• Vol. 04
  • Chapter 01
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My great grandfather (they tell me) was a fisherman in these parts. That’s why he didn’t starve. Oh yes, and he served in the British Army for a war or two. In those days, it was the only way out, unless you were willing to cross an ocean or a channel to work in the mills. His daughter – my grandmother – was one such person. She had nothing to her name when she left, not even a pair of shoes. She did come back, though, with my father, when he was three or four. Or maybe five. Or six. The age changes every time he tells it. She couldn’t take this place for long, though. And when I first came here, at age fifteen, for a sunless summer I thought might never end, I could understand why. There was no one in the village between eighteen and forty. The only traffic jams were on Sunday, on the road to the tall grey church.

It’s still there, that church. And so are the eleven pubs. I’m told that it has always been the custom in these parts for pubs to serve other functions. So one would double as an ironmonger. Another might mend saddles. I wonder what they’d think to see what counts for useful in the twenty-first century.

In the pub where my son works, there is a gallery in the back room. There are, I understand, ten more backroom galleries along the road. They offer up these spaces to local artists on a rota basis. There are a lot of artists in these parts. They usually grow organic something or other on the side, or they go out to contemplate the sea and the stark dark hills, and the strand as it vanishes underwater, only to emerge again, bringing with it skeletons and driftwood, while the clouds race across the bay, and from their reveries they conjure up what my son has described as the colours of the soul.

But then they sell them. I think that’s where the red comes from. It’s nowhere in the landscape.



At last I have made you mine. You will now live against my wall. I bear the red stains of birth on my clothes, a proof of what binds us. For now I will not wash. I have toiled all night: I have made night and night has yielded you to me. Dark rings hang below my eyes, a further witness to my labour, my love.

As for the gloves I have worn, they also hang against my white washed wall, a xylophone of colour. Because when I think of you, I think of your voice, your music: I don’t think I could have shaped you from scratch if I hadn’t been hearing you as I worked. Yes, all night I made you, I heard you, I handled you, as they say, with kid gloves. I kept you intact.

Just as the glove you left on my work table the last night you came. I dared not touch or move it as I worked. The table held a world in this forgotten glove: A still life in its own right. A class in your craft.


The Gap

I lost touch when you took your hands away. What is there left to feel?

There is a man in my house who lived through a massacre. He is tearing up the floors, stripping the walls. For each task, a different glove. On the anniversary of that day, like every day, I offer him a drink, and he reveals his story in a language native to neither of us. Eyes wet, the start of red. I ask him how he survived. He points to the sky. His hand is bare.

Adam and God reach for each other but do not touch. Between them, a synaptic gap. A space of translation. How strange that we are asked to cover our heads and not our hands in the temple.

I gave my lovers my hands. The gardener. The paratrooper. The chemist. The fool. But pressed together was never close enough. I wanted to be inside them, but inside was not enough. It is not inside we want, but union. To feel ourselves in dialogue, to touch. The impulse rising to the skin. I reach for you, the concentration in my fingertips. A transmission. There were no words. It was all in the touch, our finger-tip feeling. You and I, we broke where the light crept in. An unrelenting dawn.

Every lost lover is a language gone dark.

I cover my hands now. Keep them out of reach. Pick up a glove on the street, his gloves from my floor. (I pretend he won’t miss them.) Feeling left, feeling right. My hands on mute. Speaking only to themselves. Filling.


Color is my fetish

Color is my fetish
dauntless, I push my way
into the tints through
which I sense the world
I feel hue as intricacy
against my fingers
and the palm of my hand
your smooth guilt pulls me in
and holds me deep inside
—Take me, I say, sliding you
onto me each evening
even as we fail in other ways
in these moments
your numbers complete me
your multitudes fulfill
with merciful largesse
I make love to you
and you spill forth
filing into rows
and columns
of roy g. biv


Frost Bitten

On a cold Sunday morning, I was to be at the airport at 6a.m., for a long flight to London. I had packed an entire week before I was to leave my hometown in Ohio. Being extremely excited, I couldn't sleep on the airplane. The flight attendants were very nice; not being in first class, it made me feel special. A young lady, whose name was Nicole, sat beside me and asked what I was going to London for? It was her first time as well and she seemed to be nervous. Being it was my first time as well, it wasn't much I could tell her. She asked had I looked at any YouTube videos to help me to decide what I wanted too see? Being an artist allows me to explore new things and being alone doesn't bother me. We changed the subject, I was glad because she didn't need to know why I was going to London, but I didn't want to be rude. After talking for 2 hours straight, I found myself sleeping. 5 hours later we land at Heathrow, it's freezing cold. I grab my suitcase and unzip it. No gloves! Nice was like, you're going to need gloves. A guy overheard us, and said they have stores in the airport. I thanked him and went to this store as soon as I walk, it's a whole wall full of gloves!!!! I'm so relieved! I buy the gloves and Nicole took this picture.

Coming Home

He leaned against the staircase, admiring his handiwork. Apart from the garden still needing to be weeded, the plumber still needing to be paid, and the lights in the attic still needing to be replaced, he finally felt good about himself for once after taking care of the house. He had finally gotten around to painting his room fire-engine red, just the way he wanted it. He could finally stay still for a moment and stare at the new gray glove he found in a drain ditch this morning.

It belonged to a woman, most likely. The slim fingers gave that away instantly. But gray? Of all colors? Gloves weren't meant for gray. They were meant for the vibrant. Meant for the loud. Meant for the certain.

Not meant for the dull.

But even so, he couldn't bring himself to get rid of it. Couldn't bring himself to get rid of the idea that somewhere out there existed a dull, gray woman missing an equally dull glove.

A child-like mischief tickled his insides. Made him smirk. For a brief moment, he wanted to return it rather than add it to his collection, but no. This glove was special now. An orphan abandoned on the side of the road. It could finally have a home with all his other pairs.

Yes. He most certainly would keep it.

But first, he would find her.



Artist precious hands,
intensity and love givers.

Hands guided by a heart pulse,
forging and hammering metals,
holding precious stones.

Inspiration from the soul,
happiness and art givers,
emotions in a motion of senses.

Stroking brushes fulfilled with passion,
dripping water on white paper,
splashes of colors take forms.

Ink tears into the unknown
and a creation is born.



Time to reminisce.
Colorful fisherman gloves, all sizes, fill
the wall of Smith’s Fisherman’s Shop,
for fishing aficionados.

Out on the pond,
birds chirp, ducks quack, flapping
their feathers searching for prey.
Frogs leap from rock to rock in fear of being caught.

Father and son swing their rods high, then
down into the water creating ripples.
The small brown fisherman gloves cover the son’s hands.
Time to reminisce.


Glovemaker’s Collection For Artists

He stands calm and aloof from
his creation, the
angry man who stares
out at him, red cloaked
from the canvas.
Blue gloves on relaxed hands
rest on the rail behind,
keeping distance between
his hands and the canvas.
On the marble table
in front I see
gray, dust covered gloves
likely made for and worn by a sculptor.
Where is his creation?

Each pair of the many gloves
pegged onto the wall behind
was crafted for a creator—
paintings, sculptures, photography.
Perhaps one pair is mine.
Without gloves, we poets
stain our hands with ink,
our sweat and oils leave
marks on keyboards.
We have no distance
from our work.
Read more >



Give me your glove
Show me the way
How many hands do you have?

Are you here to arrest me
or rob me? Is your name Rob
because you really are more
of a Stanley.

Do I ask you too many
questions? Do you garden?
Will you keep me
in the next painting
on your wall?



I drew a friend
but he was just
a corpse

A hollow soul
with blank expression
leaning sexy

He keeps digits
all around his world
offering me one
or two

A pair of loving
but with the love
all gone

Standing by the stair
but who knows
where it leads.



Paint me
in extreme wax

Try on the Proper

Use hair and waist
flexible bands of Humanity
dress me in Mauve

Plaster me in the wall
above the bed
looking down at quiet
or burping morning
or a small crime
no one ever needed to know

Just draft me
in neon.


No Job

Nick, poor Nick
has no job

Why do I have to do this?
he wonders

One time he had a dream
about to tip over

In prison it would be worse
so he stays here
could serve doughnuts
could drive a car

But here's Nick standing
waiting on life
to come by loudly.



He could
offer me a bandaged finger
or rubber glove

This is an austere
universe where only
hospital level purging
makes sense

This is our universe
a tiny loft where
we can practice painting

He has been waiting
there a while as
a world goes by quickly
outside, always outside.



a scratch
bit of light
where a dream
used to be
safety & calm
of lavender latex
take me to
a side street
we might
sometime soon
we will make
the call
listen in
smoking man
I'm a hurricane
nobody needs
not now
not ever.

Perfect Fit

I keep trying. Different moulds, different patterns, different cuts, different sizes, different materials, different colours. Over one hundred attempts now. Over three weeks. Over smiles, curses and tears.

“I found them in an antique shop.” You smoothed the tan fingers of the glove around your fingers. “They fit as though bespoke, don’t you think?” You held your hand out for me to feel, examine, appraise. “I love the way the cuff drips like a fin from the edge of the thumb. The change of colour. A chocolate fin.” You laughed then. That’s when I was lost.

You kept them on after you removed everything else. I never felt your touch. I remember your laugh, your sighs, your promises, but I never felt contact that night, never skin on skin.

Before you left you dropped the right hand glove on the bed, promised you’d return in one month, promised you’d stay forever on one condition: “Make me something that fits closer, something no one else could ever wear, something that would bind us forever.”

It finally hits me. I look down at my body and wonder where I’d miss it most, where would heal fastest. I pick up the knife. Skin to skin. Less than seven days to manufacture and recover.

One size that would never fit all.



Come in
- try on my star spangled
gloves - we can be heroes
just like that song
- blast me with beautiful
music, take me to the opera
you cultured one - teach
me how to sound young
again - live in your barrier
untouched and untouching
until another leaving.


Tired eyes
take in the work
Pause at the painting
stroke chin, comment
make an intelligent sound
The mad eyed youth
who just got off
at the local sandwich
fast food shop poses
He is what it means to be
human, trying on clothes
to see if he can make the man
bad memory playing
on his face.

Sensitive Guy

How often beaten by
life I would offer a bit
of solace
a shred of comfort
I would tap on the glass
of expression and offer
a taste of refreshment
We take the long way
around, should have expected
this return, but unusually
surprised to see him again,
a promise back again.


Just standing there the entire
time, or muscles, like a panther,
roaring forward with quiet
Just watching pensively, face not
a face, expression unable to read
far from the open book
There's a word spoken here
echoing in the studio apartment
and his long can he stand
just watching?

Son I Never Had

Son I never had
don't look so lean
and cruel. I know
this world is dark.
Did I ever want you?
No, not really, if we
are being honest.
Finally honest. Speaking
of: been meaning to
ask about the mittens.
So many mittens.
It's no wonder you are
single like your papa.


That is how I live
painting and brushes
maintaining hushes
silence and the eeriness
of living, giving
to art,
wart in the eye
does not matter
I am as mad as a hatter colour blind, although
colours splash around
no licking wound
I have a bed
colours red
roving around
here stands my last
painting on the wall.
I am cynosure of eyes.
Come, the world is packful
of lies.

Zombie Apocalypse Neighbor

I should really call
somebody as he's not
looking so good

Washed out face
bloodless and gutless
always growling
bad temper

Refuses to pick up
after himself

He's got bad
handwriting, a drinking
problem, curses too


He looks just
like me.
A mirror the whole
time. Well,
that's embarrassing.


Which one

The blue pair
the blue pair, fingers snug inside,
each digit untouched.
Yet, there always was pink,
yellow, red, white, green, black,
the others hanging on the wall.
Our hearts wrung out in rainbows,
joy in palms never fingerless.
What's left on the marble table now
one grey evening glove,
a memory in colour?

Long Time, No See

Hello, it has been a while
he chimed,
Which felt like never ago,

an entire person ago, an
entire continent away

Hello, if I could, I would
like to rekindle our flame,
he said
But there was no flame
or even spark
all I remember now is some
smoke, noxious and choking

Go on back out the door.


No Hands

That the man with no hands
has a collectivity of gloves
is quite okay, we'll just wingnut it
cause he's not insane, no more
than any other sad-eyed fetishist
who keeps what he can't even use
Meissen tea cups and porcelain dolls
or cracked Japanese Kintsugi pots
repaired with lacquer dusted
in gold platinum or silver
the repair-ware an object in itself
and nobody thinks they're nuts

until they try to use these things
strings of gloves or single socks
roped into tight little nooses
for asphyxiated sex routines
that sometimes go wrong
but how can one avoid mishaps
when people are hanged from door handles
or willow trees past weeping
or when a prince regrets Ophelia's fate
too late to act as if it's still fun
so let's rapier someone good
this tragedy needs some blood

Read more >


I Could Be Anyone

Looking around the shop, there were so many pairs of gloves to choose from. Different colours, styles, fabrics, and possibilities. Some were delicately laid across a table, others were pinned up against the wall; they reminded me of my ex-boyfriend. Finding the right pair for me was important.
        "Is it true what they say about these gloves? That you can become anyone you want when you wear a pair?" I asked.
        The sales assistant rolled her eyes at me. She must've thought I've never come shopping for wearable technology before, which was only partly true; I'd never seen the appeal, not until now.
        "They’re gloves are enablers, sir.”
        “Like placebos?”
        She peered over her black, horn-rimmed glasses. “No, no. They release hormones into the body that assist you depending on the type of gloves you buy. For instance," she walked to the table and picked up a pair of grey gloves, her heels echoing around the shop, "these ones help with concentration."
        She kept showing me various pairs of gloves and explained to me what each of them would help me with. She was really helpful, but I wasn't listening; I was distracted by the portrait of a man on the wall. He looked strong, intelligent, and confident. He reminded me of my shortfalls, the flaws my ex-boyfriend pointed out before he left. If I could be like this man, then maybe things would change.
Read more >

For the love of gloves

I am turning into one of them
They have commandeered my hands
Already the colour is rushing out of me
I am holding on for my dear cliched life
The shadows under my eyes are running
The man on the wall looks on without blinking
I look away from him without thinking
Now I am all softly stitched kid leather
folded on a table top       but free at last
of the hammered-in gloves
their oranges       blues and yellows
Covering cracks in the walls they tremble a bit
as they sing like a flock of canaries

I Do Like to Keep them Handy

I wanted to make ladies underwear. You know, pretty lacy things. But my mother said a nice young man like me wouldn’t do that sort of thing. She said, ‘Gloves show the quality of a person. There’ll always be a demand for gloves, Michael.’

My mother was one of my best customers and she always paid the full retail price. She said good work deserved proper payment. But after she died, I’ve not been able to make a single pair.

I used her method, to get the blood out.
‘Suds Michael, suds,’ she always said. ‘You can never have enough suds.’ My job was to swirl the water about with a wooden spoon while she poured liquid soap into the bath until the pile of suds stood taller than me. Then she’d say, ‘Undress, Michael. Get yourself soaped-up so I can’t see anything.’ But she’d soap my body with her bare hands. Even when I was beyond puberty she did it. She said she was just making sure I was clean. Even when I said I was old enough to wash by myself, she did it. So I had to do something, didn’t I? But I was careful: I made it look like suicide.

It’s been a year now and I think the authorities have given up.
Before I rang them I washed the knife in the suds and put it back where it’s always hung. And I washed the gloves. I used her method: suds work well on suede. But since then I’ve needed several clean pairs a day. So I mix up the suds, wash the gloves and hang them up to dry.

I keep the pair I never wear on the table. I wouldn’t want to go mixing them up with the others, not after what they've seen, but I do like to keep them handy.



It had taken six years of long hard work and stringent budgeting for Firas to be able to lease this small store.

He’d chosen to sell gloves to indulge his passion for them, born of the hideous scars which served as hideous mementos of his homeland.

A pomegranate and blended blue pair reminded him of Lattakia beach that last day. A rash of scorch-marks and blotches of human blood and waste had marred once pristine sands as huddled families waited for deliverance.


As a boy, Firas had dreamed of going to America, making his fortune and returning to set himself up in style He had not so much ‘lost heart’ as lost his heart.

The dream had been eclipsed by the wondrous reality of Zeinah, but she was dead now.

Rebels with Yemeni accents had–

He daren’t let the grief loose. Not now. Not when Lely and Johnny had the chance to escape the imported insanity.

A Zodiac coasted towards his section of the beach, warily standing offshore.

Read more >


Give Me A Hand

Many offered
to give me a hand
to paint the man red.
They thought the town
would be next,
but they were mistaken.
The background was to be in
a different palette,
darker, more sombre.
I asked them to wear gloves.
That way I knew I could
preserve their memory like
the long dried up palette,
peeling their outer skin
like the gloves.
Like the gloves,
I hung them all
out to dry.

Coloured Bliss

My limbs are coloured
And each colour
Gets a part
of my burden to keep.

I change hands
To suit my work
To suit my mood
And everything in between

Pink is for art,
And delicate works
Brown spells ruggedness
And yellow, demure
Blue for when I seethe,
To remind me of the calmness
Floating within.


These Hands Stop for Nothing

These hands are my hands –
covered in
cooking grease,
Lysol disinfectant,
the slippery skin of baby’s bath time,
your larger hand’s embrace,
my own chin, when pondering
life’s next move down the river.

Memory comes in many colors –
the ardent passion of red,
the bright, bold blue of decision making,
the white nothingness of tomorrow.

These hands rest in yours at night,
when our dreams comingle –
when I clutch you for warmth –
just to know that you are there.

These dry, cracked, chapped, bleeding hands
stop for nothing,
because expectation urges me on
with no window –
no opening to the meadow of bare feet.

Read more >


(G)love Story

Enclose my hand with yours
like a glove of velvet or wool
that swallows my hand whole.

Caress my tingling fingers
with the fabric of your soul,
whether rough or smooth.

Let me slip into every finger-hole,
feel the warmth
and comfort of weft and warp.

Enclose my hand with yours.


The Wrist-Snatcher’s Rant

The others, of course, are more rabid than I
but less apt to show it.

Whenever I strike, I never romp off.
I stand with the wrist that I've snatched

from the lady locked in my teeth
as I wait with a smile for the wagon.

As one of the few wrist-snatchers
still on the streets of Chicago,

I make all of my rounds in old tennies.
I dive for the purse hand, give it a whack,

and sever the wrist without slobber,
then stand like a Vatican Guard

with her wrist in my teeth until
I am certain I have no pursuers.

In my dreams every night I can see
all of those women whose wrists

I have had in my teeth.
They stand at their bus stops

like Statues of Liberty,
shrieking and waving their stumps like flares

as I wait for their screams
to bring to a frieze

the patrol cars glowing
in the middle of the street.



When she died I wore her wedding ring until my finger was sore with the friction against my own, a reminder that sometimes we made each other sore by what we said and what we did. Even so, there was always love.
       I was the one who sorted her clothes, bagged them and took them to the charity shop. Some things I couldn’t part with – two cardigans she’d knitted (scented with her perfume), her sparkly bag and shawl she used for choir concerts, my father’s old flat cap.
       When we sold the house my brother took most of the contents as he’d just moved and I had no room. The rest was chopped up by a firm who told us it was worthless. Not to me it wasn’t. Each piece held childhood memories and every hammer blow was a wound in them.
       Afterwards I wouldn’t walk up that street. I couldn’t bear seeing the house. But at Christmas when I visited a nearby friend I ended up passing my old home. The outside hadn’t changed much, though they had new double glazing. In the window was a Christmas tree, lights flashing a welcome. I felt I could just walk up that path, insert a key and I’d be home. Tears filled my eyes and I walked away with a heavy heart.
       I went to visit my brother. After we’d eaten I offered to wash up. In the kitchen I looked around for some washing-up gloves, thinking he probably didn’t possess a pair. But on the side of the work surface were bright yellow Marigolds. They looked very used. I turned to my brother in question. ‘They’re from home,’ he said. And I slipped them on.
Read more >


O.J. couldn't fit the glove
cowgirls get the blues
even if you turn your back
the hand of time will find you

Stuck inside a painting
is it anger
or intent
with covered hands
you lean on memories spent

tacking them upon the wall
wondering if they'll fall
down the stairs
of anxious haste
into the hands of waste

gray fingers
laying alone
tabled from the rest
can you rally
up the courage
recover from the test

Read more >


All You Need

It didn’t take much to take her heart and make it mine. I can’t help myself; I’m a compulsive romantic. She asked about the gloves on the wall, a laugh hiding in her dimples. I rambled through a tumbling story of nonsense, aware she wasn’t listening too closely to me. She glanced over each pair, wondered out loud about the lack of organisation – marigolds sitting between gardening gloves and leather ones. She offered me the single glove she had stuffed in the bottom of her handbag; its partner had disappeared months ago, she said, and she hadn’t bothered to replace them. Under her teasing gaze, I tried to be gracious with my refusal, tried to keep the rules of collection out of my words, tried to be charming to divert her.

It was the self-portrait that dammed up the stream of words pouring from both our mouths. I stepped behind her to get by without blocking her view, turned to watch her face as she stared up at the portrait’s face. Her eyes darted up, down, taking in every broad swipe of the brush that I had used. I waited until she leaned in to examine the paint. I held my breath until the question showed in her eyes, until the refusal to believe creased her forehead, and she turned towards me, her mouth a circle surrounding the question she was about to ask.

By then, I had pulled on the azure woollen gloves I had chosen for her – in honour of her favourite colour. By then, she understood everything. By then, it was too late for her, and her heart was mine.

Another to add to the collection.


Silk and Leather

She left them, slender silk fingers
Spider-crawling across marble night
Icy frost forming beneath their touch
Much as the chill of her eyes
Froze me, her latest prize
Another picture at her exhibition

And you

Already she has caught your eye
You the fly, unable to flee
From her leather-clad limbs
Reeling you into her web
Skin turned blue
Become a new installation
For others to view



I have choices about how close I live my life, but like to use my hands bare without gloves. There's nothing like the feel of rich soil even though it stains my nails.
        I like contact, experience first hand, not television. Real life. Not someone telling me how to do it. So I muff it, so I get it wrong a number of times, so what? I am alive. God gave me choice, a mind and five senses. Good or bad, experience it. Leave the gloves off!

La galería d’arte

Nobody touches dirty, poor people. Especially, when you have ragged clothes on and you stink three meters away. I was a poet on the streets of California. Poets aren't welcome here as one oughta know. Screenwriting would be a much more rational choice. But, here I am on the streets of Los Angeles trying to write poems amidst databases nearby. Dadaist poets have been appropriated by Silicon Valley. Creating a jumble of words doesn't require humans anymore.

Reading John Fante's Ask the Dust and Bukowski early in age I romanticized poverty for too long like Ross Macdonald's Anthony Galton (at least how his mother described him) only that I had no inheritance.

Last month my friend opened an art gallery. I am told he gets by fine with the sales commission. They displayed gloves this week by an artist from New York. The artist was what one calls a 'conceptual artist' nowadays. He brought in a ton of gloves and wanted help from my friend to color them in different colors. He paid me $150 for a few hours of work.

Taking the money from the hands of the artist with a glove I decided I shall never touch another human being again without a glove. The hand that touches the keyboard, the brush and the pen need not touch a fellow human being. In this city of angels, one doesn't live for humans.



It was all that reconstructive surgery,
That made me change my mind about you.

People kept chanting, Genius, Genius—
That’s a word I can’t understand anymore.

Everybody must be a genius somehow,
If all men are created as Jefferson claims.

Anyway, when you invited me over
And asked me to give you a hand upstairs,

I grew suspicious when I saw the walls
Were covered with trophies from former affairs.

Well, I took off my gloves and put them on the table,
While you watched me with your new face

(A bit bruised around the eyes
By your latest transfiguration)

And I kept chanting Genius, Genius,
Trying to convince myself it was really Love

And not Wham Bam Thank You Ma’am—
But you never walked toward me,

And you never asked for my hand.
You just stood there staring at my gloves,

So I moon-walked past you down the stairs—
Having already sacrificed too much for your Art.



They say everything happens in threes. It does, in fairy tales and legends and Bible stories. But with us it wasn’t three, or even four. It was five. Is there a way of making that sexy? Third time’s a charm, lucky; four is a nice neat number, a square. It could have taken us six days, like the creation of the world, seven like wonders, nine like lives, ten like commandments or plagues. But no. Five. That was us.

I could start at the beginning, that would be nice and conventional. I won’t. I’ll start with Five. I am walking by the canal. You are beside me. I could have said we, but we are still in the process of fusing. What can I say about the canal? It is very blue, for autumn-nearly-winter. There are no herons that I can see. Good. I feel I’m supposed to like them. They are the classy birds, the white knights. Stuff that. I will never be like them. Let them laugh from wherever they are hiding. You hold my hand. We are nearly there.

One number and a month earlier. We are back in the glove shop. Only my weird town could have such a thing. I mean, I’m sure in France or Germany, in some small postcard-y village they have dozens, the gloves made by artisans and costing a fortune and shining like jewels. These don’t. They’re okay. I try a red pair. You ask for green. You are like a pine tree. Needle-y and soft. You smell tangy and sweet. I change to purple. Blue, you say. Okay, blue. The painting admires me. I try not to meet his eye. Your eyes are hazel. I’ll stick with them.

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His name was Hollis
That strange dude in the corner
Smoking me like a cigarette
With the weirdness in his eyes
A specialist in nothing
Collector of random objects
I tried to convince him to start
Gathering boots to go with
His walls of work gloves
But no answer came from the
Painted mouth of Hollis.


Star from another planet
who is earthly inhabitant living
in the upstairs apartment
banging street music on the floor
boards, beyond sensation, finger
barely touching solid earth save
the bannister, never my heart,
a solid forlorn thinking
never thinking I'm better than
they are unless it is true

and it's true most of the time.


Company of 1

A single digit
lover on his own
with denim dream
pulled down life
like a sheet from the line
soft cotton clean dirty

He offered to render
my portrait
option instead for another
person he knew,
a thug

But this is just
a story that someone
else's drawing brings
to my tired mind.


The nature of gloves and cats and you and me

My mother’s sister had a cat that had no name. Some called her Smeagol others called her Gollum but that was just for a little while. Eventually everyone called her cat. Just cat, the cat. Unlike many, she had the privilege of being called exactly what she was.
And she was a rather feral cat, didn’t take well to other people or animals. On rare occasions, she’d approach you tentatively, knead you with her claws and sit on you. You’d feel honoured that this wild creature deemed you worthy enough to be her chosen chair, and unquestioningly accept the terms and conditions: do not move, adjust petting to erratic ear twitches, accept the well-earned purrs with gratitude. You’d convince yourself that a bond had been established and slowly get comfortable. Slowly, trust. Then, as if remembering her true nature in a dream, she’d whip her head around, bare her teeth, hiss and in one swift movement dig her nails into your skin and disappear like lightning.
Sometimes we wouldn’t see her for days. Sometimes, the only proof of her existence we had were the concentrated traces of feathers in the yard or a toppled tail-less lizard, tiny grey guts spilling out of its translucent belly. But cat the cat was not just a cold blooded killer. She had a hobby, almost a fetish. She was an expert glove collector – a connoisseur of sorts. The neighbours called her a kleptomaniac, and sure, the clandestine nature of this activity of hers must have given her a kick, but I like to think she put thought into the masterplan of the whole endeavour, rather than just the rush itself. Her collection consisted primarily of garden gloves, but included novelty items such as leather biker gloves, striped fingerless gloves, children’s mittens (with and without flaps) and rubber kitchen gloves. A glove would usually show up on the back porch on its lonesome, but she never failed to reunite it with its matching pair.
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Vincenzo’s Talent

James Hewitt was called Turtle because he looked like he had no neck. But he did have a round, bald head that was perfect for a bowler hat. He carried a cane and wore calf-skin driving gloves. Two hundred dollars a pair in his clothing store. As owner, he got them wholesale. Fifteen dollars. M-F he closed Hewitt’s Haberdashery at five PM, and drove his Aston Martin convertible home to the Belvedere Hotel. Tenth floor.

So why did he come back Friday at five-fifteen? If he’d gone home, he wouldn’t have caught cock-eyed Vincenzo or have him arrested when it was obvious he needed mental healthcare.
“I couldn’t resist,’ Vincenzo told the cops. “Such a lovely selection. High class. Refined. Your gloves reflect your loves. Never forget that."

“You weren’t being refined when Hewitt caught you self abusing wearing a pair of five hundred dollars leather. Some cow lost her calf to make those gloves. Never forget that.”

For a criminal, Vincenzo had good posture, Sgt. Blaine thought as he observed the Millennial from behind a two-way mirror. He had delicate hands too. Wore a man-bun. Had a butterfly tattoo on his left shoulder blade. Blaine couldn’t picture him working a 9-5 job or wearing an Army uniform. Before booking him, Blaine would ask the Turtle if he was sure he wanted to press charges.

“Look at him. Poor guy needs a job. He needs something to make him grow up, to live for. Maybe he could get a girl friend. Or a boyfriend. Could you hire him as a part-time clerk?”

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The impurity of your touch

My skin,
it crawls with yearning

My soul,
it craves your acceptance

My heart,
it hungers your unconditional love

I am afraid,
when you reach into my heart

I am exposed,
when the veil of hope shows on my face

I am imprisoned,
when my soul shrinks from your smile

Do not leave me,
if I cannot live up to your standards

Do not judge me,
if I cannot walk out that door

Do not exclude me
if I cannot bear to be touched by you

For my heart, my soul, and my love for you is the purest,
so perfect that I cannot bear the impurity of your touch


All’s Well that Ends Well

He saw her as she entered the coffee shop, spotting her in his peripheral vision. He raised his head slightly and locked onto her. Narrowing his eyes he made up his mind and smiled.

She saw him even before she entered, caching sight of him through the plate glass window. As she pushed through the door she stole another glance and before the door had even closed behind her, she had made her decision.

She sensed him looking, his eyes following her as she approached the counter. Then, as she prepared to leave, she saw him doing likewise. Any remaining doubt disappeared as she went into auto-pilot. She even held the door open for him, an implicit instruction to follow.

He slid into her slipstream as she left coffee in hand. She even held the door open for him, inviting him through. It was a sign, a sign that she wanted him to follow her. It was so obvious.

He followed at a discrete distance, all the time keeping her in his sights. He liked the chase, the pursuit, but it wasn’t his favourite part. That came later. This was just a means to an end.

She knew he was there. She could sense him, knew his type, knew he would follow, knew he would not be able to resist. Knowing this gave her no satisfaction. In fact, it disappointed her. Men were so predictable.

This was too easy. A change of tack was needed. He crossed the road, drew alongside and finally overtook her. As he passed he noticed she was looking away from him, but he saw her face reflected in the glass shop fronts.

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Damaged Digits

Take off your dress. Take it off. Leave on the gloves.

No, you won’t swap them. Grey is your colour, grey like your eyes and the teacup storms in them.

It’s not meant to be easy. What in life which is good is easy?

Take it off as slowly as you like.

I will not change my mind.

Nothing you do surprises me. Nothing you have done touches me.

No, I will not help.

There is a place in the world for people like us, and that place is here - right here - in this place where the gloves watch us from the walls, fingerprintless strangers. They have eyes and skin cells, the eyes and skin cells of everyone who has ever worn them.

Fumbling fingers, I have known them all. The disguises they wear. What they look like naked. The hangnails, the split nails, the smoky yellow nails. The hardened cuticles. Every damaged digit.

There is shame it, of course there is shame in it. Why else would you be laughing? Why else would you come at 3AM? (They all come at 3AM.)

This? This is the color of my grated thumb, my severed fingertip.

Do you like it?

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There are too many colours in my nails:
pink, yellow, white, cream,
plates and margins cratered
by zinc spots, stubborn growth.

I imagine nails like on a cartoon hand,
all one uniform colour and void of variance.
Let me deny the cuticle, the medial,
my animal hooves.

Refute the business of the day
built up under free margins,
gutter hyponychiums,
scratched corpus unguis

The thought occurs
that I could simply wear gloves
and ignore the entire business.
Let’s go shopping.


The Replicator Bureau

We work together, undercover, unseen, incognito. We don't even recognise our own but we are undoubtedly many. How we came to exist is hard to say. Drop-outs from the system. Perhaps we recovered our senses as losers who remembered what we’d lost. Spokes in the system: reset and moulded to the status quo. We're now the mischievous ones with inside knowledge. Sinister clowns, pulling on emotion, watching with dispassion. Murderous undertakers who size up their clients in advance. No damage is observed by those who are selected. Our job is art. We don't make the rules and we aren't permitted to recall the selection process. We are perfectionists and no errors can ever occur. Nothing has ever gone wrong, never a blip, nor blink, no-one notices the changeovers.

Unobserved we're sent to the scene, where we retrieve the lost glove. Here our craft begins. Let duplication commence, with an eagle eye for detail. A file of evidence already compiled to exact the replica. An identical pair painstakingly created. We are not magicians but our knowledge is vast. Animal, mineral, vegetable, texture, aroma, prescribed and described down to the minutest particle. Even a stain: clandestine wine, grime from commute, a pet’s wet nose, if it evokes a memory it must be incorporated. Less than hours later, the technicalities of molecular science begin. DNA analysed, patterns programmed, the rebuilding of each owner is accomplished. We relish that part. The glove is the first and last part of the puzzle. Of course other collectors, add to our collection. Together we form the machinery that creates the perfect genetic match.

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Jack of All Trades

… and master of none. I have my fingers in too many pies. I cannot pay attention. I pick up something and move to the next thing. A teenager on Spotify, a woman on Asos, a man on PocketLint. I want to keep it real, make it tactile. I want to have the hands that will create the next big thing. I want to be the next big thing. I want it to be me. With the right feel, the right touch, be the creator. But there is a block. Something gets between. Someone gets there first. My envy of the next person, the person that has what I want. They are there. They are on display. They are who I want to be if I only had a grip on myself.


You’re unraveling, late and early at the same time, dizzy in a closet full of satin hands crying out: now look what you’ve made us do.

This is the wreckage of all that wanting.

This is your wilderness: too much, too many, static rows of jagged pines cackling on wire. They tell you to clean your feet.

They tell you you’re bleeding. You know you’ve always been full of it, all salt and wool mixed together to make CRASH—

The floor’s a sea of broken glass, the merry-go-round’s set backwards to the tune of plastic pony teeth grinding in their sleep, and you can’t see straight, not anymore.

What a mess. What a moonshine. You stand up, swinging on the scent of burnt plastic. They tell you you’re losing it.

They tell you you’re fading fast. Go home, they say. Come morning you’ll be jello-based, a liquid creature on the milk limbs of a newborn calf with spaceshot eyes.

Your blood rolls out in grapevines, neck to toes, clinging to stocking locks. From your knees you tug the skirts, begging them to teach you how to not say sorry.

The oozing doesn’t stop. The cackling gets louder. You swoon and bring a hand to your throat to stop the gush.

But oh, this broken glass feels like glaciers, and you can’t help it if you're having fun.



you must be a ghost
a spirit who is able
to take off one colourless glove

I wait for the second glove
to be taken off and fall
on the cold marble table top

it is the touch of another
I fear most - a strange act
where flesh mingles with flesh

yet you have stopped
there is nothing more to do
but stand and wait

my covered hands in blue
as talisman
all my past gloves on the wall behind

like you I watch and hesitate
not able to relax
as I look upon your own fetish



The man stands in the glove shop—
leans his long, thin body, fingers
in soft blue suede, against a railing.

He ponders the discarded glove
on the marble table, which is closest
to us, the viewer. The man is an objet

d’art in the painting. Between us exists
a fourth wall, delicate veil between reality
and illusion. Perhaps the man didn’t

exist at all. Maybe there wasn’t even
a model. Perhaps he existed only as firings
in the neurons of the artist’s brain—

a composite of memory. The eyes of some actor,
the golden hair of an exquisite man who studied
Blake and sat across from him in grad school,

the lips of a smiling barista he saw the morning
the painting was due for his art class.
On the wall next to this imaginary man

is a painting. And how do we know what is real,
what has ever existed in a painting within a painting?
Who is that man? Was there a model? Are we even

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I am still frozen in an image
moment with arms wrapped
softly cocoon around me

Wrapped in marble color
of the familiar round table
that just had to be replaced

These are all memories
slowly open to replacing
creaking hinge mental
doorways, captivated again

Silent pastel conversation
about daily eccentricities.


Run The Gauntlet

Worn to warm
Worn to protect
Worn for affect
Worn to hide blemishes
Worn to cushion the blow
Worn to direct traffic
Worn for surgical precision
Worn to preserve fine art
Worn to arrest forensics
Worn against human contact
Worn against contamination
Worn singly for onanist golf
Worn to catch a ball
Worn to grip rock and ice
Worn to prevent chafing
Worn for the washing up
Worn as a fetish
Removed to betoken favour
Slapped to instigate a duel


I’m waiting for inspiration

while he looks at something I can’t see

or perhaps, he’s watching me.

Behind him, gloves line the wall

in a chaotic color scheme.

I’m still waiting for my muse.

He is watched, in his jacket

smeared with paint, by his

creation, as am I.

But his creation, cunning

contemplates stepping from that canvas.

He will blend with his creator, possess him

paint him into his prison and become a God.

While I sit and wait for an idea.

This new being will notice

upon a veined, black marble table

a single, wrinkled glove of grey.

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The pursuing creatures were odd of gait:
lopsided as they ran … their weight
Yet still they gained,
their gaping maws slavering;
slate-cut teeth stained
with something I daren’t

Varicoloured and relentless,
they chased me across
blurred, uneven, terrain:
my pounding heart drowning
any baying
they might have voiced.
I sought safe haven,
but my sense of direction

As they closed, a bell sounded,
and the slamming
of the shop door jolted
me back to where
I was not quarry, but hunter,
the obscene pack mounted:
toothless trophies
on the walls … merely gloves.


the shredding

I have a new story
I now peel potatoes in high heels and leather over the kitchen sink their skins shredding in the shapes of wild winds and clouds, supersonic, Saturn, Jupiter, the moon

I now clean the toilet wearing long grey silken gloves with pea pearls sewn at the wrists and dotted upwards towards the insides of my elbows where pools of saffron gather,
and every time my fingers run towards my shoulders the gold disperses along the crevices of myself to drip to the ground where it stains, stains and stays

I now sing to my insides
a soothing melody of miracles that happen simultaneously one after another and the lyrics hum through my skin and out into the air where others listen and are happy to do so - sailors to sirens, mermaids to gods

in the morning night is gone
in the morning hear my song
in the morning smile with me
in the morning I am free

the lorikeet sitting on the branch in front of my window chirps and glows purplredgreen
and even after it stops breathing, its colours bleed into the soil to become part of this perfect palate


I now make my bed of linen
and lie in it




Glover leans against the rail
All hands empty fingers pointing down
Blood red heart showing through

Star-eyed glance away
While another checks him out
Rainbow touch without sending any signal
Nerveless grasp without muscle clasp

In a sea of colour
It is the grey one
The empty one
That compels


To Leave

Touch has become a fearful thing.
We have hurt each other.
The eye cannot see where the hurting is.
So small, and our eyes so wide, one cell
red as a harvest moon, anxious
and traversing.
We did not know
that we hurt each other.
Years uncover this way in
which we have become one.
Blood goes thick and then thin,
begging for release –
unexpected places.
Blood comes to me and goes from me.
Goes from me.
and goes from me.
Sometimes I remember
I am a husk of
paint watching
from the wall
as you nail the sorrow of
your touchless world
beside me. Why can’t
you hear me
begging, wordless,
that you release your hands
from bondage, before
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Lend a Hand

Don't just stand there,
Lend a hand,
I am told...but the problem is
all those people who don't
want help

Reminds me of the short
while I packed bags
for the poor in a local
food pantry.

You can't just stand around
or someone always gets
your bag of goods.

I mean,
take this guy.
All the hands in the world
and a few to spare,
and what does he do?

What does he do?



Nearly motionless for eight hours.
Hands clothed in stylings from the wall,
looked down on by the tough man in the painting nearby.
He felt awkward, embarrassed, ridiculed, ogled.
But rent was due tomorrow.
Will you come back for us, the owner asked.
His mind froze. Again. Should he?
He couldn’t decide. Again.
Isn’t that how he ended up here in the first place?

Never Wore the Same Pair Twice

The first pair was part of a costume
for a school play in junior high.
I was Captain America. I was a hero.
I liked the way everyone looked up to me,
like I was special, like I had super
powers. I knew I was nothing
without the script and singular-starred shield,
yet I could tell the girl who played
Wonder Woman liked me. A lot.
I’m don’t really remember strangling
her with her golden lasso. It must have
happened quickly, like the rabbit
by the wood shed, whose neck I snapped.
Mother told me to watch out for girls
who were fresh. They’ll ruin your life,
she’d say. It wasn’t always easy for me.
I had to remind myself how much
I was helping them, rescuing them
from a life of sin. I never wore the same
pair twice. It was my way of honoring
them as individuals. No fingerprints
at the crime scene; no blood
on my hands.


He stands listlessly,
dreaming of past lives
where he once knew how to
live the life his parents wanted.

Now, he is calmer than
years before.
he knows the passion it
takes to have his body entirely

With every blink of his
wondrous blue eyes,
he listens to his surroundings.
everything about him says,
"Let go of unsolicited advice."
he does this effortlessly,
but not without caution.

He has gloved hands,
blue to be exact--
to match his eyes.
he waits for them to
change the world
one clap at a time.

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My Gloves, my Friends

I cast my eyes over my gloves. Empty shells.
They once belonged, contained warm red blooded hands.
Warn for protection or warmth.
Where are the hands now?
Are they searching for their lost gloves?
They are here with me, their gloves.
Collected containing memories of the person who wore them.
Each taking on their own personalities.
Gloves with character. Inside is a blue print left by the hand that wore them.
Sometimes I wear them. Which shall I wear today?
I chose the blue ones worn by a friend.
They are my favourites. He was a good mate.
But he went away, without his gloves.
I get comfort from them. I feel close to him when I wear them. Like holding hands.
My hands snugly inside where his hands were.
I don't want to take them off now.
Perhaps I will tomorrow, but today we are together him and I.
Blue was his favourite colour, it's mine now.
I wonder if he thinks of me.
Where is the missing glove. It waits alone.
One day I will find the other.
She will return to me.
The gloves will be a pair, to be hung with the others. Will she stay with me, or abandon me like the others did?
I don't really care. I have no friends now.
Just my gloves.

There Were No Children’s Gloves

It was strange coming back to a place I knew as a child. The last time I was here I had to hold my mother's hand to cross the road, and sometimes we'd stop and watch the greengrocer in the market, selling steaming beetroot and yelling about fresh marrows. Now I was here of my own choosing. I could cross the road unsafely if I wished. I sauntered down to the old record shop where I bought my first single: Spellbound by Siouxsie and the Banshees - I was all black eyeliner and attitude. It's not a record shop now. I peered through the window; gloves of all kinds lined the walls. Funny how your eyes can scan a scene so quickly; I couldn't see any children's gloves. I was embarrassed by noticing that. Strangely drawn in by the oddness, I walked in. The room seemed more claustrophobic then I remembered, a man sat on a stool reading a book; he didn't look up. The gloves seemed interesting, even fascinating in their diversity. I found a cobalt blue pair made of the softest leather and tried them on; amazed that they were a perfect fit. Then I felt his presence next to me. He removed them from my hands with the quickness of a card sharp and started wrapped them. I was struck dumb. Did he expect me to buy them? I hadn't seen a price tag but I bet they weren't £4 (that's all I had). When I looked closer, I noticed he only had one hand. It seemed arthritic, and the joints looked swollen, but he moved with a deftness that even I couldn't manage when wrapping Christmas gifts. He smiled. His teeth were many, and uneven.
'You don't remember me do you? ' he said, all teeth. It's an awful imposition for someone. I didn't try.
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I am the cleaner.
No, don’t misunderstand me;
I don’t get involved in the scene of the crime,
the grime at the time itself.
They send me the gloves that they wore
when they did some deed
that they want erased, every trace,
every smatter and spatter and stain.
Some defeat me. My policy?
No returns, no fee.

You see, now they feel better.
I’m holding their flat hands for ever.
Children’s mittens, first gloves, chewed fingers –
the first fragile seedlings of pointing and sneering,
jabbing and smearing; all good formative fun.
There are budding pickpockets, sleight-of-hand conjurors,
sweetly removing a card, his wallet, her self-esteem.
And the flower-handed murderers, silk-skinned adulterers,
small hand-shod mutes at a loss for alternatives –
I don’t think about what these sightless siblings have seen,
where these desensitised, empty swatches have been.
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Upstairs Gallery

Following her up gallery stairs and looking at the display of gloves in every color, varying colors and styles.
Defiantly putting on the blue gloves, which I know are meant to be left as art, but they match my shirt and she made them.
Trying to ignore my blood that suddenly runs cold, runs in pain, as I look up and see the portrait at the top of the stairs.
It is the man she once loved, and painted many times, but clearly very recently for this show.
His eyes following us up the stairs, disapproving my actions and jealous she is with me.
Stopping to catch my breath, sweating at the reality of a painting and what it means.
I see her pull her glove off, one finger at a time, and toss it on the table with a come-hither look.
I look back, and yes, he is looking at me and she is laughing.
She hung him here, in bright color, rivaling me for her attentions.

Guitar And Pen

Some friends are artists,
some live in Arizona,
& some work in the village till midnight.
As long as I have these gloves,
See them lined along the wall.
One for each night of the month
at the very least.
I’m prepared. So if
the New York Times says, ‘it was the coldest winter in 17 years!’
I’ll have been ready.
‘Nashville Skyline’ came out 7 years after
Bob wrote ‘Talkin’ New York.’
Now you see how we’re all Talkin’ Bobby D.
Lera is a Nashville based musician,
If I present her with a pair of these gloves,
What will she make of all these colors?
She’s performing at Le Poisson Rouge,
on Bleecker street.
"L'Association Française du Poisson Rouge (AFPR) est une association à but non lucratif, qui entend promouvoir et défendre les poissons rouges."
Just as well.
There was a whisper, a word from the street, that Caleb and the kings of leon had a private concert there last month.
If I was invited, I would never have been invited.
But if I was,
would I have gone?
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Sleight of Hand

Nothing more human
than a hand–
All these gloves like masks,
costumes, disguises,
choices displayed
on the walls of this
unusual boutique-
The clerk waits,
a pale apprentice
already dressed in his own
elegant blue gloves,
inviting you to try on
some new persona,
slide your hands into
something that stirs
your imagination,
echoes some unspoken wish,
takes the shape of your
heart’s desire--
Inviting you at last
to find it fits you
like a glove.


A pair of gloves
for every role
life has given.

The overwhelming
bright colors
seem so complex.

The brighter colored
ones for the
most happy or dangerous.

The darker colored
ones for the
heavier tasks, unwanted.

The bright yellow
for the parenting plus, the
ignored chores of the house.

The blue ones shine
reminders of,
the garden and mass.

The pink ones portray
the heavy but,
sometimes joyous womanhood.

The oranges bellow
a sharp contrast of
bipolar and caution.

Read more >


One Glove

I have tried on many lives
Grooves of the world split down each finger
That, when placed down on paper,
Would be set to a whole range of soundtracks.

My hand has created outlines,
Drawing planets; leaving gaps
For interpretation -
Soaking influence from our interface
Constellations of corpuscles
As we stretch
And fall to
The rhythm of
It's symbiotic,
Swaying like the tidal strokes of the moon
So that, in times of embrace,
I wonder where I end and you begin -

Did I fit you or did you fit me?



With gloves on no less, the blood on his shirt
and the line up of rinsed-out hung-up to dry
masquerades for his hands, damage-doer.
He sees himself in the mirror
as some kind of spunk hero, a kind of punk
who neverminds that the one woman
he loved walked out the door with her head
high and slapped her gloves on the table
to remind him she came to find him utterly

Part-time Love

If they had told him that he was as plain as the paper he liked to fill with colours, he would not have believed them.
Okay. Possibly a little, but not a lot.
S/he found that he was or, s/he only saw what s/he had wanted to see. In a cloak of sordid fragrance, the man had quietly called over from the opposite end of the bar, where alcohol clogged the senses like the drain in the city sewers. S/he, being the peculiar curious virtuoso of everything as peculiar, walked over with an attempt to hide the slur in the walk. The night had begun and so had the dance.
In hindsight, they both had forgotten to use the regular nuances of what most called ‘a blooming relationship’. Their time together seemed to have been measured by the consistent slippage of the sand in the hourglass, and yet, they had forgotten that time by itself was a human and social construct.
Time, once constructed in its body, could be destroyed by the creator. In hindsight, s/he looked back wistfully at all the time that had been collected in the reservoir of her now fogged hourglass, and remembered his room as she was wont to – in glitches and fast movement. Those were the gloves, the paint and the memories he had made and worn as his cloak, ambling through his life and inviting others to set an imprint on him.
S/he now wondered if he knew that he had collected every single picture as a memory; that his art was imprinted on him by so many others.
Likened to being the room of one’s own.


His wall was a cacophony of apps
all promising to organise better
a mind prone to morbid

and used to scraps of paper

to-do lists

unbuttoned collars


The problem was
the epiphanies did not sync to all devices,

a curse of options:
keys thrown into wells.

He wasn't short of good advice,
a derangement of it,
mouths set upon themselves.

You could never be sure
if they were wings, pinned

a murder of crows

or a colloquy of helping hands

fidgeting over his body which yearned
to vacate touch,
Read more >


Hands on stone

At the gallery’s glove exhibition
a young man freezes, his eyes
cold on the granite table, his mother’s
hands folded in the same cold way
they would lie on the coach —
They played bridge, the piano, tennis
but never with his hair. They held
cups of tea and wine and cigars
but not once his hands, his face.
They wouldn’t teach him to ride a bike,
catch a fish; never waved goodbye
                               at school or graduation.
And here they are, he and his mother
at his glove exhibition —
she’s nowhere to be seen.


My eyes have wounded him by rough handling,
iris-tongued, licking his youth. I have slid him

on me every way I can imagine, finger by finger,
the whole hand. His not meeting my eyes allows

me to catch my breath, gust coals to brightness.
Even the hung portrait hungers after him, twisting

in its frame. There is a back room, a nook among boxes.
The gloves on the wall will clap as I enchant him there.



One hundred and eight pairs of gloves. That was my goal.

I am fascinated with the number 108. 1+ 0 + 8 adds up to 9. 108 is the number of beads on a Buddhist rosary, and the number of times you say a Buddhist prayer. It’s a number sacred to the Hindus, as well. Although I forgot exactly why.

At Mt Koya, the supposed founding place of Buddhism in Japan, I’ve gone and stayed overnight in a temple, they give you some paper and you sit and write Buddhist teachings, or sutras, over and over You are supposed to get up to 108 times, but I guess it’s between you and your conscience The whole idea is to sit cross legged and write the same sentence or even the whole chapter over and over, until the words tire out your hand muscles and I guess the words enter your brain on a subconscious level. Writing as practice and writing as meditation. And you add to your good karmic energy.

When you are living in reduced circumstances, and minus 10 outside, and cold as hell And you’re too impatient to sit and write sutras and be virtuous, you might as well collect 108 pairs of colorful gloves. Afterall, how else are you going to indulge in your sense of color in a dreary flat and industrial landscape?

I had already gone through all the gardening websites, buying plain colored gloves and had begun dyeing them colors from dyelon kits with names such as denin blue, or pale rose, or forest green I had already tried out the dyes at half and quarter strengths, and those hung on the wall too. Read more >


Thoughts from Lucy, aged 9

It looks like he has gloves on the wall that are different colors and different shape going down the steps. I also feel that all the gloves have a different use. And maybe they mean some thing to him.

The picture looks like him so I think its his grandfather or dad. I also think that those gloves were his father's or grandfather's.

I feel like he is in an under ground basement because the sky is blue but I don't see the sky because the color is red and so it might be a basement. I am not so sure but that's my imagination and thats how I see his house.

The wood next to the picture is not typical. I think that if you touch the picture, the picture will slid back and a gate way will pop up, that's my feeling.

There is a marble table and on that marble table there is a single glove. I think that is his favourite glove and it is also the biggest. I also think that glove has been passed down generation to generation.


The Canal

I picked up the brown leather gloves from the drawer and held them to my cheek. Against my skin they reminded me of her touch, her stroke, as she ran cool fingers down my cheek.
        The faint smell of wood, amber, tuberose and something that eluded me gently scented them. Well worn, they showed the curves and bends in her hands, the cream contrast of the stitching like roads running across them; they refused to lie flat when I put them down on the dressing table, a last defiance.

‘Come on, let’s go for a walk down by the canal,’ she said, taking my bare hand in her gloved one.
        It was bright, chilly and with a gentle bluster to the wind and we wandered down to the marina, pausing to admire the narrow boats tied to the bollards along the bank. We’d talked so often of buying a boat, sailing away to lands unknown or meandering through the hundreds of miles of the canal system; but, as always, just pipe dreams.
        Turning left we strolled without purpose along the well-trodden towpath, the occasional “morning” to fellow walkers breaking the silence, the warmth of her leather-gloved hand in mine. We didn’t need words, a companionable silence followed us for a couple of miles.
        The pub at Big Lock beckoned and we decided to stop for lunch. She wanted a comfort break and I was hungry after missing breakfast.
        ‘I won’t be a minute,’ she said taking off her gloves and leaving them on the table.
        ‘Glass of red?’ I said. She nodded as she walked away.

The gloves lay on the dresser. If I slipped my hand under one, it would be like holding hers again. But it wasn’t, they crumpled under the delicate pressure, sagging like me.



We usually don't ask for the gloves we wear.
We just pull on whatever mismatched
pairs we find, in drawers or baskets,
hoping only for the temporary, fleeting
warmth of knit and fleece,
the thrill of a ragged
outsmarting of whatever lies outside.
Sometimes, though, we find ourselves
by a wall of gloves so matched it's painful,
so brightly optimistic we hide our eyes,
so insistent on perfection, finally, that
we turn away,
in shame or delight,
fear or longing;
we cannot tell.
We only know
we want to go home.

Be gloved in peacock blue

Begloved in peacockblue cashmere you stood alone, quite separate from the heart of the group. I hadn't understood the form of the accentuated gesture. How was I to know that the 370 fingers of the 74 singles of the 37 pairs were emblems of fidelity. The claret red 6 and the yellow ochre 6, of the black 7 and the green 4 plus all the other mismatches. What really didn't add up was the gestured action of the single one upon the black marble tabletop. A challenge had been presented but I didn't know where to go with it.
Looking back I could see there must have been some kind of problem. I didn't think gloves were particularly weird or anything but we are talking more than decoratively functional
Are we not??

Herr Hagelstein’s Hand Shoes

'Sir, this is pointless.'

Herr Hagelstein glanced up from the teachers' guide and regarded the pupil in the back row.

'Wieso denn?'

'Everyone speaks English. Why we gotta learn this?'

No Sitzfleisch with this lot, thought Herr Hagelstein. If something's hard or boring, it's not worth doing.

Three students yawned. The classroom was quiet, save for the buzz of an extractor fan. Fumes from the whiteboard pens were giving him a headache. Two months into the job, he couldn't see himself last two more days.

Did it have to be hard or boring?

'OK,' he said, switching to English for the first time that lesson. 'I would like you to take your textbooks...'

Thirty-two restless bums shifted in their seats.

'...and throw them as hard as you can into that corner.'

Thirty-two eyebrows lifted in unison.

'Am I speaking Martian now? You heard.'

Thirty-two satisfying thuds and a crumpled mountain of dry academia later, Herr Hagelstein faced the slightly more energised class.

Read more >


Inside Out

On your denim a tear
over your heart’s stomping ground
These speckles of red :

Your silence inside out

Uncertain stance
and hands dressed in electric blue
Behind you all others - linen or lint? -

waiting to bandage the truth.
Look ahead! On cold marble lies
a singe glove of a nondescript grey :

An open hand is a chance
to patch up an old wound. Dare me
to touch you where spilt red shows through


The Decision Maker

One white boy watches one white hand
scratching at the black, searching for colour
under the skin.

I am dirty, some call me mould,
I came from nowhere, creeping up through
the brickwork, seeking, always seeking.

From my damp corner I watch a shaft of light
paint prismatic mutations, many hands holding
up a neutral wall

Turn white boy, like my colour, let me stay.



Thank you, yes I’m ready. Is this thing on? Testing, testing. Ha-ha, I bet no-one has ever done that before!

Sorry, I’m a bit nervous.

So, the gloves. As you can see, I have a lot of them.

When did it start? Oh, when I was little. I found a glove; it was a ladies one, so sweet and soft. Lovely expensive grey suede.

What did I do with it? Well, I put it in the special box that had all my treasures and when I needed to I would get them out and organise them. Over time, the glove was the only thing that helped.

How? Well, I would smooth it against my skin, and imagine the kind lady who had worn it. Her tiny ladylike fingers, pressed into the material. Maybe she held the hand of her daughter. Or her son. I imagined all that.

Well, yes, it didn’t stop there, obviously. Eventually it got so that I needed more things and, somehow I knew they had to be gloves.

Where do I get them? Oh, I find them, or they find me. Sometimes single ones, lost in the street or on buses.

I can afford to buy special ones now, too. I love those ones. Just up there. No, next to those, the red brocade ones. Have you got them in shot? Apparently they were owned by a lady in the court of Queen Elizabeth the First. Imagine.

Read more >



The gardeners vanished today
Now gloves are everywhere.
Pinned to the branches of trees near the park,
lined up in the center divider,
hanging on the the bridge railing,
And today I found a pair under my pillow
Still sweet with earthy mulch
and wet from last nights rain.
I save them
all of them,
In case they return
from this nightmare.

How Are You Doin?

How are you doin, he says to me
Like I should know the answer to his
riddling mind questions
Like why he has a thousand hands
a mythical creature? Nah, just a man
who smokes too much
threatens to love me, white picket
fences nightmares
hanging those dramas over my head
No more, I answer. That's how I'm doin' -
no more.


Words slip across her palms
trail from her fingertips
a breadcrumb trail for the magpies
chattering at her heels
               give me! give me! give me!
she pulls her hat
down low
muffling the squawks
she looks up to a metal sky
mercury drops she cannot catch
letters drowning
in the reflecting pools
               rat a tat tat
claws and beaks on concrete
she could wear gloves
but what might speak in the silence?

At the department store

"Let's just pop in here," she said.
I waited, as she changed...

It was as if thrown down there, a challenge.
all around me fingers pointing, clutching, teasing, victory and scorn, claws and talons sharpened, in ranks, and banks, and thanks to this one special one, the Superfear gripped my lungs and squeezed out all the air, sat on my feet and sucked out all the juice from my thighs, spun my head four hundred times a second and called me names I can't repeat, lifting me and slamming me into the floor over and over, clamping my arms like twigs tied up in a bundle of firewood on the back of a horrible witch in a scary fairy tale...
and me...
alone and adrift and only the thrashing of blood in my ears and the sentinel, the sentinel, sent from hell and sent to terrify me, staring at me, barring me, daring me to move or blink so it can rip me apart...
and I...
I stand frozen and sweating, screaming with no sound, stiff as jelly...
until it goes away, a faded duel, leaving just a non-threatening, discarded or lost accessory.

"All right?" she says when she comes out. "It was kinda big."
"Yes" I reply.

I have panic attacks when she takes me shopping.


The Driveway

When I reached the gate, I saw Mother talking to a man I had never met before. She stood under the porch outside the front door and speaking with her hands raised in the air, busy explaining something. His hands stayed in his pockets.

He had a round belly and hair slicked back with oil. He wore a maroon shirt with two top buttons undone, exposing a gold chain with a jade pendant around his neck. His sun-browned face gleamed with sweat and he looked like a gangster in a movie.

Next to him Mother was a small woman in a grey dress, her hair unkempt and face thin and clear of makeup. A slice of the sun fell on her and she looked about a hundred in the light. In the same light, the man was terrifying.

When I unlatched the gate, the heat in the metal stung my hand. Rubbing it with my other hand, I stepped into the driveway cautiously, as though I was entering a shrine. The rusty hinges turned noisily and announced my presence.

But they didn’t turn around to stare at me. I took a deep breath and let the scalding air rush through my lungs. I coughed into my fist. Still they ignored me. I hesitated about venturing into the driveway because I was nervous. I was not sure whether I should walk up to them or not, worried I might disturb their conversation.

Read more >


Simplest Life

Life was simple before I met you,
The walls of my home were dark and blue.
You opened up my door to light and freedom.
With the colours of your breath,
To the movements of your feet
You pushed the rainbow you held upon me.

Each day became more colourful, more simple and free
The light upon my heart almost set me free.
From me to you I give you this thanks,
For opening me up and letting me free.
Although this is a gift it is also a curse,
The colours of freedom bounded me to the earth

Your blues, oranges, pinks and greens
Crowded my walls and never let me flee
As your colours comfort you as you peacefully sleep,
They awaken me as I plead for sleep.
My walls are now far too colourful for me to look upon,
All I see is your hands touching upon

So Darcy as I give you this blessing of freedom,
I wish for you to know the drowning of mine,
As you walk upon your beauty of sea
I walk upon the cobbling stones you have left me.

To the cobwebs finally appearing on my colourful walls,
I thank the lord for the way they form,
For years I’ve dreamt of this
For years.


Each with a Purpose

I work at a glove store. Most people would assume this to be one of the most boring jobs on the planet. Heck, most people probably don’t realise there are stores that only sell gloves, they just get them at any department store or mall. But America is a big place and consumerism is a big part of it. And as such there’s a store that only sells one kind of product for virtually every product under the sun. But i work at a glove store selling gloves most days a week. We get an expectable number of customers, maybe a few more due to us being on a main road, and they each only ever come in maybe twice before we never see them again. As boring as the premises sounds i actually enjoy working here because I, like all people who work in retail, have found ways to make the days more manageable.

You see, selling gloves isn’t what enjoy about working here. I enjoy the people I’m selling the gloves to. They each have their own reasons for buying gloves and each pair sold is a story hidden in plain sight. Sure, there are some people who just buy gloves for garden work or some other form of laborious task that takes its toll on the hands, but there are also the people who buy a specific pair of gloves for a specific reason. It’s these people who make my days pleasant. We sell so many different gloves all varying in style, color, size and so on and with variety comes individuality. My boss sometimes says “every pair of gloves is created equal.” I never really understood what she says but it inspired my own little phrase; “every pair of gloves is created for a purpose.” With this in mind I always try to devise the purpose of each pair I sell.

Read more >


Harvey Palmist

As I stand here with my 40th pair of gloves on I ponder should I use the master glove? I haven't used it in a long time but I have to christen these fresh crisp gloves at are tightly wrapped around my cold hands. I need to decide master glove or the blue gloves?
My manhood pushes up against my zippers. That's it I slowly unzip my tight brown jeans and unleash my manhood. WOAH it flops out as i tightly grip the master piece and begin to vigorously jerk it. I fall to the floor and carry on going. The moans fill the shed.
ouch wtf is that
I empty my load as it splashes onto my vintage jean jacket.
That's it i'll stick to painting.

The glove man

The opportunities were endless, so many varieties of different gloves were pinned up on the wall, different fabrics, styles and colors, this shop had every form of glove you could wish to have, and I only wanted a normal black pair now that winter was here but this shop turned my head with so many options and possibilities. The prices ranged from varied from a pound right up to £100, all the gloves were hand made by the owner and it was definitely the best place to buy gloves, according to the signs displayed in the window that is. All the gloves were pinned up against the wall, they would be on the far wall facing you as soon as you walked in, the owner stood leant against the banister wearing velvet blue gloves and a denim jacket covered in what looked like red paint that was definitely not recent as it was stained into the fabric. In front of him stood a black crystal stone table which had a rather large glove on it, it’s almost as if he was catering for giants as well.
The gloves weren’t categorised they were just pinned up on the wall and you could look 1 by 1. They were pinned on a poorly painted white wall, like when you do one coat of paint then leave it, that’s what it looked like. I questioned myself over whether this is a safe place, one minute I could be buying gloves, the next I could be in his basement with no escape in sight. It was small enclosed room, the large circular table making me feel more enclosed, he said nothing, he merely stood there and as I stood there deciding whether to have a look at the gloves I heard a rather loud scream from what sounded like the basement right underneath me, it was loud enough that the owner knew I heard it and from there I feared for my safety…

Lost Souls

There is a patchwork café down the road that attracts a certain type of person. These people have known loss so great that they all feel trapped; their lives have stopped, almost not worth living for anymore. They are pulled by some invisible force to the shop by its exposed brickwork and mismatched wall of books, its weak tea and its unforgettable stench of burnt coffee beans. A disaster, a mismatched haven of familiarity. At the back of the café is a wall and like all the others its bricks are vulnerable, uneven and a stark reminder that not everything is perfect. However, this wall is different, it’s adorned by pairs of gloves of all different shapes, sizes, colours and style. They are left by regulars whose story has not yet known the grief that comes with loss, regulars who have seen that certain type of customer and leave them as a reminder to a lost soul; that there is someone in the world who will fit into their life like a glove.

The Window To The Soul

They adorned the wall, a cacophony of colours and textures. Wool, blue, leather, brown. All hung up in pairs, apart from the singular grey one which rested upon the black marble, challenging my belief that you need another half –a better half- to be complete.
You used to tell me that my eccentricities and quirks made me who I was, but you were only convincing yourself before you gave up, before you came to the conclusion that I was obsessive and couldn’t let the past stay in the past. I asked you before you left me if you would do me one last favour, give me a symbol of our short-lived relationship. But you weren’t like the rest of them, you gave me just the one glove and told me you’d always keep the other. You didn’t want to be another woman who entered and then left my life with a love we believed would be eternal but ended up being ephemeral.
They say eyes are the windows to the soul, but I always believed it was the hands. They were the mark of an artist and a sculptor. You didn’t agree; to you, gloves were gloves. To me, they were a memoir of the hands I once held, but you were haunted by the constant reminder of them whenever I took you to my bedroom.


There are many types of people in this world, but in the end you can boil it down to those who are noticed and others who aren’t. I fall under the second category, all my life I was overlooked, unrecognised by those around me. I used to hate it, I would feel small and powerless in the face of others, but now I see that it is my gift. My invisibility allowed me to access this place of vibrant colour that could bring joy in the darkest of times, where the walls were lined with paintings worth more than your average piece, it was a goldmine. It felt as though you could still feel hundreds of hands still working with nobody around to make this place the best it could be, trying to protect the riches that were calling for me to liberate them from where they hang. I will use the gloves laid out for workers in order to conceal my presence here, I will not leave a trace and when my time here is up, I will fade into the background like a ghost once more.
I am a phantom, nobody knows who I am or where I’ll strike next. The risk of one day being caught is exhilarating it makes me feel more alive than I ever have before. I crave the rush, the adrenaline that accompanies my line of work. The money is merely a welcome consequence of what I do. The challenge of entering and escaping a building that is deemed to be one of the most secure places in the world, is an art form worth far more than any painting or artifact that lines the walls of this vibrant place. This is why I take what is not mine, it is not for greed or profit, only out of a desire to continue living in a way only this risk could grant me.

Gardeners Rose

My brother he hangs with a frown upon his face next to the work of art I have created over the years How proud he would be if he could see all I’ve achieved though disappointed at how I’ve created a ghost town, he always loved life as much as his garden The silence rings so loud in my ears every time I stride down the street passing the long abandoned houses, the fading paint and crumbling bricks scream out the pain of its slow rotting My eyes cannot stand the sight as the phantom smell of decaying flesh fills my nose each time I walk past, yet I smile when I remember how each paid their debt to my brother such lovely neighbours they are I return to his blooming world of colour every day to tend to its beauty, I notice the blue of my gloves slowly fading with over use while reaching for a trowel He loved roses especially red ones, yet they only ever sold white in this small town, quite temper rising when I have to dye them, can’t have my brothers roses being such a pure colour now, the bees hate it “Hello ” the rose’s petals went flying when I jumped ripping the rose from its stem, I faced the voice with glaring eyes only to find thick curls barely contained behind a head with a single band, purple gloves fading like my own caught my immediate attention “Names Stacy, new neighbour!” her voice was cheery and soft face glowed with eagerness, so bright like the white roses I place a charming smile on, stepping close to shake the hand she reach over the panel fence “Ryan, my pleasure ” The weeks after our greeting resulted in a deep bond, with our love of gardening bringing us together as it had many times before She was smitten, her eyes leaked her craving for me, and so on that Friday afternoon I took her hand, which was surprisingly soft for such a dedicated gardener, and brought her into my brother’s Read more >


Who pins 327 metaphors on a wall?
he asked as he went down the stairs
for the first and last time.

You are confusing me being off-hand
now with being in the palm of mine
earlier, she replied.

I don’t capture the calamities, she
continued, those cowards who couldn’t
commit for even the cutest of lessons.

I tried to make a pair of red leather
gloves once, she added. The hardest
things in the world to sew.

My needle remained spotless;
my hands were strafed with the
futile trackmarks of trying.


Throwing down the gauntlet

It is hard to accept a challenge,
Difficult to get ones hands dirty,
Hard to stand up and stand out from the rest,
Life would be much simpler if we could handle our worries and fears with kid gloves,
Make them go away,
But sometimes it is necessary to put on our boxing gloves,
And stand up for ourselves or others.

Wall of Gloves

And when off came the gloves it was not
For the first (nor the last). Up they went
On the wall that we built for the gloves.

Then you say: Is it not a real shame
That we came to do this to ourselves?
We did not even think to build shelves.

There they are. On the wall, there to stay,
Until you or else I can work out
How to take them back down all in pairs.


The Mate

I live in a world of gloves. The collection’s a compulsion, the result’s eccentric. I don’t care. There’s no one to see it anyway, no one to judge. I’d call it art if they asked. They’d wander along the colored pairs, yellow rubber, green suede, heavy brown leather, and they’d come upon the single gray glove. What’s that, they’d ask, where’s it’s mate?

What a question! So heart-wrenching, if hypothetical. What a question. I might consider not answering. The silence would stretch long enough to be uncomfortable and they’d shift, shuffling their feet and say, It’s okay. You don’t have to tell me.

But I’d clear my throat and sigh, shaking my head so they knew the full weight of my pain. That’s the one that got away, I’d say. That’s the mate I couldn’t find.

They’d nod, understanding, their eyes averted out of respect. We’d bond in that moment of intimate pain because they’d understand why I couldn’t just go out and buy another one.

But then, of course, no will ever see this. No one will ever ask.


Pairs and pairs

Odd pairs and identical ones
he hung upon the walls, keepsakes
of avatars adorned once upon
a time, when clothes were identities
and souls were covers, protecting him
from touch of all kinds –
raw, tender, intimate, indifferent, too close
for comfort, even mere scratches,
and screaming, wailing nail portraits.

He kept them all,
of every hue and fabric,
but shed his one true natural legacy
of birth, cast aside like amniotic sac,
diaphanous, sensitive, vehement, too trusting.
It is easy to hurt in those, you know?
He knew just as well, bloodstains
that trailed his self – an obvious reminder
of how he prised them out with
a fixed smile and force of habit –
to gel in with the world and its many roles;
such a rigmarole.

Read more >


Gloves and the gaze

Animated glove crawling
on the marble top;
jacketed figure
leans on the railing
hands in mittens

he--- being watched
by the one in red
tucked in the mural;
multi- coloured
gloves hanging on a
drab wall
like the trophies;

the pulsating ennui
the intense gaze
blobs of red drying
on the outer cloth,
well, well, the entire scene---
so unsettling
so eerily odd!


Why this is what surrounds me

          held too                            many

    objects.       Too, of what breathes.        Too, what has let me go, stated
      calluses, causational function,

      —were too deliberate in my obsessive devotional

        embracing. This portrait         stares into

    my pensive open-eyed       meditation. With wonder, residue

                hangs behind my paused recollection, waiting
      to fit against what’s used to
            devote myself

    with hoping toward accepted emblems of why my silent self no longer
    can open within the language of salient interpretations.



Bigger isn’t necessarily better.
Comme il faut.

Hypogeal hagiologies serve no
purpose, they must reach their
cirque. Direct like a glow-worm
is advice to self.

Colors of hesitancy clog the palette.
From swivels of unsurety
art announces itself.


My Grandfather’s Gloves

We never knew that my grandfather
loved gloves. True, my mother once
gave me a pair of work gloves she
said had been his, their lining rough
against my teenage skin, but the secret
of his passion hid for years, locked inside
a steel box under the tool shed window.

I remembered him digging in the vegetable
garden, hoeing the soil, scattering new seed.
I loved to watch him polish the old Buick
that sat gathering dust and sunlight in our
old barn. He always wore a pair of gloves
when he worked around his place, but I
never noticed its color or kind.

I was in my twenties when he died, cried
hard when I heard he’d left me the Buick.
And afterward, when I helped to clean out
the shed, helped my father pry open the rusty
padlock on that box, we learned my grandfather
had gloves in every color, every style, as if he
had matched them to each task at hand.

Read more >


It’s a blue glove day

It's a blue glove day in Berlin –
A day for painting and posing.

The eye's much better, thanks.
*No* thanks to Frank, who left me

With this blood-bruised view of
Him at the top of the stairs:

An assessor of glum ascents
And descents; my garish lord.

Come round later, won't you?
There's a pair of marigolds here

With your name on it. And you
Could collect Mathilde's gauntlet!

You'll find it where it fell . . . .
It's a blue glove day in Berlin

Despite the paint-drunk ceiling
And the scandal in my heart.


The Glove Maker

Show me your hand and I’ll fit you with gloves,
studded with pearls and precious stones
or lined with squirrel fur to keep you warm
on the coldest of nights when you have
no lover’s embrace.

My gallery of multi-hued gloves,
the finest Cordovan leather, taffeta
and sateen, yours for the taking My Lady.
Even dog-skin, from the animal most praised
for its loyalty.
Ah, but your gloved hand is a dove’s caress,
your lips and fingers remember
so many lovers, so many encounters.
A pearl grey glove from the Spanish Ambassador,
a stroll through a shaded olive grove
on a glass-sharp morning
when your heart is steady
but your kisses bitter.

For it is the Englishman
you cannot forget.
His touch, exhausted by pleasure
as he tastes your breath of sweet pearls.
In parting, he gives you a leather glove,
still warm from the recognition of
unfulfilled dreams.
He strides away
and you feel your soul crack open.

Read more >


Another Life

My mother wore gloves for every occasion. Lacy cotton in summer, cloth for in-between seasons, lined leather in the winter, mesh-backed driving gloves, buttoned at the wrist, suede gauntlets in the garden.
        Her favourites were the opera gloves my father gave her one Christmas – black ruched silk that clung to her slim arms and finished with a velvet tie at the elbow. In her younger days, she wore those gloves to parties with an Audrey Hepburn hair-do, a cigarette holder, and a mysterious smile. When my father died, she wrapped them in tissue and put them away but sometimes I caught her wearing them in bed.
        After her funeral, I couldn’t let the gloves go. My life had taken a downward spiral following a bad relationship. I had debts. Her glove collection represented everything safe and secure. I wore a different pair each day according to the seasons, but it was when I put on her opera gloves, that I slipped into another life. A 50s cocktail dress, court shoes and seamed nylons completed the outfit. Eyebrows plucked into a thin, startled line and with a slash of red lipstick, I went to society do’s, a powder compact in my clutch bag, my hair swept into a French pleat. I said little and smiled a lot.
        At a summer party, I met Giles. Handsome. A charmer. I liked the way he held my elbow when he steered me on to the dance floor. Later, when we dated, he insisted on paying for everything, bought me flowers, perfume and diamond earrings, ‘for my perfect little ears.’ Most weekends he drove me to his country home in a classic Jaguar convertible. For the journeys, I wore kid gloves, and knotted a silk scarf under my chin, as if I were a minor Royal.
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I am a man of many hands,
Both soft and hard, and smooth and rough,
That give and take, and soothe and shake,
And hit, stroke, linger, heal and break.
I hang my hands about my wall
And stand there, looking at them all,
Like a hunter, or a doctor,
Or an abecedarian.


You are tired
Understandably so
The last glove, so gray that it could be a bloodless hand
resting over a trash bag
A sigh over a treacle mess
A victim of too much colour

It is you bent out of your ways
Your form sacrificed to the elements
you thought to harness

An emptiness that remains silent

To look back is to accept that you failed to put her
into your perspective
to draw frames around her with whichever paint you fancied
Fifty first fancies
A hundred new fallacies

She, of the sunset, the dawn, the moon’s fringe of darkness
She couldn’t fit, she was a flow

Your frame, alone intact
shows you an anger that froze when the brush left
but diffused, it is a wiser you
trapped in its borders
no longer dreaming in color

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I Wonder If I’ll Ever See Your Hands Again

Big palms.
Strong grip.
Long fingers
with callused tips.

Tall man's hands.
Basketball hands.
Hands big enough to hold me—

until suddenly, you couldn't.

Who can say why you split
like a hosiery seam, running, running,
running down the back of my leg
as far from my heart as possible?

Who can say why
when I was bursting at the seams
myself—always stuffed with food
like a pillow stuffed with fluff.

I was soft, and so were you.

But we were artists!
The two of us created ART
worth marvel
worth the alphanumeric marble
from which they were chiseled.

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Unbearable Closeness

I want to touch you - to feel
the warmth of your skin against mine -
but I want to feel you with my hands,
brutish hands, that need covering
before I feel you properly.

Why must you slip away
when I have gloves of every colour
to cover my mitts?

I have gloves for every girl
to have stayed in my room,
for the past three years
they all had to learn the hard way.


to forgive (v.)

I think of the act
of forgiving

as a part-time job.
It comes in bouts

and pays you
in good karma.

It tastes like
an antacid, cures

heartburn, and mends

You and I
gather our apologies
and safeguard them

in a storage locker –
a task so remiss

that it leaves no aftertaste.



His hands always adorned, as if attending a masquerade ball.
A collection that seems to double by the day.
Above the traditions, his haberdasher is appalled.
Extra space, a whole new closet he would cause him less dismay.

His favorite, now gone forever.
So soft, yet so durable.
He wishes he wishes for nevers.
He wants one glove returnable.

His love is his pain.
His only joy in life, is his secret shame.
Bound by a memory of once was. Something so plain.
His soul is left forever maimed.

Burned up and scarred by one glove, its missing mate becoming his obsession.
Who knew the absence of an object could leave such a long lasting impression.



they say love is like pitter-patter rainbow rain
falling through the cob-webbed holes
of y(our) heart.
tell me then,
you who always look for filling,
wearing old blood beneath
your see-through shirt, gloved fingers
fumbling in the painted dark-
how quick does yesterday's sun
leach itself of colour?

you say you loved me the most,
i was grey & ancient, my body
a winding wrought-iron stair
to childhood ephemera.
you say i was the truest rain of them all

but your heart is a dusty room,
claustrophobic with ghosts-
do old gloves remember
the warmth of far-away finger-suns?


New Man

Your new gloves
Won't hide your guilty heart.
They'll hide your fingerprints,
Smudges and warts.
Your new shoes
Won't hide your heinous past,
Or cover twisted tracks,
Brutal footprints.
Your new hair
Will cover your warped brain,
But can't hide your depraved mind,
Scabrous, calloused.
Gloves, shoes, hair--
They do not make the man.


It might be silk, or it might be blood,
a ribbon that runs from throat to belly,
a hint to your hidden past; and it may be
a painting or it may be a window, a face
pressed fast at the edge of your day.

And something’s fumbled in a stranger’s hands,
a purse or a knife, you can’t be sure, but
there’s something in the movement that stops
you short, makes you see for the first time
the space you occupy, your uncomfortable frame.

And it might be wood, or it might be stone,
a hard edge that holds you, safe or trapped,
a tipping point of view; and it may be
a mirror or it may be a mistake, hands
opening, letting you go.



Granny Myrdall was a hoarder; saved all kinds of stuff like you wouldn't believe. They make programmes about this kind of 'problem'. She didn't find it a problem because she was living her life the way she wanted. My parents found it a problem as they knew she could hardly reach her front door or the 'phone, hemmed in as she was by cardboard boxes, bin bags, and plastic what-nots.
        Father, and my aunt occasionally (very hesitantly)offered her a chance to live with either of them.
        'I'm not moving from here 'til they make a forced entry
and carry me out!' she stated defiantly. Mother muttered that the manpower they would need would be coffin bearers and health inspectors. My family were not the greatest of supporters and were fed-up railing against her state of living.
        However, I loved her. She appealed to my rebellious nature, which decided me to sneak round with groceries and pass them through her creaking kitchen window.
        Her thanks croaked out, 'You're a good lad. I'll remember you'.
        One sad day the Myrdall mutterings ceased for ever and as predicted, the hearse arrived, followed by the council health team. As promised, she left her small fortune to me and I bought a small gallery with living quarters attached. I was eager to try out some of the techniques which I had learned in art college. I kept a few of Gran's photos and a mysterious bag full of gloves. Those assorted pairs of gloves were my first inspiration.         I painted a backdrop of those gloves and they were so different to any backdrop that I had seen. I kept back a pair for myself and wore them as I collected the donations for the charity fund-raising. The one odd glove was a ladies silver-grey fine one. This I placed on my onyx table as a reminder of Gran, who must have lost the other. Maybe she dropped it on her way home from a long-ago dance...


Going, Going, Gone

"Paint me like one of your French boys," I had said, in mock Winslet.

And what did I get? This. I mean, it's fine and everything. I don't look awful. He got my ears spot on. The bags under my eyes could not be there, obviously. I hadn't noticed the dried bloodstains from our row. I'd have changed my clothes.

He said we were in a 'gloveless marriage'. So, you know, all that stuff around me is a private joke.

It hurt me when he said that. He laughed like it was the funniest thing. He said it more than once a week. Whether he could see it hurt me, I don't know. I'm not good at 'wounded'. I tend to look bored instead of upset. As you can see from my eyes, I look more tired than emotional.

I asked him what a 'gloveless marriage' meant. He said, 'you don't warm my extremities anymore.' I said it was easier to feel things without gloves. He said, 'feeling is the least of my worries.'

That painting next to me is another joke. I'm telling you this because I need you to understand him. That's his self portrait there. He made me stand in that place so he could make his portrait stare at my back. He always hated my back, said it was 'a disfunction of the human form'. He used to scrape the dry skin off with a file every morning to wake me up.

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A Regular Morning

It’s not like I do not want to let go of it;
Thing is, it won’t ever let go of me.

The town I live in is small and unidentifiable, and I live in one of the many unidentifiable houses that line up its streets. The garden is overgrown and under maintained. There is a Gulmohar tree that juts out just in front of the main-gate – its flowers blooming like golden embers on a cold spring morning. It brightens my spirit every morning, before the harsh light of the day stings my heart again.

She knocks on the door. I expect it every morning, her smile a beam of freshness in otherwise dreary days. “You will have coffee or tea”, she asks. “Coffee, please. That would be great”, I say as I get up. The Gulmohar looks radiant as it peeks through my bedroom window, inviolated by time and age. I pull up my crutch, as I get out of my bed.

I look out from the window. The school bus has arrived and there is the regular hustle and bustle of schoolchildren peppered with sharp reprimands of elders. The newspaper wallah is on his regular morning route. He looks up at me, and I blink. He does that all the time, and every time he catches me by surprise. I pull down the curtains and sit on the chair beside my bed.

She knocks on the door. “Come in”, I say. She pours the coffee and places the sugar tray and the newspaper beside it. “What will you have for breakfast”, she asks. “Get me an omelet Neeta. I don’t have much of an appetite today”. “Omelet for you then”, she smiles, and gingerly walks out closing the door. Read more >



When I taste a cooked flesh, why do my fingers taste better,

and why things taste better before they taste better.

as from my platter to my platter is a human of cruel survival, devastatingly honest

who has got a 'new eye' for his simple choices and grave desires - Colors.

He has been honest in being cunning, in holding two lives differently,

in scaling two throats, in touching two bellies differently.

And he doesn't deny that the more he holds, the more he grabs

and in human language, taps and shakes hand, the more he denies the truth - Contrast.

All things including himself cooked or raw, in guises of choices, find their roads to his appetite.

He is a luxurious animal even without his luxury and luxury needs colors in spite of being colorful.

He has been spending his life span being yellow alongwith
Sunflowers, blue with skies,

reddish reds with killings, grey with death and black with darkness.

He will keep changing his seasons or rather it's the seasons changing according to him.

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(Love) Or Something Like That.

When she came into the store it was all Dane noticed; her silver gloves gleamed in the fluorescent glow. His father, whom stared at him disapprovingly from the oil and acrylic tomb hanging on the wall, resisted updating anything in the store for the longest time. Dane would rant about diversification, Father would counter with claims of quality over quantity.
        Or something like that.
"Prestige and passion is what they want when they come here."
He'd always tell him that. He wondered if the image of a young angel, with her hair dyed silver reflecting a petite halo, ever crossed Father's mind.
    If it had, he would have been right in the probable assumption that Dane would be unable to focus, unable to uphold the sterling name of their establishment. Dane felt no guilt in her light. She shook tiny snowflakes out of tufts of chaotically perfect hair. The Angel spoke.
    Something about coats. She didn't have one. He would have asked, but nothing of him felt worthy to do so. Why question perfection? He brought a few out. She liked one, black waist length, wool. It wasn't good for the snow, he told her.
        Or something like that.
    She did not care. She fumbled with her purse, her delicate fingers obstructed in their grace by her glove. She pulled it off with her teeth, crooked but just a little. She placed the card in his gloved hand. She giggled, time slowed. The Angel made a joke about how everyone else needed gloves but he was making a fashion statement.
        Or something like that.
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The Warmth of a Glove

He had gloves. Not just a pair, he had several pairs. Over the years his collection grew. He had one of every colour and every pattern, the weird part was that he did not buy them. He stole them, but not from shops. The trigger for his impulse to kill was on a breeze autumn morning, his fingers were blue. He needed gloves but his parents weren’t the richest in the island. He became envious of the other children. So before his fingers couldn’t take anymore he finally snapped, he targeted this one child from the richest family and took his gloves. However it proved more difficult to him, when the child was threatening to tell his parents, that’s when it happened. The first kill was the hardest he said but the ones after were easier and easier. The rush was so tranquil to him, but he felt that if he didn’t target people with gloves it wouldn’t be the same. When he finally passed my mother gave the key to the upstairs room, I was scared to enter for my dad had always been closed off. When I did, I finally knew what he was. He was a murderer. He killed to get gloves. I then knew what I wanted to do. It was as clear as a day. I wore the gloves he wore for killings and they just felt like it was supposed to be worn by me. It was my destiny and it was my fate. Murder and I were meant to be, just like a glove and a hand. I had finally found my happiness, all I needed was glove.

An Orange Day

It’s an orange day so of course
I’m wearing blue—Don’t laugh;
I swear I awoke to the scent
Of acidic citrus, I thought it would
Burn through my tongue, my skin
Float through the air into my sinuses, my pores
So I got my gloves, and the complement cancelled it out
As always. No, you’re laughing, but
I can see how the orange permeates
Even you, even the floor, even that painting, Lord
I swear the man’s shirt was purple yesterday
And now it’s red. They always try to paint me.
Yesterday it was chartreuse—I wore red,
And before that, on a day of white vacuum,
Black gloves held me anchored, safe from fading
But gloves, you ask? Well,
Covering every inch of skin would be
Ludicrous, I’m not an astronaut.
But here’s the secret: If you wear the gloves, then
When the color touches you, you
Can touch it back. It is repulsed, repelled
I stroked the orange air and it ran from me.
Ha! But I saw a man wearing orange gloves today
And I’m sure when the orange invades his every orifice
He caresses it back like a lover.


I see one wall appears to covered with poorly glued down crumbled brown paper. The skirting boards are deep. I have heard witnesses are unreliable unless trained. Who trains witnesses? The flooring might be lino or close-tufted cheap nylon carpet. A slate-topped table is the resting place of a single glove. Mink? Slim hand? The other wall is grey has several gloves displayed by matching pair. Some have cuffs, all are block colours no patterns. There is a man, wearing white cuffed, blue gloves, denim jacket, dark trousers and completes this dress with a questioning look on his face. I have just noticed that one pair of gloves on the wall have a star on each of the cuffs. There is a portrait of another man on one of the walls, he is staring out of the picture. He may be a real person, who knows, but he clearly has an opinion about the man and his situation at the top of the stairs. Some facts are unknown. The tide could be coming in. It might be an improvisation. It is the draft of a first chapter in a heroic quest to save the remaining unicorns on a carousal ride in Reno.

Hand in glove

the first time
we listened to the Smiths
on a beat up
TDK - side A
the rain beat down
on the 1980's
as your hand
slid too far
into my jeans
I remember
the sting of youth
and a breath
that smelt of cheap courage
as the windscreen
became our canvas
my right hand -
fumbled for flesh
thankful for shelter
in a borrowed car
you dropped me
at my request
around the corner
as the sun rose
over the tarmac
my taller shadow

colours on my hands

I wear green gloves
As I sow seeds
In the fertile core of the earth
And take care of the tender samplings
Till they become tall and strong
To take care of me.

There, those red gloves
I wear them for passion
Life surges as blood sings
Strange and melodious symphonies
In my ear
While the beloved is whispering sweet nothings
In other one....

Yellow ones are for the times
When I trust someone
And believe with all my heart
That nothing is going to hurt me.

Those blue ones
Are for the times my mind wanders
And I feel one with earth and sky, at once.

Orange ones are for laughs
And pink, for the time with my children.

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Not Just Gloves

"Why do you keep all your gloves on your wall? Why do you even have so many gloves?" I asked. There was a new kid in my underwater basket weaving class, and I was the only one who ever talked to him. He seemed shy. Today was my first time going over to his place.

"Those aren't even all my gloves," he answered, not actually answering either of my questions.

"Can't you at least organize them by color or something? This is so random." I liked things arranged in ways that made sense. My books were placed on my shelves from tallest to shortest, my t-shirts separated by sleeve length, my fruity perfumes on the left side of my dresser, and floral on the right. The gloves were hard to look at. I walked towards them, hoping he'd let me move them around. "Do you mind if I just-"

"I rather you didn't go near them, actually," he interrupted. "I don't like people touching my stuff."

"Oh," I backed away from the wall. "Sorry."

"It's okay," he shrugged it off, leaning on the railing. "I like your silver gloves. Why'd you take them off?"

"It's hot in here," I replied. "Why are you still wearing yours?"

"I like gloves."


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Murder on the sands,
Left stain on my hands.
The stain does not go
Yet no one will know.
For the gloves will hide,
The horror inside.
Yellow, blue or green,
The colours are seen.
And no one will know,
What i will not show.
Can my soul be clean
The way it had been?
For colours won't hide
The evil inside......

Empty Gloves

Are like empty actions.
Fingerless, void and vengeful.
Or pitiful and vacuous.

They cannot gesticulate.
Or point the accusatory finger
at cruel injustice or useless rhetoric.

Motionless gloves are impotent
without vigorous vital hands
determined to have their gesture.

They are a wall of pretenders.
In their matching glory.
All wool and no welly.

Give me warm hands in gloves
who are staunchly holding placards.
Demanding to be heard.

Against people standing immobile.
Pointing Far-right and not caring.
When gloved hands remove their neighbours.



To start with, I bought them for you. Brightly coloured, plain knit gloves. Marl with a simple cable. Stocking stitch with Aran ribs. Fairisle. Heather colours, tiny sprigs of pattern. Fine merino wool. The pattern and the colour didn’t really matter. The important thing was to keep you warm. Soon, I began to knit them myself. The soothing repetition of knit one, knit one, purl. Each pair a token of my care for you, each stitch a word I couldn’t bring myself to say, each new pattern a fear I refused to express.

It was a cold winter - hard frost at night, chill air by day - and your hands were mottled, waxen yellow poking through a livid tracery. Your room was kept hot as the Tropical House at Kew, yet still your hands were cold. So I kept knitting glove after glove after glove - enough pairs for every day of that bad year. As I shaped each thumb and every finger, the wool circling, my needles slipping through the loops, I thought the same word over and over - glove, glove, glove - as if these stitches contained everything I wanted to tell you, as if these gloves could stand in for everything left unsaid.