Holding

There are ripe callouses
on one of my palms –
a furrow of skin
in my walking stick hand

My limbs are nettled –
a tease of scratches
which paint my shins
with blood-dried patches

The constant cut pain
scythes my stilly squalls –
‘Just a walk to Waitrose’
is a distance too cruel

I lie fixed by the duvet
that weighty cover
Here reduced by time –
my sadistic lover.

Incrementals

It has been a month
of slightness and shifts
which can be described as
‘incremental deterioration’
in my overall condition

pain and rigidity are my bedfellows
and lovers
those bitches who snap
and squeeze at me in measure

it takes a toll on others
I know

my masked face shares
such small messages

Drift

The weight of the fall
is always abated
by the light landings –
noiseless it piles

if your eyes were shut
you would not know –
apart from flake kisses –
that the storm had come

How my pain drifts
in this invisible blizzard
which I carry inside

The beauty of your world
is briefly fixed under the
fall of snow

Wish

I would not wish
this hushed visitor
on any other
sleeping person,

my dark creature
which tightens the night
into these reeling
muscle spasms,

which medicine
and kindly doctors
chase through my racked body
with known drugs,

not knowing which one
will do their job:
none can help me
to sleep, no more, easy.

The Sleep

I am naked on our bed,
upright, pre-slept,
at the gracious request
of my funked body:

It asks, politely,
at first with a flicker
across my eyelids,
felt as light tremors,

then it rudely produces
enormous weights,
conjurer’s tricks,
strapped to my arms,

followed by an elephant –
it places that, too easily,
across my bared chest:
Now I am breathless,

on awkward pillows,
on those between knees;
I claim this space
for my night’s reprise.

For My Physician

You, with gilt-framed diplomas,
please sit for my dull certificate:
I am to lecture you about pain,
since your grasp is so inadequate.

It is the norm, we are born to screams,
the cuts and tears in every childbirth,
in which all mothers are victims:
Dear physician, you are too averse.

Here I sit in your consulting room,
where you ‘tut’ at me about booze,
as I twist under angered muscles,
my nerve-ends twitch, hurt, adduced.

All the time within my skin,
are such thrusts throughout my frame,
spiked and sliced, in feet and hands –
my digits gloved in pangs again.

When taking notes in my lecture
feel the smooth scribe, no hard design,
unsuited for people like me,
struggling to pen ‘anodyne’.

The Weight of the Fall

It has struck hard,
that hour I long ignored,
until now, this week,
when my body clock
turned back

my lower strength put to,
by discomfort’s drag,
through my frame,
here, inside, unseen,
where bones meet flesh:

With no defence,
no pill
no armour,
no burgonet.

No more ‘normal’,
no more being immortal.
Only with a long sleep,
my free-to-rest whore,

under her peace
I temporarily transform.

I can still press-up,
but the inner weight is
greater
than that of my youngest,
sat today on my back,

and like his presence,
riding for a loud laugh,
my invisible weight
laughs last.