Sometimes if I’m listening,
Awfully still, no sounds at all,
I can hear the faintest ding,
Of tiny bells behind the wall.
It must be mice’s bicycles,
Of this I’m fairly certain.
The sound it makes is quite distinct,
Down behind the skirting.
It moves around from here to there,
Wherever the mice bikes go,
Perhaps demanding right of way,
Or just saying hello.
They ride around at oddest hours,
To hide the sounds, I s’pose.
They like when folk are having showers,
Or when the lawn-mower goes.
My family and friends think I’m crazy,
They can’t ever hear a thing.
But I know it’s mice, awheeling away,
When I hear that tiny ding-ding!
Around my house
They’re planting cemetery trees,
And there’s no breeze.
Forth, or back,
As the flowers all bloom black,
In a garden such as no-one sees.
And the children play no more,
Where once they played before,
Outside my door
In the street.
Nobody can see me now,
At least, unless they choose,
Except the girl that lives in the house on fire
And pretends she has new shoes.
She says hello
From time to time.
I don’t subscribe to a moonlight mentality,
Cast a single vote. One point for reality.
Her note said ‘don’t expect me anytime soon’.
She’d gone to town for breakfast. She’d be back by June.
Unfolded my heart and smoothed out the creases.
Tore it up. But kept the pieces.
She has a vertical instinct, for what it’s worth.
To me she may as well be the last girl on earth.
I’m kinda Monday, but try not to obsess.
The colour of my coffee reflects my darkness.
I keep my hands in my pockets, in case I clip her wings,
Held on with thumbtacks, they’re fragile things.
I’ve been chained to the starting-line for too many years,
Though these cogs might move if you wound up my gears.
I wonder how long she’s been gone for.
However long it was, it will always be more.
I count the used up coffee cups to see.
That loser in the gutter looks a lot like me.
‘It isn’t so much as what it never was’, said Alice, awkwardly attempting to adopt a stance and tone of voice approximating what she imagined a university professor might assume, ‘but rather, what it wasn’t ever in the first place’.
She paused, trying to follow her own thoughts.
‘For example’, she attempted to clarify.
‘If you break this tea cup..’
She picked up the nearby object and dropped it to the ground, adding a small flourish for effect, but it merely bounced, several times, then rolled to a stop, defiantly intact.
She glared at the offender, then stomped on it furiously until it was only small pieces.
“Like so..”, She announced.
‘You not only destroy the many cups of tea it might have been, but also the many cups of tea it never was.’
‘Aren’t those the same thing?’, asked the Dormouse, who was the only one really paying attention.
Alice frowned, not entirely certain, but unwilling to appear wrong at this point, drew herself up importantly.
‘Decidedly not!’ She declared.