birthday

the midnight fireworks and tinkle of glasses,
heads tipped back in bawdy unison,
throats burning in celebration
of a dear friend, classmate, colleague, brother,
the air hums with its tune,
but my darling,
my celebration does not end
when the headache fades
and the stained shirt is washed out.
i will dance in praise of you with every step,
and with every word,
i am singing a mountain song for you.
the tide does not fail to ebb
when it tires of the foam,
but will follow in peaceful stoicism
till the moon falls into the waters
and the sun begins to blink.

chester

you walk some place brighter now, and i can only pray that those who called themselves your devoted would come to see that success did not secure your peace of mind –

i pray that they would look beyond the reaches of their trembling, and know that there is so much more life to be had.

train ride

https://i1.wp.com/www.forttumbleweed.net/KosseTrainStation_w.jpg

as i sat on the early afternoon train,
just before the evening rush,
i looked across the carriage at the empty seats –
gaudy purple and yellow patterns
that deck the train out
like a christmas tree.
and so i wished that my fingertips
could hold some essence of goodwill,
for those who would be later sat
upon my tracing.
for though we come together in our passage,
cramped into a box on wheels
that coughs us out
and sprinkles us across the country as we demand,
our moment of unity
will soon be split
into paths of uncertainty,
and nobody can say whose path will be first to end.

sabine

the pirates, in their greed,
looted her chance for a lady’s life.
and now,
the village women say
that her spirit
wanders through town on a Saturday
with a pale basket on her silver arm,
heading towards the market,
and takes her ghostly apples
back to sea.

a conversation, coloured lonely

tree women

[this is a collaboration with the lovely Aurora Phoenix – she is a joy to work with and we both loved creating this piece for you. please have a wander around her blog for more!]

it is at night,
when the silence screams the loudest.
when the curtains are drawn,
and the candle snuffed –
the air is burnt,
with the orange glow
of the blackened wick.
a single star
in an empty sky,
a tiger’s eye
in the witching forest,
a lonely car
on the midnight highway.

in the daylight
the silence is shushed
its horns ground down
under the trampling of the day
it finds kindred spirits
lurking in the pauses
poised to pounce
between hither and yon
a rabid Chimera
intent on foiling its captors

it is at night,
when the silence grows its wings;
when it becomes
arms and fingers
that squeeze and squash,
leaving their purple stains
across my skin.
so tomorrow,
i’ll cover up –
for what does loneliness wear,
when it wants to make a friend?

in the daylight
I dress to kill that silence
bedecked with breastplates
silvery self-reliance
protecting mawkish heartstrings
strained to breaking
by the violent plucking
of the silence in the
blue-black night
diamond crusted gauntlets
constrict my fingers
stretching toward contact 

it is at night,
when the ancient words echo;
Plato’s Symposium
rattles through my brain
like bullets fleeing from the barrel.
you are incomplete,
he whispers;
your God-given substance
will not sustain,
your severed arms
are bound to flail
in this darkness,
grappling for a mate
that never comes near.
as i topple on the edge of sleep,
the condescending voice
of old-age wisdom
bends my will across its knee.

in the daylight
learned philosophers
uncloaked
under Ra’s harsh glare –
elderly drunkards
babbling in their cups –
beneath the penetrating rays
hypocrisy illumined.
I splashdown
in the well of loneliness
dug by my constraints
listen as they old-woman cackle
when I savor the dip.
I taste the madness
of love requited
sip from my flask
fractious firewater
eau de fierce independence
with the throatiest of howls
I birth my own
dancing star

 

the feast

https://img0.etsystatic.com/012/0/6601733/il_570xN.446998854_epvq.jpg

there lies a nook
beneath the pale flesh of my chest,
in which is tucked a pantry
with soft walls
and silver doorknobs,
wherein lies
the choicest morsels of my memory
preserved in jars,
pickled and prized –
my sweet child,
i cannot wait to invite you to the feast.

a messy letter to my child

https://johanhoekstracollection.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/lioness-and-cubs-2002-johan-hoekstra-wildlife-art.jpg?w=1133&h=694

i catch glimpses of you
on the high street
in the supermarket
in the park.
each day, i feel the touch
of your pea-sized toes
and the grip of your precious fingers,
beckoning me in longing,
in hope.

to know that someday
i will hold you and tell you
the stories that are
just tears and laughter to me now
makes my useless life
a fairy-tale

you will be
the sole reader
of my greatest story,
and then my greatest story
will be you.

but i hear you,
i see your brimming eyes
and your trembling bottom lip –

‘mummy,
why did you have me
if you know our world was soon to end?’

my face fades.
i feel my heart dropping
below my lungs
that burn in the heat
of our aching planet

how can i answer that?
how could i be so selfish,
to let my own desire,
to fulfill those old dreams
and childhood fantasies,
transcribe a death sentence for my child?

oh, i cannot be a mother –
a true mother would not bring forth a child
in the knowledge
that their life would be less than whole

would she?

there is no promise
of safety or future
that i can give you –
they have taken that away
from you, from us.

and yet,
the song of the earth
has not been silenced.
nature’s bell rings out
in its defying decibel,
the words of old
speak louder than the coming flood

does the lioness
refuse to mate
because she knows
that only one
of her three baby cubs
will likely survive infancy?

do penguins
reject some certain instincts
because others dictate
that their tiny chick
will be subject
to the life of hardship
that is written in their blood?

my God,
this is not a conflict
between what constitutes
a good or a bad life,
this is not luck or loss,
survival or suffering –

this is life,
and life in all its fullness.

and if it lies in heaven’s plan,
life will be breathed into you
just as the creator breathed into me
and that life
will be infinitely precious –
no matter its nature,
no matter its length.

harmchair

https://uploads6.wikiart.org/images/vincent-van-gogh/paul-gauguin-s-armchair-1888.jpg

he made her feel at home.
he put food on her table and a pillow beneath her head,
he sung lullabies and read stories till her blushing cheeks were scarlet red.
he sat her in his best armchair and tucked a blanket round her knees –
it was a pity she did not know that the chair was electric.