Thursday, 23 December 2010

Yuletide Bell's

Thursday 23rd December 2010, A. Palmer

It is tradition, and those three words were enough,
for my old lady to allow me, when younger, and her old man
(even though I could scarcely stand the stuff)
to share a drink at this time of year if I swore not to scuff
my new shoes before dinner, or fill my gut
with penny sweets and pecans and perish her plan,
and upon agreements to a second glass, rescind.

I’m older now, no longer needing permission, but age
hasn’t shaved the struggle of sizing my swigs
more in line with his. I conclude we’re on a different carol page
when it comes to choosing the ideal yuletide beverage to assuage,
unless we sit and laugh until we’re three quarters-cut,
waiting for the turkey and the blankets in pigs.
Yes, he loves our Christmas drink, so pinned

by convention as each breath hurries after the one before,
rising through the salty mist that clings
to the arthritic fingers of the shivering trees, I pour
a generous shot of Bell's or four
through the frost that lies at the foot
of where it reads ‘dearly loved Grandad’ and things,
and blame a tear upon the wind.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Perpendicular Parallels

Wednesday 22nd December 2010, A. Palmer
Pirouetting from a static crowd,
she came into my life and left me.
She left me in a daze of desire
and panic you could hear aloud,
as she led me to a crooked spire.

There, we cemented what we’d fought
and in a moment of weakness, or strength, I cried.
I cried out that it was unfair to be so irreplaceable,
and she, with the depth I’d always sought,
assured me everybody is erasable.

When I recall those moments, it hurts.
It hurts to laugh so hard at my willing.
That I ever believed gravity could grow
from such loose fibres and feelings reverts
I, she, all of you back to what we’d kill to know:

Whose is the face that you will see
when your eyelids kiss for the final time?
Who will you wait for when their time is near?
Only then can you know the identity
of the one you’ve truly loved every second of every year.

Friday, 17 December 2010

In Green Ink

Friday 17th December 2010, A. Palmer

I love you through a desire so strong,
even I do not understand it fully.
My heart, and my stomach when I see you,
seem to do so better than me.

I love you through a vulnerability-
a fear I now appear to harbour due
to a possibility you may be gone one day,
despite the fact I lasted twenty one years without you.

I love you through nights spent apart,
when my eyes pick out your possessions first,
and my mind turns to you despite never departing,
as sleep discharges the dreams I’ve nursed.

I love you through a new language:
words blooming like the first opening flower-
what they will look like cannot be known,
but the anticipation is the truer power.

I love you through tough tests,
when it is perhaps best not to confess that you love still what’s dark.
No one can match, or catch the sail of your soul
quite like the one who can sink the ship with a single remark.

I love you through living.
Each day dawns to confine the last to our history,
and I smile a hearty smile- one so warm
my cheeks flush and leave nothing to mystery.

I love you through a bird song.
One you need barely hear, as long as it can be heard in hints.
I could trace your being to its music flawlessly,
as the image rests upon my ghost like a pair of handprints.

I love you through all of these things.
But I love through none of these things too,
You make me; I exist only as us now that we’ve met,
so I love you as though that’s all I’m here to do.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

After The Dusk Has Settled

Thursday 16th December 2010, A. Palmer

The room smelt of straightened hair-
burnt serum, split ends
and all other things false.
The room smelt of her.

Scanning around, I couldn’t help
but notice the lack of direction
and decisiveness in the decor:
she was at a loss as to who she was, the room admitted.

Earnestly, she studied the mirror.
Her hairspray curtain parting revealed the ugly truth.
The perfume bottle paused in midair as
the thought took hold.

I saw it before it happened,
but I was stood too far away for intervention.
She sucked her top lip as she always does,
and began to weep.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Run Aground

Tuesday 14th December 2010, A. Palmer

The blood rushed the walls of crevices and crooks
in the kitchen tiles,
nestling in the grains like crimson rock pools.

Draining from your face at a rapid rate, your looks-
usually all flushes and smiles-
began to resemble more those of a man the ocean rules:

silent still, with lips cracking like a row of tiny skulls
and blue. Oh so blue,
I chilled upon seeing the shade life leaves behind.

Your hands gripped the night in helplessness, and your moored hull
caused a fear that grew
among those frozen nearby like the lake that lined

your shell- just how long would you be driftwood for?
Suddenly, sound pierced again,
and waves of screaming oared me into smoother thinking.

Throwing your tongue overboard washed your lungs ashore
and allowed sense to be regained,
though you shall never quite know how close you came to sinking.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Usual Tuesday

Wednesday 8th December 2010, A. Palmer

Living is merely dying for the optimist.
So if I make mistakes a growing trend-
like losing you, loving you, meeting you- it
shouldn’t matter much in the end.

I guess I’ll just work utilising the
impuissant intervals of interest I can
rally the strength to muster and the degree
I once prized and had underpin every plan.

I may meet some other dislike-minded
failure, and settle into a marriage and home
of convenience, mutual recognition of last chances
and rising fears of being alone.

I’ll raise the children led to believe
that Daddy and Mummy were born husband and wife,
the same children named after crossing off
the ones earmarked in and for a happier life.

I’ll live in the same town I grew hope in,
and stifle the restlessness I tendered as truth,
whilst passing off Paris, London and the Elbow Rooms
as the improbable pipe dreams of youth.

Then I’ll die in a blaze of Usual Tuesdayness,
convincing myself I had lived half-well,
but deep down I’d rue I never knew happiness
like the sort once brought by my February Belle.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Lain Puisi Cinta

Tuesday 7th December 2010, A. Palmer

“I feel like I’ve lost my heart and my right arm,”
she moaned about losing you.
Well, that’s what happens
if you wear your heart on your sleeve.

“Come on,” I said,
“Put your coat on; let’s get out of here for a while.”
Dressing her was so, so...
I can’t think how to put it.

“He doesn’t care does he?
“How can he ever have cared?”
It’d be so tempting to agree,
to slip into the lead here, but I can’t.

“Where are we going?”
The break in her whimper was surprising.
“Wherever the car takes us.”
The healing properties of getting lost
made her smile.

“That’s it,” I encouraged,
“you sure you haven’t been touching up your make up?
“This breakdown looks a bit Hollywood to me.”

She told me off for complimenting her,
but I could tell it had warmed her
to hear a positive review.
So whilst she returned to reflecting on you, I

shuffled her through the winter afternoon
like an elderly mother,
and all I could think was
the lighthouse saves you from the dark,
but who saves the lighthouse?

Monday, 6 December 2010


Monday 6th December 2010, A. Palmer

A hundred circles,
wrapping myself in a cardigan,
trapping myself in the traces of you.

There’s a candle, and it just won’t go out.

It’s overpowering, I
slip under like in spy movies,
and try to follow your scent back to you.

Where are you?
Are you this candle?

The flame, whiter
the longer I look at it.
It grows, or am I getting closer?

I swear I saw your face.
You’re everywhere I close my eyes.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Had Love, Still Travel

Sunday 5th December 2010, A. Palmer

Lion come. Close. Closer.
The sky a doctored blue, the teeth
a Hollywood white, to dazzle me
whilst he tears me limb from limb.

Then it changes.
Suddenly, I’m in shorts and backpack.
A look I’ve never liked, but I’m not
looking at me.

The sun beats down upon beetles’ backs,
baking them tired into cracked mud.
But I’m cold in the shadow of a testament
to my ancestors.

Forty foot high, its skeleton stands strangled
by moss and ivy in a loving entwine
it’s taken centuries to define.
I’m in Peru I believe.

I’m about to touch the glossy walls,
strange finish for stones,
when a voice calls to me from a distant place:
“What about Florence?” she says.

“Yeah, sure,” I reply at the entrance.
It’ll never be Goa with the one
who came and went like the snow.


Sunday 5th December 2010, A. Palmer

The coat hanger still grips the edge
of the Welsh dresser,
cold not having her coat to hold.

Films are gathering dust,
they don’t make him laugh like they used to
and he misses her mess.

He read what to do once,
but conveniently, he can’t remember for the
death of him.

Hours turn into days and years and other lifetimes,
but the heart always remembers.
He’d tell it to let go, but his heart dictates around here.

Warts 'n' All Corsage

Sunday 5th December 2010, A. Palmer

Sorry is that wily word
we’ve been imploring to appear
for far too long.
Terse is not what we are, nor unheard,
nor how we got here,
but it’s where we’re going wrong.

So look with open arms okay?
I’ll listen with a kiss
of life to revive
a love duck-sitting in harm’s way.
Welcome me back baby from this-
I want to feel alive.

I’ve been carefree, but it was lonely,
nothing’s ever filled me with such fire
as being shackled to you.
So I’ll show you what you’ve shown me,
that this world can be quite the liar
and quite the teacher too.

And when the sands of sorrow
get too hot in the Depsaira desert,
do not be my mirage.
Be my thing of beauty, but not my tomorrow.
Be my today, be overt:
A warts ‘n’ all corsage.

On Loan

Sunday 5th December 2010, A. Palmer

Like finding the child you gave up for adoption,
he had years on me.
If I could have wrestled you into a home,
maybe even an engagement,
I might have stood half a chance.

Twenty-one, and I feel like I’m short on time.
Twenty-one! I shouldn’t even know what that is.

Jack Savoretti is competing with Greg Laswell
to make me feel better by making me feel worse,
and the red wine is staining the lips
you used to.
I’d wash my hair but it never did anything for me clean.

To be civil?
That’s all I was abandoned for?

I’ve decided the wallpaper on my phone
is a prophecy:
a sunset over an icy road
and a slip into darkness around the corner.

In yellow light and open curtains,
Jack wins and plucks celebratory F
and heartstrings again.

Then I read this back and discover
it has no structure,
no direction,
no class,
and I realise it’s the most apt piece I’ve ever penned.