a point from last Thursday now etched in a line on my left hand

Palms up
I just don’t know
how he got here

recumbent in a sea
of gulls pulling at
crusts that an

old lady has spread
like happiness across
the pavement

in an effort to add
colour and kindness
to her morning

He holds his palm out
asking for one thing
my own doubt

obvious as I offer
him a hot drink or
a snack instead

He shrugs but smiles
thanking me and listing
lunch deal items

I redden and
wave my hands
in a gesture

that is empty of words
but replete with
body language

and sandwich filling
choices made for him
this man on the corner

of a street that
I walk down almost
every day of the week

The next time he
asks me for a Crunchie
he has remembered me

like a hand keeps
stories nooked in
the crannies of its skin

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1995

The square was crowded with the
coffee shop gait of foreigners
leaning away from their ordinary.
 
Me too. Awkward on the shoulder
of a world class coxswain turned
irritable technician who
 
wanted to return to the luxury coach
with or without me. We were.
Young, tasting the flavours of this city
 
between training sessions, basking in
UV strip lighting before the shadow of
my escalating paranoia snuffed it out.
 
Breathe. He said, grinding his teeth
as he hoisted me into a seat
then moved further down the aisle.
 
The month after, I befriended the dawn
we flirted for almost six months
sharing brown bottles of all kinds.
 
Twenty years on
 
I still hear birdsong
between my ears
 
at night
 
sometimes.

Staycation

I meditated this morning.

Trying to find a bigger

space

in the smaller space I currently inhabit.

Days become heavy with illness.

The light lasts longer

yet seems much further away.

The breath helps.

But it’s the first coffee of the day

that reassures me.

I am still alive.

I cried yesterday

and the day before.

I’ll probably cry later today.

But it’s not all Eeyore.

There is beauty too.

Minutes of deep appreciation

for the love in friends and family and myself

to tidy the fear away.

And books and words and TV

Though when I watch yet another episode of dodgy American sci-fi

the other voice in my head keeps turning  up to remind me

it’s not a fucking holiday.