Ryan Woods

Ryan Woods was born and raised in the North West of England, during a year that saw war continue to rage in Vietnam, and the assassination of both Martin Luther King Jnr and Robert Kennedy.

Born into a working-class family, he learned to escape into the realms of Greek Mythology, his first literary love, whilst in high school. Before long, horror, in both written and cinematic mediums, also became a form of escape for him, and began to influence the direction that his writing would gravitate towards.

Interestingly, it would be his love of horror that would spark his interest in poetry, upon reading mention of the Stéphane Mallarmé poem Hérodiade whilst reading a horror novel. Hérodiade remains one of Ryan’s favourite pieces of poetry to date.

Ryan makes no bones (pun intended) about admitting that his writing is influenced by his fascination with the macabre, and the darker side of human nature. However, though many of his poems may have a dark undertone, some of them do carry messages of hope, that all is not lost.

Ryan believes in the unwavering resilience of the human spirit, and hopes that his poetry, though sometimes dark and vitriolic, proves that horror authors are just as creative as writers of other genres.

 

Poems:

“Fatherhood”

Four pounds and fifteen ounces

It seems like such an inconsequential weight

But for me…it meant the world

A new life, almost snuffed out

before your tiny lungs

had taken their first breath of air…

Within a heartbeat of being

snatched away by circumstance

If fate…and angels

hadn’t intervened

Nestled in your incubator,

like a baby bird

Not fully baked,

in your maternal womb

Unable to seek comfort,

or sustenance from the bosom

Each time that I held you,

and looked into your eyes

I felt my breath catch in my chest

From pride,

or fear,

or both

And each time that I spoke to you,

my voice would quaver

Fearful that if I spoke too loud,

that if I held you too tight,

or perhaps, not tight enough;

that you might disappear,

like a figment of my imagination,

or a dream, upon waking

So small,

but so precious…

Like a diamond,

brought to the earth’s surface

during a volcanic eruption

A placental abruption

9 weeks early…

Impatience has become

a way of life for you

Eager to grow up

Eager to move on

Eager to be free

As if freedom is a choice

that any of us ever really have

The world is becoming your oyster

A kaleidoscope of endless opportunities

You see your future on the horizon,

in every colour of the rainbow

Whilst I sit and watch…

Perhaps to hail your triumphs

Or pick up the pieces

of your tragedies

Perhaps I am not the man

that I once was…

Life has a way of changing you

But my eyes

still watch over you like a hawk

And my heart still beats

like that of a lion,

just waiting to roar

at any suitor, unworthy of your hand,

when that time comes…

And it will come

I know that now

And on that day,

when I walk you down the aisle,

I shall take a deep breath…

So deep that my lungs will burn,

So deep that my chest will billow out with pride

I will hold back the tears…

Or at least I’ll try

Because in the end…

All our dreams,

All our babies

Say goodbye.

Copyright Ryan Woods 23/02/2016

 

“Slipknots and Razor Blades”

I stuck my neck out for you,

and in return you handed me a noose;

so, I have decided it is time

to cut you loose…

I do not want to hang with you anymore….

There’s the door.

Don’t let it hit you in the ass

as you leave.

I may have taken leave

of my senses,

jumped through hoops

and scaled fences

for you.

But, those days are gone.

You are just one,

of the many mistakes that I

have made,

for which I have paid

the price…

You fed me a slice

of reality,

and now I am sick to my stomach

of your condescending ways,

your mind games,

and your power plays…

You think that it is funny

treating me the way that you do.

But I will humour you,

no more.

You treat me like a whore,

thinking that you can fuck with me

whenever you see fit.

But now the shit

has hit the fan

and I can’t understand

how you can

be so blind

to find

me guilty

of any crime…

If I had a dime

for every time

that I allowed you

to take advantage of me,

I would be rich

beyond my wildest dreams…

It seems

that no good deed

goes unpunished,

and I am serving hard time

for mine.

You handed me down

a life sentence

when you said, “I do”

If I only knew

then,

what I know

now.

Oh, how different things would be…

In life, there are tales to be told,

and stories to unfold,

pearls of wisdom to be learned

and bridges to be built,

or to be burned….

I am only human…

If you cut me I bleed,

and you seem to feed

on my pain.

You are a razor blade,

that leaves scars on the surface,

and deep inside.

But there is a place where I can hide,

when everything becomes too much…

Such is the beauty of my imagination.

It bears no relation

to the reality of the situation

that I find myself in…

I can be whatever I want to be.

I can be a wolf, roaming free

across an Arctic tundra…

I sit here,

and wonder,

where you would be

if I had not intervened

in the nightmare

that you once were living.

I did all the giving,

and you did all the taking.

Forsaking my trust.

Now dust,

and ghosts

are the only hosts

to the celebration

of our union.

Even a holy communion

cannot exorcise

the demons

that your lies

have created…

I waited

for love,

and hated

every minute

of what you gave

me instead.

You got inside my head,

and rearranged all the cogs,

every nut

and every bolt;

finding fault

with everything that I do,

and everything that you see…

Fool me once,

Shame on you…

Fool me twice,

Shame on me…

Copyright © Ryan Woods 02/12/2016

 

“Swan Song”

Shhh…

Listen…

Can you hear it?

There…in the distance,

That is the sound of our hearts

beating in unison

But it is weaker now…

so much weaker,

wounded by an ill wind

that drove a wedge between us,

like a squall racing ambitiously

across an Arctic tundra

Words that were once passed amongst us

like keepsakes;

and which created a symphony

of understanding,

now lay scattered on the ground

like empty promises

The laughter, now subdued

The tenderness that once flowed between us all

with the sweetness of caramel,

now carries a hint of the bitterness of treacle

There are poisons that blind you,

And poisons that open your eyes…

I once was lost, but now I’m found

Was blind, but now I see

We were like an orchestra once…

Harmonious

So in tune with one another

Each one a sister or brother,

by choice, if not by biology…

Art for art’s sake,

was once our theology…

But an orchestra requires a conductor

who does not consider himself more important

than the whole;

who should be creating a role model,

not a business model…

The heart and mind can be nomadic,

wandering aimlessly in search

of a place to call home…

I roamed for almost half a century,

in search of kindred spirits,

along highways of insecurity

and self-doubt;

across deserts of broken dreams

that long since turned to sand,

to finally stumble across an oasis;

only to watch as it turned into a mirage…

That has become my lot in life

So here I stand,

with history repeating itself;

wondering

“Where did I go wrong?”

So, this shall be my Swan Song…

My lament…

My farewell to arms…

Lucky charms

and four leaf clovers,

never granted me good fortune

Save for the friendships forged from the love of words,

the dream has once more turned into aNightmare

I care,

for each and every one of you

Wherever you go from here

Whatever you do

Know that a piece of me will go with you

It will live on in the times that we shared,

and the words that we dared

to challenge ourselves with

Take care…

Be well…

Keep punching…

Keep on, keeping on…

It’s time to pack my bags once more

Poetry; my paramour,

will be my companionon this journey

It’s the end of the line for me

The night train to Valhalla

has pulled into the station,

and I’ve got a ticket to ride…

Farewell my friends,

for right or wrong;

this will be my Swan Song.

 

Copyright Ryan Woods 17/06/16

 

“Night Train to Valhalla”

The troubled teenagers sat uneasy in their chairs,

looking down at the ground…

Not one of them wanted to stare

at the person stood before them

Not one of them made a sound

What could he tell them,

that they hadn’t already been told?

But sit they did,

even raised their heads;

and eventually witnessed the magic unfold…

Do you like stories?

he began…

Do you?

Do you like tales of hope and glory?

Then lend me your ears

and open your hearts, and your minds

and you will find that there is magic all around

Seek and ye shall find…

Make yourselves comfortable

I’m about to start

My name is not important

Though I do play a part

in this fable

All you need to know, is that I drive the train

The night train

The night train to Valhalla…

Let me tell you a story about a lost girl

Her name was Lyric Storm,

and it fit her like a glove

Her life was a concerto of disillusionment

A maelstrom of unrequited love

and unrealised dreams

Music had been her salvation,

at least in the beginning

But before too long

she found herself swimming

in a pool of unworthiness,

drowning in her moments of mediocrity…

She was fragile…and broken,

like a fine china teacup

One that no amount of glue

or disingenuous goodwill

was ever going to stick back together again

It would hold her together for only so long,

before the cracks would reappear,

becoming scars of desolation

etched into her skin

during moments of frustration,

that coiled around her

like a razor wire strait jacket

She would carve tic-tac-toe grids into her arms

with a rusty razor blade,

because she said that she felt like a nought…

like a zero…

like a nothing

She didn’t need a hero

She just needed someone to believe in her

That’s where I came in

October 31st, 23.59

She stood on a railway platform,

staring down the line;

waiting for any train to roll in,

so that she could check out

There would be no drama

No need to shout

She never even saw me coming…

My train that is governed by no timetable

and by no physical laws,

rolled along the tracks as silently as the voice

of every bullied child,

every victim of domestic violence,

and every downtrodden minority group

that screams silently into the deaf ears

of those who won’t listen,

and came to rest alongside her…

I opened the doors,

and sensing something that she could not comprehend,

she stepped on board,

and became a Legend

You are the strays

You are the lost

Tossed away by society

Discarded like fast food wrappers

Together you are legion…

She stepped on board defeated,

and stepped off a champion…

On board, she stared at the windows

But the windows were not windows

They were T.V. screens

Each one playing scenes

of strife

in a montage of melancholy

that she called life…

Scenes from a play, wrote by her hand

and wrought from each and every breath that she had taken

while trying to understand,

and comprehend her place in the scheme of things…

So many dreams unfulfilled

So many nightmares to endure

Idle promises

dangled like a lure

in her path,

the aftermath of which

slapped her in the face

like toxic waste

But where others saw a waste of time

I saw potential,

and I showed her images

of what she could achieve

Wonders await those who believe

in themselves…

And when the screens fell silent,

you could have heard a pin drop;

and if your hearing had been fine-tuned enough

you would have heard the rustle of hairs

on the back of her neck

You would have heard the goose bumps breaking out

on her flesh

So I stand here in front of you

and offer you that same glimmer

of hope

Shimmer like a firefly

amidst a night of darkest, bitter treacle

Know that you have no equal

Your time of languishing in the shadows has ceased

Let the magic inside of you

be released

Shine with the luminosity

of a Supernova

Explode with the ferocity

of a Tsunami

Allow it to wash away all your doubt

Shout

from the rooftops

“This is my time”

“This is my design”

Do not be denied your time in the limelight

Fight for your place in the world

This is your birth-right

So make a stand

and protest at the gates of injustice,

until they succumb

like the walls of Jericho

to the fanfare of the common man…

So, arise

like the warriors that you were born to be

This is not about them…

This is not about me…

This is about you…

So rise

Rise and shine, like the champions that you are

Because you are GOLD

 

Copyright Ryan Woods 06/06/2016

 

 

“The Calm before The Storm”

The clock on the wall ticks staccato,

while my heart beats like a bronze automaton

The blood, sweat and tears – a visceral perfume

My shadow mocks me like a ghost

My every move mimicked

by my silhouetted counterpart

Every action met

by an equal and opposite reaction

Only this opponent does not hit back

Sometimes I wish he would

To feel the sting of my own leather,

against my own flesh

To feel the bite of my own punch,

and see

my bloodied and battered form,

slumped before me

The ultimate sacrifice…

I hear my name called,

and find myself in the arena

The music stops…the lights dim

And the square ring stands before me,

my dreams made flesh

The crowd a blur,

of noise and nonsense,

baying for blood;

Ad nauseam

I’ll give them what they want

And then some

The referee speaks,

while the judge’s watch

like Valkyries;

and I stare into my opponent’s eyes,

into his soul

I see fear and anxiety

A lamb to the slaughter

Let’s get ready to rumble

And then we are alone

Two warriors born,

of rage and war

I want to help him

I also want to kill him

I do neither,

as the bell rings;

and the dance begins

Round and round we go,

each thrust and jab,

each hook and cross

invoking a violent, balletic riposte

The seconds pass like hours

The minutes like days,

as we continue our engagement,

of agony and ecstasy

To the victor…the spoils

To the vanquished…despair

Valhalla awaits us both,

like the welcoming arms of our mother’s

Call me what you will

Boxer, pugilist, modern day gladiator

I stand proud, and I stand alone.

 

Copyright Ryan Woods 2015

 

 

“Snowflakes and Memories”

 

I raise my head skyward

And watch as snowflakes pirouette in the air

Angels of symmetry sent from above

To remind me of loved ones there

The gentle caress upon my cheek

As each snowflake brushes by

Evokes my mother’s gentle touch

And the sparkle in her eye

But that sparkle is just a memory now

Carried upon the breeze

And her voice a songbird’s lullaby

Amidst the tender winter freeze

 

Copyright Ryan Woods 2016

“Angels with Dirty Faces”

You are an Angel with a dirty face,

that’s what you are.

You are the meat

of deceit

that “lies”, festering

beneath the crust.

All your promises

turned to dust,

in the cold light of day…

What seemed like good intentions

gave way

to

bad memories,

that burn like a brand.

Don’t bite the hand

that feeds you

they say.

But everything had to be

your way…

“It’s my way

or

the highway”,

was your ultimatum.

You knew the words, verbatim.

You had spoken them

many times before…

So, one by one,

we chose the door

over your ego.

Easy come

Easy go…

You think you know someone,

but do you ever really know

what lies behind the mask?

If you don’t ask,

you don’t find out…

Life, sometimes; is about

learning from your mistakes.

Sometimes all it takes

is a little nudge in the right direction,

to open your eyes

and change your perception

of things…

The truth can be painful,

but it can also bring

its own kind of peace.

I never cease

to be amazed

by the games that some people play.

So, have it your way…

You planned,

and you schemed,

but I bet that you never dreamed

that this would all backfire on you…

Well, you know what to do.

Wear it, if the hat fits…

You’ve made your bed,

now it’s time to “lie” in it…

Copyright © Ryan Woods 17/10/16

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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