Thursday, May 20, 2010

Word Woman

If all you could know of me was this
Written down
A woman of word
Then so be it
As only paper and time can speak it
As truth
And knowledge
As a book
Wide open
A spine
Skin white like alabaster
Constructed of invisible flesh
Words like sinew and vein tied to you
Impossible flesh
Transcribed on skin
In ink
Then so be it
A woman of word
A woman in paper and ink
A woman she shall be
Eyes brown
A scar on her right knee
The curve of her breast like a comma
Her nipple a full stop
Further still it will be written in bone
In pen
Fingertips searching the key pad of your light
Further down
Excavating sentences
Constructed in heat and moisture
Beating out their rhythm
Not unlike a heart
Not unlike a pulse
Then so be it
If all you are to know of me
Are words
And I am born of those words
Of their silken syllables
Their sex
Their longing
Words sprung forth
Deep wellsprings of desire
That fold into me
That fly from me
Like origami birds
Into the flame of your poetry
Then so be it
If this is all I can be
A word woman
A construction of a woman
A paper leaf on your burning tree

Confessions of a self-proclaimed Suicidal Nihilist (Note to Nietzsche)

I have died a thousand times already
You will have lost me a hundred more
Before you even wake up.

A small suicide lives on the edge of my right side brain
He wears a red velvet jacket and pink ballet slippers
He has no teeth
His tongue stretches till Tuesday
He juggles razor blades.

Some people plan Birthday parties and weddings
I plan the number of pills I need to not wake up.

You’re either in or you’re out
Half-lives are a waste of space.

There is performance in Death

We live on borrowed time that we never pay back.

There is nothing to mourn here
So wish me well and have a drink.

I want it to be quick and clean
I want them to think I fell into a deep sleep
There is no dignity
In having someone else wipe your brains off the carpet.

I have accepted my mortality –
It just hasn’t accepted me.

It was a comedy –
That no one found particularly funny.

At least I feel something –
It may not be what you want me to feel but at least I’m not numb.
At least I am present wading through it like some swamp thing
Lying to myself that it will get better.

The saddest people I have ever known
Are the ones laughing the loudest,
The life and soul of the party
Telling jokes, smiling
As if to convince themselves they aren’t already dead.

I want you to know this is for the best
I want you to know that you can’t kill someone who is already dead.

You offer to help me find salvation in a pill.

Not even Nietzsche could make me feel better

I imagine there is nothing after this
I imagine infinite silence
I guess that in itself would be something tolerable.

I don’t want to wake up every day feeling like something is missing
I’m tired of searching to find nothing
I have forgotten what it is to be happy
I think it must have all been some silly dream.

Holocaust victims are climbing through my walls
I hear their bones rattling
They stare at me through the pavement cracks
They say ‘What the fuck are you still doing here?’

The caller you have dialed is unavailable. Please try again later.

I dreamt I was walking on water – I could see the fish swimming beneath me – I could see the sun on the horizon. I felt like Jesus – ignored and irrelevant.

Stop making martyrs of yourselves – believe me there is no fucking point.

I don’t remember myself the way you do.

I wanted to be an original but someone beat me to it.

Keep your beliefs. I have no use for them.
I’d sooner choke on my own vomit than humour you.

The only truth is to be found in a lie.

There is performance in life
But I can’t act for shit.

You’re as unique as they’ll let you be

And what of the dead?

I have given it some thought.
There is no purpose to this poem.

Take it from me – I don’t believe a word I said



Growing up white
in stark contrast
Feeling my privilege like a tumor on my heart
Coming to know you
Like I never knew you
As if I had watched the lie of my childhood
In the old bioscope
With 3D glasses on
Through the lens of a telescope searching for stars
Through my mother’s lace curtains
From beneath those starched white sheets
Swaddled on the back of black
Like so many white children
Orphans to those women who raised them
Who left the townships
And cleaned our homes
Polishing the silver
Washing the clothes
Eating off enamel plates on the back stoep
In pretty pastel uniforms
Doeks on their heads
*Dom pas in their bra’s
While we sat happy
In our safe white city
And on the news* Die Groot Krokodil
Waved his finger like a tyrant
And everyone knew
That this was just survival
Best get them before they get you
If it wasn’t* Die Swart gevaar
It was the red one
Communists on the periphery
Every black man a *‘skelm’
Waiting to murder you in your warm bed
Waiting to rape your daughters
Waiting to steal from you
My Cuntry
My home
Torn from you
My whiteness like blight
Like an ulcer
This shameful skin
Scrubbed red
Surely bone will not betray me?
And still you find a way to hold me
In your broken arms
In your vast cradle
When others say you are not of this place
Go back to where you come from
*‘wit ou’
You have no volk
You have no clan
You have no right

*Dumb pass – the identity document carried by black people during apartheid
*Die Groot Krokodil – The great Crocodile – Nickname for South African Apartheid president PW Botha
*Die Swart Gevaar – The Black Threat
*skelm – Afrikaans slang word for Villain, criminal.
*wit ou – white person (Afrikaans slang)


On the day I was born
Umkhonto we Sizwe
Blew up New Canada railway line in Soweto
‘The year of the Spear’
I was dumb before a single word had passed my lips
I was unconscious
A cup for your complication
A womb for your legacy


To quarrel with the one you love
Is to cross a boundary
The words despite their potency are irrelevant
There is only subtext

It is to push a boulder across an imagined line
It asks a question
Not because it does not know the answer
But because it wants its truth to be confirmed

In these moments
We dispense of our ammunition
We reach down into a base instinct
Love becomes a word for war

We will strike for the tender place
We will find the Achilles heel
We are so close
We have no choice but to invite distance
Distance will preserve us
Retreat to protect

I quarreled with my lover this morning
I felt his heart in my hand
And I squeezed it tight
In the absence of touch
I reached into him
Found a vein to inject the poison
Crossed the border
Declared myself at my best
The very worst

I can’t help but think that in that moment
Through the salt of my tears
That it was not to be unkind or cause harm
It was to be heard and be seen
And to say
Will you love me nevertheless?


True to myself
The dog dances circles in pursuit of its tale
And the bride on your wedding cake ran away
This won’t be the end of it
Far from the point of no return
The prodigal son
Waits for the siren
To sing him off the rocks
3.43 am I sound the alarm of my own oblivion
Beyond the shipwreck of sheets
Tuesday is a symphony for a deaf man
And you have limpets for feet
It’s not that I don’t love you
Lesser men have died from such shrapnel
It’s just that in the loving
I lost a piece of myself
A part I liked and I want it back
We could have been great
Had the world not been such a bitch
You say it like you mean it
As you turn to go
And I can’t call your bluff
Because you aren’t bluffing
I’ve tired of salt and sweat
Days in the sun
For the pearl in your oyster
This game wears itself like a scarf
Easy come easy go
You say
Your heart
Locked like a tomb
And your eyes on backwards
I preferred it that way
The game and the glory
The heart quickening
Pulse racing
Promise of you
Without hope of definition
Worthy of poems
And Tulips
You’d say
Worthy of sweeping statements
And freshly ironed shirts
I have forgotten how to colour in the lines
Lipstick oozes out of the crease of my mouth
I bleed out
Lack depth
Float like seaweed
On the scar of your surface
We must be heading for some sort of grace
A crack in the skylight
A drop in the ocean
We must be
Raked smooth
Like Zen gardens
Feed off our own irony
Perish like plums
At nuances we fail to grasp
At innuendo at its best
At words that live their lives unformed
In mute mouths
In their Sunday best
So it shall be said
Before the disaster
Knocks the wind
Your sails.

(he)Art Work

You are a work of he(art)
Twice today
I have lost myself to space
The gaping wounds of valleys
The hematite hills
That breathe their dust upon me
And felt
That had you been here
I could have held you within me
Beyond blue
Beyond cloud
Further still
My kiss unstuck
Searches the steady incline of your mouth
Nestling like a swallow
Sipping at your stem
Reaching further still
The horizon pulls the sun from slumber
And wakes the fields with soft caresses
How easily the landscape learns your name
How tirelessly it searches you out
Beyond fields of corn
Beyond the rushing river
Beyond the moist cool forest
This deliciously dipped desire
That knows only the unknowing
The undoing
The undone.

Mind's Eye

I find myself
In this interior
Laced with forgotten roses
Come full bloom
And archived
Books of childhood
Left open
To time and its mistresses
Calls for blood to make it sing
And familiar footsteps
Tread the boards of attachment
Light of foot
Fair of face
Here the bones bleached white rattle like wind chimes
And skin
Undone by nerve
Replenishes itself
With light elixir
And the promise of touch
A beacon on the horizon
Tissue and sinew absolved
Tear from muscle
And swim the current of desire
Beyond all reason
Impulses like demi gods
Throng through veins
To finger tips
That know only
Cerebral longing
Pupils dilated in fractured light
Spin resin and colour
Like Ferris wheels
And the tongue fallen mute
Sips the air
Like a serpent
Seeking knowledge beyond its shortcoming
Seeking out
An ally
In this reality
This border town
Of perception and plenty
That lives for logic
That ejaculates idealism
That spouts morals like a leaking tap
That swims in its own filth
But the mind holds court
In its viscous chamber
Where time floats
And thought swims
The latch

Shards of broken glass
7 years bad luck
Your face running back to me
Through a maze
Of mind fucks
And burnt out promises
Spaces so dark
The light is afraid to travel
Buried so deep
The archeologist gave up
Fossil relics of old lovers
Dance with skeleton keys
Around necks that jiggle
Like sagging breasts
And unbirthed children
Laugh in silence
At repentant kisses
On a dead man’s cheek
Still cut up, shut up
Still the path of least resistance
We spit in fury
At the devastating decay beyond us
That rots
Turning further in on itself
Some scavenging rabid mole
Infecting the ground and all who walk on it
Swallowing summer swallows

In its aching glory
Stands at the gate
She is a wretched thing
With her heart on backwards
She plays a violin made from your ribcage
The bow grates against it
Air gasping for a lack of lung
Her stopwatch has run out of time
Her hair white down the length of her back
She has become fluid
She has become a tadpole
She swims like sperm up the creek of our desire
Burying her face and fortune
Like pirate treasure in the sand

We hover above the cloudscape
Time zones
60 minutes ahead and behind
My autumn calls to your spring
These divergent seasons
Yearn for some kind of belonging
Phototrophic plants turn their faces to the sun
Their cheeks burnt black
Their eyes like embers
I have known you a thousand years
I recognize your face
Transitioning across our transition

My hands are cold
I threw my gloves in the river
You watch me from your perch
A majestic hawk on the horizon
We are travelling beyond distance
We are unraveling like thread
We have become the paths we hoped to take
Laced with bread crumbs and love letters
We grow into this becuming
Lovers made loved
We are walking towards the coalface
We are feeding the flames
We are tilting towards something greater than our collective understanding
I have abandoned my fears
I have unhooked the clasps of chastity
I am opening like a flower
I am a summer orchid
Heady with perfume
Stamen ready
Ripe fruition
There is no sting in this tale

Journey Home

Click here to begin
This will be the start of all our starts

We have discarded our failures
The road ahead is free of thorns

We have trimmed the jungle of self-doubt
We are paving a path to something

I will know you as you have longed to be known
The stars have not forgotten you
The day is yours

There are no stones to birth from this quarry
Rainwater filters the sand from its desire

We are bright blue

All my fears disappear
In the cup of your belonging
Have consumed them with your light
Even the shade knows sun

I have come to you with my hands open
I have raised my head to your fixed orbit
We can spin this any which way and it will come back full circle

What we knew of love is stitched to all our tomorrows
They unfold like sun-warmed sheets
Clean and creased
With your body

There is no sorrow here
There is no well deep enough to fill the spring of my hope
This thirst for you cannot be quenched

I could live a hundred years

And not want less

Breathe beside me
Hold me to the point of your compass

Write the map on my skin
For our children and their children

Light the way with the torch of your mega watt smile

I am blinking myself brilliant
With every step
I am walking on grass so soft and green

I smell spring
I taste a season I have yearned for
I am never far away enough to lose sight of your radiance
I cannot be close enough
To touching god

These are small things
I set them free at night
They have a name
It is yours

They speak your language
They remember to dance
They are all poets in the making
They are beyond beautiful

May I never lose sight of you
May I never grow complacent in my love
May I always feel you a minute away from leaving
And have enough in me
For you to want to stay

May I offer you a bed to take root
May I feed you the water and light that will help you grow

When you lie beside me
May your desire for me be as infinite as time

May I never cause you a moment’s grief
May I sing my way into your heart with kisses
May I curl into your silence with deep contentment
May you never want for anything

May you know me like no other
May I be enough

The words are swallows seeking the sun
They spirit themselves to temperate climates
They flap their small wings
They have crossed the ocean
There were nights they thought they would not make it
Their hearts are beating
They are alive
They have come seeking you

A nest
A haven

There is a warmth in you I feel across the divide
All my past lives converge at this place

I am weary traveler
I have nothing but hope
I am done searching
I am home


Have plunged me
Some water and earth woman
Into depths of aquamarine
The violet sky
But a memory as it swallows the sun
And filters through its radiance
To the floor of this consuming ocean
That knows no bounds
My mouth opens to its presence
My body yields to its powerful grace
I am cast out to its magnificence
As it mirrors your face
This water birth
That shatters the limpets from their God-shaped rocks
That coaxes starfish from their salt beds
That exclaims in muted symphonies from whale songs learnt long ago
Some kind of paradise
Some kind of luminescence
As I gasp for the joy of it
Immersed in its enquiry
My eyes washed clear
The concentrated vision distilled as if watching myself anew
Clarity ringing its heart bells
Clarity no longer a shipwreck
Hope like a pearl in the palm of my hand
And I wondered
If this is how it must feel
For fish
To gauge green.

A Different Woman

A different woman
Wakes to stark light
With shadow kisses and torn up dawn
Where white curtains
Exhale the night
And hadeda’s eat up the moon

Friday, March 26, 2010


This graphite papyrus marked rush
Brushed with old hieroglyphics
A trade route
Star strung
Locus in quo
In rapture
Beating like some ancient winged thing
To the sky born
Pockets of air and light
Through the creases of trees
The hands left mute
Space climbers beg for stars
Fuel of fury
Marks left untorn
A continent raised on flesh
On blood burnt black
To seed
I go
Vowels from toothless mounds
Gasp and exclaim
Escaping sound like water bubbles
A solid line of mountains and causeways
Hell bent
This collusion
This gap
From heart
Yet so close
So very close
To the place
It first learnt
To sing

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


There at the bottom of the garden
Beyond the mole heaps
And compost
Grew our anonymity
Risen as if from nothing
A division of the indivisible
A waking into sleep
The dream that never was
There from a bed of twigs and moss
It at once unbecoming
From neither woman nor she
Rose splendid and unknown
For lack of itself
Haunting nothing
Saying nothing
Still born
And yet nothing looms into something
Where at first nothing could be
And colour-kissed
The unknown at once becomes a book with lined pages
A pen with enough ink
A face recognizable
A person at once personable
A name.


Before light knows it is light
It believes it is darkness
And letting go of that shadow skin
Struck by its own luminescence
Casts itself apart from that black opacity
And once torn from it
Is something else altogether
Something other
Surely it is at this moment
That light cannot go back
Retain itself in cup or cavern
Cling to shadows
Pose as dark
It can only shed itself
Crawl through holes and curtains
Splayed fingers
Peep through possibility
Refract unrefrained
Until you open
Your eyes to the glare

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


I slammed the door on inadequacy
Its skull burning a shadow on my left eye
White moths dissolve
In flame anthems
Flickers of debris
On you slate grey sky

I wore my hair long for winter
A velvet curtain down the innocence of my back
To part for you a Dead Sea
Voyaging the map of your hands

We have a happy medium here
A witch for the wizardry of your words
We have enough passion to fill the dam of years
We lose course asking for apology
Knowing beyond all knowing
That without the other
The world would be born of martyrs
And joy put to sleep.


I always felt my otherness acutely
It radiated from my skin like black winged butterflies
Struck the light somehow inferior
Left me empty

You were his passion
You for whom he lost his love
Like some gnawed bone
In a garden over run with weeds

What was it
About you that
So fiercely
A creeping vine on the face of time
What lay buried
In the brilliantly painted sarcophagus of your smile?

Many a night
I raced through the celluloid track of that old camera
Burning spools of misery and regret
Developing imaginings where you were the other
Wondering if you could fare as well as I
In this half life

Yet still
I painted you victorious
Children on your knee
Your faithful, loving husband
Whittling away the years
Spent on your restoring love

I longed to be you
Although I detested you
Raged against your haves and wants
Beat you into a palatable pill
That I could swallow
Give in to.

What impossible latch key had you swallowed
Stored in the pit of your clear glass belly?
His faith clipped and pasted onto your skin
Like a religion of knowing
Lighting the votive of his sad, sweet smile

pushed and pulled like some magnet
Everything brought you closer to me
The world grew into
My desire to inhabit you
Quell my own inadequacies
Harvest its rewards

I am older now
Your vision looms more quietly
It no longer trips me on the stairs
Envy gives way to pity
Apology to regret
All this time we were much the same
Looking for ourselves
In the drawn faces of each other.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


I had come out of the flood
Exposed like a root
To the chopping of a woodsman’s axe
I had siphoned off the blood
Like some failed serpent
Born of dust
I had no offerings
This gnarled effigy
Made all the uglier
By it’s lack of green
I had absorbed the colour of earth
Like litmus paper
Had become that in which I thrived
Yet lost myself
No one remarks of the root
When admiring the tree
The branches and leaves-
A trunk on which to lean
These are the beauties
Not the furled fingers of a love knot
Soaking up water and nitrogen
Breathing into the breadth
Above it
Like a respirator
Like a reminder
Like a death.

Saturday, February 20, 2010


We lost you the first day of spring
Ironic when you think about it
You found salvation in the knot of rope
From which you hung without explanation
Instead we had to make sense of it
Had to lay ourselves to waste and blame
Had to ask the hard questions
The ones no –one can answer
Except of course in platitudes and pity.
I remember that day clearly
The sky a brilliant blue
Not a cloud in sight
A young boy approached me on the way into work
“Donation please madam” Flowers for the deceased
I shrugged my shoulders
No one dies on days like these
Just that morning
I inhaled the scent of jasmine on the breeze
And the world passed through me
A brighter better bearing forth of itself
Driving home
Caught in a spring shower
I thought of you
Hoping beyond hope
That kindness would find you.


I seek to contain myself
In square feet from your heart to mine
A length measured
In what?
The way the light creeps under the door?
Counting heartbeats
Quantifying sadness
Draining sorrow
Degorging myself with salt
Is a wound
Failing to scab over
Failing to illicit anything but
And miss(ing)
How much is enough?


It was my birthday today and you did not call.
I waited all day.
The phone stared back – mute and dumb until I ripped out the plug.
At least then I could imagine you tried and found the line engaged and thought I was talking to another man
At least you would think I’ve moved on.

I bought a cupcake from the bakery on the corner – the icing was fuchsia and it was sprinkled with hundreds and thousands
I nursed this guilty pleasure – opening the box and placing it on a plate – from every angle I found it most pleasing – a work of art really.

I was six again all over – a fairy princess in a plastic tiara – I had not yet learnt to fret or worry – had not known any kind of pain aside from bruises and scraped knees, joy was a deep well in the middle of my heart – rain was the worst it got. Unscathed by ravages of time and plot – the stories I wrote were of princesses and peas and faraway castles drawn in crayon with glittery blue skies where girls with long blond hair played dress up and dreamt of Princes and sometimes kissed frogs.

I stared at that cupcake for a time. I hate to say it but it made me cry – at the end of all that I couldn't’t stomach a single mouthful.

Why don’t you love me?

I just can’t seem to move past this

This eternal question

Am I ugly?




God knows there are unlovable people on this planet – but even they had mothers. Hitler was loved – he killed six million people and Eva she still loved him.

You say you can’t love me

I never killed anyone

So why the fuck is it so hard?

somewhere between then and now I got lost in grief and cannot for the life of me get out – I guess some people just take things harder, bruise easier, don’t recover from knocks, don’t roll with the punches, fall and can’t get up, cut and don’t heal. I blame my parents really for tucking me away in that world – where little girls remain little girls – at some point we have to grow up and then what?

We meet you at a bookstore with glasses on the end of your nose and a wayward fringe smelling of clean rain and mystery, reading books by Russian authors and pouring over pictures of the surrealists

And you look up at us and your eyes are unlike any blue we’ve ever seen and suddenly it’s hot and the room spins and we’re finding ourselves pulled in like fish on the end of a long line – gasping, fighting, letting go.

You take me to your apartment on the 13th floor – you light candles and pour wine – you quote Keats and Byron – you light incense – you say things like “you’re beautiful’ – you touch the small of my back, you knot my hand in yours, you stroke my hair, you cook me dinner, you read me stories, you show me photos of you at five with your sister, you tell me about your first love and how she broke your heart, you tell me that you have waited all your life to meet me, you are my soul mate you say – it slips off your tongue onto my lap and I cradle the words like a cat in my arms –

We eat Chinese takeout and watch Bruce Lee films – you make me a mix tape with songs from the 80’s – no-one ever did that for me before – you make me tea and tickle my back, you write me poems, you say I want you and no other – you make the world spin and stand still – you eat the stars – you milk the moon – you juggle the sun – you open the windows and the light comes in – and the curtains draw breath and I breathe – I breathe deeply this want of you – this ache for you – this warm deep moss scented lust for you – and I unfold my arms and my hearts fist becomes a palm and I spread my legs and arch my back and take you in to all my nighttimes where fireflies tap-dance and moths make love to the light bulb and words become themselves in Technicolor and bold fluorescence and days overlap one another shouting out the years behind them – saying follow me! Follow me! – And it’s so goddamn beautiful.

I can’t shake you. Nothing restores me. I get lost in familiar streets – bruises appear and never leave, there are all these edges and corners, no soft landings – no down duvets. I’ve inscribed you beyond my heart – you are written on my bones – nothing can take you from me – nothing can let me be.
My therapist gave up on me. The medication makes me sick. I can’t sleep. I can’t eat. I can’t remember much of who I was before without regret, I am afraid of the dark and my face in the mirror.

You must know this is not me
There are places inside me even you could not go
I wonder had I shown them to you would you have stayed? Everyone needs a bit of mystery. That’s what the magazines say.
Don’t shave your legs in front of him; don’t let him see you without make up,
I let you shave me
I let you wear my lipstick
It’s all my fault.

My cousin killed himself two months ago – I got the call at 10.55pm on a Sunday night.
The caretaker of his property said that that day he had never seemed happier – he played with her children, ate a good meal and laughed.
You have to wonder why he did it. There was no note and no goodbye.
Maybe some people aren’t meant to be happy
Maybe there isn’t enough to go round
Happiness I mean
Maybe there is just not enough
Or maybe some people are not that resilient – maybe when they bruise they just rot away inside – dry out like pressed flowers
Maybe some of us can’t regenerate back to joy
Maybe some of us have no capacity for it
It is elusive and evasive
It grows in other gardens beyond great walls topped with electric fences
Out of sight and out of reach
I don’t know why I’m telling you this.
I’m okay you know
I get out of bed each morning and jump in the shower
I go to work
I read on the train
I do cross word puzzles
It is a life this
A small and delicate one-
Yet a life nonetheless.

I probably wouldn’t have taken your call anyway
It’s not like we’d have anything to say to one another
I’d get angry and go all-quiet
You’d shout
It would probably be really miserable
Because I would have had an expectation of you that you could not possibly fulfill
And disappointment on your Birthday is not what you want
Especially when you are well aware
That you’re not getting any younger
And your hair is going decidedly grey
And you may only have another few good years to be fertile and conceive a child
Disappointment on your birthday – not a good thing.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


My mother warned me of boys like you
In gaijin clothes
Jeans and leather jackets
And slicked back hair
But I had already written my fortune on your heart
fastening time to your scars like a lithograph
I knew this would be the season of my life
That the cherry blossoms would herald in my becoming
That those still nights
Spent sipping the stars
Were not in vain
That you would be waiting
Beyond the corseted days
Stitching silence to sound
That speaks itself
That shouts in its solitude and sadness
That beats like a drum
Against my temples
And you
The portrait of you
Sketched so vividly
In colours bright
Clung to my retina
Burnt to my brain
Your fateful force
An oncoming bullet train
My lips shut tight
To the knowing
Of light
And the crystallized ember
Burning like a torch
In your chest
And beguiling
Cut through me like a cello chord allowed to soar
Vibrantly vibrating
And the drum was my heart
And the music your hands
And your smile
The song.


The roses have drunk their fill of sentiment
Blush cut
Deeply dipped
Ermine fronds
They wilt at the open window
Their crushed faces defeated
The walls of your room are duck egg blue
And your mother’s lace curtains breathe into the room with the scent of Jasmine
And Summer on the wing
I will not return
We have played our parts with aplomb
And now
Softly out-sung by birds and bees
We will take our leave
The knowing of you burns an ember in my forehead
I am stripped bare in the understanding
Splayed naked
On the bed of our crucifixion
I have spent enough time in the owning of words
Like love and forever
Have learnt enough of those girlhood lessons
Stitched like parables to the sleeve of my shirt
You will know me as I am
You will know of these dark waters
Where swans no longer frolic
And stones sink suffocated in moss
I have spent a spring in full swoon
My heart a ripe crimson plum
Picked from the bough of your smile
Strung like fairy lights over the hope of your hands
Quiet and still my love
The forgotten stirring of lust marked by love
Flies from me
A spirit to the sky
And the walls of this room trap our voices
As if we are swimming in deep green seas
I no longer know this love
It has become a stranger at the door
It says your name
Letters roll off my lips
Get lost in the carpet
Become ghosts
Rocking themselves to sleep in the backyard swing
Laughing like naughty children
Impish and without conscience
Clean cut
These break ups
Seem to be the only source of truth
And in the aftermath
Comes again
The living.


You wrote me a valentine
On a crumpled serviette
Stained with grease
And laced with tobacco
In a Chinese restaurant
In the centre of Kyoto, Japan
The pen tore through the flimsy fibres
And the pen ran out of ink
Despite your efforts to revive it
I could not make head nor tail of
Some of the words
Inky scratchings
Poor penmanship
You left it on the table
Casually directing my eye to it
You collected your coat
And I watched
As you walked out into the snow
As I picked it up and found it
Crumpled like a bird in my hand
It sat weighted by words and
Signed with love
This strange and beautiful thing
This offering
I almost wished
It meant less than it did
That those feelings could be returned
As easily
And simply as they were given
I watched you cross the street
Stooped over against the cold
And I shed a silent tear
Over my dim sum
Knowing I had hurt you
Knowing that I may not get another valentine quite like this
Lost in sadness and regret
I blew my nose into the heart of your words
And walked out into the biting air

Sunday, January 24, 2010


Buried on a Wednesday
I stood at your graveside
As the rain drowned in itself
And the unkempt graveyard sang through the grass
Flowers wilted on headstones
Erosion and misuse
The gravedigger had fashioned a neat mound of soil
A single wooden stake with your name in black
It seemed a lifetime passed
As they lowered you into that grave
The minister said
‘Lettuce pray’
And I wanted to laugh
At the absurdity of it all
And the loss of you
A truant schoolboy flew past on his bicycle
His scabby knees and the shush of the wheels on the muddy path
Called of freedom
Birds on the wing
And I saw you cut loose of that coffin
Dancing above us in an azure blue dress
And like much of this life
The living becomes
Second rate


What happened to those nights of beauty and splendor
Moths beating out symphony’s against the light bulb with their wings
And you playing scratchy old Leonard Cohen records
Nights where sleep bayed like a wolf at the moon
And silence was the beating of your heart against my own
Nights where the pregnant moon stood vigil like a sentinel
And sleepy stars blinked and winked their way to earth
So close and vivid I could cup them like water in the palm of my hand
Nights I held you to me like a child at my breast
No one could touch or know us except ourselves
In that room
With its peeling paint and old armoire
Evenings sipped from gin bottles where the heat hung like a veil
And the only mystery
Was the love you guarded like Cerberus at the gate
The love you scattered on baron earth
With other women
In other hotels
With simple names and lives
Those goddesses of the shadows
Who loomed like giants in my imagination
Who beckoned to me like ghosts
In cigarette smoke and perfume.
What happened to those nights
And the warm shell of your arm
And the boat of your body
Which sailed me home
It seems a lifetime ago
The years swallowed the tears
Kindness learnt soon forgotten
A torch on the wreckage.


This is for you
This is time cut loose charging to infinity
This is rain on a tin roof beating out the syllables of your name
These things will speak to you
They have no choice
It will be so

This is for you
This is my heart knot
The bleeding is done
Siphoned off, clamped
This is not a love poem
You cannot be loved
By me

This is for you
This is the eulogy
The grand epiphany
The Demi-gods have fallen
Chaos in the streets
This is the conquering hand of my revolution

Thursday, January 21, 2010

For Eurydice who is gone

You were the most beautiful girl in Gion
That day
With the rain in your hair
You wore shiseido red
And your mother’s kimono
Your hair swept up
My wannabe geisha
My beauty
My love
We crossed the bridge over the Kamogawa River
With the hawks calling above us
And you smiled the sun
And you lit the sky
And you laid your palms open to me
The votive of your hand.

I had walked those streets everyday
Watched seasons and years pass like trains
And gather like leaves and cherry blossoms at my feet
You followed me to Arashiyama
We ate green tea ice cream
And fed the birds
We walked the bamboo forest
Watched the boats wind down the jade green river
You held my hand
A burning ember in my solar plexus
A violent purple bruise on my heart
A throbbing, aching, clawing pulse
My undoing done
My love song sung

I lost you in Kyoto
The cobbled streets swallowed your footsteps
The gaping cracks whispered your name
The hawks flew away
I went to the temple alone
In the throng of people
I felt most alone
I stood for hours to ring the bell
I drank the water and washed my hands
I saw you
High above me
Dancing with stars on your feet
I cried cold tears that fell like sleet
You told me
I’d be ok
That I would feel you on summer days
That you followed me in wind and rain
That what we shared would come again
With other women
In other times
Far beyond the city’s smog and grime

I lost the veneer
I took off the rose tinted glasses
I looked for Geisha
And found Harajuku girls
I forget the song you sang to me
In my dreams you are all I see
I turn around to see your smile
You disappear into the dark
Far away and further still
The deep yearning in my heart
I trace your hand
It’s fit in mine
The taste of mint and sweet plum wine
I carve the silence like a glove
I cast away my hope
My love
I look for you in city streets
Your faint mirage in summer’s heat
Your face on other’s smiles back at me
I conjure time and you with me
I watch the hawks
Those benevolent Kings
As they dip and glide
Fast, falling still
To kiss the fish that lose their tears
To the water
To themselves
To the years.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


Don’t look back
I am behind you
The snow knows my feet
The puddles my heart
My face in black ice
My heart in the Kamogawa River
The cherry blossoms are dead
And the grass is brown
I walk behind you
Don’t turn around
There is enough of the knowing here
There is enough time
There is a steady leak from your heart to mine
There is nothing to see here that you have not already seen
I am the same
I always will be
You know all there is to know
I wrote it in the snow
I sent it with the bell toll
At the temple on New Year’s Eve
I gave it to the mirror lake
I threw it in the sea.
I am behind you
Do not turn around
Trust that I will follow
It is promised to the ground.
The light ahead will guide you
And you shall be my guide
My hands are in your pockets
My kiss is in your ear
The world grants us a pardon
We’ll get another year
For now the hawks are calling
To the fish down below
Songs of love and freedom
That no one else should know
And your footprints grasp my own
Soft sinking – not a sound
My love I am behind you
Do not turn around.


There are no Geisha in Gion tonight
The tea houses lit
Seem empty
And the street lamps dim
I walk a cobbled street
My hands are cold
The river is still
The city is lost
I catch a glimpse of myself
A moment of reflection
I am somehow different
And still the same
You take a photo of me
I wish I could stay this way forever.


I had that dream again
Twelve in a white dress
Fingers like Popsicles
Goosebumps on my skin
A dark shadow across my heart
Unable to let the light in
And you saying
‘we’ll be magnificent' –
And I almost believed you
As I tied myself into knots
Rain on the wind and the scent of forget-me- knots
And the world asleep
Unraveled herself like a giant snake
And the coil of your love
A hook in my skin
As I scratched and I bit
To let the light in