the quiet voice

Trying something new, a little early.

it scratches in a place
not quite inside
or behind
but curiously beyond your ears
it niggles and nibbles
it wastes no time on punctuation
takes no breaths
it is

the quiet voice is nerve-sharpened
and heart-hardened
it is a doom-mongering
relentless as splintered nails
on charcoal walls in prison cells.

rattle the bars
if you like, but
the quiet voice is deft
it springs and jigs from
shoulder to shoulder
in a feat of
that leaves a moral compass reeling.

the quiet voice resents the booming
threat your larynx possesses,
takes care to stifle language at crisis,
chucks mothballs down your throat
where they lodge, nakedly obstructive.

(An intermission.)

(Take this time to breathe;
if you prefer,

(It will not matter either way.)

the quiet voice is
at times
a distant scream
so not really quiet at all,
more a rumbling carriage of discordant voices
careening down bumps and rises
a loudness at length
a calendar colourised and crumpled up
and tumbling
ever closer,
always nearing,
an engine-buzzing accompaniment
this looming, cacophonous choir.

missed appointments assault you
lost opportunities smelling of burnt rubber
and the quiet voice undercuts and overpowers
the quiet voice is HERE and NOW and you are
and you are a golf ball
careening down a hill,
all dimpled,
all tightly-wound inside
guarding an invisible centre
and at each point the quiet voice is the club
driving you towards the patient pit
you've always been heading for.

an eighteenth hole
an eighteenth year
an eighteenth chance
to end the course
and start afresh.

The End

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