Amber in the Alcohol

A tired mind,
down beneath a crawling dawn with half-moon eyes,
half blinded by the brutish smoke of solitude, living life alone,
unviewed, unnoticed by the postman and untroubled by the news he never skims through.

What instead he turns in his palms in bed
like a planet (brushed in shadow and beautifully blue)
is his own heavyheartedness which he carries like Atlas held the heavens
and studies like a scholar.

Remembering muddies memories, makes them dim
and transforms them with time to something false.
To fathom is to find them phantom
and Tim’s eyes, the colour of water, are to be kept clear.

Outside the skies are smeared a sickly pink,
veined with lightning, like thin skin,
stretched from where the world begins to where it ends
and under all the thunder and lightning is Tim
sat at his desk and studying his sadness.

From time to time he tip toes through his house in soft socked feet on floorboards
to clatter piles of plates and retrieve more tea in china cups,
sometimes haunted by the moon but its gone soon,
replaced in space by the rising sun which slices through the blinds and touches Tim
wallowing in the wetness of his mindseye.

He finds nigh a million melancholy things to linger on
and draws them down, pencil lines them, defines them thin and spindly
or solid, shaded, jaded heartbreaks and aged mistakes that still sting.

He sits at his desk for days and days without a break,
left to go soggy with sadness like unwanted cornflakes.
He tip toes through his house to retrieve more tea,
sometimes haunted by the sea which sings in chains outside
or sometimes haunted by the striding figure in the mirror as he passes.

Never stopping for a closer look,
Tim returns to his desk
and his sketchbook.

Piles of paper fill his room
and slowly grow like the trees that fell to form them.
Cityscapes take shape and bring the walls in.

Even in the brief windows of sleep that Tim allows himself
he concentrates not on counting sheep
but on counting lost loves,
on the flower wilting,
on all the fallen men.

Back curved like a question mark in bed
he’s quilting the melancholy memories that live inside his head
and shrouding himself.
A tired mind,
down beneath a clouding sky
with glass jars lining the shelf…

Tim wants nothing more than to touch a loved one’s skin
and to feel them warm and vital deep within
but he’s been living his life along and alone for so long now
that lonely seems the only way to be, with only the memories for company.

But remembering muddies memories,
makes them dim
and transforms them
with time
to something false.

To fathom is to find them phantom
and Tim wants to keep the pureness in his life alive
not let them turn with time to lies.
To re revise might compromise the sincerity of memory,
the clarity of his nostalgia.

So, when certain of the dimming of the light
and fading of euphoria Tim thought all day, stayed up all night,
creating an emporium of all the good, of all the nice,
of all the powder parma violets and sugar mice,
of all the greyday walks with windwhipped hair,
of all the times now thin as air
and bottled them.

Now you may say that a memory can no more be contained than the polar easterly
but Tim practised preservation. He soaked his best memories in alcohol
and pickled them in vinegar, sweetened them in sugar,
kept them in the freezer, found out what was easier and what worked well,
how to keep the core and store the shell
and now Tim’s happiness sits in jars that line the shelf,
he even labelled them himself.

One says “First Kiss”,
one says “Last Light”,
one says “Christmas”,
one says “That Night”.

To keep his sparkling past preserved means leaving them all undisturbed,
they float like boats in bottles, bobbing in formaldehyde
and watch Tim as he strides his lonely way for cups of tea,
haunted by whatever time of sky it is.
If its the sun, how high it is defines the light that shines through lucent glass and casts the recollection’s shadows on the wall,
all amber in the alcohol.