O Beauteous one 
This is for you
For all the times that you have bloomed
When all around have burrowed deep
Into the coolness of earth’s breast
Hiding away, biding their time
Until gentler, lighter climes
Bestir them in their loamy beds
But you, O Intrepid one
You have always overcome
You have worn your gem-like garb
In ways that made me catch my breath
Racing, chasing to my heart
Wondering if you’d shimmer on
Or if your time here too was done
But you wore your jewelled crown
Glittering in the scorching sun
I looked at you, O Enchanting one
As you cavorted with the breeze
Those molten gusts upon my skin
I gulped in then, the oxygen
That sat timorousky in the air
But I was pulled
By the oasis that surrounded you
Perfect, paradisiacal
Unsundered by the elements
There you danced so full of joy
I came to you pulled by the spell
Of your vivid hues, O Alluring one
You swayed your head
Spangled whorls overspread
Across the fretwork of your boughs
Mesmerized I reached out
Into your magic latticed web
You pricked me then, O Bewitching one
Your thorns were invisible, hidden
I knew then that your glittering grace
Your wild gumption to face the sun
Aren’t just in the softness of your blooms
But in the armor that you’ve chiseled from
The tempests - stormy and searing
I looked at the ruby that had sprung
On my fingertip that you had stung
It dazzled on my glistening skin
Its precious seams filling my lungs
My essence and throb, O Wondrous one
I found that day in the scorching sun.
Image: Fine Art America


I know we haven’t talked in a while
I know I haven’t seen you wear your soft smile
We’ve said things to each other we didn’t mean
Tearing and splitting the vital seams
Of the fabric of our togetherness
I know that I have felt desolate, helpless
We have sat in silence, cold as frost
The glow of our closeness long since being lost
Somewhere along life’s bewildering way
I let your warm hand slip away

I know we haven’t talked in a while
I know I haven’t seen you wear your gentle smile

Through the years we have journeyed on
Along the same path but each on our own
Forged by our children, we treaded their dreams
Only seeing shadows of you and me
Still together we walked into middle age
But it’s been a while since I really saw your face
It’s been a few years since the air around
Was filled with your familiar scent and your sound
Somewhere, somehow I lost the quickening string
That bound us together through thick and through thin

I know we haven’t talked in a while
I know I haven’t seen you wear your lovely smile

But I know you’re still here, your pulse still beats warm
Even as we’ve both whipped up raging storms
They’ve whirled inside, while we’ve pulled away
The terrible loneliness adding to the fray
I know that we are a great distance apart
But I can still feel you in the depths of my heart
Let me find you once again in the mists
Of sepia memories, reminiscences
Let me hold your hand as I once did before
Let us walk together, in step once more

I lost sight of you, dearest for a while
Let me love you again, let me make you smile.
Image: Portia Mendigo


I feel out of touch 
A tad bit rusty
Cranky and creaky
Tinny and such
The words clump together
With a grind and a grate
I wonder if a month away
Has dulled my tapestry of verse
Shimmering skeins that advance and traverse
Embroidering and stitching
Notions and qualms
Into billowing storms
Into rippling, sashaying ribbons of calm
Bewildering phrases that make me guffaw
Festering sentences painful and raw
In bobbing waves with lacy edges
In crashing, lashing, tearing deluges
In twinkling stardust upon my page
My blinking cursor running away
With the train of my thoughts to the drum of my heart
Laughing, singing, assuaging an ache
Grieving, weeping, caught in the wake
I wonder if my keyboard, unstirred, unscathed
For two score nights and forty days
Has borne my quickening string away.
Image: The New York Times


It’s so soakingly humid 
That I swim on the pavements
I glide
Through the waves of moisture
Like an eel,
No, like a duck in water
Submerged, breathing through new-fangled gills
A chimerical, mystical thing
The stuff of science fiction and ETs
In a universe of visions and dreams
Morphing, dissolving, changing
Even as I wade on

When I bring a glass to my lips
To quench a thirst that sits
Uneasily, timorously in my throat
There, but not really there
More habit-driven than the need
To drench a parched desert inside my skin
I swim into the water
Like a goldfish, lips turgid
Gut kicking against the liquid intrusion
But the impulse of living
Compels me to sip, sip, sip
Until I think I’ve had enough

When I dress in the morning
Each garment feels like cellophane
Stuck tightly to me, I’m cling-wrapped
Even though each begins its day airily
Lightly. I look at myself in the mirror
My forehead is already wet
In the heat of protest
Against the layers I must don
Linen - lying-in wait to suffocate
Cotton - caught-on my liquified bones
Fabric, propriety, a proper-riot
Of ceaseless stickiness
More fabric, more properness
I ignore the tangled wrangle within
I now wear also my morning smile
Even as my upper lip glistens
With the sweat of struggle
Ageless now, muscle-memorized
I step onto the pavement
To swim, swim, swim
In my designated line.
Image: Gerry Miles


I see my shadow lengthen
With the ebbing of the day
I feel it suck up all the sadness
From the bowels of the earth
With its purple, glistening hoard
Of melancholia and hopelessness
I move ceaselessly, restlessly
I will my never-stopping feet
To sever the tortured bond
That my swelling shade has formed
With the darkening world around
But my shadow just spreads out
Ever further on the ground
It suckles at night’s dreary breast
Absorbing all her suffering
So that nothing should remain
In earth’s mighty store of pain
With its ravening tentacles
My twilight shadow reaches in
Never faltering in its aim
It will not stop it will not rest
Until it has gorged itself
On a sorrow that is infinite
It’s bloated edges
Endlessly dredge
The gloom from earth’s wounded veins
My shadow ripples and it writhes
Waning only when daylight
Breaks the tragic coupling
Of the shades and sadness of nighttime.
Image: Eleanor Woolley


She’s caught in the rush of hurrying feet 
Snippets of conversations
Of laughter, exclamations
She’s caught in a tidal wave
Of teeming, streaming life
She’s caught in the swell
Of people of voices, of sights and smells
Riding the vital wave
Pushing ahead
Her silk scarf catches the breeze
Of swelling, surging humanity
She feels it pull
Floating just a little in front of her
She quickens her step
Her feet instinctively keeping up
With the urgency of life
She feels something
In her gut, the pit of her stomach
A ripple, almost a laugh!
She inhales deeply, she can’t place
This sudden lightness of being
It feels out of place
This morning, mourning
She had felt like lead
Now like vapor she rises up
Colourless, clean
In that moment she’s someone else
Propelling her body like a comet
Lighter, brighter almost serene

She arrives at her gate
The same number, the place
Where this very morning
She had buried them
She had forgotten
For a few moments
Who she was
She was desolation and grief itself
Wearing the bruises of loss
Mourning only this morning
It all came back dawning
As she came to herself
As her blood remembered
And curdled inside
A freezing, heaving cauldron of chills
She sank into the depths of her seat
There was a sequence
Monumental, compelling
To her agony
She had to remember
She couldn’t forget
Her world had ended
When she had buried her dead.
Image: Toyism


Pin me, skin me
Kick me in my shins please
Bring me buckling, crashing down
Then grin as you haul me up
Dust me down, make an act of freeing me
When I’ve lost all my will to be me

Churn me, burn me
Laugh in my face, spurn me
Then adulate, adore me
But airily, lightly
When I can’t feel your torment or love
Or anything else inside me

Juice me, use me
Mangle and abuse me
Then write up columns flush with
New found awakening
A social issues deciphering
All the while computing,
Measuring, forecasting
Your own index of hero-worship
For calling out brutality
Other demons, other sins
Out of your realm of reality
But you orate and preachify
Because it is your deliverance
From mundaneness, insignificance

Roar out, be devout
Let your new found arousal
Wash over everyone
“Not all of us are like that”
Shout it out, don’t hold back
Declare it with panache
You are righteous no one can forget
Everyone else’s moral compass
Is a fickle sickle, directionless
You’re guilt free with that homily
With your ringing voice and sacchrine smile
You present it proudly to me
When all I can see are lips and eyes
A Leviathan dripping honeyed lines
Onto a transfixed audience
They watch and gently chew the cud
Of the weed that they are fed
By evangelical heroes of prime time

Boot me, loot me
Strangle me, shoot me
Then have a ball in my name
Found a charity, earn some fame
Let the posthumous heroine
With her tomb-tough shoulders
Become your newest Taj Mahal
Let her catapult you to the top
Always from her deadest parts
A pillaged body, a spirit crushed
A tragedy censored and hushed
From her countless cuts and gashes
She now hides under her eyelashes
While YOU and YOU and YOU and YOU
Rise like a phoenix from her ashes.
Image: Fine Art America


A lit up sky 
The stars shine
A bit too bright tonight
A glittering mask
To hide behind
Their fatigue lies cloaked
On the other side
Here for the world to see
They shine endlessly
Their brassy edges
Invisible, unseen
But on the other side
Hiding in day-light
They just seem
Like ancient divas
Bested by life
But by habit and by pride
Still cutting through
The famelessness
The agonizing namelessness
Their jagged lightning
Stumbling through the firmament
Tearing at the vaulted heights
One more time
One more time
Just one more time
To light up the sky.
Image: Crioo Lighting (of Van Gogh)


Sit with me today my love 
We don’t have to talk
I just want to know you’re here
So I can feel your warmth

The day’s been difficult and sad
My body throbs with pain that’s new
There are little jagged holes
In my desolate heart now too

I thought that I would go to bed
Lie with my grief a while
But that kind of lonesomeness
In its visceral rank and file

Is not what my aching heart yearns for
While in its darkened nook it weeps
So sit with me for a bit my love
Let your tenderness cloak me.
Image: Fine Art America


Literal and Satirical definition: defective sight in which objects/ other opinions/ other people cannot be properly seen if not close to the centre of the field of one’s view.

It grips me in its narrowness 
Blurring out everything else
The serrated edges of my self
Fade, become invisible
I only get to feel
One urgent, solitary reel
Of fickle life at a time
Drenched as it is in endless
Waters of love or rage
Seas with no horizons
No frontiers, no boundary lines
These swells take over me
In my entirety
I can barely breathe
The deluge almost drowning me
My heart and mind
My tears and smiles
In that moment are replete
There can be no more
In my stores
Of pain and joy
They are empty, hollow, done
The universe too
Knows when it’s enough
And that is why I then see
Only a sliver and no more
Of life’s excess, its extremity
Its climax, its nth degree
Through the narrowed and diminished lens
Of my shielding, sheltering tunnel vision.
Image: Kay Adonna


For my beloved sister who is swept in the constant tides of farewells and then meeting-again-for-too-short-a-while. And for all the other parents whose fledglings have taken wing, may you continue to find your joy and serenity.

They are the quickening parts of you
That you bestow upon the world
Beings that become other people
Independent. Adult.
Then there’s the anxiety and tumult
Of letting them go
From the safe radius of the home
From the proximity of your everyday touch
From the protective circle of your sinewy arms
Each muscle a testament
To years of being superhuman
A perpetual hero, a champion
And now you also have
Your own growing pains to bear
Of them not being there
As they make their start
In places you can’t be
Coming back to rest
To lay down tired heads
On other pillows, other beds
Their childhood rooms
Stirring softly with their scents
But my dearest, don’t despair
These aches pass, they morph
They bloom into other things
A kinship deep as all the seas
A bond of care that is more even-keeled
Conversations, confidences, the sharing of dreams

They are out there now
Let them live and love
With all their might
You’ve done your part
They know the tree
The orchard, the seeds
That they’ve sprung from
Now let them go
Let your fluttering, bursting heart
Give them wings to fly
Fly, fly, up, up high
Into the vastness of the sky
Let them whoop with joy
Let them go
Where the soul moves them
Out into the brilliant world
To take a little bit of it
Make it their own
Let them imprint it
With their hearts and their minds
Let them be quirky, let them be kind
Let them be funny, let them be full
Of passion, of hope, of tenderness
Let them roar and cheer and also tear up
At life’s beauty, excitement, its bruises and cuts
Let them show all their own shades of loveliness
Let them add to the shimmering throng
Of all that’s vital, new and strong

And you, dear beloved
With your empty nest
Now filled with books
Or paints or pets
You who have begotten them
Stand fast and true and wise
Behind them. Cheer them on
As they sing their own songs
In the great choir of life.


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 minerals
(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 visages
Invading, distressing me
These dreams, these unbidden images
Have already lost their sting
They have 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