Literary Yard

Search for meaning

By: Jacob Keating


Under soft sun you make eggs in the morning.
It’s distressing me how little you look at the pan.
Wrapped up in amber, and tangents about something or other.

Perched on the kitchen counter, spatula as a microphone,
You sing a song that I wish I had written.
I try to look bemused, away, anything other than charmed.

Leaving behind some way I thought I should be,
We dance, barefoot on the tiled floor.

These eggs are burned to shit.
I’ve heard that gives you cancer.

Stained glass clarity

A hold-out satellite,
Defined by its distance.
A teeth-held secret,
Defined by a knowing glance.
A feeling like silence,
Defined by an absence.

I see you with clarity, through stained glass windows.
The kind of hues kept secret from everyday living.
The kind of clarity that rings hot and buckles the knees.
The kind of clarity that reveals the should-have-been-obvious truths,
Like “it’s time to pack in the drinking, since you can’t get it right.”
Or, that a certain loneliness has crawled into your house and curled up to sleep on your bed.
That you exist as a secret to be exchanged.
That you exist as a satellite, blinking in the distance; one of the stars.
That your days fall too still and too silent.

I see it all now with stained glass clarity.
What results is a fervour.
A fervour to dig bare-handed through wet earth,
To find some binding, all-connecting roots;
Showing exactly how this leads into that.
A fervour to be the most loved and the most loving.
To prove I am deserving of all that I am given.
And I write the same words again and again, all to the tune of:

“And you curse the time now deemed lost, though you should be thankful for it.
For there is no more universal experience than tearing free from one’s old skin, and being anew.”

“Good words are daffodil feathers,
Soaring gently.
Knowing they and the birds,
Are pretty much the same”

“I leave my mother, and my little brother at the train station.
You never know how long an hour is going to feel.
I tried counting in my head but I either lost my place, or lost the hour anyways.”

“I Left my goodness in the kitchen.
From when I last made you a coffee”

I’m drinking from a mug, on which you’ve painted us together.
And the little black cat can sleep on my bed anytime they like.

Haig pit

It has been said that post-Roman Britain was a time marked by a vague sadness.
Surrounded by shattered visages with naught to look upon.
Nothing to despair except the knowledge that there was once something.
Surely this is the air that permeates all the inhalations and exhalations throughout this pale strip.
born to walk amongst shattered ghosts, flirting at the edges of perception.
Weighing heavy on mid-morning conversations, under colliery skies.

As a child growing up in Whitehaven, my eyes were drawn to that place where men would once emerge darkened and hoarse.
Haig Pit, hanging heavy over the soft play house I was taken too once or twice a week.
Standing there as a memory not able to be held by hands such as mine.
Only an impression of mourning, trailing like a cloud of smoke behind the slow dog walkers.

Wild grass bending underfoot and under air.
The sharp attack of coastal winds.
Broken remnants of battlements, implacable in time, and scattered with broken glass.
Signposting some time and someplace, with carvings out of wind.

At times when I feel disassembled, dragging from one scratch in time to the next,
I go back and walk the harbour.
Barely holding steady against the wind, the distant waves, so below, crashing at my knees.
at the crest of almost knowing something.
Just a little bit further within reach.

Re-walking the routes we’d take old Jack.
I came across the spot where I turned to my mother.
And Squeezing the balled-up tissue inside my pocket,
I said to her,
“You know how I was scared? Well I’m not anymore. I’m sorry mum.”

Sometimes a ship leaves the harbour just because the winds are at it’s sails
And sometimes it’s because you’re eight and scared.

A sort of friction

Something strange is happening inside of me, or that is to say, something strange is always happening inside of me, as I’m sure it must be for everyone else.

The light that I cast a shadow against knows more than I do, and I re-learn this everyday.
Feeling the friction in my assertion of being.
Which of us is the lucky one?
Surely that answer is akin to an oil slick in a roadside puddle.

Stirring anti-clockwise, and then back clockwise.
Staring into the eye that remains steady.
Checking my breath in the crease of my palm.

Lingering over the coiled cord rotary.
Fingers curled and apprehensed.

This feeling of cracked ice underfoot, of hiding under the bed.
It’s an 8 year old boy, tucked up in my skull, looking out my eyes.
Gazing at days that drift like memories.
The shock of an expected future coming to an eventual fruition.

Carrying the sort of weight that my grandfather might have worn with pride,
like “I’m doing this for all of you, and you ought to be thankful, and you ought to be quiet when the rugby’s on, and you ought to know how to fix me a Jameson.”

But you squeezed my hand extra hard on the bus this morning.

And the wind rushed right through my hair, and I had to clench my eyes and turn my face to the side.

And every time I played guitar in my bedroom, I hoped you would come in and say “sounds great, pal.”

And “Nightswimming” is always playing somewhere.

And it feels sort of embarrassing to say:
“Sorry that I was gone for a second, I was thinking nice thoughts about myself.
I’ve done so well to even get here.”

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