The poem I should have written basked in safety, made you spread your arms to enfold me. An old friend. That poem would be held to your warmth in comfort, secure in the knowledge we posed no threat, to you. Your narrow world view. Your careful ambition.
The poet of the poem I should have written was your favourite. Firmly in the black and white of your corner, unlike me with my shades of grey. Part of the tribe, not going to challenge any part of your familiar routine, try to shake things up, change the world.
The poem I should have written would have sold millions of books to sit in shelves, adorn greetings cards, be quoted at weddings, funerals and wherever you need something suitably generic – universal.
The poem I should have written would have won me plaudits from a million accounts on social media – not all of them bots.
That is the poem I should have written. Did I write it? No. Will I try again tomorrow? Probably. Will I succeed? Unlikely.
I am not a fan of the poem I should have written. That is unfortunate. The words of the world are too harsh on my tongue. My pen cannot speak them with conviction.
My rough edges cut through the soft wooliness of emotional panacea. Claws and beak eroding the security blanket over my cage. I struggle to stop myself from fighting the oblivion of sleep.
The poem I should have written eludes me. It would cost me something to knuckle down and write that poem. Someone else can do it. I don’t mind. They can take the fame and fortune.
I will stick to this corner of obscurity. Keep scribbling my own perceived truths. Find something that whispers to me in the dark. Until I roll over and reach for my pen. Sharp and subjective.
I’ve got nostalgia for the way things weren’t
Aching out of every pore
Oozing and cruising and snoozing
A way around the darkened room
Humming lonely tunes to the dusty
Striped ambition swaying in the draught
That strips the jangling nerves
From my fingers to the fingering of keys
Old style letters locked at arms’ length
Just in and out of awkward reach
Trying to find a balance
On a dented mattress
Elbows sore from shifting weight
Dusk ’til birdsong
Gloom lingers on the brow
Leaving lines from one ear to the other
Hoping to hold my cold cup of Joe at bay
With bayou blues rockin’ ‘n’ rollin’
Across the lonely 3am airwaves
Surrounded by the gently snoring chorus
Everyday keepsakes firmly rooted in reality
Strong stock piled in corners
Well-heeled feet nailed down
To their own groove
I am adrift, tethered by a fraying string
My mind prowling through its wonder-land
Howling a song for the moon
After a day of dreaming
Of cool, popular appeal
In the summer heat
Grew so excited
Reaching for the stars
Through the kitchen window
Tore convention asunder
Spilling ambition in
Sticky streaks across the counter
Down the cabinets
And pooling resources
In a puddle on the tiles
It fizzed at the moon
While a pale face
Shone through the night
Reflected in a