Proofreading Life

I check, again, my letter to you,

like one would do a suitcase.

With every paper and full stop and shoe

and every ‘yes’ in its rightful place.

 

I check, again, the words in mind

hoping they won’t come out wrong.

Cover hurt with paint: red and blue; make them kind

and hide my arteries between lines of song.

 

I check, again, my Swiss army knife:

the spoons, the blades the fork,

“We’ll camp again,” they say; never wanted to in my life

My throat shut by a cork.

 

I check, again, my memory,

for facts and theories and concepts.

For all the things you never said to me,

and extract the images you want with forceps.

 

I check, again, my sketchbook

for a gift to you; you always think in pictures.

You don’t know that; I do, just look

the theories and things I see; my innocence in sutures.

 

I check, again, for my passport.

Just in case, even though its clean:

unstamped, for I never needed transport

to dance the theories they like – whatever those mean.

 

I check, again, behind me

’cause there’s always someone watching.

I laugh; there is nothing to see

but bitter paranoia – a fallen king rotting,

 

I check, again, it’s stopped making sense

Who you are; who am I?

People turn to lists through this dirt coloured lense:

of flaws and weaknesses, threats in my eye.

 

I check, again; I can’t help it.

Neither can you, so please don’t try.

Your efforts make me cringe, bloody git;

Push up my glasses; “I’m fine, don’t cry.”

 

So I’ll check, again, this letter to you,

like one would do a suitcase.

With every bone and organ and –

Every “love” in its rightful place.

I Am Made of Rules

I am made of rules. Little, quiet things I line on my mantelpiece, as if they are silver, or gold, or roses. I follow every word they say, and listen to the little lies they whisper into my ears.

The people around me – they have rules of their own. Sometimes they break mine: to prove a point, or because they have no point. They break my little rules, let them shatter on the floor into smithereens of bleeding glass. It hurts, I don’t tell them. Silence is one of the rules I keep in my pocket, safe from foreign touch. Silence and secrecy. Perseverance. Stoicism.

He has no rules.

His mantelpiece is full of wishes, dreams

energy;

silver and gold and roses.

When he writes, he writes

free

,unhindered by the likes of

‘Show, don’t tell’ and

p l o t h o l e s .

He tells, when

he wants to,

shows

when he wants to,

and it doesn’t matter, because it’s all so good in the end. He has no rules – and he is

f r e e .

Perhaps there is some sense in my envy. Perhaps not. For people who have no rules will never learn how to break them. How to break anything, for a matter of fact. Not silence and secrecy. Not perseverance. Not stoicism, or bones, or hearts – or a man’s spirit.

I know, though. I am learning. So for now, for this year, for this day:

I am made of rules.