Warm Breaths

Whenever I’m up at night and can’t sleep
the only thing that soothes me is the thought of you
washing over me,
I miss you,
your voice
your touch,
the soft back and forth caressing of your palm on my arm,
your quirky smile and your smacking wit,
baking days and homemade pizza dough and
freshly squeezed orange juice in the mornings,

I look back over sunshine awakening mornings
that whispered peace through the breeze
and cuckooed hope and cheer through the leaves,
nesting into your warm hugs,
your embracive arms a shield

I’m in a better mental space now than the last time we talked
I’ve got more stable foundations and love in many corners,
I rest easier, breathe deeper, stretch longer,
I take up more space than I did,
the last time we talked

I miss car trips through Triabunna through Taroona down to Hobart,
I miss munching on crunchy sandwiches
by the shore as the waves role over and caress the earth,
rugged up in the jumpers you knitted us
and thick tartan rugs,

I miss our chats about language and semiotics and
whether the panda eats shoots and leaves
or kills his dinner time feast,
receiving books for gifts,
weaving through a gorse maze,
gliding amongst the trees on that sun-licked tire swing,

I miss calling you,
the sound of your voice instantly relaxing me,
washing over my tired eyes
softening my clenched teeth,
that delicate, articulate tone of warmth and creamy nectar,

this memory is breathing through the windows and warming my cheeks,
this breeze is rocking me to sleep

Crimson Fishbowl

you tripped into a glass
before midday, again, today,
in the crimson swell of the translucent bowl,
clinging to the bottom,

picking up pebbles only to rearrange them
remove the proof, not the fact,
bottles piling up by the back doorstep,
Tetris level up,
playing the game
by cheating yourself,
clean glasses glimmer the more they are washed,
but those soap suds aren’t fooling anyone,
only blinds the mirrors; broken,

can’t hug you without it hurting,
black eye from blacking out, face first on the clean tiles,
broken rib, from a drunken fall only remembered in
jigsaw pieces of others’ recollections,
you’ve always been good at puzzles
and crossword calculations,
cryptic conversations
implying but never straight talking,

HEY GOLDFISH.

there’s a glass jammed between us,
distorting thoughts, diluting laughter,
fingerprint stains pressed against the glass
but not breaking it,
this has become a staring contest
and we’re both losing,

you’re hooked to the red, intravenously it would seem,
stewing in the undercurrent running through your veins,
swan dive into the crimson, trying to numb the horizon,

the splash of a tail only teases a surrender,
floundering in your sentimental perfect –
of what your life was supposed to look like by now,
gurgling down the drain but never emptying,

hey Goldfish,

I’ve seen you drink your words more than
you’ve poured unwanted memories down the sink
and pulled the plug,
please pull the plug

you’re sputtering in the crimson,
I’m left tap tap tapping
at your glass eye glare,

it doesn’t count if you put the bottle down
for only one afternoon,
to resurface only long enough not to drown,
picking at endless plates of crackers and fancy dips
that you can’t pronounce properly
ceviche, chicken liver pate,
pickled poached peeled olives drenched in oil and urban decay,

grit your teeth,
mutter another half-seared, half-baked, half-marinated truth,
behind that rose tinted empty glass
you’re sucking dry
again and again and
again,

you say it doesn’t hurt but you can’t keep a straight face,

HEY. Goldfish,

those crimson-scarlet-crims- waves, splash
but never wash over,
no drawbridge drop-down,
safety-net sanctuary,
just stifling, dirty potatoes, frozen vegetables and beef mince
an empty pot, somewhere,
some white bread by the microwave,

cracks near the rim but not the base,
the baseline is safe,
you know this all too well and it’s time to shift,
the water is getting murky and it’s getting harder and harder to see you
I don’t know how to tell you
that you’ve swam too deep,

rotting fish bones surfacing,
beady eyes bobbing,
while you’re drinking in pollution,
mildew condensed onto the glass confines,
never clean, never empty,

HEY GOLDFISH.

every mother’s day taunts me,
reversed roles, freaky Friday
are you safe,
how are you,
how are you really,

tell me something you think you can’t tell me.

hey Goldfish

I draw a spotlight upon you,
only from a distance,
you’re too busy fishing out
another excuse for your negligence,
talking over me
over and over and over,
telling me that you’re okay
before I even ask about your day,

Hey, Goldfish.

toss another bottle in the ocean,
the message drowns in the swell
of half eaten crackers and discarded jigsaw pieces,
shattering in the undercurrent,

you say the bottle doesn’t judge you if you lick up the last drop
the bottle doesn’t tell you you’re not doing enough in this world,
or that you’re dull or foolish or out of your depth
or that you’re too much, too loud, too wide, too scattered, too messed up

but what you’re ignoring is that the bottle also does not tell you that you’re beautiful
or talented
or loved or appreciated or necessary,
that you could be a gem amongst the world’s roughness,

it turns you into a poison drop in the ocean,
increasing the potency with every sip,
and you’ve been disciplining me for your demons,

drip, stains in the carpet, drip, smeared eyeliner, drip, sad books, drip, fake laughter, drip,
poor you, drip drip, all the years, drip, wasted, drop, drip, drip, this is terrifying, drip, I need a garden, drip, drip, dribble,
bleh, what, oh where were we…

you say, with two hands full,
one with a glass, the other a bottle,
that you’re in a bad place,
but you haven’t crawled out of that shell for over a decade now,

there’s an echo lingering in the screaming silence,

HEY, goldfish, fish, fish, ish…

Forging the forgetting 

we shed leaves of lives that seem easy to forget,
bearing remnants of our crumpled skin
in our palms
in the dark,

fragments we tear apart
and forge onto pressed lips,

thinking it’ll dissipate into the air
after we leave this space,

replacing pain with freedom by interchanging labels,
seemed clever at the time,
but we’re not store workers,
and this is not a sale,

thinking we could change their constitutions,
by making the pain two instead of one,

but we still sit
perched against the headboard
in our sleep,

we still turn the pillow over
and pretend it’s brand new,
a fresh beginning,
bandaged, buried, forging the forgetting
of a past we couldn’t bare to confront,

can’t seem to fold the sheets of time
twisting and knotting in the night,

why does it feel like we’re trapped in their wrath,
why does it feel like we’re drawn in too tight,
like we’ll never get out
without losing ourselves,
without dirtying white silk,
without leaving a trace
when we don’t want to take up space,

but they came back as ghosts to haunt our shadows and tread our footsteps,

they walk us through the cool fog
of the crisp morning
unto the tweeting birds sweeping through
the pollen speckled breeze
where the yellow leaves trill
between rugged branches and trimmed bushes,

thinking hard hats would keep us safer
than facing the truth,

thinking hard facts were too heavy
so we let our dreams collect dust,

we set the sheets ablaze,
so afraid, so afraid
that someday soon
we’ll become completely irrelevant
and trapped in the impending haze
of this chaotic maze they call life,

separating the alive from the mundane,
without a word,
just a lingering decay, dust
falling like yellow leaves
and malting birds’ feathers,

it’ll be okay
it’ll all be okay,

someday our fears will be as forgotten as we are,
only once humanity forgets its history
and we can start again
at the beginning,
again.

the three part healing equation

wounds; open channels

my mind is on overdrive,
concocting anxieties
that seem so real from a distance,

I’m dizzy from standing still,
there’s no serenity
in this maelstrom of
missed opportunities
and self-doubting undercurrents,
churning, churning,
beneath the still surface
lapping the shore,

I can’t seem to dislodge the fragments
of my broken pieces,
caught up in the sand,
disguised amongst seashell shards and ground rocks,
these fragments of my past drag through my flesh
with each footstep,
cutting old wounds open,
where no scab forms
to turn into a scar,

peace of mind is a beautiful thing,
why must it be so fleeting,

I’m more fragile than I seem,
I’m not okay,
but I’m trying to be,

trying to be more put together
than I feel,
I don’t want you to worry,

I’m trying to conquer this mind of mine,
I wish I could do it alone,
I hate dragging you
into my mental chaos,
I know you’ve got your own

scabs; survival badges

this is where it all spills out
this is where we haunt our own shadows
and cast our own light,
shouting at our echoes
so that they don’t haunt us in the night,

the moon illuminates our footprints
as we draw muddy etchings
across untouched earth

opening doors we fixed shut,
creating holes in the walls we built
to make them a little easier to knock down
without destroying ourselves,

let it bleed, let it bleed, let it bleed,
let it all seep out,
let the crimson rivers run dry,

that way the wounds will not
become stalemate –
breaking ligaments,
but simply beautiful marks
that only you possess,
that only you can accept

scars; soul tattoos

struggle can erode our bones
when external clashes continue
within one’s own mind
regardless of where you stand,
there’s always a closed door
that can be re-opened,
and if it be further down that tunnel,

so be the scar a little deeper,
a lesson imprinted,
of what can be overcome,
that all pain does pass