I had a dream last night
You were in it
Fuzzy, unclear
But the hook was there
That had plucked you from somewhere
Inside my head or maybe
From some deserted place in my heart
It wasn’t an act
Of which I was aware
I had no say
In the furtive way
You appeared around me again
Even if you were phantasmic, chimerical
In that time, you were real
A swaying, decaying bridge coupling
The physical and the figmental

It left a bitter aftertaste
In my mouth when I awoke
I brushed my teeth
With renewed vitality
(My dentist would be happy at least)
I spent the day going over the locks
I had put around certain memories
These escapes
Even in my dreams
Made me restless, agitated me
When I was awake
Tonight I will have my dose
Of vitamins and supplements
(They promise all sorts of well-being)
So that when I dream
The bolted doors inside of me
Keep holding their integrity

But even if they lose their might
Releasing spectres of the night
I know that in my waking hours
In dissecting and determining
The cryptic whys and wherefores
Of night-garish visions
Invading, distressing me
These dreams, these unbidden images
Have already lost their sting
They’ve shed their whipping wings
To fly at me when I’m asleep
Through all of my monster-proofing
And so deep down inside
Something tells me that tonight
I will dream of other things.
Image: Trish Wade


There’s something in the air 
In the way it moves around
The living and the dead
It carries a new sound
Alien and profound
It bleeds in and it seeps
Reaching further than skin deep

There’s something in the breeze
It has much to say
In mystifying whispers
The strange leaning of the trees
In the writhing of the leaves
Detaching from their seams
By off-season guillotines
Shimmer-sharpened by the breeze
It moans against the skin
In tongues we now don’t speak
In tormented suffering
But all that we can see
Is the stirring of the leaves
In their swaying canopies

There’s something in the air
A blinding glitter everywhere
But the motes of light are still
While a cosmic storm prepares
A million miles away
Thickening, darkening
Marking time until
It comes crashing, smashing in
Sweeping us all in
Its alpha and omega waves
In beginnings and endings
Lips everywhere
Spilling the same prayers
As with our souls bared
We fuse, we unify
With something new in the air.
Image: DB Waterman


A smile is such a magical thing
Like a rainbow that has sprouted wings
Its pots of gold shimmering
In a dimpled firmament
Lifting the day
In its 180 degree euphoria
It is that precious loop
That adorns the mouth
In latitudes of joyfulness
Its bearings somewhere between
The heart and hypothalamus
A smile is a small piece
Of heart that is pulled out
Of its latticed, multi-ribbed house
A little boon of bliss
A bit of love set free
Into the ether of the world
That beautiful upturned arch
Of rapture and release
Stirring the organs and the feet
Defying the pull of gravity
I see your smile
Framing your face
I don’t know you but my heart lifts
Drawing its own curve on my lips
A gift bestowed for one received
A smile is that magical thing.
Image: Mike Savad


Life is like a box of chocolates
Someone once said
Sometimes you get
The caramel-drenched centres
That melt in the mouth
Like liquid satin, swishing on your tongue
In silky, sweet tones
Caressing your taste buds until
Languidly, unhurriedly
They lavish one last nectarous kiss
Before disappearing
In ambrosial bliss
Down the tunnel of your throat

At others it’s the bitterness of a centre
That’s dark - 90% cacao
That unleashes on your tongue
Spearing, laughing, spearing again
Inflicting a bitter-sweet pain
Just enough for you to stop and think
To wonder if this is good
A revelation
Of taste, an experience
That’s bold, distinct
To recall, to remember when
You’re short on inspiration
Or whether in fact
It is an assault no less
On the mundaneness
The safeness
On your everydayness
Plodding on your tongue
Like a thug that’s sold
His essence, his soul
To the gods of gastronomic
Absurdity and virulence

I look back, the rhyme is longer
For the bitterness that lingers
In the mouth; but I have also realized
That my taste buds have conspired
With my mind to bind
Most of the time
To memories that are wholesome
Sugared, caramelised
So even when I pick
A chocolate from life’s mix
I hope for the sweetness
The toffiness, the bliss
But I also sit in readiness
For the wave of bitterness
That sometimes takes me in its grip
But always itinerant
Shifting, moving on
And so I too go on
Every piece, never wavering
From the cholocate box of life.
Image: Steven Willis


You Are
Too different
Too controversial
Too weird
Too quiet
Too absent

You Are
Too passionate
Too frigid
Too pushy
Too gregarious
Too reserved

You Are
Too opinionated
Too invested
Too indifferent, disinterested

You Are
Too much but
You Are
Also not enough

These arrows used to fly
East and west
Between the bazaars and the mosques
Down and up
From my beating heart
To my silent mouth, forging
Right angles containing me
In burnished boxes glittering bright
But in the moorings
Of all these paradoxes writhing out
Like strident dirges from treacherous lyres
Howling of brimstone and hellfire
Now I hear only one thing
I only hear that one constant thing


In the refrains that ring
Thunder and break
I hear it sing:


In all that cacophony
In the clarion calls of propriety
Pounding, rounding endlessly
From the steeples of society
That is all I ever hear now


Yes I am! I finally am! This is me
And that is all I ever need to be.
Image: Fine Art America


Outside in the garden
There’s a Passion flower vine
Its little green tendrils
Have curled here and there
Where the shoots are fullest
Lushest, most verdant
They burgeon and grow
Weaving circles of rapture
Until they’ve spun around
Seven times
Lighting up the chakras of life
And then just like that
Their work done
Of dancing in the sun
They fall

Inside the house
There’s a woman
Her hair
Is tied up in a bun
She’s on the run
With little tendrils escaping
At the nape of her neck
She’s rushing upstairs
There’s a toddler emergency
And then she races like the wind
Into the kitchen
To make breakfast
And then she’s on the run again
Appointments, to-do lists, errands
To complete
And then back to cook and clean
To feed and coddle, kiss a bruised knee

The hours weave their set design
Finite, regimented, organized
But she has no sense
Of its texture or lines
The day is done and finally
She sits down for a while
Soft tendrils forming
At the nape - one, two, three
I hold my breath
I count the whorls in the curls
The longest one has six
I look away
A little thought flits up to me
Unexpectedly, a sign
Whispering secrets I don’t want to hear
Of endings on the whorl-bearing vine

She smiles at me tiredly
I wish, I wish fervently
That the curls that gather
Loosely around her neck
Is just hair soaked in sweat
In the labour of love
I pray, I pray silently
Into the depths of whatever’s out there
God, the universe, ethereal energy
For the moisture laden curls to weave
Their mystical circles for a few more years
Until they attest
To a life well-lived, joyfully
Until they wear their silver-grey majesty
Before they finally
Unspool in eternal rest.


I wish this verse was more wholesome and whimsical like Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”, but that it is not. This is about women determinedly forging on across streets, bazaars, workplaces, government offices, neighbourhoods and communities. This verse is also not so much about the woman hopeful of change (God knows that’s going to take its time in our blessed homeland), but the woman who is stoic and steadfast. It is the woman who goes about her day despite the odds that pull at her body, spirit and soul. It is the woman who dares to bare her true self despite and in fact because society expects otherwise. It is the woman who walks in her neighborhood afraid yet brave. May you find your grit and your grace for the rest of the days of your life.

A resolute, meaningful Women’s Day to all my friends and family 🌺

I wear my track pants
And a pink shirt, long
It says “Life is a song”
I wonder if it’s too loud
Stoking thoughts like a gong
A shout
To the world of men that teams about
The streets
Eyes peeled
For glimpses of variously clad
Women that are mad
Enough to sidle into the periphery of their sight
And special leery gazes
Trained like full-throttled tasers
On women who dare
To bare
More than the hand wrist down
Or a smidgeon of a toe around
Which sits an uncomfortable sandal
A Soleful reminder
To walk cautiously
To always look behind her
To shrink as small as she is able
So she might pass
With a warning glance
From the men sitting around
Jenetic Judges of right and wrong

For the women who dare
To bare
There’s a special gaze
For their fall from grace
From the fraternity that mills about
The corners of streets
Superior, upright
Pissing in plain sight
Marking their territories
For the women who dare to bare
More than the eyes
Downcast, demure
Vacuous and pure
For them there’s the death stare
Cutting them down to size
I’m one of those
Who - Dares - To - Bare
The woman within
The whole human being
Self assured, aware
She sits in my eyes
Unfaltering, dignified
Even as her heart drums inside
As she traverses that den
Of wolves, dressed as men.
Image: Ramona Pintea


Hope visited me today 
She brought Grace and Calm
I looked at them comfusedly
Why had these three come?

I was lying in my bed
With Dejection and with Dread
I’d been in their company a while
They had spun their grisly web

I had lain in its hoary mesh
While its tendrils reached within
Shutting out the daylight hours
My world was dark and grim

The pain that they had released
Had also roused Masochist
He clutched me now in his eerie hold
I just couldn’t break that spell

The rushing, gushing tides of pain
Numbed memories that played
Over and over in a loop
Relentless, without a break

My heart bled from the holes that gaped
Wider with every wave
Of agony that swept through me
I had no desire to be saved

But now there was Courage too
With Love she looked at me
Grouping together in my chest
They held hands with the other three

Their other hands lay on my heart
Staunching the essence that fled
Out into the ravening veins
Of Dejection and of Dread

A gentle warmth spread through my flesh
I finally saw some light
Flitting, peeping, twinkling through
The blue gauze in my eyes

Hope and Calm and Love together
With Courage and Grace today
Came to sit with me a while
As in my bed I lay.
Image: Mireille Laroche


There have been extra days of rain 
Delaying the heat of the approaching summer
In spontaneous, joyful
Shimmering showers
It has streamed down or drizzled for hours
There has been a surge of butterflies
Yellow, brown, blue and white
Flitting all over the place
Happy for a few more days
Of life and vitality
I see them floating among the flowers
Cavorting in spring-lavished bowers
Treading warm currents of air
Over pavements where the cracks
Are speckled with dancing weeds
Over an emerald oasis of grass
Loop-de-looping when they pass
Another bloom
That’s sprung up between the blades
Glorious, serendipitous
Delirious on springtime bliss
They somersault back
To bestow a nectary kiss
On soft, dewy petal lips
Beating gossamer wings
Evanescent, paper-thin
Revelling in bountiful life
The inevasible heat
A distant ordeal
For now in their bejewelled flights
The spring-born butterflies
In pure rapture will remain
Celebrating the extra days of rain.
Image: Fine Art America


The amaltas* grove is wintering 
Bare branches raised in quiet prayer
The trees in meditation
Their copse a little haven
From the chill that’s spreading everywhere
They sit together in the grove
Yet solitude wraps each one
In arms soothing, slumbersome
And there resting they will remain
Until the earth wakens them again

The fallen leaves have long since ceased
To sit lightly on the ground
They have sunk into their beds
Laid down their tawny-russet heads
Hidden away, they will not be found
The trees remain skeletal, upright
Waiting for spring to arrive
But until then they will not sing
Stirring songs of vital things
For now the grove is wintering

Something deep inside of me
Keens for this state of rest
To step out of life’s lusty choir
For a while to quietly retire
From her spring-loaded behest
I want to hide, to lie low
Take each hour nice and slow
Hibernate in my little den
Until I can smile at life again
Like the grove I will be wintering.
Image: Donna Ashworth
* Amaltas: the Indian Laburnum/ Golden Shower tree


If I could live another life with you 
I’d talk of a few more things
More palpably, more honestly with you
Of things that gnawed
At my mind; at the way my gut wrenched
Balling up inside, or even when
The pit of my belly dissolved
In a fluttering crush of butterflies
I’d speak of love light-footed and pure
The kind that knocks you to the floor
And the next instant pins shimmering wings
On your tingling spine so you can fly
High high, breath-catchingly high!

I’d talk of heartbreaks too
That shred the organs into little bits
Where the pain ripples in screaming peals
Your thoughts marking time with the cacophony
Where you stumble on your own feet
Where you want to just lie down and feel
Nothing for a while
I’d share secrets that I have held deep inside
Now frozen, frigid, petrified
Mute scars of speechless agonies
Never named, never identified

I’d also tell you that I loved
My quiet, my solitude
When it was just me in my room
Or just you and me
Sipping tea
In the lounge, watching tv
And then I’d tell you about the things
That would make my tone-deaf heart sing
A constant humming underneath
Beneath the sheath of my skin
Of peace that was soothing, softening
Of flame-bright hope and quiet joy

I’d talk to you
Of beginnings and of endings too
Some tragic some tender
Of sometimes going under
But always re-surfacing, I would
Talk of spirituality, the ethereal kind
That makes the hair stand on end
The kind that quickens your breath
That makes life and even death
A fleeting, splendorous enterprise
A mystical trip with no finish line

And when your time here or mine
Was drawing to a close
Together we would
Strum those notes
One last time
Of all the things that we’d talked about
And all the times that we had spent
And then I’d have held your hand in mine
We would have laughed and cried
And laughed again
Because nothing would have been left
Unsaid at the end.
Image: Cathy Jacobs


I was lost 
I took the path
Less trodden, I tossed
Away the ease
Of normalcy
I walked away
Off the street that carried feet
Teeming, streaming busily
Easily, its metalled gray
Smooth and safe, predictable

I’d felt strong, invincible
I walked away
Aimlessly, Trail-lessly,
No signs, no familiarity
I walked I walked
Directionless, solitary
On and on I walked and walked
Until doubts and insecurities
Snaked hoary tendrils around me
But I walked on until my feet
Were bruised and cut
Until they bled
Until I wept

Until I had forged a road ahead

It now lies cleaved and gravelly
With little grooves
Once stained with blood
And squelching mud
Filled up
With wild flowers now
Sun dappled through shady boughs
The path ahead of me
Now gleams with its own lambency

I was lost
I left the path
oft-trodden, I crossed
Into uncharted territory
Where the wilderness roamed free
Accompanied by the gleam of stars
And the warmth of cherished dreams
There I carved my own way
Hope-hewn, Grit-laden, Endlessly
It now stretches out in front of me.