The back door. Blue paint peeling reveals dull grey wood beneath. Concrete steps, two of them, where I sit and peel the spuds on the warmer evenings. I don’t want to go back inside. When I close the door behind me, I feel like a rat trapped in a cage.
If I stand here for long enough, they’ll all come home. The kids will run in, breathless from the school day. They’ll sling their bags onto the kitchen table and charge out onto the lawn. If I stand still enough they may not even see me, they’ll just kick the football around me like a stray goalpost.
Then he’ll arrive, the sharp smell of sweat around him, carrying the mood of his day into the house.
When I was ten years old, I wanted to be a movie star like those smooth haired beauties in the sepia photographs my Uncle Marv had pinned on his garage wall. He used to go in there to secretly smoke his roll-ups while Aunt Sylvie was out doing the shopping.
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His hair coarse and dark, lifting from his scalp in surprised waves. Can I run my fingers through and forget about you? Turn my face to the new, unstuck with glue, hardened by days of neglect and contempt.
A snail hides in its shell, its too soon to tell whether the spell has been broken – cracked into shards that spread for yards. Kneeling on the grass is a girl full of worry.
She gathers her thoughts like wild flowers in a colourful posy. A rabbit hole of desire fills with soil and roots. There are his boots, empty by the door frame, telling of months long gone. A dickie bird at the window sill trills its favourite song that always lasts too long.
Row your boat down the stream, catch a rainbow by its dream, see the waterfall, hear the scream and drop down its tide to the lagoon below.
It waits like an open mouth to catch you between its teeth: rocky crags that jut out like aggressive canines – fangs of a vampire thirsty for blood, rich red like wine.
Pebble on my path, you trap my toe and make me question which way I am going.
Pebble, you set me free – my fingers curl around your coolness, which sips the warmth of the sun.
When I hold you, I am taken into a quiet place beyond myself.
In and around myself, an openness that is always there but hidden by the noise.
Pebble, take me to the seashore: the edge of the land, where the water licks the sand.
Your home, you are set there in stone but move in strong tides, rattling over your brothers and sisters.
Pebble, I keep you on my desk where you remind me of what it is to be quiet and alone, without questions or solutions.
I write because when I write blood runs on to the page and forms rivulets that merge into an ocean. A sea – a jumble of words with all their twists, turns, curves and corners.
Words that sit together comfortably like old grandmothers. Words that curl around each other, scaly like lizards’ tails. Words that talk, words that sing. Threads like guitar strings, each a unique note that resonates on the page.
I write because I need to, because my heart beats louder when I think about it.
I write because writing is my romance, the love affair I have been engaged in since childhood.
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Swans glide, wings beat deep and wide – carving their migratory path through the south sky. Sparrows dive in the wind’s slipstream. Beaks pierce the clouds like the skin of a dream.
Soap bubble floats up high. Round window of rainbow light.
Tree branches finger the sun. At their feet, a thinker bends his mind in on itself until it finds the Oneness. His toes in the grass, clutching the dew. His eyes turn inwards and follow the ghost’s footsteps into the dark cleft of the tree trunk.
His heart beats with no surrender. His heart was once tender but his eyes are blank as a dartboard bullseye. A melody finds its way to his pursed lips and, without a kiss, he begins to whistle. Soft was the song, with notes sweet and long like drops of honey.