These Streets

This evening as I walked along streets I've traced countless times before, a thought took hold. 'How wonderfully fragile and changeable the human mind is'. Years ago, upon these same streets I'd nurse tales of woe and be unkind to myself in the basement of my mind. As those streetlights glared back at me, I was a particle of dust , bereft of hope and significance. Even contribution was an act of existential guilt. All this heavy on my spine as I wearily trudged through the days. Yet through the days, the months and years that were to unfold... Came a new way of being. Seemingly through attrition, the roots of despair came to wither. Exposed by questions. Starved by the ascension of gratitude and choice. No longer frivolous intellectual notions but palpable truths of the day to day realities of living .As the grip of victimhood unraveled, there was space for new things to grow. New colours where there was only black and white. New layers above a greedy undertow. A life richer than binary choices. The capacity to receive love.

What contrast upon the same streets, within the same skin. What capacity we have to shape and shift our perceptions. But is not only human to forget this power we wield? How vigilant and compassionate we must be to ourselves and others as we scale the mountains and swim through the oceans of circumstance.

The Divide

Who decides which side of the divide we reside in?

Were the lines drawn on primordial earth

or is this the unfolding of the lottery of birth.

 

Collapsed upon a chair, gripped by fever

The scales of justice weigh down against her.

A statistic in a maligned welfare trend.

Name tarnished, fate condemned

Single mother of two on minimum wage,

Piecing together a dream in a sweltering cage.

For young that can rise  & be proud to stand

Above the  cost of  birth with a poor hand.

 

Outside malls, crowds line up for iphones and ipads,

Willing hostages,  to marketing and expensive fads,

A  generation raised by TV on ritalin and  fast food,

Proud children of Gekko because "greed is good"

Self worth outsourced , income outspent

No time for introspection , to examine discontent.

Some claw  up the rungs , no values to represent.

Inherit the keys to palaces, pull the strings above the scene,

Ancient story on repeat,   power a drug  through poverty obscene.

 

On the corner across a street

Where they say the" vagrants" meet,

With  hands stretched out towards a fire,

A  community in these times deemed dire.

A brother questions  the point of it all,

This business  of  robbing Peter to pay Paul,

Through  jobs with no meaning

for  debt with no ceiling.

I killed in Afghanistan for peace at home

Now I'm forgotten , my welcome worn,

Tell me it's true, this spin about a meritocracy,

Show  me a place where sweat and blood is currency.

 

Oh who decides which side

of the divide we reside in?

Were the lines drawn on primordial earth,

or is this the unfolding of the lottery of birth.

Black Mirror

Themes of death seepedinto my dreams as a child. Streams of existential guilt flowing into scenes of judgement and descents into an eviscerating infinity. Over and over.

Maturity first bred weariness, Deep in teenage flux, twisting through the purpose of my time, Preordained or to be determined? My thoughts anchored in morbidity. "For I did not choose to be"

Alas I did not implode, but rather, Surrendered to the fevers of thought, A victim reduced to mere survival, till the burden set me free. Now impassioned by mortality I see...

It was a black mirror to peer inside, To find joy where I once cried.

Identity

The endless possibility of my identity,Bound by a chain of bittersweet recollections, Am I a mere vessel for the past in the present? Like an oak adding layers over years, Tall and mighty yet clinging to sapling dreams.

Am I bound by your memories? As a son, a brother, a friend, a lover. Time can be the mind's corrupt governor, Knotting memories into your being, That occupy the present and taint your heart with the fear of repetition, And an unjust weariness that belittles life's essence.

Am I a memory of self-unfolding?

If I am to be a vessel, May it not be to ancient whispers, lacquered with incessant after-thought. May I instead be a host to my own humanity, Alive to the decay that darkness brings Through shadows that impersonate life.

You've been hiding in the undertow, Let me see the face hidden from my own eyes. May I be ever present in the now, For that is all there will ever be of me.

Melpomene

Drawing breath from the depths of a dream,
you swim beneath the solitude of skin,
to the primal pulse of my mind's eye,
where I yearn for your fugitive lips.

Your language, not of the tongue,
swells with the promise of home.
And my eyes hunger upon wake,
through the doubt of day,
for the mere sight of you...

Yet words are but the surface,
shimmering arrows to the wind,
there is no labour in tenderness,
only the ache of our separation.
For your beauty is a feeling that flows,
like the seasons through the trees.

Of Blank Pages

The blank page before me is a white ocean of melancholy. Do I dare fill its expanse and deprive it of its gleam? For it is a mere mess of words that I have to offer, the scribblings of a pen. As I sit here in this park, starring at this page, a strange automation takes hold. One where one's mind is beset with the relentless emotional spectrum of days gone by.How laughable it must be, at the age of twenty four, reflecting upon life as if it's zenith was an exclamation mark that I never caught sight of. Or perhaps it is the inevitable damnation of the thinker's soul, to examine fruitlessly, the beauty, the pain and the deficiencies of the past. Yet it is in this arrest that I often feel more alive, more so than when called upon by my name in this peaceful but stagnant present.

This bench has known little but quiet accommodation and these blades of grass are green with purpose. The afternoon sun's dreamy glow filters through the canopy as dust dances through its beams. The air is patient with me, keeping me company with its gentle cooling motion.

I am not detached from this beauty, at least not as much as I suppose. Contentment is the colour absent in this palette and I miss it's serenity with each passing moment. In these moments of stillness, when honesty fills every pore...I contemplate the source of these shades of dark that render me so desolate. And it spills before me, in a wave witnessed by no one but this page, no longer blank.

It would be easy to imagine. How my heart could cease to emanate love as it does in my daydreams. For what we call a heart is a mere space in our minds and our minds are volatile. If love is sealed within us, protected from harm, how many cracks does it take? Before it leaks out and that sacred space is parched and replaced with sorrow? I know not...I tremble at the thought of such things. I see my bruises, they are in my eyes as they glisten and my voice as it softens. I can speak of the toll of years and it would mean little to anyone but myself. But life is such, our stories beneath the skin.

I want to love another without refrain, how plain it sounds, but inescapably true. To feel alive as I did long ago...no..more so...but free of my shortsightedness. I feel it bottled inside me, caged in suppression, oh the passion beneath. I smile to myself, a smile of self defeat. How strange it is, how the intensity of your own confined passion can constrict you, to the point of utter desolation. A desire to love another that escapes rational comprehension...with the sole hope of them realising...that this is the pinnacle of life. That come what may...there's a center that holds firm. Yet there is no trace of a recipient, is this caged luminosity so far hidden....clearly so...as I walk alone in wake and sleep.

These afternoons, I hear it clearer, the cries that missed my listening, speaking through the calm. I feel a lightness of being as when the truth is surfaced before your very eyes. The very truth that I have concealed in seek of strength. For to admit to sorrow and loneliness would seem to be a sign of defeat. But if the truth is defeat then I am lost...for I cannot bear this self deceit, this race I run, sullen on the inside. If I were to have my own time, if only. But time is but a mechanical measure and it has no command over my emotions.

These memories may never fade but I long for new ones, a cerulean sky I can touch and remember for an eternity. For a kiss that is immaculate in recollection, free from the reach of regret. For my words to have substance to another upon reading.

I dream...for that is all one can do...I dream of these pages I fill being the light through the catacombs. and the sun through summer. That upon their reading, an understanding so powerful is reached...a deep gaze of recognition would follow. Bound to each other as these beams are to the sun above them. These blank pages will hold me till then, or till my passing.

May I never forget the gracious space you allow for the shades of my soul. I am a host to words - no more, no less....they are my surface and my center.

Desire

There is longing in me, of that there is little doubt. It is the thread that runs through these pages I've filled as I gaze in wonder through moving perspex and a carriage carries me through a network of routine. This pen is the very voice of my existence and this pad, the necessary ears that bear witness to the depths of me. Together we speak beyond the tedium that renders our souls unconscious. Through the barriers of fear and hostility that keep us at a distance from one another. This morning I found myself enveloped in a mist of sorrow, filling my chest with each step to the station. As I sat by the window, I felt its weight crystallize within and speak to me of its presence.

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Camouflage

10001256_1482858265266305_1650620046_o "I've lived and died in the mirrors of strangers eyes.

Drawing from a cast of thousands, each elaborate disguise.

Yet even in this theatre, Primed for weary reprise, An inquiry ripples through, Under the skin of old lies.

Who am I? But In between and unseen longing for someone to recognise"

Glimmer

  Some nights I distill the foundations of my will,

Tracing the depths of this yearning to be of use.

I ask if it predates upon the inequities of circumstance,
Feeding upon a marrow of injustice.
Or if it is the revelation of a thread that binds us all
in a fabric beyond the dictates of thought.
And if these years unravel towards the truth of it,
It moves past fallacies and false dichotomies, There is no giver and receiver.
For it is through acts of contribution,
Through the mirror of interdependence,
That I have peered beneath this skin,
Into a world I can sincerely embrace.
Where sorrow is fertile soil for seeds of joy.

Far

 

The waves washed us clean...

Buoyant beasts in midday sun,

Diving deep beneath cacophony,

Breath baited to shores unseen.

 

"For where does one go?

When cast into dwellings of doubt,

built only for the joy of smoke.

When caught between

daily races

and the lure of the stars?

When the earth is arid

for seeds you long to sow?"

 

A cerulean surrender,

A tender balm of silence,

Seeping through window pores,

into chambers not yet a home.

 

In this graceful suspension,

With fortunes set to the currents,

There is no knowing

of how far we'll go...

Grow

It often appears to me that we have a cavernous hunger within our psyche. An insatiable appetite for knowing that rumbles through our blood and bones. An often bittersweet reverence of predictability. One that manifests itself in innocuous practicalities that make contemporary life, many would argue, better! Yet amidst our  intricate maps, our technology, systems and methods ...I am often encumbered by a thought. The thought  that men and women may well forge forward to understand the intricacies of stars and planets, even inhabit them, without having journeyed inward with purpose. Inward into that murky landscape some call the soul. The palette of artists, authors, musicians  and  the timeless pedestal of seers, prophets and philosophers. That map-less terrain upon which no house can ever be built . For its soil is teeming with life that is felt but never seen. A life that cracks through the naive predictability of all the foundations we attempt to lay upon its surface.

Ah...how I have detested these spaces within!   Its taunting  mixtures of fear and memory.  Its unending questions, its grip upon all corners of time; the past, present and future all confused within its unending  universe. The burden of thought with each plunge for answers, like sifting through the Sahara with a spoon!  An endeavor that left my hopes parched, desires unfulfilled and  me, alone in the eviscerating heat of an impossible escape.

Escape...for it was in the chaos of struggle that I was plunged into these depths I now refer to as soil. Yet in truth, it possessed no label, it was a place of suffering in my eyes, an abstraction in the depths of my mind from which I sought refuge. Refuge earned in desperate doses , albeit in brief moments of fantasy, of gratitude and service to others. A surface  smile  and sarcastic charm that veiled the intensity of suffering beneath. For that murky undertow, in all its depravity,  could not be accepted.  It needed to be suppressed,  if at all possible, forgotten, as if it were some torrid imagining. For above it all was where life was worthwhile, even if it were a spectacle tasked with distraction. It was a life one could speak of , one which could be rationalised and planned for.

Alas... if you have attempted this with great earnest, you must  feel the weight of the  air beneath my sigh when I say that it is an exercise in futility. For I walked countless roads, with both feet and mind, only to return to the incessant beat of my core. That pounding within, like Poe's Tell-Tale Heart, unyielding in its seek of my sincere attention. Laughing at my meager armoury, my fondness of distress,  all too aware of my tenderness.

Oh how weary I grew! Spent and ashamedly confused. Believe me... I do not lay claim to any convenient wisdom or badges of courage in saying any of this. For in entering this world, we are bereft of choice and as such, living is an act of courage that we all partake in. If at all, the intensity of weariness rendered me momentarily blind. Blind to pictures painted, roles cast and stories told.  Fatigue tore open a void within which I could eventually summon the strength to see anew.

For in the depths of my weariness, questions simmered in the darkness. Centered on the utility of this murky core I endured visits to. "Surely there must be a purpose to it beyond suffering? These cycles of remembrance, these self deprecating projections ...do they serve any purpose?" This line of thought, in the winding canals of my  day dreams,  were incisive.They  opened me to the possibility of extracting some use from the smoke within. Smoke from fires started long ago. And this is how I came to call my core...my soil. For utility implies the potential of  growth and for any of consequence to grow...there must be fertile soil.

DSC_0063

Could it not be that we are akin to seedlings, tunneling through an ambiguous earth in seek of sustenance? A journey in which our roots persistently swim through the damp earth of our experiences, tasked with the purpose of growth.  Our leaves and branches in a vibrant dance to the songs of the sun, until the moon invites us to dream.  A gorgeous symbiosis. For what is one without the other? Does a tree with shallow roots not risk the felling of its ambitions by the winds of circumstance?  Does a system of roots, so attuned to the underground, not languish and lose heart without the joy of the sun?  Without the sweet longing of its flowers and fruits to be of use to this world?  Oh does this thought  not shake to the foundations our infantile tales of light and dark? Does this not at the very least prompt us to consider how little we value struggle, our supposed demons, our darkness in the depths of our minds. Does it not ask us, in spite (and moreover because) of our fears,  to dig deeper into our beings as opposed to building towers atop false foundations?

Oh brothers and sisters, forgive any pretense contained herein. In this rambling cerebral alchemy. For it is with unending sincerity that  I share the truth of my realizations. I have long seen within, a hideous being, barely fit to persist. A swirl of smokey images that lingered all the more when I sought to escape them. Is it only when I chose to borrow deeper that I could see their fires of origin, the innocence of the starter. When doused with loving temperance, oh the lessons, the fertility contained in the ash!  Oh the relief, the surge of power that flows through your being when these words swim within you....

" From all that has come to pass...how will I to grow?"

The Story of your Life

Are not we not the result of billions of stories flowing through the winds of time, through amniotic memories, through our fragile veins? An intricately woven legacy of humanity that inspires awe, gratitude, fear and cavernous shame in equal measure An epic filled with heroes, villains and spectators...each defined by the storyteller. Yet brothers and sisters in the depths of this continuing epic... is there a story more important than the saga that is your life? For while we inherit a legacy of glories and wounds.... Do you not wield the pen that scripts the tale of your life? Do you not possess that truthful voice that you can employ to narrate your brief existence? And is there not tremendous choice in its telling? Yet what colours do we paint ourselves with... Beyond the primary palette of heroism, villainy and victimhood? Have you considered the significance of your existence in this sprawling epic? If so do you weep upon the perception of being a mere notch in a grandiose tapestry. Or are you grateful to be a part at all... resonating with the responsibility held within that 'notch'. Alas I cannot help but feel that the only telling of my story that is of any consequence... Is the one I write write with my own pen and voice with trembling passion. A story that ends with my breathing and flows to serve that of another as they choose.
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Beacons of the Present

In the depths of the haze I was in, I found solace in the strangest things. I was waiting for the reasons to dawn on me, reasons to persevere, to rejoice in the midst of my despondency. Not the reasons of intellect, those wisps of so called insight have never had the roots to survive within me. I was waiting for reasons that would reverberate through my very being. I was waiting as I would for the train at Central Station every evening ...for a timely means to get me home. And It was here that a peculiar habit started to form...

New Bern Pigeon[1]

 

One day I rose from the catacombs of thought and my eyes chanced upon a group of pigeons roosting on the platform's rafters. Their breathing seemingly vigorous and brimming with vitality. Their movements like uninhibited expressions of every impulse swimming within them. I was captivated by this scene and thereafter, I would habitually scan the rafters and while away the wait. Days turned to weeks and then to months. I'd often feel the borders of a rare smile on my face upon each sighting.

I ask myself what it was that drew me to this seemingly unspectacular scene each day. Perhaps it was a sense of kinship I felt in their seemingly frantic ways, their apparent lack of direction and purpose. Their subservience to impulse. Their existence in the shadows of the lives of others, relegated and labelled rats of the skies , scavenging upon the scraps of those who truly lived.

Or was it very different? Was it that I perceived their manner as being reflective of an intensity of living I sought? A freedom from the shackles of thought. Did they encapsulate a vitality and innocence lost to the largely mechanical, discontent passengers below? Were they smiling at the useless smoke I was mired in? Was I smiling back because some part of me recognised this?

Alas it is the nature of the mind to examine all of this in hindsight. To vilify or to romanticize, to simplify or to add layers to what was. The truth is that it was likely a murky mixture of these reasons that swam in the sea that is my subconscious. What I do know is that the sight of those birds brought me to the present. Freeing me, if but for a series of moments, from the tentacle grip of the past. Immersing me in the vitality of living through the sheer contrast of their impulsive activity against my rare stillness. I am of the firm conviction that this in itself was instrumental in me transcending the smokey rooms that thought created within me... so I would wield my pen again.

As I walked along the platform this morning , I paid thanks to my old friends as they flew on to their daily adventures. For when I was waiting, they were beacons of the present.

Corners

For we sold our sleep for dreams of having the ways and means

to do more than just survive,

Yet those days never arrive

and we're as broke as promises,

minor strokes on political canvases.

 

What of healing as time advances?

Troubled sisters selling culture in tribal dances

on pavements built on the backs of forefathers.

 

Brothers say 'place shackles on how you feel

For a heart here is an Achilles heel'

and we're born soldiers of the night.

 

We're raising giants of the past,

Striving to make old glories last,

In stories on corners to cope with the lows,

Stitched together as the coldest wind blows.

 

Image by somnio_insania.

Burst Apart

I cover the windows and wonder, In murky whispers, If all ceases to exist

Beyond these abstractions I weave

in daydreams scribbled on paper,

Beauty preserved in pristine fiction

as I trace old shadows on new walls.

 

For does my tenderness contort upon release,

Weigh heavy upon the ears of each muse,

Drawing suspicion with unveiled words,

Like an open door to an empty core.

 

There is much ache I spill to the ground,

By my own hand in its confusion,

Leaning on false walls of fortitude,

Deducing what love is not.

 

Where lies the art to burst apart...

With tendons too tired to move

From stitches sewn so long ago

and a yearning to be known.

Magnificent

  Magn

I've been grasping for the roots

of a timeless tender part of me,

Beneath the weight of masks imposed,

Juxtaposed against an arid earth,

Parched and pleading through the hurt.

 

Looking back through wiser eyes,

The patterns did repeat,

Self-fulfilling prophecies

built but an empty street,

With alleys of broken parts,

hidden and channeling rain,

To cleanse, to fill

a hollow habitat.

 

It percolates...

A barricade of fantasy,

Woven around a heart,

Is but a means to cope

with the ache of each beat,

when eyes trained to lack,

lock the mind in struggle,

a palette of demons,

reduce life

to survival.

 

To this place I have come,

Under the honesty of the sun,

To sense gain from every toil,

As old pages turn to soil,

Here my child does sow,

A grace I have come to know,

To shed the skin of a martyr

and feel... magnificent...