Crashing into Clouds

Somebody! Sound the alarm bell
ring it twice, if you will,

please sir,
it’s an emergency,
I’m falling,
into this heart pumping, vein pulsing,
sweaty palms kinda, slipping
into this requiem
weaving between sleeping and waking
this limbo, in-between place
where the ghosts of my past go to contemplate their next attack,

please madame,
I’ve lost my grip and the ground is sinking beneath me,
this falling is relentless
catching wind
clinging to dust,
this falling is getting heavy,
don’t think I can catch myself,

feet tucked in, hmmph,
nope, not that,
arms spread like wings, aahhh, oh wait no, oh no, definitely not that,

Thump!

okay, ground, is that you?
Is there anyone around, I’m confused

I need to keep this vehicle focused
straight ahead I’ll be steering,
the gasometer reads close to zero
and there are winding roads ahead,
I uh don’t think I can surpass this road block up ahead,

hey! You over there,
have you got anything to ease the latitude
Something to slow this thing down,
I just need something to steady the beat,

okay so,
I cut off the phone line,
tried suffocating the valve,
stopped visiting that part of town,
cut my hair short,
dyed it purple and green and blonde,
tried closing my eyes
without seeing your face under the lids,
but you’re standing there, vivid,
Your eyes like darts, piercing my flesh,
I’ve tried all of these things
but every time I come close to a beautiful thing
I drown in it, it suffocates me, I smother it’s freshness, it withers me,

my heart is still cascading through the clouds
while I grind through the gravel,
missing the clear roads before me
and the petrol station ahead,
the gasometer keeps beep beep beeping,
pings of red light relentlessly blinking,

to no avail, this misguided heart keeps pulling and drawing,
the clouds merge and diverge
morning and night

Growing gardens in the dark corners of our minds

my brain is contorting into all kinds of odd shapes,

distorting all of my fears into leering shadows,

fogging up the rear windows,

twisting innocent intentions in dark dimensions,

the windscreen is cracking under the harsh breaths of the tired sky,

everybody is leaving this town,
and soon, so will I,

we grow gardens in our veins to weed out
the confusions that reside in our minds,

we flush out the litter, one flower at a time,

don’t succumb to the pain,
don’t succumb to the pain,

we plant trees in our lungs
so that we can breathe clearly through the storms,

tear off leaves on the hardest days
as to shield us from stray shrapnel

I am yet to strike that balance
between lightness and casting heavy shadows

I am yet to poke that focal point that pins the centre of my mind to
the centre of the bulls eye on the dart board,

that settles all the minor confusions
and cancels out the long shot darts

protruding into the walls and the clasps of frames

penetrating the picture,
puncturing the image,

splintering into the perfect visage,

tearing open the finely crafted package to
unveil the raw material inside,

don’t shy away,
don’t shy away,

let’s scatter fallen petals through our bones,
infuse their essence into our souls

Talking to the sky

We’re all a little broken,
a little ripped open,
it’s the way the universe works
pulling us apart in order to expand us and explore all the facets of our hearts,

we’re not here to accommodate others,
we’re here to come to an understanding of ourselves
by filling all the gaps within us with
kintsukoroi drops of golden life and joy,

it’s not up to others to decide
what nectar we suckle on,
we cannot expect any other
but ourselves
to heal our wounds,
any injury done unto us
is the universe communicating with you
to tell you that it’s time to grow,
to expand to grander things

Mind Maps

I will never sit steady upon the dilapidating pedestal
of a half-real, memory-contaminated human
that is no longer here,
made of that tall stool you placed in the palace of your mind,

I’ll never be enough of something
and too much of another
to ever fit into the mold of her,
who came before every other,

I can’t be her, I can’t compensate for your loss,
I can’t replace the gaping wound of her passing
that you can never quench,

I can’t fill the tiresome cracks, symptomatic of the crumbling,

I can’t be what you want me to be
because it has already existed
and that human shaped combination
is something that can’t and shouldn’t be replicated,

it hurts to be in love with someone that’s pining over a dead girl,
ten years in the aching,

it hurts, to see one hurting and know the only thing to cork the sorrow
is six-feet-underground,

it is a very disconcerting feeling to be comforted by
the very person that caused you the pain,

my mind hijacked from the moment upon waking today,
filled with ringing thought sirens
signalling in too many (mis)directions,
consuming all the thoughts that keep me present in my path,
automated conversation making
my thoughts stuck on repeat,
but fixated on a record that is not here,
but there,
trapped inside sound bites of your mind-maps

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

Listen to the rhythm of the beat

Love can set you free,
if you let it,

love can also nibble away at your flesh,
if you’re afraid of it,

the ghosts of my unexpressed feelings are haunting me,
perched on my shoulders
with the weight of three rhinoceroses,
clinging to my collar bones
clawing my skin
each breath is a gasp

*Thump*

Safety tastes sweeter,
or so it seems
*Thump*
when love is a whisper
fading into the dry autumn breeze,
a sour kiss
sealed with an expiration date
*Thump*
let’s not rush this,
I say,
as to hold onto us inside my mind
afraid it may slip away if I let us be more than a thought
*Thump*

these ghosts are getting heavy,
I choke on the U and the I
every time
we’re together
we’re apart,
I think I’m afraid
these ghost-feelings are heaving and shifting
*Thump! Thump! Thump!*
*Ouch!*

the streets have more colour when we’re in them,
the flowers look bolder
the grass greener
the street lights glitter
the moon glows upon our beaming faces
*Thump*
I catch a glimpse of how wonderful we could be,
but these ghosts are creeping up behind me
*thump*
the streets are dark and murky
when we’re apart,
every alley looks like a graffitied-up, rubbish-dump death-trap
the trees and garden beds whither
beneath the darkness
the heavy heat eats away at the colour

*Thud!*
*Hmmph*

the ghosts pile and pile upon my shaking aching trapezius ligaments
this doesn’t feel like a miraculous circus act,
my knees are faltering
bearing the weight of at least five rhinoceroses
beads of sweat drip drip drip down my cheeks
tickling my jaw line

*Thump*

you stretch out your hand
I grasp it and the ghosts begin to spill out
“I… I… I… Lo…”
I choke and spit
these words don’t come easy
when you hold them in for so long

*Thump*

the salty beads soak into my flesh,
you’re right there in front of me,
for a moment I catch my breath,
the sweat evaporates from my chest
the particles of hydrogen and oxygen separate,
the silent breaths shared between
warm smiles and eager eyes
say what our words cannot,
but I still can’t unlatch the ghosts
from my shoulders

*thump*

“I… I… Love”
for a moment each breath comes easier
for a moment there’s much more air than water
for one more moment there’s an incredible lightness

*Thud! Thud!*
*Thump!*

my knees give way
my shoulders are aching,
oh no, no,
I’m still afraid

*thump*

I can’t feel any of my ligaments now
I feel dislocated
I’m all out of sorts,
the weight is stacked so heavy
these ghoulish feelings engulf every breath
*Thump*

so close but I’m still gasping,
my heart is aching
thumping harder than I could ever imagine,
feels like it’s being beaten with a meat tenderiser
by my own admission with the words
I can’t seem to spit out
*Thump*

I’ve only got two feet and sometimes even two feels like too many,
sometimes I wish I couldn’t walk,
it hurts too much to fall
*Thump*

no. That’s it,
I can’t hold onto this any longer,
I’m becoming the ghost of unexpressed feelings
that’s it,

I stand up again,
the weight subsides,
I turn to you
“I love you”
the words echo in the sound of your voice,
no longer blinded by the ghost-fears that have been weighing me down,
our lips touch
my shoulders fall back
“I’ve been waiting so long”
the words echo, again

a whole jungle escapes me
the rhinoceroses bound through green grass and warm mud,
butterflies flutter from our ears,
leaves and petals and twigs and feathers breathe around us
through the rose-infused citrus air,
I can breathe again
lighter, lighter, lighter,

I’m not afraid anymore
or at least I’m getting there,

Love can set you free, if you let it

knife’s edge 

there’s a typewriter concealed to the back of my mind,

ink blots stained into my fingers and palms,

crinkled papers beside me that I pulled from the bin

trying to forage some peace of mind through the routes of it all,

to salvage and preserve with only a few rips and wrinkles,

but these words’ll never spill out of the pages if I can help it,

yet there are some out there who paint weeds as blooming roses 
and crows as cuckoo birds

it’s not beautiful to glorify madness,

romantic ideals of cooped up lives

and estranged hearts led by dejected minds,

pretty pictures of disturbed realities only drag you down

reality isn’t easy,

that’s why no one promises security