The Poetry Bar

Take your pills and hide your eyes

A hijacked life…
a twisted plot…

a knocked-down door that makes no sense…

and a woman,
counting her heartbeats on the street.

A girl abducted years ago,
now dying for the cameras.

The guy who took her
probably killed hundreds –

or so he says.

But AIDS will kill this one –

AIDS and a tarpaulin,
wiping off the stains,

house-clearing a childhood long-since stolen by the sex trade.

This is not poetry

and I don’t have the heart.

But this is where the words live now.
is where the love
comes home to die.

Too wizened to smile,
the way you did,
determined not to kill me with your dying

or soil my kindness with your pain.

Just like you,
her kindness was abused –

in her case,
relentlessly used…

and still such beauty in her eyes.

As broken,
as they are,

there’s still such beauty in her eyes.

She’ll die
by the morning,

leaving her fire to be broadcast,

dancing with strangers in sad little rooms,

hiding no less damage in their lives.

They’ll take off their masks
and they’ll weep when they see
so much beauty…
so much beauty in her eyes.

So many lives have been stolen.

So many childhoods have cried.

Silence is bleeding
all over the world…

and still such beauty in her eyes.

My voice…
Her voice…
Your voice now…

The voice we lose…
The voice we kill…

Get on the bus
and take your pill…
Look in the camera,
take your pill…
Lie on the bed
and take your pill…
Shut down your heart
and take your pill…

and still such beauty in her eyes.

The one big thing we still don’t say.

I’m sorry I failed you
by being so small…

with one big secret,
cupped and cradled in my hands…

and one more taste I can’t smile back…

and still such beauty…
still such beauty…
still such beauty in this land behind our eyes.

I’m John in some circles… Woodsy in others (Woodsy being a stage name from when I did performance gigs, which I’m looking to start doing again).
Basically, like a lot of people, I’ve been through a bunch of different things, and I’ve tended to write about them as I go.
Often these are scary, traumatic things, and I guess that’s why part of me would like to start going on the road with this. I want to go places and say stuff that feels scary to say…
because often it’s also the most precious, beautiful stuff we have to say, and I  reckon it’s about time we stopped feeling scared to say it.


If you would like to have your work published in The Poetry Bar send your poem, a few words about yourself and the link to your blog and Instagram account to the e-mail

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