ON THE DOORSTEP

On the doorstep
On the threshold
The corner turns itself on me and I stand ready

Waiting for the opening
Waiting for the light
Waiting for the release.

On the doorstep
At the line
The path diverges on front of me, asking me to choose

Waiting for the decision
Waiting for the answer
Waiting for the follow on.

On the doorstep
Of a new life
The past never more present and the future unfolding

Waiting to be revealed
Waiting to be taken
Waiting to be felt

I take a breath and…

ALONG THE WAYSIDE

Subdued by circumstance,
Sitting soulfully
In the shadow
Of uncertainty
As situations
Settle themselves
Into scenes played out
Beyond reach of understanding
Or certitude,
I succumb
To the subtle shifts
In atmospherical changes,
Accept the silences
As essential escapism
And shake
In the fallouts from storms
Rained down only
In the calmest corners of the day
As if to test me
And my corroding composure
And question my ability
To remain neutral
As trying themes
Surround me
Without
Directly involving me.

I am the shadow dancer,
Tip toeing over egg shells,
Fighting with a past
That won’t break
With the present
And a present
Too preoccupied
To see the future.

Subdued by circumstance,
Sitting somberly
In the shadow
Of insecurity
As untended wounds
Rise up before me
To cut and criticize me,
Judging me
From a position
Of misperceived perfection.

I have seen,
Before,
The light
And glow
Of a smile
And recognise it now,
Off in the distance,
Lost to the moment,
And worry
How to tempt it home,
To a home that is both
Too new
To be recognisable
And too soon made
To prove enough.

The dust,
Previously formed,
Has not settled
And yet we busy ourselves
Shifting the furniture
Of our current lives,
Sometimes aligned,
Sometimes bumping,
Sometimes
Trying to fit
The clumsiest of cupboards
Into the smallest of spaces.

Only time will tell
What fits where,
What will survive
And what will be
Surrendered
Somewhere,
Somehow,
Along the wayside.

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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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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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