Take this dust and make a star

I am lost in this slow unfolding of a dry and dusty life. I dream of blazing starlight, of fires and last stands, of the easy knife-edge choices, of life or death, of love and passion without consequence.

But here, in this twilight zone, in this dusty unravelled world, where there is nothing left but consequences, where all those knife-edge dramas left a wake of complex misery that beats like a drum through the decades.

The truth, my love, is that I never deserved you. That your bright-light whirlwind illuminated me, but I never found how to glow from within. I am faded, and old – forever and always old, but I wore your youth and beauty for a while.

These days tick slowly by, and everything I was runs through my grasp. Long nights of driving through the darkness in a bubble of music, the fevered lusts that ran backwards through my finger-tips, the fantastical land that I wove between the silences you left for me.

Now, now, I am too tired to dream, those aching sorrows have left me empty and dry, immune to those knife-edge dramas. I watch the sun bleed away, and allow everything to unravel.

It is forgotten.

A Shire

I will tell you a story about a shire. The terraced houses clustered tutting over the fag ends in the street below. The pubs spewing out crowds who shout at each other in slurred accents that carry the illusion of a memory of wealth. The shrugged shoulders of green hills holding silent traces of a first night, skirts hitched up, eyes filled with stars, a discarded condom anonymous graffiti to a moment in time. The honourable great house, sold now to a Russian to pay for a string of fast cars and a decade or two of dilapidation. The kids sloping through the quiet streets in aimless pale imitation of their urban counterparts.

Pretty little houses standing empty five days in seven, the teenagers not staying in to admire the Aga, but drawn to the council estate where a father cooks up a massive round of bacon sarnies dripping with butter and ketchup and serves it to the group giggling over the hyper-violence of the latest triple-A. Libraries are shed like leaves, curling into ash and swept away by a cold wind from the South. Old men, faces lined with years of regret, stare silently into the frothy pint from a dingy little bar in a side road that few remember. History curdles in the middle of the day, polite words drift against the buildings in sloughed off heaps of pleases and just fine thanks and you?

Fragments of pottery dug up every planting season, a school stuffed to the seams and decked out with sharp-toothed railings. Worried eyes flicking to the BBC news, and pausing every now and then to follow the birds as they swoop ecstatically against the sky and shriek warnings to any who will listen.