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 #103 – Love song 

Moonrise grip
tideway slip
firm and cool
‘gainst the bare brick wall
on this the longest
of summer nights
beneath the veil
of waning coastal lights,
that same way you kissed me, then
that’s how I kiss you.

Red leaves crisp
under rising mist
hats and scarfs
along woodland paths
all in song with
Nature’s wish
under the canopy
of Autumn’s kiss,
that same way you held me, then
that’s how I hold you.

Cold air rings
deep lungs sting
calm and slow
in dusting snow
on this the clearest
of Winter’s days
amongst the still air
and vastness of the bay,
that same way you spoke of me, then
that’s how I speak of you.

Budding yawn
rose-fingered dawn
fresh and sweet
with temperate beat
on this the day
in waking spring
new arisings
all Godly things singing,
that same soft voice that sung, then
that’s how I sing of you.

JP Collins

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 #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

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 #98 – Call it change

Put all of the offices at the bottom of the sea
one-thousand metres or more down,
they do nothing up here but spread our darkness
they know of no consequence, no bounds.

Put all of this triteness in a canning jar
and shake it vigorously around,
break up the monotony of this endless terror
where the notes disconnect from the sound.

Put all these tired, old problems aside
cut them into their objective parts,
these serve only to distance us from each other
to drive good people of the world apart.

Put all these learnt “differences” that drift aimlessly
together so they are no longer estranged,
weave them into a beautiful, vibrant cloth
and call it change:
call it change,
call it change.

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