Sunday 29 September 2019

One True North

I am only my road, my winding route,
you are the mango orchard beside it.
You’re the languid afternoon, heavy with fruit.
You are the absence that makes the music –
the blowhole and openings of the flute.

An orchid-white jet contrail, I’m hardly there
once the craft has flown, easily confused
with a daub of cloud. You’re water, and air.
The one true north, the point where all routes are housed;
my broad breathing earth; my paved city square.

Sunday 22 September 2019

Through a Million Births

Her stories live - in the lining of my skin.
From  birth to rebirth, all down eternity,
retold in dim rooms, and across open sea,
till they’re woven out and again woven in.

Braided  into my hair when I was a child,
melded into the weight heaved by the adult,
like leaf shadows on my windows, old and dulled
by pain, like the glint of teeth each time I smiled;

they glow in the games I played by the roadside
on flights of jewelled daydreams I went alone;
in cold breaths of breath, fused in the bones of bones,
in lapsed lifetimes and those not yet occupied.

However far I fly, small or deep I dive,
they beam their muted threads into all my lives.

Last week was my mother's birthday. My twenty something-th year to mark the occasion away from her, in a different city/country/continent.  But really, what do physical distances even matter? 

This is the one cord that's never cut, not in this lifetime, nor in the next seven. Or seventeen. i carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart)...through a million births if there were/are to be a million.

Sunday 15 September 2019

In praise of gasmen I've never met


The streetlights come on in a single sweep,
anonymous hands have turned on a switch
or maybe they're not hands - a sensor keeps
tabs on lumen levels - a drop, a smidge
of twilight means it's time to turn things on,
then nip them closed when dark fades into dawn.

Fancy names I have often heard these called,
this dusting of lights at the waters' edge,
but that's not top of mind. Stories told, retold
- gasmen, another street, a different stretch
of water, and time, each light lit one by one,
turned off singly too, when their work was done.

Less grand. Less automated. More in tune
with the soft drapes of the dark, stars and moon.

Sunday 8 September 2019


I saw the lights on a mighty waterfall
and a rainbow bridge connecting the two sides.
I heard six-lane roads running parallel
to rivers, strange leaf shadows amplified

by the angle of light on woodland trails,
albeautiful, all never seen before;
yet they felt like reflections, the blurred details
the water picks up from the river shore -

as if this life flowing someplace elsewhere
had been a surface for those reflections,
as if the gradients, the clouds, the flare
of sails and sunsets had really begun

long before they were finally encountered,
mirrored in the mind before being seen or heard.

Sunday 1 September 2019


I will follow you where no one else will -
till the far bank. Till the automatic doors
click shut.  Till the long train pulls out. And till
the last ocean reaches its farthest shore.

From these rooms to the routes by land and air,
on the road and off-road and by the hill,
at rest within walls, or restless, I’ll be there
wherever you choose to stop or travel.

When the light dazzles, or the darkness blinds
and the world offers a shoulder that’s cold,
the ground gets boggy or you suddenly find
the cliffs won’t let you get even a toehold,

when the earth and sky feel like a cosmic sneer
reach out for me and I’ll be there, my dear.

So, I am back in couch-potato mode, newly empty nester-ed and somewhat ill at ease with this whole caper. The offspring is now a few thousand miles away, I'm a few thousand years older, not a look that suits me, I'm sure. My heart is bursting with a deadly strange mixture of pride and fear, and also beating in all the wrong places...

The alarm clocks have been turned off, the school routines binned, but...I'm still waking up at crack of dawn every weekday, uber frustrating! The sleeping in till I drop off (the bed) plans will have to take a backseat for now...while I get my coping mechanism sorted...lots of hyperventilating coupled with beverages of caffeinated and alcoholic kinds should do the trick...and of course, poetry, the panacea for all milestones and malaise!