coping

Ageing

You avoid the sun
Etching lines on
Your skin. You are
The artist, not the sun.

Poem from the archive: ‘Pain’s Sweet Tooth’ (May 2008)

Back in this place again

This place of doom and gloom

Bloated stomach passing for womb

Once I was well and pain

Was something felt from a

Prick of thorn or cut of steel

Not as now when it grows

From a live seed

Planted deep, sown down

In furrows, virulent its saplings writhe

For supremacy, squealing for

Sugar and coffee and tea

Cake and wine and syrup and cream,

Drops will not do, bring

Buckets for bowls, Life must

Be strained and stretched to

Feed Pain’s sweet tooth.

Notes on the poem

I wrote this 14 years ago, when I was struggling with a pituitary tumour and acromegaly.

I’m starting to include poems from this period of my life, from my first site : creativecoping.wordpress.com.

I think the past, in all its forms, memory, history, monument, is useful to the present.

By resurfacing these poems, I hope to remember the lessons life gave me then.

Human hair

The trees show their skins
Without shame, to the cold
They glare back, when we
Hide.

A shedding of hair is akin to
A shedding of complacency

When it was there, we noted
It not, when it is gone, weep

We it’s going, alone, without
A cover for our head, our

Bidding chip for love and more.

Should I keep a lock of it in a
Tin in the Watford soil, a relic
Of my time on this earth past?

Home safe, at last

The omphalos – the navel

This is my place of healing

This is my life in my

Navelbowl. I must not

Let it spill empty, I must

Keep it full, the seat of

My whole, the connection

That birthed me from

Ancestors, I tried

To exist without it,

It is the door to the

Home that is me, I

Was locked out and

Now I am in, I am

My body, at last.

Eat, Sleep, Work, Repeat

These feel like the end days

Of life. The sun, the moon,

The clouds that move, the

Train that stops at every stop

And then goes back again.

The cyclists in the queue

At the traffic lights, leading

South. How long it feels, this

March to death, this mess of

Locks and wheels and limbs

That we call civilisation. How

Vile the stench of sweating

Plastic and half-eaten sandwiches

Discarded in the wrong section

Of the bin, into general rubbish

Claustrophobia

What do we do when there
Is no space to breathe?
When our lungs can’t hold 

The water in our eyes
And it comes rushing

Out amongst these
Crocodiles that bite

Us. There’s no such thing
As love, our limbs think, 

As our blood cracks back,
Retreats into our heart,

For home, but the door
Is locked and the ventricles

Glare back, blank
Windows harbouring the

Eternity of Death
That lurks behind

Every breath. Ready
To pounce out like

a cat released to go
Hunting in the bird-

Filled night that
Quacks around us in

A cacophony of quarks
We can’t decipher as

Our hands go numb
With stress and our 

Hips contract around
Our basal strength

As it pours out
Uncontrollably and

Meanwhile where is
The chair? We haven’t 

Sat down for so long
We can’t remember

What rest means.
Be still, remember

It is always there
However far away

It seems, if we
Just stop to reclaim

The space around each breath.

Savasana

Let the rude earth warm me
Let me peace shake,
Let my  time here spend
Centimeters above.

I can hear pulses,
Below jaw, above voice,
Behind knees to feet that speak
To the ground, for fear

of troubling the hands with the full weight of the sky.

Quantum Faith

As sure as fire is hot,
Moons move. The thing I am now will

Swap places with another

All is equal at the sun atomic level.
No questioning reality,
Expect it of anything

Time is constant, possibly.
Some stars have made it to our eyes in

An everlasting instant

Passing on

When there’s no answer on Google or
Too many and too frightening and
No knowledge in your body to tell your
Bones how to do what they should

How to pull your feet up and put them
There, on the next step, without thinking
Under the rest of your spine with all its
Grand thoughts of time and catching

A sunset via a riverside path or a quick
Nip across the bridge before the rain Spills over and the supper time hunger Takes hold and what? What were you

Saying? Stretching your mind through
Each tingling finger, gingerly curled bent
To keep the shaking at arms length
Hiding from yourself the quiver that

Delivers curdled messages up the Tracks  into racks of pain dangling wee Teeth in front of a brain squeezed back into a
Blank corner, nothing on the wall now

That the..Now that the…Now that the
Heart is closing up shop and has Packed up all the memories but has left The hooks, thoughtful for the next guest.

A stroll in the park

Oh there is a peace that
Blows out my core and
Shakes every pip in its
Case

Oh there is a place in my
Bark that creaks when I
Stretch out my feet on
Air

A pace made of peace is
My breath as it breaks
Space between each step’s
Brace