Paperwork – May 2015

Catherine Heath

May 2015

Don't drink stagnant water,

For I feel your views are better

Than the sweet one

confessing dreadful secrets

(Thief of time and hats),

But we run deeper than that. 

You can be my muse,

Make me forget that,

For a while, 

It was perfect--

But the defects,

They cracked. 

And the fact is that

Rainbows run riot

In the recess of your mind. 

The kind of thing 

We're looking for is read

(The dead leaves flutter

And mutter dreadful curses,

But the verses that comfort you

Are Mama's old tales. 

The darkness beckons us,

While tattoos cover scars,

And paperwork

Ruins romance:

The marriage bell tolls. 

Violently fluctuating emotions

Get the best of us,

While panic gains the upper hand,

Wrestling with morality

(And love?).

She said it with a look--

An open book--

If one would care to read.

It’s too late now to see.

The envious screams

Of the surging sea

Draw you to me,

And I promise

That we'll hold on:

Not let this go, for long.

The burning embers 

Of your eyes--

To my surprise--

Invented lies

I hadn't even dreamed of. 

Tattoos cover scars,

Running deeper than we know--

Entwined with fragile breath,

And Death, 

With its allure,

Has stared you in the face before.

Agonising mercy

And the dirty bones

Tell us we're home

(And I may implode). 

The self, exposed:

Rows and rows,

She goes. 

You make me feel alive--

Anyone can be unstable,

But it's harder to be free,

Free from mediocrity,

And to truly see.

Vapidity entrances you,

Draws me to you,

And you to me,

Like sticking ribbons 

On her flailing limbs. 

The vast gulf of nothing

Fills with tender words

And soft goodbyes. 

Dragging it out, long- 

Going on, and on-

Our favourite song,

Replayed until it’s gone. 

Dour notes ripple

Against our faces, 

Hidden in the frightful storm. 

The warm touch of hands

And glow of beating hearts

Is just the start of romance. 

Delicate dance of broken souls

Plays out in a fever, 

Wrought from leaves and bone:  

Heart on your sleeve,


(Teetering on the eve 

Of something bright). 


Crying, grasping,

Doing anything

Just to make it stop. 

Dirty pubs on Tuesday,

London grub,

Rubbing shoulders 

On the bar stools,

While tinny laughter 

Fills the halls. 

Enthralling chatter;

Nothing better than 

An empty glass. 

Too fast to tell,

The sour smell of beer and

The well of feeling--



Revealing that we 

Know nothing,

And, perhaps, feel nothing. 

Keeping on an even keel,

And breathing steady--

Wreathed and real--

Stealing secret moments.

"Love, won't you come closer?"

Chasing ephemera

And doting 

On your constant

Reference to romance

(And lust).

“Just don't fuss, now-- 

I'll be fine.

Only women get to whine.

I'll surely bear the burden

(Never admit to hurting).

I'll maybe, one day,

Tell you over a drink some time."

Where it ends is not our business: 

While we finish youth’s folly, 

We’re wholly of our own.

Credit: Photo by Scott Broome on Unsplash