Breathe, just breathe
Inhale the silence
The loss, the shame
Take it in
Suck it up
Feel the chill
The ghosts of others
Circulating in red hate
To every corner
Every dark recess
Visitations visiting
Spectres of the stale
They can't break you
Won't, didn't,
Draw them close
Closer still
And just when they think it
Just when they think you broken
Breathe out
Because all they ever were
Was bad air

The Brave

She edged across the room like a herring through a shoal of tuna a slow, nervous approach. Her eyes widened each time someone looked her way, her breaths laboured and shallow, footsteps pitter-pattering across the tiled dance floor. She never once took her eyes off me and that’s why I waited even though it seemed to take forever for her to sidle up beside me, lips twitching, eyelashes blinking, palms sweating. She stood there skittish as a frightened rabbit choosing her words with the care attributable to a doctor broaching bad news.
“W… w… would you dance with me? she asked in the most timorous voice I’d ever heard.
And although everybody pointed, and everybody laughed, I said yes.
“Why?” asked my mates when she’d stuttered away. “Why would you do that with her?”
And all these years, these cruel decades later the answer’s never changed. Because she was the bravest girl I’d ever known, and if I’d said no it would’ve killed her.

Reversed Hauntings

To be haunted
Without a haunting
No sheets
No ghosts
Just pain
A collection of feelings
Made spikes
Driven deep
Too deep
Right behind the eyes
They poke and pry
Corkscrew and twirl
With languid ease
But they shan’t win
For the dark is mine
The ebon eve
Shall soothe them away
And in the morning
I’ll come out fighting
Resist their incessant whittling
Push back
For with every passing hour
They grow weaker
Whilst I do not
And it shall be I
That haunt they

The Dream Takers

When the dust settles,
The seeds of another’s wind
Gathered upon furrowed brows,
We shall have won.
It may not taste like victory,
Sound like victory,
Nor even feel it,
But we shall.
We shall stand alone, yet united,
Gazing out across the ruined fields
Of once dreams and hopes,
With plans and belief:
Rebuild, regrow, renew.
The others won’t,
And for that we pity them.
But not for long.