A sonnet for Carrie Mathison

You don’t strike me as the poetry sort
unless, perhaps, it’s straight-laced with liquor.
But there’s an intensity, a flicker
of sideways-sharp awareness in your thoughts
that parallels your mind with metaphor.
How else would you see beyond the concrete
to know what others see as incomplete?
Hyper-everything, pure focus, hardcore
and yet
there’s a harsh vulnerability
that sometimes cuts too deep, a salted knife
in the heart’s open wound. Ability
to see too clearly and not unsee, life
heightened by emotions’ fragility.
You’re an ice-fire paradox of extremes,
nuclear fusion of hyperreal and dreams.

Science

It’s past midnight; the witching hours

softly creep through the darkness.

Music muffles out of an open doorway,

shadows thump as hearts beat.

Seeing fluid bodies merge in time

I’m the wrong piece in an incomplete jigsaw,

watching chargeless as giggling electrons

attract and repel, weave an

intricate dance amongst pulsing protons.

Chemistry was never my best subject,

much less the murky peripheries

where chemistry meets biology,

the hormonal collision of chemical bonding

with fusion and reproduction.

Walking home, constellations map the sky.

The moon cycles its rhythmical shifts.

There’s safety in physics, cause and effect,

bound in formulae, logic and reason.

Lost

Lost:

 

This book.

I can’t stop thinking;

falling

back

to those caffeine-

fuelled nights

reading, writing,

reading.

Your brain sparked

by nicotine,

loosened by alcohol.

Mine, blurred,

dull

as January sky.

 

You taught me metaphor.

A sharp short-circuit of emotion

you don’t need to understand.

 

You taught me pool

And how to skip

stones;

the world spun on vodka-

spiked

Diet Coke

and light-headed lungfuls

of tobacco.

 

I miss you.

The morning runs, the evening

pints,

the random texts and writing

checks

but more:

I miss

your bloody hugs.

Alice’s recovery from Wonderland

Alice (i)

As she grew, so did her experiences,
broadening, deepening in intensity,
sense-sharp spectrum of feeling.
When she shrank, the world contracted,
telescopic, microscopic microcosm,
narrowed perception through muted senses.
She’d been shape-shifting for a time
fixed in perspectives, unquantifiable.
In her mind, it began when her up-and-down
parallel lines softened in space, curved relatively,
and she realised she was already falling
down a rabbit hole of emotional vertigo.
It was a place where you run
until you choke on burning breath and
still only reach your starting point,
where surfaces shift through paradox.
She’s moving in all directions at once.

 

Alice (ii)

There are times when it’s easier
to pretend you don’t exist,
that you’re just a vehicle
for shifting perceptions of others.
Falling down the rabbit hole, she
reached magic constant velocity,
total release from self-imposed self.

Wonderland’s a mesh of mirror-maze
detachment and full-force feeling
and she rides the pendulum like
a long-distance run; time contracted,
relative to a microcosm of perceptions.
There are times when she’s sure
it’s all just a dream; except that
she doesn’t dream, usually, or not
that she remembers.  Memories meld
pseudo-memories, neuroplastic neurons
forged by transient imagination.

Logic-lost, she’s drifting in a world
where time has no meaning and
light-wave perspectives curve space.
You can run but you won’t get anywhere,
distance dissolved infinitesimally in
an illusion of motion.  Like herself.

Skin

She’s a mind map of story, tattoos
of ink, scar and stretchmark.
In certain lights,
you can read the braille of her life:
coded in topography, she lays her experience
naked, projected, distorted.

Inference is more accurate than interpretation.
Cartography is progressive.

Colours matter: recent red fades
to sepia memories.
Sometimes it’s what you don’t see
that matters the most.

If she trusts you, she’ll give you clues
to crack the corporeal code.
But before you do, think carefully.
Do you really need the history of maps
to find your way forward?

What I’ve learned from distance running

I wrote this in the middle of an ultra last year- it was a 12 hour overnight run and I took my usual 20 min break at 2am, and started to list things I’d learned over the previous seven hours. It’s amazing how runnign for that long really clarifies your thoughts and puts things into perspective!  The notes turned into a poem which I haven’t edited since because I want it to reflect my thoughts mid-ultra.  So…

What I’ve learned from distance running:

There’s no secret or special skill. 
You just put one foot in front of the other 
and keep going. 
Don’t forget to look at how far 
you’ve already come. 
 
Sometimes you feel fucking amazing 
like you can do anything; 
other times it hurts like hell and you feel  
shit. There are times when you want to quit, 
you can’t seem to get rid of negative thoughts, 
or everything seems too overwhelming.  
Then you need to slow down, assess, stop 
if you need to, or take a break. Focus 
on the moment you’re in, 
try your best in that moment.   
 
Don’t even think about speed or times. 
Fuel yourself properly 
and drink lots of water. 
alk the hills- you’ll get there 
in the same amount of time. 
Run your own race. Don’t feel guilty 
for running at your own pace.  
Look around you at the scenery, find 
something nice in every moment.  
Breathe. Have fun. 
 
The same rules apply to life. 

A found poem for David Bowie

It’s been nearly four months since David Bowie died and I still can’t process it properly.  Not so much the fact that he’s dead- it’s not as though I’ve ever met him personally and his concept and personae are still very much alive in my head, more the fact that he’ll never release any new music and I’ll never get to see him live in concert.  There’s a (horrible) part of me who’s angry at him for that and thinks he’s selfish for not going on one last tour after The Next Day but he’s an enigma and always will be, and his physical self doesn’t represent the amazing personae and characters he inhabited.  So I’ve written a found poem in his memory, constructed from lyrics taken from nearly all of his albums.  RIP David Bowie ⚡️🎸⚡️🎸⚡️

A glose to not-exist

“Learn the point of vanishing, the moment 
embers turn to ash, the sun falls down, 
the sudden white-out comes.” 
– ‘How to Disappear’, Amanda Dalton 
 
It’s harder than you’d think, to not 
exist. The greater sum of parts 
that’s caught in the fierce gravity 
of life’s orbit, insistent hearts. 
Learn the point of vanishing, the moment 
 
you override the ceaselessness 
of being. Freedom of nothing; 
nothing to be free from. Self-less, 
the irony of choice. Burning 
embers turn to ash, the sun falls down; 
 
you are aware of none of this. 
You’ve not-existed for longer 
than you can remember. In the 
nothingness of cold and hunger, 
the sudden white-out comes. 

Another anorexia glose

“Burn it up on re-entry, burn it,
burn it. So she trains
 
with weights, she jogs, she runs,
as if the sky were falling.”
– ‘The Wasting Game’, Philip Gross
 
She’s a heart of ice, streaking through
the bloodstream of vacuous space.
She’s a meteor, shoots alone
with target precision and pace.
Burn it up on re-entry, burn it.
 
She revolves a constant orbit,
tries to enter our atmosphere
but the force is too strong, a pulse
of solid ice, anger and fear.
Burn it. So she trains
 
her mind in rituals of control,
carves fractal perfection of bone.
She build a woman of snowflakes,
shapes an ice body of her own:
with weights, she jogs, she runs
 
a death dance in exactitude.
She’s lost in the infinity
of three-dimensional space, spins
a desperate web of safety
as if the sky were falling.