Reflections

space cube 2
Photograph by Matt Johnson AKA Silverbackgorillapoetry

 

Freedom is an illusion
We’re all imprisoned
By something or other
Tethered by a thought or dream
Or perhaps a nightmare
Or something else somewhere
Maybe someone or nowhere
Imprisoned in our individual encounters
With ourselves in the mirror
Reminding us we’re not who we envisioned
Smiling underneath our emotional contortions
This rag of flesh

A world for life
Microscopic critters
Replicating themselves
As we duplicate ourselves
Simulating one another
Looking into mirrors, looking into reflections
Looking into ourselves
Studying the world
And in the world we are reflected back
And hoping no one noticed
We don our masks.

A wish for rugged boots

The sweat beaded down their brows as their bare feet scraped against the pavement, their bindles over their shoulders and a glazed look in their eyes.
“If it isn’t Drew & Drake!” A guy named Billy beamed with a grin, “Fancy seein’, you two here!” Billy looked them up and down and noted their bare dirty feet, “Living on hard times are we?”
Drew wiped at his brow with the back of his hand, “Nah!” Drew scratched his belly under his vest, “We done a good deed, ain’t we, Drake?” he said, nudging his pal.
“We got clothes on our backs,” Drake started, “So we thought we’d give up some of our less necessary items.” Drake grinned, a few teeth missing in his mouth.
Billy laughed, “And shoes ain’t necessary, are they?”
“Look at them apes, them er, chimps. They don’t wear shoes!” Drew said with a smug smile.
“Thee don’t wear pants or vest neither.”
Drew’s brows drew together, his eyes glazed over more so than earlier, “Oh yea!” He exclaimed, “Thanks, man!” Drew slapped Billy on the back in that brotherly fashion men do.
“The point is,” Drake began, “We did a good deed which brings us good karma in the future, you know what I mean?”
Billy shook his head with a chuckle, “You two do make me laugh!”
“It’s good to make people laugh,” Drew nodded his head.
Drake rolled his eyes, “Drew, he aint laughing with us, he’s laughing at us like they always do!”
Drew’s face reddened and screwed into anger, “You what? You laughin’ at us? What you laugin’ at us fer! Yer quite laughable yerself! Dick’ead!”
“I’m not the one walking along the street in the 21st century with bindles strewn across me shoulder, in bare feet cuz I donated the only shoes I had to bloody charity shop! Ha!” “Hey, mate, what good you ever done in your life? Eh? You can laugh, but we’re the guys who have little yet still try to ‘elp where we can. We ‘ave bare feet, and so what about it? It feels quite good actually! Really grounds ya!” Drake said, doing a little tap dance and then lunging forward to show how free his movement was without shoes on, “We got the right t’ bare feet jus’ like them, Americans got their rights to bare arms!” Drake said, humour deep in his a little less glazed over eyes than Drew’s, “And look at you, bet you got them human feet instead of these beasty boys!” Drake karate kicked the air.
“Drake, you’ve got human feet too. He can see you know!”
Drake stopped in his tracks and slapped his pal across the head, “It’s a fucking play on words, dumbo! I got bear feet, ya get it?”
“We both have bare feet!”
“Yes we do, Drew! We have BEAR feet. And we could kick Mr Billy boy here into yesterday with ’em.”
“I’m sure you wouldn’t need to kick, the smell’ll do it!” Billy said sarcastically.
“I think wearing shoes makes our feet smell bad, it’s all that sweating around in closed spaces. Bet my feet smell less than…”
“Drake,” Drew pawed at his friend’s elbow trying to pull him to the side.
“WHAT?” Drake roared, “What now.”
“Ah…Ah…I think I left mah soul in mah shoes.”
Billy’s head rolled along with his eyes, “Ya what? Ha! Aren’t shoes meant to have soles!”
“No, ya idiot!” Drake flicked Billy on his forehead, “He’s left his soul in his shoes!” Drake turned to Drew, “What ya leave ya soul there fer! Ya bleeding nutjob!”
“Aye, aye!” A voice hollered from across the road, “What you three lads up to? Hope you’re not causing trouble,” he beamed as he crossed the road.
“Alex,” Drew said dully.
“Alright, Drew! So what you all up to?”
“We’re off to get Drews Soul back from the charity shop. Ha!” Billy told him.
“Oh no,” Alex shook his head, “You’ve not sold your soul to charity ‘ave ya?”
“I didn’t mean to! But I left it in mah shoes!” Drew whined.
“What shoe did ya leave it in?” Alex asked jutting his chin.
“Me right shoe.”
Alex scratched at his stubble, “Ah. Can’t ‘ave been yours then!”
“What can’t ‘ave been?” Drake asked curiosity piqued.
“I just saw a shoe walking down that ginnel near the chippy, ya know where ah mean?”
“Oh aye,” Drake stroked his beard.
“What colour was it?” Drew asked.
“Brown. Come to think of it, it wouldn’t be your shoe mate. It was one of them oxford shoes. Ya know, all rich and posh like. Wingtips an’ all.”
“I seen a homeless man wearing wingtip oxfords. At least ah think he were homeless. He had odd socks on!” Billy added.
“Nah. He ain’t homeless! I know who ya mean, but he ain’t homeless. But he ain’t rich neither.” Turning to Drew, “What colour were ya shoes?”
“Black.”
Alex’s jaw dropped, “Oh no! See if I were to leave my soul in a shoe, I’d make sure it was brown or a trainer or somethin’ ya know? But never a black one! I’d never leave my soul in a black shoe!”
“What does the…” Billy shook his head not believing he was about to entertain the question, “What does the colour of the shoe have to do with leaving ya fuckin’ soul in it?”
“Billy,” Alex held up the palms of his hands as if in surrender, “Billy, mate. Calm down! I’m just sayin’ if I left me soul in a shoe I’d want to leave it in a brown one. Hell, I wouldn’t mind leaving it in a wing tipped oxford shoe, as long as it’s brown.”
“You lot are out of your minds!”
“I do like brown shoes,” Drew said aloud absentmindedly.
“I saw a pair of boots walking down the cobbled street at the back of the bakers, the owner must’ve had a split soul or somethin’ to have two souls in both boots.”
“I wish I’d left my soul in a pair of rugged boots.” Drew intoned sadly, “But instead I left my soul in me right shoe and it was black an all!”
“I’d get to that charity shop quick sharpish,” Alex clapped his hands together to emphasise his point. Turning to Billy with a grin, “What kinda shoe would you leave your soul in?”
“Souls don’t exist chickenshit.”
“Course they do! How else did those shoes I’ve seen walking about come to life?”
“Cause you’re fucking high or mental or both!” Billy scoffed.
“Maybe they’re just trying to find their socks,” Drew thought aloud.
Drake and Alex looked at Drew as if he’s just said the most genius thing they’d ever heard, “Ya might be onto something!”
“Ya know what,” Alex started excitedly, “Ya might have left ya soul in your sock but thought ya left it in ya shoe.”
“Well why don’t you go back up t’ the charity shop and follow the shoe to the sock! Ha!” Billy roared with laughter.
“That’s a good idea!” Drake replied.
“So those walking shoes didn’t have souls in them? They were just animated to look for socks?” Alex said with disappointment. “I was hoping that I could leave me soul in a brown oxford shoe!”
“If ya can leave your soul in a sock, ya can surely leave ya soul in a shoe too?” Drake patted Alex on the back, “Come on mate! Cheer up! Ya can still leave ya soul in a brown oxford shoe!”
“Ya know I think I might have left me soul in that black sock I lost!”
“Will ya stop leaving ya soul in black!” Drake muttered.

That night as Drew and Drake muttered their nonsense inside of sleep, and Alex lay on the floor snoring a black sock snaked across the road and a black shoe went chasing after it, and that black shoe gobbled up the sock ferociously, and the only witness to the shoes savage ways was Billy.

Clown

I etched onto my face
A fucking clowns grin
An inside out frown
So you wouldn’t know
I was down

But I’m down and out
I took my clothes off
I shaved my hair off
And I walked down the road
Police picked me up
And took me to the hell hole
And they wiped my grin off
They said I was crazy
Said this is who you are
The man with a perpetual frown
So they sewed up my mouth
And pulled the strings
Until my lips smiled
Like the skeleton beneath

They took me to a clown show
And they stood me on a table
Shifted the corners of my mouth
Looked at my teeth and then turned me around
Said I came third
Pinned a rosette to my collar and cheered
But I was the only clown
And then I pinched my nose
And the crowd laughed out loud.

Dysmorphia

Ugly
Fugly
Staccato of laughter
Echo
Echo
After time
I don’t hanker
Staccato of footfalls
And dripping taps
Remind me who I still am
And have.
Drowning
realising there is no rafter
Pastel face smudged away
No happy ever after
Paint a crooked smile
A clown, a gargoyle
A monster
A crocodile
Frankenstein
Fucking mouths
Hostile
Mutant
Ogre
The periphery
Of mirrors
Framing the freak

The words on my lips
“Please don’t look at me.”

 

Smoke

In shades of neon light
We sit
Smoke shared between
Lingering like ghosts
Hosts of the cancer
Delving deeper in our bones
We’re crying
Without tears
Cuz we’re so fucking full of empty
We can barely breathe in the nicotine
And everything is false
It’s all smoke and mirrors
When the sun unlocks her vault
Blue skies misleading
We might just think it’s not our fault
So take my hand
And we can vanish into the smoke

Absence

As the orchestra plays it’s song
your absence is in every note
your absence is in every tone
You’ve become the music
Something I can’t touch
The music is the memory
Of you being here with me
And it hurts.
You were so small
And the biggest thing in my life
Now your absence follows me
I am not the same.
I cannot carry this burden
But I will not let you go
Your absence is all I have left to hold

Sledgehammer

I merged and became one with the walls
I heard it all.
As
they
put
their
hunting
trophies
on the wall
Little did they know
I heard and
felt it all
If these walls could
talk
You’d have a shock
I can hear the clock
Tick, tock
Time is running
Running nowhere
Tick tock
Gotta be somewhere
Time is locked
You won’t know
Till the aftershock
Tick tock
Tick tock
Backwards in reality
Forwards in make-belief
I merged and became
one with the walls
Not a wallflower
But a nail in the hall
Hammer, hammer
Oh how
ghosts
in time
stagger
Clamour, clamour
Hear their cries
Sledgehammer