Poem 98, day 102: Imprint

 Imprint

 

The makeover was simple.

Nothing more required

than a disguise

of paint,

just like

a snake

shedding skin.

The ceilings shine black

and the walls,

they blink white

and I thought,

maybe,

that was the mistake.

Two, three, even

ten coats will

never hide the

mouths kissed,

bodies writhed,

nights lived in

a haze of drunken youth.

The imprints mark deeper

than cushion covers,

table tops, varnish;

they cut like

fallen stone.

 

~S L. James

Poem 97, day 100: Carried

Carried

 

When they were little

And the sky had closed its doors

All they wanted was to sleep in their mother’s bed.

Theirs were cold, and empty, and far too large

For childish limbs that were only just

Beginning to learn that night plays

As big a part as day.

 

~S L. James

Poem 96, day 99: Flow

Flow

 

It was a good day.

The traffic passed like a stream

And we sat side by side.

There was nothing in the way

 

And when that song came on

The radio I looked at you, you

Looked at me and the

Goosebumps that tiptoed

 

Up our arms sat softly

In the light, softly like the trickle

Of water that was free to run,

Free to flow, where it liked.

 

~S L. James

Poem 94, day 97: The Pigeon and The Tramp

The Pigeon and The Tramp

 

They couldn’t have looked more relaxed if they tried.

On the floor lay the bird with the sun on his back,

A wing stretched out,

You’d almost think he was oblivious to the screech of children,

The swing of my leg if it weren’t for his eyes-

Glassy, orange beads that would not rest.

Up and down they went, left and right, anywhere

 

But the tramp moulded to the bench.

He’d been sipping from a flask until in afternoon heat

His eyelids drooped, his body slid, his head went down,

Chin to his chest.

Greasy hair stuck to his scalp like sodden shoelaces.

His checkered shirt was stained but his shoes,

His polished black shoes shone, almost mirrored the clouds.

 

They both slept, but the bird was watching everything.

He was alert, ready for when the little boy jumped

Too close and he took off, disappeared behind the fresh green

Of young leaves, the chime of the clock striking three.

The tramp didn’t stir- not for the child, or the bell, or

The flask as it broke free from his hand and 

Dropped, clattered, noisily to the ground.

Poem 93, day 96: He Missed Her When She Wasn’t There

He Missed Her When She Wasn’t There

 

Every now and then he questioned,

Not questioned, just wondered

How it would be if she wasn’t there.

Those times were like a pinch

When he woke with a thought

And spoke to an empty space,

Or found a sock stuffed behind the

Leg of a chair, the strands of her hair

In the loops of his belt- smiling to think

How they got there at all and he was

Glad, that those times were rare,

That for the most part they slept as one

With limbs tangled like lives;

That there were two mouths

To finish a loaf of bread, that if he

Needed to cry, yell, laugh with someone

He could.

He didn’t need to question,

Or wonder, he already knew;

He missed her like hell

When she wasn’t there.

 

 

Poem 91, day 94: The Game

The Game

 

They stood no higher than the bench from which I watched.

Two of them- one dark skinned, one light,

One with glasses, the other without. They didn’t notice me,

Or the couple behind stretched out on the grass, or the dog

Secured by its lead to the hinge of the gate whining,

Pleading to let him play.

The wood beneath me creaked, worn from the weight of hundreds.

I reached down and rusted paint flaked at my touch,

Fluttered to the ground along with debris caught by the breeze-

Empty wrappers, forgotten leaves that fell two seasons ago, dust

Scuffed by the feet of those two small figures.

The dog wouldn’t give up, strained at its ties, eyes on the ball

That sailed across its view back and fore, time and time again;

It longed to join in, that football was all it could see;

Just like the boys, even myself in the end

As concentration wained, hours merged, and it was as though

That tattered object was all that kept moving.

 

 

Poem 90, day 93: Thin

Thin

 

Nothing out of the ordinary happened,

They realised,

As in cold air they

Wrapped their arms around themselves.

Felt their skinny wrists,

Slim bones- in fact,

Their whole bodies seemed smaller somehow.

 

On stone walls they traced shadows.

Unsure of reality,

Of memory,

Of whether their minds told the truth or not.

There was a clock, but despite

The tick, the pass of light,

For some reason they couldn’t look.

 

 

Poem 89, day 92: Old, Young, Love

Old, Young, Love

 

She sang her heart out;

The rest wondered

How it would be

To have all eyes on them.

Like a fireplace

Her voice burned,

Through heat spat

Words that felt

Only too well the meaning.

There was no need

To sing of love,

It was already clear-

Transparent eyes,

Wanting fingers that

Graced the strings like

They were a child.

Perhaps she wanted

Others to hear, to know

What is was to be 

Young, and to

Hurt, for she knew

At some point

Everyone had been

There, even her

Grandmother who

Sat at the back-

The age of her skin

Creased with pride.