A poem #95 – The Space Between

The unfinished crossword
a catalogue of people
lost for words
concerned only
with flicking forward
feverish
to find the answers
Only to behold
in underlined bold
that their actions
have no reaction:
no hope
no vantage
In the space between
where the hammer strikes the bullet
the beginning
of a moment spins
unheeded
In the jaded present
in which we are unknowingly
dying to be
unplugged
Woven deeper
into the itching fibre
of the noose:
the un-scratch-able truth
Tugging at the cord
to pull the drapes
from the wall
A mounted plaque
under a stale tube light
addresses the Fool
‘All must die
and you are here
wasting away
every moment
of your life.’
To which a camera phone is raised
and a selfie made
and shared among the world
in a shameless
narcissistic
anti-social trade
In the space between
where the hammer strikes the bullet
the final throws
of a moment unborn
fizzles away
unheeded.

JP Collins

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A poem #94 – Another winter

The clang of bottles being thrown
out in the back bar,
shattering the illusion of the moment,
lifting our eyes from the page.
The performance fades
and we are reduced to men and women only
sitting in the din of a crowded room, yet miles apart,
staring at a stage.
The performer, considered an artist
for a brief moment, until
in this humble awakening
the content of the songs become less
about the stories that drive them
and more about the complacency of our motions.
Repeating the “repertoire”
time and time and time again.
Proceeded each time by lessening quotients:
The inescapable clarity
of an ugly situation.
How dulled we have become with age.
The wallowing sage.
Yet, the stink of unconsciousness
still emanating from this woman
of uncooked mince
sitting to my left.
Plump as the sausage
pressing against its skin.
We are bursting to begin
a new nothing.
In the moment that
Wisconsin and Penn flipped their vote
We lost cabin pressure,
softening ghosts
as the tanner strikes the leather.
Feeling the sting
like the fix
from the needle scratching
to find the vein,
feverish and disorientated
about what this all means,
but knowing its volition
is to be a slow and deathly pain.
Stories spun endlessly
into rigmarole
until the term Brexit sounds
akin to those jokers
disparaging the mc’s word
singing “brap, brap”
round and around.
There is no thought,
there is no sound.
No feeling can ever be made of it,
where no sense is found.
A toast, maybe,
to the thickening sap
that fills our lungs:
the cripple in our lap.
To all songs unsung
about a willingness to leave
this place in which
we are no longer fit to breathe.
In my mind, reeling
and repeating
that it is farce.
It must be farce.
Convincing myself
as others have convinced us,
blindly, at the last
it is just another winter,
it will pass,
it will pass,
it will pass.

JP Collins

A poem #92 – Our nightly song

The things unsaid
as we lay in the bed
between the delicate knowings
of right and wrong.
Feelings reborn,
leaving us torn
together
but not as one.

Dream’s liquid displaced
steeped and disgraced,
forlorn under our
moonlit tongue.
In silence we fight
wordless in our plight,
in loveless turns
against the fabric of our nightly song.

Though, waves maybe lapping
as she is now sleeping,
the storm
is yet to come.
Once gentle tones
the steel quietly hones,
her syllables sharpening, in wait,
against the rasp of her tongue.

On eggshells we tread
as we lay in the bed:
constituent parts
of a broken sum.
This marriage scorned,
too hastily mourned.
Our shame is so evident
in the light of the morning come.

JP Collins

A poem #91 – Strange fruit

They build the balustrade
off the back of all Man’s failings.
Strong enough to hold the rope
and the enormous weight of consequence,
and with your arms by your side
you’ll feel the hemp-woven toll.
The balustrade is always strong enough
to protest your shivering throws.
But if you ever stand up there, be still
you will know in that moment, you have all control.
Real control.

What strange fruit
to be hanging from the stair,
where a selfish act was found, you’ll say,
in the place of a prayer.
You couldn’t see it through the mind’s blindness, but we cared,
All of us cared.
What strange fruit you are
hanging from that stair.

They build that ledge
on the other side of the railing
wide enough only for your heels
and if you stand over that river
with your arms stretched out wide
you’ll feel the water cleanse your soul.
The ledge is always wide enough
but not for your toes.
If you ever have to stand up there, be still,
it will be the only time you ever really take control.
Real control.

What strange fruit
to be bobbing in the water,
where a selfish act drifts away, you’ll say,
no clemency, no quarter.
‘Jump you coward!’ yell the gathering crowd, let loose the mortar.
And where the tide gains a son,
a mother loses a daughter.
What strange fruit you are
bobbing in that water.

JP Collins

A poem #90 -Sk:pp:ng needles

Feeling like the wasted yoke of an egg
spilling out into the pan.
For all of my faults and for all that I’ve tried,
it seems I’ve done all that I can.

How did it come to this?
It will take us some time to understand.
We were on our last print when the ink ran out,
you took “that tone” with me and I jammed.

Sometimes the camera captures the things
that the brain ignores,
I’m skipping needles over moments in which we were happy:
the moments that Desertion applauds.

JP Collins

A poem #89 – Nothing at all

Nothing works anymore.
I once had the parameters in “tight”.
It was all working right.
Then the humidity started falling out of range,
the extractor fan stayed on for days.
It’s not the only thing that can’t cope with change.
The tap drips constantly in protest.
Limescale tarnishes all that was clear, and it’s always in jest.
I once had reason present in my mind.
I was able to fight.
The Water Board came round and shut the water off,
the tap ached as it stopped.
It’s not the only thing that aches in this box.
The floor is bare, a splintering trap.
Newspapers used to fall on the mat.
I once had soft oak, and friends to invite.
It was all lit dreamily in the soft morning light.
Then the sun died and the clouds pushed through,
now the floor is barely a floor anymore, it is barely anything at all.
The wood is wet with my tears, for I am like to bawl.
It’s not the only thing that is nothing at all.
The lamp flickers and hums like a wasp is caught in the shade.
This is the din
that I have made.
I once had everything in its place.
It was the finest of tastes.
Then the disconnecting silence filled the halls.
The lamp stopped humming and it threw darkness up the walls.
The telephone doesn’t ring,  nobody calls.
These are not the only things that have become this small.
These are not the only things that have become nothing at all.

JP Collins