Years Go By

Years go by

And I’m still here-

Remembering.

Years flying by-

Feeling like minutes in my mind;

A decade lost in the passing,

Like I’ve fallen forward through a gap in time.

Years in between

And yet that first morning-

Still so fresh,

Waking up into a home I’d gate crashed-

The Irish abroad;

Jeannie, with the flaming red hair

And welcoming hug,

A son in the shadows of another country

And a daughter to fall in love with were I straight.

Unable to forget

Those heated floors boards,

The note of good morning

In the kitchen,

The crispy toast from a packet,

The tiled green bathroom,

Separate toilet

And back to the bathroom to wash hands.

The plant filled balcony,

Those frosted glass doors

Which echoed through the apartment as you opened them-

So mundane and ordinary

And yet so much more

A part of me now

Than those trivial things

Ever where then-

Long before they became

A memory to cling to,

To cherish.

I hold on to so much more now

Than I ever thought possible

Or considered important-

The feel, the taste, the smell,

Like those disgruntled old madames

Who threw water from their balconies every morning-

Clocked in sombre shades of black

And scowling at passers-by like me

For the demise of their youth and their looks.

I can recall-

As if it were yesterday-

Those precious summer mornings

That soon followed me-

The air filling

With the fragrance of freshly baked croissants

As boulangeries opened their bell-ringing doors

To delighted strains of bonjour and ca’va.

Years, reaped upon years

But I still smell it as fresh now

As the day was new.

I can hear those familiar sounds

Of kids-

Singing out in ignorant celebrations

Of their youth

But always hidden from view

Behind high walls of stone.

Paris- the city for artists,

Intellects,

And the amourouse,

Where children are heard

But rarely seen.

No tantrums in stores,

No snotty noses in bistros-

No changings of nappies in sight.

Our Lady of magic was

Fully grown,

Fully developed-

No question of who She was

Or where She was going.

This City was born

Dressed in Chanel attire

With precious pearls to match-

Born a proud,

Free speaking,

Free thinking,

Pompous,

Confident adult,

Without question.

Her raison d’etre-

Herself entirely.

And there I stood

In the middle of it all

Trying to find my own trend

And set a route

Amid multitude of pathways

I longed to explore,

Get lost in,

Fall in love in

And find adventure in.

Time slips away

But it somehow leaves a part of me

Still there- somewhere,

Wandering through covered passageways

Packed with marionette theaters

And tiny trinket stores

Watched over by age old glass ceilings,

Discovering underground chambers

Of sewers and tombs-

Lost generations of the past,

Slipping unnoticed through graveyards

Of forgotten faces

Ad heralded names

Decorated with weeping women,

Stones eyes Madonnas

And cast iron wings-

Never to fly,

Remembering those I’d never known

And wondering who’d remember me.

Sitting by Seurat to make connections in his colors

And wondering what Mr. Wilde would make of us now.

Years gone by

And I still go back there-

Left side,

Art style,

Boho chic-

Where Oscar last laughed

And Sartre sighed

And I remember who I was,

Laugh at who I’ve become

And wonder why I’ve fled so far

From the city that never changes

Whilst I never stop.

Saturday afternoons,

After lazy lie-in’s

Rising through the cobbled hills

Of once moulin covered Montmartre

With Abi’s and Vincent’s

And Yasmine’s and Shaun’s,

Where artists ghosts-

intoxicated

By the green fairies potent mix

And the ruffling of high kicking

Can-can skirts-

Would swept though air

That you had only to touch

To feel a part of,

While tourists flocked

To pick up as many copies

And replicas as they could carry

Without so much as breathing in

All that surrounded them

For free.

I was a free man in Paris too,

My dear Joni,

And have wandered down

That Champs Elysees

In search of those I once knew

And cared for

And loved

And lost.

Years outrun years

But I can still close my eyes

And feel the sun on my skin

As we filled Victor’s fine square

With resounding laughter

That soared around the fountains

And columns

And palaces

Fit for queens.

14th of July ’98-

Champ du mars,

Three tenors,

Fireworks,

Mary and me

And a thousand others-

We were the luckiest in the world.

I can see myself at 23-

Cast bright in the lamp lights

That I sailed past

On the back of a motorbike-

Tearing through world of Hemingway

On the slumbering market street

Of Rue Mouffetard

Before the bank side approached

And Notre Dame lay reflected

In the sleeping waters.

My arms wrapped tight

Around my leather clad driver

With Spanish blood and gallic looks-

Willing to show me it all.

The years may continue

To build on years,

Time will continue

To tick-tock away,

But there are lifetimes

In moments

Which years can do nothing

To suppress

Or erase

If the heart wills

Not to forget.

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La Mere et Moi

I am sure it was Spring

But in the scattered photos

By my slippered feet

The weather recalls it winter.

Your first foray

Into the new world I had run to,

Forsaking the familiar

For the unknown,

Discarding childish ways for adult desires.

Your glistening eyes lit up

As I showed you the treasures I had found,

Enlightened eyes-

That hid so well the tears

Reeked down since my departure.

Eyes that frowned upon my green sofa bed

Resting but a foot from the floor,

That laughed at the view from my first window-

All but another window perched

But a hands throw away-

And loving eyes that saw through mine

And smiled-

Relieved, relaxed and entranced.

And quickly you began to revel amid it all-

My new transitory family

Who took you to their hearts

Tempted you with cocktails,

Boat rides

And frolics within a Spanish tavern

In the Frenchest of all cities.

You slowly found my raison d’être

And the joie that had become part of ma vie

Became, as always,

A part of yours.

My adventure- you now a witness to,

A part of and integral to.

You had been no more

Deserted by me than I by you

And so geography became now no more

Than a different view

And no longer a means of separation.

You floated through the city,

Your feet feeling nothing but comfort

Even as I dragged you up the steps

Of Montmartre-

Hiding from you the lift behind the trees.

With the wind freezing our faces

And tears streaming from our eyes,

We huddled together in queues

Filled with adolescent vacationers

And mounted fair Tour Eiffel.

Through the nights falling darkness

The city lit up below us

And I traced for you

The paths I had taken.

You left amid only tears of joy-

My life no longer to you an empty canvas

A world away

But a painting being filled up and coloured in

In tri-color,

Technicolor,

Damien colour.

We painted away the days and nights

Ourselves-

Mother and son-

As inseparable

As Mona from Lisa

Or the Moulin from the Rouge.

It may have looked like winter

But we knew that behind the wind

Lay a spring in bloom for both of us.

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We had earned our time in the sun

And we would wear its rays

Like medals of honor.

To the Days- Present and Past

If I looked back

At you

Today,

As who I now am,

Would you still recognize me?

Could you still see in me

The one you hoped,

Back then,

To become?

That shy,

Quiet

And frightened boy-

So often alone,

A step behind the shadows

And I’m still not sure

If it was where you wanted

To be

Or the only place

To hide.

You built a world

Within those bedroom walls

And seemed to dream up

Lifetimes

Before you actually learned

To live,

Where you escaping

The quarreling voices

Downstairs

Or just avoiding the

Feelings inside?

On my knee,

Over grown, over time

With dark brown hairs,

There still lies

The white scar you made there

When you fell at 10

From road to curb-

Do you remember?

On my forehead,

Now higher-

And with less hair than before-

That tiny mark

From the collision

With head and pillar

In the driveway,

Sunday morning,

After Mass,

At 12,

In the rain.

On my right foot,

Underside-

Just below the ball,

I can still feel the stab

Of the nail

You walked on-

Back garden,

Mid summer,

In the middle of the game,

Unimaginable pain.

Does this help

To remind you

Of who I was

And so recognize

Who I’ve become?

I remember

Your fears

Back then-

Are you there yet?

Are they slowly

Taking over and tucking in-

Reverting spoken words to

But thinking thoughts?

Has it begun yet

To creep along your skin,

At night,

After the bullying boys

In the day?

Those days that

Tore from you

Everything that school

Should have offered

And replaced it

With the fear

Of the next push or shove,

Spit or jeer.

That time when sick days

Became more common

To the week

Than saturdays,

When bedrooms

Were the sanctuary

And playgrounds

The prison.

There are no scars

On my skin,

Today,

Of those milestones

But you know

I am marked

Because of them,

Nonetheless.

Perhaps you are a little older-

Passed along into

Those teenage years

When prayers

Were piled

Onto fucked-up feelings

And the complexities of

Sexual awakenings.

All those years

Of wanting for myself

To be

Nothing more

Than normal,

Nothing to note me

The Nancy,

Nothing to notice me

Different.

Nothing to make me feel alone

In a world

I’d barely experienced,

In a body

Barely developed,

In a mind

Still grasping at straws-

Feeling broken before begun.

How would it feel to know, now

And carry it back to then,

That I’ve loved-

Openly and freely

Exactly as I’ve wanted,

Who I wanted

And when I wanted?

Would it comfort you

To know that when the secret’s

Out

You’ll start to wonder

What the worry was about?

In time-

Awaiting you

On the eve of 18-

Even those you imagined

To be your greatest enemies

Will become your biggest supporters.

Let me shout you aware

That you were the only one

To ever really cast yourself out-

During all those years

When you locked yourself in.

Believe me,

Truly,

When the shadows

Loose their attraction-

The light shifts

In your favor.

I remember

How old you felt

When you were young-

Smiling outwardly

To hide the secret within.

Dear child,

Brave one-

Would you laugh

At me now

If I told you

How young I feel

Now that I’m old-

Perhaps the final rewards

Of secrets having been told.

Would you recognize me

If we met right now,

Face to face,

Boy to Man?

I think us more now

A united part of each other

Than ever before

And I smile happily at

My integration,

At last,

Of those days-

Present and past.

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Candy Floss

I am falling
All around you,
Not sure
Who is more senior
Or sensible.
I thought you needed
To be cradled
In arms
But found it to be
I who was held-
Your fingers running through my hair,
Your breath against my neck,
Your body wrapped around me
And somehow
I am comforted
In this touch-
Too unsure of what it is,
Too young to hold on to.

Yet how could it ever be different;
You are only now learning
What I have known so long,
You are only just tasting
What I have already named.
You are the bountiful
Blossoming
Of youth in all its
Glorious ignorance-
You are all that I once
Put to rest
And yet,
It surprises me, aches me,
At how frequently
I try to shout you more aware,
But I listened not then
Just as you should not now!

I am falling
Foolishly
All around you,
Texting tirelessly
While thoughtlessly
Disregarding the time that divides us
And ignoring how difficult it will be
In time
To separate us.
Perhaps you are
My delightful distraction
In this time of transformation;
My folly
Of frivolous foolishness
Amid
All that is so seemingly
Balanced and structured.
The chaos to calm
My compulsion
To control it all.

You are the whimsical
Carefree laughter,
The kiss of sunshine in the morning-
Deliciously silly and sweet,
The candy floss at the fairground-
Spun purely of sugar and air,
Too tempting not to taste,
Too insubstantial to last for long.

candyfloss

Haunted Heart

What particular particle

Of the self

Left itself behind

In your absence?

What form of matter

Is this

That moves

When all else in the night

Sleeps soundly?

Because here I am,

Stirred so,

My body jerked alert,

My eyes wide open

And my senses

Shouting to me

That you’ve just left the room.

And yet,

I know deep within

The deception

That resides in this thinking,

I know this feeling

Lacking in fact,

I know this belief

To be hallow of truth.

It is not

And cannot be,

In any reasonable way,

Your scent I can smell

Still sitting in this now chilly air.

It is not,

And likewise should not be,

The soft shuffle of your shoes

I can hear crossing the hall.

Tell me now,

In all seriousness-

With my conscious mind in control,

How I could believe it to be

The touch of your hand

That brushed me from slumber

Or the gentle kiss of your lips

On my neck, so soft,

That teased me out of a dream?

Why is it that now,

So much more than before,

You are the resonance of every

Waking thought,

As if all else

Were but secondary servings

Of something less substantial.

I am failing

In these nocturnal

Awakenings

To understand

How your absence

Speaks more about you

Than your presence,

All memories

Now more concrete fact

Than what was formerly a reality.

How does this present

Present you

More to me now

Than in the past?

I held your hands,

In those final moments,

Before you found your freedom

As the darkness

Released you finally

While everything else lost itself-

For what seemed like forever-

To silence

And a darkness of another sort

Fell upon my life

In your passing

And floundered to find its exit

Within me,

For so long after.

You see,

My dilemma,

My dearly departed-

I thought you gone,

I thought us done,

I thought our forever, over.

And yet,

Here I am-

Sitting up alone

Where once we lay together-

Blind to the sight of you

But convinced

Deep down,

In the depths of my soul,

That you feel me,

Hear me

And see me.

I know, with every ache of this solitary existence,

That you have left this earth for good,

But I cannot explain,

In any humanly perceivable way,

How much I feel you haunting my heart.

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