Lines

Two lines shape my skin
Clinical scars
Precisely define the boundary
Between here and there
I step aboard a steam train
Feel the rush of vapour blowing
Hard towards the future
I left a part of me behind
On that table, turning
Cards to grant me leave
As long as I change
The way I speak
It’s a little secret code
I smuggle, nodding
To the guard
A wink of reassurance.
There is a line
Hand drawn, abrasive
Shards dug into the land
We exit through the smoke
Stand on the other side
Staring at the mirage
In the distance
Hollywood picture moving
Circular loops where roads
Bulldozed straight through
Street left with
Scores of imagined people

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Lines

Sweep

Broken shards crack
On each misstep
No light to guide me
Down this treacherous path
But I always walk alone
Insist, in fact
If I see a glance, a pass
A nod of the head
No word slips
From a wicked tongue
No grasp for archaic ideals
Of what a partner ought to be
Each figure I glide by
Does me no harm, escape
Not at the forefront of my mind
An animal in heat doesn’t leap
To attack from behind
Not on my body. Never.
I blend with the background
Pale and boyish, unthreatened
And unthreatening
Not for sale
In some sham ritual
Not sexualised in gutter culture
A carpet sweeper
Offers me a brush
Pushes the thick dust
Back underneath the rug

Sweep

Local

It used to be no problem
To trick a bartender
Beating the identification parade
Appearing to be underage
Sitting under the heated beams
In pub gardens, around
One small soft drink
Rummaging for a fifty pence piece
To smash a few pool balls
Rip a few stitches
Before card machines
Bar brawls were the price
You’d pay for stepping on
Someone else’s toes
Spilling drinks, hoping
The karaoke machine
Would update its stale
Old book, as old as
Questionable bar snacks
Landlords hard as nails
Chained to their jobs
Locked in well past time

Local

Seams

Leave the wooden box
The bright red door
Autumnal leaves
Blowing through
Weekend workers
Trudging back to padlocks
Writing essays on
Worsening conditions
Social media taxi fare
Paid for in plastic
Not plastic, speculative
Cultural beeps
Instant transactions
An eye for an I.D.
Hands to yourself
Young one
Lest we forget
To remember
Remembrance
Sundays aren’t for
Clothes anymore
We’ve moved on
My hands control
The buttons
But I don’t understand
The seams

Seams