Three Poems by Paul Robert Mullen

bandages

i’m sick of smiling when it makes me weak

i’m sick of trying when the days

            amount to this

i’m sick of silence flooding my ears

                                                weighing me down

i’m sick of doctors fixing their ties

as they tell me the bad news

i’m sick of seeing my mum’s face turn numb

when she’s sees me lying there

            alone                the other kids outside

                        in the sun

i’m sick of having answers but never knowing the questions

i’m sick of being sick

            which is rich                because if i wasn’t

                        i’d be out in the sun

and these poems would never get done

consort

the night

black as panic

you wave at me

through the eastern edge of Spain

into Morocco               the coastal medinas of Algeria

gazing out at Mediterranean dusks

we reconvene in Tunisia

            where you hand over inscriptions

engraved in bone

i hand them back without a word                   we board

a boat to Sicily / ride the trains through Italy

you watch me like a woman

cabin lights flickering

we part at the port of home

like blackbirds scattering

into unripe dawns

the memory of your 4×4         the black tunnel

you never look back

(de)generation

the heavens                 unbolted         

and so              it seemed odd that you . . .

yet we made it

what is this that makes me

righteous?                    you take a small part

of you and fix me

patch me up                 like a nurse

pretend that i’m at least

            part of something whole

it was only in primark             months later

watching conformity explode

i realised

            i was the chapter i hadn’t written

                        it was me

my culminations on repeat

spray-painted on your eyes every time

you smiled

which reminds me

something fatalistic                 i guess i understood

you sank soothingly into

level -1

consort

the night

black as panic

you wave at me

through the eastern edge of Spain

into Morocco               the coastal medinas of Algeria

gazing out at Mediterranean dusks

we reconvene in Tunisia

            where you hand over inscriptions

engraved in bone

i hand them back without a word                   we board

a boat to Sicily / ride the trains through Italy

you watch me like a woman

cabin lights flickering

we part at the port of home

like blackbirds scattering

into unripe dawns

the memory of your 4×4         the black tunnel

you never look back


ABOUT THE POET

Paul Robert Mullen is a poet, musician, traveller, lecturer, and sociable loner. He has been widely published in various literary magazines and journals worldwide, including Ghost City Press, Barren Magazine, Burning House Press and Heron Clan. He has three collections out on Coyote Creek Books: curse this blue raincoat (2017), testimony (2018), and 35 (2018). He enjoys paperbacks with broken spines, Bigfoot documentaries and all things minimalist.

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