heart

unshed

scaggy bits of behind-fences

scan past, scad by

on the side of the train track

and I see the torso of

a dead deer or kangaroo that had

too many ribs too close together

and some of the skin was still there

my unuttered scream

is trapped somewhere in my chest

or at the base of my neck

an anxious vapour, a cloying veil

I am so afraid I can’t cut through

and share the poignancy of the world

beside the railway or

the pink clouds over the ocean

that are the colour of a ribbon for a girl

a pink ribbon that would show a spatter of blood

bright red at first then fading to brown,

rusty like dirt like old wounds like

dusk of the golden hour like

Sunday on the shortest day of the year

as evening closes down like

unshed tears, a stain

somewhere near my heart

a red-brown patch that

will never be washed away

do you know this feeling. Do you? Do you

do you unweep, unscream

and hold that feeling, yes that one

in your body

on a train?

 

Photo by Emile Guillemot on Unsplash

Name it

 

Disbelief – it’s hard to believe this is happening. Or that it’s quite real.

Grief – immense sadness for the loss of life as we know/knew it.

Fear – I’m afraid, not really of getting sick but of the unknown. How long it will last? What will it mean for the world when we come out of this? Are the freedoms we’re giving up (grudgingly but willingly) going to be restored? How long until the fabric of society starts to unravel? What about for my kids? Their social lives, in some ways, are more tenuous, but also more resilient. What will the world look like for them at the end of this or down the track? Will it be merely a blip or a huge game-changer?

Hope – things could get better. The collective coming-together of everyone across the planet or even just everyone in my street. The environment breathing a sigh of relief with most planes grounded, much heavy industry at a halt (I presume? Are kids still mining cobalt in the Congo?), way less cars on the road etc.

Compassion – I mean, are those kids sill mining cobalt? Even if the mine has shut, would their lives be better? Fuck me. And, closer to home, so many facing financial difficulties, grappling with mental health and physical confinement. Illness. All the things.

 

How is my heart doing? – I have learnt a lot about how to cope with difficult things in the past few years. Particularly over the past 14 months or so, I have gone inward and deeper on the lifelong journey of feeling and negotiating my emotions. This is rather than numbing them out, attempting to ignore or run away from them.

I’m grateful for this ‘training’.

I’m glad I am strong, even in the midst of feeling highly vulnerable.

I’m relieved I can still exercise outside on my own. For how long, who knows?

I’m surprised to be working in one of the few ‘growth industries’ during the Covid-19 crisis, Communications.

I know my situation is better off than many, if not most, and that I am lucky. But comparison is not helpful and I must also acknowledge how I’m feeling: disbelieving, fearful, grief-stricken yet also hopeful and compassionate.

 

I will write some more poems this week. I think I need to.

Thanks for listening.

 

Photo: from this morning’s run – this gent told me (from a safe distance) to turn around and see the rainbow! I snapped a pic of him as he walked away.

Heartplace

it was pink and curved

it was black thick-pile velvet

it had the tacky floor of a Camden boozer

and it smelled like clothes

in the morning

before

the smoking ban

small enough

to hold in one hand

forearms rest on thighs

an imperfect fleshy sphere

a soggy cosmetic sponge

pink-brown, is that my skintone?

outdated,  like a cord-phone

a soaked-in scent of hangovers

fumes of long ago

mine, tongue-smooth, alone…

lazy, comfortable, like home

 

Soundcloud recording: https://soundcloud.com/user-808707280/heartplace

Image: https://unsplash.com/@agebarros

cars & guitars

try to pin thoughts

like pressing guitar strings into

my heart – tender meat – but

I never learnt that instrument

apart from listening

my fingers, so clumsy

I can’t. No. I can’t

understand anymore

where do I start

already halfway gone, and

there’s no place to

pull in

open up my bonnet

tweak the engine, maybe

put a new one in

 

Photo: https://unsplash.com/@felipeluiz27