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




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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


Coastal Erosion


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The ocean took its share –

Call it coastal erosion

If you wish –

And swept the soft away;

Bedrock pillars stood tall

Unaware of their solitude

And pointlessness

Hard-faced against the tide;

And winds slide shards

Like the paper cuts we felt

Trace lattice lines inside

The bruises no-one else can see;

Saved from the roughness out at sea

Our chains our punishment

For wanting more

Abandoned now to the birds;

Tossed like an unmade bed

Or pummeled like an insomniac pillow

The ocean unerring in its mission

A statement to the landscape

Retreating by inches

Its children lost to the low

Hidden beyond the sea-fog which sweeps

Like convulsive currents

Pretending all is new – a clean mind;

Breaking up or breaking down

The oceans takes us all –

Call it coastal erosion

If you wish –

With vacant smiles

And drooling delusion

It takes us all.


© All original writing copyright Chris Nelson 2000-2019


On a different page


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On a different page

Where inkmarks told another tale

She stepped across the oceans blue

Left footprints in the sand.

On a different page

Where castle walls were no defence

She held the hands of many men

Her kiss upon their hearts.

On a different page

Where trees would bend and bow their heads

She smelled of cream and oranges

Was everything to them.

On a different page

Where cities threw their windows wide

And history fell from her hands

She talked in riddles wise.

On a different page

Where honey flowed from lip to breast

And rivers ran from town to town

To quench the thirst of men.

On a different page

Where through the trees she came to me

And all the things I never knew

Were shown at once to me.

On a different page.


© All original writing copyright Chris Nelson 2000-2019


Bag of Birds


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Young man walks, his face to the sky,

Bag on his back like an anvil,

Head bent to the hurricane eye,

His captured birds a lonely weight.

Casts his eyes to the North and East,

Waiting with each step for the stars,

To open like a magi’s spell,

Their night-buds closed like blind men’s eyes.

Hangs his words on grabbing branches,

Which brush and scratch his sallow skin,

Remind him of the days when he bled,

And his hands were smooth and empty.

Beyond the trees, he knows the streets,

Their brick-heart faces staring still,

From day to night, to emptiness,

He looks away, he knows their ways.

Carries his bag beneath the stars,

Like the red ore river that cries,

At night on the mountainside,

And walks with his face to the sky.


© All original writing copyright Chris Nelson 2000-2019


Sell Me to the Crows


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I’ve walked these streets too long at night,

Know every broken turn,

And when I vanish in the light,

I do not feel it burn.

I’ve sat upon the table’s head,

And humbly served its guest,

I’ve listened to the words you said,

Responded to the jest.

I’ve followed you along your path,

And tried to guide you too,

My hands wrapped tight around your snath,

To carve a way askew.

I’ve made the choices that you feared,

Torn down the bloodied wall,

Then hid behind the paper scared,

Just waiting for the fall.

So lead me to the mountain high,

And sell me to the crows,

So I at last can see the sky,

And know what no-one knows.


© All original writing copyright Chris Nelson 2000-2019


A Thousand Miles


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One thousand miles

One last roll

Wounded heart.

One final word

Lonely sound

Falling slow.

With tongues wrapped round the distances

Faces floating in the clouds,

We lick ourselves our wounds to heal

Turn our faces to the wind.

One frozen hour

One more lost

Broken time.

A hundred years

Shattered days

Nothing new.

With hope wrapped up and gift-tag tied

Boxed beneath a fallen tree,

We sit expectant like a child

Turn our faces from the dark.

One thousand miles

One more run

Gone to ground.

A thousand lies

Hand in hand

Come undone.


© All original writing copyright Chris Nelson 2000-2019


Silver Bullets


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We danced around our drinks

Like they were poisoned cups,

Dodging silver bullets

Which looked to cut us down,

Surviving each day

The best that we could,

Never talking of the ghosts

That haunted every corner,

The ghosts that lived inside

And made our shadows long,

We held our smiles through the day

Until our anger tore the dark,

The shadows now the best of us

The tears we locked away,

And still we dance

Our shapes against the sky,

As if the truth will fade

And we will be unscathed,

Dodging silver bullets

We keep within our hearts.


© All original writing copyright Chris Nelson 2000-2019