A Cardboard Box
By Jessica McKenzie
[Copyright © 2016 by Jessica McKenzie
Distributed by Shakespir
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Cover photo from Angus Choy
Cover design by Reece Thompson
I would like to dedicate this to everyone who inspired me to write these entries and all who supported me in the process.
Without you, this cardboard box would be rather empty.
The warm screen aglow,
Ideas are none, blank canvas
typed dreams on snowy sheets.
Holding hands in the dark,
the night holds a hidden spark.
The wasteland. The barbed wire.
Borders between spouses,
different countries, different houses.
Loyalty as a profession,
starving for confession.
No trains. No food.
Willful sparrows, skillful women.
Cross the border again.
A reply was beyond the distance
between the keyboard and my brain,
compared to the distance between you and I…
did you always love me best?
What do I do? You, you never knew.
You couldn’t know about me.
The distance adds the charm.
Love you better, or love you worse?
A love letter?
Or me a tired sun setter?
You couldn’t let her be.
I didn’t know what to say.
I’m selfish enough to miss it.
No kisses, or visits.
It’s a good thing you disconnected.
A road unravels like kenophobic string,
pull and crawl along to see what lies at the end.
At the end of the string, a boat.
Shallow and meek, robust then fragile
when climbing in and naively hope not to sink.
Collisions under bridges
with other punting competitors,
or are they just tourists?
A suspicion of the mind,
resilient in silent critique.
Do you wish to stay here?
I would quit if I were you.
Acceptance is the true gauntlet.
A paranoia of bodies in crowds bear down
with potential superiority,
it keeps their boat afloat as you sink into misery.
glide like pond skaters
and peer jealously at the fairytale
beyond tacky black plastic fences and the emerging block of vigilant hill.
Too clean buildings,
ivory walls bleed ivy,
an architectural wound sported majestically.
A U-turn and I turn to see them again.
Those lucky few,
feet gracing the greener grass and pulling in the legacy with each careless step.
I want to walk with them.
Looking at left and right,
I am surrounded by the dark liquid that whispers futility
and signs that scold and protrude like thorny authority.
A vile deficiency sucking marrow from my bones,
A thousand tiny voices screaming from skeletal homes,
Infectious laughter bruising butterfly scars,
A boiling blood bath to opaque the stars,
A cracked smile follows a wry chuckle,
And broken battered knees that only buckle.
The ocean is getting bigger.
Never could I want you to choke on more physical distance.
Will I ever know what happened that day?
Walking through dark roads and streets,
Talking and affectionate squeaks
and you are not there.
You never were
And never could be.
It’s not your fault.
Let it be mine,
It was always going to be mine,
or it will infect you,
and disease ridden we shall rid ourselves of being cursed.
One day when you find the one
to share all your fantasies of white, rings,
bells and other things,
a soft voice will type
I want you back…
Will it be mine?
Slipping opportunities through thin fingers,
no-one knows when you will go.
The icy grip, the darkness now thick,
the sun dips low.
The genetic miscalculation
of lacking self-preservation,
the answers you need
- does a lovingly tight grip know?
Does that doubt taint the shared beating blood that flows?
The ticking seconds pierce thorny holes,
a subtle reminder that you’re getting old.
When I pack my things and leave for friends,
I can’t help but wonder if I’ll see you again.
Or is it the last of the winter sun?
A patient memory for when you’re gone.
I have never tapped a lover’s spine
to break it in several places,
A voyeur of captured ecstasy
In a millennia of faces,
Finding dreams to be relived
between glossy, sticky pages
We claim to be thoroughly civilised
while the beasts rattle their cages.
The silence slithers by,
oiled and coiled and coy.
The heartbeats dance away
and take samba steps into to the darkness.
The whisper of blinking eyes past and wrinkled eyes to come
tell me that there is no-one.
Would it be worth the time?
Would it be worth the rhyme,
For when I walk and talk at the same time,
I can still keep my secrets.
There are not many,
a simple few,
the most important of all is about you.
Oh the apathy!
It’s not you it’s me.
I could continue to be the hermit and continue on my way,
but the days, they are measured in sighs to analyse why
I’m shattered glass.
Do not ask.
I look through the telescope at the forbidden star,
with other comets who flame and flirt,
I stay here and hurt
and those who are proliferate themselves
hang in my shadow,
hoping that somehow
my gaze will wane and err and turn 180.
In this time, the samba beat slows to a waltz,
the waltz turns into requiem,
I will forget about them.
Guiding lines around your eyes,
I still got lost
circling lakes of blue,
diving into my version of you.
When the landscape shrank away from me,
I depended on the hand lifting my own
to take me through each turn.
The fault was mine alone,
assuming you were a map to a home.
Use my laughter lines
to make routes for you to follow.
The hollows where we once felt alone
we’ll no longer fear and make our own.
There is something wrong with the world
when you stare into the eyes of the girl behind the counter
with the sultry background noise of the deep fat fryer
and she knows your deepest darkest desire:
a large milkshake instead of a small one.
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