Are You Okay?

When did it stop being okay, to not feel okay?
We are not rock, though we still weather
And just as easily as rope, we can fray
It’s not as if we can be stitched back together
But somehow we are not afforded the same as the inanimate

Storms pass, and some of us even enjoy the rain
But somehow we find ourselves more dampened by pain
Can I blame our culture? Could it be that simple, that much easier?
That I can just accuse the invention of our social media?
Where in which space, we see fit only to sit a version of ourselves – perfected and without flaw
An ‘us’ that does not exist. An ‘us’ I shall not protect, no more

© Thomas Grice, 20/07/2017

To Whom It May Concern

I’d be pleased if you could see me now
To be in one’s element is a rare thing to bring to the table
There are far too ample times of shadow and unstable thoughts
Today is not one of those days

I awoke early, and read for hours – three
And in my bed made nest
I felt the best that I had of recent been
So much so I found myself observing aloud ‘This is nice’

I only really ‘thought’ again when I felt it to be around half past ten
When I told myself I’ll get showered and head out around eleven
When I actually checked the time, I should not have trusted my mind
Because it was already so
And such an in element day as it was I claimed aloud “What a perfect time to set out”
And I swept out of bed.

© Thomas Grice, 20/07/2017

The Path We Tread

Within a dream I woke, a darkened path
My feet follow the road shouldered by wild infest
I confess – I could not see further than a figure
Blocking my way, hooded and cloaked
A trick of the trees I assured – of mist and smoke
Which would put me at ease – if it then had not spoke
Words wrought in thought and founded in flame
A literary furnace – forged in a blaze
The heat of it’s verse impossibly placed
A verbal curse spoken from an invisible face
A case of dark mystery – misconceived as a choice

There is no retreat – proceed to my voice”
“What might I find if I do?”
“Would this be intriguing at all if every traveler knew?”
“So let’s say I stay…”
“Why – then you will never progress”
“I have no desire to be subject to tests”
“Believably so, but you are already in the middle
If you do not like tests, then we shall make this a riddle”

My efforts made no difference – but the figure definitely heard me
They would preach their indifference – yet they still wish to herd me
down some dark path unknown?
I will not be coerced into decision
My mind is my own

Despite defeat and decision, the dream lingered on
The forest grew darker and any dim light had gone
Minutes turned into hours and hours into days
Had my defiance led the figure to trap me in place?

“Trapped is an interesting turn of phrase”
I stared about startled, unsure what what my eyes might find
I hadn’t even spoken – yet the figure knew my mind?
“When the road still leads forward and your path has been laid”
“Interesting that you say my path – I didn’t request it
I won’t bow to your bidding, so grant me my exit”
“You disservice yourself, pity, your promise was rare”
“The only promise I’ll make to you is that I do not care for your words
Or for what I have heard-  Your forest is a figment and for all I care
It can burn”
“You are so human it is sickly, you are toxic and stubborn
only a short sighted snake of a being would ‘choose’ to be trapped in
an oven”

Without flint of forewarning the forest burst into flame
The timber fractures hurt blindly as splinter sparks flew my way
The path began to crumble,
And I fell from the road
Into thickets of fire which gave orange glow
As I crashed into the deep-wood
I thrashed for some space
Until I came to a stop – and there was the face
The blaze lit the figure, the robes fell away
The road shone with the heat of an Icarus fate
Shaking in a ruin that was of my own make

“If it’s any conciliation, the test is over – and so is the dream”
“I’ll be glad to see the back of it – I didn’t care for the theme”
“You do yourself injustice, this could have gone so well
You turned your walk into this forest into a tumble through hell”

As the final heat rose – I caught a glimpse of the figure
Now robe-less and bare, the whole dream finally triggered
“You were me all along, weren’t you? You would not lead me astray”
“Let your choices here be a lesson – we shall not meet again”

© Thomas Grice, 4/07/2017

The Criminal Case

Let us save a day for murderers
Because a cut throats day may still come
When we stray ill toward darker dooms
And need their dark art done
For always will we seek higher roads
And cling to abstract words like ‘good’
But such deep thinking dreamers are we
That we ourselves are deceived
Out of what we could do
Shackled to that which we should

© Thomas Grice, 4/07/2017

The Time Cycle

I believe – that there is a fear that fractures us all, as a generation
And I do not believe that there is a poetical way I can put this
So I’ll put it plainly
I am twenty two years old – and I feel like I am running out of time

That’s not to say I can explain away
The merciless waste of seconds I spend tending my coffee today-
Staring about the place
At no particular person
And in no particular space

Of my little time – I make the most
But as for my presence in the present? I am a ghost
In the moments when I stare into strangers
Never intentionally into their eyes, or words or particular parts
They may feel concern for the attention – but I have gone far
Lost in thoughts and fallen from the unfeeling frames of the first person

I tear apart another horror-piece of the hypocritical paradox, in which
I spend a forever that I don’t have – fearing an end I can’t stop
But instead of using the time I have ticking down while I have it – I drop
Only brought to when the stranger departs
And I feel a senseless sliver of time leaking out of me – my body clock sieving
But for some reason I can’t stop spending these hours on my fears
When I could be using every second of them on living

© Thomas Grice, 02/07/17

‘Big Things’

Let’s talk about – ‘big things’
We can write it down and
Pretend to be profound
But all we’ve got down, all
We’ve found – is that
There’s a hell of a lot of
‘Big things’, going on
Going on on the news – but not all of it’s true
Going on at home and not all of it’s you
Going on abroad and it’s all our their fault
Going on with that guy, and that’s not his fault

It’s ‘big things’, bigger than us
There’s so many people that you just can’t trust
There’s so much you can’t mention – but honest, you must
There’s so much war and terror and it’s not them, it’s us

There’s big things, like these big things – and it’s bigger than me
Climate change, terrorism, Donald Trump and acid seas
It’s bigger than you – it’s tax cuts, health care, extinction and nukes
They’re just, so big, what can we do anyway?

What could I have done anyway?
What could you do, anyway?
What about the police, the teachers – what about the armed forces?
What about public speakers like celebrities – our leaders and the members
Of their golf courses?

But while they are waiting and betting on horses I realise
That you cannot trust ‘big people’, from big places with big bank bonuses
And off shore accounts to solve ‘big things’ because
They’re bigger than that.

© Thomas Grice, 21/06/17

Tales Taller Than Truth

So many tales tell stories of efforts so grand,
That there is no way I can believe they were by human hand
But yet they are told, and that’s not something new
It’s by far ancient-old and before me and you
That impossible odds were beaten – dire dragons deceived
That we find ourselves here in the present with little to achieve

For how can we aspire to the unpleasant and conquer dark cries
When the Black Knight was bested and every warrior-king died
In battle, no less, or in truer tests
The courageous at lance point, the romantic in bed
Murdered by blade or love forbade
Romeo was written and will be read for an age

It is no wonder that we settle for lesser than love,
When such tales run in our history
But not through or blood.

© Thomas Grice, 20/06/17

Guilt; A Poetical Jury

I think I killed a man,
Don’t ask me how I know
I’m not sure myself
But there’s this gap between three and six
I can’t remember
I didn’t think I was the kind of guy who could, you know
Take life,
It’s not as if it’s something I can fix, if I did,
Is there a way to live life the way
You lived after something like that, like this?
There’s these holes in my memory, I can’t piece together
But if it’s my fault that he’s gone –
Then he’s gone forever

I woke up with this guilt,  like an emotional switch
And it wants me to believe that I did
I’m inclined to believe it too,
It’s out of character, maybe, but I guess
It’s something I could do-
Something I’m capable of
I don’t want to believe that a
Murderers twitch is inside me, eating
Me up and driving me
And with some disgusting flick, the
Lights on – my memories gone and
Someone’s died because of me
It’s not me, it isn’t part of me – it
Never will be, not my character – it’s
Not my profession
This isn’t what I wanted, this isn’t,
This isn’t what I wished for,
This is not a confession

I don’t even know why I would
I could think of reasons but that
Doesn’t mean that I should
Maybe under the pressure recently,  I acted out
Maybe it was me, maybe I blacked out,
Maybe, I did something terrible,
Maybe I did something I never
Thought that I could, allegedly
What if I’ve always been able?
What if it’s just in me, like coding
What if throughout all of my years
Growing up, in this world of tragedy,
War, lies and politicians – something
Has been dormant and spent every
Second in me, loading
Waiting for the perfect moment of an
Elaborate set up of events and social
Conditions
Waiting for the perfect set of
Circumstances to begin initiating
So whatever this is could creep
Through my mind and start imitating
Me, everything that makes me me-
Taking it’s dear sweet time, before
Using me – for the perfect crime.

That doesn’t sound right, this
Doesn’t, this sounds like excuses
I am a person – with ambitions – with
Unique talents and uses
But everyone has dark moments,
That’s loose – I’ve got nothing-
But what have I got to lose?
It’s not a defence,
It’s a pretext
It’s a pretense
It’s context
Do you mean to convince me that I
Could make a jury’s attention
Worthwhile as I present them about
As much conviction that I’m innocent
As an evidence file? It’s a farce
Not so fast
It’s hopeless
It’s a trial, go in there and tell them
The truth. That you were the last to
See him, but you can’t remember
That isn’t proof
Tell them when you woke up at six
That you didn’t remember climbing
Onto the roof, tell them about your
Collapse at three, the memory lapse at
The scene and whatever happened
On the roof
But how can that be the truth, I don’t
remember, this isn’t fair – there’s no
way of knowing, I was in shock, I
couldn’t move

It wasn’t your fault.

I didn’t even know who he was
Do I want to, will you even tell me?
It doesn’t sit right with me, that the
Last person to know him- doesn’t.
What he looked like, spoke like-
Who he loved – were they all the
Cost?
I always thought it would be better
To have loved and lost – than to be
forgotten altogether,
I would never have wanted that,
Wished it, least of all to inflict it
Am I to be haunted by a face that
Can’t even be depicted?
You know, I’ve never really believed-
but if there is fate, then I have tricked
It,
The worst thing is there’s nothing, no
One that can attest, or prove I was
There,
But you need someone to blame
Even if I tried to turn myself in, the
Evidence is far too minimal
So I’ll use the time I have between
The roof and the floor to confess
Because you need one- I’ll be that
name. I’ll be your criminal.

© Thomas Grice, 04/06/17

Poetics Presently Past

It’s a poets mission – War, and attrition
Despite what he might this fight is of
His own volition,
His own decision,
The doom come true and into it’s own fruition
Through the actions of fractured factions and foul precision,
Fractions of our fathers, of our mothers – fighting fights that are
Far from sight,
Out of mind,
Have had their day and rest in restless nights
To only spend their hours in nightmarish revision
Of past collisions-
Of Unkind times,
And demolitions of their former forms
Living in dormitories come barracks victim of their own reform
Drawn from war to peace and back to war-
Torn from where once they might have told stories of
Cruel times conquered
And former glories
Owing the former to another because that’s more easy
Than retelling how you stood in line and felt ‘uneasy’
How you wouldn’t mind felling orders that made you feel unworthy
Queasy at the thought that they made you feel ‘less’
So instead you fell in battle brand new with a rusted bayonet
Because days like those were days that you’d rather forget

© Thomas Grice, 01/06/2017