Posts Tagged ‘break ups’



And sometimes, without warning, it is lost.


Like old men trying to finish a marathon, we keep running.

Our spindly, shaking knees taking us all over the road.

We trail behind. Even the spectators are leaving.


True, around corners we find unexpected relief.

Small surprises of pleasure appear without warning.

Cracking lips suck, relieved.


But back at the start of the race we ran with the blood singing in our veins.

Each step juddered revelations through straining fibres.

Nothing broke our tempo, nothing could stop the running.


Now each slight incline is a panting reminder of past fitness.

Reality sticks in our lungs like an inhaled burr.

Others run ahead, still full of the singing blood.


Ashamed to catch each other’s eye, we trot to a halt.

Put our shaking hands on quivering hips.

Clasping them for a little passing stability.


The sweat of our failure drips incessantly on the pavement.

But the night has grown cold.

Somewhere, a mobile phone plays tunelessly.


As if by a signal, we turn our backs on one another.

Take a last, shuddering, sucking breath.

And silently creep away.


When the other is safely out of sight, we strip off our shoes,

barely concealing our relief at the new-won freedom.

Fling them over high walls, and walk, now.


Picking our way carefully, through a slalom of dustbins.

Miles and miles of dustbins waiting to be emptied.

Filled to the brim with other’s discarded shoes.


Anyone interested in checking out my volume  of poetry – READ ME – 71 Poems and 1 Story – can find it here:


Once the decision was made,

you were ruthless.


You hoovered away our life.

Shuffled poems, letters, and sleeves crusty with bleeding hearts into drawers.

Locked them, and threw away the key, making sure I saw it arc, scintillating,

over the back wall and down the embankment.


Watching your demolition, I waited quiet at the foot of the stairs.

Like a man on his way to an execution he thinks he deserves.

The unspoken agreement that it would always end like this stapling my lips shut.

Pinned together by the promises of expecting nothing.

When you deemed it right, we were to be un-realised.

“I will run out,” you’d said. “Always do.

  No lies, not between us.”


No whining. No reminiscing.

No last minute pub-garden rescues over bitter ale.

No relying on fevered bodies to make things right.

You had run your hand across my belly, making it stiffen.

“It won’t be that,” you had said. “It will be other stuff.”


Quiet now. Waiting for the bullet. Eyes fixed on the sky.

Click, staple, click, staple.  Your timing.

That was always the deal.


Casting around the newly laid graveyard, now neat as a pin,

untidy man neatly stowed away,

jumbled memories marshalled into neat rows,

you straightened the flowers

I had bought you, for this day,

self consciously, in the middle of our dinner-partied, wine-soaked table

where once you had bent, looking over your shoulder,

hair tumbling, laughing madly at me.

“Afters. Come on.”


Brushing passed me, you hurried up the stairs, and re-appeared,

bearing in front of you like an offending sceptre,

a solitary, white edged and almost new toothbrush.

For a moment, your face trembled and hope leapt.

Then, click staple, our lips were closed again.

You swallowed the toothbrush into my breast pocket,

gave it a little pat, and then another, more thoughtfully.

Looked at me for a moment,

and walked to the door, working the key

I had just given you back.


I pavemented, eyes squinting against the sudden light,

refusing a blind.


As it closed behind me, I saw you through the bowl of glass

fish-eyed through the mock Tudor door

grasp your broom and resume your busy sweeping.

You never glanced back as you swept and swept

your tears washing

the kitchen floor we had once danced on

all night


Anyone interested in checking out my volume  of poetry – READ ME – 71 Poems and 1 Story – can find it here: