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Thursday, September 22, 2005

He is Conflict - a poem

He is conflict,
confusion stings his mouth,
angry words bruise and graze his skin
just as, all those years ago, R’s fists
did on Brighton beach. Seagulls,
a brass band and Punch and Judy.
The ice cream burning as it carved
a slow, smooth path down his arm;
Because you’ve not licked it fast enough,
R said, though your mouth’s
big enough to stop a bus

Not a fist, though.

Blood pink on the vanilla,
the distant summer of buckets and spades
where the days pinched him in
and he couldn’t help
flying those thoughts like a kite
streaming behind him

where they flap still,
slapping the face of anyone
who tries to get close,
slowing him
pulling him
dragging him
back to the time

where the lies are and sharp fingers
dig and scratch, and he no longer
remembers specifics of who is to blame

only the blood from his mouth,
salt against sweet,

the taste of his childhood
punched out,
red against white,
and the sun’s hard light on the sea

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