Fish

It seems on my side
Of the clicker
There’s a distortion
In the truth
Minor adjustments
For absent
Minded screensavers
Folders, of youth
It’s there to find
Scanned, ready
For the printing press
To run on
Sunday’s holy suckling
I wanted a bite
An ordinary slice
Of evenly distributed
Baked, moist, pie.
Her heart’s not in it
Though, I’m plugging
Away with mild milk
Still laced
With last night’s joke
It doesn’t echo
Falls dead
Flattened by an attempt
To concoct a phrase
That’ll unlock
That level up
To reach ninety-nine percent
It works, under pressure
Almost every single time
With a trawlers net to keep
The fish from the brine

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Fish

Sim

I saw the axe fall
Bringing a limp silence
To the raucous gathering
A Ghoulish spectacle in
Parade management
To show that
Even megalomaniacs
Can be tamed
By a quick cut
Life, only precious
On the edge of death
Death only certain
With an act of party disobedience
What comes afterwards?
Thirty-seven years of pent up
Visceral fury erupts
With viscous liquid
From every man-made structure
The promise of change
Showers its fragrant message
Fizzy distractions
For new neural pathways
Yet, some habits remain hardwired
An itch deep into the bone
Brutes click their fingers
Servants bow and obey
Arched backs fall closer
To the ground, not worth
The price of fertile land
When arms can be mined

Sim

Band

How come you all feel so much love?
When I can only feel indifference
I leak from one small hose pipe
Washing the ground in its aroma
Marking my stall to halt the progress
On any advancing warmth
It’s a small crime
Forgiven in empathetic nests
Advancing the linking of wires
Between bird brains and dope for the head
Suck it in with support.
Be overwhelmed by the flaw
Smothered in love by a dead man
Who fulfilled the parental sub-clause
He caressed, he cajoled, he exhumed
The judgement, the invisible hand
I escaped, I became, I dissolved
The pernicious family band

Band

Efft

The loudest voice eats all the words
Now there’s nothing left to breathe
So, silently, we all leave the room
Holding the courage to speak
In polite gasps for air
At the end of the street.
They don’t notice the effort it takes
To activate the on-switch
Internal processor whirring
It’s an old analog tape machine
Cutting and splicing phrases and
Looping the repetitive nods
Cyclical cylinders
Compressing far too much dust
It sticks gamely to the tubes
Till enough trapped air builds
The pressure to burst
Explosive relief of
An introverts scream
Destructive, unseen
Politely aggrieved

Efft

Habit

Should we meet face to face
Not screen to screen or
Keyboard to keyboard
Uncertainty in the eye of the sender
Picking out an imperfect mark
At thirty-five pixelated paces
Looking for an excuse
To avoid changing my routine
Swiping left for melancholy
But feeling justified in rejection.
Even if she is worth it
One day her face will sag
Wrinkles weather my vanity
With an exasperated demeanour
I’m tiresome, an old git
Never staring into a mirror
For fear of what it might reflect
I can only imagine the face
I used to wear at twenty-five
Wasn’t much of a groomer
Bad habits never scrubbed off
The grime from my pores
Easier to be cynical than dress
Appropriately for the occasion
She holds her drink like she was
Taught to be courteous
This love, a poisoned wine
I think I muttered it forcefully
Enough for her to leave
I’m rational and sober
Drinking tap water
Overgrown strands of hair
Hide the crocodile tears
The bottled up emotion
Slipping through the small
Gaps in between my teeth.
A small submissive ape
Philosophising about being
Misunderstood, when all
I wanted was what I had anyway

 

 

 

Habit

Rebel

My Dad pushed open the door to my room, ready to shout at a disobedient child but I hid myself well. Underneath the bed were built-in drawers I’d shut from the inside, I’d spend forty minutes, or more, eluding detection. Silent, but for gentle breaths and a pulsing heartbeat. The thud of the front door and a distant engine rumble was my cue to move, first to nervously peer out of my parents bedroom window onto the empty driveway, and then to head downstairs and out into the quiet after the morning rush.

School was not where I wanted to be, and what I wanted was more important than what other people thought was good for me. I was cynical, even at fourteen, to those with life experiences, what could they possibly tell me that I didn’t already know about the world? Trying was pointless, learning was pointless. All I could amount to was a feast for the bugs under a heap of dirt, it made no difference whether I worked hard or not. What was there to be gained from Business Studies, or Geography? I thought. Hiding underneath my turtle shell feeding the mind a defeatist philosophy.

In those days, a fourteen year old could get a pack of fags without ID, and since it could be assumed all the kids were at school, I could pass for sixteen with my hint of hair growing on the chin, saving up a couple of days bus fare to spend my parents money on rebelling. I wandered down sterilised suburban streets and housing estates for aspirational early 90s buyers, gardens all neatly pruned and driveways swept, winding left and right through little alleys that avoided the main road.

The lake was man-made, a nice spot for dogs to foul and grumpy morning walkers to curse. It was intended to join each end of the suburb, offering shortcuts away from the road and towards the local primary school. But in reality it was desolate, a dead space hardly anyone used. A tiny island perched in the middle of it untouched, trees flailing as their roots slipped closer to the still water, its murky brown shade rarely moved and the air only vibrated with an occasional quack echoing rippling across the lake. Duck shit covered the pavement that looped around it, and the grass was always boggy even in summer, as children we’d scrape our feet on the path to get rid of the mud, only to end up with muddy shit. I sat on a bench away from the main path, smoking and passing time. Out of boredom I’d smoked a second cigarette immediately after the first. The rush of chemicals went straight to my head and gave me a whiter complexion than usual. Heaving to spew, just phlegm emerging, a sharp migraine fizzled. I managed to stumble up to a wooded retreat and slumped over a tree, waiting for the sickness to abate.

Others I knew who’d avoided school desperately tried to covet attention, standing at the back gate waiting to be caught. Throwing stones at the water, being childish in shopping centres. I was never like that, I was always aware that I needed to blend in seamlessly, nobody needed to notice, leaving them on autopilot as they navigated the bland shopping centre tiles, leaving them to think about themselves. I liked being invisible, it is much easier when you’ve a white face and a masculine look, but I nonetheless appreciated the serenity of being left to my own thoughts.

But despite the care I’d taken in simmering the alarms over my fugitive status, the adults, with their network of contact details, had played their winning hand. My parents were furious and I was equally agitated by this conspiracy against me. They didn’t understand, the law didn’t understand, and it wasn’t fair. I went to my room and listened to loud, brash punk music, I cried and cried and thought and thought, but it wasn’t my parents I was getting back at.

Rebel

Ascertain Class

Glancing back
Avoiding eye contact
I don’t like to be seen
Making a scene
Imagining who I am
Pretending it’s equal
In every opportunity
I’m afforded the luxury
Of my home country
It doesn’t startle me
But when I look
At my friends, I see
A certain class
Hues that never stray
Into complex colours
I’d defend every man or woman
As if they were my family
But I don’t glance their way
To hear their story
I speak about them
The way a teacher
Patronises a child
Only seeing the world
From my point of view

Ascertain Class