VERSE | PAIN

My temples throb 
Like the devil has set up shop
In their wefts of flesh and bone
There he threshes
His wheat and corn
Brimstoned and fire shorn
Screaming out his brutal song
I’m enmeshed
Tied inside my throbbing head
Forced to see, ingest and feel
The devilry
Making me curse
Making me keen
In time to the pounding drum
And the terrifying never-ending hum
Of the devil’s threshing machine

I try to think
Break out of the infernal links
That tie me down inside my head
My raging, aching, splitting head
But the devil sings
His strangely hypnotizing song
And I stop
Trying to slip
Into my veins
Away, away from the devil’s shop
From that wretched, that exhausting pain
And I stay
The convulsions hold me in their sway
Aaaa-gonizing me
Beating, pulverizing me
Crescendoing with my memories
And I sit with my pounding head
As the throb in my temples counts the dead.
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VERSE | RED ROSES

The red roses were out
In full bloom
Riotous, cheerful, swaying in their beds
Wearing their full petalled crowns on their heads
I looked from afar
Day after day
As the roses danced and played
In the not so far off distance
Something was stopping me
Something in my heart
Was whispering, telling me that these flowers
Were best adored from afar
I listened and stayed away
From that little paradise
As it burgeoned with beauty
Day after day
But one morning when I came out to the garden
I felt a lightness of being
And so I strayed further afield
To that joyful bed of red roses at play

There I looked at the perfect blooms
Each one’s heart lay glistening in the sun
The petals dancing in unison
Around their pulsing cores
And then I saw
The soil below
There strewn in little pools
Of red, unravelled - unspooled
Lay the fallen petals
Fallen … resting … resting … fallen petals
Some bruised, some new
Some already a part of the earth
As she hugged them close, each delicate edge
Soaking back into her infinite depths
The scene took my breath away
Whisking me back to another day
Full of bittersweet memories
When I’d seen the same petals
Strewn where you rested
In earth’s boundless embrace.

VERSE | THE BRICK-FACED HOUSE

The morning glow touched its face
The brick-faced house in the street
It stretched out in the morning rays
Hide’n’seek with some it played
Its favourite morning treat

In the bedroom facing the east
I lay in sleep’s placid arms
The sun wore its morning beam
As it shone into my dawn time dreams
Oblivious of my late alarm

The house shook out its paint and bricks
Its nooks and crannies too
The mynah was already collecting twigs
To fix its nest, repair the rips
From last night’s stormy brew

The day wore on, the house filled up
With daytime smells and sounds
It shook and shimmered, belched and laughed
As it held us all in its matronly arms
Safe in its blessed compound

Evening came and with it the skies
Turned a beautiful rosy pink
T-41 too flushed with delight
Its terracotta facade catching the light
As it watched the twilight sink

The resident crickets began to perform
Their night time symphony
The house sighed softly gathering its form
It seemed like tonight would bring another storm
But inside its walls was warmth and sleep.

VERSE | REMINISCENCE

You said to look for you in blooms
The most vibrant that adorned
The sunny yellow Amalthas
As it stood verdant in the lawn

I chose a bower in my mind
It was you whispering to me
Everytime a drizzle fell
Or when she murmured in the breeze

But then came fall and with it all
The flowers began to drop
I held my breath as I watched
But you stayed shimmering on

You wore your golden yellows
Dancing in your green abode
But then nature came calling your name
You were the last to free your hold

You whispered softly one last time
As you let go of the tree
I watched but did not linger, I
Imagined you somewhere roaming free

But in my heart I’ve always known
You’ve shredded up your form
With all your love and courage
Back into the earth you’ve gone

You said that I should look for you
In the things that make me smile
I see you now in leaves and flowers
In the rain and the fireflies.
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VERSE | MELANCHOLIA

When evening falls and once again 
Melancholia sets in
Tinctures and shadows of times gone by
Come bleeding, weeping in

When the orbit of the earth
Has brought in the dark of night
And memories, remembrances
When all with the world was right

When you cannot escape the bed
That has forged into a cell
Holding you fast for the night
In unending wakefulness

When at last your weary mind
At some hour releases you
Into realms of visions and dreams
That bruise and lance anew

When you finally awake
And the sun shines bright again
Pumping the lifeblood that the night
Has stolen from your veins

Breathe in deeply, close your eyes
This will not be the last
Of eventide’s strange conjuring
Of aching for the past

Many will be the days when
The joyless cycle will repeat
But at some point the salve of time
Will turn the memories bittersweet.
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VERSE | NOSTALGIA

She steps into the car
Its gleaming surfaces
Adorned with gladioli and motia*
She’s the bride tonight
Garlands also lovingly
Entwine in her hair
Their fragrance filling
The nighttime air
Eyes bright
Face shining with expectation
She glances behind her
Just for a moment
One last time
At that spot where she stood
Leaving behind her childhood
Marking the end of her maidenhood
She smiles
Nostalgia now sits there
Young, hopeful and light
Eyes bright
Face shining with expectation
Waiting to fill the space
That has been so tenderly placed
Into her sacred embrace.
* Motia: The Jasmine flower.

VERSE | STAY

The tea’s still warm upon our breath 
The samosa crunch still lingers
On the horizon the sun now rests
Like a russet-orange finger

The quiet echoes of our chats
Still reverberate around
Won’t you stay as the garden plays
Out its evening song?

My heart still beats toasty warm
From your visit to me today
Let me have my fill of you
For a little longer, stay

The tea’s still warm upon our breath
Memories plume out in wraiths
Reminiscing, remembering
The sweetness of bygone days

VERSE | SEPIA STORMS

I hear the leaves rustle in the breeze
The gust picks up slowly, gradually
I hear the rattle of a window
The one that lies loosely in its frame
Like a watchful sentry
Announcing the entry
Of a wayward breeze
That rolls in through its screen
To knock upon the door
At the end of the corridor

I walk out of my bedroom into the lounge
The sentinel window
Is now trembling, recoiling
Rattling its pane
Warning of rain
That will soon moisten
Its face; gushing,
Rushing, tearing
The dust off old memories -
Renewing the pain

I see the first flash of lightning and then
The thunder breaks
The storm has arrived
I look at it through the window
Now lying quietly in its frame
Soon the glisten of its pane
Swells into a stream flowing
Down silently, as I sit quietly
With the sweet ache
Of old memories again

VERSE | PRECIOUS DAYS

LISTEN TO THE POEM BEING READ AT: https://vm.tiktok.com/ZSddVeUtc/?k=1 
I’m sitting today at a new cafe 
They bring me my tea in a beautiful cup
And a saucer to match. I catch
My breath. It reminds me so much
Of the tea set so loved
And cared for by your beautiful hands.
Of the cups of tea that were sipped
In your company, by smiling lips
Listening to a conversation
Laughing at a joke
And your own tinkling laugh
I remember it. I choke.

I remember so many late afternoons
Like the one that just pierced my heart
So many memories, tender and raw
Memories that flood in and then depart
Replaced by others, thronging along …
Like the one of you putting an earring on
My ear where the flesh always fused
Making it an adventure, a laugh a ruse.
Or when you bit into an elephant’s ear
The pastry, the confection, the palmier!
The chemo still filling your vital veins
Dripping its disease numbing potion within
You still grinned; your face came alight
You kept all the simple joys alive.
And then I’m assailed by another memory
Of another cafe where you and I had tea,
You sipped it slowly with your eyes closed
Your beautiful face in gentle repose
You smiled and I heard a contented sigh
And that smile from your lips reached your twinkling eyes …

Today, I’m sitting at a new cafe
But in my mind I’m with you on all those precious days.