now he's dead

Are we defined by what we do, or by what is done to us
if we are whole people surely it is at least partly both
so again we come to this matter of balance, of re-alignment
if everything truly has an equal and opposite reaction
there should be an equality in the effect of things done.

So we return to the thorny issue of abuse, and of surviving
of kicking back against what was done, but only to the point
where further kicking achieves little, diminishing returns
and somehow this time has come round and I'm not ready yet
which seems a funny thing to say after nearly forty years.

Having spent less than a year finally facing up to these things
of actually trying to find some form of resolution to all this
to then have the monster up and die on me has left things open
hanging there in a way I've yet to find some way to figure out
how to bring some closure, what kind of a word is that anyway?

And what does it represent? Is closure acceptance, quiescence
since nothing can be done ... nothing can be undone in any way
so should I quiesce? Bow to the inevitable, accept my fate
accept that as damaged goods I must carry this damage within me
I keep hearing these phrases... work around it, live with it.

So waking with a feeling of him on me, inside me, is that OK?
feeling his hands pushing me this way and that, forcing me
forming me, creating his fantasy, destroying me, is that also OK?
and feeling this when my husband has love in mind, wants intimacy
to feel a connection with only me ... not me and my memories.

I know I should stay grounded in the present, breathe in and out
for fucks sake ... haven't I have been breathing my whole life
but not like this ... out with the dread ... in with cleansing hope
I try to suspend my cynicism, I do ... I so want this to be true
that peace can be gained even now, and so I practise my breathing.

Well, and thinking, I really wouldn't be me if I didn't think some
I can almost hear you groaning, but even so, we're nearly done
I read what you wrote about breathing, about cleansing breaths
learning to live in a monster free zone, healing my inner child
it's a big ask. I want to ... far more than you can ever, ever know.

Your faith

You have such a gentle humour it passes me by sometimes
but then other times it niggles through the outer morass
to tickle me for days at a time, the way you see life
the way you can separate the essentials from the rest
your insistence that you're probably talking rubbish.

But you know you aren't, there's no real uncertainty
perhaps a slight lack of confidence a peculiar diffidence
it all adds to the gentleness with which you say things
compels me to listen in a way I seldom find myself doing
peeling back the layers of meaning to discover the core.

Can you imagine having The Givers power? ... a deep well
and trawling the depths of such questions can't be rushed
so you sit quietly, your head to one side, looking at me
I can see by your smile that you think I'll have no answer
and whilst answers are not at all what I have I still reply.

The Giver features quite a lot in my thoughts, always has
since those long ago days when I called out for help
but none arrived, repetitions, petitions, promises to be good
there was no end to those early negotiations and pleadings
I concluded that The Giver must be deaf because I wasn't good.

It never occurred to me that the lack of any response
was due to the absence of The Giver, I was so very sure
that if I could only find the right promise and keep it
could find the right way to be good then I'd be answered
that The Giver would then come and whisk the monster man away.

So I have come to realise that the rage runs both ways
towards The Giver for leaving me to deal with monsters alone
towards myself for not being good enough to elicit help
... how else to explain to such a young mind that absence
the allowance of unutterable deeds done far from prying eyes.

If I had that over-arching power? I'd use it to re-shape
to go inside the minds of monsters of all kinds to re-wire
to make whole all those fractured tortured twisted parts
I'd go inside the bodies of those inflicted with illness
reclaiming all the damaged cells, making right what's wrong.

I can feel the possibilities spinning through my mind
an endless list of needs ... an endless list of neediness
would I feel overwhelmed, would I balance needs differently
if The Giver is also The Creator does her heart not bleed
does she not despair at the sight of such bitter desolation.

You smile your pensive smile, your faith shines even now
I would never presume to question something of such value
faith is an intrinsic part of what makes you so unique
in my experience you don't just believe it, you live it
if all believers were like you, would I, could I believe?

I just might you know, might find it somewhere in my heart
to forgive a Giver who can bear to allow the unallowable
balancing the present against the vastness of all eternity
throwing the present to one side, disregarding it altogether
forgiveness in exchange for the forgiveness of my many sins.

What you want for me is what you have, I know that too
I do not mistake your generous spirit despite how we differ
you are an ambassador of a faith I may never subscribe to
but I would never shut that door though, not completely
faith may yet one of these days steal into this old soul.

dark clouds

That's the problem with feeling like a waste of space
these feelings of worthlessness follow no rationale
they are not easily confronted in such a weakened state
and of course weakness comes from far too much drowning
too much dulling of the present so as to avoid the past.

It does seem an endless loop of making a little progress
only to slip back, feeling the strength of the undertow
giving in to the tidal force, being swept out of my depth
and even seeing the shore receding doesn't matter enough
to make me want to ... even try to swim. I want to be lost.

I want to disappear and become the nothing I feel I am
and the strength of this wanting is quite scary in a way
the handholds I rely on seem less certain at times like this
the things I've learnt about positive thinking seem puerile
the dark clouds gather and some part of me welcomes them.

For this is familiar territory to me, a known landscape
of featureless days followed by stretches of sleeplessness
where my minor concerns grow to huge, massive proportions
in those long lonely hours between the darkness and light
where sleep descends but too late, a new day must be borne.

The gradual weakening escalates further with the continuance
of what-he-did dreams making nightmares seem like child's play
and which leave me shaking in damp sheets come the cool dawn
when I try to gather some semblance of the normal facade
something to hide the distress, attempt to keep it all at bay.

Where the dark clouds come from I can't really say for sure
but even seeing them building I haven't yet found a way
to run away towards the sunshine, I can't sense the direction
I can't turn the right way, when turning I see only clouds
anyway I don't have the energy to run so I lie down and wait.

In the background is this relentless feeling of not rightness
and even on the sunny days there is an element of it there
but in the darker days and nights it feels an inevitability
that this pattern will never really be broken regardless of me
so hopelessness descends to keep company with worthlessness.

All seems dark and bleak, if I trust my feelings here I'll stay
and this is where feelings are not to be given free reign
this is when choice becomes such a potent weapon against despair
if only one can work up the tiniest spark of the energy needed
to light that small flame of hope, of patience, of perseverance.

The dark clouds can be pushed back, they do not have to engulf me
or if they do, I don't have to do nothing, I needn't submit
despite the lure of slipping once more into that inky black water
I do have choices, there are things I can and must try to do
and there it is .. that spark .. the very essence of my struggle.

kissing you

I didn't know that being kissed could feel like that
or that kissing you back would feel even more so
I didn't know I had such intense feelings within me
and yet I did wonder at times what you had in mind
but this deep fear of intimacy takes all its forms in me
I would never have dared to without a drink drunk
I would never have dared at all if you hadn't first
You are the brave one, the thrill seeker of us two
I am the plodder, the thinker, the boring slow one.

I often wonder at your patient forbearance with me
why stick with a friendship you get so little out of
you are not fooling me with the "my life is so dull"
nothing is duller than someone who takes without giving
how did we get to a place where you are the giver anyway
is it safer for you if the trust runs more one way
does it allow you the grace of not thinking too much
I know you get fed up with me thinking the whole time
you want me to break free, be me, whoever that might be.

I'm not brave, I'm not really a grown up at all you see
I can put up a decent show of it at work, with these men
where pretending is so easy to do, everyone is complicit
in the everything's fine thank you game, we play it daily
but however fine I feel in this moment that can change
suddenly and with almost no warning signs I'll be gone
triggered by the turn of a head, a suggestion of a smile
a flick of a hand, an adjustment of position, so many things
staying grounded here now is a constant challenge you see.

What has this to do with kissing ... I see I have meandered
from the delicious memory of you, your face, your sighs
never in my life have I been the cause of another's sighs
it awoke in me a response I didn't know was even possible
and left me feeling a conflicting sense of wonder and woe
for I know that this can not be repeated, it must be lost
packed away in the cloud room where only daydreams go
where only I can know of the broken promises lying therein
I can feel you still, the softness of your skin, the glow.

It scares me because it calls into question my nature
in my inexperience this has an altogether different feel
despite my fear of being close I want to be close to you
and because I tremble you pause take time to re-assure
yet in the next second you astonish me with new sensations
a feeling that all things are possible in these moments
if I can just stay here ... in these moments with you
holding back my fear I give in to this, this sweetest embrace
I would again if the situation arose, should you so desire.


You tell me that my approach is too academic, too intellectual
what? ... me? are you having a laugh here at my expense maybe?
I look over our exchanges of ideas and I can see your view
where you are direct and to the point I try to draw analogies
trying to find a way of agreeing to disagree, avoiding conflict.

Then accusations are thrown, not from my side, not intentionally
but there's a misunderstanding of our fundamentals, our differences
I strongly abhor the results of intolerance, you see no danger
you think you are right and have confidence, arrogance in a way
your attack stings .. gives me pause for thought, am I so wrong?

You say you speak from the heart from the wealth of your experience
I say there are dangers in using solely our own world view
that we paint our own mental pictures to validate such views
but that doesn't make them true, is that so hard to understand
that truth is not in every single situation an absolute thing.

You say that I speak not from the heart but from dusty books
that my insistence on using such knowledge gained is unfeeling
that by not trusting my instincts I am missing the vital core
and I do agree that there is that risk, I believe it's true
but collective knowledge and experience must count too surely.

Where I believe that tolerance patience forbearance are the key
you tell me that straight talking does a hell of a lot more
you say my approach allows, almost advocates self indulgence
and I see your point, I do, but I have to disagree to some degree
however much you think I'm just being stubborn let me just say.

Respecting an individual involves respecting their right to choose
allowing for this requires us to give space, patience and tolerance
whilst the process of respect involves allowing for other choices
choices we would never have made for ourselves in such situations
but our journeys may yet still at some point coalesce in resolution.

I hate confrontation I really do, but I won't be bullied by you
I will stand up for what I believe is true, I will be counted
alongside people who are being subjected to such intolerance
but how to do this without causing massive offence again to you
is it really beyond us to work towards a compromise understanding?

same old same old

I've been visiting that hard dark old place again
you know the one .. the muddled fuzzled one
the place that too much drowning takes you to
and once there, shutting the door softly you sit
gazing inwards and backwards, same old same old.

Holding on to the glass, watching the level drop
and with it your own spirits plummet lower still
you know you are doing again what you shouldn't
but the web of dependance is such that some days
it translates through warped thinking into wanting.

The wanting builds as the days of giving in pass
they start piling up as the mind and body weaken
as progressive drownings take their inevitable toll
and yet despite the bleakness, the deepening gloom
there's such familiarity here so the way out is clear.

It's right there in front of me, just a step away
and part of that first step is this ... this writing
acknowledging once again that there are things I can do
decisions made in bleak times can kick-start resolve
resolve leads to action, leads in turn to redemption.

All too easy to say in the cold light of a new day
hours until the time that siren call will be heard
but a start must be made even so, and so I choose now
no drowning for today, today is for swimming, floating
taking back the reins, closing that old familiar door.

A weekend breakfast

When you crawled into bed beside me early this morning
you were about as surreptitious as a gigantic elephant
it made me laugh that you were so surprised when I woke up
to tickle you and make you squeal, hopping down again
I whisper, go and get your brother let's all have a play
since I'm awake anyway and it's just about getting light.

I can hear my brother-in-law snoring when the door opens
and two wide grins appear, and so a new day begins here
with laughter and hugs, squishing three to a single bed
which is perfectly possible as long as everyone holds on
or rather if I hold on to these two small squirming bodies
which is not that easy when we are all laughing like hyenas.

Tumbling onto the floor totally out of breath to be found
in a heap by a very sleepy and not overly pleased parent
so I make shame faced .. well kind of shame faced excuses
but my semi, not quite straight face is not to be trusted
to be fair poker is not my game and joy will not be held in
so I agree that we'll go downstairs now and play quietly.

So off we go down the stairs with much smothered giggling
when breakfast is suggested by hopeful young appetites
into the kitchen we stroll, shutting the door very softly
a quick look in the larder yields the makings of pancakes
with over an hour til "real" breakfast we have time to kill
and cooking really is just the perfect activity for three.

One person for reading from the Big Cook Little Cook book
one person getting stuff out and measuring to instructions
and one mixing and stirring, making a humongous big mess
which we will have to clear up before the grown ups appear
oh, and I'm in charge of removing egg shell fragments too
that takes a special skill only given to those over the hill.

Then there's heating until smoking and flipping which I do
aided and abetted by a lively cheering, clearing up squad
who do far more cheering than clearing up, which is fair
as it's another thing specifically suited to my set of skills
once the pile of pancakes are safely stacked in the microwave
when we've de-floured, de-egged, de-milkified the cheery boys.

A thumping can then be heard overhead so number two dashes up
taking orders for tea in bed, the clearing up isn't done yet
a massive amount of headless chicken-like rushing about ensues
with flour being suddenly accidentally tipped over everywhere
queue mum coming to have a quiet word about quietening down
I can't hear you I yell as we pale ghosts fall about laughing.

my step father

I have a wonderful father whose name is not Dad
I didn't meet him until my late teenage years
when he met, then dated and finally married my mother
joining two different families to become almost one.

I gained a new little brother, a big brother too
and a new sister making quite a crowd in the new house
I was stonked by all this, it was really such good news
seeing love at home, their home for I had left already.

But coming home on weekends and holidays still
and getting to know this man who had won mum's heart
over late night chats with the others gone to bed
I found unexpected friendship in the midst of change.

Years have passed since those long late night chats
and yet we ocassionally still indulge when we can
you tell me of dreams that you've never fulfilled
and how empty old age is with all its aches and pains.

And the feeling that everyone has no time for you now
to just sit and look out at the garden drinking tea
and the sad truth is that I don't have much time
to fill the empty hours you are faced with each day.

But I will make more effort to be here more often
taking time to spend with you has never been a burden
perhaps I haven't made my feelings plain enough to see
but you are much more than just a step father to me.

Who was it taught me to mend old ripped oil paintings
to use plaster and gold leaf on sculptured gilt frames
to build a wall with studwork and beams, to lay carpet
to hang signs, to re-upholster a sagging old chair.

Who was it who sat for hours on the river bank with me
talking through how to create water flow onto canvas
who taught me to write poetry, who was that then
did you think that I would or that I could ever forget.

You taught me to look at paintings with my heart
to use feelings in a new way to gain an understanding
that what rages in others hearts can be expressed there
in short strokes, in vibrant colour, in dark rolling skies.

Trips to galleries that's what we must find time to do
for sitting here in your old arm chair isn't much fun
I don't mind walking slow, I can help with the stairs
I'm sure you have much to teach me from the old masters.

Yes I know about the need to plan carefully for trips out
ensuring level ground, close parking, trips to the loo
a nearby pub with decent real ale, a secret to be kept
shall we set off then, are you ready to have an adventure.


I didn't recognise myself in the photos you sent
I've never seen quite that expression on my own face
it was the same on the face of my bother, same eyes wide
same vacantness, same grim forebearance of pain

I look at the girl who was me holding his hand
with absolutely no understanding of that hurtful desire
which was inside people who should not look so normal
it was my undoing, a part of me is stuck there

Stuck in the never ending loop of their doing
it makes me not want to ... well not want to be here
what was done long ago makes me want to be nothing
and I am really, in the overall scheme of things

Except I'm not, for I am a loved person now
and since that's true there's something worth it here
worth pushing on through the treacle of the dark days
to enjoy once again the sunshine when it comes

Sending those photos was a low thing to do
I was wondering, trying to anticpate your next move
and seeing your writing there on the letter you sent me
I knew I shouldn't have opened it, I was right

I put them in the fire burning up, making smoke
no-one here which is a good thing as I need solitude
time to shed yet more tears over a parent who sends hurt
creating children out of adults and the other way

A father, it should be such a simple thing to be
an easy relationship involving laughter, love, safety
a port of call to be sought out when life seems harsh
not you though, always were quite the individual.

missing her

You miss her because she is gone
she won't be coming back ever
and the finality is just brutal
for your love didn't just stop
when she did, when she died
you love her still I can tell
and telling you that you're OK
that these things take some time
when you say it's now three years.

It doesn't seem that long ago
since holding that frail hand
talking of hopeful things as if
but she went along with it too
easing us into the idea of it
of a time ahead without her here
and here we are still missing her
holding back tears until later
sparing each other that sight

Or we would've except we didn't
seeing the fullness in your eyes
and taking your hand we leave
to walk under the trees nearby
a few minutes away from everyone
moments to honour her memory
a much loved friend, a dead wife
a wonderful remarkable woman
who did the impossible it seems.

She it was took your broken heart
and made it completely whole again
healed a wound so deep inside you
that few were trusted to know of it
her kindness was really your undoing
for there was such fire in her too
she was the real deal that one
a mender, a giver, a taker too
until she herself was taken away.

Leaving you with such emptiness
with plodding through dull days
in turn marking time, waiting
without really knowing in any sense
what it is you're waiting for
you can't readily describe it
the daily realisation of absense
of others togetherness all around
where now even hand holding hurts.

If I could impart healing I would
I would recall her from death
re-instate her into all our lives
but especially yours, I miss her
but my heart doesn't break
at each awakening, each new day
this grief is hard to express
when people keep inferring somehow
you should've gotten over it by now.

Some people move on quicker I guess
but surely it's individual
reliant on so many factors
to have waited so long to trust
never believing it would happen
not trusting at first even then
even with her standing there
putting her heart on the line
yes of course you still miss her.

a nap

So what is going on right now then
thoughts are whirring through my head
rock's blaring from the sound system
the wine is open, husband's passed out
looking like an old man lying there
on our very ancient faded blue sofa.

I'm looking at a video of The Band
they're looking very young, very fit
if you know what I mean by that
thin scarf jauntily hung from his neck
cigarette hanging from his lip
he talks of stealing food of starving.

Of strolling on into a Wallmart somewhere
and stuffing sausages into his pocket
and walking back out with bread rolls
to make an impromptu picnic there
in the back of some rickety old bus
in an anonymous car park in the USA.

Touring might seem quite glamorous
until you've been starving out there
far from home, living on the dream
trying to break into the industry
making a big name for yourselves
becoming the famous ones some day.

But don't you sense the emptiness
the lack of a true grounding
like something has passed them by
a meaning that remains elusive
a feeling there's something missing
the core of what this is all about.

It's a circular argument, a recursion
a dream within a dream, a wish perhaps
a hope to hang on to in bleak times
an acknowledgement of the void
but hope springs eternal, and youth
which seems everlasting at the time.

But which is in fact so ephemeral
temporarily granted to the almost mature
until wisdom can overtake us with age
it tells us what exactly, that we're old
a glance in the mirror is sufficient
a look at my gentle man confirms it.

And that's what makes me smile again
the lines on his face speaking to me
of our history, of our shared past
for these lines are something we share
they came upon us whilst we were together
binding us in a shared remembering.

When you wake eventually you look for me
I am your anchor in life's stormy seas
and you are too, well you are for me
I say hello my love don't worry I'm here
and smiling into your face so familiar
my kind gentle man who's still young to me.

time off

I'm looking at four days off
four days to fill with what
with waking in silence again
walking through each day alone
finding things to do without you.

Four days is enough time isn't it
enough to do something useful
must try to decide now though
before I'm totally overtaken
by all the gloom at home with you.

It's been a while since I played
well anything at all really
might try that beautiful Satie piece
fill the void with melodies
talk to myself through the notes.

I should be glad of the time off
all around me are happy people
anticipating their own festivities
I'll be coming home to silence
a slipping back again from you.

But not this afternoon at least
for I've eggs to dip in chocolate
boys who would happily dip in there too
smearing fingerprints everywhere
licking, laughing, kind of helping.

No not kind of, actually helping
really and truly keeping me sane
offering solace without even knowing it
accepting that I'm here again
so let's have some fun then auntie.

I have sources of joy in my life
it's just I keep on forgetting
getting caught up in the negative spiral
when all the turning I need to do
is just away from myself for a bit.

a call

And then like a bolt out of the blue you call me
as if everything wasn't finished that last time
I'm pretty sure I made myself abundantly clear
are there so many ways to understand a word
a word as simple as no, not in a million years.

Your voice on the phone betrays that you know
that this is not what we agreed, nothing like it
and yet you think you can persuade me now
that the passage of time will have softened me
how little you know, and how much you took.

You took someone I love better than own my life
then over years you belittled and betrayed her
took the shining optimism, the strength, the joy
and snuffed it out through your need to control
and giving her a daughter wasn't fair exchange.

Although by extension as I love the mother so too
do I love the daughter, she who holds the spirit
of the mother I once knew, and will once again
for the damage is not as deep as first it seemed
she has an unquenchable light, a fighters heart.

I listen to your voice as you attempt to find words
that will break down the wall of silence I put up
But I'm not my sister, I feel no compulsion to reply
to waste breath, to waste emotional energy on you
your threats have no impact, little meaning to me.

For I haven't been subject to many years of you
leaning on me, dragging me down, pulling me under
you have this insistence that you are the victim
that this is all a misinterpretation of your needs
don't you get it? Your needs mean nothing to me.

Let me make it plain. I have no time for you
I have no intention of ever meeting with you
the day you left our lives was a happy one for me
the only sadness was on the face of your girl
who is very much her own person now, not yours.

You throw her well-being at me like a weapon
knowing that my commitment to her lasts
remember when you failed her I stepped in
for love and stability are far more important
than any rights you demanded in exchange.

I'm not interested in helping you re-establish
a foothold in their lives, not despite you, no
but because the potential for harm is so real
so very present still, I can hear it in your voice
that edge of command, of violence, good-bye.

a work day episode

People are looking puzzled when speaking to me
and I know what it is, I sense my withdrawal
from my sense of then re-connecting with now
but I feel this crushing anxiety building up
awful shaking, images start gearing up so I leave
and rushing down the corridor I get to the Ladies.

I lock myself into a cubicle shaking, weeping
hoping that I am alone for I forget to check
in my rush for privacy how stupid that was of me
but he's here inside my head doing those things
I can feel it happening even whilst I wrestle
to get back to the present, back to right now.

I remember what I was taught so I try to breathe
I try to keep the breath coming in and out, and in
calming, quietening my panic, the shaking subsides
and as I quieten and listen I realise I'm alone
it's OK no-one is there, so few women here anyway
I wonder how to go back to the meeting after this.

As it's all men I could says it's ladies problems
a handy excuse I have never yet found a use for
but the teasing would be unbearable after that
it's the same for anything making them uncomfortable
bloody women I hear them mutter, silly, stupid cow
all lads together then, it's to be expected I suppose.

It's the least of my worries really but offers focus
a distraction from the aftermath of another episode
Breathing, must remember breathing, start that earlier
I can feel the tension lessening the fear receding
time to get a grip, to face the music once again
smiling is so hard to do some days don't you find?


Do you think one can really heal from deep hurt
in which case what form does true healing take
is it possible to make whole what was broken,
because when a person breaks it's on the inside
although there are sometimes outward signs too
if you know where to look ... or rather how to.

Talking to you about this some time ago now
I remember thinking that you would turn away
that such pain is too difficult to respond to
and yet you used such simple language
knew the word hurt would be easier to cope with
much gentler and yet still contains the core of it.

Hurt is exactly the word a child uses, I used it
and looking back I see that it was too gentle
"he hurt me" could be anything from a scratch
to what it was instead, which was so much more
and that hurt was planted deep into my soul
so deep that trying now to dig it out hurts too.

If I leave it instead, will it eventually heal over
is this digging perhaps the wrong thing to do
let sleeping dogs lie, forget, put it behind me
except I keep turning around and there it is
it doesn't go away through simply ignoring it
it roars back into my dreams day and night.

It robs me of a sense of myself here and now
drags me back there over and over again
and breathing can only do so much to help
it calms me, it gives me space to hold myself
reminding me that I am here and not there
which sounds stupid until you've been there.

Sleep, oh god elusive rest free from all this
but sleep brings tossing and thrashing about
upsetting my gentle man who doesn't understand
that nightmares are not only for children
but for people re-visiting long ago haunts
where monsters lurk and do such dark deeds.

This won't last of course, it will ease again
the intensity and frequency will gradually fade
it will once again form the background hum
like white noise machines found in some places
where normally you can just ignore them except
once you notice, the hum seems like a roar.

And mostly that has been what it's like
an ever present hum in the back of my mind
a knowledge that this isn't going away ever
so an accomodation must somehow be made
a way of living and knowing but still living
a way of knowing and yet it being OK to know.

You ask why I can't just forget about all this
why cling to the past with such determination
and it shocks me to think that you might be right
that this is my doing, or perhaps my undoing
that I am actually causing this hurt to myself
by not disciplining myself to focus elsewhere.

And you know, you may just have a point there
there may be an element of self inflicted harm
of failing to do more to heal myself and move on
yes that might indeed be true and I'll take time
to think about that, see if I can bear to believe it
see if it holds the key to some final resolution.

The dollhouse maker

I like what you said ... about peering into my soul
it brings us even closer in a way don't you think?
the fact that there are many things only we know
trust between us is absolute, a thing I depend upon.
I remember you saying about being a listening angel
and about wanting to be the same thing for me too.

Do you not still trust in the depth of that feeling
do you think the distance makes so much difference
was it not that very distance that helped us at first
to open our hearts, to take such incredible risks
and who could have ever foreseen the consequences
the discovery of such compassion, a kindred spirit.

Which brings me to your most recent letter my friend
and those first few lines, which spoke from your heart
well they tore at me, woke me up, made me think of you
and of our abiding trust, our willingness to say truths
that might be hard to do with anyone else, but not you
for you are brave enough to make yourself vulnerable.

You showed me how to do this, you pointed out the way
and I love you for it, as I do for so many other things
and I feel the same as I did all along, nothing's changed
you are still someone I'd trust with my deepest fears
you are still someone I escape to too, my dear friend
a friend in the midst of all this faceless internet age.

I read our early outpourings too. I see your heart there
I see the person you were and are and still yet will be
and I see how friendships based on such knowledge
can never fade, despite the lengthening intervals
between our letters. Never fear, should you need me
I'll always strive to be here. A listening angel again.

I don't know how set a value on what we share
I don't think there is a scale to which I can compare
and the beauty is that this carries on through life
I know you are there, know too that I am always here
and that one of these days, I might even be there
to have a good look at that new dollhouse of yours.

you know

The words you wrote are just perfect
they say as much as any gift, more
for you send your thoughts and wishes
and you put yourself inside my head
seeing the strange mixture of emotions
feeling the fleeting elation, the dark edge.

Your words are there when I wake up
right there when dark thoughts descend
reminding me of the value of friendship
of your kind thoughtfulness and care
filling myself with breath like you said
and out with the darkness, until it's gone.

And you know, I think there will be
a time coming when the dark thoughts
recede and are put back in that box
it will be just as you said, thank you
well for everything really, your time
your listening ear, your huge heart.

We laugh a lot we two and I love that
the freedom to giggle and to be silly
to lark about and still be comfortable
so sometimes I might forget to tell you
just how bloody marvelous you truly are
I'll shuffle, look at my feet, but you know.

making a start

April has just got to be my favourite month here in England
there is beauty everywhere you look, oh, and the colours
there's the freshest, the most delicate green of new leaves
just bursting from the buds of the willow tree by the river
and the quince, my word have you ever see the like of it
it's blossom petals are a colour I've no descriptive word for.

I went for a walk at lunchtime, time to get outside for a bit
time to breathe fresh air and walk thinking my thoughts
and looking, looking, there's so much to be seen by looking
and it helps when I'm trying to stay in the here and now
which besides anything else is a great way to spend a day
as spring time is when fresh starts abound all around me.

I look at colour swatches here at work as it's Friday afternoon
and skiving seems the only thing to do, a way to kick back
at the new Draconian regime of buzzers and clock watching
the colour nearest to it that I could find is called Carmine Red
so I take this colour and spread it about all over my memory
and it totally matches the beautiful flowers on the quince tree.

If I am not going to drown then I will have to learn to swim
I will have to learn to keep holding myself together regardless
well regardless of anything really, for drowning is no answer
and too many years have been wasted to that pursuit already
maybe if I keep acting whole it will make it happen some day
and I will look back and remember that I started in this way.

Well you never know do you I guess anything is worth a go
do you believe at all in the power of prayer, or is it chance
design, destiny, are deep truths contained in simple words
how simple is love, hope, faith ... as simple as fear, hurt, hate?
Somehow dark words resonate and that will have to change
If I have to choose one bright word, only one, it'll be HOPE.

stay here

Can I talk about this rage? Can I find some way?
can I speak with any kind of coherence on this?
that's where writing helps, you can't really shout
it's a safe way of emptying out, but it seems so slow
which is probably good for really what's the rush
it's not like we haven't been living with this forever.

I guess it might sound pretty stupid, well it does
but it is the unfairness which still really gets to me
the fact that someone without even a by your leave
can take something irreplaceable and just crush it
just stomp on it and tear up our precious innocence
which can't then be mended, can't be re-made whole.

I look over my brothers life and see destruction
I look over mine and see quite a lot of that too
and that's not right, that something that happened
so long ago should define much of the here and now
I can't let that be, well, I can't let it be for me
I'd like to help, but I must heal further first to see.

If I can heal further, start seeing a way through
then I can take steps by showing this way to you
and then maybe we'll both make some progress
both have a hope for the future without this stuff
it seems to me that we've spent time enough now
healing can start through acceptance I've heard.

Accepting the things you can't change is the key
letting it go, I mean really letting it just rest and be
turning your mind and staying here in the present
where there is life, love, such rich fullness to be had
and if we ever feel that dark sadness creeping back
we can turn away, we can look at what is right here.

These pictures and sensations they aren't even real
they're memories, so if we keep telling ourselves that
and reminding ourselves just how safe we are now
our little me's can be protected by our adult selves
little me's need never again feel that old pain and fear
our adult selves can keep them safe, keep them here.

The present is a guard, a protection against the past
learning to stay grounded here will help us heal
and that's what I wanted to say to you, forget rage
forget trying to change what cannot be in any way
if I go first will you follow, will you allow me to be
finally someone who can be part of both of us healing.

what was lost

It's something that's not supposed to ever be said isn't it
it's taboo but I am so glad that the bastard is finally dead
even so, so he is, and yet the finality of it hasn't really hit me
it's like I'm sitting here waiting for something more than it will be
I guess I'm still wishing, hoping for some way to truly break free
to leave behind what he did to us in the dust of old redundant memory.

There's something about living a life that's not quite complete
and I know there's loads and loads of people in the same boat as me
I'm forever coming across these souls in almost unbelievable pain
which sometimes makes me feel a bit like I've no right to feel this way
and yet the problem with pain is there's no measure of it and so anyway
even if my pain is really worse or not worse what difference does it make?

It makes a difference only if we compare, do we really want to go there
no me neither, I've been there already and it doesn't help either
it's tough to empty out this kind of thing, like bailing in a boat
to stop it from sinking and however frantic the effort, water rises
and feelings are so like that they wash over and they seep underneath
the guard we put up, the face we put on, the ready reply when we lie.

It's tiring too, it's exhausting to have this continual backdrop
this background movie running on through your mind, whirring whirring
waiting for your attention to swing in it's direction for when it does
the volume goes up the colours sharpen it's a smellivision feelathon
a trip down memory lane with full colour graphics, full on sensation
if you could sell this but without the experience, an instant fortune.

There's a shopping list of possible cures, some aren't that expensive
there's talking talking talking, there's shocks, there's drugs, time
there's always time isn't there? Except how much more will I need
for I'd like to have some left over, some left where I can just be me
whoever that might be, I wonder what sort of person I would be now
well I'll never find out, for the past is over with, it's gone anyhow.

I'm glad that he's dead, I wish it had been sooner, much much sooner
for now I can sense the wasted years in a way that I didn't before
too caught up in just getting by just trying to live some sort of life
not hoping for freedom, well that's not quite true for I was hoping
just never believing, never anticipating, which turns out to be good
because the person I turned out to be is fine, but I'd like to be free.

I'd like back what he took, and yet somehow I couldn't quite define it
until I read a story about a scary bad man who stole a boys childhood
and that's what happened, that's exactly how it was, what was taken
which can't now be given back, anyway what use is it now to an adult
or at least so I tell myself as there's really no point in wishing
for what can never be, I can't travel back and reclaim what was lost.


The monster man breathed his last and now he is gone
he had a nice long life, a mostly peaceful time in death
but he is still gone, he is no more, so, now am I free
can I find a way to break down what he did and rebuild
but without what he did, no of course I can't do that
nothing at all about the past can be changed as such
only the way I look at it, only in the way I look away.

It doesn't matter how bloody unfair any of this is really
it doesn't change the facts, nor any of the damage done
it doesn't alter the memories, the pain, the fear, the hurt
it changes nothing except he is no more now he's gone
so can I now laugh and sing that the monster man's dead
shall I twirl madly with exhuberant joy, howl at the moon
if I do will it make any difference, no, I don't think so.

See the monster man was already dead a long time ago
he just lived in my memory, and not even the monster I knew
because I am no longer the little girl I was way back then
my memory was faulty, although I didn't realise this was so
he seemed big because I was looking at him with her eyes
I was too little to feel anything but the hurt, fear and pain
and if I looked at the monster man right now what would I see?

I'd see a small dead man, shrivelled and grey. A tiny man
dressed in his sunday best surrounded by shiny blue satin
with cracked shoes, neck tie, would he still have his teeth in
and would they still hurt ... see that is the problem right there
thinking about the monster man brings pictures and flashes
of being there all over again, of feeling him and seeing him
of wanting to run away, but wanting too to stay for my brother.

Anger, rage and grief, how to explain these powerful emotions
it feels like inky black darkness, with strobe lightening strikes
like sinking into a nothingness, a faded separate foggy place
feeling weak, alone, helpless, frightened, yet muted, dull
and trying to forget doesn't work, these images, sensations
they ambush you and drag you off at barely a moments notice
to where the back catalogue of re-runs are continually looped.

I want to go and dance there on top of your monster man grave
I want to dig you up, to open the lid and spit on your familiar face
I want to show you what real men look like, they look like mine
real men do not take very small children for their own pleasure
only monster men do things like that, only inadequate men like you
but you're gone now aren't you, you've escaped through death
and on the other side is a darkness to match your own dark soul.