Poetry Competition 2013 – Winning Poem
After you left me to live with confusion
I brought what remained of you here,
To perch on a green plastic armchair
and shout at the dead and the dying,
Soothed by wafer thin smiles and pills.
In your pastel cell you roam oblivion, leaving
a pungent trail of talc and urine,
Orphan memories fall from your perforated brain
scoured by time's corrosive winds,
While bliss and ignorance kiss in the wilderness.
Outside, fanatics slaughter innocence,
Floods rise, cities are washed away,
Children die and lovers re-unite,
While through your vacant gaze the
tattered synapse fails to spark.
Sitting in a daily circle looking back
like bickering starlings trying to roost,
“Remember how I cycled past your waving window
proud in Air Force grey, then kissing in damp shelters
as bright arcs of tracer connected earth to sky?”
Before you left me with your shipwrecked body;
We danced all night long in Parisian bars
walked cliff top paths overhanging the sea
pushed gurgling prams in green summer parks,
Built brand new lives from the dust and the rubble.
At first you were gentle with your leaving,
A wrong turn here, a word dropped there,
But intimacy turned to absence as
you fumbled in corners with agitation,
And I looked away down hopes blind alley.
With tender memories I re-create you,
Hair, heart, breasts and eyes grow
from the radio's soft intonation,
Lines etched in dust on the sill,
Log fire's lazy grey rivers of smoke.
And when you lie with me once more, all
fresh taut skin and clear sparkling eyes,
I'll grab the grey imposter’s sagging throat,
Shake her floppy ragged head
and let the last fading sparks float free.