the blue cage 



I asked my grandmother 

About the war 

She told me that the year of the bomb

They named as many stars as they could 

And memorised them

So they could tell the difference 

The enemy and the war seemed very far away

While they collected stamps 

And learned to type and learned to sew

There was always  a fear of tommorow 

Later they hid behind fences on Sunday afternoons 

Falling in love 

While the world manufactured iron curtains to contain 

The human spirit 

Today,I woke up 

And our enemy’s don’t seem so far away 

Yet,we still fall in love 

Somewhere between the hours 

Of 12 and 2 am 

And while libraries burn 

And wars go on

And there’s fear of tommorow 

We kiss lips 

That taste like champagne 

My grandmother isn’t here anymore

But if she were 

She’d say 

“You remind me of someone I saw in a movie once!”

And if I asked her about all of this ‘fear’

She’d say  

“Whatever will be will be

The future is not ours to see

But 

The human spirit cannot be contained 

By walls,wars or fear 

We are stardust and earths crust 

We were born to create”

And if I asked her about the year of the bomb 

She’d say 

She learned to sew and play piano 

She kissed lips that tasted like champagne 

She fell in love.

(Click to see the spoken word of This)

The Moon Garden

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Just after the Civil War
It was said that
The spirits of fallen soldiers
Would come together
Every full moon
For a party
So great
it would dim the stars

there was a girl
Who looked for it
Everytime that year
When she found it
She said she was given a pin
But she lost it
On her 21st birthday
In a thunderstorm
While looking for the garden one final time.

Lettres de guerre #end

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Origin (unknown)

journal entry

I walk the city
I once knew
It fades
All around me
Unclear
The people
Moving
The graves outside
I am hollowed
But I am looking
With anxious eyes
I can’t remember anything
Very clear
What is different ?
What’s the same ?
And then
At the end of the street

I see her
In the garden
Digging
Flowers in her hair
She brushes her
Stubborn strands out of
Her eyes
And my heart
Is beating
And
I’m not as callous
As I feared
It’s not as dark as I believed
And
She is standing
Crying
Over there
Right there
And I am running now…
I am
Forgetting to breathe
Afraid that I will wake up
Before I touch her
I feel the earth
I see the people fading
I see her right there
I see her
I reach out
Her arms
Her lips
Her eyes
The salt of
Her tears
Her finger tips
This is real.
We are here.

end

lettres de guerre #8

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Origin (David Elliot)

grâce incroyable de voir comment le doux bruit …
(Amazing grace how sweet the sound…)

Anastasia
Sometimes
I seperate from myself
I see
See the fields filled with ash
See the hearts filled with stone
And
I see us moving
Inside the light
And shadows
Emptying chambers
In our guns
In silence
Picking out
The fragments
After bombing a city
We can’t choose
Anastasia
We can’t choose what revelation
Comes our way
But I saw
The words
I hear the hymn
In the back of my mind
And I hope that after
Ten thousand years
We will be there
We will make it right
I hope that I come together
Whole
I hope that
We won’t drag each other
Out in the streets
I hope that we won’t
See what one man
Can do to another man
I hope ….
That we come back
And then
We somehow
Remember how to live.
How to love you
Again
Sometimes
I feel as though
We only know how to…
How to destroy humanity
I know we should be keeping it safe

But it’s like this
One city
We stayed in
They’d had all their medical workers
Removed
After a black out
These were sent to the military…
Just before we got there
One of ours slept with a woman during our post …
He really just raped her
I have no better context
I’m sorry
He was apparently drunk
But beside the point
Having no Drs
No medical personnel
Within hundreds of miles

On the day we were leaving
She came out watching us
pulling out a revolver
She shot the private
In the face …
This is what war does to us
Collapsing in the streets
Our hopes
Of a better tomorrow
They’re fleeting
And vague .
And I am so tired.
I am so tired.
I wish I had better
News.
I wish I had better
Letters.
I wish there were words
For this
That left us…
Closer together.
So just say my name
Write about the taste of food
Tell me about color
Because all I see
Is gray
All I see is black
And I can’t lift it.
Anastasia,

Love,Charlie.

lettres de guerre #7

la couleur de rien
(The colour of nothing)

October 17th

Is there a color for nothing?
for this feeling?
you rearranged me
And
I’m afraid we’ll never be together
I poured my grief
Into the violin and the piano …
I looked for you in the Keys
I looked for you in the bedroom,
I looked for you in the gentle
Shadows of others dancing
but I could not find you
The shadow
In my heart

Write to me,
Your love
– Anastasia

lettres de guerre #6

Sept 3rd
My,A

do you remember
Staying in the flat, for three days,eating pepperoni and drinking red wine?
I said this must be what a king feels like
And you laughed asking why?
And I told you about grits
And biscuits

We passed through a small town very much the same ….
The streets were empty
And the windows boarded
I couldn’t help but think about it…
It brought me a kind of surreal
Peace.

I can’t do much else
Other than wish you
A happy birthday
I hope this reaches you soon.

Love, Charlie
P.s keep writing
I’m getting your letters
Every word
In time

Aug 15th lettres de guerre #5

Dearest -A

I read your letters
Don’t worry
It takes so long to get them out here
It’s a different feeling being this far out…almost difficult to believe that we are even at war…
But it is what it is…
I was thinking about
What you said about
J the other night
The world isn’t going to be this way
Forever,A
He’s innocent
And vulnerable
But it’s more than that
Like you said …
It’s a perspective of the world
And people
How you look at things
And interact with them

I don’t want him
To think he has to change because
Of someone picking him apart
I don’t want him to
Dismiss things
As “bad things just happen sometimes”
I want him to know
That his interaction and reaction mean something.
Especially his art.
It can go
Where a single person can’t.
Where we can’t
It’s an expression that is important

The world won’t be this way forever
Maybe there will be a day
Or a year
When we stop writing
When we stop painting
When we stop feeling
When we watch our brothers
Live in misery
Or die on their feet
And we will not be moved

But it’s not this day
Or this year
And that’s why I’m here
And
As long as
We look after our children
Like J,
Tomorrow won’t be that day either.

I’ll write soon
love, Charlie

Aug 12th. lettres de guerre #4

My , A
I don’t have but a few minutes..to get a line in..
But
I’m standing here on the deck
Somewhere off the coast of the Philippines …
I can see every star.
But you’re my north
Were I able,I’d reach out and pick the one that shines for you you’re looking at and ask it to shine a little brighter and let you know …Writing you.
Im here
I saw a comet,it was pulsating and bright and then it dropped
like your neckline …
I remember you,
I remember your lips …pulling mine…
I remember your accent gentle like the water…your hair like lavender
you
biting my shoulder and laughing ‘Sex on heels ‘
That’s what I called you…

I would that I could
Follow that comet to the edge of the Galaxy
Spelling sensual words
Along your waist…
Burning,layer by layer..
Down your inner thighs…

jusqu’à ce que je découvre chaque langue que vous chantez dans
(until I discover each language you sing in)

This is what the water’s made me…
And I miss you…

Love,Charlie.

Let the great world spin (25)

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Birmingham
I heard about a man
Who cuts his skin
Letting heroin in
to say it’s his body
I knew a girl
She closes herself emotionally
To say it’s her body
That was then
But
after all these years
We’re still dying in cages

The walkway
The one who smells bad
everyone avoids him
Like so much water
Around stones
Wearing the same clothes
Day by day
He just looked up at me
And told me about Korea
About his pain
While another man
Clean and sharp
But with hollow eyes
told me about
Normandy
And
After half a century
We’re still dying in foxholes
Trying to get it right…

25
Now I’m at my window
Is 25 halfway to 50?
midnight halfway to morning?
depression halfway to empty?

if I said
I want you next to me
But still crave
An empty window
To write in
Would you understand?
I feel, everything
Everyone
In a room
I feel everything you say
Before you say it
I hear it
In that space
When your eyes look at the floor
Then dart back at me
Just before you speak
And would you understand
That I’m not boasting
I’m not
Not everyone is like this
It is the most isolating thing I’ve known.
So I want you
I want your body
Your lips
I want to love you
Feeling every part of you
Reading you like Braille
Until you come apart …
But I’m still this person
I’m still me.
25
Somewhere
Between 50
And half empty.
Trying.

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Detente

1
Before
lights shown over the mass of students,reporters flashed cameras,tech men hurried across the platform,setting barriers,testing sound,securing the area.
journalist
Waited…impatiently…
checking iPhones
Notepads
ink pens
This moment
Was historical
A speech before
The world court
No one noticed the clouds
Moving in
No one noticed the rain
As the president
Off to the side
Breathed in
Clinching his fist
Checking his watch
His notes
His iPhone
An encouraging
text from his wife
To his side
Stood the British Prime Minister
Who laughed and said
“To think,15 years ago,technology that connects us like this…unthinkable…the pun is..
Now we don’t just have mad men who want to watch the world burn…
They invite us to watch it with them.”

Stepping out
1,2,
Platform,
Lights,
Cameras,
Silence….

2
After
I remember the night
Of the attacks
Black Friday
Shopping malls
And cinemas
Entirely unprecedented
Not even 9/11 brought this kind of gray cloud on us
I was at Annabels
Doing research for an article
On arts and social media
Annabel was busy baking
Expecting Nina anytime
We never went anywhere
For the holidays
Especially Black Friday
We introverted – together
This was our tradition
Crashing at each other’s places
Eating left overs
and putting in terrible
90s films
Nina came in arms heavy with
Packages to wrap
In the center of the room
“I think you should forget Elizabeth it’s been entirely too long
You need to go out – live a little.
Don’t you think so Annabel??
Get a gym girl.
It’s completely rational.
That girl was a bitch.I mean,it’s not like she could help it though,she didn’t believe in eating organic…it was really dietary.” She laughed at her own humor..”I’m glad I can say that now…without pissing you off…”
“Hey” I said “it’s whatever”
“hand me the tape will ya,make yourself useful.”

“Holy ….fucking hohh.”
“What’s wrong!?”
Annabel collapsed in the floor holding her phone.
“Check twitter …they’re attacking malls…it’s everywhere…it’s …”

3
Before
The crowded room fell silent
As the president waited
Looking them
Over
The lights
The corners
The journalist

“In recent months
The world Court
Has unanimously
Passed
amendments
All sanctions and bars
being lifted
In an attempt for
Peace
They now determine
Their own jurisdiction
Meaning
They may
order the UN to step in
Not only federally
But including
State government
Issues
if they deem it necessary.”

The room shifted
Cameras went off like
Fireworks
Voices whispered
Into ears
This was not “the prepared and endorsed speech”
This was new

His face was determined
Grim and filled with courage
“Now
I am asking you tonight
With
All of our efforts
Toward peace
And harmony with
One another
Do you feel safe?
Today we are faced
With one of the
Brutalist enemy’s on this earth
We’ve been spending a great deal of time talking
Well I think it’s time we ask ourselves
What’s the price we might pay?
Our enemy’s intentions are well known
This is no program
This is mad men
Who can not be reasoned with
Their plan
We watch our world burn.
On their timing
They have killed women and children
And Americans
The world wide nature of their plan
Is a blood soaked reality
Our plan is simple
We hunt you to the end of the earth
We take your families
We take those who sympathise
With you
We finish it.
We win.”

4
ending

Wasn’t like I thought it would be
we had those who were afraid to speak out
We had those who believed in human rights
But what we didn’t understand
Was simple logic
If you’re for human rights
And you’re able to raise your voice in
Concern
Without fear
Well damn
You’re already freer than
Most anyone the world over
But instead
The world court
Stepped in
We were numb
To the police
The borders were open
They were mad
About the Speech
They legalised
All immigrants
But forgot
We have more than one border
Other races
Were livid
Our allies said good bye
I watched the race riots
On social media for a while
Until Israel left us and our deals
On the table
It was funny at the time
Our awesome
Technology
Literally comes from Israel
Wifi dropped off the face of
Our nation like a black hole
Due to the riots
We were thrust into a primitive
Era
Like gangs in the melting
Pot of cities beginnings
Annabel,Nina and me
We took to the caves
In the mountains
We waited
For it to die down
Nothing happened
Like it was supposed to
Nothing happened like we’d
Been told
Some say this is how history was made
Some say
This is new beginnings
But everyone questions
Whether this is the end

I always heard that
Just before Kennedy was assassinated
There was a great weight and burden
Over many people
The same for 9/11
I don’t know
I do know
There is no words
To measure
weight and burdens
I look out
And I see
Nina
Sleeping
I see Annabel writing
I remember the streets
And the lights
The people on their
Commute home
For Christmas
I remember a vet
From Korea
Who once told me
He could swim
He could fight
And jump and do
But old age
Just took it from him
It was shameful
It was rape
I thought of him
The other day
While I was crawling through
The tunnel Nina planned out
Elbows scrubbing the earth
On my back just enough space
For my hands to touch my nose
Gripping the grooves overhead
Pulling myself forward
This gets us to the caves

I don’t wish death to take me
Or anyone
I live day by day
Hour by hour minute by minute
Moment for moment
This keeps me from being
Overwhelmed
This keeps me alive