Painted ghosts 

Poetry

They drift in and out of my life each day.
Their faces adorned with stark, lurid colours.
Warpaint, as they go about their business.
Are they even real?
These automatons. These androids from outer space.
And whilst their expressions are seemingly blank and impassive, they are also revealing.
There’s a crack or two beneath their cool facade.
But what does it mean?
Are they just lost in thought or, almost imperceptibly, communicating with me?
Do they even see me?
Or am I just grey background? White noise?
Perhaps I’m the ghost and they’re the most tangible thing in this world.
Wearing their warpaint proudly, like armour.
For each day, to them, must surely be a battle against the grey ghosts of patriarchy.
The menfolk who leer and lust, all licentious and salacious with their gaze and their thoughts.
For I am one. I should know.
Maybe as men we should paint our faces, too.
For our own insecurities are buried, perhaps even more so.
Hidden behind layers of bravado and testosterone.
The knowing nod to a fellow male.
The slightest of hugs.
The tough guy handshake.
Beer. Curry.
For we are men.
And we’re out of our caves now.
Our spears have been replaced with smartphones and laptops.
We’re just a few clicks from killing that woolley mammoth. That saber-tooth tiger.
Or ordering some more crap on eBay.
(assuming we can stop watching porn for more than five minutes)
So maybe colour is what we need?
Brush strokes of empathy across our face. The eyeliner of compassion.
The mascara of understanding and acceptance.
God, this is starting to sound like the weirdest fantasy game ever.
But there’s hope in these ramblings.
There must be.
For these painted ghosts and forgotten men.
All trapped in the ether between realities.
Drifting through life with abandonment.

Zombie nation

Poetry

As a nation we stagger about and swagger around.
Content to be part of the crowd.
Our work defines us, you can see by the sweat on our brow.
The bulk of us, we’re computer monkeys.
A cult plugged to our PCs, caffeine junkies.
Then, when released for a brief two days a week we find our feet.
Shuffling slowly at first, our movements broad.
Head to the shops on Saturday to witness first-hand this zombie horde.

Eyes glazed in a daze, dazzled by brightness like rats in a maze.
Neon lights and sales we crave.
Gambling, slot machines, drink, drugs and entertainment.
Once we’re out though there’s no chance at containment.
This zombie nation’s breaking loose.
Causing chaos ain’t no homework excuse.
And as one the horde moves slow.
To look at us we’re an aberration but with nowhere to go.
Seeking deviation from the norm the path we tread well worn.
But it’s fair to say we feel low.

You want to save us?
A noble gesture, but one bereft of good intention.
And as a critical mass you lack invention.
Forming a plan is beyond your comprehension.
So there you stand agape, frozen in a state of suspension.
Like Kryptonians trapped in another dimension.
Unable to steer our fate for fear of reprehension.

But you’ve got to try.
These days, vitality and invention is in short supply.
And whilst you may stand around and ask yourselves why, deep down you know.
It’s a steep mountain ahead but by God you should give it a go.
So wish us luck, this zombie horde.
Least now you understand us.
Finally, we have an accord.