We three kings

What can I give you
But words from my lips
A breath for your lungs
The breadth of my hips

To feed you and clothe you
And shelter you there
Our hope for the future
Small star that we share

In misunderstandings
All foster more strife
Too coy for the joy
Of a conflict-free life

No formal pronouncements
Of greatness to be
We limit announcements
To those we can see

In feeble concealment
Until you are grown
We’d raise you for strength
A mind of your own

And watching your progress
Will whisper as one
The charms that may comfort
Your sorrows to come

With hands in my pockets
Concealing all pain
I’d walk through the desert
To find you again

The Reckoning

In these fractions I seek solace
That infarction is no menace
To my own unknown condition
Though my colleague lies on trollies
As they fill her veins with serum
Hoping vasos are dilated
I’m surrounded by the vision
Such careers are overrated
In my secretary’s costume
I must take on further duties
Try to prop up one more rostrum
And ignore last rites for loot. He’s
Working from his home computer
While I ride the bus to nowhere
In the misty morning chatter
That’s conceived to make me go there
How much more am I allotted?
This existence, mere survival
Will I too go out, garotted
By a heart attack unrivalled?
As my logic fails, convince me;
I’ve decisions that are burning
Every inch would rather lynch me
Than continue painful earning.

Although I rarely explain my scribblings, as I prefer to let the reader interpret them at will, this poem, and the one that follows are written in response to a recent event. The woman with whom I share a desk at my day job suffered a heart attack this week. The events on that occasion and which have followed have caused me to question our place in the universe with perhaps more focused ferocity than usual.

Untitled

This is the place we come to die
We secretaries, in our rows
Two frozen stiffs, a living lie
Few care to note, and no one knows.

While patient, we sit out our time
In managing capricious men
Whose fruitless whims, though not malign
Wear lines on brows and fray each hem.

One more may chew on dust this hour
No more to block electric space
In diary; a heart lacks power
To beat a path through empty wastes.

We are not dumb, and yet, we wait
Preparing meeting rooms, hot drinks
Awaiting proof; appreciate
A mind, unheeded, soul that shrinks

And though the autopsy infers
What killed her was nobody’s fault
That one can prove, (except for hers)
With such a sedentary vault

Of memories of closet, desk,
A filing cabinet to store
The means of murder – this slow death
Made up of tedium and chore.

Inner Peace

Lie to me, I beg of you
Tell me pretty tales untrue
Undermine my eyes and ears
Petty crime to soothe my tears

Hide what truths I must not see
Lest their enchantment undo me
In Plato’s cave may I reside
Until I crave the world outside

Bobbing for pips

I am approaching the threshold of my grief
That dismal dawn where words break –
Fast over stale feelings
Like waves on a rock-ridden shore.
This stilled tongue tunes no trills for sorrow,
Sigh-chapped lips, no plosive feasts
But my ragged pen thirsts
For consonants, vowels
Forming words, eyes closed,
Half-asleep, I drift,
Tossed upon the foam
As one who drowns for air
And breathes only memory.

Nanoo Nanoo to Neverland

Where have all the grown-ups gone?
The ones I looked to all my life
To show me what’s been going on
To make me laugh and keep me safe

Their reassurance slips away
As if they’d someplace else to be
We stand here at the break of day
And count each loss as one set free

I wish they wouldn’t shuffle off
So many games we never played
But some by self and some by health
They one-by-one all leave this stage

And whether one is hopping mad
Or feeling blue, or sad, or bad
It’s curtains for the fun we had
Now Mork has gone to follow Dad

Ashes

To be thus reduced
Is no mean feat
No, many years’
Self-deprecation
Secret fears
Of revelation
Led to this
Profound defeat

And potted ash
In plastic bag
Awaiting our
Collective presence
To distribute
Scattered presents
Under roots
And over slag

Are neither hopeful
Gay, nor gathered
Hold no mettle
Know no solace
Barely settle
Tears like Wallace
Falling, flowing
Dread and blathered

I’d imagined
Something grander
To an ending
Unexpected
Prideful partner
Resurrected
But I’ll keep to
Lesser candour

Do another
Solemn duty
Keeping counsel
As directed
Through mistrust
Just as expected
Shroud myself
In dignity

Tomorrow’s dawn
May bring us nearer
Through the shadows
Past the post
To knowledge of
What mattered most
The future comes
A little clearer

An apology

I caught your eye and looked away.
Your look a thousand words did say.
I dared not gaze upon your face,
Fearing reflected, my disgrace.
Apologies gushed forth from me
But each bounced off your misery
And I to greater depths did sink
In that one tear I saw you blink.
So did I turn away from you
Unfit to bend to kiss your shoe.
For love, I left. For love, your pain.
Some balance, then, in this refrain.
And I no comfort can derive:
I hurt ‘the one’, my soul, my life.
But know that when things fell apart;
T’was not just you, with broken heart.