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Just In Case I Get the Chance

Every time I swing on my old leather jacket 
and leave my dirty, dusty, rough, and battered, 
beautiful, comfortable, warm little house 

I hope I’ll see you round about 
in your pretty dresses, gym gear, 
or old jeans and raincoat, 

and I hope your bright eyes
and trembling smile, your neat hair,
your strong arms, your broken heart, 

your words and wisdom will open wide, 
hold me, take me, and gently drag me 
somewhere deep, untouched, and distant

where together we can release, softly sink into 
and silence – not suffocate or subdue – 
the wild, wild, wild, wild, wild wildness. 
So, I always carry a scrap of white paper,
neatly folded and tucked into my tiny, empty wallet
with my name and number scrawled upon it; 

just in case I get the chance to give it to you.

Listen to it as a song…

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Hey Loner

I wanna be that thing you do 
when you’ve nothing else to do. 
The long walks you take around town. 

The favourite book you slowly read 
while sitting in the café.
The endless worlds you imagine.

I wanna be where you go 
when you’re lost or alone 
amidst your twists and turns. 

The hills you climb. The woods you roam. 
The parks where you laze. 
The waters you swim.

I wanna be those sacred moments
in between the vision and ambition. 
The baths you take. 

The soothing drinks you sip.
The yummy treats you nibble. 
The secret prayers you make.

I wanna be the simple nourishment 
that eventually becomes 
your quiet passion.

The memories you keep in your heart.
The charity work you always mean to start.
Your art. 

I wanna be the place you come to rest,
where you realise 
you’ve always felt the best.

The stones you throw at other stones 
when sitting on the beach. 
The animals you love unconditionally.

I wanna be the one with whom you share 
the glorious nothing we are left with
when we understand that everything is bare.

Listen to it as a song….

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As Strong and Fast and Sharp as You

That magpie out in the garden there,
he’s as strong and fast and sharp as you.
He’d kill you. You know that, right?

He’d peck out your eyes,
rip open your belly with his talons,
and dive bomb you to obliteration.
You know that, right?

He’s every bit as strong and fast and sharp as you,
my pretty little kitty.
You wouldn’t stand a chance.

But he’ll always keep his distance,
and he will never start anything with you.
So, pay attention to his warning clicks and whistles,
to the cracking whacking of his black beak,
and be a sensible little kitty, yeah.

Stay well away.

Because he’ll be sure to end you 
if you start on him, 
even if it ends him too.

Chatter from a distance if you must, 
little kitty.
Hiss and scream behind his back if you like.
Stretch and flex those fearsome claws.
Scratch and bite the fence.
Bare your teeth.
Raise your haunches. 
Stare him down.

But never make a move on him.

He’s as strong and fast and sharp as you.
You wouldn’t stand a chance, little kitty.
Just leave him be.
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How Brave You Are, I Think

Every day you are the only finch 
who visits the bird table at my feet. 
All the rest of them stay on the feeders 
up at the top of the garden. 

If I move while you eat, even just a little bit, 
I see your tiny body tense 
ready to jump/fly off. But you don’t.
You fix an eye my way and

I slowly nod or blink.
Then you carry on with your quiet feast.
How brave you are, I think.

Occasionally you do go to join them 
up at the top of the garden. 
But I see it’s always a struggle for you, 
little one. I watch you take your time, carefully 

choosing your approach. Hopping slow and dodging, 
I see you take the smallest space at the feeder. 
I notice how you glance around at them all, 
like they’re strangers. 

And I see them turn their tails, edge away, 
raise their wings and peck at you 
till you leave their group and swoop straight back
to the bird table at my feet. I see it all.

Cut out. Nowhere else to turn.
I see you trying to get back in,
again and again and again. 
How brave you are, I think.
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Sorrow lands quietly 
on the edge of my path.

He is an old bird.
His smooth blacks, frayed 
and cracked by the pull of earth and time.
His pure whites, grey-yellowed 
by damp winds and harsh light.

He limps. 
His eyes shift everywhere 
but where he's going.
His splintered talons 
and chipped beak 
set about the hard ground 
over and over.

He is an old bird.
He is alone.

I stop and turn, 
and slowly stoop
to connect with eye contact.
Sorrow hops away.

Not like those tiny birds. 
Frantic, sudden clouds of fear.  
Winging it from anything that looms near.
To the rooftops and lamppost tops,
and the high wires spun between,
to Twitter and preen in disarray.

Sorrow just hops away.

No further than two arms’ length,
to where he knows he could escape.
Stands still, cocks his head, 
shakes out his wings and tail a bit, 
and looks right back at me - 
while, for a moment, I reflect 
on our similarities.

He is an old bird.
He is alone.
He is unafraid. 

Sorrow seems happy 
to watch me walk away.