I Dream of Pine Trees

i dream of
pine trees
and sea salt

bruised knees
in the grass

i dream of
campfires
and

listening
to summer rain

i dream of
moonlight
and stardust

i still hear
my mother’s
favourite song
echoing
in dusty
corners
of my mind

i came here
to build a home
with you
i say
from the abandoned
bones of my ancestors
i say

and i know you will stay
because you are
not the kind of man
that runs away
from love
and i kiss you
with one hand on your chest
and the other on your cheek

you taste of pine trees
and sea salt
and i still hear
my mother’s favourite
song
echo
in my head

City Boys

in the city
men in suits
are in a hurry
to get heart failure
and lorazepam
while i stroll
with my hair down
and my eyes set
on the sky
not a penny
in my pocket
but the luxury
of time

suit up boys
smoke another
cigarette and
snort another line

the stench of success
surrounds you now

coins clang
like the beat
of a battle drum
as
i stroll past them
with my hair
in the wind
and my heart
on my sleeve

Mrs D

i carried your name
in my pocket
the day after
you died

i had peeled
it off your door
mrs d
room number fifteen
black letters
printed by a machine
on a transparant
background

heart matters
eighty nine
don’t leave me alone
you said

every
single
shift

i thank you
for your shine

Poetry collection: The Care Home

When people say “not all heroes wear capes”, we sinfully imagine no cape at all. But here, Rebecca shows us that the forgotten heroes do wear capes; they just wear them back to front and call themselves nurses as they wipe away a variety of bodily fluids. Their job is not saving the world or anything near as glamorous or self-indulgent; it is bloody and it is gruesome. It is work we have trouble stomaching; saving dying people from the fear of their own demise.

The Care Home is as honest a portrayal of life as you will ever get. There is no glory or fame, just the stark realization that you are dying and you are lucky enough to do so not watching death tick another life away, day in and day out. – Mickey Finn, Author of ‘Golden.’

‘The Care Home’ is the fourth collection of poetry by Certified Carer and poet Rebecca Rijsdijk.

Sweet Old Grandma Murder Machine

the days
blur into
one big night
as i lay here
gasping for breath

i miss my lover’s arms
as he fights the virus
in a different city
too far away
from my own

are you falling asleep again, amor?

i see them come at me
in my dreams
the sweet old grandma’s
who turn into walking
murder machines
with their arms reaching out
for love

their dementia
is what kills us now
and they don’t even know it
as they walk out with covid-19
on their breath
unable to understand
the looks of terror
in their nurse’s eyes

please go back to your room
my love
i say with my arms stretched out

i try to hide the panic
in my voice

please go back to your room
my love
you are ill

she doesn’t hear
and keeps coming closer
the non medical mask
won’t hold
i know this
i live this every shift
wanting to comfort her
but trying to keep safe
myself

please mrs A
go back to your room

i can’t hear you dear
your speech is muffled
i just want to know
where my favourite
nightdress went

her nose is running
her skin looks parched
the cough she carries
is a wilder beast
covid 19
spreading through the corridors
like wildfire

one dead
two dead
three dead
four five six
seven eight

the days
blur into
one big night
as i lay here
gasping for breath

Science doesn’t need you to believe in it.

a mouth mask
doesn’t hide the sound
of a voice breaking
when a heart stops beating

a pair of goggles doesn’t
mask the tears
that fall
in between
the breath
that stains
our view

i watch a man
shrink
to nothingness
within a matter
of days
bones sticking out
his face
like a skeleton
dressed in paper
breath ragged
like the sound
of an exhaust pipe
running on fumes

the tv runs silently
in the background
showing images
of covid test streets
being attacked
by people
who don’t believe
in science
as i hold the gloved hand
of the relative
that is going
to stay behind
because touch
is still touch
and the thin layer
of plastic
that separates
us
is still able
to pass
on warmth
and science
doesn’t need you
to believe in it

but a man still dies
fighting
an invisible
enemy

I love You, a Thousand Times.

Leaving your house
after the weekend
always feels a bit
like dying

until it’s done.

I have my routine now.
I hoover the rug
my dog shat on
at our first date
because you always
do the cooking.

I wash the bed linen
because the stains of our
love making
bite the fabric.

I smoke one last cigarette
that you left for me because
you know I suck at quitting.

I write you a poem
and leave it on your bed.
And when there are no words
that rhyme or have rhythm
I simply write

I love you
I love you
I love you

a thousand times.

Small Town Dying

on monday
we are hungover from
that weekend
when we lived

on tuesday
we wash our car
because god forbid
the car next door
shines harder

on wednesday
we mow the lawn
and throw the apples
back over the hedge

on thursday we pay
our taxes and fuck our wives
because this needs to happen
once a month

on friday we eat fish
and i think jesus
had something to do
with that

on
saturday
we die

Violated

he looks like
an army vet
like in one of those
american movies
we watched

pilot glasses
porn moustache
trucker cap

he rides a mobility
scooter
and his wife rides one
too
while his granddaughter
bounces up and down
a makeshift trolley

i wear a sleeveless shirt
and he looks at me
with that disgusting man face
some of them make
while his wife complains
about the weather