Not Uncommon

I wouldn’t say it’s often, but it’s not uncommon – a half-leftover window to my energy, an under-used commodity, it’s too late now and I can only use it quite sparingly. When the head throbs and I’m angry with my job or someone’s notions of a vengeful God or something that similarly makes me want to sob, I feel different. It’s good to have the blood boil, from time to time, to feel like I am back, embroiled in a fight for life and pride and something meaningful, with people on my side.

But there’s no meaning here, there’s barely even fear of slipping into mediocrity – I don’t recognise this lounge lizard as even being me. Where is the intensity?

It’s just a rage that comes up sometimes, over the lip of a coffee cup or in frustration with dysfunctional rhymes. It’s nice to feel it here again, but it’s not linked to any genuine pain. How can I suffer for my art when my art is now just part of an increasingly foreign-sounding past?

I wouldn’t say it’s often, but it’s not uncommon that I am so grateful for the bad days, because it’s how I know I’m still alive.


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This one was going to be one for the band, a set of lyrics. But I don’t do much music anymore, so I guess it’s time to call it a poem and be done.


Me and you
I bought guns
And you bought glue
We were young
Having fun
I was stupid
You’re the one

I confess
I was best-dressed
It’s okay
I’m a different
Kind of mess

If destroyed
You can try me
See what I can do but
If destroyed
You know that I won’t still be true

It couldn’t last
I knew that
And I moved fast
Thought that I
Could aspire
To a better
Way of life

I wasn’t right
I misjudged
And I took flight
You moved on
I was wrong
Now you’re better
You’re the bomb

I didn’t get better
I got better at being bitter
And I guess I have to
live with that

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No Filter

This water tastes of grit, but Buddy’s slugging at it, telling me it’s fit to hit. The filter light has flashed reluctantly, blinking slowly up at me, for three sick weeks – someone says the taste is pretty bleak and I am moved to agree.

We stand, open gestures in the kitchen, there’s no measure for the bitching and the small talk, there’s no meaning here.

‘How’s you?’
‘A bit Mondayish, but not too blue’
‘And you?’
‘I almost think I’m winning but we’ll only know for sure when the bloody day is through’

‘Good weekend, bab?’
‘Quiet, stayed in and watched “Star Wars” with my two lads’
‘Quiet ones are some of the best weekends I’ve had’

It sometimes makes me sick, the carousel of shit that’s seen as conversation, in this bloody kitchen.

I want to drink some water that is textured to my taste – but I poured this one already and I guess I shouldn’t let it go to waste.

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I’m watching M*A*S*H
Wishing that I were someone like that
Hawkeye Pierce
Unfortunately chunkier
And about 30% less fierce

I think I could be happy
With the alcohol production
I could cope with the life on hold
Enjoy the interruption

I could cause a scene
In olive green
I could be the man
I never thought I could have been

I’m watching M*A*S*H
And it’s 2am
And it’s time to fall asleep again
And when tomorrow comes
I will kick myself
That I’m no Hawkeye Pierce
I’ve got too much on my mind
And I’m nowhere near as fierce.

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No Lagrimas

We did not know what we were doing, back then. We thought we did, of course, as always one does. There was always a cause, there was always something happening. But what we were really doing was delaying the inevitable. Pursuing an ultimately doomed quest, desire, ‘calling’ (ha).

It’s harder now to accept mediocrity, for so long I allowed myself the luxury of belief, I was granted the energy of youth, and circumstances, though not always kind, provided me with sufficient opportunity to keep my dream alive. And even towards the end, as I railed against it, kicking and screaming in the embrace of my endeavours, I felt a purpose.

I’m a little older now. I’m still young, by many standards, but the energy and belief is gone. It has been a gradual process. I did not want to go out with a whimper, I never did, but with a roar and the beating of chests and the fight, the desire, the rage. But with a whimper I went. We all did, I suppose. The old-timers carry on, as always they will, doomed for eternity. As they get older and older and less selective about their audience, they will muddle along until claimed by illness, infirmity, the lack of interest of their peers, or suicide. Others, a little older than I, are already busily disengaging and floating away, to families, careers (‘proper’) or the comfortable, hazy purgatory of the background.

It is my time to float away too, from one endeavour to another, more sedate, at least. I don’t quite know how I will look back. Sometimes there is regret, sometimes a wry smile. I don’t even know if ‘back’ is where I will be looking. Maybe I’ll return to the ranks of those who crave a stage. The stern humour, the knowing, beer-drinking, understated chatter that accompanies the culture. But right at this moment, I am floating free from all of that. And it’s okay.

It’s okay.

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What Am I Doing?

Turn off the lights.
There is no glare that here can lighten me.
There is no path that’s clear that I can see.
Turn off the lights.

Close up the room.
I have no need of air or food or warmth.
I don’t know why I needed them before.
Close up the room.

Silence my mind.
Can’t I be happy, numb and senseless here?
Is it too much to suffocate my fears?
Silence my mind.

I don’t know how this life is what I want.
The last time i took ill, retreated back
To what I knew, but led less from the front
Those times were more successful, that’s a fact

But this time I feel greater need for change.
Something drastic, but then once again
I am confronted by the awful truth:
I don’t want this, but I don’t know what I want to do.

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There Is A Face

There is a face
I know it well
And I can tell
It has no place
In this reflection

There could have been
A better time
It wasn’t mine
And I don’t mean
To retrace my steps now

Don’t speak of how
I should restart
I know in my heart
It is too late now
I have no energy.

I look back on my old empire
And what I wanted then, I cannot now desire
But I know
If I let myself go
For too long
Then my head will go wrong

It’s hard to be
But it’s harder still
To care again
I’m done with that
I’ll fade away
While you all can remain.

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Thoughts While Exercising In The Morning

This morning
I couldn’t quite
Get out of bed
But I did
And exercised
For thirty-something minutes

You might say
That it’s encouraging
That soon I’ll be
And alive

Don’t bother
I spent thirty-something minutes
Thinking only of
What I do not enjoy
How I used to have
An energy
And drive
And used to see a point
In still being alive.

This morning
As I did the healthy thing
And tried to make myself look thin again
I almost could have cried
Because I realised
I enjoy
Hardly anything
It’s all just passing time
And I’ll get thin again
And I’ll look good
And what good will it be?

I’ll start to count the days
Maybe that will make me feel okay.

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A comfort here, a warmth, a thrill, a joy
That I can hold in my heart through the day
A passion in my heart I can deploy
When I need to break my feet out of their clay.

It’s hard to quantify the kind of love
That leads me to your embrace day and night
A common cause, a kiss, all kinds of stuff
You make me unafraid to feel alright.

I’ve rarely felt this undiminished smile
That plays upon my lips when you’re amused
Our languorous reflection, for a while
Is all I long for when my days are through

And when I hold you tightly, please be clear
I do because I love to have you near.

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Precision Operation

It’s not how I would choose to do it
There’s a sentiment
But there’s no-one here to walk me through it
An acknowledgement
That it’s no easy time
But no-one here to tell me what’s/what is not mine.

I’ve seen it done much better when
There’s some common ground
But I guess I was less bothered then
I was not so proud
And all my everything
Was elsewhere, I was selective with feelings.

Too tired
To be an anxious soul
But too nervous
Ever to take control
If only I’d left myself
With something else

It’s going to be a long, reluctant war.

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