That Shirt

that thick cotton shirt
shade of  deep midnight
with moon-silver thread 
glistening ethereal under streetlights
wearing it
felt celestial
so I only wore it once
for our first date
drinks and pizza
looking at each other
over red gingham cloth
and flickering candle
wax dripping down
an empty bottle
of last week’s
house wine
conversation mostly answers
to silent questions
asked with eyes
and the curve of
nervous lips
I tried to be a gentleman
and pull out your chair
as we were leaving
the waiter saw it as an affront
for which I apologised
to show I was a gentleman
and when we hugged goodbye
I felt our cheeks touch
both warm with wine
and affection
so when I see
the same shirt
folded neatly in your drawer
close to the memory box
and wedding album
I catch a glimmer from
the moon-silver thread 
that helped stitch
our lives together
I believe in magic.

Thanks for taking the time to read this poem, dedicated to my beautiful wife.

Take it Easy,

Paul

What Is A Fire Without Flame?

a dispassionate mound
of glaucous ash
the warmth lost
ready to die out
at any moment

or rather

a scattering of embers
the reminder of warmth
we shared
when flames flickered in frivolity
kissing and caressing
kindling and coal
when white,gold and ochre
danced
as strong as they could 
for as long as they could
to the gentle chaotic rhythm of crackling
shades of silver in the hearth
silently whispering
Live Life Like The Fire.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this poem and are having a great day.

Take it Easy

Paul

Image courtesy of Canva.

Winter Walk

Zero degrees C
in the peak of midwinter
we wrapped up warm
in wool and polyester
pulled on our boots
thick with suede upper
and gripping rubber soles
primed and ready
to walk the forest
its floor frosted white
glamourising the
natural litter
of fallen acorns and amber needles
we held each others hand
through our scandi grey gloves
a) for support since I was clumsy
and b) for love
we looked out over
the blank frozen fields
and into the feeble glare of
a weakened winter sun
some chimneys breathed in the distance
a sign of life going on
while time stood still
as we tightened our hands
our minds raced
to what the future would hold
luckily for me
I still get to hold you.

Thanks for reading. Thanks to freestocks on unsplash for use of the image.

Take it easy,

Paul

December Nights

finding comfort 
in a chunky knit sweater
and sherpa-lined socks
hands clasped around my favourite mug
the steamy scent of hot ginger wine
waltzing in the air
with the aroma of an oud wood candle
while the crackle of beechwood
burning on the tv
soothes selflessly
the hardest choice I have
is deciding what book to get lost in.

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed this poem.

Paul

The Display

remember that time you had fun
watching the fireworks fly
rivers of light flowing across the sky
whilst a tower of kindling burned nearby
well aware the scent would wrap around your clothes
inhaling the ashen smoke through a crimpled nose
sipping hot chocolate
with friends by your side
watching people queue
to gorge on something fried
those were great times
and the photos we captured
show sincere elation
like the one that caught you laughing
when someone shrieked at the shrill
of a rocket in ascent
an excitable reaction that you’ll never forget
and the time you wrote expletives
with a sparkler in the air
and people were frowning and you didn’t care
but now you’ve joined a group on Facebook
whose culture is to cancel and signal their virtue
I know this is a display
and I’m really sorry for you
that you’d rather be passive and see the world in grey and beige
than admire the spectrum free of echoed rage
banning the possibility of fun
when you’ve already flew close to the sun
and enjoyed the inferno on your face
is a bit of a hypocritical disgrace.

It was you who once told me
the reason why fireworks will always be fun
and bonfires welcome
is what they represent
the overthrow of control
by those who have been oppressed
so rather than call for a blanket ban
add some fuel to the fire
and inhale the memories of fun
washed in smoke.

Thanks for taking the time to read this poem inspired by the rise of cancel culture and hypocrisy.

(Image adapted from Jamie Street via Unsplash)

A Lesson in Falling

In my younger years
i was always afraid
of falling down
but fear has been replaced
with a potent intoxicating euphoria
when this planetary mass of mine
descends with thunderous precision
or occasional feather-light bedlam
when cloth & skin & flesh
encounter earth
i revel in the writhing of
reverting to verticality
safe in the knowledge that
any bloomed bruises or scratched skin
will heal
but i’ll still wear them
crystalline merits of resilience
because
the euphoria of falling is fleeting
it’s the rising up
i always remember.

Thanks for taking the time to read my poem, feel free to have a look around the rest of my site.

(Image courtesy Canva)

Things Will Get Better – A Poem for World Mental Health Day

the feat of self-propulsion
from one’s bed
whilst the sludge of self-repulsion
is coursing through one’s head
is an extremely powerful thing to do

through mumbled words and scratching sobs
the step taken to share your thoughts
with another
whether it be friends, family, stranger or lover
is a monument of courage

think of it, as like learning a new skill
a realisation that things
can and will get better
but may take time to figure out 
displays a resilience 
you may not have known about

these are things I say from experience
imprisoned in darkened rooms and a midnight black bleak mind
in a state of self-exile
shutting the whole world out
through obtuse notions of a lack of self-worth
but I overcame it and freed myself through seeking help and standing up.

Believe in You
as others do
even when you take the smallest of steps
you are strong, brave and powerful

This poem was written for World Mental Health Day 2020. If you feel you need help with your mental health, speak to someone then contact a GP, Mental Health service or a Counselling service in your area.

Take it easy and look after yourself and each other

Paul

(Image taken from mentalhealth.org.uk)

Sports Mixture & The Sun

I was 11 years old
buying the Sun
on behalf of my Dad
anticipating
50p worth of sports mixture
with the change

a boy
i recognised
my sister’s age
7 years old
trying to buy
20 Silk Cut and 2 litres Cider
on behalf of his Dad
struggling
under the weight
of expectation

a man
40-ish years old
trying to provide
for his family of 6
a newsagent
eager
to please his patrons
to be welcomed
into the arms of the community
his journey long
from Bangladesh to Britain
via marriage and military service
looking a blend of bemusement and sadness
at the boy trying to buy
cigarettes and alcohol
who he turns away from his counter

a man
50-ish years old
reeking of addiction
to tabs and cheap booze
storming the shop
firing slurred slow
deliberate insults
and asking
do you know who i am
irked by the response of
yes a thug and a bad father, we dont sell alcohol and tobacco to children
it was then I witnessed
racism first hand
shock absorbed
in my young brain
stood like a hostage
the tirade continued
the threat of a firebomb
to the newsagent
and his family
the smell eventually leaving
when he couldn’t achieve his demands

me, a boy of 11
buying the Sun
and 50p worth of sports mixture
with the change
apologising
for someone else’s actions
that I didn’t understand
receiving a wink and a sad smile
I ran home
to deliver the newspaper
and the news of what happened
to my Dad

My Dad
then in his mid-30’s
a butcher by trade
the sight of violence and blood
known to him
sat stoically on the sofa
listening to my recap of events
crinkling the pages
between fingers
stained with ink of
yesterday’s news
providing words of wisdom
be kind to those who deserve your kindness scum always rises, but it always ends up skimmed and discarded, remember that, learn how to recognise and skim out hatred and you’ll be alright
followed by
can I have a couple of sports mixture
I gave him the bag.

————-

This poem is based on a shocking morning trip to the Newsagent just around the corner from our house.

Most of the time there was a real togetherness in our council estate, but on rare occasions, a sinister underbelly came to the fore.

Thanks for reading, I’d love to know your thoughts,

Paul