Doorways

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Doorways in the evening

Take me down

Corridors of the past

A wave of etchings in the aquamarine

Pulsing like an umbilical cord cut

Still living now in the open

Air swirling through the coats

Which hang from shoulders although

The cold has passed

And naked hands new formed

With the evening

Feel their passage from doorway to doorway

Tentative steps on roads that fold out

Like a child’s first-drawn map

The ground still soft familiar beneath my feet

Calling out for you to set the fires

To burn away the lines and faces which blur

As doorways give way to doorways

And roads bend to the will of the day

With the sweet song of the blackbird

Still ringing in the air like a charm

And the waves lap gently against my feet

Unclothed now breech-born and new

Like the thoughts that blow in through windows

Which grow and fade with the mist

The morning dew that comes

And burns in the sun

Which closes doorways with

Silent hands.

 

© All original writing copyright Chris Nelson 2000-2019

 

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Shells

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She sells shells from off the beach

Lifts the pennies from their eyes

And then fades away,

Slowly drifting through the crowd

Clothes that cannot mark her time

Whispers in their ears.

 

Hand scratch scars upon her face

Trace the days she never had

Curled upon the ground,

Rock-pool tears that kiss the shore

As the sea calls out her name

Disappears once more.

 

And for awhile we see

All as it’s meant to be

Until we turn away

Back to the world we made

And all the things we see

How we want it to be

A world we’d never change

Or seek to rearrange

 

Angry tides rise up again

Sweep away all that she knew

Kisses on the sand,

Faces lost amongst the clouds

Trapped forever in her box

Buried out at sea.

 

She sells shells from off the beach

Lifts the pennies from their eyes

And then fades away,

Slowly drifting through the crowd

Clothes that cannot mark her time

Whispers in their ears.

 

© All original writing copyright Chris Nelson 2000-2019

 

Over Again

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Don’t wait until

The door has closed

Until the curtain’s drawn,

Don’t wait until

The dreams you had

Are flowers on the lawn.

Don’t close your eyes

And trust in fate

To open up the day,

Or wish upon

A star that won’t

Illuminate the way.

Don’t count the days

And with them all

The chances you have lost,

Or sit so still

In corners dark

And watch spring turn to frost.

Don’t hesitate

To speak the words

To those you hold so dear,

Just tell them now

And everyday

And wipe away the fear.

Take those you love

Into your world

And tell them they belong,

Love them now with

All you are then

Over and over again.

 

© All original writing copyright Chris Nelson 2000-2019

 

Turned Away

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She sits and waits the tv glows

Stares pictures on the wall,

She wonders if they’ll ever know

The days she turned away.

He watches faces on the screen

As nameless they pass by,

He sees her still in youthful dream

But would not change a thing.

She dreams of ships with billowed sail

Her foot upon their bow,

And moons that wax and moons that pail

Horizons silent now.

He thinks of doors that always closed

And wished them all away,

Each detail drawn each gateway posed

He’d climb them all again.

She pictures faces that she knew

And counts them over stiles,

How many seen how known so few

She wonders how they fell.

He holds himself within his shell

The bottle comes again,

The stories that he’ll never tell

Die slowly deep inside.

She sits and waits the tv glows

Stares pictures on the wall,

She wonders if they’ll ever know

The days she turned away.

 

© All original writing copyright Chris Nelson 2000-2019

 

Night Bus

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I sat on the bus, watching the night-lit streets as they passed by like frozen, shrouded memories. The juddering, stop-start motion seemed to bring an uneasy comfort to my body, detached as it was from my consciousness. Other vehicles, heading in the opposite direction, appeared and then disappeared as if they were on some mythic quest, their headlights dull and dim below my position on the top deck of the bus, illuminating nothing but the first few steps on a journey without end. For a moment it seemed as if only they knew the direction in which to move in order to find some salvation, some respite from the pain, and yet I knew, contained within each metal box, was nothing more than one more lonely figure hoping beyond all hope that something, some miracle, would appear to snap them out of their coma.

Buildings rose up on either side of me now; giant monoliths, some pale and dark, devoid of life, tired and waiting for release, others still humming under the electric glow which gave them purpose. Their eyes stared out without seeing through the dark, and were gone again, lost to me as I moved steadily on. Their facades hung momentarily in my mind like all the faces of people I had met in my life, before fading into a sea of ashen memories. The night around me seemed to tighten its grip as, like an abandoned vessel, we sailed on.

To both the right and to the left of me roads sprouted off from the main artery down which I was travelling. They sparkled and twinkled with the hope of the newborn before even their lights were swallowed by the darkness into which, it seemed, the whole world had fallen. I shuddered as the bus lurched around a corner: not from the cold – I had long since become immune to that – but from the impending realisation that we were, at last, nearing my stop, my final destination.

And then everything was quiet, but for the pounding in my chest and the pulsing in my head. What if I were to remain on the bus? Would it eject me when it reached its destination, its point of termination, or would it show a glimmer of empathy, offer up a hand and cradle me to its heart? After all, my brain reminded me, what point was there to alighting, to leaving the bus to continue without me, if you were no longer there to welcome me home?

 

© All original writing copyright Chris Nelson 2000-2019

 

Faces to the Wall

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The past taught me nothing

But to be afraid,

The future just a promise

Further than the grave.

The wishes that you scattered

Buried in the sand,

And all the prayers you asked for

Held in fearful hand.

Every door that opened led

One more step away,

A shoulder for our tears

How we slip away.

The days that grew in wonder

Slip into the night,

All we held within our hands

Soon gave up the fight.

And history lies naked

Stain upon us all,

Futures carved in blood and stone

And faces to the wall.

 

© All original writing copyright Chris Nelson 2000-2019

 

Strange Return

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And when I do return

Escape the arms that cannot hold

Me any longer in the dark

You will find me in the corners

Beneath the sheets

Amongst the cobwebs that you keep

Behind each action

Each choice you make

Haunting every move

And all those souls who wished me ill

Will quiver quake and never know

The eyes that burn

Upon their backs

I’ll pull the rug from beneath your feet

Sow the seeds you sought to weed

And choke your thoughts before they grow

I’ll hurt the ones you hope to hold

And foster doubt and fear and hate

I’ll scratch my name into your heart

And show you things you wished were hid

Then take my leave

To watch you fall

Disappear beneath the weight

Of all you tried to once deny

Until you find your place once more

Uneasy at my side.

 

© All original writing copyright Chris Nelson 2000-2019

 

Fifteen Minutes

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A short phone call, or an even briefer text was all she needed to know that she was wanted; to affirm her existence. A shower and a quick drink – an intake of alcohol to loosen lips and deaden the senses – was all the preparation that was required. Perhaps a comb dragged through the hair; perhaps a quick spray of scent; maybe even new underwear. Nothing more was necessary.

He would come and then come again before the long hand had swept fifteen discarded minutes from the floor as if they were flakes of dead skin. Words were never more than pleasantries, never more than perfunctory. They hung between she and him like an embarrassment, squirming as if they had some other place to be; as if they wanted to be used for some purpose other than merely to fill the brief gaps between hands and flesh.

They moved clumsily, aggressively, drifting in and out of sync with one another until an uneasy climax planted a full stop between them. There was a moment’s silence, as each felt the other would pass comment: but neither ever did.

He would collect the clothes that he, in his urgency, had strewn on the bed, couch, chair or floor. Slipping on his shoes he would watch her briefly as she lay, or dressed, or stared, and then stand.

He closed the door behind him: he, on one side, breathing heavily, either in tiredness or disappointment, she, on the other, sated and hollow in equal measure.

 

© All original writing copyright Chris Nelson 2000-2019

 

Companion

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I am the one who never lied,

The true companion at your side,

The words you said the words you lost,

I took them all and paid the cost.

I heard your voice and saw your face,

I touched your heart and found its pace,

The monsters came, some went some stayed,

Some welcomed in and others slayed.

Behind your eyes I am the ghost,

The one who’ll always love you most,

The line cut in your silken palm,

The storm’s cool eye the winter’s calm.

I am the cord you’ll never break,

The dream that’s lost when you will wake,

The faces and the names you knew,

A heavy price to prove you grew.

How easily we all forget,

The things we thought in stone were set,

The numbers on the coloured page,

That count our steps from cage to cage.

The ones who from our sight are lost,

A memory now turned and tossed,

We see them all just one last time,

Relentlessly we climb and climb.

Until we balance on the ledge,

A no-man’s land a broken wedge,

And caught between the past and dreams,

We see the view of older scenes.

And through it all I was so true,

A Grecian mask made just for you,

A thousand smiles a thousand tears,

To wipe away the fallen years.

I was the one who never lied,

The true companion at your side,

And this is real if you could see,

The leaves that fall to you from me.

 

© All original writing copyright Chris Nelson 2000-2019

 

Cover It Up

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You cover it up,

You cover it all,

Cover it all so well,

But I’ve got scars,

Scars no-one can see,

No mask that I can hold.

 

You paint it on,

Paint it for the world,

Foundation for the age,

But I can see,

Pain beneath the skin,

That ties you to the chair.

 

You wear it well,

Wear it like a badge,

That screams ‘I do belong’,

But I can taste,

Fear upon your lips,

Regret behind your smile.

 

You hold your gaze,

Window seat again,

Remember every part,

But all the words,

All the words I wrote,

Tie hands and feet in knots.

 

You cover it up,

You cover it all,

Cover it all so well,

But I can see,

See behind your veil,

All that you long to be.

 

© All original writing copyright Chris Nelson 2000-2019