When I turned off the firewall of my life
A relationship poem snuck in,
Found a caustic corner to infect
Grew like bacteria unnoticed.
It took days of bleach and marigold gloves
To elbow away the mark it left.
I wonder sometimes when I am
Scrubbing the grime off the cooker
If I had not taken the time to remove it,
What that bacteria might have become?
A cure or a curse?
Only one letter separating both.
I lick the stamp of memory
And wait for my taste’s reaction
Curious as Louis Pasteur
Over his heart’s petri dish.
What is it like? People ask,
It is like losing something you never really had.
It is like a face you will never see smile.
It is like a betrayal without a perpetrator
It is like all the helplessness you
Could ever stomach in one sitting
It is like happiness extinguished in a moment.
The Doctors quote statistics
You look in their eyes and wonder
How they can be so dumb
And still be talking.
And you blame them
Yourself, him or her and you try not
To lose sight of each other
Eventually you forget to remember
Which is the cruellest crime
Except on days when you walk past the loch
Where you sank the paperwork
In lieu of a funeral.
I remember blood on a bathroom floor
And what was in the blood.
The Acorn Doesn’t Fall Louder than Words
Nothing is working today
The shops are open 24/6
I’ve been smoking like a fish
Drinking like a chimney.
Skewiff and misaligned
Are appropriate descriptions
For the tilt of my day.
I’ve been quiet as brass
And bold as a mouse,
High as a brush
And daft as a kite.
The geometry of existence
Baffles me for a whole sunrise
While I sleep like a bird
And sing like a log,
Cold as folk
And queer as ice.
I could go on but you get the idea.
Everyone has their dark clouds to bear
And every cross has a silver lining
I will stay as cool as a dodo
And as dead as a cucumber.
The world will cease to capsize
Tomorrow will be new
Normality will resume
Life is a bowl of nails
Hard as cherries
And I won’t judge an egg by its cover
Or put my books in one basket.
Filling in the day
Getting drunk as a grindstone
My nose to the skunk.
Kevin Cadwallender is a writer, editor, poet, artist and filmmaker. He is the Red Squirrel Press Commissioning Editor for Scotland and has published many books of poetry, including Dances with Vowels: New and Selected Poems (Smokestack Books). His BBC Radio 4 programme, Voyages, was shortlisted for a Sony Radio Award, and he just happens to be the current Scottish Slam Champion 2012-13.