Even

Even the light

Is different

Testing the dura

Of oxygen

Without you

Even thirst

Has no desire

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Patricia, before fame

Played for keeps.

Competition was her muse

She wrote her first book

Won the acalades she sought

Changed her face in surgeons chair

And still

In the pages of her, I read quiet despair

A pervasive loneliness in loose leafed characters

They screamed on her behalf, when she could only

Type help.

And
You, today, walking, lost

With large red dog 

And small foot tattoo

You had the same shape

An edge to your corners, as sharp as spite

A quietude and a silence, sadness set firm in your eyes.

I wanted to ask

Why?

Or reveal what I already knew 

In just having met, the corners and the distance

No match for feeling, across tow path

And into that personal space, where you laid your sorrow out

I smiled a great smile

Thinking …

Can a smile impart a hundred thoughts?

You passed, and the wetness of your loss

Felt like brief rain on my arm

Two strangers and a dog

It was as if it hadn’t happened

Yet

You reminded me so much of Patricia

And her emptiness, written throughout each story

You see … we recognize each other

As much as for who we are not, as our similarities

Strange bedfellows of perverse and solitary, mearly trying to tred water.

If I’d spoken more, I would have asked;

Do you walk through the high grass to see the butterflies?

Do you feel the sun before it gets too hot?

Will we walk in the same direction and in time perhaps …

Talk of how we came to choose, empty steps, over laughter

You never know

They could be everything, or perpetual stranger

A moment, and no more

Or the rest of your life.

Instead of pulling away, if you reached into them

Like leaves blown, will fall, one on top, one below

A path of many 

Creating singular

Direction.

Guilt


Guilt

Is a rare bird of shame

Its plumage

Breathtaking

For guilt

Captures the beholder, willing or not

Averting gaze from all else

Guilt will render paradise dowdy

Comparing freedom with the chains of its capture

Guilt is an old, fond bruise

Reminder of moments left torn to shreds

It will piece them carefully back

Twice as convincing, twice the weight

Strung round your neck like noose of sea pearls

Begging to be drowned

Guilt is a rose bush with bleeding thorns

A shudder as you catch yourself thinking of

Those pursed secrets you’ll never disclose, even to yourself

Snapshots you expunge, that still, listlessly, rise from the depths

Never speak of it, even to the merry faced doctors 

Plunging their needles as far as they’ll go

Guilt

Makes you sick

Wan faced, old before your time 

Aloof in the varnished secret

Guilt

Steals your liberty 

But like a lie

Guilt is not vanquished, even by truth

There are things better never admitted

Keep them so deep inside you start believing the deception

Until

Like a wide eyed bride

Guilt takes your hand 

And plunges you back where you’ve been all along

There’s no solution to shame when it’s too late to undo

The poison that you drink, the person you’ve turned into

Guarding yourself like a wreck against sharp rocks

With less and less by the day to salvage

If you spoke it out loud

Surely the very sky would catch fire

How many of us must carry a spark?

Burning in our secret hearts?

And maybe this is why

You never know another person by what they share

Instead

It is the unsaid

Electric in the air

We recognize in others

The tarnish of shame

As clear as promises once given

Cannot be refunded

Walked with angels

You are the wonder of the world
a red man come from desert

you saved this girl from drowning in sand

pricked her lips with cacti juice

told her of the stars in your mouth

collapsing mountains

summoning sleeping giants to lie beneath us.

With cicadas, you wove me a blanket of safety

though you had nothing

you gave me all.

From the empty handed

comes the greatest gift

unfolding like paper water lillies

leaving stigmatas in my palm

the shape of echoing stars.

Never apologize 

Dearest

for being poor or empty handed

when your feathers are full and sunset lifts you high

the circumference of your heart

longer than a sincere word

taught me humility

and how to know 

the tenderness of kindness comes often 

from those who receive no thanks

for they are not rich

nor need those things to sustain their souls

walking with angels.

You are a man of your ancestors

truth in the words

as the bell chimed, you took me to be yours

pouring salvation into candles 

lighting my way to freedom.

So many years I had been caught by the neck

twisting in the wind unable to escape

the trap of circumstance

and in one pull 

you gathered me close and saved me

a hunter turned tender 

for the fluttering of his people

bestowing goodness like late harvest.

From the empty handed

comes the greatest gift

before we reach heaven

we may have still

walked with angels.

Ode to the antipoet


I told the cheongsam wearing beauty

You are very kind

But I’m not sure there is such a thing

As humility

When our world is made of capital

For only recently

I heard a conversation

On the end of poetry 

The deceivers, sharp, pointed folk

Trussed in their certainty

Poetry was neither vocation nor career

But some beast of the very idle

Something retired people and students dabbled in 

Not a grown up or grown down job but

Proof of latter life impressionist indolence

Yet, like land auctioned off and trees torn down 

We cannot know of the beauty once standing

Without the witness of a scribe

For more roads without direction we take, employing compass

Without translation, our journey remains an enigma

Like redheads, freckles and those left-handed

Doomed to scorn and ostracized days

They paint the world with much needed alternatives

As poets write out everything within us we couldn’t see, lending words to universal feeling

Yet, relegated by the long tongue of capitalist decree

Those who configure feelings shall never be 

The vaunted or the high priest, followed in obedience

It is our nature to ridicule what we do not understand

Absurd yet with mis-hap sense, justifying how we turned out

No choice, no desire for question

Some grow up longing to be dentists, chartered accountants, bankers, zoo keepers

And those of us who from earliest moment

Wrote what others dismissed or feared to touch

Carry a strange torch

Maybe the value is not always clear

Surely easier to pour scorn upon, the role of poet 

Than to give thanks

We have not in our collective greed

Forgotten the art of being

When frail turn reminds us

Being human is more

Than cast off rind

But the potency of citrus

In a land that had never before known

Tropical fruit

Let her out


The wax in your wane

Needle on smooth track

A song from twenty years back

When you didn’t have

The holes you have now

Crocheting skin with doubt

When you just threw yourself open

Dancing in a crowd with long wick

Breasts high, chin tight, feet on tiptoe

The candle lasted all through night 

And we spilled, like red polinated seeds

Out into dark city streets

Bra straps, cyclist legs, powdered glee

It’s not the bravado of youth 

But the absence of ghosts

Keeps us free

***

I am you 

I am the flicker of past who asks

What did you do with your true self?

Packaged up in trepidation so soft

Lulled yourself to sleepwalking 

Years passed like finger on fast forward

Before you know 

Almost

On the cusp of memory

A girl with an open smile

Running towards you

Gone, not lost

Unpick the confine

Let her out

That she may find again

Herself

Her light


Once

I was a narrow backed bird

My wings were thimbles 

Dipped in vermillion

And male birds

With fat heads and thin legs

Betraying insubstantiality

Bowed and pecked, scratched in dirt

Of ardor and the absurd

Inflation being the territory of youth

Puff up, and let loose, shallow breath

I stood, cased in thought

Whorls of sea, hissing in my ears

Watching the pantomime of suitors

Without impression beyond wishing

To reveal innermost truth

To tell them, I am not the amaretto heart

My legs may part but the secret requires a key

The covet you have, is not for me

But a flickering illusion

Born on gold wheat and full fat milk

Where shyly school children sit hip to hip

Attempting to swallow the future, spoonful by spoonful

Wondering

Will I grow tall and willowy? Attract the grazing male?

Or stay suet and solid, in the finery of my own chainmail?

Not shifting with the glare

Nor melting beneath reporate

Feet grounded and solid

Like a much weathered tree will gain, higher purchase

Had I known then

The value of solidity

I’d have filled my belly 

Stretching out like a catamaran

Ready to receive weight of water

Cupped once, twice, thrice

Until beneath us, all else sinks

A stone among stones, building

Fortress against cruel turn of attraction and other auctions

So easily sold for naught

I would have been a yellow woman

Christened by yoke

Feathered in shellac pose

Hardened in ocre sun

Yet able to rise like morning bread

To embrace the less savage road

Where love is not dependant upon

Rude strings of shiny beeds and fleeting sum

Nor the appraisal of one, unable to understand

The warm value of the feminine

And not that cast off coat, threadbare in her insulation

He will soon see right through his own

Penchant for the fantastical

She is weathered, moored in confidence, for her walk

He may never glance her way

Though when he says he saw

The sunset and it was beautiful

He may indeed, be describing

Her light