the sun shone
like it knew we needed it
to keep us from falling apart.
we came together
a family lost in grief
that someone so strong
could ever really be gone.
he loved. God, did he love.
he was loved. God, was he loved.
he was our rock
the foundation on which
we leaned, the steady presence
the towering oak
from whose acorns
grew images of his greatness.
he was the calm eye
in the centre of the world's storm
he was our serene place
his was a kind face
a quiet giant, who sailed
with a gentle smile
and he never, never stopped loving.
to the end he fought brave
Sometimes I look at myself and everything's just wrong;
I've got nothing where there should be stuff and random bits stuck on
and there's changes happening to some parts as time's moving along
but there's nothing I can do to change the way that I was born.
I don't hate my body, mind, it's been good to me through life
and I know some of it will be fixed with help of surgeon's knife
but I need some help convincing folks I'm husband, not his wife
when my voice betrays me, but to tell them could cost me my life.
And I know I should be grateful to live in the time I'm in
when things are moving forward and I can show the man within
to doctors who
I rage because children live fearful
for their lives, because our answer
is always more bombs, because we think
that dead children are collateral damage
and that their parents deserve the despair
of losing a son or daughter so precious.
I storm because my peers forget
that people are real and they bleed
and they feel, and they cry, and they
lose their will to live when babies
are torn apart by a force they can't control
sent by the government of a country
that hates them, and they don't understand
why hatred exists, what they have done
in their ordinary lives to deserve it.
I cry because it could so easily
be my little boy raising his arms
A woman films swans swimming serenely on the lake.
Her camera doesn't see the kicking feet beneath the surface;
nobody sees the force the dignified creature puts in to every stroke
of its huge webbed feet, propelling it across the water
in a way that seems so effortless, to the casual observer.
But while we see a gentle, carefree meander across a lake
the swan knows pain. The swan knows the battle of endeavour,
the power it must exert in order to fulfil its journey.
The swan knows struggle, it knows how to push itself
to painful limits and beyond in order to achieve its goal.
All the watcher sees is a swan gently swimming across the water.
Nobody ever said, of me,
"and those eyelashes - wasted on a boy!"
but they were.
One Christmas morning I awoke
excited for a bright red bicycle
my first, red for strength and fire;
but it was pink.
The little boy I was knew pink wasn't for me
(though the man I became adores it)
and disappointment seared through me
interwoven with the guilt of the audacity
of feeling disappointment.
Of course, my parents hadn't known
I desperately wanted a red bike.
They saw their daughter and thought
she was beautiful and pink suited her.
Nobody ever said, of me,
"What a bonny wee lad! So handsome, so strong!"
but I was.
When I was ten I was so desperat
I’m sorry that I let you believe
the bullshit binary beliefs
of cis society on sex.
I’m sorry I wouldn’t let you
speak up for yourself.
I’m sorry that a midwife
slapped your arse and declared
you were a certain type of person
based on what she saw between your legs.
I’m sorry I let you let them
dress you up like a pretty doll.
Looking back, you were beautiful
and I am sad for them
that you never existed.
I’m sorry I never told anybody
that the reason all your teddy bears
were boys, was because you felt
closer to them, that way.
I’m sorry I didn’t speak out.
I’m sorry that the boy withi
The world moves
and I move with it, a speck of dust
on a child's globe.
Silence surrounds my beating heart
except birdsong through an open window,
then broken by playful foxes
speaking in tongues.
I try to listen to the words of the universe
spoken to all but seldom heard
but all I hear is blood
rushing in my ears in gentle thuds.
Outside, the air is cool enough
to dry the sweat on my brow
and cleanse my aching lungs.
Body unbound, I feel more free
than daylight ever allows me
and the hairs on my skin rustle
in a gentle breeze.
The universe speaks, and I crane to listen
to its wisest words
but I am too imperfect
Don't sanitise me when I'm dead.
Don't dress me in a suit, fill your heads
with notions of perfection I couldn't fulfil
in life, and never can in death.
Don't erase the parts of me that hurt you -
don't delete my dubious history.
Rip out the rings from my pin-cushion face
coat my tattoos in makeup to hide
from the world things which made me look unique
but don't hide from the world my true warts
my faults and foibles, don't
pretend I was a saint.
Don't dress me up as special when I'm gone.
Don't stand at an altar spreading lies
about what a good person I was
in life, when you know that's not the truth.
Don't forget the parts of me that made
He whispered down a cold telephone line
voice crackling with crisp anger
dripping threats that chilled my soul
"Why did you tell him I raped you?"
Heart beating to an out-of-time drum
hairs standing up, reaching away from me
as I wanted to get away from myself
but mostly from his voice on the line.
No words. No murmur. Barely breath, even
the world stood still and I panicked
guilt and shame rising in my throat like bile
stinging my unmoving tongue. I must
have made a noise, some involuntary sound
a death-rattle from my heaving stomach.
"Why?" he repeated, and I could barely think,
let alone speak the words. Because you did.
Because you did.
A fox skitters down the street on claws
sharpened on kerb-stones and dumping-grounds
It glances up at this two-legged stranger
as it passes, speeding up to escape perceived danger.
A man sleeps in a doorway; it is a warm night
so his possessions bundled make a resting-place
for his weary head, and he sleeps uncovered.
The fox pays him no mind, he is part of the furniture.
A drunken group sashays along the pavement, the silk-garbed
crowd parting for the casual stroller in denim and boots.
Giggling, they speak in high pitches of nothing at all.
The fox gives wide berth, fearing the noise.
Two men, loud, walking along the middle of the road
the roughness of the top of your head on my lips
the day after you've shaved away the hairs
sends tingles through the core of my being
the roundness of your belly pressed against mine
when we are skin-to-skin like newborns
is warmth and joy and lust-filled friendship
the fingers tough from plucking guitar-strings
tracing unknown words into the small of my back
feel like secret poetry written through my skin
and I'm no good at writing love poems
even into the soft skin of your back
and I'm no good at telling you my heart's words
but you need to know your body thrills me
and you need to know that even though
I find words so hard they stick
And now we wait for the magic to begin
with scarlet lights in our eyes
and stars twinkling in our veins
we watch, noiseless and screaming
and wait for the spectacle.
And then, then it begins
every dot of carbon in our bodies
effervesces in glittering fireworks
and our minds write poems in the stars
which course through us like lightning.
And then the moment peaks
and we swim through the artist's strokes
painted with a brush floating through clouds
each of us a mirror of the other
reflecting star-filled words on words.
And finally, post-crescendo breaths
skim softly rounded pebbles on our hearts
leaving stardust as they gently bounce
I roll another cigarette. The sun
is beginning to come up; tiny rays
of hope for another day
as the rest of the world sleeps.
Birds sing softly, songs of joy
and pleasure. I am alone
yet never alone. My world carries me,
the Universe has plans for all of us
and I sip slowly on hot tea
and contemplate its plan for me.
I roll another cigarette
and listen to the world awaken
around me, tiny stirrings of hope
for another day for all of us;
the saved and the damned.
I wonder if each morning I hear
the same birds, if they sing for me -
and feel too self-important, they
sing for anyone with a mind to listen.
We spend too much time not listening.
What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
by any other name would smell as sweet
but what a name really means no-one knows
a word we give each other when we meet
and meaningless, for some, who feel that they
are nameless, who lack identification
with the label they were given on the day
that their so-kind mothers gave them incarnation
Even names we've chosen feel like clothing
that doesn't fit or rubs our skin too hard;
to speak aloud our name invokes a loathing
for that which others use like an ID card.
And so we nameless avoid speaking aloud
the name of which we're meant to be so proud.
I spend my days in a haze
of nicotine, caffeine and codeine
so I can function; there's no option
with a kid who needs me upright
compos mentis, sweetness and light.
It keeps away the headaches
burning skin and aches and pains
so he can hug me and I'll feel him
without wincing and pushing him
away because my skin is burning.
And I've been tossing and turning
all night, aware that my plight
is that of hundreds, even thousands;
it helps to know I'm not alone
that others' skin, muscle and bone
betrays them, they're also in a haze
that keeps us sane, contains
the bane of our existences
sustains us, maintains
our ability to function for our loved o
I wrap myself around you
hand resting on the sweet curve of your belly
absent-mindedly stroking soft hairs
as you breathe the heavy breath of sleep.
This is our time,
though you don't know it
time when I breathe in the back of your neck
all sweat and fabric softener and soap.
This is when I protect you.
When you murmur fear I comfort you
When you shift I accommodate.
The rhythm of your breathing comforts me
so I deliberate, breathing in time with you
my chest rising and falling against your back.
My knees fit perfectly into the smalls of yours
to say we are a two-piece puzzle would be a cliché
but a true one.
I sing his name softly as I sleep,
hearing echoes of him while I dream,
my thoughts in slumber like a tumbling stream,
his syllables bring calmness to the deep.
I sing his name quietly in my days,
a constant sountrack to my own existence;
knowing however far or near the distance
he's lighting my life with the brightest rays.
I sing him, dreaming, waking, in-between.
I sing him while I daydream, my sweet dove
who fills my life so fully with his love
that keeps my heart alive, and pure, and clean.
If life's a journey through the mists of time,
may his ever fall step-by-step with mine.
salt-mouthed, eyes pouring
but he's sure he's not crying
he's sure there was nothing
but the sound of his singing.
he makes his heart sing
he brings things to fruition
in his soul-deep cavernous
the closeness is hazardous
to the health of their minds
but they persist, coexist
with each other, they've kissed
a hundred thousand times
and it's never enough for him,
or for him. he writes poems
like hymns for him. his back teeth
ache from need, from the greed
he feels when he sees his skin.
his fingertips shout obscene
sweet nothings to his ready cheek.
he falls further into an abyss
filled with kisses and bliss.