25 and 0

25 and closer to 0 than 1:
the numbers take their toll.
The score says I’m ahead
but I switched sides.

I saw a rare bird.
I felt the urge to shoot it dead
but I held my nerve.
I kept my cool.

Sometimes I think
I should have pulled the trigger,
blood and feathers
drenching us in crimson.
 
Those let-it-happen
sweet dreams of seconds
saturated with the struggle
of letting go.
 
I felt the pull of the universe
but I fought the tide
taking me to you.
I spent all my willpower.
 
How good it would have felt
to throw away the fight,
follow the current,
and forget the consequences.
 
But once the moment fades,
another one is waiting
right around the corner.
There is no escape.
 
Cultivating virtue,
I ostracised my baser self,
depleting my potential,
wasting my time.
 
On the moral high ground
I caught a chill
that self-denial can’t thaw.
Sacrifice won’t keep me warm.
 
25 and closer to 0 than 1,
but would I feel infinite
with numbers on the board?
I guess I’ll never know.

Lens Flare

Looking through the shutter of my mind,
I am the statue in the time-lapse.
The cars blur past me.
The panic rises.
I freeze.

The timer counts down the seconds
of every moment ever precious.
The flashbulb blazes bright
then fades to black.
Say cheese.

Can we call a timeout?
I want to exist in this snapshot a while longer.
Could I be doing more?
Nothing feels like the best thing to do.
Life is full to the brim but it’s passing me by.

How many shots do we get
until we have to admit that it’s over,
that we’ll never get the perfect picture?
Every moment grows ever heavier
as I try to buy more time.

The darkroom down below
prints stills of the regrets
that will adorn the gallery walls
when the shutter closes for the final time,
warning of my future failures.

And in my mind’s eye,
paparazzi cameras point at me:
portals to another reality.
They write my biography
and I read it, I believe it.

With his lens, I imagine
the photographer condemns.
I tell him to stand aside:
I felt what I felt
and nothing has to be justified.

Can we avoid their angles?
I see my image in their mirror.
Can we stand apart but not alone?
I resent the rules of the game they play.
I cut off my nose to spite my face.

Filter set on sepia,
we live in a photo collage
on a timeline in this
thin slice of history
we’ve been apportioned.

All the photographs never taken
for fear of their reception
are burned onto my retina
but still, my finger freezes:
the light is never quite right.

The ticking of the timer
is louder every passing year,
the hourglass emptier,
and I’m still out of frame,
trying to pick a pose.

Will we ever learn our lesson?
The photographer is doomed
and so redeemed
by every scar and mote of dust,
the patina on the bronze bezel,
every sunbeam scattered
across the lens.

Mountain Thoughts

Standing on a mountaintop
daring God to strike me down.
No hiding place, no exit game,
no escape route out.
One false move could send me
spiralling.

Everything else has been practice for this
and this is practice for everything else.

I wonder:
Why do we fight the feeling
when fighting makes it worse?
Do we feel it is our duty to fight,
to push away the prospect of oblivion?
Survival instinct.

I remember:
For a time, reality
was a hell I couldn’t escape from,
a bad trip that never ended.
I had to learn how to dance in hell,
but I knew
if it got any hotter,
I would burn up again.

I would re-acclimatize,
lie back
and try to trust the current
to take me
wherever it would take me.

I had to re-establish
my relationship with my thoughts,
had to remind myself:

Don’t lock them out –
they won’t come in if you leave them be.
Don’t let them sell you a solution
to a problem they created.
Don’t let them trick you
and fall for their salvation.
False prophets will not
lead you to God.

I had to reconnect
with those around me,
had to draw on their strength,
wondering:

What is it like to be
gravity?
Keep me grounded,
please.
What is it like to be water?
Keep me flowing,
keep me going,
guide me through the months
ahead.

Conversation
like sunlight illuminates
the different depths
of the mountains
of my mind.

Down below the mountain,
the waves lap
forever
or as close to forever
as I can reach out to touch
without falling.

I keep the waves at bay,
at least for now,
daring God to strike me down.
No hiding place, no exit game,
no escape route out.
One false move could send me
spiralling.

Resonate

Fallen alien
wanders through my
woods,
stepping on twigs
in the dark.
Blindfolded,
I let your sound
guide me to your
chamber.

Foreign ghost
drifts across my
room,
floating formlessly
into my arms.
Elusive,
you cease to exist
when you fall out of
frame.

Looking away for a second
could shatter the illusion,
break the fourth wall,
wake me up from
the dream.
You resonate
like tones in the tibetan,
raindrops boring holes in my brain,
water accumulating
in a tin can,
singing
to me.

Pressure

Every night alone
it comes,
every seed sown
spilt over cold ideas,
over nothing:
ghost lovers.

Sleep urges me to
start anew,
wait until the waves
lap at my consciousness,
lull me into ignorance,
wipe the slate clean,
until the residue
accumulates
again.

How soon is now?
I never believed I could
empathise with Morrissey,
but the pressure,
seconds steady ticking,
is hard to comprehend
when you don’t know
where the
end is,
when you don’t know
how much time
is left.

So in silence I sit over skyline,
pristine and gleaming in
black and light,
sip a green tea and
reflect
but the glass wore out its reflection
and there’s nothing much left
worth dredging up from
before,
no steps worth retracing,
no more mileage that
meditation can
make up,
so the only way forward
is through no man’s land.

Every night alone
it comes,
the pressure
breaks the surface,
ghostly fingers
of imaginary lovers.

Tranquil

Frothing heavens
snapping plastic,
house collapsing;
rowdy weather:
wrinkled enema
sky prolapsing.

Breeze-battered
spleen scuppered,
splattered on the brow;
wind wrapping
wobbly wonton rivulets
across the bow.

Dark dripping
flippers rippling,
flapping inwards;
waves washing
seaweed over soggy
origami innards.

Zigzag zip,
wrestling giant
gothic manta ray;
escape sloppily
and scamper,
slosh away.

Tottering totem
humming a humdrum
antihistamine;
staggering stupefied:
sparkling wayward
action figurine.

Blocky beams
and jellied muscle
buckle and judder,
stamp spasmodic
slo-mo hoofprints
on the rudder.

Melting mucus
globules dribble
from pecked-out eyes;
pointillistic priestess,
pornographic pixels
point inside.

Mind muddled,
fully befuddled,
thoughts scrambled;
brain boggled,
speech garbled,
marbles gambled.

Laniakea

I am the world on a stick,
nose a fuzzy
blot on the landscape,
an emptiness where the neck stops,
filled with everything there is to fill it.
No guillotine
but the lack of a head
puts a crack in the mirror
and eventually, the reflection
disappears.

I am the spotlight on the stage
and the stage spot-lit,
illuminating the
illusion.
No bullet, no blood,
but a hole
where I used to point to myself,
a wormhole in a birdbath
sank by a sinking
stone.

I am a wave on laniakea,
forever
beachbound;
once the trench is dug
experience rushes in, torrents
flooding the mind,
currents crumbling the sides.
No amount of reason
can save you
now.

Not Quite

Our canvas haven,
candlelit by screens
shining
in the electric blackness,
betrayal on your lips,
lust dripping
from your eyes,
but
not quite.

As vibrations
spaced so as to
discern as sound
ripple
tinnily into the inky night,
you burrow through
my topsoil,
coming close
but
not enough.

My voice sends you
away, red hands
soaked
in your gauze
as other voices approach,
muffled,
come clearer as the
zip cuts
and my icy exhalations
entertain an
almost.

Tomorrow,
safe
and warm
and tattooed in shadows,
I feel a form against my own;
your mirage shimmers,
stares into me,
breathes, comes
closer than the others,
at least.

And later,
left alone, I speak the
unspeakable
in the eye of the
storm, weeping,
made by magnet pull;
marionette strings held taut,
dancing by default,
I almost
believed in fate.

Our canvas coven,
lit by screens
shedding
light on tortured features
barely registered in the
blackness,
regret on your lips,
desire dripping
from your eyes,
but
not quite.

How Long Will It Be?

How long will it be?
The problem is not knowing:
it could be any moment
but it could be never.
Too much time alone
leads to loops,
leads to questions
like:

How long will it be?
When I travel forward in time
I see the past recede and shrink
into something so small
it barely exists.
It makes things easier,
but when I lose faith
I ask:

How long will it be?
and for whom do I build this
structure
if not only for myself?
I had imagined
the foundations strong enough to let
someone share this castle
with me.

So
how long will it be?
I stand amongst the debris
and try to fit the pieces together;
shake a fist at the sky;
and still the hope
of an unearned happy ending,
bought by a miracle,
persists.