The Condition of Being Alive


She took a walk in springtime in a city she no longer lived in,

Round the corner on Homer’s Road she no longer felt the pull.

On the bus she no longer felt the simmer of the blues.

“An open return to the 7th circle please, keep me on the peripheries.

And my conscience back with the sycamore trees, keep it clean.

I hope he leaves and comes with me.”


Doesn’t feel like it’s a possibility.

On these distant city pavements, slithered distant bitter failures,

Past the tainted architecture of the swallow, the twisted industry of the ant.

All walls and closed doors, where when the first back was turned

The tail would eat the head, if the tail could get away with it.

(Which it often did.)


It was easy to get lost in a city trying to get discovered,

Like blackbirds in the dark, like flashlights in the sun.

Born to be a colour prophet, just dulled along the way.

Born to be a queen of dreams but turned at dawn in to a whore.

Watch him whitewash the eves.


Too in tune with the moon she felt the tides in her eyes swelling,

Wild as a deer trapped in the headlights. He wants a good wife.

In between thinking of him she imagined white veils and black daisies,

And wondered how big were little changes.

Girls in pink pulled at the weeping willow, hunters instinct

To pull the saddest leaves from the trees,

To me, we were the only ones who are not them.


Heaven sent to chase a squirrel along an old picket fence,

To watch a fountain loose the rain, hear the eggs fall from the trees,

Trace a line of Georgian buildings.

The stolen columns of demi gods that miraged her eyes

And beat the winding symmetry of the white walls of Park Square East.

You were once ten, still remember the pain.


Soon it will be September,

And the signets will have no trace of grey.

What wonderland has she been in? What wonders has she seen?

None for almost seven years,

For we all know that when a wheel deals a dead end

We let go of what we love most and watch it slip away in tepid waters.


Pressure turns dust to diamonds, and diamonds in to dust.

The highest ceilings are falling cinders, as in this life there is only mist.

Her feet touch the waters edge, St James’ Lake in mid December.

Winding roots mimic prehistoric mangroves, black space echoed in the lake.

Today she will accept the condition of being alive,

If just for a while.


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