A poem #101 – Grace

Grace works out of one of those highstreet coffee chains,
the acceptable drug the world adores
in this quiet town of warm hands and cold hearts
between the myriad of vacant stores.

Living her flat-white life, built on skinny lies
where the stale musk of spent grounds percolate in her brain
as she holds out her hand, forces a smile
and passes him the change.

She wonders if enough people will come through that door
to keep them both alive
she hasn’t seen the inside of a church
since the day her mother died.

All of her belongings fit into a plastic bag
she say’s it’s homely, as it rustles in the rain
on it, her purse still has its price tag
in case she must return it one day.

Her hope’s like the lamp struggling
for breath beneath the fog
but life is at its most bitter
at the bottom of the cup.

The hours just grow longer there
the same old people come in for a seat
She studies at the college of “how to be a fucking machine
on a course that she’ll never complete.

In the back-room locker lies a misplaced gift
from the man who is one half of her, who’s spent his life overseas
Alongside is an empty box from those boys who left straight afterwards
instead of getting down on one knee.

She takes the bus home from work
and wears the same pair of socks for a week
As the cigarettes burn they stain her fingers
and make her lungs grow weak.

The day-to-day grind in that lamplit town
spent mostly in disbelief
Where aspiration is the unresolved, hanging chord
and gratitude gets stuck like food between teeth.

Where beauty is sold to both the young and the old
in plastic wrap for a single-use dream
with a forced smile and vacant eyes and open legs for one night only
pouring out the pages of a magazine.

JP Collins


A poem #59 – Coffee cup couture

Wired and wide-eyed drones,
percolating on a pernicious precipice.
Where black beans blend and kettles foam,
belong self-destructive narcissists.

Coffee cup couture,
longing for loneliness in lives full to the brim.
Words wind and entwine with thoughts,
anxiously relaxed, in stillness rattling.

Solitary stain rings on shabby-chic furniture.
hash-brown, #tags and next-gen phones.
Small sips salute desperate measures,
all of us humming in vacuous tones.

JP Collins

Quiet musings… day #11 – Mouldy Stilton

How many times I’ve knocked the torch out of the cupboard: Thirteen.

What I do to the torch: Check it still works, then move it to the remote caddy by my side of the bed. What use for a torch I’ll have while sleeping, I don’t know; I’m not even sure I’ll notice there’s been a power cut – I’m certainly not old enough to get up for the loo in the middle of the night. I can’t think why we have a remote caddy either, we never watch TV in the bedroom anyway. These are first world problems; I wish life was simpler, we could fill it only with the things that matter then.

What I do in the kitchen: Open the fridge and exclaim “Ew! It’s all mouldy!” When my wife comes in to investigate I show her the block of Stilton and chuckle to myself while she huffs at me for being stupid. I make out like I’m going to tickle her and she runs out the room. We’ll be embarrassing parents if the time ever comes.

What I think about: If Stilton is mouldy to start with, then what is the “used by” date for? Does the bad mould grow after that date? Or does the good mould flip over to the bad side when it sees how much fun the jam is having at the back of the fridge…

What I put in the cupboard in place of the small torch: A bigger torch that is less like to be knocked out, but doesn’t quite fit in the space on the shelf.

What our new candles smell of: Coffee

What I wonder: When exactly the world became obsessed with coffee and its effects and who is responsible for filling my social media feeds up with adverts and quips about the damn stuff. I’m getting stressed about it. I think I need a drink, maybe a cup of…

JP Collins