A poem #106 – Foxes

Somewhere behind
those towering properties
on the Balls Pond Road
a fox cub is learning to survive
on an industrial fire escape
where it came to know its home
not venturing from the spot
where its mother gave birth to it
dumping it out into the world
onto the hard metal grating
it’s fur catching always
in the mesh
where fear and hope collide
at the juncture of a hard truth
amongst the scraps of scavenged dustbin food
Mother hasn’t returned in days
her three remaining legs
never carried her far
not then, and not today
and out in the cold
in the wet storm gutter
a faded red and brown, deflating shape
merges into the earth
and the litter
as it builds up around it
cast away unwanted
until the Council men come
and clear it away it with their shovels
plastic mingled dirt
blood and bone and all
in a black plastic bag
no farewell, no burial
slung onto a truck bed
to join the city’s rejected things
no reply as the fox cub calls
from dank metal stairwells
no tears
no dreams.

JP Collins

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A poem #104 – Tide

And so for the last time the tide it ebbs away
it should have brought so much life and joy
but instead of bathing in the richness of its waters, under the setting sun
we wasted too much time in wishing it would stay
Edging slowly out into the waves
hesitant and fearful, and hopping to avoid the cold of the first swells
by the moment bravery took us in its arms, the waters were waste high
not noticing they were already leaving us, simply slipping away
returning to the beach, the night draws in around us
the old moon on the horizon hangs heavy amongst the clouds
And through our wet clothes the cold wind bites like dogs at our skin
in the midnight air, for the first time, feeling something
all is done but to lay down on this sandy bed, giving consideration to the myriad distant stars
full of regret that we tiptoed shyly out to the edge of our world and not one step beyond it
and that we did not at first dive in
to drink in its richness, instead of standing on the shore and watching it pass.

JP Collins

A poem #97 – Unfulfilled dreams

A song about silence
sung from the wings
to mourning pews
piled high with abandoning
The note was struck
the piano rings
footsteps fading
in the cowering din
filled with “I can’t”s
the still air stings
sharp and prickling
against the skin
the prayer book open
the pages singed
by the dying flame
of unfulfilled dreams.

JP Collins

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

A poem #43 – Death, leave me be

Allow that I take my mind off of you,
for you are the thorn in my side.
You are the shadow over my head,
and the persistent limp in my stride.

We will one day meet for certain,
and you shall then have all of my time.
So be gone for the moment and leave me be,
as my life should be only mine.

Allow my mind to stray
away from the insufferable truth,
that when you do come calling at my door,
I will come freely, albeit aloof.

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

A poem #38 – One life: live it

One life: live it,
stamped across your sun-strip.
Mud in your bones,
is the Land Rover’s ethic.

No regrets, no fear,
in stickers on your door.
Water to your waistline,
and always ready for more.

Something breaks: Gaffa tape,
or oil to make it move.
No qualms with the unexpected, or when things go wrong,
I just wish I could be more like you.

JP Collins