Ship In A Bottle

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I do it to blur the edges
vignette the haze of night
I do it to shave the edge off
it’s always my round
There’s wonder in the bottle
another glass, another glass
This ship can never sink
can never skim its hull
can never drown
will never go down

And that’s the lie
the lie
that I’ve been living by
for so long

Shattered streetlight reflections
scatter in the puddles
backlit house windows
neatly arranged on hillsides
it’s a painterly view through squinted eyes
so cinematic through mottled glass
Headphones up high
the music video life
It’s fifteen years now
but I could stop at any time

And that’s the lie
the lie 
that I’ve been swearing by
for so long

I folded myself so carefully
shoved down the narrow neck
such safety in the numbness
watching all of life’s weather
from the confines, from the inside
Pull on my strings
sails raised and bellowing
my course will soon stop circling
and I never hurt anyone 
but my pickled self

And that’s the lie
the lie
that I’ve been telling myself
for so long

The tides that I am carried on
move too slowly
to truly show themselves
but this morning
I caught sight of my reflection
red eyes in tears for what they saw
it’s so obvious 
I need to change my course
and would you help me if I ask
help break me out of this

I can’t afford 
to buy into this lie
I’ve not enough time
to buy into this lie



◄ The Faintest Farewell

The Wonder ►


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Wed 22nd Dec 2021 13:14

Keith, thank you for coming back to this one. I’m so pleased it connected with you.

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keith jeffries

Mon 20th Dec 2021 01:28

Tom, I am intrigued by the various responses to this poem. The more I read it the more it enters my soul.
A poem of real worth. Thanks

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Sun 19th Dec 2021 22:57

Thank you so much John, Stephen and Ray. As you note Stephen, I think the last 2 years has found a lot of people falling to indulgent habits and it's hard to say no to something that feels good.

I wanted to write a poem touching on the joy of drink and the 'artistic' side of being a bit drunk but also the games you might end up playing with yourself to justify doing it more often than is healthy.

Good to question why we do what we do - I personally find poetry is a great format for that.

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John Botterill

Fri 17th Dec 2021 23:16

Awesome imagery, Tom Very touching and unnerving for the reader.
John Botterill

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Stephen Atkinson

Fri 17th Dec 2021 19:02

Wonderful writing, about an all too familiar subject these days, Tom.

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Fri 17th Dec 2021 17:48

A great metaphor is struck here Tom. So many ideas that carry the imagery into the human predicament, and a highly accomplished use of language to convey that. Good to read your work. It does feel like the voice of experience !


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Fri 17th Dec 2021 15:26

Thanks Keith. Habit is a trap and it's so easy to get stuck. Recognising the tricks you use to justify these behaviours to yourself is a good place to begin in breaking out of them. A new year's resolution, of sorts. Thanks for reading.

And thanks to Jordyn, John, Keith, Holden, Stephen, Stephen and John for reading and liking. Much appreciated.

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keith jeffries

Thu 16th Dec 2021 14:47

If this is written in the first person singular then I too have been there. The poem, well written, also paints an inner landscape which the reader cannot see but most certainly can speculate on.
A honest recognition is a first step. Using poetry as the genre adds a cathartic touch to it. I am with you mate.
Thank you indeed for this.

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