Don’t talk about those days, no photos, no videos

you can pretend they didn’t exist

only then, you’d erase history, who you were and why

and the why is important to tender whole

people dismiss that, in their penchant for judgement

without context; so give them context…

it won’t do any good, they’ll still say you were

a bad seed, brought it upon yourself, deserve consequence

when you watched the movie KIDS, dismay painted wetly

you said; “how can feral kids be allowed to happen?”

I didn’t respond but I knew very well

I was there at the birth, I saw them emerge

willowy , wild and perfect, beneath a full moon

a cassette tape playing backwards, songs forgotten

you know every word, how they beckoned forward

shinning drain-pipes at midnight in tight jeans

getting the night bus, riding slick wave of unsupervised youth

addicted to excitement? Or just released, into the city

sprawling and wild, what to do? But everything

oh God, everything,. Stop and consider, Imagine

14 and there it is… unleashed

a pulse beneath the skin of your wrist, itching for life

shiny tight skin, the urge to live beating like a captured bird

at home only silence , in sleep only nightmares

didn’t want to watch dust motes gather and split apart

beneath the stifled adult table set for naught

didn’t want to end up like them, just as every generation

bears its teeth and declares; I will defy you

defiance was to live, live, live, bright and hot beneath the bulb

writhing, gathering, movement is existence, static is death

swallowed by the club, the pill, the lit cigarette, the stares

of strangers assessing worth, pulling in, shutting neon door

when it is quiet, I still hear the beat, still smell your sweat

gorgeous youth spent split apart, electric storm atoms

running from grief hanging on every torn reminder

the dark city and its splayed sorrow and reeking isolation

deer stark on street corner, motionless, regal

there you are, there you aren’t, lost in loved-up crowds

dancing until music was the temple, smeared with

color, strobe, joy, taste ecstasy where you can find it

surely not the bus-stop, betting shop, empty corner

bedsit, school-yard, dog-shit-park, colorless river

grey skies, empty buildings, metal skeletons

the blink of a street-lamp at 9pm, bed and death

tick of clock, rot, emptied of hope, cheap perfumed soap

polyester suit, cubicle, future route, abject horror

entwined hands, kissing strangers, pay it no mind

for you, leather around your neck pulled tight

may inherit dying like a tattoo and still, still

winding your tongue into nameless mouths like ivy

bodies urgent, like actors without lines, exploding

skies of artifice, the foam of sunrise, our eyes

burned with feeling, to be young like that

defy it all, leave behind steady needle rehearsal

it wasn’t real, it felt true, you, you

with your black rimmed eyes, lank long hair

a smile more than ever, words spent, recalled

we held hands like it was the only time either of

us had ever been touched, connection piercing

permanent – don’t let go – not ever – not

if I met you now I think we’d both recognize

that urging banshee call, without structure, language

on the cold green tile of someone’s little flat

a child born, slippery, steaming, squalling

remember blood can smell like sea water

when you open the windows of oppressive, warm rooms

and even though it’s a basement, air reaches in and breathes

as we lie together, bound, bruised, sore with belonging

in a fierce way never since, never before

your wrists lined with scars, silvered hollows

how alive we were in the face of dying

as unwinding, music stilled, the sound of

whistling kettle, percolating coffee

morning breaking spell in her rush

it wasn’t real, you were already gone

a shadow in recollection before

turning on the computer and beginning work

even the birds outside are quiet

as if they share the loss

in the symmetrical indigo plumage of their

lacquered lustrous feathers.

3 Replies to “In the face of dying”

  1. A superb poem/story and I found these lines very relatable Candice 😍🌏
    “a pulse beneath the skin of your wrist, itching for life
    shiny tight skin, the urge to live beating like a captured bird”

  2. I read and sit back
    Mouth open
    Breathing, stunned
    Reaching for words
    Remembering youth
    Seemingly more tame
    Appearances illusion
    Mind hungry wild
    Devouring ideas
    Ingesting poems
    Drinking Blues, not beer
    Scholarly spectacles
    Camouflaged the same
    Rebel heart
    Feral eyes

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