life, poetry

The Last Post

Dear Readers,

After 4 years and 150+ posts I’ve decided, with a heavy, tar-clogged heart, to end my run as a regular contributor for Hijacked Amygdala.

Recently I’ve had some big changes in my life and I’ve had to redirect my (already limited) energies, which sadly means giving up my Friday spot here at HA.

Thank you all so much for reading my work (the good, the bad, and the ugly) – whether you were here from the beginning or have recently discovered Hijacked Amygdala, I’m forever grateful for your time and support. You’re the best.

Thank you to the HA family, my amazing co-contributors, for allowing me to share this platform with you – you are all bloody brilliant and it’s been an honour to work alongside you. And last but not least, thank you to Babe for taking me on at the start and giving me the freedom to create and post my writing here.

I’ll still be posting at Treacle Heart, and I’m working on some new projects – if you’re interested in what I’m up to you can follow me on Twitter @treacleheartx

For my last post at HA, I’ve chosen a poem that wasn’t actually written by me, but by my late Dad (whom I’ve posted lots about over the years). Yes it’s a cop out, posting something I didn’t write, but he says it better than me.

Cheers, all. It’s been emotional!

HLR

♥♥♥


 

A Birthday Poem
by B K Rollason

There comes a time
for taking stock
of what one’s had
and what one’s got,

of where one’s going
and where one’s been,
of what one’s heard
and what one’s seen.

You know the games,
you’ve learnt the rules,
you can tell the wisemen
from the fools,

you’ve learned that all’s
not as it seems,
that life is both
reality and dreams,

and like the tides
that ebb and flow,
life’s sometimes fast
and oft’ times slow.

To survive the storm
a tree must bend,
and a new day starts
where this one ends.

(Treliske, Cornwall – February 1982)

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Uncategorized

Children of temptation & sticky fingers

woman playing piano

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

 

Relinquish

your proud ways

it behoves no one

to hang tall on faded principle

when last we considered ourselves

it was before life swallowed us whole

too busy for contemplation

we walked off cliffs and wondered

why our broken legs didn’t work

you are not a puppet

but you have grown docile in your strings

when splintered people stuff their suffering

in nameless boxes and march to the kink

we don’t ask why

are we here, what should we do? why do we feel

as we are feeling, what ache inside us?

how do we find, authenticity?

when everything surrounding us

propels toward docile determination

we forget we were once

children of temptation and sticky fingers

unable to resist

opening jam jars, letting flies

coat themselves in satiate bliss

touching with reddened fingers

clean walls in pleasure

where did our curiosity

our hunger

go?

did we really become

stalagmites on sugar

and forget to

make forts in trees

and dams in streams

to catch the next shoal

of silver fish?

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life, poetry, prosetry, Uncategorized

Unfolding

ccc9963b759d8bfec58b054edd59e343

Time unfolding, holds

emblems, signatures

as hair caught in

boar brush

smells still of her

the nape of her long neck

bearing sound

tugging through until end

before light has pushed itself

past dim cloud line

warming her hands a little

just enough

just enough.

Where she was

there are now white washed walls

clean and no longer redolent

of those hours, those years spent

would they know if they touched?

The plaster, holding some memory

or reverberating solace

how her wrists looked

playing piano in silent day

with open windows to bird call

hushed by her haunt.

Would they know, if turning

in sleep they saw through half opened eyes

a murmur of her, crossing the room

one black pearl resting against

her warm throbbing neck

how much of us remains

when we are gone? How to

evoke, conjur, return to

remain, stay just one moment more

by her side before

vanishing and eddying across

cold river with the sound only

of onyx oars spent into depths

her hair trailing, thick mist

veiling before long lost

only the sound occasional

a splash or dip into darkness

and then the ache sets in

like a hole unable to be covered up

or crime undone

everywhere she was

now absent in terrible

emptiness, we keen to recall

in desperate hour, when moon

is hidden behind glowering cloud

she walks the earth and is no longer

traces of ourselves built into effigies

I reach and I reach out and still

she is always further

the smell of her in my mouth and nose

the taste of her against my

broken arms

feeling like she were whole

even as she is ether and starlight

I sense her against me in gloaming dusk

moving with agitation, mocking life

forcing a cry

beseeching time and tall trees

hidden faces in darkness

their green heights impossible

as her return

she is gone and still

the clock ticks

orange cat whiskering through high grass

outside, watching with yellow

eyes, birds overhead, out of

reach

out of reach.

Within me a glassed place of a place

cast in silver, in bronze, in clay

the shape of her

a flute, a goblet carrying fresh

spring water as benediction on

hot day, her voice stroking me

from the marbled abyss

she cannot stay, I pull on the

scarlet thread it comes loose

and unraveling her skirts, her

soft blouses, the perk of her breasts

against my mouth, urging, reddening

nipples swallowed by cries

our hands interlinked

blankets and sheets disarrayed

by motion, moisture, light and dark

her candle throat thrown back

devouring a sanctuary of

secrets and thirst

she opens for me again and again

my fingers breathing her need

we are leaves fallen from trees

made into earth and grown

against the cherry tree staining

our lips sweet and bitter

for love is found in mercy

and grace, her sinew and

hunger, baptizing memory

I hold her locket with a slice

of her dark hair growing old

in want, a touch no more

as if she never painted these

walls or grew round cheeked

beneath me, her laughter

caressing the corners with

silver, we sleep our hands

linked beneath thick covers to

keep out Winter and by

Spring I am watching

crocus urge upward

through northern dark

soil, their fragile mouths

opening to sun as once

she took me into her

one by one

til all of me

was found

and

now

without her weight

against me, shy

smile coming from

beneath long dresses unbuttoned

shining hair, falling on

wrinkled sheets

the smell of her still in

my center a thorn

as I stand by the

window its metal latch

open and cold

to my

skin.

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poetry

One Way

Do I just need fresh air

Will I be better elsewhere

Or is it that

My lungs are diseased

That the problem is in me

That even with a change of scenery

The badness will stay with me

And I’ll be this way wherever I go?

There’s only one way to know

The answer to that:

Leave

And don’t look back


Re-posting this poem because I’m in the process of moving to a new flat in a new area i.e. finally leaving and not looking back! I’ll be quiet on WordPress for a couple of weeks while I sort my life out, but I’ll be back soon with some new writing. Hope you’re all staying safe and keeping well ❤

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fiction, life, poetry, prosetry, Uncategorized

Blister

sihouette-image-naked-woman-silhouette-33325142

I will not be your blood blister

I will not be so abused I learn to like it and take it with a mouthful of sack cloth

I will not be your punching bag. Held by Devil for you to take your life’s frustrations out upon.

I am injured and talented at self-loathing but there is still fight left. The fight tells me not to submit to become, that smear of inconsequence you so desperately want.

Light is fading and we walk along rivers edge. You tell me to jump in, hand me the locks and chains, swallow the filagree key and cross your arms.

The river is swollen like an angry mother calling her children home. Trees weep into its corners like penitents and the sky drizzles its damp message through closed mouthed cloud cover.

I have lived 32 years and each one seems too long. The locks that separate parts of the river from each other, are black and painted with some type of waterproofing, I wish for a moment I had been waterproofed, painted shut and able to exist beneath, without air.

The dead watch with empty eye sockets from the other side of the river. They stand in unison, quiet and obedient to their demise. A flickering memory of times when they existed and tried to reach out, never quiet enough.

I am a child being baptized without a crowd.

A whore who has swallowed the semen of the river too many times and risen to the surface despite her tambourine sin.

I am someone’s daughter though they have long forgotten the birth and gone about their life. Wounds that do not exist cannot be licked, or didn’t you know?

I am the cross of a woman who alternately hates me, especially on Monday’s, when in her wrath she pitches me from her sight and turns to the wailing wall, the mumble of her faith, her ever succor.

I am your bit on the side. Eaten crumb by crumb, morsel after taste, tasty between mouthfuls. Always spat out.

I am untouched and lying in long grass in late summer and nobody walks past and nobody kneels down and performs the benediction over my sleeping form, and nobody takes their religion seriously, instead raping me there between the sun and the moon.

I am your mother. You hand me the green dress I wore on the night he beat me blue, and I watch my nipples pop through the thin fabric like expression marks, my long neck ringed in roses of hurt. He says he loves me, he says he wants me, he knows only how to harm. And when we fall, together, I hold you in, I stop breathing, thinking if I can press every muscle against you I will protect you from coming out, a long bloody trail across his perfect white tiles and his parents never knew, for crime is the easiest thing to hide.

I am a patient. My bed is starched and folded. I am broken and belittled. My tongue blistered from licking my own wounds. They said I wouldn’t make it. I hoped they were right. You stood at the doorway and clicked your fingers and something in me knew it wasn’t yet done.

I give birth. The child is still born on wasted sheets that must be burned. In the olden days they buried quiet dead beneath oak trees and they nourished the next generation. I breast feed the silence in my head and they all close in like crows, to shut my screaming mouth.

We lie in each other’s arms and you say; “I’m not like the rest” and I never believe that because I can’t believe anything anymore, but the sound you make when you say it and when I am inside you, stays like a long song in my fevered mind.

We visit the grave site and wild flowers bloom over where your bones lie. I push my hand into the fecund earth and think for a moment, you are there, reaching out.

The edge of love can be a broken glass in your jugular. The sin can be a salvation. We are riding buses to the end of the world and you only know how to paint because you have no time for effort.

How are you today? I am finding ways to end my life. I am counting pills in little bottles. I am watching stretch marks fade from pink to silver, each one a cry from you that was never sounded, across glassy water.

Dennis Hopper has a large gun, Keanu uses his hips, Ione only knows plaid and frigging. Lying beneath a wool blanket watching blow up dolls drown, they use their youth like elixir and it’s easy to believe then, it’s easy to wait and apply Chapstick when your lips feel numb.

I’m by the rivers edge and you are with someone else. I knew it ten years ago, I know it now. Instead of a knife I have a candle. It burns its hot wax on my useless fingers and they curl like paper boats when they hit water.

We start the car, the purr like a cat I once had, cleaning her kittens. I feel your hand pull up my skirt, it’s never smooth now, it’s always wrinkled and my hands look like shrieks against my numb skin. Nobody buys cigarettes from tobacconists anymore. We import our vice by the truck full.

I want someone to claim me, to reach in and save me, to eat me alive and spit me back into myself. I want you to fuck me with love and hope. But ghosts can’t smoke and they can’t perform cunnilingus and I am getting older now.

Too old to be your blood blister. We need to burst it and let it bleed, until I see, a way out.

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prosetry

Life As We Know It (Now)

Fortnightly overdoses and falling asleep in the bath

Ridiculous wine descriptions and tattooed knuckles

Antiseptic and anticipation

Disappearing acts and swapping house keys

Superglue and frozen teeth

A stolen bottle of mustard and an Irish funeral

Forgetting and failing and faking and Fuck Forever-ing

Rusty kisses and missing the last bus

Betting slips and 56 missed calls

Vanilla vodka and the First Casualty of The War

Coffin shopping and cryptic crosswords

LSD and the ghost of Keats on Hampstead Heath

Tampon strings and sewing machines

Vaping and scaffolding

Tinned peaches and bascule bridges

Hugo Boss shirts and serial killers

A shelf-less bookshelf and ignoring aeroplane safety demos

Swimming to Mexico and believing in angels

3-day stubble, you’re bang in trouble, double up for £1

Pinching each other because we aren’t entirely convinced that we’re alive

Marriage proposals and morphine dreams

Rhetorical questions and infinite eggshells

Spying on the neighbours and eating jam doughnuts with a knife and fork

Lordship Lane and waking up with two black eyes

The United States of Shock and Dismay

Blonde on Blonde and accidental asphyxiation

A pint of daffodils and the view from the bell tower

Blood tests and a ouija board

Perjury and the 4-hour Happy Hour

Grey hairs and burnt toast and wondering what the hell it’s all about


Originally published 24th February 2017

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life, poetry, prosetry, Uncategorized

Ransom

black and white body dark feet

Photo by John Rocha on Pexels.com

she’s ransomed for chunk change

by the betrayal of her inward gaze

pain and her varied pins

the reddened lips of an untruth

poised to strike

she stopped writing then as if

they etched her into stone and left her to moss

and rain

fall.

As a child she was told again and again

you will fail

she, being headstrong and determined

never did.

They said she wasn’t clever enough so she

left the first place prize on their desk with the words

don’t destroy futures

carved into the wood just like

her tomb.

As an adult she decided

there is no fate, you make of life what you will

by never giving up

and that worked well until the illness

turned her into a wraith and sucked the life force

out

leaving emptiness within.

No matter how hard she tried,

living

and its delights

did no longer appeal

she had a vested interest in

letting go.

God

did not speak to her

she tried calling but

the line was busy

all she could hear

voices under water murmuring

prayer, curses, little confessions

wrapped in violet leaves and cast

from sight.

Her blind faith

had improved

in the darkness she stumbled

alone because when you hit the bottom

there is rarely anyone there to pick you up

those people who pretend to giveashit really

don’t

they only suck the same air as you

noisily like cattle at trough

it is rare to find loyalty or even true depth

especially in people made of

empty promises.

So easy you see, to say, yes you mean the world to me

in fact if you did not exist, I would die surely

my life depends upon yours and I am unable

to imagine a day without you.

Such little words, running like little ink

spreading like little lies, falling like

little shoes thrown into lakes

before the drowning.

See here? Your smile and the benificence of

your factor? I could measure

the extent of your professed heart ache

in jelly beans and find

sugar is too sweet

truth has a bitter taste

especially when it lies

dormant and wilted beneath your tongue

a key without opening.

your falsehood, like an actress pealing her stockings down

slow and smooth

I think of the times I wanted to believe badly enough

I swallowed the whole cocktail

syrup and all

just to feel for one moment

something was real

and we all descend

like discarded play things

compelled to stay beneath the surface

lower in gravity we sink

until air is a daydream

until breath a distant memory.

Your loyalty had a hole in it

the size of your folded lies

and in darkness we find all things

reveal themselves

including the tarnish sitting just beneath

glittering promise.

So then, what of the day above? And its

mercy

radiating like hands

pulling us up through weeds

long have we been submerged

in the weight of betrayal

there in, our sickness no end

just the owl leaving treeline for his prey

sharp eyes scouring landscape

just the lost embrace before you

punched your ticket and entered

the void.

Here I am swaddled in

soyousaids

and words do not hold much

resonance with me anymore

I am a creature of pain and unsettling

rinsed in regret, I find no place

to feel certain

only that time will continue to count down

toward something eventual and quiet

like the sound of a clock that persists

after the end of the world

has bid her leave

to tick.

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poetry, prosetry

Advice For Alcoholics

ONE /

The woman with the ugly shoes
tells you that “alcohol and depression don’t mix.”
She is wrong. They do mix, well
deliciously and often.
You may be mental, but you are also a mixologist.
You make cocktails:
3 parts vodka, 2 parts lethargy, 1 part lemonade.
3 parts tequila, 2 part tears, 1 part orange juice.
3 parts whisky, 2 parts grief, 1 part diet coke.
You mix them together then pour the beautiful blend into fancy glasses
serve them with little paper umbrellas and a heartbreak garnish
or with crushed self-esteem and a tiny straw
depending on the day, depending on your mood.
You drink them down and you feel less dead than you did before.

TWO /

The man who always carries a bottle of Fanta
tells you something that his Jamaican gran’ma told him
when he first started this job
“You can leave the rum out of a fruitcake, but you still got a fruitcake.”
He is right. He tells you that even if you quit drink and drugs
you’ll still be sick,
you’ll still have problems,
you’ll still be inherently mad.
You tell him that if you quit drink and drugs
you won’t survive
you won’t be able to cope with life.
He agrees.
You agree.
You never see him again.

THREE / 

The woman with the silk scarf and kind face
tells you that “your mind is a machine.”
She says that your machine isn’t working properly,
that it’s broken and has been for a very long time.
She is right. She also tells you
that your body is like a car that runs on diesel,
and that every time you drink alcohol you are putting petrol into your car,
which fucks up the machine, your mind, the engine, your heart.
She tells you that it’s stupid to keep putting petrol into a diesel car
and expecting it to work and being surprised when it doesn’t.
Together you attempt to lift the hood, to look under the bonnet
and see what’s wrong with your machine, your car.
You are one trip away from a breakdown.
You are one key-turn away from being a write-off.
You stop drinking.
You fix your car.
But everything under the bonnet is still rusty
and all of your parts are in the wrong places.
You are beyond repair.
You belong on a scrapheap.
Then the wise woman abandons you.
You drink because she’s no longer there to tell you not to.

FOUR /

The man who is your friend’s Dad
tells you “never mix grape and grain”
after he has to pick you up in his car from a park
when you are 13 years old and paralytic on a Tuesday afternoon.
He is right. You think of this piece of advice often:
usually when you drink wine and then beer, or beer and then wine.
What was the rhyme? “Wine before beer, you’re in the clear”
or was it “Beer before wine, you’ll be feeling fine”?
Either way, it doesn’t matter,
you’ll always feel better
then much, much worse.
Grape and grain.
Embarrassment and pain.
You managed 52 days sober once
then reaped litres of relapses from your acres of shame.
You gained another admission to rehab.
You failed to attend.
You went back to your old ways.
You lost your friend.

FIVE /

The woman who stares at you in the mirror
tells you that you can’t carry on like this.
She is right. You decide to do Dry January again.
She hasn’t had a drink in 52 hours. She feels dreadful.
Your tendons tremble under the strain of her twisted muscles,
loaded springs with no release, no relief, and a headache sent by Satan.
You know that you will make up for losing one addiction
by indulging in others: coffee, food, cocaine, shopping, books.
You don’t know if you’ll make it to the end of the month without booze.
But the woman in the mirror wants you to.
She really wants you to.
She tells you that you’ve got shit to do, things to prove.
She’s rooting for you.
You’re rooting for you, too.

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poetry, prosetry

Now You Are 71

In the darkness I swayed, numb and unsteady in platform heels, outside the place where you used to live, looking up at the window where so many hours were spent smoking, people-watching, daydreaming, counting how many motorists weren’t wearing seatbelts.

The lights were off: there was no one home.
This statement can be applied
to the apartment and your brain
in your final days.

I tried the gate:

locked.

Wriggled a shaking hand into your old mailbox:

empty.

Looked for the label with your name

taped next to the buzzer for Flat 1:

gone.

With my heart in my throat
I turned and walked away
into the warmth of the pub next door
where so many friendships were made
where your laughter once roared
where memories were shared
of you, an extraordinary man,
and glasses were raised
to you, my darling Dad,
on what would have been
your 71st birthday.

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