I wrote this a while back:

I’ve just had my heart broken. Not in a small, ‘Aw, that’s a wee shame’, kind of way, but in a ‘My heart has been utterly shredded by the one person I trusted with it, I think I’ll spend several weeks alone in a darkened room and swallow a lot of Valium’, kind of way. No one has ever experienced the pain I have experienced. Ever. Not Abelard, not Romeo, not Don Quixote, no one.

Well, except you. You have.

Love is a wonderful, wandering thing when it’s going well. It fills you, enriches you, and informs every decision you take. Your mouth is drenched in new flavours, your ears hear sounds that haven’t been heard since the very beginning of time, and the colours? Oh, the colours. Your every waking, and probably sleeping, moment is focused on that perfect object of your adoration, and it just feels, well, divine, doesn’t it?

But when it goes wrong, when it stops unexpectedly and unasked for, you become transformed into a zombified, undead shadow of yourself. All that moment-filling and decision-informing continues, and your waking and sleeping moments remain focused, but your loved one no longer loves you back. Your emotional skin has been torn from your soul and the world you inhabit is an ocean of salty lemon juice. It fucking hurts. You cannot move, you cannot function. And no one understands.

Except, everyone does.

Let me be candid, I’m old. I’m beyond all this teenaged, fanciful, hearts and flowers nonsense. I have lived, sired children, earned money and respect. I have bedded down my gravitas in silver hair and aged wisdom, yet when my heart was broken, I was six years old again, crying for my mother. It was truly awful.

You know exactly what I’m talking about, don’t you?

It’s not the first time my heart has been broken. It was demolished when my marriage ended. That was the worst thing that had ever happened to me, and I knew I could never live through such pain again, hah! And before that. And before that.

Why do we open ourselves to such potential destruction? We have a desire, it becomes a need, our need is returned, and fuels our own desire. We immerse ourselves in love, in the sure knowledge that every nanosecond of avidity will be returned, as fiery and hungry as all we’ve offered. In love, we consume one another, but the returned love restores us, and so we have a perpetuation of the conflagration. The fire that builds as it burns. I’m beyond all that though. Yet I’m not. No one is. Not if we are to genuinely live the lives we’ve been given.

Vulnerability is an essential part of being human, it allows us to connect with people, with things, and incorporate them into ourselves. If we don’t embrace that vulnerability we are rejecting one of the basic building blocks of our individuality, of our commonality, and we reject life.

The thing that sets us apart and makes us unique, the sharing of a unique bond with another unique being, is the thing that connects each of us to every other. And the pain that arises when these bonds are broken, betrayed, thrown under a bus, trod upon, mocked and destroyed, is a pain we all share. I once heard a counselling tutor make the observation, ‘it is our wounds that connect us’. Understanding this doesn’t reduce the pain, but it does make it easier to bear.

Buddhism talks about the concept of non-attachment, the Dalai Lama said ‘attachment is the origin, the root of suffering; hence it is the cause of suffering’. I see the wisdom in this, yet it’s not something I can comprehend, selfish, self-centred man that I am. I cannot reconcile non-attachment with loving someone else. Maybe that’s the point, maybe it’s weakness that causes us to cling to people and things as though our lives really did depend on them, our desire is what ails us after all. Non-attachment and detachment are, so I’m told, totally different things, but I’m not sure I can understand the difference. I guess I am a long way from ‘satori’.

I feel as though these new wounds, on top of old scar tissue, will never heal, though I see evidence of healing every day. There’s a paradox to be observed here, maintaining your vulnerability in the face of rejection is somehow a protection against the hurt that vulnerability opens you up to.

And here’s the thing, the flash of inspiration that keeps me going, you know what I mean, you know what I’m talking about.

Love is a battlefield, and I’m not convinced anybody wins..


Hate is the loathsome genesis of death,
For those who feed its belly churning fire;
More than for any target of their ire,
Who heard the wails and felt their gnashing teeth.
They hid their foul, demonic souls beneath
A mask of purpose, seeking to inspire
More hate, but found their hideous desire
Extinguished by a cartoon’s dying breath.
Looking to heaven for their just reward,
They twist a prophet’s words to suit their aim.
Yet when the smoke clears from the killing ground,
When they, in triumph, raise their bloody sword
And look to us, to revel in their fame,
Discover laughter is the only sound.


We built a fire
The paper of our lives
We smashed down doors
Tore up books
Fences flattened
No bed unbroken
We took it all
Stacked it to heaven
And with a wink
It blazed
And it burned
And it lit the sky
And the heat warmed the world
And from the blaze
A new alloy 
Precious, strong and beautiful
We lay in ashes 
Shrouded in smoke
I could not find you
I knelt
I breathed
An ember sparked

The Breastplate (for Heidi)

And when I wake I know not who I am
Till memory, in piece and part, flows in
To show the things I have, the things I love.

Each flash of joy and spite makes broad 
The canvas I inhabit and explore upon,
The jewels within whose gravity I spin:

A sapphire, clear and blue and bold and strong
First gem of priceless joy that broke my heart
Rebuilt me, full of love I’d never known.

A topaz, deep as any earthly sea, and more;
Glows with inner light and brightens me
While changing hue from hue, to this, my star. 

A pearl, as gentle as the morning dew
And like this miracle elixir, showing life
In shapes and nuanced shadows I thought grey. 

A tourmaline, rainbowed, bright, embracing;
Sparkling here and there, with unexpected fire.
Never dull and never plain, a butterfly of light.

I am enriched. The hand of God has blessed me
And the moment I awake I am new reminded.
Forever more there is no ‘I’, now there is only ‘we’.

Anybody Remember This…?

It’s not stalking… not really.

I love you, I’m just scared that you’ll leave me and I know you know how much that would hurt me. When I stand in the shadows or sit in my car watching you, it’s just that I want to know you are safe, that no-one is bothering you, no-one is tainting you. I couldn’t take it if you weren’t in my life, I would have no reason to live. I need you to be there, in my eyes, in my mind.

Yesterday, when you bought that new underwear I knew you were buying it with me in mind. I watched you look at all the different things on display in the store, I saw you touch the ones you liked and I followed you, looking at the things you’d looked at. I knew which bra you were going to pick, it’s my favourite colour and I know it will look good against your skin.

On your way home I sat three seats behind you on the bus but you didn’t notice me, I was very discreet. I saw you speaking to that student type and I knew he was making your skin creep. I knew that laugh you gave him was hiding what you really felt… disgust. I wanted to come up behind him and hit him, I almost did and I knew you would have thanked me but we reached our stop just before I moved.

I love your house, no our house… I know it so well. I have been in every room, looked in every drawer. I have smelt your pillow, your clothes. I know what medication you take, how much your electricity bill is and what’s in your bank account. I know your friends, I know you so well my love, and I know you know I do. I know that you feel me watching when you are alone at night. Why else would you look so inviting, why else would you do all the things that you do to make me feel this hunger? The preparations you take to make yourself soft and beautiful, just for me.

I think you liked the present I left you? The rose? I know you kept it and put it in a book. I was excited by the way you looked about you when you found it on your doorstep, as if you wanted me to see you looking for me… I saw you and I want you.