The Age of Hopes and Dreams

Do you remember your hopes? The old ones?
The ones scribbled longhand under fevered lamps, bound in green books,
In sad, neurotic tenement rooms where the summer reeked of landfill;
Lost and on trial over weak coffee in cheap, greasy cafes
In distant, northern towns, where fruit machines stood in judgement;
When you were eleven and the crazy one who wrote his life story on a ladder on bricks, gifted you with a kick;
Stained, nauseating curtains, running through grey-rain soaked, insidious streets —
Swastikas crudely daubed like tattoos on walls in blackened blood — trying to find your way home;
On an evening train from Nottingham — where the miasmic madman missed his stop —
After mistaken love waved goodbye again;
Smoking cigarettes on the steps of the Sacré-Cœur,
Cloaked in purple with a red rag, near where prostitutes danced in the snow —
You abandoned your heart half-way down.

Your hopes, the half-forgotten old ones,
You folded and tucked away
Until you found better days.

Do you remember your dreams? The old ones?
The ones painfully sketched in tall, make-shift rooms,
Where the twenty-year-old red mirror stared back in disbelief
As the orange-haired bastard reigned with an old HB pencil;
Painted in borrowed acrylics, smeared like an orgasm of contentment over virgin paper,
Bound and stretched on your bed so your dreams didn’t buckle;
Or printed, colours squeezed tight like a desperate fist,
Through screen onto delicate silk — a scene of nature’s beautiful brutality;
Traced over and again in the dark shadow of machinery that wore you like a death shroud
In days when your belly was full of pills and the nights empty of sleep;
Carved into warmed, biscuit-coloured vinyl where you pushed the blade on through,
An idyll of suburban Xanadu, until the red turned the page of Songs from Innocence to Experience;
The local church spires, like Monet’s Haystacks, green, cerise, and gold —
Changeable under light’s seasons like your faith and your rationalism of pain.

Your dreams, the doubtful old ones,
You mounted and framed
Until you found better days.

And you waited for those days, for years, for days in a kingdom
Without rain where the colourblind man is king again.
For a land where hopes and dreams fuck and love and suck each night
And give birth to new day after new day after new day, every day,
Until you no longer hide outside your skin,
Until the faceless, shameful shade you conceal
Can run and roam in the open fields of day.

But as you stand on the shores of your life
You watch the vultures swoop down.
They issued a search party in the night and dredged the lake.
The boatman lost his way in the mist,
Ferrying somebody else’s hopes and dreams.

To set those old hopes and dreams free now before you die,
You fold them up again, but this time carefully, like origami birds,
Like bright-blue paper jays and white doves chirping
Amongst charms of hummingbirds and trembling finches,
Like winged, shattered pieces of stained glass,
You scatter your dreams in the air with bleeding hands
Until they assemble like a thousand, radiant rainbows,

Until they soar and command the wind, the thunder and the rain,
Until they live and breathe and sing and shout and cry and burn and die as clouds in the sky.

© 2016 Occasional Dreams

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