The poem I should have written

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.

Everyone’s A Critic

The loud purring
Of a sensitive soul
Rumbles across my lap
A gentleman-mouser
Whose claws are rarely
Sheathed in my flesh
Save for those few
Accidental motions.
He pauses in his
Hypnotic kneading
Of careful paws
Twitches a whisker
Opens a lazy eye
We are content
Devoted Familiar and
Current Provider of ear-scratches
Precious moments spent together
Do not last as long
As they once did
Those rare islands
Of near-silence
I try to spend
Writing.
Such a distraction
Is sadly unacceptable
In company
My failure to stroke
Soft furry egos
While fingers
Play over lettered keys
And coffee cools
At a careless elbow
Lead to gentle taps
Polite, then more insistent
I frown and mutter
Trying to shake loose
Some old ideas
From new forehead creases
Transmit them to my dusty screen
Before the next
Set of demands is issued
By the charming pout
Of the other House Tyrant
Whose three-year-reign
Continues to sway
The working lives
Of all her subjects.
It is not enough.
I cannot please all
Of my many masters
Not this day.
As gentle snores fade to yawns
I sift through the tired
Dog-eared card catalogue
Housed temporarily for safekeeping
Within my rapidly emptying skull
Brain cycling faster
The vocalisation
Begins in earnest
Close behind my ear
“Miaouw!”
He is starting to insist
“Pssst! Shush!”
It is a futile gesture
To try to silence
An old friend
The search continues
There are paws on my shoulder
Tapping, prodding
A hint of sharpness
A gentle shove
Hot breath on my neck
Can I find a verbal noun,
Subclause, or synonym
To convey my sense
Of panic at the first stirrings
Of any sleeping creature
Under four feet
But still a giant?
Too late.
“Mummy!”
I hiss my discomfort
At the sudden perforation
Of my thigh.
Time’s up once again.