On Surviving….

how to express this,

with no words strung into poetry,

but to exhort your eyes

from the terror of remembering,

to dandelions

outshooting from the grass,

there along hills and plains,

their wild flames raging

among violets and purple dead nettles,

now say my heart is the soil –

and this is its rejoicing



….how then to feel this heart beat as if imprisoned

in my chest,


I would live as variously as

the flowers in spring

(and still a flower be)

….or the hummingbird…or….or then a tree….

more than eyes to me would concede,

free from a









My hands to no

Swords and stratagems

For sustenance,

I engorge on silence;

And for days there is no contact

With the outside world.

I straddle slowly, closely the winding banks of rivers, the mirror of my own veins.

I avoid the hinterlands, rife of noises and competitions;

And in the

Mist one morning

Will laugh at a distant madness.


We are never more than walking distance or a few miles away from the ocean,

looming large,



just beyond the hills,


the canopies of trees,

the blue

backdrop to every act of living.

At night

her soft breaths lull us into the pleasant realms of dreams,

though now to free upon the remnants of all that has gone missing;


this is not farewell,


the sea again becoming sea

for the girl whose eyes were sad, glistening lakes

You were quiet but visibly upset;

our time was too short.

There was a stirring in the autumn air.

At first it appeared mere shades of green,

but there were other distinct colours,

explosions of browns, reds, blues, of yellows.

Then, if only could I, with my too human heart, extract from this a general rule

– Let all dying be this beautiful.


In this strange limbo of absence and bereavement, there is no wine or religion to mollify us. For will we meet again some distant morning, as the insistent birds encroach upon our forlorn thoughts, and the dew that springs forth from our eyes is that of our joy? But here in the midst of happiness come the tides of grief, so tell us: what is this to not know but hell…


Because you said your favourite couple decided to call it quits, and this distresses you(for why give your all?)

An eye on the clock. Once half-hearted. I would have loved you. On borrowed time. And when I’m upon the moon’s harsh tiding, I will say I lose near nothing in its dying. Only one half heart. One eye lent to the clock. Though what dark foreboding seeps to the other side.


Last night I slept in the twisted sheets of wanting. 

Though I wish to be, as

when the sun is at its peak, 

in deeper devotion to all beautiful things,

without bringing them to my lips,

or chain them in servitude about me.

And should there still must desire be – 

be only now in the muted streams of yearning,

or in those odd nights,

and in those odd dreams with

laughed-off meanings.

Because you said this vision of the sun rising could be anywhere, like from a window in Cuba

She graces the window

with shadow play,



and leaves,

and golden hues,

free for all

and democratic,

When was it that first she kissed you


To my ears, you
Made no sense,
Would you upbraid
A man for his cleavings and then in his mourning?
That “A man loses all that he would love.”
But he is no callous crow; who would that dance upon the stones of his friends?
But in your smirk –
A subtler compass showed:
“Whatever comes I hold,
And whatever would leave I let go.”


There are odd days in self seclusion I cannot twist my thoughts to suit your ears. I have swum too much the river of aloneness. I must set to the freeing of arms and limbs up into the wide expanses of the universe, and without the grinding, halting commerce of a touch. And in only these moments, of being and yet nothingness, I have found solid honesty.


Wide and deep is the mind that it encapsulates the universe, but not her beauty. In other realms there are worlds left barren, and silent chaos rules. And they are smile-less. And they are ocean-less. And they are treeless. And flowerless. And without echoes of children laughing or birds singing. And there is no rain or verdant green garden, only sadness and searing light; for some great god has deemed only her worthy and has poised all delicate beauty beneath her skin.


Of Rumi & Spring

It is, as I walk the blue dusk.

And it is the sweet river twisting, coursing through my room, from an open window.

And in the morning, though fainter still, weaves itself the rousing, waking scents of everything.

And though I’m but old, it is my first spring.

So I do not curse but prize all wounds
that let the fragrance in.


On a hill, in the black light of the half moon, I do not know why I stopped at the tree, a blind supplicant in the tabernacle, a pauper at the gates. We are two or three or infinite in number but all are we the same. But I knew not the meaning of these words, though would the truth come to me in a moment, and from the blossoms, and in a gust of fragrance.


Saw you again today. Met you years ago. Harboured no recognition. Spent too many days dreaming you. The all too human limitations. The frantic hands. The betrayed impatience to fix what was too late in fixing. Felt neither love nor rage. The crashing disappointment. Saw you again today. Asked with the silence bespoken by those soft and shifty eyes. Do not too harshly judge. 

How a Day Becomes a River

A knife. The sharp daggers of surprises. The bitter pills of disappointments. Flushed red. The fluidity, that curves, that rushes over the harshest of stones that would knock me from my elated perch. The twists and bends, and all life’s wondrous possibilities, there in my love’s eyes – are all the ways a day becomes a river.  


After the storm, before the sidewalks are plowed, we share the narrow roads with the cars and the busses and the trucks. But the drivers are decent. They drive slow and are careful. I walk pass an old school that sits on a hill overlooking the road. I go down wide flights of steps that take me to other roads, and avenues, through alleyways, and onto side streets, all the way to the edge of the city. “I belong to you,” some lovelorn, plaintive, 70/80s era R&B Natalie Cole line stuck in my head. A romantic waste. In every city. The high rise buildings. The streets wide but always empty. The buzz that never did come. And I wait for you there.


From the factories, how the angry, purple clouds rise; to the skies, the softest of blues to the palest of whites; to the east, where the blazing orange sun rages; across the bay, where the carefree gulls glide lazy*; by the side of the road, and how the wild wheat endure the terror of the cold; and how my heart blood pumping and red goes every place my eyes go.


On his second coming, and out of the political wilderness, an elder statesman laughs off the suggestion he was no longer a democratic socialist, that he was no longer committed to the ideals of social justice. We made mistakes back then, he says. We put the cart before the horse. We pursued economic equity. We pursued education, and nutrition, and housing for the poor. But however urgent the need, we simply could not afford to do these things. We made the mistake of overestimating the goodwill of the upperclass. That’s one of my abiding regrets, not expressing my vision more clearly, my frustrations more elegantly. Politically suicidal, he once made the allusion to the many international flights in and out of the country; for many this was the last straw, interpreted as a not so veiled threat to those who opposed him. And so they left in droves, taking with them their wealth, their capital, their privilege education; closing factories, supermarkets, hotels – sinking the struggling economy deeper into turmoil and the nation further into a bloody ideological war: pro West versus pro East. But now, decades after, back in power, overflowing with charm, he talks about NAFTA and globalisation as inescapable facts; he talks of efficiency; he talks about the well meaning but ultimately unproductive nature of protectionism, and subsidies; he preaches fervently the gospel of the IMF, the World Bank, more so now than even the suddenly tepid Right. For there are no more national assets to exploit, he says. I have learnt, I have, and the mind is the nimblest of roses…


There was a low, ominous rumbling, a strange train coming, and it came with a dark finality. I felt in that silent stillness that all life had ended, or at least mine, an apple severed by a great hand from the tree. But a miracle, I was able to endure, to see the pale morning moon; and she was just as the frail, white clouds, with only her roundness to distinguish her. And it was so that my joy became my sadness became my guilt, for I should not be here


Vicky has never ever really been a sister, but more a mother, a mother I don’t think even she remembers. It happened a long, long time ago. A curse upon our house some’d say. Fathers eat sour grapes. Set the children’s teeth on edge. But what did mother eat? Vicky told me once, she told me once as we waited there in the swirling, dreamy noise of an airport. A poisoned apple. From a rival. For affection. A lethal human need. Another apocryphal story about mother. A demise shrouded in mysteries. But here now she comes with a maternal bag of ‘you-need-to-do’s’.

1. You need to keep in touch. We’re not getting younger. You can’t keep drifting away. Call. Answer the phone.

2. Go to church. If you don’t want to go all the way to the front sit in one of the back pews. Listen. You’ll find it at least refreshing. Get some blessings. God finds a way of taking back that which belongs to Him. Make it easier on yourself: pay your tithes.

3. Get a passport. There’s more of the world out there to see. There’s Spain. The Mediterranean beaches of Greece. You may not have the money now but opportunities will come. Just believe.

4. You need to believe.

November 13th

I drove 25 miles back home, showered, went back to bed. A splitting headache. 9:30am. The pillow, the blanket, the sheets, my own exhaustion cradling me. Woke up again at 11am from what felt like the longest sleep. Restless. Looked out the window. The leafless trees. The east where morning first rose from purple silence. The clouds dark and foreboding. I remembered a boy growing up in the south, the telltales signs of impending doom – the fast, black clouds racing over the hills. And as the city burned, swaddled in its pain and panic and grief, I remembered all too clearly another tragedy, another city not too far from here, and I became convinced that should we now live, it is only from overcoming the sickness of being all too human.

Night Rain

You were jumping on the bed like an 8 year old. The cool, soft air magicked, danced, weaved itself through the open window. A quiet, uneventful day. It felt like the prime time of my life. And you suddenly asked what’s that weird smell. It was like the wet smell of a childhood pet. Or mementos locked away in a basement. Old dusty clothes and photos. But it was just night rain, a flirtation with memory.

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