mainly
but on occasion others like the gardener

tonight the moon rolled itself along the ridge of mountains
and for a moment he imagined himself up there
communing with his maker
wandering the rocky paths in solitude
at one with his worldly thoughts
blessed to be alive on this frosty night

when angels raced across the heavens
and stillness gripped him like a vice
the temperature dropping made him turn for home
thankful for the warm fire and bowl of soup
that waited patiently for him
tomorrow would be another momentous day

endlessly roaming

if i could walk away and endlessly roam 
where if i wanted to would i stop
it seems there are no safe havens left
in a world so troubled in all its corners
i am changed from the man i once was
the past receding at nightmare speed
diminishing my returns at every turn
and every face that i ever looked upon
has turned away and shed more than one tear
an ocean's worth of bought occurrences
i am cheap as a market stall gift
as throwaway as the rest of humanity
writing words to pin on clouds
conjuring dreams to hang my hopes
laughing in the face of a mottling mirror
i am indeed imperfect and lost, perhaps
already journeying out there on the road
walking away and endlessly roaming
with no need to stop even if i wanted to

[at the sound of the bell 
press the carriage release lever]

boneyard

the thing i'm struggling with most is 
simply finding a comfortable position in 
which to sleep at night when my bones scrape
through the parchment stretched like a canvas
on which an artist daubed all the colours of
his palette with a knife once reserved for
cutting their bread into slices of time that
gathered blue spots of mould reminiscent of
summer skies shot blasted with sea spray
seen from under a curling wave in which
we tumble down green seaweed grass hills to
end our days in a graveyard overlooking the
town in which our mothers have spread their 
legs and forced our heads screaming for air 
through bloodied soil and our ancestors bones
bleached on the beaches where they walked

there i go . . .

i'm reaching for all the things i cannot have
dreams in which i inhabit a parallel universe
one where . . . 
i stare out windows and search for that place
lost now in the cosmic dust that made us all
white noise with undertones of . . .
there in the distance my words yet unspoken
my thoughts untrammelled and unvisited
unexpected migrants . . . 
the clouds move like shoals of silver herring
blue and green bubble filled orchestrations
uplifting to where . . .
can i be expected to manage these landscapes?
i feel landlocked and desolate inhabiting them
there i go . . .
i'm reaching for all the things i cannot have
dreams in which i inhabit a parallel universe
one where . . . 
i stare out windows and search for seagulls
on the beach chalk rocks littered like skulls
through a child's eye . . .
his father's voice is but a long dead echo
walking backwards on the sand as the waves wash
footsteps away . . .
i know i know i know everything and nothing
such a long time ago when summer held my hand
tenses squabbling . . . 
waves washing through a child's eye 
seagulls pecking at the bleached empty sockets
landlocked landscapes clouded with herring skies
a migrant made of distant cosmic dust
backwards into summers a long time ago
when father's voice spoke to me
i know i know i know
i'm reaching for all the things i cannot have
dreams in which i inhabit a parallel universe
one where . . .
there i go . . .

appealing to the wrong audience

i don't know where i am anymore
anymore than i know where you are
this disconnect between writer and disseminator  
strikes through words with scalpel blade precision
surgical laughter turns into a litany of proclamations
an irregularly shaped pearly glow surrounds the darkened disc of the moon
and you have fled into the night with your tail between your legs
to drown as you always planned

i can't possibly help that can i?
it doesn't matter how many of your faces appear on my screen
each one is an unread book that i will never read
reality is a complex mycorrhizal network of incidents
propelled from where we came from
from where we cannot imagine travelling to in our dreams
when we have lost our grip on our racing pulses
when silence explodes in our dying skulls

can you see that day?

untitled lives

the boxes are full of dead people
they smile and wave at me without motion
frozen in time but lacking cryogenic hope
there are so many of them it becomes overwhelming
the past is a silent place filled with muted voices
only I can put the words into their mouths
only I can tell their stories in my own words
and if I dump the boxes in the trash?
who will know they ever lived and loved?

Thinking of you, dad

my father died when I was 7 and he was 37
I have virtually no memory of him
beyond photos and a few sketchy dreamlike scenes
that may or may not have occurred
but oddly his ‘spirit’
(for want of a better word)
seems to find me on occasions
when I am least expecting it
again, this is probably of my own making
or related to some trigger event
but nevertheless it keeps me tethered to him
in a way that makes me thankful
that not everything in life and death
can be fully explained

Thanks to Jon for his poem this morning
that triggered mine. You can find it on this link:

https://jonstainsby.wordpress.com/2020/03/02/thinking-of-you-mum/