Rough Maps – Update (Poem)

After re-reading what I’d posted, I just realised it wasn’t even the full poem! Here it is in it’s full draft-ness.

Rough Maps

And the past
is like an empty jug
that keeps on filling
with the echoes of water,
and the darkness rises,
perhaps, like love
lost on the shores
of some other island
– a world of shorn dreams,
maps torn at the surface
and worn with age.

But it’s gone.
gone, we say,
and maybe we hope
– that difficult word
that catches on the teeth
and cries in your throat
as murder, as a ghost,
as your shell crumples
like meringue in my
hands – but it’s all

We hold ourselves in.
hold ourselves in even though
We want to be forgotten.
even though we want
to be forgiven. We can’t.
and the touches, delicate fingers
whispering along cheeks
in that jug of echoes
that we try to break but can’t,
that endless torture ripping
at our seams.

What life have I lead?
What lives did I lead and how
much hurt. How much?
How many soft trails
must bleed from my eyes
for me to be forgiven?
Not enough. There is no amount
because words are not enough.
They rest like spoilt milk
under the tongue.

Maybe, like me, you can see
the meadows in the distance.
The cows that munch amongst
the trees. The hay that rolls
uncomfortable beneath
the suns late day retreat.
And here I wander.
Empty in myself;
not myself; not anyone
and no-one, but just there.
I am just there, with all
my sorrows, my dreams
and my regrets sitting
with those cows that look
on me with blank eyes.
Flies buzzing around their flanks.
Tails whipping their dirty behinds.

On a quiet day
I can hear you breathing.
your footsteps in the hall.
The sound of the pages
you flick through
in the study.

There is no cavity
big enough for me
to crawl into.
I am fat with a disease
that I empty onto
others when I please.
But when do I please?
How do I know?
What do I know?
Except that jug that never
breaks. The meadow that always
rolls away into the trees.
That empty space
that sits within me.

What tortured youth we lead
when we had dreams.
The questions we opened
up to the horizon when hand
In hand are now exhausted.
the sun has set. We sit
in the dark waiting for a moon
that never rises. Watching
the sea rise and fall
like your chest when you slept.

What eagerness to blades?
And so exhausted when I wake…
all those days I thought
I knew but didn’t know;
those days you pretended
– one walking masquerade
I lived with; close to; as.
Sharing all our times either
meant nothing or something,
Never neither. Never.
and now we say things
and hide behind our words
because we can’t shoulder
our share of the blame.
Push our minds to bend
the rules of the world.
Throw our intellectual weight
behind those certain systems
we find attractive and ignore
what we really lost.

Reality. Realism. Be realistic.
All terms that died
with people that did fuck all
with their lives. People that killed
themselves by choosing to live
a system they had given
in too. People who ended
up not living, not loving,
but making-do like the housewife
and the office worker
that wanted to be a stage musician
or astronaut, but threw
in the towel before trying.

All we are is hope.
Hope exists. Hope persists.
But what is hope without action?

I am the man that sits in the cupboard.
The man that sits in the cupboard
and hugs himself to sleep
with cigarettes and cartons of orange juice.
Waiting for you to come
and open the door
because I don’t think I can do it myself
with these hands
that crumble like biscuits.



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