Poetry

Just Standing Here

I see so much
just standing here
here or wherever I am

I see people’s rhythms
and rituals

the magnificent clouds
I drool upon
then quietly
the stars and shifting moon.

Frost on my skin
the sun scorching my eyes
I don’t discriminate or admonish
the conditions I tolerate

incense burns in the sacrament
a slug crawls in the drizzle and rain

my lungs fill with smoke

I’ll be here again.

gc©15

…….

The Monster Came

Seen in the distance,
For eight long years
You walked the same twelve steps,
In blustery rooms
You shared your story
And each promise you kept

But then the monster came
Took you in its depths
To find a new rock
At the bottom
Of its disease.

gc©18

…….

Sarajevo

I wanted to love you Sarajevo
I listened to cello music
with strings and harp
and hoped you would greet me
with open arms

I painted a room as I said I would
with layers of translucent red
a pastel shade
not the sharpness of rose
or bitterness

the people are looking but not seeing
or was it just the ghosts I sensed
following me
every lonely mile
I walked and prayed

the contours of your face are beautiful
and the sunlight softens the scars
the cello plays
I did want to love you
Sarajevo.

gc©17

…….

Help Me Down The Mountain

Help
me down the
mountain

these
terrible craggy
rocks

I’m sorry
I came up this
way

without
my shoes and
socks

gc©17

…….

Your Colours

I love your palette of colours,
the way you sweep into a room
in a playful sunflower yellow
and talk in gentle waves of blue,
the deep burnt sienna of your eyes
warms and cheers the coolest of
greens; seen by you lifts spirit
upwards, with the good humour
of satsuma orange; but it’s from
those mysterious wells of violet,
where you have suffered and lost,
that your depth of understanding
has blossomed into a beautiful rose.

gc©16

…….

A Half-Frayed Truth

It’s a lifetimes work
To unravel all the knots
And learn how to love

I’m a sinking ship
A half-frayed truth that means well
If I am honest

gc©17

…….

Shard of Glass

You can measure my love
in fathoms or by the shard of glass
lodged in my skin,
in the breadths and heights
I leave you sleeping
to appear in your lucid dream;
here we stroll in Zemun again
before I drown in the Danube
sunk by the salt of a tear

I surface in my home town
look for you in the midst of childhood
and all my toys,
in the widths and depths
I hear you waking
so begins the long walk towards you;
forty years on I take your hand
to fight and amend
all our battles lost.

gc©16

…….

I Missed You Everywhere

When you left,

in the part of me

that yearned,

in the part of me

that burned,

I missed you everywhere;

and in that everywhere

of urgent longing,

I couldn’t find you anywhere,

in the nowhere

I went.

gc©18

….

“Just Like a Boyfriend”

Coffee and cake
at Marylebone station
she looks pretty
in the afternoon light
shows me a picture of her boy
nine years old
lives outside Chongqing
near a lake
we take the tube north to her next place
doesn’t like the job but the money is good
told me “Two or three times a day
just like a boyfriend is okay”
but when it’s ten or more
she’s shattered and worn
sleeps for days when the weekends done
not a bed of roses I might say
at Golders Green
we walk across town
and find the flat after searching around
I drag her suitcase
to the top floor
just a warm hug
before she steps through the door.

gc©18

…….

War is Okay

war is okay

I can sidle up
to a sweet cappuccino

put down the paper,
click off the news

and sigh

before a slice of
lemon drizzle cake

and a swift
movement of my arm

to cut off
my neighbour’s ear

gc©18

…….

Rifle Shots

You have to read
between the lines,
the ‘why’ and ‘when’
to everything I say
are full stops to
my sentences,
the rifle shots
that pen me into a
dark little corner;
I need to breathe my love,
only from a distance
will you know me
and your aim be true.

gc©18

…….

The Elements Seen

I watched you gazing
over the sea to the horizon
at a strip of deep blue green
shimmering unworldly
between the elements seen

I knew
you’d answered your life task
in the classrooms
where young minds ask

you read children
as poetry and words unseen
filling their un-worldliness
with a teachers love.

gc©17

…….

No Use Hissing

No use hissing

night train coming
long black shadow
with missing teeth

soft kisses spelled you
my arms held you

so why are you leaving now?

I’m the artery
I need you vena cava
Venus de Milo so listless and blue

I’m the dope
you’re the junkie
damn your needs

you can always stay.

gc©15

…….

Mystery Drama

For twelve weeks,
twelve long weeks Maria,
I dripped with sweat
beneath the colours
of world evolution
on this stage of
utter loneliness,
we the stage hands,
bühnen helfers
scurried like church
mice at the altar
of your becoming,
you never spoke to me,
but memory will never
let you go, having seen
your art, your mastery,
when from the wings,
in hushed shadows
I watched you,
mesmerised,
as if you softly breathed
another soul into you,
my body shivered in awe,
seeing you become
someone else.

gc©16

…….

Sylvia

I was lucky to live with such a view
for a few years before I had to move

seasons sullen lapped against my door
the restless weather was never a bore

in the distance is a church you can see
where poetry rests in a fitful sleep.

gc©17

…….

Portland

we sat silent
on the flight
over

bitter anger
sticking like
treacle

not a word
between Seattle
and Tacoma

in Portland
we were glad
we’d come

gc©15

…….

Beyond Reproach

seeing your number
in a shop window
the curvaceous writing
is what caught my eye

I liked your voice
when you took my call
it was soft and warm
of duvets and pillows

soon you heard me
on the gravel drive
my wanton footsteps
to your front door

you kissed me on the lips
when I stepped in
a greeting beyond
reproach and of taste

when my time was spent
you didn’t rush me away
you made a cup of tea
which was the nicest thing

we sat on the step
and smoked a cigarette
and when the phone rang
you just let it ring

gc©17

…….

Up to Heptonstall

It’s good to be back here
if only for a little while
retracing my footsteps
for just a couple of miles

I like to breathe the Yorkshire air
and walk the country lanes
hear the accent I was born to
and see the views again

I step past the old co-op houses
the glass is leaded but clear
I like to look through people’s windows
and make no exceptions here

it’s an easy stroll down the hill
a sweeping turn on Ackroyd lane
the stream and dry stone walls
are the features of this terrain

I arrive in Hebden Bridge and sit
outside a cafe on a silver chair
a cappuccino and a buttered scone
watching people in The Square

my thoughts fly to the Philippines
I miss my friend not sitting here
he works in an International school
only comes back once a year

I cross the river on the old stone bridge
for the hardest part of the walk
a heart pounding incline on cobblestone
that neither bends nor forks

on the road up to Heptonstall
views are opening far and wide
the wonderful luscious greenery
the magnificent scented sky

the eight bell tower chimes
above the weavers cottages of old
it’s a village trapped in time
and of distant battles foretold

I sit on a bench to catch my breath
a tourist comes over to ask
I point towards the old church yard
and the grave of Sylvia Plath

gc©15

.……

I’m a Bee

I am now a bee
unexpectedly
dramatically
changed from what I was
buzzing in the breeze
flower to flower
collecting pollen
then writing my words
flying key to key
everything is not
what it appears
now that I’m a bee

gc©16

…….

A Furtive Glance

when the day comes
the world wide web
will groan into life,
a parasitic force,
huge and monstrous,
of sub nature
between rock and plant

looking back in history
we only see ourselves,
yet a furtive glance
at the days to come;
sees beckoning hands
for our sharpest swords
and all the love
we can muster

gc©16

…….

Yes you go

Yes you go
with your insecurities
and rehashed nonsense
about who I am
and pick up your
amateur psychology
books that made
you think you can
rewrite the history
of my biography
and dirty every
love I’ve cherished
and don’t forget
your suitcase of
criticisms that have
riddled my hands
with eczema again
and beneath the sun
and under which
you have called me
every name imaginable
without one word of
apology
or remission
or a gesture
that would make
me warm again
yes you go.

gc©15

…….

Oh Briony!

Sitting cross-legged in school assembly
a little note was coming down the line,
there were giggles and little ‘shushes’
as it was passed along and peeped at by
every Tom. And when that note finally
got to me, the whole school turned to
look and see, as the name on the written
piece was for yours truly. I opened the
fold and saw that it was from Briony,
the girl I loved and my first kiss but in
a month of Sundays I was not expecting
this. ‘I never did like you. Goodbye
forever’ are the words I read. There and
then the whole school roared as I went
crimson red. Something died in me that
day as I lowered my head and tried not
to cry. Oh Briony I was so in love with
you, the chocolate bars and jewelry too,
all the lovely gifts I stole for you. Now
the kids they laugh and scoff, how could
you make me into such a laughing stock?

gc©17

…….

Nocturne

When you etched your words
on a salted pillow
I knew you wanted to forgive me.

In gold leaf and stencils
in miles and miles of silence
I tried to cross the bridge back
to where we could sleep.

gc©15

…….

Flight

No bridges crossed
but your fingertips lightly touching my face
is the migration of birds across continents
and for that
I love you.

gc©18

…….

Valentine

Can we today stop the flow of blood,
pretend to heal the wounds

so you can dance
like you did those years ago

my hands are free and my chest heaves
to play the music of love again.

gc©18

…….

Lübeck

remember those quiet days
reading Herman Hesse
and de Maupassant;
the walks down Kotwitzstrasse
to Seven Towers and Marzipan Lane…
we’d kiss sometimes
if no one was looking,
then in the cafes
“Zwei café bitte mit milch und zucker”
and with my Yorkshire accent
it was always good to see you laugh

gc©16

.……

Thank you for reading.