Craig (A Spontaneous Examination of Self)

He’s too tall, too northern
too far towards ginger
on the strawberry blonde spectrum.
He suffers night-time nausea
conversing with Allen in dreams,
bedside table, half smoked
joint of weed to help him sleep,
even though it hardly ever helps
and when it does, the sheets
always end up carrying the smell.
Pursuit of Nirvana at midnight,
twenty-three years old, and can’t decide
between Nevermind and In Utero,
changing his mind with the tides.

But never-mind, at least his taste
for sound is sound enough,
music library his pride and joy
carefully curated since he was a boy,
raised listening to the good stuff –
too many sad songs though,
although he likes the way they
always bring him back down to Earth
after a sleepless night and a long day,
likes simple feeling anything at all,
hollow too often, not doing much
to make it easier, stuck in a rut.

He sometimes gets suitably stoned
and goes to see independent movies alone.
He sometimes gets lamentably low,
and goes to post-rock gigs solo,
making friends during the show.
He still has a hard time swimming
anything more than sixty lengths
losing breathe during long sessions
forgetting what he’d learnt
during childhood trauma lessons,
long ago, trying to master front crawl,
working on it in between drowning
and the struggle of staying afloat.

He thinks too much about death
(but not as much as he used to).
Wonders daily about girls
he had previously dated,
some of whom he never even
kissed, opportunities missed.
Thinks most often about the one
who made him wait, too long,
weeks passing until it all went wrong.
And what if she was the one?
What if she wasn’t the one?
What if he’s already met his wife
and let her simply pass him by?

He daydreams too often about America
and the cute Southern girl he left there,
and he can’t talk to his dad about that fall
can’t talk to him about anything except
his favourite ales and the football.
He laughs at memes he’s already seen;
laughs at things that aren’t funny.
Penchant for puns though.
Always sunburnt when its sunny,
always cold in the winter,
always in-between in august
almost always in-between seasons,
finding reasons to stay inside regardless.

Deep down though, he’s alright
with his life, because at least
he can write a poem that rhymes
– sometimes –
and he has an idea of the direction
his life is headed, even without momentum.
He has seventy contacts in his phone
ten of whom he can call whenever,
and that ratio sounds alright to him –
one in seven, unless he finds another
and makes the number eleven,
always happy just to have double digits
for digits he can message when needed.

Chichester, March 2017, Spontaneous

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