In only a number of hours I shall be leaving my home town with the destination of university. My suitcases have piled up alongside my nerves and I am quite assuredly terrified.
Though it has been a long time coming, I can not say that I feel totally prepared, for indeed, I don’t entirely know what to expect and therefore what it is I have been preparing myself for. I’ve spent my life in the same old town with the same faces and the prospect of change never fails to leave me a little scared.
My nerves, however, are churning amidst a flurry of excitement; I am truly looking forward to meeting new people and experiencing life outside of my little old town. All my farewells leave me knowing I shall have a great deal to miss in my upcoming adventures…
…but an adventure it will be.
There’s not much I shall expect to miss more than this little kitty.
I was your rabbit in a hat,
A tumbling joy, enigma.
Smiles for the camera.
I was sawn in half.
Snapped by a wand,
Bound to a box
In a lover’s con.
I was your stack of cards,
unto a crowd
That couldn’t help
But knock it down.
(This is a poem that attempts to capture the stages of a false and controlling relationship)
Equally false is my snazzy new blue wig!
I focussed too much attention towards his premature attempts of family décor to listen entirely to the fodder flowing from his mouth. My wife, on the other hand, appeared to be entirely enthralled by the vaunts of his career. At the time my disgust was targeted exclusively at photographs of grinning toddlers and not my wife’s lewdness. Her lips were a darker shade of red that night.
The following Autumn I was struck by my wife’s infidelity. It was no cause for concern that she had spent a great deal of time helping the Merriweathers move in. Yet, before long she became their reliable babysitter, an occasional dinner guest and a mandatory cog for the family Bridge games. With every one of these frequent jaunts, my wife’s face grew less recognisable as she became more generous with her powders and lipsticks. She was hiding; covering herself and her wrongdoings.
It was a Tuesday when Martin Merriweather lowered our garden fence in order to ‘gather more sunlight for the primroses’; even when the sun was setting. It was my rose which he had his eyes on, though. It wasn’t long before watching them chatter across the splintered wood became a visceral pastime. I imagined the words that escaped her wandering mouth. Words that she no longer had time to spare for me.
On bonfire night the clouds were fresh with bursts of flame as fizzled light danced beyond the darkened sky. A neighbourly celebration was taking place at the Merriweathers’ residence and the invitations were plenty. My wife wore a suitably fitting red dress together with a black satin shawl that caressed the arch of her smooth back. Pearls hung close to her neck and lit up against the fireworks. I wanted to hold her. I wanted to gather her so tightly in my arms that she would forget the outside. I wanted to envelop her entire body like a rapacious clam hides its only riches. I wanted to protect her.
It took only a thought of my wife holding on to a single word of that Martin Merriweather’s for me to torch their house. Red filled my eyes. Screams echoed in the burning. An accident. No one was hurt but the house which fell to the Earth like an unfolding rapture. My wife did not scream at the burning or at the sight of the wreckage. She accepted this fate but turned a shade of pale that I had never seen before.
I did not murder my wife. But I could not save her. Only a single month after the fire, she grew so weak and fragile that a limp beyond her mattress became virtually impossible. Her jaunted face was full of shadows when she finally uncovered the nature of her sickness. Her womb had given birth to tumours that had taken hold of almost every organ in her body. She explained how Martin had accepted her as a patient to a heavy programme of experimental drugs that had a chance of saving her life, if only for a little longer. A sickness tugged at my throat as she delivered a truth I could not swallow. Her love was never questioned and yet I had burned her hope in a fire of jealousy. The medicine had all been lost in the ashes that wrote my name. She crumbled away like the walls of the house next door. My helplessness was my foreboding punishment.
And here I stand, looking at my dead wife. Every inch of my honing gut begs that she might wake up with those blushing eyes that still belong in her skull. But she lays still. I close the coffin lid; covering her body for the final time. She was always mine to protect.
We had always stayed rooted in our home town. My wife and I did not rely upon recycled dreams of travelling the world in order to justify our existence. We enjoyed how our trees arched beyond the hills and how our neighbours never changed and how we always knew exactly what to expect. When there is no future there is no time and nothing to pass you by.
It was autumn when the Merriweathers moved in to the cottage next door. Those walls had been empty for a long while and I greatly enjoyed the company of no-one. I had little care of my own to meet them, though my wife was persistent that we should make a good first impression. That was another flaw with women; they required, almost insatiably, to be liked. When the moving vans and cardboard boxes diluted, we laundered the third best bottle of wine from our pantry and cheerfully arrived at our new neighbour’s new house. As the door opened, so did Mr. Merriweather’s stonking eyes as he observed the beauty of my wife. He was perplexed at our apparent offering of free booze until we unveiled the nature of our arrival. Our adjacent living situation was apparently a cause for celebration. He welcomed us in and we sat a few hours and drank from bubble-wrapped glasses. Of course he was a promising doctor of some sort; his wife was three kids down but not looking too bad on it. Luckily James, Lucy and Michael were spending that afternoon elsewhere but I did not doubt that I would soon be hearing their acquaintance from our unnervingly close radius. My wife could not bear children, but not in the same way that I couldn’t. Hence, my last name has remained, and will remain, my own.
I did not like Martin Merriweather. Nobody, especially that soon after moving into a new house, could present such a fine tray of cakes in the face of unexpected guests. If you have Mr. Kipling on standby, it can only be concluded that you think too highly of yourself or too low and Martin did not have the physique of a man who found comfort in confectioneries.
Writing poetry is, for me, the sweetest form of expression.
In what could have been an ordinary English lesson I sat down in front of a small pile of paper which my teacher had already set out for the class. Thinking it was another addition to our ‘wider reading’ I took a quick glance and was immediately dumbfounded when I realised the scripture wasn’t the fine work of some Victorian classic or contemporary genius, rather, it was mine! In turns we analysed my poems as a class and individually- they were otherwise anonymous- and it was one of the finest moments of my life.
Not only was I flattered that my teacher had chosen my poetry to analyse that lesson but because all those lines and words that hold bitter (and even painful) shards of old memories which I had tucked away under the screen of a poem now didn’t bare those burdens. They belonged to a subjective pair of eyes and it was so relieving in a way.
I can remember every reason behind every poem I have ever written- the feelings which had stirred it or the events which inspired it. They are indeed clinchingly haunting in that sense. But in that lesson the words weren’t mine any more… to the people in my class they did not bare the heartache or memory- they were a blank canvas of infinite interpretation and such a transition was alleviating.
It appeared the general consensus from the class was that the poems were written by a hopeless romantic female so perhaps I may need to work on my poetic guise!
Nonetheless, my teacher took a grand risk that lesson as my poems could have received unhesitating criticism; my self esteem as a writer (hah) was undoubtedly, therefore, on the line. I will always be eternally grateful for this.
Never did I fall in love with you. And, though it may be somewhat unwelcome to know, I can not particularly recall falling in ‘like’ with you either. At first I ardently fell for your mystery; a charade, an enigma. I could only conclude your quiet nature was the product of silencing; a mind trapped by infinite unspoken words but muted in world that wasn’t made for them. Then I was struck by the tide of familiarity and found myself attached to what had become conventional in our composition as showcased lovers. My façade became rooted by habit and no longer could I consciously recall the intricate peculiarities which had drawn me to you so ruthlessly; instead I had only the credulous belief that somewhere I loved you as I had believed, in the sincerest of prematurity, so many times before. The final act; realising that there was no mystery to your being. The silence you so characteristically bestow was always merely an echo of your nothing. It was all nothing. Beautiful, corrupt nothing.
Another example of my attempt at ‘creative writing’! I’m not sure I’m quite made for happy tales!
(Here’s me with a butterfly! Excuse the man hands!)