The Brown Eyed Dreamer

'Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.' William Wordsworth


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Little Monsters

There’s a monster who lives inside our heads;
A tiny demon who feasts on the doubts that
Fall from the tears and
Drip from the blood and
He grows, he grows, he gets louder.

There’s a monster who lives inside our heads;
A little creature who feeds you the lies that
Make the tears fall and
Make the blood drip but
You’ve just got to learn how to fight him.

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Old Ways

She’s disappearing again,
I see her cave into her shadow like before.
Sister pretends to understand but
Loses patience in the silence,
Mum and dad speak, but never listen
To hear the whimpers underneath.
But brother strains to find the sound and
Hears it crying from the dark;
He knows, he knows,
But he’ll never say
Until it is too late.


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Glass Confetti

Am I the only one who daydreams about stepping in the path of a train or a car? Not in a suicidal way, I don’t want to kill myself; I simply have a niggling fascination as to what it would feel like in those few seconds of impact.

I’ve always thought of just stepping forward into nothing, what that would feel like. The car hasn’t hit you yet but you know it’s coming, and in that moment you are absent of any emotion apart from an odd sense of anticipation for what is about to ensue. You don’t have time to move away, to panic, you simply lunge forward into the abyss of the accident, the eye of the hurricane. I wonder would I close my eyes, or would I keep them wide open until the neon glare of car headlights engulfs my entire vision. Or would it be over before I could really decide, and I’d simply fall without realisation of what is happening?

And then it hits you.

I wonder what that would feel like too. Like the pins and needles you get trying to walk on a dead leg? Like suddenly being plunged under an ice cold wave, until your lungs burst from trying to break free from the waters vice-like grip? Like touching fire and only realising a second later, white hot pain that takes a second to register? A force so strong it knocks every ounce of breath out of your body? Or would you feel so much pain it seems you feel nothing at all? You simply hear the screech, the screams, a dull heavy thud somewhere close beside you (did it hit me? Should I not feel that?). There’s only the quiet slam of metal colliding against skin, and the sharp crescendo of shattering bones like glass confetti scattered in the wind.

I wonder if my mind would be able to think, to recall every memory I’ve experienced in a kaleidoscope of images before my eyes. Or would the windscreens, engines and tyres swallow me into darkness and overpower my mind before I could take my next breath? I’d be alive one second, and the next- gone.

I feel crazy for even thinking all of this, to ponder pain with such inquisitive eyes. Mostly I ignore the little voice that calls me in, but still I see the headlights flash, feel the flutter of the air as cars move past, hear the gentle grind of tyres beckon me closer. And I wonder, I wonder, I wonder- what would it be like? I wonder, but I’m not sure I shall ever know.


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A Love Affair with Eyes

There’s something about eyes that just captivates me. When a mask is carved and placed expertly over a face to create a void of emotion, eyes are the one things that consistently shine through and show how we really feel, who we truly are. Out of everything in a person, eyes always remain in my mind after the memory of a face has long since faded.

I love eyes of any colour, wide and child-like or small and scrutinising. I love eyes that are seas you could drown in, with hazy flecks of colours swimming through their gentle following colour. I love eyes surrounded by paths of crinkles and wrinkles that tell of a thousand frowns and a thousand smiles. I love eyes with glints of secrets shrouded within, the ghost of stories yet untold hiding and waiting to be discovered. I love eyes that express more than words and a smile ever could; eyes that create a memory so vivid it engrains itself into our very minds. I love the eyes of children, filled with innocent delight and an unending curious gleam. I love the eyes of the older, brimming with tears spilled and frothing with laughter, bright, wise sparks of life in a wrinkled, ageing face. I love how every eye sees the world in a different way, and how no two eyes could ever look the same; eyes who have withheld the beauty of this world and have endured pain and sorrow, eyes that reflect every memory in a kaleidoscope of colour and brightness that I can’t help but fall for each time I look upon them.


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The Clear Out

In a cold, cluttered study dimly lit by a bulb encased in a thick layer of grime, a man stands surveying old, flaking walls filled with bookshelves and cabinets, head cocked on one side as he impatiently tuts and looks around him. A room once the hub of his home and working life now sits dormant and forlorn in the cold October sun peering through cracks in the yellowed blinds. A room once so lively and loved now seems as alone and lost as the man standing within.

He takes a step forward and roughly glides a finger across the nearest shelf, leaving a bright trail of mahogany standing stark among the surrounding layer of dust. Lips curling in disgust and rubbing his covered finger on his jumper, he sighs. This room, now of no use and an annoyance to him, needs clearing desperately.
As a plan forms in his head, he leaves the room only to return a few seconds later armed with every cleaning utensil he can find. He then starts clearing out the room. Initially, he takes his time, taking each item off the shelves and inspecting it before deciding what to do with it. But as each dog-eared novel and notebook full of scribbles is salvaged from the dust and dirt of the shelves, old memories resurface themselves to mock and taunt him. Memories of days where writing was his life and words tumbled out of him like droplets onto a page, and the world around him held the fascination of a child. But too many rejections from snotty publishers can make a man bitter in his ways, and soon his bubble of ignorance was torn as the world became cruel and unforgiving. Suddenly the passion of the world was gone, and a dream to write died along with this room.
Memories flood back like flames, taunting him with their flickering, fiery tongues. Fury filling his core, he flings out his arms and pushes every item into bin bags, grabbing books, ornaments and ornate ink pens and throwing them to walls, ignoring the glass smashing and ricocheting off the walls. Ripped pages fall like burning ashes to a floor filled with shattered glass and puddles of blue ink stains sinking into the carpet.
His crazed cleaning does not stop until he grabs hold of an old glass photo frame and a jagged edge catches his skin. He curses loudly as it draws blood and looks down towards his cut, only to be stopped short by what he sees.
It’s an old frame, a photograph within that had been blocked and almost faded from memory. He sees himself, a young man of only twenty, standing beside his childhood hero, a published author whose name he cannot recall now. He looks upon the uncontrollable smile on the young him’s face, the eyes shining with childlike eagerness, and that day comes back to him like a bolt of lightning. He remembers meeting this man, and sharing with him the hope of one day joining him with the esteemed title of ‘author’, his love of writing and wanting to write forever. And most of all he remembers the author looking at him with an almost fatherly smile, patting his shoulder and saying, ‘If you want it enough you can do it. Never give up on a dream like that.’
The statement echoes through the man’s head and around the room, bouncing and echoing off the bare walls. Never give up on a dream like that. The frame drops from between his shaking fingers, landing with a dull thud below him. He stops; sinks slowly to the ground. Everything is too much. How could he forget this? How happy he had been then, how full of joy and life… memories flood back once more, but this time like rushes of water coaxing the tears from his eyes as he falls forward onto his hands, sobs rocking his whole body. He balls up his fists and beats the ground, yelling to a man who is not there, who cannot hear him.
‘Never give up?! You can’t even begin to unravel an idea before reality shoots it dead now! I’ve been shot down one too many times, I’m wounded. I GIVE UP. I can’t get back up this time.’
The cold, empty shelves stare at the man sunken and broken in the centre of the room with blank, harsh stares. Tiny speckles of blood spurt from a cut in his hand, but that short, sharp pain is nothing compared to the tearing of his heart, the thumping of his head, the desolate thud as his stomach drops. No pain could compare to that of a man falling apart from the seams. Tears fall relentlessly from his eyelids, and his body lurches forward and back with pain, as emotion floods out of him in a tidal wave of desperation, total loss and turmoil.
‘I can’t get back up this time,’ he whispers, his eyes shut to try to bottle in the pain, ‘I can’t get back up.’


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The Man at the Off-License

I was walking home tonight from my youth group with a couple of friends tonight, and we stopped off at our local shop to buy some food and drinks before heading on home. In general good spirits, we walked on past the off-license beside the store, talking and laughing amongst ourselves. And that’s when we spotted him.

A lone figure, slumped on the floor beside the off-license wall, his head hanging down and his cap covering his eyes, a bottle hanging loosely between his fingers and slowly swaying, dangerously close to falling and smashing round him. His dejected figure sunk into the wall and his dark clothes seemed to make him blend into his background, so that the people passing him by into the off-license ignored him as if he was as unimportant as the cigarette stubs and broken shards of glass around him.

I was tempted to walk on- it was cold, and my parents wanted me home. But something about his figure made me stop in my tracks, as if he was screaming out for help without even lifting his head. A thought flashed across my mind- what if he was someone’s grandfather, father, husband? I couldn’t just leave him there on the side of the street in his condition, I couldn’t hold that guilt above my head. So I detached myself from the group and slowly made my way towards him.

When I reached the door of the off-license, I bent down so I was on level with the man. He didn’t look up, staring intently at the cracks in the pavement, lost in his own world.

‘Excuse me,’ I ventured, and his head snapped up to look at me as he suddenly realised me standing there. I got down lower so we were on eye-level and asked, ‘Are you okay?’

He stared at me blankly for a few seconds, his mouth moving but no sound coming out. I placed my hand on his knee and asked again softly. His eyes were wide with fear and confusion, bright and alive compared to his wrinkled, sunken and tired face. His eyes began to well up with tears and he finally murmured, ‘I-I don’t know..’.

His voice cracked on the last word and his face seemed to droop from the pain, his eyes revealing true confusion and pain. His breath stank of stale cigarette smoke and alcohol, and he was clearly not in his right mind, as he took my hand and pleaded me to take him home.  Instantly I felt obliged to do whatever I could to help this poor man, ignored by all those who passed by. This poor old man who subjected himself to drinking outside alone on a saturday night, whose eyes held so much pain yet were ignored by everyone. I took hold of his hand in both of mine and promised to get him home safely.

My youth leader and I helped to calm him down and eventually called an ambulance to come pick him up and check on him. An hour later we got him into the ambulance and they drove him off to the hospital to run some tests. I’ll probably never see that man again, but those eyes will stick with me forever. Those eyes screaming out for help, so grateful to be noticed. So this is for you Bobby, and I sincerely hope the pain stops soon and you are safe.  I hope life treats you well from now on, and I hope you remember me in the morning, because I won’t forget you.