The Weight

by | Oct 12, 2020

Word thoughts melt, fading, away in memory,

running like a sailor

late, after messing up on shore leave,

left his uniform with the tailor

and the name of the girl he loved that night,

if only she would meet him

that girl, she’d love him back and in future days,

maybe even tomorrow, might neglect to even greet him

The words they reappear somehow, freshly twisted,

explanation not provided

no apology, the way it is with trying to explain the paralysed

before the blacks and whites collided

whatever I see, there are no surprises, I’ve seen it all before,

I write it down before it’s just too late

some call it inspiration, others call it muse,

I don’t call it anything except perhaps The Weight.


Words burn like a furnace, the ore stripped

from the sacred solemn ground

if only it would make a difference to the blind, the lame,

the sick among us, who make the protest sound

Puritans subjugate as they should to the principles of language,

hidden in the bushes, shouted in the streets, strangled on the grass

the perfectly acceptable poetry read out on radio,

interpreting the future, the present, and the past

watch me, wince, no room to move except all the way

throughout the blessed earth

letters, manuscripts, waging war on suitability and accepting prizes,

for what any of it is worth

while the father scratches his chin,

the mother stands at the gate

describing the flight of fancy,

the thing I call The Weight.


Words weigh me down, the loss of themes in colour scream at me

through ether, rain and powder

like the ten year old boy showing his father that he could swim,

across the pool – that it would somehow make him prouder

Death is announced, to cancel out the birth, as if it’s grappling

for something, anything, to make it seem good, or right

and the dogs they keep on barking, something’s eating at the fruit trees

I’m going to find out what or who it is, if I have to sit up half the night

The manuscript of no consequence, as if the readership is hanging

wanting something, to provide some kind of idea, a clue, a taste, a date

in anticipation, sipping on a drink, not knowing what to call it,

the thing I call The Weight.


Words, the wind, they both cut through the air,

tearing like a scythe, a blade, a scalpel, a sword through buttons on my coat

dismissing, caring not a care, not a care, an interest,

for the long and thoughtful reflections in the letter that I wrote

Hearing, smelling, feeling, watching, which is best to try and corral,

the scenes, the phrases, the ideological masquerades of opinions

given equal time, by those who genuflect and have a bet each way

while they pause, reign supreme over all their sweet dominions

Meanwhile in the corner, over coffee, buttered toast, and scrambled eggs

as the young, the old, the pretentious swank of silk and wool and cotton

sit back, swap smiles and laughing while the bent old lady begs

what to make of it, can I make something of it, will the noise inside abate

to appease this momentary affliction, the lifelong determination,

in the thing I call The Weight.


Words, they take me to a dream, crashing tables, breaking windows

and just as I am awoken there’s a knocking at my door

the place that I land in, has no windows, but has a waiter taking my order

I ask her what I want and she says “how would I know, and what exactly are you here for?”

“I ain’t here for anything,” I tell her, “isn’t that the point of it”,

I realise no one knows anything at all, or how to break free of it

“I can’t tell you what you want” she says “unless you tell me honestly,”

“are you here because you oppose it or are you here because you agree with it?”

I don’t know how to answer it, I don’t know what to say,

I don’t know how I am managing, or if it has a bearing on my fate

I only know it’s name,

the thing I call The Weight.

© copyright – Stephen Newman 2020