#Escapril: A Poem Every Day in April

A poem every day in April (2019 – 2020)

2019

Day #1: A Fresh Start

Myth of a vacation,
holiday home by the sea,
a detox tea,

illusion of a face mask,
hot bath,
sacred steam, hold me.

Promise of letting go,
fresh start –
the past falls apart.

Like an orange,
peel me into one piece.

Be warned – I will grow back
with thicker skin.


Day #2: April Showers

Anyone for tea?
Hail outside.

Long phone calls,
“Grand stretch in the evening”.

Rusted bike,
Matted fur.

Smile of the sea –
Spotted with dimples of Spring.


Day #3: Incorporate Music

Chateau lobby
Setting for film school;

Feather stone
Filmed on a

Piano fire

Back at 505
Welcome home

Grassy headlands
Meadowlarks


Day #4: Anxiety

eating not eating
thoughts on loop
loops swoop
through me like
a palpable
palpitation. or
a nauseous
nightmare – night
arrives and
doesn’t go
leave
please
leave


Day #5: Back To Nature

Eagle ferns,
Under the M6,
Over to Nether Kellet,
Toward Caton Green.

Dulse seaweed,
Corner of the Claddagh,
Bay of sunlight,
Basking bottlenose.

Cherry blossom,
Canal path to Aldcliffe,
Slippery turn off,
Autumn leaves.

Petrichor and turf,
Soft evening curls,
Away toward,
The blackbird.


Day #6: Nostalgia

Home: paper dreams,
Feathered kites,

Grassy moments,
Lilac bruises,

Silver strand,
Sparkling arm bands,
Floating – across Galway bay.


Day #7: Start With a Time of Day

Part I
06:20am
Dear friends have talked of
Sleepy lie-ins, snoozed
Alarms. Groggy eyes and
“Where am I?”
One ear
Half-alert to the bullfinch

Part II
06:20am
Dear soul, I told you
We could rest now
I begged you to fall
Backward, into the Land of Dreams

Bare stomach, I felt
You growl. “You’re getting
Weak”, I heard
You speak.

Brain, I felt you race
To the start, before
Dawn broke. Inner chatter,
“Your life doesn’t matter”

Part III
06:20am
Slept for nine hours,
Woke without fear
Resurfacing when Surface
Was once impassable

Ephemeral drifting
In between so beautiful
But numbing


Day #8: A Love Poem

I wrote to you too many
Lifetimes ago. When
Rhododendrons blossomed
And moons had meaning

Or at least, I meant to
Write it. Twenty sixteen, I
Felt too strongly. No trust –
Notebooks covered in dust

Muddy Lancashire trials
Filled with failure,
Of playlists never made

I’d send you postcards
Always guarded, in some way
A brave truth tapping on
Your shoulder. So elegantly
Tessellating with mine as we lay

Traversing multiplicities
We carved. Together but so
Often distinct – not apart
Not separate, but visits
So succinct,

on the brink


Day #9: Focus On The Colour

Golden brown mountain turf
Against the foreground of a cream goat
West-end houses primary blots
Blinding the grey sky with light
Red sky at night
Galway spectrum of dearg


Day #10: Femininity

The guilty feminist
Endless vacation
Oceans of pink

Angry short hair
Angular exasperation

Becoming the self


Day #11: Not From Your Perspective

Chewing hay ,
Slowly, carefully but contentedly.
Rolling mountains,
Twitching ears –
Another fly, another day.
Throw a bale in,
Velvet nose.
You call it simple,
My focus,
Connection to the ground.
Hooves sink slowly into the soft sand.
Away, I gallop.


Day #12: Spring Cleaning

Freewheeling, descending Rahoon Road.
Light breeze, sure it’s a soft day.
The whisper of wind, rinsing out
Rusted, greased-over spokes of thought.

Easter break.
That time we rolled down
Spring Lane toward a village
Of daffodils – punching in a dream
So loud about what we contested
So silent about who we were
Who we wanted to be – she he we

Revision.
The small of the woods
As we navigated Bailrigg.
Listening to the Strokes and James Blake.
Branches cross-hatched across a seemingly simple walk-way

Hospital .
Flowers bloom, skies open.
Confined, to a bed for many weeks.
But growing at the same time.

First date in June.
Rained down the scent of Northern leaves.
Transform, transcend, it’s Spring.
I’m on the mend. But wounds are
Blossoming
From Aprils past.


Day #13: Celestial Bodies

A demi-moon
Shades of grey crossing my
Sleepy vision
Woman in twilight
Squinting
Dissertation is done
Lunar glow
An aura of mystique


Day #14: Make It Rhyme

return to childhood
doing what we could
to make things perfect
create things we’d then forget

not sure where writing began
where it ended, will end, when it can
granules of sand falling
through distant names, calling

absent friends who
ask to make amends


Day #15: Describe A Smell

algae – brown green sludge-
waft up toward my
senses. wash over me like
the wave that brought
you here to the shore
that licks at the hooves
of my new forest

overwhelmed by a salty
address, a welcome to
the coast line
the sea says
“now you’re mine”

curbed by the soft
meadowsweet
commonage half-bog land
fields of heather


Day #16: Any Dreams?

Greek Island
Hot sunshine
We argued about who would
Take the chairs
Up the mountain
So we could sit
Forgetting there would be stones
Forfeiting the heat
To dive in
Cool blue


Day #17: Body As a Friend

Inisboffin
Toward Fawnmore
There is the cat that
Came on the boat
In its carrier
Being unloaded
At its new Bofin home
The garden is the island

The skylarks are defeaning
They almost mute the sound
of the waves
Striking the cliffs!
Below me

The west quarter is desolate
I have this feeling
With me for the
First time that
I am an artist

I am thinking of Plath
I am thinking of yesterday’s
Coffees and cocktails

Thank you feet for carrying me here


Day #18: A Happy Place

Boat journey,
Cromwell’s fort,
Rocks smash,
Upward between waves.
Nauseous children,
But a smiling woman,
Amid a cloudy sea-scape,
In beret and red scarf.


Day #19: Without Your Name, Who Are You?

mango pudding
pear tree

flight of this bird
spring fuelled

searcher of colour
traveler but settler

waiting for a long time
for not too much

occupying spaces
of pause


Day #20: A Liminal Space

Varda did not create them,
Minorities did not opt for them.
I did not take the road,
Upon which emptiness resides.
We find them in corners,
Back tables of café bars.
Transitory shadows of
Fugacious flowers, blooming too
Early in April. Born in media res,
Subsisting with the icy sunrise,
Ceasing with the abrupt dusk.
A vicissitude is on the horizon!
Women seal up the cracks in between,
Soldering our wounded Earth.


Day #21: It’s The End of the World

let’s escape to an inis
of utopia, crescent-shaped,
punctuated by a vacuum
of swirling water.
let’s abscond from an iris
of hazel swirling infinitude


Day #22: Nourishment

The Herbalist told me,
On the phone,
“Do whatever feeds your soul!

Don’t let them order you,
To lie down, be passive, rest your bones.
You’ll just feel alone”.

The Rheumatologist warned me,
In Merlin Park,
“Maybe you shouldn’t embark,
In academic endeavour”. It seems to spark,
Autoimmunity; immunodeficiency; hormones,
Certain medical… unknowns.

A palindrome of
Nurses’ Stats at Noon.
Don’t nod! Whatever you do.


Day #23: When The Party’s Over

cycling through deathly
quiet streets at 5am
hoping that the moon
doesn’t catch me as
my hi-viz sparkles
in the dawn
_______________________

blackbird warbling loudly
streetlamp flickering
mudguard scraping
across the front tyre
as we race toward
sleep
_______________________


Day #24: Liar Liar

The guitar lies:
Nylon strings,
Squeaking out,
Frets missed,
And barre chords muted.
The acoustic resonance,
Of tinny vibrations,
Tricking you,
Into believing,
In the hope of a cadence.


Day #25: Pick An Animal

Solitude and solipsism
They lie in the
Sunlit bay window
Purring profusely
Gazing lazily toward
Blackbirds who
Taunt on the horizon


Day #26: girlhood, boyhood

Favourite author:
M C Beaton
Favourite singers:
Joni Mitchell,
Orla Gartland
Favourite film:
Madeleine
A “girlhood”
Of power.


Day #27: The State Of It All

Planet in tatters,
Barbed wire lining the edge of
The beach, where the sand
Crumbles underneath the grass.

Zero hours – zero value.

Searching for Hope, ambition,
Solidarity in balance,
These brief moments of
Calm, relish the respite.


Day #28: Reflection

I see myself
In the Gurteen bay
Shallow cove,
Reflected back is
A wobbly silver-blue,
Grey clouds shrouding
A clear silhouette.
Ocean washing in,
To tell me (in hushed tones)
Who I am.

Who were we,
Swimming for miles?
The little terns,
Screeching cheerily above.
The cusp of a Summer,
Tide turns.


Day #29: May Flowers

fionn regan first day of may
bluebells blooming on the
odd day that escapes the
fog of winter past

fleet foxes 3rd may
borage and bog-rosemary,
crowning cotton spluttered tufts
sprouting from trodden-down turf

house martin swoops
silently through the
humid air – who is
hanging upon whose wing?


Day #30: Catharsis

Peeling off layers,
Of unwritten words,
Like cutting the green pip,
Out of a tomato.

A small, precise art,
Of emotional crafting,
Weaving a flow,
Of notebook pages.

Ruffled in a pile,
Under my desk,
The wrappers of
Emotional edict:

This is how I felt,
That is what I did.
On we struggle,
Wrangling the gloaming.

 


2020

Day #1: Dawn

Chaffinch: blue hue,

humungous beak

overbearing

his downy tummy.

 

Sing me to sleep again

at 8.03 am,

light popping

through the shutters

with his sounds

on a purple morning

beam.

 

We all return

to the spooling

rays of aimlessness

when the dawn brings

no answers.

 


Day #2: Growth / Decay

rhizomes –

you never tried to reach

for more than you knew

you deserved

 

never transcended

glass ceilings

that cocooned you,

comforting

 

bamboo, ginger, turmeric – suddenly

erupt through the underworld,

quietly dethrone spuds

 

jubilant axillary buds

hold hands like the

women who planted them.

 


Day #3: Is anyone listening?

 

One month ago,

I flew to Berlin.

In a filled-out auditorium, watched

Irmã – Friends in the End of the World.

A pink meteor destroying everything

The sisters had known.

Screaming resilience,

Cast members exuding harmony.

Audience’s tears shining in an aspiration

of solidarity.

 

Return flight, I sang

the animals were gone

When I landed, they were.

An echoing washed-out street.

Glistening cobblestones listening to their silence.

The meteor struck a different tone,

Everything ended not in the way we had planned.

We had to project our cry

Across closed shutters.

But clamour on we did.


Day #4: Earthly pleasures

 

meadowsweet gently offers

exploding balls of sweet honeydew

(always the New Forest pony’s favourite snack

on the bridle path)

in an over-saturated over-exposed

spring-time chiaroscuro

 

white flowers amongst greenery

line the grand canal,

bending as spaniels sniff their roots

greedily

 

the towpath has come alive

with bees reclaiming their zoo

of abundant dystopia

fragrance of hope but

no nectar produced

 

rejoice, hairless perennial of damp waysides

19th century aspirin

heal our pain

 

accompany your rosaceae family

in rising from the undergrowth

we overlooked for so long


 

Day #5: The View From Up Here

ben lettery

wet hillsides

binn leitrí

peak of the dark stream

everything a subdued

green brown grey

the kind you can’t paint

without some auld fella

down the pub calling you

the next paul henry

graphitic bedrock

joining neighbouring

sloping ben glenisky

with friendly envy

uisce flowing over

pale quartzite

short-sighted

steps

onward


Day #6: Obsession

A parabolic spiral of the mind

 

Counting, ticking,

Check box, to-do

List

 

Measure for measure

Judge perceive judge again

Lost

 

Indulge

Lavish

Overflow

 

Bike spokes

Spiking out at

All angles

 

Orderly flow

Diluted, filtered

Disrupted

 

A gait altered by

Stony ground underneath

Losing momentum

 

c h a o s!

On the ground

Stony concrete

Gravel in wound on knee


Day #7: Chemical Reaction

Ideas on carbon paper

Standing alone with their hydrogen bonds

Fire, flame, spread, contain

Toxicity in a vapour

Of viral spread

 

Oxygenise your bonds

Bobbing along

Connecting

Breaking apart

A friendship responds

 

Extinguishes the fumes

Brings clarity to ions

Of stories –

A creation blooms


Day #8: Hometown

Beauty is an experience, nothing else.

It is not a fixed pattern or an arrangement of features.

It is something felt, a glow or a communicated sense of fineness.

 

Love letter to the unreachable:

I imagine that in lockdown,

Your smog is lighter,

Spring cherry blossom crisper,

Your knife crime sparser.

 

Scrappy dogs well-groomed,

Paws floating across barren pavements

In delight.

 

I suppose that

Your patios are full –

Of cheese and crackers,

And mild family rows.

 

Are deer at Wollaton Park

Poised in the silence,

Waiting for a siren to blur?

 

Victoria Centre void of browsers,

Nottingham Forest supporters

No longer taking their pilgrimage.

 

Raleigh Bikes locked in the

Lace market, near the Contemporary.

Unmoving, rusting slowly.

 

Urban sprawl turned midlands refuge,

Solidarity in brutalist fineness.


Day #9: Natural Light

puffy amber purples

rolling over toward

the island

 

as we sit –

held above royal blue

in our thrones of white sand

waiting for the rain to come

 

little ringed plovers scuttling

along the strand

small flashes of beiges

and creams

 

a shimmer hits the perpendicular

angle of a wing

a beak clipping the sand eels

from their temporary

granular homes

 

with the rain comes the

surplus of seaweed scent –

connemara dillisk,

carrageen moss –

cuts across the salty surface

 

happily, grey again


Day #10:

It’s a great leveller

Wrote the old white man,

Sat in a leather armchair,

Behind his rose-tinted,

Cologne-scented spectacles,

Women of colour dying at his doorstep,

Coughs infecting the test-less,

Tests infecting the welfare system,

Systems infecting already scrambled

Minds of the helpless.

Hope – a middle-class myth

Full of toxic positivity

Tales of productivity

A notion too far removed

From the Earthly existence

Of us.


Day #11: Heaven / hell

Heaven is a place on Earth with you

Once it was

A spot below

Kirkby Lonsdale village

Springtime

Cold with red hat

Warm hands holding

Hope of a hazy horizon

Now it is a sea

Between us

Connecting, magnetising

Compassion and cosiness

Gestures mirroring

One another

mo chompánach


Day #12: Submerged in Water

we began rooted on the beach

present, bright, real, right

 

dissociation: the fact of being

separate or not connected

 

we submerged ourselves in a dreamlike

journey from ground to ground

 

dizzying, every motion

whirled in contradiction

 

although the tide imitated a rhythm

randomness generated randomness

 

concealed in the bay

further wildness beckoned beyond

 

we waded on, hoof by hoof

not because we could

 

but because the island called to us

strawbeach isle, directly ahead of aillebrack

 

oystercatchers squawking

at gobies who hid in rockpools behind us

 

don’t lose yourselves

in the wave

break


Day #13: The City

Citylink 660

 

To move from namelessness

To a lyrical labelling

Is to move from West to East,

 

A city allergic to street names

To a creature defined by them

From the West coast “opposite Spanish Arch”

To the junction of Capel Street, Mary Street.

 

Next to Bierhaus –

Around the corner you know?

To Cow’s Lane, off Lord Edward St.

 

Whose cow?

Why do the Dolphins need a Barn?

Bus arrives at Ashton Quay.

I give myself a name.


Day #14: Pink, Like Your Brain

Pink, like your brain,

White wires crossing red,

They told us to rewire, retrain –

But where does each electrode connect?

 

Circuit board of fleshy substance,

A crosshatch of flying sparks,

An elegant but elusive dance,

Ineluctable dark.


Day #15: Euphoria

sandwiches up a mountainside

soda bread and strong wafts of heather

boggy shoes and soggy socks

springs that seem to leak from quartzite

steps that soaked into spongey sphagnum

humidity washed away with atlantic breeze


Day #16: Bearing Fruit

Thank you, Plum tree,

At the root of the garden,

One arm waving free,

The rest in uniform growth,

Overshadowed by your pear

Sister, who frames the idyll,

Steady trunk running parallel

To yours, in the shadows

Hedgehog burrowed

In your bedrock

Snoozing the afternoon away

First fruit to be domesticated

By humans

Last one to be noticed

Plume of purples emanating


Day #17: Grief

Truffaut

Sounds that used to fill

Roomy corners with

Scuttling and scuffling

Gnawing and questioning

Bites of curiosity

Full of vivacious

Paws and red eyes

Suddenly still

Lying underneath the wheel

You let it spin without you


Day #18: How did the sky look?

I paint with a knife

Aggressively, urgently

Deep reds and purples,

Intoxicating acrylic fumes,

Firing through the page.

 

How did the sky look?
Memory becomes irrelevant –

A draw to warmth usurps

Realist ambitions.


Day #19: Tough to be a bug

tightly wound woodlouse

drawn to the damp

shielded by a shell of grey

crispy skin

rolling at the slightest sound

turning in on yourself

an intricate routine of yoga

poses and tai chi

isolated isopods

found in the sand dunes

in the carpet bobbles

and in the bricks


 

Day #20: Moon

Moon is the symbol I associate with my old friend.

Your colours grey-blue,

Your surface appearing so far away –

 

Grey hoodies from sleep-deprived writing.

Thriving twilight, quiet anger.

Feminine energy,

Cycles of thoughts,

of ways of being.

 

Moon is the image I see in your eyes,

When ambition glows through.

Irises glowing with luminescent hysteria

That comes with writing magical realism.

 

Putting dreams into words,

Laying words back to bed.


 

Day 21 – Hands, Wrist, Teeth

Impacting wisdom tooth,

All dentists closed,

Grinding to sleep,

to a halt.

It’s yours until you release it.

 


Day 22 – Into the Woods

Entrance, Blidworth Bottoms,

Periphery of Sherwood Forest.

Take your time, part the ferns.

Breath – one two – breath – sharp fog.

Silver birch, rowan, hawthorn.

Major Oak, growing against sandstone.

Move with the breeze,

Elastic leaves.


Day 23 – Focus on the Texture

 

textures of a working desk

made to look like wood

– but not

leaves like plastic

ceramic mug

fake-leather-bound notebook

encasing ideas not dissimilar

to connective tissue

jumper is a creamy hue

soft wool, woven around

guitar-player fingers


Day 24 – Black Hole

 

Writing is the black hole of forgetfulness.

A darkened desk.

Moments of pause,

Misty confusion,

Mysteries of lost words.

Then, a thought!

The scissors in Dial M for Murder.

A conclusion to endless internal ringing.

A synonym.


Day 25 – Extinction

empty bowls,

dormant cutlery of personality and idiosyncrasy,

jugs holding sunlight on the draining board,

live for the warmth on the back of my neck,

yearn for the thorns,

who brush against calves,

are insects lurking?

need the facade of purpose,

to rest in moments without.


Day 26- Serpentine

“There’s no school to go back to; no detail of my life will change come the onset of September; yet still, I feel the old trepidation.” – Sara Baume, A Line Made by Walking

 

Figures of eight,

Three-loop serpentine.

 

Lines on the beach,

Drawn with dry hooves,

 

Filed squarely,

Into chunks of motion.

 

Pattern against expanse –

 

Spiralling into churned-up mess,

Before the tide washes slate clean again.

 

Anticipating the end of a season,

Final moments of an August squeeze in.


Day 27 – Fight or Flight

 

shoulders scrunch

the flinch of a muscle

normal people

nip and tuck

creaking open of a front gate

accidentally sleeping in

the shape of a poem

the crevice of hope


Day 28 – As A Weapon

 

I use my heart as a weapon

and it hurts like heaven

– sending out signs

on the string of an electric guitar

fret by fret, notating the story

of how we met


Day 29 – Monochrome

 

Rolls of film are loading in,

Clicking into place,

Stretching across, just a little.

 

Rewind, focus.

Shutter speed is slowing,

And light is swooping in.

 

Drink up the sunlight in your lens,

Osmose the springtime through your pen.


Day 30 – Dusk

 

Crepuscular creatures roaming the South Circular Road,

The yowl of a Dublin fox, scrawny, more brown than orange.

Warmth through the glass pane as the grand stretch fades,

Shutters closing, bathroom shades.

 

The turn of life as we have come to know it.

Carried away with the light are faces,

Places I miss. Spaces we inhabit,

Too much, we can’t separate from them.

 

Blackbird, humidity, hydrangeas, fluidity.

Tenebrous visions.

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