The girl I wanted to be

I envied you your freedom

To wear short hair

Pierce things

I had only seen

On TV

Fall off your motorino

Breaking a wrist

With such impunity

Unafraid of the

Consequences

Approaching exams

Short skirts

Body paint

Cool for days

I didn’t see

The things that

Frightened you

Kept you acting

The social butterfly

To avoid authority

Running from those

Who demanded things

You could not bear to give

How could I?

With my own demons

To manage

In my long skirts

Flat shoes, subtle

Silent screams

Haunting adolescence

Like a will-o-the-wisp

We are similar now

Grown treading different

Yet parallel paths

Outlasting our pursuers

Ignoring our denigrators

Fiercely seeking our own truth

In a sea of snake oil salesmen

We were never friends

Yet hardly enemies

Mere acquaintances

Each wrapped up in

Our own, private concerns

On nodding terms

Barely aware the other

Existed, but rivals

For all the wrong reasons

I wish you well

Perhaps one day

Our minds may form

A greeting longer

Than the casual nod

We spare one another

From across the room

At some ghastly

Virtual reunion

Organised by those

Who peaked in high school

And want to compare

Their declining ambitions

In a club house

After dark

Like giggling teens

While the next generation

Smokes round the back

Of the toilets

Hoping a mint

Will disguise the smell

As parents pretend

Not to recognise

Their own poor choices

In their offspring

Still single?

Deserted?

Divorced?

Half dead?

Any rugrats?

Really?

Same. Or nearly.

Deep scars from wounds

Old and new

Here’s to us

And all those like us

How about it, Fay?

We happy few

Still standing here

Upon this day

Counter Culture Cafe

The place where the antisocial
Gather to be alone
Each claiming a four-seat table
As space they can call their own.

We read, write and sip in silence
Observing our counterparts
Affronted by vocal violence
Where chattering children pass

I’m nearing the end of one cup
But pause while another stands
It wouldn’t be fair to counter
The pull of their drink demands

So queueing for table service
I duck to avoid the eye
Of waitress who makes me nervous
By bussing a bench nearby

We know those we see here often
But only on nodding terms
Some barriers never soften
And hand-shaking passes germs

Anxiety takes no notice
With all interactions dear
We pass out our days in closeness
And try to ignore our fear

We’re hardly inventing lonely
Though solitude equals peace
And we are our one and only
Unlikely to breed – we’ll cease

It isn’t a cause for wonder
That our generation stalls
When clearing one’s throat is thunder
Too sensitive for applause

And here in our counter culture
We’re safe from the fond embrace
We run from our awkward feelings
Too late to be in the race.

Words and Music

There came a point in my teens
When the sounds of the world
Invaded my palate
Until I was choked
With a burning desire; to speak
What I’d swallowed; to say
Everything possible
Tear myself open
Screaming words
The world could understand
But at the age of minority
People rarely listen
So I sang melodies
Whose complexity spoke
Of a simple beauty
And we became friends
One day, the words may
Overtake me in my music
And the whole world will hear

Lacking in punctuation

When I may wander mid the clouds
that form when I think far too loud
disturbing thus my reverie
I see such sights no man should see.
Not dusty clouds to cobwebs wed
but glittering smoke, which once thin-spread
reveals to me the shining towers
of cities, beautiful, which house
the fairy nations that there dwell
quite ignorant of heaven or hell
who smile their days and dance their nights,
delight in causing strangers frights,
but best of all, enjoy such life
without the care or daily strife
one sends to plague us here on Earth
and make us doubt our very worth –
for hopelessness and sad despair
are products such as one grows here
and harvests gleefully – cuts down
rejoicing in our every frown
until our chins have reached the floor
– we no more see as once before
but bow our heads in misery
for what we are, we may not be.