True Grit

There are days when I didn’t
know where I was going.

Took the waterproof hung
behind the cellar door. Cut ham sandwiches.
Counted the change in my pocket
and went out.

It isn’t always clear what you look for
but you always know
what you’ve found.

Sometimes you have to escape the city
and return to minding your steps
on old rocks
climbing the moor.
Return to your feet.
Return to recognise your shadow
out of the sun.
Then imagine how ice
once split bricks and tumbled with
rocks as big as houses
down Mam Tor.

Return to feeling ancient.
Return to feeling new born.

Return to not holding
each of your responsibilities in your fingertips
and let them drip through your hands
like rain.

Return to not doubting yourself.
There is nothing greater or smaller to compare
yourself with than Mothercap and the payslip
you try to ignore each month.

Forget the illusions you dress yourselves with.
Leave them at Dore.

From here you can summon the best
parts of yourself.
Feel the grit. It’s real. The same way you feel
The wind in your palm, and your heart
pulsing in your head.

Return to the peaks to discover which part
of yourself you haven’t been listening to
and forgive yourself for it.
But only return if you mean it.
Only return if it’s your truth.
If it wraps itself through
the words that come unlocked
from your throat
because for the first time
in a long time.

You listened to yourself thinking.

And it felt true.

JOE KRISS

The view from my door

The sun growls down
The air is heavy with the stench of the streets.

A Jamaican man with thick black locks
Dubs me Rapunzel
I smile
As Reggae beats
Billow
From blacked out windows

Cayenne Pepper smells sting my nose
My ears alive with music
Tempted to the barbecue
Across the road

My heavy heart
Drops
Like a tear
At the foot of a ghat chewing man

Swerving between screaming babies
Slurring alcoholics

Then Patwa and Arabic
Chimes in my ears like poetry.

Laughing and shaking hands
Moths dance from our pockets
Mocking
Hope and happiness is rich

Breath is precious for those in poverty

I love to walk home
Not to drive
We are the kings and queens of this dive.

PHOENIX MCANDREW