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

To sunset.

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

Till then

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.

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