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Tying up the loose ends
Like a video game
When you’ve completed the main quest
And there’s nothing more to do
But wait for the next adventure.
The fond farewells of characters
Who’ve made this tapestry sparkle.
The relief of cutting off from people
Who hold you down and push you back.
The creaking of zips, straining against luggage.
Everything you need to survive contained in two suitcases.
And a backpack.
But there are some things that just can’t be squeezed into hand luggage.
The people you love the most for example.
It’s a choice you have to make:
Adventure, or love.
Fortunately, you can settle for both;
They will still be there when you return.
Or so you keep telling yourself.
In the meantime, you make do with the pixels on screen,
And the mechanical voices that claim to be your family.
And try to find a surrogate family to see you through the absence.

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You win.
Or so you think.
You sit there,
On the throne that you have built for yourself,
Gloating, and mocking, and belittling.
You write off people that cease to be “useful”,
Who won’t allow you to tread on them on the way up.
I write off people who are the treaders.
And if after all the years of life
That you waste
By panicking over falling off of that throne,
Perched oh-so-precariously upon that ridiculous pedestal,
You still cannot see that of the two of us,
It is I who is better off,
Yes me, the one you scorned,
Failed to take seriously,
Washed your hands of,
Well then I shall know
That the day I burnt that particular bridge,
And the day I severed that particular tie
Was not a day too soon.

There is something odd
About a place with merely a street or a river
Separating the rich from the poor.
The middle-aged millionaire,
His young, blonde, synthetic wife,
Her original parts are twenty-four,
But the improvements?
Those are merely months.
Counting their cash,
Buying their cars,
Selling their soul for immortality.
Only ever worrying
About who sleeps with who,
Who said what,
How much tax can be avoided.
Prison? But that’s for poor people.
But metres away,
In a one-bedroom flat,
Lives a single mother
Of two, a boy and a girl,
Who is living hand to mouth.
Too proud to sign on,
(Her mother never did),
Clothing her babies
In the finest garments
Her local charity shop
Can supply.
Going hungry herself
“Don’t worry, mummy’s already eaten”,
Scrabbling around in her purse
For a bus fare.
The doctor’s surgery is too far to walk.
A mile at most, between two walks of life,
But physical distance is not the only kind.

On the day
That a conman fooled me
With a cheap trick,
My rose-tinted glasses cracked.
And suddenly a world that once seemed so bright
Was full of filth and decay.
The masks of kind strangers
Began to slip:
The woman with the beautiful children
Cheats on her loving, trusting husband
Whenever he’s away on business.
The man who treats his dog like royalty
Treats his wife like a stray mutt.
She’d be better off in the gutter,
Where his drunken fists cannot reach her.
The frail old lady with aching joints
And a walking frame
Is a kleptomaniac.
She’s stolen silver from her sister.
The daughter, laughing with her mother,
Best friends with her post-university,
Is completely unaware that her mother
Is sleeping
With her daughter’s fiancee.
And prior to having my trust abused,
I too was unaware.
But now,
I see everything.
And I hate it.