Homeward

I felt an ache, that I was needed back home / that I had loose ends, after I ran away last summer / so I got a fucking train from Brighton station / and I waited in St Pancras and I thought, with the opportunity to travel, why would I go back? / But I did and I sat on that train and I read On the Road and I thought yeah, I wish I was on the road / I wish I was in a car, in the American desert / I wish I could look up and see palm trees but instead, I am regressing and I am becoming fifteen again. / So I waited in a car park that I had so often been drunk in, and I stood in the rain and waited to be disappointed. / I saw my friends and their families and I felt disjointed / back in time / sitting on a park breathing in smoke and dew. / I saw some old friends that I used to run away with, and they were disappointed that i had run away alone / that my voice was different, that I had gone out on my own. / I saw my sister and her future, and I read old school books to revisit the spirited child that I once was /  I listened to my grandad talk about how he would die, and that I shouldn’t expect him to live longer than 86 / He is 85. / I drove along roads I learned to drive on, in the backseat with the windows open / singing to the village. / I drank and I reminisced and I laughed and I missed the past I had / but the city, the towns feel smaller and I have outgrown them. / Every corner, every house, every pub delivered back to me memories that I had repressed so fully. / Everyone that told me I had changed sent me back to feeling small and like I am not capable of growing. / You can never go home again / I got the train from the village station and I said goodbye to my friend but I was glad to be heading back to the sea / I slept most of the way and I smiled at St Pancras, knowing it couldn’t be much longer / I breathed in the sea air, in a town where I have so much to discover yet. / I have made a home, and everybody can live without me, now.

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1.

I am restless and spirited
not to say: I am not happy
as I am, of course, home
but with a fire in my heart

I did not die – I am yet alive, only
through ambition and an endless
desire for better, best, happiest

Somebody else might have died
when their mother left them, when
they were punished, left behind
but I am a miracle of perseverance
and grateful for the strength I have

I am only as good as where I am going
what I know, what I plan to keep doing
I left, and you know by now
that you should not have let me go

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We can’t avoid the morning, we sang
and yet we tried at 3am to keep walking
our parents hadn’t a clue, that we lived
inside broken bottles, relishing youth
that we barely knew we had, that we
took for granted with everything else

Ten pounds in cash, twenty cigarettes
stolen, send an older friend to the store
and our problems were solved, in parks
and on the floor. We were safer, together

I left quickly, never thinking I would wilfully
travel back down that road, knock again
on your door. There are a hundred things
I would have said, a hundred more things
I keep close to me. Open windows, my
breath at dawn; feet freezing blue in a river

These are things I haven’t had since
a hundred things you gave to me
I never breathed your secrets, never
spilled out those Friday nights

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It’s hard to admit I love a place that
whilst formative, was destructive
restricting, having a stranglehold
on growth; on any chance to live

It wasn’t until I left I could see it
for what it was, for a catalyst
I got out of there fully grown before
most children learned to stand alone

Wherein I saw the dirt, smog and
fields bring my family down, I felt
it forming me, pushing me out
to stand by the sea
on my own two feet

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Every hair on my body is raised, my
eyes water, my ears burn – and yet
the wind it still blows, viciously
it has been sent from the sea
to come over my town, and torture me

It is days like this – dark days, wet days
that i long for California. The rolling
hills, these little tiny towns – they
just don’t do it for me, anymore
If I never go back to California – and
feel that still, dry heat upon my skin
I hope that I can reach into myself
and find a West Coast in me, a tranquil
dry paradise sitting carefully, waiting
for me – inside my freezing chest

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Sister soldier, I wish I could have told you
that I knew, that I grew up fighting
at your side, that for everything I drank
every drug that I tried, you were there too

And to your family – a father and mother
so unlike my own, often present
often giving, never noticing when we went
when we slid out of the open window
and disappeared

So I am sorry that we let anything
get between us and our 3am
and that you have lost a father
I know he was not my own, I know
you are not my sister, my friend
but you were once – and nothing
could justify such a violent end

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Bar

It’s the loss of a routine I once hated
the fact that, I could disappear in a second
up the M25, in a fucking river, in the sea
I cannot lament the loss of broken bottles;
of the drunks of Western Road`
but I’ve nowhere left to go

It isn’t just the routine, either – it’s that
home base, the pit stop for free beer
a wine spritzer at 5am, a coffee or ten
the space to breathe within wooden beams

A family I thought I had, a loss of structure
a quick boot – you’re out – we want you
to come back, but then again – we don’t
I’ve had this before, I’ll have it again
I am sure it’s not a loss, but
I’ll miss you at 3am, when everywhere
else has closed its doors

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