Archive for category Recent poetry

Parents

 

When your parents die

the movie ends.

Now you’re not playing a part.

 

You can sit back in your chair,

the one with your name on it,

and watch the action played back.

 

See the part you played.

Sit uncomfortable beside others,

self-conscious as your playing is reviewed.

 

And the silence closes in about you

as you see your failings

and the quiet of those around falls away

into the distance,

and your life and the stuff that is you

comes into focus.

 

A real tearjerker is this.

Who wrote this script?

How could, who would, did I?

 

They were just people.

 

Life’s timeline compresses.

Your streaming curve cuts across theirs

And streams away to curve back.

 

You with your guns firing.

Your stupid guns.

We should have talked more.

 

Because now I don’t see you

By way of a mirror.

Now I can look straight at you.

 

And I have to hang my head

So what am I really?

Now I’m in the mirror.

 

You stayed for a while.

I felt you and I heard your thoughts.

Now it’s quieter.

 

But one day I may

Have to have that talk.

About how we all made mistakes.

 

Mine feel so much greater

And I wonder where I’ll sit

Between you and my sons.

 

 

 

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Choice

 

Warm air rang chilled,

reverberating metal

hammer on an anvil.

Church steeple still

 

in pleasant landscape

stopped to look

at small life given.

Sleepy world glancing

 

his way for once

and simmering summer

sultry birdsong sang

uninhibited.

 

So little england carried on

and one who came to pass

and had lived their way

no longer had a choice.

 

 

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Sunny suicide

 

Mild wind in blue sky with sun glinting

off snowy Cretan mountain peaks

and bird song amongst orange groves

ripe with fruit waiting to be picked,

 

reverberated to a double shotgun blast

as someone blew his brains out

and spread them over the plaster

landscape that was his for too long.

 

As I wrote mellowed by birdsong,

righteously writing about what was wrong

with no cognisance of what went on

just below my balcony.

 

A moment came and passed.

And I learned about it from the news.

Written a long way away.

 

And now when I gaze down,

the birds still sing amongst the oranges.

And the dogs still bark.

 

 

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Woman turns

 

She was a cold, mirror smooth lake

in the cloud tossing tempest that raged around her,

and I stood wet and weather beaten on her rocky shore.

How could she be so disconnected?

 

 

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All alone

 

When you truly listen to people

and you hear what they are,

you will find

that everyone is lonely.

 

 

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curious

 

The sad thing is that

the only people I’ve harmed

have been those I loved.

 

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Best anticipate

 

That hard bit just now,

after that warm and yellow bit.

I wonder what’s next?

 

 

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Original Source

 

Sitting in bath warm water,

waves lapping up my thighs,

leaning on one hand on the yielding sand,

watching the moon sink into the sea.

 

The natural world is all that’s real.

The rest is construct and hubris.

 

Watching that sinking moon

over the turning world,

and the whirling cosmos of a trillion lights,

all ticking step by step in time.

 

And then it came to be known

amongst all sentience

that the Original Source is me,

and we are the Original Source.

 

 

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Tears

 

I wear my tears like

a Warrior who weary,

has become gentle.

 

 

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Laughing

 

This is a poem.

I can say whatever I like.

 

Poetic licence and all that.

 

I can say without fear of ridicule

that I am lonely and mystified by life.

 

The whirlpools of logic and illogic

and unfathomable stupidities.

 

And the wonders and astonishing things.

Aspects of grand realities

that seem distant and huge.

 

And I’m allowed to confess that I cry,

often and loudly,

because I’m a two sided coin.

 

And other things too.

The sense of smallness

that makes me gently humble as I look around.

 

That sense of contiguity with all that is

that occurs occasionally.

My smallness and my scope.

My all encompassing modest place.

 

Watching wise if I’m lucky,

defined by my context,

laughing and crying without doing either.

 

 

 

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Rainbow

 

Over drab hills held down

by scudding clouds,

a gap opened and sun’s rays shone down.

 

Splitting into a million colours

through a million tiny drops,

as the light of a star showed itself to us.

 

Its million aspects viewed with awe

by the only entity capable of seeing.

That’s you.

So see yourself like this.

 

 

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The point

 

As he died and saw the world fade away,

he also saw his life spread out

like a two dimensional fan in front of him.

 

Then flames appeared and a charred black hole

spread out from the source into the delicate fan spread.

Each blade a part of his life,

crumbling to charred paper and blowing away on the wind.

 

And so he returned to his original state.

Now able to play a part in the way

he spent his life hoping he might.

 

Wiser now and on a universal stage

rather than a bit part in a sideshow.

But having learned to understand this.

 

 

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A happy soul

 

A happy soul is one

that’s learned to let go.

Like a seed from a dandelion head

in a sunny breeze,

 

that let go

of its anchor point

and turned to face the breeze

and the skimming land below.

 

To arrive where what is.

is sufficient.

 

 

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I believe

 

There were four,

but then it fractured

into four.

 

And I curled and died

with shame and pain.

 

But they’ve risen from

our ashes

and fly proud.

 

What part did I play though

as was my understood purpose?

 

That purpose that faded away

so I could only watch

from sidelines

 

And cast faintly heard praise.

I believe

they’ll live better lives.

 

 

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Hands

 

All we can see of ourselves,

that tells our tale,

is our hands.

 

Smooth and then

suddenly not so.

 

This process of

the compression of one’s life

cannot be seen

by seeing yourself.

 

That would be to try

to describe your face

without a mirror.

 

But you can see

the hands that lie there

looking back at you,

and they tell no lies.

 

Wrinkled a little now,

they represent your life.

Its good and bad

and ultimately tired understanding.

 

 

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If minions could see

 

Ahead lay the divide that ran from top to bottom of their lives,

Defining the move between their doom and their fortune.

 

So millions of people lived their paths,

Not knowing that far above,

White winged Josef and the raven winged woman

Flew towards the light.

 

If only the minions also had that sight.

 

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Rose

 

Blank hard walls

and in a window that doesn’t care what it sees,

I see reflected a me that used to be.

 

There are so many.

 

So many ways

a rose might have opened.

A butterfly might have emerged.

 

In the eye of the beholder

my fate is decided,

and then I fade away.

 

 

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Crows and purpose

 

Walking drunk down the passageway

past the sorry rooms

to gaze through the window

at the grey skies and

the blown crows

rushing by,

 

I have to ask why things worked out

this way.

 

Had I known that I needed to know

such certainty of ambition so soon,

perhaps I could have focused.

 

The crows know a secret

that the wind shares.

To follow one’s true nature,

if you can filter that out from the deafening noise.

 

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Digital love

 

Is it not odd in a world of

Infinite communication,

 

That a female Praying Mantis

Still eats its mate.

 

That it’s possible to die

By digital excess,

Or also lack thereof.

 

 

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Eternal now

 

Through that one small window pane

Looking out onto a black garden

On the darkest of nights,

 

I saw so many children

Running in the sunshine

Made sparkling by hosepipe rain.

 

And dogs and barbeques.

And the oak tree leaning over

To whisper smiling praise

For the children’s snowman.

 

And that battered and sun faded deckchair

That never got put away.

 

And the rose bush that ran wild.

 

And the garden shed that came to sag sadly.

 

And that forgotten glass in the flowerbed

That grew pale green with time.

 

And the memory of you.

Clear as daylight. Sitting there.

 

And that crumbling vision of a life

That drained away into the earth,

As though it had never been.

 

I weep for that now,

Seeing it through my mean window pane.

 

I weep for that in the eternal now.

 

 

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Dating website

 

On a dating website tonight,
I paused and considered what I saw.
Images of people frozen at
Very particular moments in their lives.
And then writing an advert to promote it.

Someone messaged me tonight.
I was shy to link to her too soon.
When I did, she’d destroyed her account.

Admiralty129000 I will never know you.

And this space I’m in
That comprises me and a screen.

People’s faces.
This is how we interface now.

And yet she was there. She was.
She messaged me.

And then she didn’t exist anymore.

 

 

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What

 

You’re fabulous
You achingly dark spangled depth.

How does my mysterious sparking
Of elemental syntheses
Mirror your endless
Spinning rotations?

The qualitative universal components
That make my observations what they are.

So small are my thoughts.
Like splashing drops in an ocean wave
Crashing upon a shore,
Unrelenting in its logic.

 

 

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Stukas

 
 
Standing on the Chain Bridge
Over Budapest’s Danube,
Watching the water flow by.

Gellert Hill stands in the background,
Where the Nazis had their headquarters
In the second world war.

How many Stukas lie buried in river mud?
Bleached skulls gazing up at passing pleasure boats now,
Wondering what it was for.
 
 

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Ancient pram

 
 
In a Budapest pub against a wall,
Stands an ancient pram that sits quietly
Amongst the bawdy crowd,
Remembering walks in the park.

Its cast iron wheels and rusty springs
Support a wicker basket lined with
Broken cotton that once warmed
A baby long dead now.

In its place lie old bottles,
And a single, painted plate.

It looks up at the ghost of the woman
Who still patiently pushes her charge
Down tree lined paths in parks
Long since bombed beyond existence.

She sings to her baby
And it beams back,
Its awkward, human hand painted features
Irregular in a mechanised world.

The plate is still there
Whilst the baby’s long gone,
Having lived a process through
Two world wars.

Now through that plate,
The artist and the child join spirits
And smile happily up at the pretty young woman
Who knew nothing of what was to come.
 
 

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Place and process

 

The cigarette smoke world curls around me,
changing shape and fading away.

The present I see includes the past
as well as imagined futures.

The trees are bare now.
They had leaves and will have again.
The whorls and whirls of the wind
swirl remnants of the past year,
as beady squirrel eyes watch
the world move on.

Earth spins and moves and does its thing.
Fox and Owl make their noises in dark woods,
Jaguar prowls and Bat flits.

In some African savannah,
Kudu is eaten alive by lions.

Nearby, self obsessed termites
build webbed cities.

In the middle of this maelstrom
of whirling world things,
weather and wind and life passing,
I stand bewildered by the pace
and irresistible process
of which I’m a part with no control.

But mostly I’m amazed
by humanity’s contempt.
for everything.

And I play my part,
and wait to see the consequences.
May my sons forgive us.

 

 

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Crying women

 
 
I know I’m not supposed to admit this.
It’s neither dignified nor manly.
Because men only think about one thing.
And they’re not allowed to cry.

Pillars of society,
We joyfully join the scrum.
Pretending indifference to the quiet voice.

We have to scorn the quiet voice.
That’s what it is to be a man.

Quiet voice that in quiet moments
Allows us to wonder at the unfurling clouds
And the emerging beauty of spring.

That oh so gentle curve from neck to shoulder
That might simply be beautiful rather than just sexual.

Even that small voice of a child.
Any intuitive interaction
That might be seen to be too gentle
To be masculine.

Women’s preconceptions preclude these sensitivities.
I know. I’ve seen how the bastards always win.

Taunted by thigh and tit and scorned for responding
Unless we’re fancied or are able to be ruthless enough
To ignore another’s value. Like bastards.

However good you are in bed,
Or how large your heart may actually be,
The bastards always win.
And seem welcomed for this.

Even as they pretend to wail,
I scorn those crying women.
 
 

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A million lives

 
 
I died a million times tonight.
All I had to do was to remember,
And my heart crumbled.
So remind me,
What do I have to do to live?
 
 

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Moonlight sonata

 
 
Moonlight sonata strokes my soul and makes me weep.
It reduces me to my basics.
I’m left vulnerable and open to the world.
And to the unthinking ways of people.

If you want to break me,
Then do so whilst Beethoven’s
Heart breaks also.
It’ll be easier for you.
 
 

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The modern way

 
 
I’m dying. My feet tell me so.
As I pace back and forth
Between hope and despair.
There’s no stairwell to heaven here.

There’s no way to wisdom
Or any such feast.
Just meagre scraps that fall
From processes I don’t understand.

And as for love,
There’s no such thing.
Instead there’s a place in an hierarchy
That deserves regard or doesn’t.

Take your heart and crush it underfoot.
I might have loved you
If you hadn’t looked at me like that.
When I confessed my nature
Didn’t fit the modern way.

 
 

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Why you exist

 
 
If you wonder why you exist,
It’s because life is a fundamental component
Of an inevitably evolving universe.

As fundamental as hydrogen or carbon atoms.
A reflection not of bits but of process.
Of how these and others interact.
And of the evolution of these interactions.

And as this interaction evolves,
It acquires ever evolving conciousness.

If you want to know how to be happy,
Understand this fact.
One life everywhere
Happening simultaneously.

So look skyward and see
That one day we’ll blend.
And at that point
The discreet existences we all know
Will come to an end.

As entropy finally converts all matter
To nothing more than understanding
And everything finally stops.
Because there’ll be nothing more to know.
 
 

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The right path

Calm down and quieten your mind.
Stop thinking so much.
Be a smaller and more delicate thing
That taps tentatively rather than beats.

Let the world vibrate as it is,
And watch more
But observe less.
Draw further back and accept.

If it dies even as you watch,
It was too big for you to save.

And if it thrives and grows,
It would have done so without you.

Just ask that whether what you see
is death or the blossoming of dreams,
You played the right part.

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Silver tarmac

 
 
From my window I see cars
Parked like soldiers ranked
On black tarmac that in
Street light is silver,
Whilst the sky above
Has turned black from white.
 
 

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Blue plastic

 
 
Past the train station.
Its old stones and arching glass having seen
Tanks and wars and revolutions.

I stood amongst shoppers with garish bags
From all the top brands.

Then past me walked a woman in blue plastic
With tears running down her face
As she saw the cold night ahead living on the street.

And I wanted to give her something to help
But I didn’t.

I stopped and turned and watched her walk away
Through the hurried, selfish crowd.

Now it’s I who weep.
For my weakness.
 
 

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Danube moon

 
 
Silvered moon over the gleaming Danube.
Twinkling Budapest lights.

Where are you? Someone.

It would be good to nuzzle your lovely neck
Whilst seeing this.
 
 

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Walkie-poo

I think I’ll go for a walkie-poo.
Actually it’s something I really must do.
And as I do my walkie-poo,
I’ll do a dance, just for you.

In the spangled sunshine.
Under the tree
With spread-eagled fingers.
I’ll kick the golden leaves
And see the flighty clouds spin overhead.

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Be happy

 
 
When I look from my window
At people passing by
I wonder how the thing i am is.

I wonder at the things that made me,
That make me sad.

Life is like watching a river pass
And wishing that the bit that passed a while ago,
That I’m sure had more fish in it,
Would pass again.

It’s a river.

That bit has passed.

Now be happy.
 
 

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Tramp

 
 
If you stopped to ask him why,
As he sat filthy bent there on the street,
A few small coins in a paper cup,
Would he lift up his sag skinned face,
Filthy creased leather and wire wool beard,
Eyes red rimmed and shocking piercing,
And answer you?

Would he tell you his story?
Would he warn you why?
Would he tell of children and lost love?
Of missed chance and chances taken?
Would his eyes water with regret
Or turn deep with hidden meaning?
Or would he ask you the same question?
 
 

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Woodland love

Through air cold as ice they ran,
over pretty leaves of gold and brown,
crushed more dead by each soft footfall.

He caught her, laughing, and swung her round.

She saw his eyes and lent back
against thin hard vertical bark.

He cupped her face tenderly either side
and ran his hands gently up to course
her hair through his fingers.

Taking hold he pulled her head back
to show her beautiful neck
with delicate strain like his arcing cock.

And she looked up and saw the arcing trees
bending away towards the stars.

He bent low and kissed her throat,
and moved up to whisper in her ear
how sublimely beautiful she was. And she was.

As she was kissed, she watched
and saw amongst the wind drifted trees,
the silhouette of a flying bird.

She saw its eyes as black,
watching her as she writhed
in silky analogue motion
that jumped with each digital phase
of the bird’s flight frozen
as in a freeze frame film.

And so she saw his passion granted,
as part of a universal flow.

She saw and gave and came
as the birds saw and knew.

She arced her graceful back
and squirmed across the face
of the man who knew her in his lust.

Flying up there with those knowing birds,
over the moonlit silvered trees
and through the star splintered dark,
she looked down in her ecstasy
and saw two people entwined
in their confusion and their
lust tempered by love.

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Budapest bar

 
 
Well I watched you leave.
Even if no one else did.

Walking slightly too slowly perhaps,
Through the foggy small talk
Of gossip and football.

I don’t like it either.

You nested your hair
Into the exquisite nape
Of your neck

As you wrapped your scarf.

Then you left and ghosted alone
Into the cold dark.

If you’d turned to glance,
I would have smiled.
 
 

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Autumn

 
Amongst the Autumn tawny leaved trees
With the oily, boiling Danube coursing by each side,
I came across the ruins of a Franciscan church.

Placing my hand on a stone embedded in one ancient wall,
My mind’s eye saw what the monk who built it saw.
Autumn tawny leaves with the Danube boiling by.

Things of real value don’t change.
The rest is ephemeral distraction.
 

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Things

 
 
It’s hard to let go of things.

But once you let go of the first one,
And the memories associated with it
Become like those clouded passing visions
We all remember from childhood,
Then losing the next item becomes easier.

And then the next item becomes
Easier again to choose,
As if loss throws value into relief.

And when that next thing goes,
The context that one’s built over years
Starts to dissolve.

A process of distillation takes place
That concentrates your
Value of things
Right down
To a few.

Enough to carry with you.

Then your perspective changes
As you let go.

If you’re lucky a lightness takes hold
And your life thus far seems contrived.

Like a game played by a child.

There aren’t many years left now.
Time to turn and face yourself.

And just as your things reduce and fall away,
The markers you measured yourself by
Fall away as well.

And you’re left with a wide open
And wondrous world
That’s yours for you to wander through
For the first time.

It isn’t too late.
Because it takes just a moment
To realise the extent of your smallness
And the scale of what you’re privileged to know.

 
 

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Waves

 
 
Once I was part of something flat
That lapped upon a shore that resisted.

Then I found myself lifted up
And up and soaring
Over a golden beach and curving trees,
And monkeys.

And then I fell forward too fast
And the beach disintegrated across my face.

And now I simply go with the flow,
Up and down this unredeemable beach.
 
 

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Greek island

 
 
And so I’d like to go
To a place where it’s warm.

I’d lie and fade away under
Some wise-wrinkled olive tree.

Even as round and brown little
Beetles crawled over me.

Dispassionate cicadas
Singing nearby.

The sighs of the ghosts of gods
Mixing with mine.
 
 

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Inside

 
 
I see you wondering
With eyes fixed on a distant view,
Some place in your own mind.

Seeking a space that makes sense.
I do it too.

Sometimes it seems we think too much.
But there’s more to life than the trivial.
To know this is to be truly human.

So it’s good that you wonder why.
I do it too.

And even if it makes you cry,
Feel yourself growing wise.

One day you’ll gain strength from knowing
That you tried
And found a true perspective inside.

It was always there.
Discovering it was the point of your life.
 
 

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Guided flow

 
 
So complex you make
Your life and its words to be.
Guided though it flows.
 
 

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Sweet piano

 
 
Sweet piano sound
Drifts through the air around me
And yet I’m crying.
 
 

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Life’s a bus queue

 
 
Dad was further up the bus queue
From me.

He caught one just now.
I’m still waiting.

Some wait in front of me
And some wait behind.

Number 37 or some such.

Don’t know where it goes
Or why it’s called that.

But we’re all waiting for it.

In a queue.

I didn’t see that he’d caught his bus
Until just now when the phone rang.

But then it is a long queue
And he was right up at the front of it.

I remember when he stood
Kicking the dirt right back here
Where I now stand.
Looking about him
And wondering what and why.
 
 

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Easy

 
 
Then I saw past you
And saw her looking at me
And I betrayed you.

So flimsy are the
Fantasies we cling tight to,
Risking our being.

 
 

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Cumulo

 
 
Spinning up the motorway
I looked to my right,
And there hanging over the endless
Manicured fields

Was a creature of such majesty
As made me see
Myself trying to be
Somewhere I had to be but wouldn’t know
Until I arrived.

That soaring cumulonimbus monster
Hanging there
Spoke to me
In tones that shook me
To the core.

As I drove up the motorway.

I saw us all
At real scale
And knew us
And saw us all
As very small things.

Also saw
Other people
In other cars.

 
 

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I still need to know what I knew

 
 
How do I train myself
To ignore that smooth silken curve
From neck to shoulder?

Those gentle swells
And that swinging curve
That slices through the world?

That sensous soft hair
Falling down her astonishing back?

How do I stop wanting this in her
Now that I’m of an age
That truly appreciates a beautiful woman

But is too old to be allowed
To know her?

 
 

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