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