Never turning back

The man heard happy sounds, laughing.
Voices of a time and place he once knew,
A life he lived and loved, and a home
That he could never go back to
Except in his dreams.

Two boys played in the river,
Holding hands and jumping.
The man watched them for a while.
As familiar to them as the grass itself,
They didn’t seem to notice him.

The wind was warm that day,
Yellow and green striped
As it filtered through
The skinny bushes
And the summer grass.

It flowed over the man, the playing boys
And the timeless river.
Always moving on,
Touching places and people
And never turning back.

The Child Inside

He called me
This morning,
Come out to play.
I’m lonely
And need a friend.

He called me
This morning.
The child within
Is lonely,
She wants to play.

He called me
This morning.
I let me go,
Allowed myself
To play outside.

He called me
This morning.
The child within,
Not lonely,
Has found a friend.

For the friend I have yet to meet.

Love’s Burden

I lift weights.
To look good,
To feel well.

I lift weights.
To be strong,
To carry on.

I lift weights.
To put down,
To feel light.

I lift weights.
Am I strong?
Am I light?

I lift weights.
With empty hands,
With empty heart.

I lift weights.
Each year’s day,
Each day’s hour.

I lift weights.
Of my losses,
Of my dreams.

The Day Before You Came

I must have made coffee
At half past eight that day,
Then read the news by nine o’clock,
The weather forecast too.
It surely rained as always,
The day before you came.

I must have breakfasted at ten o’clock
Washed flakes with cold, white milk.
At eleven pushed myself,
With exercise, weights or something else.
Played music, cleaned the house,
The day before you came.

At twelve or so, I just don’t know,
Perhaps I watched the rain.
After that I must have checked
The faces on a dating page.
Of course they never changed,
The day before you came.

I must have lunched at one o’clock
And lunch for one it was.
At two I cleared my paperwork,
I hate to fall behind.
All done and in its place,
The day before you came.

I must have started writing
At three o’clock or so.
This poem, maybe more,
I wrote of love of course.
I’d forgotten how it feels,
The day before you came.

At five o’clock or soon beyond,
I’m certain that my work was done.
I must have made my evening meal,
Nothing special, much the same.
Then watched TV an hour or two,
The day before you came.

I must have gone to bed at ten,
I never stay up late.
The only voice a spoken book,
Another chapter of the same.
And yes, I’m sure I felt a sense
Of living without aim.

The day before you came.


Inspired by The Day Before You Came © 1982 ABBA

You Don’t Get Lonely, Do You?

“You don’t get lonely, do you?” she asserts. I am dumbstruck, fumbling to put together a credible reply. She’s a close friend, we’ve known each other for years. Perhaps that’s the problem. I believed we knew each other well but she is simply wrong, so wrong. If she really believes what she is saying then she does not “know” me at all.

Of course I get lonely sometimes, we all do. So lonely it burns. That she can’t perceive this astonishes me, but then I ask myself why. Is it something in her, perhaps a lack of insight or empathy? Or is it me? Maybe I hide things well, even if I am not consciously aware of doing it. It makes some kind of sense to keep one’s innermost fears and secrets hidden behind a facade. We all have things that we feel shame about and we don’t like to be judged upon them.

There’s something else I must tell you about. Jealousy. There is something in her tone of voice that gives it away, a bitterness, a hint of resentment that colours her words. It’s as if she is saying “You don’t get lonely, do you? I do. It’s not fair.”

There’s no time to go off on an “it’s not fair” tangent. She’s still waiting for my reply. “I do get lonely sometimes,” I admit, “but I like to spend some time alone too.” It is the best that I can do. A pathetic little admission, followed up with an even more pitiful attempt to rationalise it.

Does she know me? Do I know me? I used to think so… now I’m not so sure.

Image © 2018 Shona Silverman.

I Look For You

I look for you, where are you now?
I seek your face, repeat your name.
Intelligent, a man with flair,
With skilful touch but selfish game.

A handsome face that let me down.
I can’t hate you, my fault I’m lonely
A complex man, so special, rare.
You’re still my favourite “if only”.

Affection Rejection

Affection rejection.
How I wish I could read his mind.
Why does he love me for a week
Then turn away, rejecting affection?

Daring caring.
I hug him and I pull him close,
Caress his shoulders, kiss his cheek.
To win him back I dare to care.

Passion ration.
If I could understand his ways,
Regain his trust, find what I seek.
Enough now of rationing passion.

Wear despair.
I lay myself out in front of him
He looks away, rejection bleak.
Dressed again, I am wearing despair.

Mourn forlorn.
I reason it’s his changing moods
But it’s my fault, I am too weak.
Forlorn of hope, I mourn.

Valium And Vodka

She’s crying at midnight.
Sick with loss,
Crying for sleep.

Crying for sleep,
The only way out
Is valium and vodka.

The day is no longer young.
Sick with tears she awakes,
Nothing has changed.

Nothing has changed
And all that’s left
Is valium and vodka.

Retail Therapy

I’m feeling down,
What should I do?
I’ll buy something
In pink or blue.

I’ve got more shoes
Than I can wear,
And lingerie
Bought for a dare.

Something for me
When I’m alone…
I know, I’ll get
A nice pink phone!

Don’t Give Up

How many times must you fail before you give up?

Of course that’s a silly question without any context. Give up what, exactly? It makes all the difference. If you were searching for a missing ball-point pen, or maybe trying to catch a spider in your living-room, then it might be quite reasonable to give up after a couple of attempts. A lost pen or a harmless spider doesn’t matter very much, does it? When you take a broad view, these things are quite trivial and soon forgotten.

Some things in life really do matter. A lot. Consider all the romantic connections you’ve had in your life. Now we’re are talking about something that is important to most people and I think I’d be safe enough in guessing that you feel the same. Think back. You had teenage flings of course. This was just the starting point, training at the Love Boot Camp and intensively developing your skills. The love you felt in your twenties was something different. Profoundly deep, compelling, overwhelming. So powerful that you married him.

Nearly half of marriages end within 15 years. Ok, so there’s more than one way to measure divorce rates but I don’t wish to get bogged down in such debates. Let’s just agree that divorce is a thing and it happens a lot. For better or for worse, never mind for richer or for poorer, marriage simply isn’t what it used to be.

lonely man ocean-2787669_1920 smlSo what comes after your divorce? Is it time to give up now? That’s the easy option but it’s far from satisfying. Envisage the lonely years that would stretch ahead of you. Instead of throwing in the towel, it’s time to start dating again. Argh, it’s so much more difficult now! Where have all the good men gone?

Despite the challenges, you do go on a few dates. Romances develop, they blossom for a little while but soon wilt. Back to square one, again and again. Failure upon failure. The months go by, hope is displaced by despair. Now you really do feel like giving up.

friends people-2561065_1920 smlA friend called me last night and I told her everything. I told her about the lost love, the hope and the despair. I told her that I just didn’t have the energy to keep on trying. I was fed up, jaded. Enough was enough. “Don’t give up,” she said softly. Good advice from a wise friend.

Unlike a cheap ball-point pen, you can’t nip out and buy another lover. And without that lover, you’ll just have to have another go at catching the spider yourself. No-one said it would be easy. Just don’t give up.

Loneliness

The hours come first.
Pretending I will heal
Today or tomorrow.
Wounding loneliness.

Days add up.
Seven make a week.
A week alone.
Bitter loneliness.

Weeks pile upon weeks.
Four weeks more
Is another month.
Crushing loneliness.

Months are fragments.
The jigsaw of time
That forms my years.
Burning loneliness.

 

Please don’t let loneliness win. Go out, meet people, make friends.
Yes, it’s hard. Sure, you have no energy and I know it didn’t work out last time you tried.
It’s still not too late. Do it now. This time it will be different.

Above all, be kind to yourself.

Shona x

She Sits Alone

She sits alone all day
And looks out of the window.

A window dusted with snow,
quietly waiting for spring.

Spring warms the garden,
yellow daffodils blink in surprise.

Surprised by the heat of summer,
she opens the window and cries.

She cries and her tears fall
with the autumn leaves.

She sits alone all day
And looks out of the window.

Copyright © Shona Silverman 2018

 

 

 

 

 

Green and Blue

A dream, green and blue,
of waves kissing the shore.
Warm breeze-tousled hair,
fingertips touching my face.

I loved him and he loved me,
his jade eyes searching, knowing.
I was happy for a little while
in my dream of green and blue.

 

 

 

I’ve Been There

I have friends, lots of them. I’m lucky and I know it. Some of my friends are male and some are female. Many are straight, others are LGBTX. A few are wealthy, others eke out a living. It really doesn’t matter because regardless of gender, sexuality, wealth or anything else no-one is immune to the cold, heavy hand of depression.

Depression is real, too real. It can be cruel, selfish and destructive. Depression is the heartless thief that steals your hope, your energy, your love. Depression sneaks in through the back door, it creeps up on you and lays that clammy hand on your shoulder. Pressing down, it chills and stifles. Now nothing makes you feel good. There’s no joy. Life has no colour, no taste.

There is fear. Fear of mental illness, fear of the future, fear of the self. And there’s loss, so much loss. Family, success, love, hope: in the fog of depression all these fade to nothing. You need help and companionship, you need a friend but not just anyone will do. You want to reach out but what will you find? Some friends will say “Oh, you’re depressed? Snap out of it!” What use is that? None at all.

You’re in a dark place, a terrible unfeeling world. In this place there is you, miserable and alone. Everyone else is happy and carefree. Don’t be fooled, depression is incredibly common. Those carefree, smiling friends may not be as happy as you believe. Don’t be afraid, connect with someone now. Her eyes will be knowing, she’ll nod sagely. “It’s ok,” she’ll say, “I’ve been there.”