A poem #100 – Moon makers (reprise)

Our voices are low in the gas fire light
the orange glow from the three bars
mumbles soft, somber, and slow tonight
The shadows, still, in the corners fall
where flames in passions past
danced high up the walls
We sold our desires by an inch of a candle
and now we are paying over the odds
I wish we had shared all of our truths
while our voices could still speak of god
Now the white maiden dress
browned in the dirt of experience
and washed with the milk of Moon tea
No song no more from that old piano
where the ash from the coal fire
settled on the keys
And on this the passing of the last day of Winter
the birds in her heart will take their final flight
There will be no words to the ear, no note on the night stand
only half a bed and half a man of untold scars
at the break of this last spring’s light
A toast, then, to the good times
and to the hearts that ran so free
we’ll dance to the jaunt of our old bones now
and the bleak and fading mind
that’s welcomed-in the grey of the sea
And when the bed is cold and the gas fire waned
I will look up through the night to see
amongst all the million suns up there
the moon is where you’ll be.

JP Collins

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A poem #99 – Moon makers

Both of us talk low in the gaslight
our nerves tremble against the air
digging up ghosts from where we know they are lying
in the absolute darkness and the space between tears.

Embraced with each other we sway in the jaunt of the piano
where Hope rolls over the hill
we are two lamps in the small hours clinging to the half light
and the embers from the coal fire that settle on the sill.

You say “it looks a little more like love
now we’ve cleared the air”
all the hurts laid out before us:
too many for us to count or about which to care.

Even still, we hide from each other our deepest scars
as if a child can somehow learn the world from the womb
and so the time it has come and down on one knee I ask you:
with all the billions of suns up there, what make you of the moon?

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 #88 – Go steady

She said to me “Son, go steady,
you are not yet ready
to sing this song.
Unclench your fist, bite your lip:
some men are better with words
than they are with bombs.

“Blood near boils in the heat of a fight;
and whilst you are right,
you are wrong.
Take a moment, catch your breath:
the measure of a man is in how he moves on
from the thing that’s already done.

“Where a mother has a right to mother,
don’t stay always under this cover:
even weeds grow in the shade.
But instead,
know when to love and when to leave,
know when to smile and when to grieve.
Know when to hide under the pain,
Know when to break into a million pieces:
many a good thing from broken parts
can be made.”

JP Collins

A Poem #79 – Greed

A morsel becomes a handful
which in turn becomes a mouthful whilst the hand is full.
Need becomes greed
as swift as the thoroughbred steed that runs far out in the lead.
The last now ahead of the pack
joyful and ignorant as the nat and all the while as blind as the bat.
Untraceable as the ghost,
all of us, hosts, a whisper of wind upon the foreign coast.
I assure you this is what we needed the most:
This emptiness – to which we raise a toast.

JP Collins

A poem #39 – Do not turn to stone

“Alas!” they say,
“live within your means”,
“Impossible”, I reply,
“for we are driven by our dreams”.
Forget conformity and embrace your freedom,
live life on your own;
for if someone tells you long enough that you are a rock,
you will eventually turn to stone.

JP Collins