Category Archives: Poetry

Walking around Agara Lake

Yesterday, I walked around Agara Lake, when the sun set
Trying to retrace my footsteps
As you walked by my side on another day like this. 

We talked about… what was it, exactly?
About how we will be friends forever.
And we made fun of disapproving old men
Who looked at us as if we were about to kiss;
We laughed because we should have.

We called other people conservative,
Walking dreams trapped by the enslaving of their lifegivers.
We made excuses for their bad behaviour.

How beautiful it all was.
The full trees, the shattered-glass shroud of the lake
And the complete lack of birds. The ability to sit
Still and feel nothing, except oneness with
The dusty-pink flower that swooned as it fell from the tree.

 

Dancing on graves

 

I know a grave dancer, (by no means grave)
A man with a child’s smile
And a tongue of fish scales,
Glinting, silver, alive all the while

He steps light on the gifts
Of people’s insides
With cold horned feet,
And poison-tipped besides.

He wears a jester’s three-pointed hat
A ready joke, an even readier lie;
Has a bag of tricks, a sleight of hand
Promises to love you till you die.

The last I saw him
He was a deranged sun
Burning up several worlds. I don’t know if it was
From fear, cowardice or for maybe some fun.

Dancing on the grave
Of a microcosm that was a trick
Of light. His eyes dead, his voice
The cold of winter, sharp and thick.

I walked up to him
To ask about his terrible dance.
Between steps of murder, he asked instead,
“This is your grave, have you noticed, by chance?”

*****

 

 

Listening to myself

I can't find my voice, I can't find my voice, 
I cried. 

A loud sound I hear, a keening, a song
An insecure blowing of a horn 
But I can't find my voice, I can't find my voice. 

The virulent music of raindrops, a yelp, a din
Three loud wishes for a somewhat depressed djinn
But I can't find my voice, I can't find my voice. 

Incantations of hate, a hummed song, a plea
A jigsaw of footsteps; they flee, they flee
But I can't find my voice, I can't find my voice. 

Nothing is quiet, a whistle, a roar 
The sounds of Hokusai's waves crashing ashore 
And I can't find my voice, I can't find my voice
I cried. 


27 Oct 2016

A poem to my madness (1)

My therapist has asked me,
Rather categorically,
To sit with my Emptiness
My lows and my melancholy.

It is easier than it sounds,
Let me assure you.
Emptiness is ephemeral
Diaphanous, see-through.

Were my Emptiness a box of paints
Were it a clear cup of tea
Were it a dense book of poems
Or a selfish lover, thinking up an exit strategy

I’d sit with it quietly
And take a sip or three
Of the tea, the book, the colour
And let the lovers leave

Meds would keep me in check
He says, and I have to agree,
So I don’t burn down the world
And set my mad insides free.

They’ll help you deal, he tells me.
Just sit with it, just sit, just sit.
Ignore your paints, tea, your lovers
Just sit, just sit, just sit with it .

But Emptiness, you know, isn’t good company,
Even with the quitiapine mellowing me.
It grows and fills, swells and blows
A bubble, a vice, a prison you see.

I could fill it with cake,
A wank, cigarettes or heavy sleep.
But all I am to do is just sit, just sit, just sit with it
If, a big if, I am my mind to keep.

How to: Not feel. Part 1

If I were one for easy ways,

I’d tell you
Mundane things, real things
That are of this world.
I’d urge you to watch dervishes of your blood
Whirl in slomo
Till there was nothing to whirl in
Till your eyes close and couldn’t
But I fancy myself a poet.
So I’ll tell you stories
Of trembling taupe tails
Writhing without context,
Of rabbit-foot returns.
I’d recommend grand things,
Dramatic things that happen
Contained in the burst of a moment.
I’d tell you
Let go of a hand you want to hold,
Watch its perfection die
I’d say
Plunder a little, tear something:
A painting, a mouth, a silent wish.
I could teach you
To write in a book with no lines
Word after word after word;
Black ink sculpting paper to life.
If I were kind, I’d warn you
There’s nowhere to run after that:
Can you not hear mocking laughter
Of pages you’ve birthed?
Can you not hear the pangs
Of those you haven’t?
Once you’re done writing,
Pick up a carnation,
A jasmine, if you wish
Or a sunflower
If you are particular about colour
(You’re done for already, if you are.)
Destroy it gently
In a poem, a story, a painting, a book.
There you’ve done two things:
1. Worn time like a pearl necklace
Unmoving, near-perfect, disorienting
2. Crucified a flower
In eternity, on a page, between words
Or brushstrokes
I dare you to feel after this.
I dare you to not.
*****

Let me string flowers and other poems.

Let me string flowers,
a wreath of regret and light
for your foolish head,
and make a crown of thorns
that hold promises on their points.
let me place them upon your head.
The flowers of trying again,
and again and again,
the thorns to remind you
of the things you left behind.
Let me lay you down
on a pasture of faith,
let me water you 
with shining understanding,
let me dig around you 
a moat of assumptions
and let me drown you
in the thing we call
together.

 

Will you survive, then,
as you watch the endless blue,
as the sun burns your irises,
and you lie still
being watered, 
cared for
made sacrifices for, 
sacrifices you never
asked for
to begin with? 
Will you, after the moat is filled,
after the watering is done,
become a single, dying rose
of joy?

 

*****
In a dream last night, 
awash with watercolour purple
a fading blue and the firm hand of gold spots, 
a face I love, a name I do not know
Asked me if I would make him my muse. 
Long hair the colour of a tinted evening, 
Straight as the lies he was made of, 
Hands that found a thousand ways to smoke me, 
To show me a mirror.
He asked again. 
Can I be your muse?

 

What good is a muse, I ask.
And I tell him a story from long ago where
I was singed by a muse,
a shimmering muse
with wings of eternity, a firefly spirit, 
and a sailing ship for a totem,
that he left on my shoulder. 
A shoulder he claimed as his.

 

Then, my silver-fingered one, I ask,
As poetry fills me tonight, 
how shall I carry the burden of you
on the one shoulder I have left?

 

*****
Dawns don’t stay.

 

Dawns go away
Dawns play
As a mere interlude 
Before unleashing the harsh light of day, 
Where the sun leaps over everything 
Where daylight is harsh, real, flat
Because dawns don’t stay.

 

Dawns don’t stay
How can they? 
The day brings with it
Light and movement, predator and prey
Where music drowns, and art fades. 
Because eyes don’t don’t have time to watch the sky be perfect.
Dawns don’t stay.

 

Adoration

There is no breeze tonight
And the moonlight, diffused by a heaving, rhinestone city
Brings me taut remnants of your skin.
I flip open a book, its hard cover rapping me on the knee,
A new level of distraction.
I toss three words in the air, to hear their sounds
Because in this silence, even my own voice will do.
“Apple”, “simultaneity”, “ruse.”
I wait.
Nothing stirs; not the words, not the evening
Not even my fluidly disintegrating heart.
A lizard loses its tail,
My dog looks up at me adoringly,
Brown eyes full of questions of love
No one has ever asked me.
I stare back, wanting to smack her snout
So hard that I break her jaw.
I want to tell her her love is misplaced,
That her adoration is fees.
I want to tell her to become me
And see
That sometimes, I am her.