The Unpromised (27 October)

If you had read the labels
flashing bright neon colours,
extolling youth’s extra sweetness
whose contents and capabilities
were new and improved,
such-and-such percentage more likely
to produce successful results
(ignore their bleak predecessors with
inferior lives unworthy of mention)
you would surely claim to have been
misled that night.

Wait, wait.
They’re finding a place.
Let them assemble their better selves
As the band gathers again.

How quickly daybreak fades to render rough gaps
With pre-filled, sanded stories growing smoother,
Flatter, softer, easier to sell as night sets.

Self-made, remade, BYO, DIY, all new
100% organically-concocted claims:
Better to claim your own, to print
A golden version before others grab hold,
Their rough lead a dot-to-dot
Defacing the surface to reveal
What sustains them is:

bitter lives still wedged in high school’s
halcyon days (you really wish to re-inhabit?),
an unsmiling marriage,
an unmentioned divorce,
the promise of monetary miracles,
a high-flying half-pack a day (maybe more) or
that green bottle that silvers your speech,
grander lives of siblings easier to share than
loose ends that never knotted and left you
days that “make you want to end it”,
waiting for another go in
five, ten years when
it will all work out in the end.

They’ll form the same circles and ask you to
Ignore the wear and tear the real world brings,
Degrading lives by petty sacrifices made
Lacking Cassandra’s gift
– but which one? –
As here unwanted middles emit the
Scent of broken ends.

The photo’s done.

They make a cornered retreat, floating back
To the unpromised lives
We may all come to endure.

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