• Vol. 04
  • Chapter 07

Spill

For now, I shall lower my crucifix down
into the well of your heart, fill myself
up with your paranoid colours and try
to lift what I can of you from the thick
scream of the wet turquoise

you spill

your slashing majesty stands in a mystified
trance, double-lost and framed in a furious love -
every raid of paint is a bodiless coat
warming what’s empty and alone
and again, I’ll try to lift you from the violence

you spill

because that is not a chair nor is it
a throne. No metaphor can contain
it, or delineate the thing it once held -
a monster of god, a sod, a weight of evil
fornicating with the womb of all suffering

you spill

shoeless and forlorn, the hope of
hearts cannot save what is clinically dead.
Tell me his name, the one who emptied
you, your home and back, and I shall do
what needs to be done, nail him to the flaps

you spill

Read more >
1

For Shaffic Abboud

Shaffic Aboud once might have said
Turqoise
Before there were bombs
There was sky
Palms and boys in black dresses and bare feet
Turning heads on the pier,
Before there was silence
Graffiti artists put kisses
in hearts
or crosses
All of us waited to see what would come next

If this was our picture
We wanted to see it in every paper in the world
On every front page
And say
US
In blue letters
To
in empty spaces
And paint smileys
That show we aren’t scared of life
Before or after
We just want turquoise
For now

2

Cookie Monster

Every day we walk the short walk
(Four thousand steps, our phones measure)
To lean again over books we didn’t write
But maybe wish we had. And every day
The city has been rewritten, in
Small part: it started with a big
Blue Cookie-Monster, who dis-

Appeared by the evening; weeks
Later he’s only an eyeball. We see kids
Writing their names in ludicrously
Contrived designs, in the same spot
By the side of the U-bahn, daily;
Pigment thrown up against the wall,
Chemicals thrown up in the air. It’s
Strange to see such a casual disregard
For the passers by (you, dear one, and I) —
The kids don’t care who sees, and
It occurs to me I’d never really seen
it happen before: like watching a crime,
A car-jacking or a brick thrown through a window,
Or a casual hit of some drug, or a hit

And run. But then, a secondary realisation:
It’s only paint after all, paint on paint,
And tomorrow the wall will be a different
Pattern. Moving by this very morning,

I caught a sense of a deeper shift;

Read more >

3

My Mam Is Nothing If

not thorough.

As if she is a Victorian reminder
on a wall full of telling aphorisms:

What will the neighbours say?

Our home shows us how
we treat ourselves.

If she can
buff away grey clouds to bring out the blue,
drag every daffodil, bluebell
crocus out of the earth to flower today,
place a spruced up nest for every chaffinch, been and goldfinch, blackbird, dove.

Tidy home is a tidy mind.

All windows opened
to "freshen" the wintered home.
Windows cleaned outside and in.

She empties every drawer,
cupboard, wardrobe, surface,
scrubs them clean,
spiders scurry off.

It shows you respect yourself.

Washes every emptied item
of crockery, cutlery, some
unused for years.

Read more >
4

Simplify, Simplify

“Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify, simplify!”
- Henry David Thoreau

Unhung paintings, driftwood, rescued chairs,
broken accumulations masquerading as life;
oddly treasured rags beyond all sense
of purpose or fashion. There are no
stoic wardrobes here; no clinical drawers.

The memories add volume: attached scenes
outside of any photograph. Yet perhaps
the act of living becomes lost underneath
the splutter and clutter of such amassment
where the years are heavy and space, so fine.

No need to move house: just be able to move
to dance in each room with lungs of light,
abandonment filling your chests. Breathe
and feel the security in knowing
that happiness is found outside of objects.

5

enthralled / enthroned

yeah, we say, and wasn’t it?
            (it was, and more besides)

a (super)imposition on an already
            crowded playing field,

and beyond that, the dripping
            brush in the midnight tag

(the game of, rule-less), we,
            Janus-faced, Cerberus,

nostrils whiffling wide, en garde
            at the garden gate,

the first pair, exiled to labor
            by the sweat thereof,

to beget and bring forth (and so
            forth and so on)

enthroned in the azure, the verdant
            season (seasoning)

6

The Heart(h) of the Home

Gone, gone
There's no one home
No one, none
I'm all alone.

Empty chair, faded curtains
Blurred vision reflecting even
Blurrier memories.

Still moment captured in time
After years of noise and laugher
Empty chair, empty heart(h).

No need to fill the place
In time, peace will run
Through my veins
Like a lullaby in heaven.

7

The Green Mile

Graffiti blurs an electric green chair
into teal or is it peacock blue
the hue of a bird seen in books
from the Orient …
and in dreams of clear
mountain streams
thrumming to life under snow
a last wish to see
before I walk to the embrace
of "Old Sparky" on death row.

8

Blue Palm Tree Throne

"Come share my blue palm tree throne," you say.
I shake my head and you shake yours.
We stood and stared for a moment, until I could stand the silence no more. Less than a minute, it felt like eternity.
"You've laid your heart out on the throne."
You nod.
"I ... I don't know how to do that."
You shake your head, but you smile.
"It won't be fair if only your heart was open. Mine needs to be too."
You nod. Encouraging.
"All I have is the truth — my feelings, emotions, thoughts. I don't have much else to give."
You push the throne towards me and whisper, "Well, that is all you need. That is all there is to laying your heart out."

9

Behind

She always was a dancer
he used to say, behind his curt glasses,
clipped black hair and awkward mouth,
she never could sit still,
entering rooms, furious, throwing hands, hair - blue
like paint spatters on the walls,
no one could catch her words
Spraying breath arcs, spittle,
tales, across the room.
We all loved her eyes,
her dirty toes,
the movement of her neck
and when she stopped, time too,
as if for the briefest of brief
the brightest of bright,
the world appeared
to stop as well

10

the thirty second end-of-life flash of a gay tourist in the wrong country

Double take in a mirror. Who created this haze? Me in the sarong from New Delhi or me yoga pants from the Upper East Side sweat lodge? Such richness of upholstery fabrics in this plush painted armchair. Suitable for the fireplace in Florida. Turquoise — last season’s color — somehow remains fashionable if graffiti; a kaleidoscope of visual mottos evoking the seventies clashes in anti-color government consent. No politics. Prayer? Which is the gayest of my two thousand seventeen god choice? Still a fan of Mario Brothers and dripping faucets. The fantasy of an unknown repairman knocking on the front door. Kegs of beer, good weed. Return to the poetic choice of a doppelgänger.

11

You Saw Me Seeing

What brief contemplation
a quick hand
a brief view, the eye

refuses to train on one aspect
of the ruse

busy, busy eye

My graffiti language is on the wall
hiding behind the chair

It's hard to isolate
just one piece of word
anymore

Some day a wipe will come
bringing freedom
to all this mess

by then I will be seated
having tea.

12

A Conversation With Mr. Landaverde On My Guilt

this guilt, sir, i can't help
i see the boat sinking and i too sink
deeper into my couch. oh, this comforting nest
hardens with the bullet i don't hear,
and the tear gas i don't inhale.
i am—

ungrateful. beyond the blood graffitis of Caracas,
beyond the raging rivers and tanks
of the cities you once loved unconditionally.

i...

you. sit in this tower, built from backbone
and sacrifice. hold no burden and all burden
like a feeling could reign supreme and Make A Difference.

i...

Better men than you have Tried.
Better women have Tried and seen their hopes
Reduced
to stampedes of frightened bodies
whose belief in revolution vanished with the gunshot
and gave way for those behind them to perish with their hope.

i...

Read more >
13

Blur

You pass through like a vision,
a blur against the blue
upholstered chair.

This room daubed with paint
in random swirls, your kiss
of graffiti everywhere,

spills the outdoors in, a wash
vibrant as you painting in shrill
blue, a backdrop, a fanfare.

Might you stay, fold into the chair?
Allow it to cushion you in skylight,
a blur of colour, you light as air.

14

We Need to Drink the Steam

Your throne is empty
despite a sceptre made of aqua, concentric hearts.
The world spins –
it shakes its head
over the vacuum left behind,
when compassion
went packing.

We white wash the news.
We numb the senses
with liquid or pill.
But you –
you are incomparable.
Come back.
We beckon you,
in earnest,
for the chance to kneel
at your feet –
to visit the burning labradorite star
left hanging in the sky.

We retreat,
and the walls are covered in graffiti.
No full cup, spilling with blame,
can possibly cleanse this,
so we paint with our veins –
throw up our arms
and dance with eyes closed,
just to awaken the other senses.
Read more >

15

Tapestry of She

My carnival girl
sweet Mon Chéri tart
craved by the uncravable
Goddess to all who paid cash
stuck on that big top box, painted
in lurid colours that shrieked
fun! Too bright to stare since they
gawk, back where you'd gone, and peeked —
turned faces to stone

Merry-go-round lass
beauty drawn outside
the lines, gave extra tonight
to pretend that twirl was mine,
keepsake locket where I was
not a number but a name
caught that wink, puff of air held
deep in my pocket, next to
matches from some dive

Brushed velvet darling
black-slipped baby
show me what wishes you hide
beneath those scars on your arms
make-up doesn't quite cover
Ruby-lipped lady, how far
below does that butterfly
rush to escape harm?

Read more >
16

THE COLOURS OF YOUR DREAMS

You know how it is when the colours you’ve mixed, the colours on your palette, just sing. When you feel drunk on their hues, sated by their tints, when they shiver through your veins. When all you can see is blue and green and yellow and pink and black and white and purple. When all you can smell is sweet oil and sharp turpentine. When you splash and sweep and swish and smooth. When you are in love with your colours and you paint the walls, the floors and the furniture. When blue and green guide you, when thick white strokes become a flower, when love takes over.

That’s when you close your eyes the better to see the colours, the shapes they will make. That’s when you are dizzy and full of light, when gravity disappears and your colours lift you up into the night and you fly through the cobalt sky, past the dazzled stars. That's when you, a shooting coloured star, flex your paint-brush extended finger-wings and paint the air itself with the colours of your dreams.

17

Of a Feather

I spun round and you were gone.
As if the sun had suddenly
disappeared behind
the only puffy white cloud
in a blue sky.

All those blues. We were talking about blue:
sky blue, sea blue, turquoise, aquamarine,
blue green.

I turned round to show you the shade and
when I turned back
you were gone.
Leaving me with blue graffiti,
a single rook,
hearts and scribbles,

the sun making midday shadows,
standing stupidly in a pool of black
behind your hideously hand-painted,
overstuffed blue chair.
Where are you?

18

The Graffiti Garden

She shook her head in disbelief.
What was she seeing?
Bombarded by the symbolism in various colours
of turquoise and blues.
What did it all mean?
Was she in some sort of graffiti garden?
A maze of colour filled her eyes,
and her mind was awash with modern artwork.
The hearts stood out to her.
Someone has had so much fun, she thought,
creating all this.
A crazy jungle of paint.
Then there was the chair.
Perhaps if she made her way over to it and sat down,
she would be able to take in the scene and
make some sense of it all.
She walked barefoot on a sea of blue,
And sat on the turquoise chair which blended into the background of colour.
She was dazzled by the graffiti garden.
Her mind swam.
Luckily she was a good swimmer
and kept her head.
Wow! she thought aloud.
Cool!!

19

Middlemiss Red

You are as rare as pink topaz,
so rare that sunlight creeping in at dawn
can halve your life,
as rare as fire that ignites a thousand hearts
or burns the iciest ocean
or bursts the dark sky with shimmer.
You splinter needles of that rarest pink,
warm the crust of this earth
with your imperial hue.
then fade when you’ve spent
your milliseconds of time,
cast across the universe.

20

Watching from the Wings

Here is the seat on which you will rest
On a shore of tranquil waves
White-washed with surf

Here is the chair carved with love
Cushioned to cradle brittle bones
On balmy days under a gentle sun

Here is the place to shield you
From the chaos and pandemonium
Of this too fast century

Sit and rest a while with me
Feel the pulse of life
Of us, as we watch from the wings.

21

A Child

You are a doll in
Shades of flamboyant colours
Are you waiting for someone
To sit on the chair?
Or are you ruffian-like
Waiting to kidnap someone?
You bandit.
Thugs and thieves are coming
To usurp your throne
Only colours protect your darkness
I'll be damned if you give anyone
A chance. You look like you have
Done ten thousand things before
Like
Hijacking
Killing
Kidnapping
Murdering
Somersaulting
And driving people mad.
The world is hazy and so are you.
You are only a child.
I've caught a glimpse of you
Through hidden myths and pictures.

22

Empty Chair

You turned my head so many times
I felt dizzy.
I felt
in a permanent state of dizziness,
my head spinning round
full of sweet sayings,
full of sweet thoughts.
Surrounding myself with hearts
and smiley faces,
happy faces
turning to tears now,
as the hearts turn blue
and I stand, still dizzy,
behind your empty chair.

23

Blue Graffiti

Sometimes everything turns blue,
air, emotions, chairs too,
with aquamarine and indigo hues.
We fill empty walls and other places
with scribbling, bombing and tagging,
elaborate murals in technicolour
and social comments in monochrome marker.
Flooded with fluorescent cyan splashes,
a surge of symbols, dots and dashes,
we’re overwhelmed by the blur and pace
of a world that has coloured in every space.

24

BACK HOME AGAIN

When I came into your parlor,
you led me to a chair
that was specially prepared, you said,
for the next unknown guest.

When I sat down you couldn't see me,
and had to do a double take —
which the paparazzi who follow me day and night
splashed across the tabloids
like a graffiti you splashed across the universe,
beginning with your own home.

It was all over the walls and drapes and furniture,
all over the ceiling and floor.
You made your statement alright —
that was your freedom of expression guaranteed
under the reinterpreted First Amendment
of the reinterpreted Constitution.

It was the heart that decided me,
so reminiscent of an Egyptian Ankh:
it made me imagine desert sand under your bare feet,
instead of ecstatic paint droppings.

What would have happened, I wonder,
if I had gone ahead and sat down
as you wanted me to do?
Was that a part of your artistic plan,
which I ruined by being so refractory?

Read more >
25

The Cage

Through the iron bars on the cellar window I can see people’s feet. The sky and the ground are merged. There’s some commotion upstairs.

I examine the skin on my arms. It’s turned pale, almost translucent. Most of the hairs have fallen off. The flesh feels flabby to the touch. The hairline and eyebrows are receding. The first strike of lightning disperses the birds. I use the pole to open the window and crisp wet air bursts into the basement. It’s strange that I’ve never thought of opening it before. I breathe in the freshness and with it all the cut grass in the area. People’s feet are moving faster in tune with the rain. The rhythm gets me into a trance.

The first drip drip drip of water through the window. It’s forming a pool by the wall and I stand closer to it. Blue ink trickles from my fingertips. I take off my shoes and stand in the puddle as it’s getting bigger. The stream cascading down the wall turns into a waterfall. Employees shout and run down the stairs towards the ground floor. Their sounds make me feel calm and at home. The sight of papers floating past pleases me, same as the cold sensation moving up my legs and reaching my knees and thighs. Something is unfurling inside me, as the old me is dissolving into this office cellar, into its grimy walls and the filing cabinets.

A torrent pushes its way through the window and knocks me off my feet. Jets of water are spurting out of the cracks in the window frame. The basement fills up quick. The footsteps and voices above have stopped.

I push off a desk, propel myself up to the window and squeeze between the bars with great ease. The flood level is high and the gale is picking up. I swim to the entrance around parked cars and tree trunks. Read more >

26

Black and Blue

If I could mute certain shades of blue
this noise would be more bearable
Do you can you can’t you hear that blue
beating pulsing the world around and beyond?
Blue has a pitch beyond bearable.

If I could mute certain shades of blue
I never would have drowned because
the water’s dark deep rising waves of black
like your irises dulled blind
are not as tempting as the blue.

If I could mute certain shades of blue
the forever hazy sky would blaze and billow
and do you can you can’t you hear that blue
her voice which shakes and shames and is unbearable?
Gas billows and blazes blue and burns it all to black.

27

The Woman Who Shook in the Blue Chair Room

Shook her face in half,
shook until her mind
was a spattered cave
of hyper, splash back,
groovy, Jazz Funk – she
became an abstract
expressionary movement.
When she cried, the colour
inside her throat was the colour
of sky, at its brightest under sun
and she cried clouds the shape
of swans, of smears, of smiley faces.
She had puffy ankles from all
her stamping to the beat
and her chair was a throne,
a sapphire throne of blue
and her words wrote blue and
the heart she left on the wall
was blue and the scribbles and
blotches were blue but
her toenails were painted
red.

28

The Longing of Blue for the Brush

Standing behind the blue throne,
accretions of shifting surface graffiti light your visage.
Look the other way – while we regard you,
cast through the lens of for-never.
Turquoise velvet grandeur – an ache of pure colour,
longing burns in our veins.
We will paint our own palm trees,
colour our own sky blue sky.
Oceans in our ears,
shells held high.
Forever, I shall hold the brush,
as you take your seat, My Dear.

29

Victims

Butterflies spiral
hostage to an uncertain
spring breeze. Reaching
the apex of their courtship
they funnel downwards
through the foliage,
a different route
to the first time.

The ritual is the same
every year; the players
aware of the game
ignorant of the outcome.
All it takes is a gust
of wind to spirit
them away
again.

30

Nightmare

Shaking my head, brain leaks, colour,
Spatters a white chair
Blue. Sky and sea. A fish with no fin,
No gills. Drowning in multi-hues.

Underwater world, toes painted red,
Heart wrapping a lover’s
Knot. Talking of us, you and me,
Air bubbles floating. My dream

Filling the void of your goodbye. The
Empty chair alive imprinted by
Your head, your heart, your body.
I remember. Struggle to wake.

31

Personal Delivery

“Second level,
condominium.
He always tips.”
She called you
Doctor Alexander.
I thought maybe
you could listen
to my heart
and tell me why.
I thought maybe
you’d be someone
grand, wanting
to sit on this.
Maybe imported
cigarettes.
There are more
slogans here
than in the subway.
I don’t know
how long
I can stand
trying to dodge
the spray guns.
I don’t know
how much
or if
you’ll pay.

32

Painted

They said
splash it with
any color
you like

I did
but then how they
bugged out
wide eyes

you have changed
our outlook
we don't see the same

like as if
we have been updated
a new download

feeling obsolete
but that is how
it goes

one day
you are the shade
of the moment

the next
a bland shadow.

33

Equipoise or Nature Manqué

The royal combed rest of a
French cabriole invites with
the breath of a Mediterranean
sea breeze the promise of a
synthesis:

real-world value and bon marché.

It promises flat-rate access to

the image of leaves in streaks,
a brilliant white cascade
of snake necks thronging in
a mist of misheard names, to
a jungle perpetuated in riddle:

Pillars One through Four —
Earth, Water, Sun, and Stucco —
that place you know.

Behind the seen ease, on the
pitch screen, a naked universe
but for logograms of relentless
expectation to express the holy
of holies better, truer, left
unsaid — but for graphic mimics
of the cyan throne, mocking in curves
the truth it makes a promise —

carte blanche — endless repetition —

media shrieks.

Read more >
34

The Antique

Charles spent every Sunday afternoon reading to his grandmother Ann, while she sat in her blue upholstered wooden chair, her finger tapping her chin listening intently. On more than one occasion, she spoke of how the chair had been in the family as far back as the late 1800s.

As Charles now sat in that same chair, in his own living room, he could feel the sunken spots from years of use. Considering, it was still in good condition having never changed the upholstery. Facing the window, he watched the birds fly from tree to tree searching for prey, wondering why his grandmother insisted he take the chair after she passed away.

Charles smoothed his hands against the fine wooden armrests, getting a feel of the workmanship from that era. As his hands moved back and forth he felt something. It was a small piece of note paper taped underneath the right armrest with his name on it.

To my Dear Grandson Charles,

I know you must be wondering why out of everything I own, I left you this chair. It’s not only because out of everyone in the family, you were the only one who took the time to visit and keep an old lady company, but because this is also an antique worth a lot of money. I wanted to leave it to you to either keep or sell. It’s your chair now to do as you wish.

Your Loving Grandmother, Ann

Charles folded the note and relaxed against the back cushion. It took him only a moment to decide what to do.

All the money in the world wouldn’t replace the memories that chair represented.

35

Inner Parade

she closes her eyes and a dream
words, wet paint, graffito
her own parade permeates
the inner walls, silent singing

in there her gaze, ablaze
unabated seeking, her feet
are distinct and an array
of encrypted lines splattered,

speaking — a strangely familiar
terrain — unmapped feelings
and the mind tries to articulate
how to spell the name

the fuel, the flames and the ember

the improvised throne, heart
a target, aquamarine here
where she placed it
‘it awaits the parade that awaits you

follow through to the edge of the night' ...

There is day, her awakening.

36

As seen

I snapped exactly what I saw:
That rubbernecking blur with dark
Hair (and arms) cropped short;
That heart beside itself; that poor
Pretender’s throne, commandeered
One night by a hectic horde;
That sea beneath the swirling floor.

And the layers in and out of other,
Bolder layers, intercut
Motifs brimming this way, then that:
Beaming phizog, ink-sagged feather,
No words but letters bursting through.
A life extravaganza in mid-throe,
Then to be fixed, and framed thereafter.

Now I see it plain in my own
Snapshot: bottom-left, a comic
Penguin fixed in a painted panic,
Line on careless line
Messing up its face and belly.
To some, I know, it just looks silly.
But there it is. Just as seen.

37

Not For Too Long

You've known people like her. We all have. Their big personalities take over and they make you feel so special. They shower you with attention when they first know you, then give that attention to someone new, leaving you behind wondering what happened. You wane in importance.

Cherise was like that. Her heart was colorful, but empty. She had more than one heart. She handed them out and took them back. She wrote us on the wall, but it became useless graffiti. Her feet were planted on the ground but her head whirled – what was she missing out on? Who was more interesting? More important? Her eyes wandered as she offered you a pastel turquoise chair. Do sit down. Be my guest. Just not for too long.

The wall, scribbled with old promises, turned into chaos. The longer you knew her, the more confusion. She might be exciting, but she was limited. In the end, you wanted stability, someone you could count on.

38

On A Blue Sky Beach (Strange Feet)

The strange feet that stay sedated beneath my seat belie the spinning mind that colors time with love rhymes on a blue sky beach
On a blue sky beach behind a coloured stare that gazes through layers of blue and layers of me on a doodling spree trying to set my hair free

39

Home

Memories, corporeal imprints
Visual, luminous hue
Of turquoise, now green, now blue
Floating, swimming into view

Onto this canvass, brush strokes translate
Flickers, morsels, fragmented
Like granules of sand slipping through one's fingers

Behold, untold
Too delicate to grasp
Amorphous, layered mosaic
Fading, visceral palette

Transcend, descends, distils
A gritty, aqua shore
Concealing, revealing, colourful pools
Reckoning, beckoning
My thoughts to still
Come sit a while
In peaceful solitude
Surrender, remember
Let time and emotion do as they will

40

Losing the thread

Time was,
my thoughts were threads,
hanging in hanks,
carefully colour coordinated,
ready to pluck
and weave;
I could hold a dozen, two,
safely in my head
and know,
exactly,
how each fitted
in the pattern.

Now,
much as I love graffiti,
I am unravelled
by its internal usurpation
of pattern and order;
dizzied
by its dazzling chaos;
trying, desperately
to focus…

Okay…love, faith, us
remain pretty well defined…
what else?
Teal, Straw, Heliotrope, Nankeen;
Read more >

41

Shades

If she shakes her face fast enough
the bruises blur to cool glass,
a brittle band of dark shade across her eyes
which her fingertips tap like ice.
It’s better than the suck of wet plum.

The glare is bearable through the glass
if she keeps her head moving.
She stares out defiantly at neon breasts and impossibly bright legs,
her own feet rooted in the earth.

The ankles are spattered with sap and shit
but she holds them, stiff, nonetheless.
This stops her getting lost.

The quiet chair has been waiting for weeks,
inviting her to rip her thin white roots from the soil
and rest her thighs, dangle her toes, swing her calves
to look the world in the eye.
Come, hold your head high and still.

But she slurps water through her feet for now,
face still spinning, tender sockets, shades intact.
In this way she hopes to survive.

42

Tidal Room

His neptuned chair is moored in shirring water,
and she, skin like shifting kelp, fixed byssal feet
anchored there, gasps a lazuli blue. Waits.

Everything here is further than any known land.
Walls mind their rarity of air in illegible things,
a graffiti of algal forests where she dare not go.

Some days, his smile opens her out vulnerable
as an oyster. On others his hands, cold pious fish,
slip, snap her shell shut. All this bruised sea

holds her, caved, an inner immigrant. Maps are lost,
scribbled, hidden, he knows she'll never find the way.
Listen. A wicking of surface water, linted sails hush
past, somewhere lies a quiet redemption of islands, hope.

43

Facing It

She is a lost Picasso, pulled between the faces of dilemma and confusion.
Watercolour thoughts are smudged, smears of speeding dreams blurring her direction.
She drips with doubt, washed-up dregs and views of blue mind-strewn on her landscape.
She searches for identity, is caught in the dichotomy: Daddy’s girl. Street girl.
Behind her, angry women have spewed out their emotion, but have stopped to show devotion.
In front, the last reminder of a middle-class upbringing that wasn’t quite so textbook.
Barefoot and frenetic, she eradicates the symbol of the principles imparted,
but in daubed, unfinished splashes by a mind that clings to childhood is a lack of a conviction.
Her head is dragged through cobalt hearts, a throne and azure statements,
thick love spilled in creamy dreams, walls licked and slicked in lavish strokes,
ciphers scrawled, conflict clawed, merging, bound.
What is her point?
She flails in space to find her place and, frameless, waits in the divide.
Then Daddy’s at her side again to put her in the picture.

44

Dementia Blues

Splash of turquoise, Prussian blue
Swirls of colour in midnight hue
Colour stimulates the view
More of life beyond the blue

Shadow of her former self yet
Still that woman you can’t forget
Standing still behind the chair
Wearing blue ribbons in her hair

Colour faded memories too
Amongst the myriad shades of blue
Sadness comes and sadness goes
Happiness like the bluebell grows

Dementia stealing from the mind
But many memories are left behind
Bubbling from a cerulean lagoon
Underneath a pale blue moon

45

When the Thunder Died

Paint it as you want but
there is no we. No more us.
It’s just you.
You and your pebble-brained tales,
and blue birds of sappiness.

And somewhere between Christmas
and mid-February, your tone turned
from white noise to shocking blue.
Blue noise; you filled the air with
static graffiti and chintz hearts.

And by late March, I’d burnt
your favourite chair. Tossed out
your tacky plastic palm trees
and pink flamingoes that you stuck
in the deep-green pile carpet.

You said it was just like grass,
except you’d never have to mow it.
Never tend it; just walk on it.
I’ve been shaking my head no
to any faint scent of you because

somewhere between Christmas and
those middle numbers in February,
I lost my desire to go barefoot.
Lost my innocence in the back
of your tool shed. Lightning is
no fun after the thunder dies.

46

YOUR BLUE PERIOD

has lasted longer than my own
where I went deep into a fugue
of Prussian blue and nearly succeeded
by dropping into a black hole
where the vastness of open space
contracted and bent into confused scenes

the violence of rejection has become
for you a turquoise haven of abstraction
a hue transferred to the reality
of a chair that has the arms you do not
use for emphasis as your head moves
from side to side — a continuous negative

that is still a decision — a complexion
of thought shaken into shapes about you
as if your own spontaneous designs are
images of possible futures not yet deigned
to be good or bad just other accidents
infatuations that wait in arbitrary places to happen

47

Blue Symphony

It is midnight and Elsa cannot sleep. Her eyes flicker shut, flicker open, and her brain whirs, races, speeding through the events of the life, the things she has seen. Her fingers are restless, itching to fulfil a task, something she can later look back on and smile at and say I created this.
She picks up her needle and thread and begins to sew, in, out, in, out, her fingers finding their own rhythm while Elsa begins to hum softly. Her thoughts are awash with colour, various shades of blue: royal, aqua, navy, peacock, electric, midnight –
Ow!
She pricks her thumb, a diamond of blood pooling on the surface of her skin. She wipes it on her nightdress and continues – in, out, in, out, thrusting the needle with gentle force, watching the patterns overlap in a blue symphony.
She is reminded of a time, long ago, involving a chair, plush-backed, the colour of calm waters, and a boy who quickly became a man. Or so he said. A boy who took from her, took something deep within, something Elsa wasn’t ready to give; and he, with his lean limbs and strong hands took exactly that, and she was left tear-stained and heartbroken. Ruined forever.
Elsa looked at the chair and found that it had started to peel like aged paint from wooden posts, peeling away the calmness, the tranquilities, to reveal brazen white, the colour of pills and hospitals and secret trauma.
Tick-tick-tick-tick.
Her fingers move in time to the ticking of the clock, her heartbeat aligning with the pendulum. She will not, cannot stop; her breath becoming shallower, faster, her thoughts spiralling on the sapphire blue heart she had drawn over her notebook, thinking that together, they could set the world ablaze.
Read more >

48

Black and White

He comes from a world of black and white
and certainty.
Certainty of death.
Destruction of his mind,
gradual but complete.
Even the blood in the streets
turns black in the end.

You want his grass to be greener,
the way you see it.
It comes so easy for you,
a once caged bird,
released,
into a multi-coloured sky.

His cage door opens by degrees,
The light beyond is blinding.
Everywhere he turns to look.
it burns.

You have learned to see
the hearts and flowers.
He only sees the writing on the wall.
Give him a new certainty
of time.
One day he’ll join you in your sky.

49

First Taste

Of course, you won't have noticed me before,
looking around the bar,
I'm one of the first girls on this shift.

I always dress down at 2am,
it's a way of getting noticed,
I don't get paid otherwise.

Some of you come for the company —
hoping for strong feminine arms to hold them —
others just for an anaesthetising drink.

I know all of you,
business men, loners, soldiers,
goodtime boys.

Well I'm a professional too —
make the most of me while I'm here.
At the end of the night I'll go back
home to my cat and my flat. Goodbye.

50

PHANTOM’S PHANTASM

Paint-splattered chair, in space which seeks to flance,
once graced the drawing room in handsome manse
in grounds which, while alive, I called my home
where coiffured shrubs adorning nourished loam
scented pergola where we used to dance.

The décor pains me as would swarm of ants.
the room’s chaotic style cannot enhance
once stylish seat where I would sit and comb.
Paint splattered chair!

I cannot focus right – there’s no advance
to my solidity. I can but glance
about disturbing gloam
and seethe at memory when time to roam.
Paint-splattered – chair?

51

Please be seated

Your table is waiting
We have all been waiting
To make edits
On your meal, on
your life

Won't you sit down
We've already ordered
A heat lamp could
Not save this meal

Always eat slowly
Admire the painting we've
Done of you
Don't you look different
Now that you're older?

Do you feel wiser?
It seems so.
Have some dessert.

52

Her Royal Flyness

Expanding its reach, the unknown spirit begins to move
Showing the world what it's really made of.
Breaking stereotypes and perceptions, she engulfs every aspect of life.
Coloring her world, filling it with love, freedom, uprisings, culture, and her ethnic attributes.
Dancing around, she begins to inflict those around her with that oh so sweet feeling of self-love and appreciation. Positivity fills the room, can you see it?
That unspoken feeling — what’s it called? Resilience, Breakthrough, Freedom, Power?
Who cares, she is who she is and what she wants to be.

As she leaps from one side to the next
Creating tribes, setting her counterparts free ...
They break through and begin to dance, exploring barriers that once suffocated them
Moving side to side, they begin to dance, their new found glory brings tears to their closed palettes.
Shattering their glass hearts, there's a sense of spiritual release.

Who would have thought this spirit that was once hidden in a dark corner would
have emerged and taken over, spreading glory, peace, dance, confidence ... beauty.

Realizing she’s the owner of her destiny, breaking boundaries and chasing her dreams.
She decides to express and share her new found wisdom.
So what’s left?
Moving forward, discovering new horizons, spreading the joy of freedom and of course, her flyness.

53

Dream Chair

Vivid turquoise, the dream chair waits
against a wall of graffiti. No one sits
there, but behind it, a time traveler,
clings to the chair back, her face blurred
by an unknown gravity.

Centered between the sturdy green chair
legs, her own shins descend, and her feet
are anchored in a blue and turquoise tide
that ebbs and flows across the crazy
wavy floorboards.

Held captive, she has painted her toenails—
a gesture meant to ground the memory
of who she is as her face keeps shifting,
the speed of her travel recasting it like
a sand sculpture destined to dissolve.

I’ve never seen the chair in waking life, but
know its house, one I also visit in my dreams—
one whose stone facade is graced with red azalea,
and whose spacious extra bedroom beckons from
the basement where the mural blazes.

I know this room is in that house because the
mural has migrated into this dream, squeezed
itself into a strip where the wall meets the ceiling—
a gaudy rendition of The Last Supper, neon colors
pulsing like a beacon above a painted ankh

Read more >
54

The Latecomer

Scribbled white flower,
stellate or trumpet
brushed chair back,
tie and bind the bellflower...

Black leathered nymphet,
blindfolded and blurred
between violet and green,
what hint? what tint
was the last to be seen?

Was blue blue before
there was a word?
Was blue?
Blue was blue
before and after it was noticed.
Was blue
rayleigh scattering,
cried the lamenter?
drips of heartshaped silphium seeds
was scepter. Was-scepter,
commands the latecomer!

To us! To us! The rest
pinked, purpled, and yellowed asemic.
The graffitied wall screamed
hues of lapis lazuli;
sky, sea, and eyes
blurred of teal,
blurred of ultramarine.

Read more >
55

Picasso’s Blue Period Exhibition 1901-1904

Time ate away at your face
Gouged out your eyes
Until hollow sockets were all that remained

It was once beautiful
As were the hands that rested serenely on your lap
The same hands whose veined rivers pulsated and bulged over paper thin skin
towards the end

There were still stories in your face
Stories in those hands that grasped, stroked and cupped life
All its wonder and misery

Since you’ve gone
Everything has turned blue

The vase on the table across from the blue chair
Filled with forget-me-nots
Its wilted petals will soon scatter like confetti
onto the rug below

It’s not blue yet
But the days pass in slow motion
And I’m quite sure it’s turning blue

Read more >
56

The god of transitions

Barefooted Janus sees you coming. She's a stealthy mover, sheathed in black, negotiating graffiti-strewn turquoise streets.

She sees you and your heart lacquered up like so many layers of lipgloss, dripping hallelujahs and hey girlzzzz. Shimmering like the incandescent light of a bubble, bubblegum pink, lemon fizz yellow.

And Janus sees you going.

She sees you, bending from your spine like a comb binding, folding yourself in two to protect what is left inside. And what is that? Just pieces now, scraps of organs stretched too far and shredded thin. Red ribbons.

The god of transitions doesn't care what happened in between. She wasn't looking.

57

Echo

She felt as if she was there and not there at the same time. Partially present, like the contours of her body have melted and some of the atoms slipped away in a parallel universe. She was there, but also a world away. Tiny sweat drops were covering her body, giving her the illusion of being fluid, even liquid. A little bit and she would merge with the background. The colours would soak her up.

They painted here for years. The splashing happened one night when they were drunk, and continued whenever there was a stronger emotion. A whole turquoise bucket for the sold out exhibition. The remainder of the deep blue after a perfect night out. The loads of white for the small quarrels. The black for the first cheating.

They threw parties in the studio and tipsy guests drew on the walls and on the floor. There were bits and pieces of scattered thought, emotion and lust on their doors and windows. A spontaneous poem in yellow in the desk on the left. A scary amount of red with imprinted hands on the middle wall. A childish cloud-filled sky on the ceiling. Their quarrel splashes mingled with someone’s profession of love, their happy sprays stained someone’s darkest hour. They were exhaling everything from deep down inside, and it transcended and changed meaning and echoed and came back in them.

She slowly walked around the space, close to the walls, touching the paint. The different layers of colour were telling a story of their own, a subtitle of their lives. There was too much of them, too much of everyone else in these four walls. We need a new beginning, she thought, we need a fresh canvas. She kneeled down and picked up the spatula. She started with the black.

58

Nothing Lasts

She could feel them
      vibrations
earth and time turning
youth and old age blurring
A switch from dolls to useless canes
holding firmly to what
seemed real in life
any anchor she could find
an arm, a chair, a false belief.
      Early years in pink painted bedrooms
grew into teenage years of angst
protest posters, peace sign decals
a boy, a man, so many passed
Now left here standing,
      shaking
from the rush of years.
Her life, her life
now surging fast.

59

Out and Out

Grasps:
rubbing radiant
     this cold stone clap of
time and time and time...

trundling and rolling down south (tho it felt like north)

heat on doors and windows. my Breath HOTandHOT
AND HOT
and

cold high air, reaching,

and rea
ching
and

(re)
aching

My leg rubbing against yours in the pit that had been someone’s room earlier that day.

I watched as you and your friend each did a line of cocaine as my pupils baloo--ne,d inky black
,
higher and higher,
    too high to
re   ach

a       part

Read more >
60

History

Born with a whimper at the end of the roar
thundering champagne bubbles in free
fall hurtling towards thirsty
brown sucking earth
dustbowl, they called it
everyone knows
that skinny dirty grey woman
in the photo
all the colors
drunk from the wind
trapped in depression glass.

She sets her pretty face west
the odyssey of the queen anne chair
hitching with her grandmother
across endless open green
before country
in a dusty covered wagon
behind six musty mules
and a glistening black gun
lounging poolside now
under sweet orange trees
in the turquoise breeze of the Pacific.

Read more >
61

A Splash of Unexpected Brightness

"Oh my God, what have you done?"

For once, the rising whine of Abby's voice held a genuine question. Nick shrugged, gestured with open palms — surely it was self-evident.

When Nick had turned up looking for a place to crash on Friday, Abby had been on her way out.

"Mi casa su casa," she'd misquoted from a film, and thrown him her spare keys.

By midnight he was thinking maybe he should have asked when she'd be back, and as Saturday's sunrise sneaked in through gaps in velvet curtains his jiggling leg could have powered the espresso machine if he'd only found a way to harness it. Exactly what was the point of exchanging the familiar solitude of his studio for the creepy silence of Abby's empty flat?

"Do you have any idea how much this was worth?" Abby demanded now, fists on hips in the hallway.

"I guess you can't knock the wall down and sell it," Nick said, "but you know, if we get a good photo it might make a decent print. Get it done on canvas, bump the price up."

"That was a genuine antique chair."

"It did look old. Musty. Depressing. I spent one night in here and I knew exactly why you're so uptight all the time." Abby stared at him, Nick guessed she hadn't expected him to show that level of insight. "So I figured I'd cheer the place up a bit. What do you reckon?"

She was speechless, and Nick smiled as the room suddenly looked brighter. Read more >

62

Urgency

Dream with a river of signs
as violent as beautiful,
wake up with the indelible convulsion of the waters
in the body.
Bleed colors and feel the urgency
of the unknown.
The usual streets
are now blurred
and the faces previously loved
are now broken.
Drink by the eyes the hallucinatory light
of the sunset
Walk without direction and live
the untranslatable ecstasy
that only feels
the spirit that does not know
where it goes.

63

Neptune’s Seat

Life’s barnacles had encrusted my memories,
I could no longer remember my brother’s face,
Sweet sixteen was far from sweet for us,
A summer holiday, sunshine, a slight breeze, gulls sweeping overhead, girls and surfing,
An ideal scenario for us to indulge our passion for riding the arching breakers as they raced towards the land,
It was a game,
Hunting for the biggest, highest and most powerful waves; generated in the ice-blue unseen depths, by the Sea God’s fickle temperament.

The cove was not new to us,
We had surfed there in all weathers.
But that day there was a stillness that we had never experienced before,
A cloudless sky transformed itself into a raging storm within minutes,
Accompanied by volleys of trident-like flashes of lightning,
We headed for shore, but were catapulted from the security of our boards.

I was washed ashore unconscious,
And discarded on the beach like a piece of human flotsam,
They never found my twin’s body,
Now on days when the sun is beaming down on the Sea’s azure surface,
I will remember him and trust that Neptune adopted my mirror image and made him his acolyte,
So that my twin will stand forever, a youthful shadow behind the God’s throne,
In his palace built from the havoc of wrecked lives.

64

Blurred oscillation

                               How
             can I sit upon pastel oscillations’

causational heirloom   containing     contemporary

freedoms within all
                       angled
     perspectives of delineated

             dioramic phantoms?

                                                       Shoes, elsewhere, my
staying is appropriate for
philosophies apparent beyond
   the metaphysics of hidden
                            and
     absolute syllables—

fortune, here, fortune
found space needn’t exist beyond the tongue tiring amid dialogical apprehension—

               within these colors I
         will find what was left with intentional
                    happenstance, a
     jazz
   of
       discover

                           portending what rhythm does in the coldest
                                   momentum of isolated

fathoms

65

The Question of Bodies

where does blood die
along the way? I want to know
myself out of this body,
into the realm of soil and space.
the universe swirls each morning,
thrusting me from my bed.

I want a celestial body of my own
elemental formations instead of fragile
skin and nails. worship my orbit.
lick the rings of my planet and savor
the tang. this chair is only a prison
for the physical, not the thoughts.

reform me, creator, let me spill over the edges
like a tide.

66

Blurred Lines

Somewhere between innocence and lust,
Halfway past the point of no return,
That's where she lost her soul,
Spaced out on a quest for fame,
Slouched down amongst the graffiti,
She used to be somebody's daughter,
Now the city has swallowed her whole,
Leaving a nameless face,
Wandering aimlessly in the crowd.

67

PAINTED SOUL

With her perfect figure, elegant clothes and careful maquillage, Celeste was beautiful. She graced the salon of Madame Douvier’s maison de passe by her mere presence, seated beside the window gazing at the world outside, but seldom uttering a word.

Henri loved her but could not afford her – she was reserved for the wealthier clientele – but he refused to settle for another girl. He would sit, wine-glass in hand, talking to her, and over time he began to see beyond her painted face to the soul that was fading in this place. Each week he visited, talked and left, until he had sold, saved and borrowed enough to buy Celeste’s freedom.

When she joined him for dinner that first night she found an envelope on her plate.
“What is this?” she asked.
“The key to your bedroom,” Henri said. “There is only one.”
Celeste gazed at Henri, at the candlelight flickering over his homely but earnest face, and decided.
“I will not be needing it,” she said, and placed her hand gently on his.

68

soft rolling like lull

amma, when as young as she would ever be to me, talked of when she was a bride. ‘the houses limit the ocean. run off now. let me stitch’ as she ran her nicked digits over our cares, little wishes. ‘save every nickel for a rainy day. get me some paan.’ our boxes and knick knacks held our stories. old wife, poor soul, young widow, mother to a hundred sons and not one daughter, atulprasad-doting paan-maker, i knew you. letters are always read too late, writ too soon.

a wooden door called ‘fancy corner (india)’. by this road i walk down every night. nothing too fancy about the green, old, scrambling for support, colour eaten by rain moss and rust. i lost a cat by the door, i marked it with charcoal in my mind, words in the lost section. ‘at the end of my suffering, there was a door.’ i have been handed ‘an atlas of the difficult world’, now to spot myself on it. this society is desperate from the need to save from itself. i try i fail. i will recede to polite dismissals too, ‘peace of mind’, ‘an air of civility’, ‘quality life.’ rage died old in a rot bed.
then, what? nothing.

69

Blue Chair

I am the blue chair.
I sit, waiting.
I need to feel the caress of an ample buttock.
I am the blue chair.
Blue, because I wait for someone
Who will not come.
The red chair is taken.
The yellow chair is occupied.
I am the empty chair,
The empty blue chair.
I sit and wait.
It's May.
But will May ever come?

70

(As it happens) I do know where the mushrooms are

In a random universe where chaos reigns we try to impose order a lot of the time quite successfully. It’s not unique to humankind to want order; bees, ants, meerkats and many other species have societal structures and hierarchies. Time once again to check the clock and plan where we are supposed to be.

Roads full of metal boxes, a flammable tank on wheels, the individual inside and a lot of unpredictable behaviour. Will they turn left or right, put faith in their indicator lights and hope they will follow the program? Be surprised there are not more accidents, more deaths each year on the roads, symbolic of society in general; it, with all the chaos, when all is said and done, functions very well. People are like the weather, unpredictable but patterns do emerge over the eons, so in a random universe where chaos reigns there is hope, better still, there is some certainty.

It was once said by someone about us, that the general public doesn’t know what is happening and it doesn’t even know it doesn’t know… the supermarket is a place where she works, she sees the randomness of it all on a daily basis, where chaos theory meets 2 for 1 cornflakes. Even though the aisles are clearly labelled no one knows where anything really is; customers could take time to look up and make sense of a little bit of information for themselves every now and then.

The background radio plays the same tiresome songs, the trolleys take on a life of their own, where people would not think to drop litter at home or in the street, would quite happily do so on a supermarket floor. She thinks to herself, is this where we are at, are we still in essence hunter gatherers but doing it in a hyper-reality disconnected from nature, apart from buckets of manufactured flowers for sale near the compost?

Read more >
71

Lady in Black on Blue

Where to focus
What to rivet on
She spins her black-haired head
Engulfed in blue

A mirage, a collage
words and pictures and
one solitary object
a chair in blue

Barefoot, concealed,
the chair center stage
She stands out from the backdrop
A body interloping

Only one word emerges,
and why is the chair so big?
Is it to hide her or
invite her to sit?

Dizzying graffiti
frames her delicate body
Blues and blacks in a flesh-toned world

Will she come forward?
Will she turn around?
Will she sit in the chair?
Or just pass by.
The lady in black on blue.

72

Watcher

You can only see him from the corner of your eye
—a wisp, a blur, a shadow. His art
is to remain hidden. He walks
on slippered feet, stands
behind velvet curtains.

When a guest drops a silver spoon onto the Turkish carpet,
he whisks it away before anyone notices.
The wine is poured, the soup is served. The guests
lean in over stemware and dinner plates,
telling tales, laughing.

They suck flesh off tiny quail bones, crack
lobster claws, slurp
oysters from their shells, belch
discreetly behind linen napkins.

They do not see him there,
watching.

73

Palimpsest

There is a woman
behind that crazy wall
of blue and pink graffiti.
Almost eclipsed
like a pale moon covered
in earth’s cold shadow.
She hides behind
the easy chair
set out for her
like an empty throne,
the only solid place
left for her to sit,
one more number
in an old formula
she’ll never solve.
Refusing to fit,
refusing to make peace
with all the arguments
against her
writing her over and over again
so bright and loud
she loses her face
under a blur of ink
and can’t find arms
to raise against
her cruel redefinition.

74

Apprehension

I stood behind a chair which you had recently vacated. I had the intention of sitting there to write to you: a letter of such precision and finality, that it would inescapably show what it meant for me to be sitting in a chair still warm from you.

But the longer I stood behind the chair, the more formidable it became, and the more I became just a figure standing behind a chair, anticipating words: and there were so very many to choose from – they needed to be tamed. They scrawled in all the wrong directions, got up my back and in my nose and stung my eyes and began to perfectly unravel me.

And with mounting despair, I had to acknowledge that what I amounted to was totally illegible and not repeatable: something you would mark in the margins with a scratchy red pen as ‘too verbose’, or ‘unclear’, or if you were in an uncharitable mood: non sequitur mixed metaphor split infinitive.

It occurred to me that I have wasted too much time thinking before saying what it is I mean. And what it is I mean, I could hardly say, but that I’m going mad from meanings.

White knuckled, I watch the chair tip backwards. And nobody – nobody – falls out.

75

Interior with bleached coral

Cross-section of an
ornate doll’s house
inside a human heart.

For all the delirium on the wall
this is the brightest I’ve seen her.
She might remonstrate
and shake her head
shrinking behind the throne
but I see
her painted toenails
and I know
her inside-out.

Slim focused lens upon
an angst-gilded chair,
strafed with candy shop paint.

She wouldn’t sit
(too restless)
prefers to stand
in the hope
that she might
be carried away
out of the doll’s house
out of the heart
she’s ready to leave behind
the colours of bleached coral,
the sickly-sweet colours.
Her toenails are painted
and
she’s ready.

76

The Joys of Blurring

Show me the psychedelic blue,
The electric that curdles my blood,
Reminds me daily of the days gone past.

Show me the psychedelic blue,
So, I may not rest easy now.
I must recollect the public shaming.

Show me the psychedelic blue,
Come, bring forth all the puking psychedelic now,
All the bile that comes tumbling out.

Yes, the same psychedelic blue of pain,
I've recovered, the psychedelic's now gotten lighter,
It's a lovely, sky-blue dawn now.

77

The Queen

From my throne I look at you
Feeling sorry for you
The jester
The fool
I tried to help things
You took me as being cruel
I took care of your precious jewel
You treat me like a Janus-faced dragon
Someone, something you must destroy
You slash, you cut, with your graffiti sword
Hoping to kill or cut close enough to send me crawling back to my castle
The strong alliance that could have been
One that could slay the true evil beast
With scary fangs that flash you blind right before they feast
You have no idea until you're bleeding out
They prey on you, me and everyone that comes into their small path
The truth will come out
I'm not the deity
I am just and true
Some might say, even you,
I bleed blue

78

One Girl is More Use than Twenty Boys

Curious stars crowd the open window
     Peter splashes turquoise
                   from the magic shore
                                   the room is ablaze
John and Michael jump on the bed swashbuckling
                                 bumping their heads on the ceiling

The pink flamingo sits scratching his head
                             mapping out
                                 Second star to the right

Wendy leans in for the kiss
                 looking all directions
                         clutching her acorn necklace
                              something yanks back her ponytail

                     Tink zigzags around shooting stars
                                 scattering pixie dust
Peter grabs Wendy’s hand
                       twirling in a dance of air

Read more >
79

Who Reigns?

Up from the throne,
out and about,
Chaos is his name.
I stand, left behind, bewildered.
Is he here?
Is he there?
Is he the Scarlet Pimpernel
we seek everywhere?
Or minion of the evil one
cleverly disguised in
soft colors, calming, calming.
My head spins.
Chaos surely reigns, yet
who is truly on the throne?

80

Us

There is a logic that is only found by walking barefoot
you must step on every crack between the paving stones
sowing ox-eye daisies and lady’s slippers in the gaps.
The strongest will grow in the poorest soil.
You trace a single word in the dust.
I will circle your wrist with a chain of forget-me-nots, stems slit
to poke their heads through.
Pull up a chair, and let’s see if the shoe fits.

81

you kept your winter

little blue heart
full of deceptive love
a two-faced king
scorpion full of poison,
and a snake full of teeth;
your mouth was a black hole
where dreams went to die
and you kissed me—
i never knew life could be so painful
until i was recast into the world
reborn from ruin
i had to form chaos into a compliment
then i realized you were just a boy
pretending to be a man
afraid of your very heart and its purpose
you kept its winter but forgot
each other season.

82

Metamorphosis

I have decided that love is not possible
between the bee and the flower.

I tried, swaying on painted legs
perfecting a palette of every hue,
some would say gaudy.

Perfumed and pouting I fluttered,
I needed you.

Don't sit under the apple tree with
anyone else but me

but you always supped on the purple
one and sated flew away.

Consumed, I am deserting the fecundity
of colour, developing a fondness for
fermenting.

I crave the comfort of a malodorous
descent into a silent Sunday,
living on my back.

83

I Bleed Colour

My haemorrhaging
abstract hues

bleed out across a
black and white world,

slit veins splattering
across lifeless walls

refurbishing your domain,
painting pigmentary fragments

across your thrones,
my spectrum washing

over edges
of mindful frontiers.

Look, the moon is high,
and I bleed colour for you.

Come cast yourself
in my shades.

Colour is nigh

84

The Blurring

The electric chair beckons from afar,
It puts you into a blur,
Dostoevsky knew it before the firing squad.

Some blurs attain permanence,
You may be adverse to it,
The electric chair has come to stay with you.

The blurring will also remain,
That, too, has attained permanence,
You aren’t sure if you are still alive.

85

In the end only colour will survive

you a blurred shape on a callous canvas.
Life is a constant checking of traffic;
looking left, looking right,
before risking a step onward.
It might be better to rest. Sit here.

A padded chair beckons; soon
you don’t even know where your haunches
end and the cushion begins.
Any imprint fleeting then gone
like a dent in dough.
Babies’ hands in plaster
last longer on the nursery wall than your
pale, sorry softness.

But pure alkaline turquoise,
the clean carved bleach of white,
cuts and cleans, cuts and cleans.
Perhaps you’ll leave a smudge of self behind,
discernible only near colour.

86

CC

You don’t see what I see.

This is my safe space.
I offer it to you as a
one time only deal.
Not a question asked
in either direction, so
get yourself parked.
My eyes have it
within them to keep you
under guard.

I’ll look everywhere for you
among the greenest of hearts and faces
of us all.
Don’t look back;
you’ll see that someone has walked a mile
in my shoes
and they are a mile away
with my shoes.

I will not be leaving you alone;
if you copy me into your world.
I offer myself as a panopticon.
My eyes go everywhere for you.
What could possibly go wrong?

87

Spoonfuls

and I hear their voices
and I hear their voices
and I hear their voices
amen

blue zig-zags
wry sardonic the register of love
of loss of what was once
yearning for yesterday’s
tomorrow or tomorrow’s
yesterday reflected
in cold metal
warmed by the hand
that held it
that hand might turn traitor
and plunge it abandoned
into a stream of ice floe

and I hear my voice
and I hear my voice
and I hear my voice
amen

88

Follow

Painted nails,
Smeared lips a stained red,
Cover girl,
Attempting to hide,
Dress pulled down,
A little too tight,
High heels spiked,
Lost in wave of hashtags,
Meaningless compliments,
She poses,
Strangers gawk and keep clicking her buttons,
She washes down the attention with a flat off-brand soda,
At least someone loves her,
Even if she doesn't,
At least for the night.

89

Unnatural

The graffiti is hellishly bright on the wall.

Purple faces grinning, white eyes smearing like tears. Green hearts encircling butterflies end in crosses. Black and pink and blue, loopy writing, jagged colors, never stopping, layering on top and on top and on top.

There’s a blue chair with green legs and it’s the ugliest piece of furniture he’s ever seen. Its blueness is unnatural, blueness like a kid’s blue raspberry tongue and his ex-girlfriend’s hair.

It’s all unnatural, all insane, and it spins around and around and around him until he blurs out entirely.

90

The Boxer Reads To Me

Sit here, I dare you, again for
     Sakhalin, salon moments, pore
     over the Poet, crease of hip cut
     before me like diamonds, spine
     coilsprung to recite. Talk to me
     about LaMotta, the animal, warm
     bright rocks on me the primal the
     literary ones, you are coal walls
     lit up, it's dark, I'm awake with you.
     I scribbled hearts on your wall, don't
     ask me which books I stole, indecision
     could kill, just touch me, here in the blue.

91

Woman behind a chair

She's a blur with two faces, we've caught her
turning one way and the other. This is the point
a new world is made: you've seen the film,
every choice creates another life.
She turns right. 'I'm leaving you,'
she says to the boyfriend, the artist;
She turns left and thinks,
I'll be his muse a while longer.
The artist slaps more paint on a wall;
daubs words over words, hearts over faces.

92

Suddenly I turned around and she was standing there

Bowing around spilled coffee
A wife can't be your life
But isn't it decisively so?
The beats,
I –
I don't –
Did you –
Last Wednesday –
A senior citizen rolls a ninja turtle carry-on, in front of the cafe.
We all laugh, the British girls and me...
She moves fast, onward with precocious vigor
Turns the corner, and it's only me again.
Before now it was us and them.
I feel separated,
my jaguar walking stick
leans into the crook of this wooden storefront bench
And the red woman struts by
Like it's the same old scene
Whether I am offered
Or it’s said; here,
have one more cup of coffee
before you go.

I'll argue that my desk feels snugger than a pantsuit.

The smoker walks by,
that's it. I've had it.

Read more >
93

AMY ON RAIN

Amy had been brought up in Coven 13 and had seen many a to-do: magical woodworm causing mid-air broomstick collisions and even the odd plummeting sister narrowly saved by the emergency services; warlocks dressing up as mortals to protest against equal access to children; and teenage sorceresses auditioning for X Factor where they had screeched like spiked rats yet glamoured the judges into thinking they were wonderful. Her old room-mate, Cheryl, had been very good at that.

But today was different by a long wand – a tool Amy’s clan refused to employ: it was too common for witches of their calibre. Amy picked at the wart she had been nurturing. Sure, there was a lot of Hollywood stuff about stereotypes and witches really being pretty, but seriously – how else was one to commune with one's mediums. The demons might look like cats, mice, dogs or ravens, but they were all of one mind as regards human “beauty” – they hated it and wouldn’t be seen dead or half-alive near some pretentious wench with a hankering for love and fertility spells.

As to Big Horny down below, Amy scowled at the appellation. She didn’t get the humour behind that nickname. He might have been The Most Beautiful once, but the ugliness inside tends to migrate to the surface. She shrugged, suddenly noticing that her pubescent chest had begun to move in a significant manner. She pulled at the top of the dress and peered downwards with raised eyebrows and got distracted with a few more experimental shrugs.

Today … yes, today Witch Weighs Up, the daily news programme, had issued a bulletin about the weather control station orbiting the planet. The motherboard was faltering, causing irrational winds and several witches were rushed to woodwork shop with severe burns. There had been worrying rumours, but these had been hushed up by the Magic Marquise, oversight of the Grand Council.

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94

utopia

LA

I'm here in this strange land,
no one to see just the magical air I breath,
this colorful place makes me feel like a saint,
I think I’m dreaming although it feels like the right place,
the smell is so sweet like I'm stuck in the breeze,
it feels very clean although it's as messy as seen,
my mind is at ease this is the safe place for me,

I'm floating in this peaceful scene like it was just meant to be,
the birds tweet makes me start grinning my teeth,
my smile is so fine I feel so divine,
this magical place is where I'll be spending my days ALONE.

95

Habits

CSP

We stand at the end of the tide letting the water make friends with our toes. Something caught my eye as there was blue paint left on my ankles. Then boom — a huge tsunami wave of paint was set free all over us and then the party started…

Three seeds were left at the tip of our feet with all different signs on it such as the logo of black panthers, nazi and peace symbols. We all took one each. There was a flash.

A loud noise was buzzing from the sky, it was getting closer and closer it’s now coming into a rhythm. The whole area turned white then paint squirted from the ceiling, huge amounts of people appeared, everyone looked blurry, music was all over the people were going crazy and then every person went into slow motion until a balloon popped and then the whole place fell into the ground.

96

sit down

TRA

Blurry views this community brings
The bright dream these people want you to think
Fake lights they shine dem burning up my eyes
Lord give me one day to really feel alive

Brutality in this world and nobody likes it
But they hide behind their doors not out tryna fight it
I'm going crazy can't walk in their light cah i'm afraid of my shadow
Looking left and right the industry's making people so hollow

Souls caught and dragged in the fire and camouflaged with the bright light
Come on put up a fight
Look at our sisters and daughters discriminated by the light
Tight clothes and skinny thighs is what the light likes

Will you love me tomorrow when my love might be colder
My bloodstream is growing older and my beauty might be tender
But baby all i’m saying is don’t let me go we all need a lil dark to get us even

97

Baby Shower, This Way to Basement

To love her
Is to be pushed aside
When her art possesses her
She wears three rings on each hand
None of them
A promise to her baby daddy

She dreams and so discovers
Traversing the wicker chair’s seat, beetle-backed
Roaches roaming the lattice of twigs
Her eyes flicker hot, a frenzied weave ensues
A steady, dull buzz growls in her throat
The unborn child yanks the back of her tongue
Ringing her mouth open, a dry heave

Her baby’s father must return the party prop
Demand their money back in coins, quick
She will paint one of the living room chairs
As an offering, turquoise
To cool the baby’s hot spirit
White painted plumes to temper the flames.

To love her
Is to be pushed aside
When her art possesses her
She wears three gold bands on her ring finger
None of them
Promised to her baby daddy

Read more >
98

BLURRED POLAROID

HEARTS ARE US
MUCUS
MASCULINE
FEMININE
VINTAGE
WRITE ON ME
SIT ON ME
LEFT
RIGHT
AQUAMARINE
YELLOW BLACK PINK
ROCOCO FILMED BY THE VIDEO STAR
NO SOCIAL MEDIA
IT’S ON VHS
NAKED LEGWARMERS
NO LIPSTICK
NO SOUL
NO CEILING
NO DOOR
NEW YORK? OR PARIS?
DRAMATIC
BUT IS IT ART?

99

The Circus

Hello and welcome
Welcome to this season's attraction
Fill up your glass and snack up
Because the show will take some time
So hang your coat and take a deep breath
There is a lot that you have to see.

We have our clowns here
They keep smiling through their pain
Staring at the world
Tears of shades
Painted faces, blank expressions
Grinning at fate

Here is the dwarf
Looking up at you all
People bowing their heads when talking
Jumping right up after being thrown around
And to find a net after every cannon shot

And here we have our acrobats
They keep on swinging
Synchronized movements avoiding their fall

The juggler juggling fire and blades
Knows it's only fatal if it hits

And the bikers in the cage
Roaring with rage
Know that to halt is to fall
To never give in to gravity

Read more >
100

ALIEN BOY

Where do you come from? Strange alien boy—
feet almost human, smooth torso a toy.
Black streak-like bandanna hiding your eyes,
action man guarding a turquoise disguise
Is your actual home beyond the stars—
or are you quite simply the boy from Mars?
Bright fusions of blue project a delight,
your astral paintbrush reflecting the light.
Hearts, butterfly, pinks, green and corn yellow
plus splashes of white, keeping some mellow.
Standing behind the celestial seat
what are you thinking, is your work complete?
To leave me not knowing would break my heart
Please give me answers and teach me your art.

101

Chromophilia (song for B) (aka Love is energy, of course it is)

Yes yes yes I know all
you want is order and calm,
white spaces where darkness
can’t hide then pounce to drag
you back to the lair you left –

but but but this is what life
could be, the fizzy sun blessing
our kisses, hearts rioting when
our hands touch, a spray of
electricity with every kiss, kinetic
joy wrapped in a palm leaf –

sure sure sure still is good,
but only after we collapse
in a happy heap, spent.

102

A Brief Moratorium

Why is all such a maze? Why does all have to be always a puzzle? Can I not simply relax and let myself breathe?

Well, I have tried to. So I shall try again. I will try to try again to try again, and maybe I shall then answer myself. That will be delightful. Oh yes, it will surely be of much delight.

But what in the case I forget what the question was? Did I really ask just a question or was there more than one? Am I simply thinking too much over what my questions could mean in lieu of thinking about the matter at hand? What is the damn matter at hand? Is the matter at hand to know what the matter at hand is? Or was?

Well, if there was a matter at hand there is a matter at hand at now. If, of course the previous matter at hand was not solved. Was it solved? If it was not solved then there is the previous matter at hand and then the current matter at hand. So really, there is not a matter at hand as much as there are two different matters at hand. But are they really any different at all? They still seem to be only questions.

The matter at hand seems all-together-different now than the one before it.

I need to stop; this was to be a brief moratorium. Sure, a brief moratorium, but from what? Why does it have to be a brief moratorium when I am about to write? So if this moratorium was to consider writing, and it is such, then it was not a moratorium at all.

I see I have a tendency to get fixated on simple words. I shall stop my fixation now. But does that end my moratorium? If the fixation ends my moratorium then the moratorium was simply a fixation, and thus not a moratorium at all. Why cannot one fixate and morate at the same time?

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103

Regret Box

The window, heart-shaped, draws its own curtains. We move through it pretending to be shadows from another time. A thing that can't be tagged won't have hurt sticking to it. There is a desert with Ra hovering like the eye of an eagle, trained to spot movement. Among all the anarchy inside this giant mind of a universe, a dream is a stilled centre.

It is there where we are headed to, our clothes shed everywhere like an orgy of molting, our skins shed like discarded bodies.

The only way to get around a regret is to collect every bit of it from the coils of thought. They call it art, penance, therapy ... death.

We sit under walls with cupped palms and the colors of the viscous merge and mate with cliched shapes till Venus seems to read like Us and the faces are blurred into anonymity. There is no way to get off this saucer.

The cup is a mirage painted by tired limbs and beyond the hearts and the butterflies is a single night not colored with psychedelic wants, just a cool river breeze of a night ... You see ... the regret can no longer be replaced in a box and instead hangs like the last leaf from a branch. It keeps us alive till we keep it breathing.

Breath infinity, soul crossover, forced re-entry
A newborn cries

104

& are you asking me

to sit or are you asking me to stay
& live a life? & will this seat still
be there if I say no but reappear
breadfruit in hand & a moon-slice
sickle & say stop turning your head
to find me? crack this green heart
open for cream & a little mercy

105

Hearts in the Jungle

The seat and the lady signify a throne. A lady leader in a rough area is still a step in the right direction. The hearts are the signifier of a relationship that has fallen apart. The greens are a calming color, but clearly the woman is on the move. Overall, this piece is one of a kind showing love and power to all women.

106

Now

Sometimes a world moves so fast you don't know how to control it. Constantly engulfed in the future or the past and forgetting that you are here in the now. Every moment is a different color, every moment is as important. Don't let society tell you that only specific things are important. We are here now. Be here now. For now is the only thing we have.

107

Restless

She sits the chair
in front of the graffiti
and starts the camera.
Shutter time is high and she
shakes her head side to side
and her body moves side to side
and she keeps her feet still.
Lines and streaks and drips deliberately
scattered and spread around the chair
and the wall,
but not the woman,
who is clean.

108

Sweaty

The man to my right believes he is a crow, and the words that he gawks label my frame in the memory of the woman behind me.

I am made of death, the former buildings of nature's cities, and the labor of pulled plumes. To me the world is made of chaos, weight, and confusion.

I am what holds and comforts, and "that thing" that he sat in the day she was taken back. We are a memory to which my contribution gives the most depth, for when he finally left, she stood, looking at me, wondering why I was so awful.

The world is full of chaos; I do not know why, except that my bones have been chiseled and my stomach stapled flat and for that I sit assured.

109

sacred

The pressure builds
my brain scatters like a stepped on worm over a scorched side block
The To Do list lengthens
I need a break
My art
My sacred time
When I can be my truest self
pure form like acrylic paint
splash. the wall is hit
a rush of endorphins
more and more
a splatter here and there
screw my helicopter parents
my room my space
the outside world isn't welcome here

110

The Throne

The throne is where we imagine ourselves. At the top, high above all others, no one to tell us what is right and what is wrong, a place where the only thing we answer to is our own subconscious. But how do we get there, and what will do when we get there? These are the questions we must face, the questions we must leave blank, open-ended, because, alas, what we wish to conquer already has been. We set goals for ourselves, ideas of where we'd like to be or what we hope to become because we see others there. We notice their accomplishments and hope for those to be our own. But how can they be ours when they are already somebody else's?

So, this is what I say: Go out there and make your own strides. Take your own steps toward coordinates you set for yourself, beyond your town, your city, your country, this Earth. Beyond Mars and Saturn and Jupiter, beyond Neptune, Uranus and Pluto. Whatever you know you were put here to do, make that happen. Go past what is perceived as possible and accomplish your goals. And one day, you won't only find yourself atop the throne, you will, too, have painted it your colors.

111

Skies drained in chairs

Flowers painted on chairs see no bounds.
They flood through arms and legs,
not separating one petal from the next.
Those who danced among us, seem so faded now.
Their arms and legs, that once supported skies drained on chairs, have now been severed, and pulled from memory.
The trouble with our prayers is that they are buried by masses.
Written on walls showing no intention of leaving,
our cries wait unheard.
What keeps us together is not mere carpentry,
it is that we are an irremovable audience of skies drained on chairs, filtering clouds of blue light.

112

I Don’t Know Where to Look

Waiting behind your blue chair,
the ghost of you joins me in a graffiti storm of grief,
and I try to pretend that I never cared.
Waiting behind your blue chair,
what we have lost there I don’t dare
try to discern, watching one after another falling leaf.
Waiting behind your blue chair,
the ghost of you joins me, a graffiti storm of grief.

113

Cut to the Chase

Love. But only in the background. Too many interactions end up like this, with the real feelings hidden and the easy ones revealed. Love is hard. Happiness is easy. Anguish is hard. Sadness is easy. There's another dimension lurking beneath the surface.

Like an empty chair, our conversations serve a purpose. They allow us to communicate with our contemporaries and to confront our enemies, to advise our students and thank our teachers. Like an empty chair, our conversations could be put to better use.

The targets of our words are a little blurry, obscured by all the pleasantries. Is that person standing in front of you really good or fine or okay? Or is there more to the story? Our phatic beginnings to conversations are the largest contributor to the fuzzy connections we make. Let's get to the point, right? Get the small talk out of the way. We're all too used to shooting the breeze to cut it out completely, but come on, let's get to the good stuff.

If we do, maybe the love will come out of the background, along with all the bright colors and sharp lines and artistic creations that come with it. Get rid of the empty chair and the fuzziness, like calling from a landline instead of a cell phone, and you see so much more. What's behind the chair? What's behind the person? I wish we could see.

114

When

When your world feels like
a splatter of bright paints.
When everyone's own pen
writes over your paper.
When the dark background
persists as much as you fight.
When the chairs blockade
your being from view.
When you stand on the thrills
and chaos of society.
When lips wear a smile but
pupils melt into tears.
When everything is vivid and only
neutrals stand out.
When it looks like your head
is spinning, but the walls are on a swivel.
When your eyes find a teal heart
In a sea of vibrancy.
When the colors of the world
blur your clear cut vision,
you are only grounded by your feet.

115

Sit or stand

Those who stand behind the chair often seem out of sort; however, those who slump over sitting find themselves feeling short. Strength and pain or weakness and comfort, it's your choice.

Would you rather or rather you would? He said, she said, I said you could. Can one be blue and not cold or not sad? Can one be fiery red but not hot nor mad?

116

Hustle & Bustle

You don't belong in the busy city anymore. The faces and structures all blend together and you can barely recognize yourself. Once you choose to move away, coming back won't be an option. The bright lights and vandalism will frighten you and you'll just want to return to your safe and quiet home.

117

Memory

Behind the chair, she shook, remembering his paintbrush swiping the previously untouched leather. She loved how he made everything into art, how he took something so bland and conservative and turned it into a rebel. His death was as messy as his paintings, with no explanations or apologies. The room was full of the chaos he left behind, the only environment where she felt she could feel the world truly surrounding her.

118

Graffiti Paint

The graffiti paint dripped down the wall
Forming a new image that we can see
Weathered away by rainfall

The beginning image quite banal
Although the artist couldn’t agree
The graffiti paint dripped down the wall

But not the painting does enthral
Flowing blues of the deep sea
Weathered away by rainfall

Now the paint is splashed in a natural sprawl
The art has now become free
The graffiti paint dripped down the wall
Weathered away by rainfall

119

Heaven in Teal

Perhaps it is the thought of the chair that frightens her. Perhaps it is the essence of the chair — not its screaming teal, but its slipperiness, its weight. Perhaps when she looks at it, she sees the man she has been running from. He will hold her there, if she sits, with clammy fingers tight around her thighs. She will stop breathing so he forgets she is there. He never forgets. She will not breathe, but he will hold her there, and she will die. That is when the colors appear on the wall: the vibrant stringy winds from all of the places where everything glows and no one sits.

120

The Empty Chair

Whatever sat in the chair
ruled the universe
with its eyes alone
could see beyond
the farthest galaxy
as if the emptiness
were in its palm
and knowable as the air
it breathed.

Whatever it was
it was
a monarch overthrown
a child grown old
the universe itself
the emptiness

121

Making Up

Traffic paints the night again, lights
smearing curves round the coast road,
smudging the late bar crowd
spilling back to the city

while high in a hotel suite
the beat of tomorrow’s sun
is already heating your blood,
itching the soles of your bare feet.

The street calls you to dance,
but first you paint your face
into focus, dress yourself
in colours you’ve just discovered,
peel a new name from chaotic walls,
forget everyone you’ve ever been.

122

Quietly To Herself

She can’t find the words
to talk it all out
or she can but the vibrations in her throat
hurt
and hurt is a trigger that shadows a boom.
No headroom.

Moving house,
she can’t move house,
the packing involved and
the books she has she might get around to
and the bank statements she might be needing.
All the impeding things.

People who use their eyes to stare and
those who stare with stern expressions
even though they’re not looking her way.
People who stare with thoughts when they’re not about anymore.

Burning on hot days,
getting chest infections.
All the getting things.
The passage of time and diminishing returns and
she doesn’t feel the sun when it burns.

The quality of the build,
she hears all these stories,
cracks up the walls on the news,
she tries to feel the sorry she should.
Her own concerns filling the space
like cuckoos or expanding foam.

Read more >
123

Spin

It’s hysteria of the brain. A twisting, fractured need to move, to spin, because maybe if you spin fast enough your thoughts will align again.

The world is a kaleidoscopic blur: bright colors and impact and pain. That familiar feeling of your brain slapping up against the inside of your skull, flesh slapping against walls, pain racing up nerves.

You’re supposed to hug yourself when this happens, curl up with cuffs and binding sleeves hanging in fractal thoughts and drugged acquiescence until the need to move dies. It’s what’s good for you. But it doesn’t feel as right, doesn’t make as much sense as when you spin, when suddenly it all lines up, when you see the world in crystalline perfection and everything makes sense.

So you spin until you stop until the spirit catches you and you fall down, your spine a backward arc over the turquoise chair and you stare up at the leftover spinning and watch everything align until, for a moment, you transcend this body, this hysterical brain and see.

124

Colors and Words

The art screamed at me.
Then it whispered in my ear.
It captured my imagination
As it flowed under foot
And above my head.
"Look up!" it said.
"Look down!"
"Be part of me."
So I sat in the chair and
Became performance art
With these beautiful colors and
My words.

125

Pater Familias

It is the space you occupy,
the silken broad seat
of memory.
Chaired by ones that seem to matter.
The powerful people
who see no need to shrink
like I do every day
in shreds of my mind
when I remember the blues
gifted by you
in deceitful munificence.
Our secret:
you are special princess,
do not tell,
do as I tell you.

After forty years
I damn you, father.
You were the sinner,
though I make confession
on your behalf.

126

Colour with us

We had resolved to settle our differences, our feet firmly planted on the ground. And then sit upon an old chair, two arms, four legs and hand painted. Up-cycling I hear you say. Whatever says I. There was visible text all around us. It had been said that the message was written all over the wall picking out a highly visible 'r'' and an 'us'. Are us/RUS I thought. Polonius used the arras to lug the guts. Well there was no need for that just now.
127

princess frog

she’s still whirling in transformation
from frog to princess after the kiss
from that manipulative man
with his sleek voice:
come sit here with me my darling
promising the moon, sun and sky

webbed feet in one place, mind reeling
her toad-like head distracted
by a cacophony of white ‘n blue
what will the future hold?
even Snow White was nothing
but a caretaker

128

Encyclopedia of Presumed Joys

She threw the abundance of her desire
Into the hollowness of every day
And came back empty.
She called it scarcity.

The world gave her much to fill:
Hours, forms, hearts, rooms.
She wanted to fill them with
Fresh-cut flowers,
Night skies so close you could drink them,
The sound of paintbrushes chiming against the rims of water glasses,
‘Other: Please specify.’

Her desire tasted like her mother’s friend playing piano after dinner.
Desire taught her that some families play piano after dinner
And call it dinner, not tea.

It taught her the shapes of other people’s lives have softer edges.
That you can over-water flowers, and rancour desire with too much thought.
That desire is a glass that can only ever be half-filled.

She wanted a heart so boundless
It would lift her clean off the streets
On the long walk home.
But here she is,
On the same dirty pavement,
And her heart is nowhere in particular.

129

time will be latex, a dance électrique torqued contortion fantastic

her brow, eye sip lipped blur
flinching side to
side slide

into turquoise
and cerulean
uncertainty.

At a thousand
seconds arousal an
atomic bridal

slur — gendered
in a pattern not of
her making.

Vinyl surfacing
wrapped shrink
round so trapped

in reflection:
belief critical to
self aqua ecstatic-

time will be latex,
a dance électrique torqued
contortion fantastic.

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Graffiti

My tag is green tall
Live lines
My voice in chorus

I've paint in my pocket
Soft weight, putty, playful
The walls, ground, world, are canvas

The back of the chair is old gilt and gold
But its seafront reflects sky

When the light shifts
I sink through its surface
My tail splashing
Signing my body beneath

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variations on a blue chair (after William Carlos Williams)

1

so much depends
upon
a blue arm
chair
spattered with painted
graffiti
beside the blurred
lady

2

so little questioning
outside
an orange body
dethroned
removed from blank
darkness
on the far side of the actual
prince

Read more >
132

Painted

He painted his
Colors on me—
Handsome with
Delight
Feelings of mistaken
Identities and
Misconceived notions of
Failed relationships.

I am blue.
I m a green.
I am violet.
Watch me become
Pink
As he brushes each
Piece of the canvas,
Leaving no space
Bare.

Evolution begins with
The blink of his eyes.
My gifted frame
Blurry before his sight,
Shifts into two people...
I love me and I hate me
However, he is the artist.
He is making me
What he wants me
To be.

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