• Vol. 04
  • Chapter 12
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Image in Gallery C

1st October

To Museum Staff,

          I write concerning one of the images on show in Gallery C. By recollection, the fourth image in, as you enter the gallery from the café end.

          The picture is currently labelled ‘Girl Lying on a Beach’. This is wrong. You have the image upside down.

          In my long study of Eastern mysticism, I have seen such images before. If you rotate the piece 180 degrees you will see. A girl lifted above snow-capped mountains. Lifted in enlightenment. Pure, clean, complete.

          I suggest you correct the display.





She said she wanted to die by the ocean which is why they had to live in the city. They both understood that – they had no savings. They had a flat near Bellas Artes and they were proud of their balcony on which neither fit standing because they’d grown lettuce and tomatoes, life despite all the grey air, and they got the morning sunshine and they talked, so much talking, and it always felt good because no matter what happened at work: the unravelling of the moon in the lines of a friend’s hand, or the way kids now wore headphones to shut him off in the metro... Conversations would end with her predicting an eternity by the seaside.

So one day, the grey air in the grey morning or the grey afternoon (it was too grey to tell) took hold of their balcony and he’d said it was fine because they’d soon retire and leave. It will be great, he’d said, because his fingers hurt, music hurt, and she’d said, Maybe now, now you have moons in your hands too. Time to retire.

But as soon as she’d said that, he was okay again, and he played her a tango real loud, one that said that people can’t retire, they just stop getting paid. She hated him, sometimes, hated his tangos, boleros, cuecas, his guitar, his voice and his hands, him. But the sea! It would make them good again. And he’d stop playing his fucking tangos, wouldn’t he? And she would never again have to pretend to see the stars in the tired hands of her friends who were always waiting to be old to wait to feel young.

Next morning, she’d decided to tell him just that. But he’d left. He’d even taken the lettuce. He’d left her his tango records, which she played every night for months after that. Until, for no good reason, the music stopped, she learnt to read her own hands and soon forgot him.

Read more >


When you show me this picture later, I say what a fine composition. The human particle in all that artfulness, somehow unhoused. The drone was how high? No matter, we can zoom in, examine the androgynous figure: limbs casually arranged, the modern attire, cut-off jeans, the thin ambiguous frame asleep at rest marooned drowned on its lace doily rubbed round by the sea, lunar, and planetary. With the sum of this artifice touched by the delicate fan of an ebb tide, in all its webbed magnificence.

Let us call this particle Icarus, washed up on this very shore with his filigree of melted wax, sodden feathers. The sea on a whim has offered him, his symmetry of wings sun-scored to a honeycomb, drowned feather barbs threaded with sea greens, his own spine dissecting all, holding fast to the memory of his father’s splendid architecture.

It is then, the old hard story that is ever with us: how he and his father fled from the wrath of their tyrant king, launching themselves from the sands of Crete, in darkness, with no provisions. How their method of travel was makeshift, fragile, relying on the kindness of the wind gods. How fortune gave them a sky with a sickle moon and Polaris to steer by the first night. How the next day threatened rain to soak their feathers and drag them out of the sky, how lack of food and water eroded their strength. How the boy, after a second interminable night working his arms to exhaustion alongside his father, soared when the sun rose, dazzled by its light and heat.

We too have soared, fallen, grazed our hearts and drowned. Impossible then, to chide the boy for his giddiness, in light of the crimes of his king, or to chide Daedalus for his desire to save his son.

Read more >

Mystery Date

The allure of Tim’s mystery weekend date is enough for me to fly out to hot and sultry Costa Rica from northern California’s bone-chilling fog.

My boyfriend’s packing list for me is short — bathing suit, gauzy cover-up caftan, hat and sandals. I am so excited! I’ve been reading about Pacific beach resorts dotted with coconut palms.

Tim's considered driving in Central America — a gringo’s rite of passage — so he’s rented 4-wheel drive Jeep equipped with a bilingual GPS.

Early Friday afternoon our plane touches down in San José, and Tim and I head west from the city to the port town of Puntarenas, with our chatty señorita GPS companion. “¡Cuidado! Stray cattle crossing road — drive carefully.”

After a scenic 3-hour drive, Tim pulls to the side of the road in Cabuya. I spot the giant! No, it’s not a huge person. When I first see the knotted and twisted towering strangler fig tree, I think what a fascinating specimen.

With openhearted curiosity, I stand under the eighty-year-old Matapalo, a giant banyan tree, and meditate. Listening to the enchanting sounds of chirping birds and howler monkeys, I feast my eyes on the intricate latticework wrapped around the host tree trunk. Mother Nature works in mysterious ways. The strangler fig tree is left with a hollow trunk chock full of nooks and crannies for bats, snakes, rodents, birds and other creatures.

“What an awesome mystery date, Tim!”

“The beach awaits,” he says, taking hold of my hand.


How she calls

She thirsts for me
and she calls,

whispers my name –
      come dance,

sometimes loud –
      come dive,

sometimes soft –
      come breathe.

Lapping with little slappings
to suggest, persuade,

she draws the undertow
so I feel the overthrow

arriving and departing
leaving and returning,

spreading her susurration
far away and close by

turn by turn
tide by tide

surge and suck,
pull in, come swim,

      dance in me,
so calls mother sea.


I Tremble

My fingers tremble
in presence of some people

whose presence
breaks me down like the
grammar of a language

uneasy learning
like getting sogged
in sand-water

trembles with my touch
like a tilted painting
hung on the blades of the shoulder

of people in whose presence
I tremble

I tremble
like a disembowelled fish
on hot oil
slippery with its personal

Read more >


We were only kids the last time we went to the beach together. We ran at the oncoming waves full-speed, and our hands touched, I remember. Our mother slept with a book in her hands.

Waves look like the past and move like the future.

You had short, blonde hair. Our mother’s hair was greying, she said it was from hard work—our father said then his hair would be the greyest thing there was.

Here come the memories, which only ever carry me to two destinations: the last time I ever saw your face, and the last time I ever saw you alive.

The waves aren’t strong enough to knock me over, but they disrupt my balance, sitting in water up to my belly button. I remember how long my hair is when it reaches the water. In the summer it turns blonde, like yours. I remember once you said that if you ever died you’d want us to do something epic with your body, like push it out into a lake on a canoe and light it on fire, in the middle of the night, and I said I’d want the same thing. It occurs to me that if we tried that here, at the beach, the waves would decide where you went. You might wash ashore thirty yards away, the boat might topple. It seems silly, now, to think about what I’d want done with my dead body.

When I stand up my butt is sore. I don’t want to be here when the sun sets and the mothers start calling after their children. I watch a whimbrel run up toward the water as it ebbs away, darting after a small meal burrowing into the wet sand. As the next wave comes in, the whimbrel retreats before being swept away, prey held tight in its beak. I look one last time at the ocean before heading home.


from The Dream of Icarus

And in the waves I see the shadow of my fear
eeling its way towards the shore
seething with fish that would populate

the ocean in my head      the sea that suspends me
between the dream of rising and the nightmare
of the fall

            As honeysuckle breathes into the night

a handful of sand runs through my fingers
sand into sand
I pick at a fig seed lodged between my teeth



I walked down here, but you'll not see the tracks:
the wind came and stole away my footprints,
blew the dust off my memory of sex,
tore my libido from out of its splints.

Here, where only the sun will know my name,
I am not afraid to show her my thighs
after years of avoiding tan, too shamed
to drop towel and fawn under foreign skies.

Now, I am remembering fingertips
tracing upwards, nails catching on tights,
waiting for the weight of your eclipse
to drown out all other worldly delights.

If I get too afraid of what I crave,
I'll hide in the water under a wave.


She Almost Made It

Under the oceans the downward pulse
of decay and wars from surface earth
reached the wise women of Atlantis
and they could bear no more.

The Mother called the coven-sisters
and stroked the green tendrils of each bent head.
'One of you must go,' she said, 'before we all end.'
The Chosen One must take wisdom
to the benighted hearts of human women
who resigned she-strong-power to wanton men.

Anemone prostrated herself before the Beloved
and she offered to be the messenger,
knowing she could never go back home.
Her last lover had died in the ice of Winter Waters
and now she wished to make her grief-sacrifice.

Mother prepared her and passed on all she knew
in seven days and seven nights of water wake.
On the eighth day Anemone swam from the deep,
transformed into a land-woman of strangeness
and bold, becalmed beauty, but
as she regained her breath
she saw a mushroom cloud
and blinded she knew
she was too late.


A Love Letter

This is for every one of you, I make no exceptions. But will you pay attention? Will you think about me when I make a small gesture like this? When I’m not whipping up winds to send you hurricanes? When I’m not making the seas surge to send you tsunamis? When I’m not so enraged I have to send you an earthquake?

It’s a treasured memory, this postcard I've sent you. It comes from a time when a man was thinking about life on other planets and that got him thinking about life on earth. Lying there on his earth-round earth-coloured towel, he realised that every living thing depends on every other living thing. He came up with a theory (which many of you still disagree with) but he hasn’t stopped working and he’s been broadcasting on my behalf. But his theory doesn’t conform to any known mathematical theory so it’s easy for you to dismiss. But he never stops, this man. He was born in 1919 and he’s still going, because I need him. Because you won’t pay attention.

You get and you keep and you love (each other but not me) and you sleep. You see and you hear so very little else. But, just eleven of your years ago, this man warned you that I will take my revenge if you don’t stop damaging the place you call home. He warned you that I won’t be able to continue my balancing act on your behalf. So stare at my postcard, look into that clear blue-green sea, stare down at the man on that clean beach and think about me, my dears.

With love, Gaia


On the beach

the sun has climbed higher
into the blasted biosphere,
eradicated clouds
until the elastic sky is almost sheer
and seems about to tear.

She’s a bikini clad exclamation mark
suspended in tumbled caramel sand.
Black insect-eyed
sunglasses leave imprints on her face;
she simmers, teasing a tide
of green wavering lace,
with just a hint of blue –

or is it tempting her to dive,
escape the radioactive sunset?



Next, I was buried
deep under water
dark and grey

and I sank darkly, a leaden weight gripped,
dragged down by an ankle

I felt the night
part and fold back
over my head

and my ears rang with the tympanic surge
yet death would not come.

I held out my hand
for you, and your clasp
was all that kept me here

your hand, until I begged you for release,
to leave me with the flotsam.


There, where the edge froths and the limits cannot be seen

Then, there had been the weight of it. Lifting, pushing, pulling. To be carried along, drifting in ebbs and swells, to descend, ascend, this was what it meant to be alive. A movement through blue. Light shifting from black to silver. Gold glancing from above. The sea, a cathedral.

Above, the lure of something warm. A push and a pull which also lifted. Surface ripples, the roil of the ocean, jittering through jellied translucence. The wash ashore, a shudder, then an ease of water and wave. Then a lulling of sorts.

And there, where the edge froths and the limits cannot be seen, is a vastness which cannot be breached. A line in the distance shimmering its farewell. A sing-song of voices, prodding and poking. A withering in the heat, the light. And then, that push and pull again.

No flow. Just ebb.



Hear my heart turning
tides, reckless
and sunbaked.

My blood is an ocean
of green and white
waves, translucent, thin,

while threads of our life
cling to the grainy sand
only to be ripped away,

sucked out to somewhere
else. And I am left
with your lies and salty tears,

awash in memories and pain
until even the sea
has a change of heart

and turns its back on me.
The sand makes its claim;
we merge particle to particle.


St John the Divine and the sea

sea of glass — that’s it
no marvels — no harps of God
just a chill mirror
reflecting past being &
future nothingness

St John the Divine
most likely envisioned the
same inscape as me
but his mythology ran
to angelic harpists — not

fast food machines stood
around corporate lobbies
selling cheap consolation


Monster Under the Bed

Cat-like, the ocean stretched out its paw, pulled back its foam-edged coverlet from the bed to reveal dusty tendrils of spume, filigree wisps hiding the monster beneath. Slowly, it tugged a little harder, saw the monster was one of that race that always took but so rarely gave. The ocean stared at this one, now caught, oblivious, by its beady eye. One on its own was not a threat but millions, billions together … that was another thing. The ocean, however, believed in the long-game, stalked its prey one step at a time, one human—one monster—at a time. It released its paw, allowed the salty blanket to roll back … and shroud the one of many.


Delicate Pastures

You want the waves to take you,
grasp the frail bones of your ankles
and pull you into delicate pastures.
The soft stones of the ocean wait
patiently to soothe your feet,
but the season of fire has you
shackled and buried in blistering sand.
You are alone with your assailant,
waiting for his glimmer to dull.
You will strike when the moon
takes breath, severing your manacles
in the welcome chill of the sea.


Bermuda Bound? Glasgow G3

Diaphanous cropped top,
eye-catching waves pattern;
incoming foamy tide, bikini-
ready, suntanned abdominals;
decorative navel piercing –
silver lady design adds to
idyllic desert island setting/
illusion, impression, deception, chimera.
Caribbean queen on a Bermuda beach?
No; Kelly-Marie in the kitchen, making tea.
Finnieston crane, Armadillo, Clyde glimpsed
from rainy Glasgow high-rise tower window.


My Happy Place

I've often longed to find this:
sun, sky and sea in perfect harmony.
Gossamer waves spread their net
of mutual co-ordination.

My Creator makes his presence felt
in whims of the tide
and each granule of sand
resting under an expecting sun.

The shadow of the infinite plays, godlike,
on my smooth, brown skin.


Celestial Bingo

It was a typically mundane day for Xavier in department X23-6. His slumped demeanour mirrored his mental state. His ergonomically designed chair annoyed him for not being more slouch-aware. The word "ergonomic" annoyed him. He was generally annoyed. Even so, he couldn't argue against the splendid views from his glass cubicle. No one had ever argued against a view and won. Views were too crafty.

Xavier's job was to keep an eye on several islands in the South Pacific region. More specifically, he was tasked with keeping an eye on grid reference X26 and whatever islands happened to exist at the current moment in the earthly stream of time (typically referred to as "now" in the fourth dimension). Fortunately for Xavier, he was not subject to the oppressively boring rules of four dimensions. To Xavier, time was like a piece of string that had a personality complex: absurd.

Xavier was a demi-god in training. He had been in training for a couple of millennia now although time didn't really mean much here. A billion years were much the same as a few hours from Xavier's point of view. "Generally pointless" was his opinion of fourth dimensional time, whenever the topic came up at the weekly bingo game for celestial staff.

As we gaze upon Xavier "now" (we are compelled to use quote marks here to indicate the absurdity of referring to time within the celestial realm) we can see him looking down upon his allotted grid reference X26. Now, I must confess that grid reference X26 is not called X26 at all. In fact, its real name comprises of a complex, seven dimensional algorithmic equation which is unintelligible to the human mind.

"How's it going Xavi?" came a voice from the edge of Xavier's cubicle.

"Hey Jarred, not bad. You?"

Read more >


Fresh is the wind, though a bit chilly and cold,
Does good to the mind, the sea, I’ve been told.

The boat is dragged up high on the beach,
The last of the tourists have departed;
No crumbs to scavenge the gulls would screech
And scatter by the time winter gets started.

A primordial shade the water would take,
The unspeckled sky an azurer hue;
Lying on the beach I shall make and remake
A pattern with impermanence as the clue.

Green is the sea – roaming much – I’ve come to,
Blue and green memories I shall nurse;
Surrender some to the waves if I’ve to
Just so the past doesn’t turn to a curse.



I am washed
Upon the shore
My heart broken
Face torn

My will is weak
Cannot sleep
Cannot eat

The waves remind me
Of your eyes
Torturing my soul
Like your lies

All I want
All I need
Taken away
Out to sea

Though your love
Was not true
All I want is
All I need is



Good evening, madam. Welcome to the Shark Tank. Did you have a reservation? Excellent, right this way. Not at all, we’re accustomed to accommodating quite large shivers. We do have a private inlet, but I’m afraid it’s reserved for gams of 40 or more.

Now, can I get you started with something to drink? We have a lovely Californian, if you’re interested in something extra special. Quite light, aged in blond caskets, of course, only the finest, with nicely balanced red and white cell counts, and a long platelet finish. Highly recommended. We also have the standard old world Mediterranean options, a sweet Italian, perhaps? Or a nice dry German? Ah, a Red Sea red. Excellent choice. Last year was an exceptional season for snorkelers.

Our specials this evening include an aged wetsuit, left to bob and drift for a week, stuffed with bluefin and krill, served on a bed of surfboard. Or if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, we have a school of live mackerel, presented just there, in that eddy on the left-fin side, and of course you can hunt and catch them yourself. We do charge by the pound.

Last but not least, there is our famous sunbather special. The best thing on the menu, in my opinion. But I should warn you, it can take up to an hour to prepare. It all depends on the tide. Yes, if you lift your head just above the waterline, you’ll be able to see him, just there, in the distance. Notice that heat shimmer? Nicely suntoasted, lightly washed in Pacific saltwater, wrapped in white Egyptian cotton and blue nylon with just a hint of spandex. Served on a bed of terrycloth and organic coastal seasand. I recommend you try him very rare. We can let him lie a bit longer, yes ma’am, a bit redder and crispier, if you prefer. But it’s quite a delicate balance. He’s presented just at the edge of the high-water line, you see, so the saltwater doesn’t swamp the other flavors. We have to snatch him just as the first wave washes over. Quite so, madam, timing is everything. Read more >


Beach Combings

On each beach they've been different,
at home there, though
washed up gently by lapping waves
or thrown by high seas.
Now they're at home
in my house.
Each beach together.
Pretty shells from a bay in Minorca,
where the sea was freezing
and the sun bright hot above.
I remember the exhilaration of my swim there.
Then there are the large curving shells
dived for in Sochi by the son of a Russian family
who became good friends.
Captured memories now.
Those bits of wood from a Scottish loch side
now decorate the wall behind this computer.
Remember those midges? Oh my!
And now all joined by these from the Basque Country.
Beautiful oysters that seemingly tried to swallow stones.
Beautiful oysters decorated by barnacles and wormy fossils,
Now lying on the slate of my hearth.
I'll remember that beach with the waves lapping gently
and the first sight of something strange.
Half hidden.
I remember.


The Beach

It’s an unusually hot autumn day and I’m at the beach with the warm sand between my toes. The seagulls are flying low in search of prey and the children are splashing in the water with their parents intently watching. Music is heard in the distance and a woman is lounging on her beach chair, eyes closed, soaking in the sun. I lean back on my towel and watch the waves. I love the beach and how the surroundings sooth me.

The sky darkens and is about to open. People are scrambling to get their beach chairs and other belongings together to head home before the rain, but I decide to wait it out. Fifteen minutes later, the rain pelts and I’m drenched. I close my chair, grab my wet towel and head to the car. I dump everything in the trunk and get into the driver’s seat. When I start the engine, I notice something. Out at sea the waves are circling at full speed into a twister. I’ve never seen anything like it before. I snap pictures with my cell phone and watch in amazement as it twists and turns.

When the rain and wind stop, the waves settle and the tide recedes.

It’s time for me to go home.


A Trancing Wake

Is that a life I see washed ashore? Or is that an aspiration mottled on a circle of hope?
Trancing in muted silence deeply in want of being wooed by the gurgles of crystal waters whilst storming inward a sea green potion of life, it would seem. But truth hardly bares itself in a tomb of ruminations.
Pressing not toward, yet lying still on a sunlit, sandy beach appears to be markers and pointers to an intersection of hope and despair.
Or perhaps a strangely liberating peace – spread just inches away from a promising shoreline somewhat mystified by a warm embrace of an aspirating foam – snuggled lavishly in a sunny world of flowing fins and curvy tails.



From here to eternity:
the music of the sibilant waves,
our bodies sensuously buried
beneath the shifting sand.

How long will this passion bury us here?
Minds, hearts, flesh, bones,
together entangled inextricably–
all but the locket I gave you that swayed
at the end of a chain like a pendulum,
counting, counting our days.

The waves wash over us,
their music permeates our decomposing egos.
We return to what we have always been:
points of time vanishing into eternity.

Eternity! Is there nothing more
than our voracious craving for each other–
I and Mine, You and Yours?



the blended colors of sand and of sea
like the promises we made

ebbed and flowed
in ever-changing patterns

blue/green frothed into white powerful as the intense love we promised
warm golden beach now the luminous color lighting those memories

our footprints long since waved smooth into memory will again show our
walking side by side, then turning to face into a kiss

as endlessly as the waves, and as surly as sun-drenched sand
we will always love

Oh, I can see you any time I choose
there by the edge of the sea


Ruled by the Moon

As the waves crash in, I am Zen
This is not my usual M. O.
Usually, thoughts and ideas come flooding in faster than the speed of light
Some may consider this a gift, but it is a price I'm paying for generations of past mistakes
Hyper-vigilance is what those in the world of psychological schools of thought call it
It's amazing how much a childhood trauma can affect one far into adulthood
Everything stuffed down for all of those years, comes spewing back up
We try to make our children's life easier than our own
However, if we didn't have good role models to get the tools we need
How in the world can we properly guide our own?
The judgement
The finger pointing
It's all so mind boggling and shameful that we all can't join together to make things right for our loved ones
We've all been traumatized one way or another
All of us
Think of all the wars that wouldn't even take place if we all banded together to make sure our children were at peace
This is my dream that I'm able to hold onto while laying here listening to the waves crash in


Icarus on the beach

(With apologies to Cynan Jones and Dolores Walsh)

So Icarus descended. Lacquered time
Arranged itself in foaming peaks before him.
A sand-full sky, a gritted atmosphere,
Surrounded that unconscious fallen form,
Whose late ambition seemed but a moth dream.
Behind its lens, the camera shed a tear.

Its view was only: everything at once,
With tidal mountains foaming eloquence
About that heat-hovered hermaphrodite.
Suspended ecstasy foaming in flanks,
Whispering to the world of innocence
Experienced. And in the garish light

Of noon, this time-tanned Icarus took flight,
With body waxy but unwinged, and mind
Scaling a sea of runnels slow receding.
He came, he soared, he jumped. Enamelled brine
Seeped at his feet. He tumbled or reclined,
Momentum frozen. Hope construed the ceiling,

Despair the floor. And in the gallery, one frowned,
Squinted, said: “this picture is upside-down . . .”.
Now, as summer tilts in its frame, they turn
Their bird-eyed view of Icarus around.
He hardly notices, he sleeps so sound.
He basks. His world rotates. And still he burns.


His Grief

He was numb, then.
A week had gone by –
yet dazed and shocked
he had hoped
it all to be a horrible dream –
repressing the scream
of pain and anguish.

The urn was delivered at four
in the afternoon.
It was tea-time –
biscuits on her favourite plate.
“Darling, you need to fix
the grater.”
Grated: his life.
The waves
brought him back to
where he stood
at the beach
empty and desolate.

He clasped the golden urn:
Memories too deep for tears
flooding before him.
He remembered all:
Introduced by an acquaintance –
how many – forty years back.
Read more >


It’s time to wake up

The water leaves a shadow
It conquers your footprints
Shades of green and blue
And white froth somewhere
The man lays down
Without any care
Blind to the forces
he can’t control
It’s not a beach
It’s not an ocean
Not waves, or the sunrise
It’s the snapshot of life
Man, oblivious and grand
Forgets where he stands
Lying without fear
When death is so near
The sand is wet
Where the water left
If you see closely
You will find
Parts of you
The perspective becomes opaque
Even though so much is at stake
Man, wake up to the sounds of the waves –
It’s your last call.



A building faded away behind the road,
The taxes, buses, trucks, two wheelers, cars passed by as immediately as they come,
People huddled and bustled and passed by deadly in their impermanence.
The soft sand touched my feet,
As I crossed this puzzle.
And in front of me
Is the vast ocean of fading waters:
Constantly passing,
And yet at its place always.
The same yet anew:
To my sight.
The sun set in the west,
The sky changed its colour,
The birds flew in its music,
Everything is passing –
Yet is alive in its Permanence.



Gurgling but rolling,
Thy infinite aroma,
Sweetens the outstretched sand.

Darkling but brightening
Thy colourful hues,
Paint the never ending horizons,
Carpeted beyond the vastness of thee.

Slowly but swiftly,
Incantation of your melodious waves,
Echoes to the deepness within,
Leaving sea mermaids dancing,
To the rhythm of thy music.

Distantly but closely,
Thy unspoken sagas of solitude,
That breathe in your watery soul,
Are narrated,
Manifesting thy countless tidings of life.

Unconsciously but intentionally,
Thy empty words emerging through,
The flickering ebbs,
Making me drenched in thy wilderness.

Loudly but solemnly,
Thy silence articulates unheard,
Language of thy tribal ebbs.


Inhale the sea

It was yet another uncalculated calculation, to impress her, to win her over – like that’d do either of them any good. He’d offered to run away to the seaside with her, when they both found themselves sinking under the same buoy, thanks to the loves of their respective lives invoking the freedom clauses they’d always insisted upon in bed, around the kitchen table – because what use was a right if it forever remained theoretical? The heart is its own best lifeguard, wasn’t that was the message of St Sebastian’s Day – and didn’t he die because he couldn’t swim on account of the arrow-holes? She scrolled through the ever-lengthening WhatsApp wondering whether she really was going to say what she wanted to but fuck it, a beach and a bedroom in unequal measures was what both of them needed and damn future diagnoses until their arms ached from holding each other. Still, she couldn’t resist one more task for him: Yes I’ll make love to you, but first you have to calm down and inhale the sea.


Fields and hills

Cooler than a rolling wave
Smoother than a washed up stone
Darker than the darkest cave
Fields and hills I wish was home
Sharper than a piece of glass
Greener than any blade of grass
Tired of the town and all its stone
Fields and hills I wish was home

More rewarding than a million pounds
Or the excess of those singer stars
An attitude that astounds
The rich and their expensive cars
Cooler than a block of ice
No emotion … just a heart of stone
Bluer than the bluest sky
Fields and hills I wish was home

Colder than the coldest day
Communication seemed to stray
Leaving people out of reach
More windswept than some distant beach
Brighter than the brightest moon
And more silent than an empty room
Smoother than a washed up stone
Fields and hills I wish was home



Sometimes the feelings are too great and there is no choice but to surrender and you may ask yourself 'why didn't I surrender when I had a choice?'

And you wish you had given in when the sea crawled towards you, the sand seeking the weight of your hands

But you gave in on the kitchen floor, the moon upstaged by silver-lined clouds, the fall weighing against the mock-tiled vinyl

If only you had let go of the waste in an idyllic place, surrounded – a content dot in a palette of calm

It wasn't to be that way

You chose to crawl out of a howl to find solace in the lap of the stunned silence that followed



depends on your perspective
water and soap lash down
from the unseen head
lather dirt that might be rocks
to wash it all away –
has not yet reached the
belly button that could be
a figure on a beach
asleep in the sun or a fallen
Icarus landed somehow
soft or hard

depends on your perspective –
if you look straight down
from a very high place
glide or sweep from land to
sea and see the figure below
that reminds you of frailty
and so much of the ephemeral
structured for a brief eternity
where the waves beat – slide
over sand with no body hair –
suds – could be soap suds


I Have Never Seen The Sea

I have never touched the sea – never,
except if you count the number of times i have
written it into life like a jilted lover – i should probably stop that.
My sea is sometimes blue, sometimes green, sometimes black,
sometimes she froths on her lips – the shore,
in a rage against something in the sky – the moon, maybe,
that pulls her tides to kiss my feet with silver light.

There are times when my sea is Olokun – the goddess
of black depths; the despot that holds the chains of each shore
within the corals of her nails and the reefs of her breast.
When she vomits a confused crustacean, a gift to my touching feet,
she expects my sacrifice to be nothing short of a swim in her blood – the sea.
I do not know how to swim, or surf, or bob, or splatter,
but i can sink, which i think is better.
I can watch ancient sea turtles stare at the bleached sand
and teach the wisdom of fishes to man
but i have never touched the sea. I have said it again.

One day i will journey to Lagos,
find an empty beach if i can, lay a blanket, a book,
a bottle of soda and some crackers then i will watch the tides,
dancing prophets, lovers and conch shell seekers
and I may come to see the beauty that i write of the sea,
as it run between my feet and sings me a lullaby to sleep.



We met at one of his gigs, in a pub’s darkened back room. He came to find me in the bar after he’d finished. I was lost for words and stayed quiet in case I began stuttering, which I usually do when I’m nervous.

This sort of thing never happens to me, especially since I have a glamorous friend who usually gets all the attention when we’re out. He told me not to be nervous, then talked about himself to help me relax: how he was always being stopped in the street by people who recognised and admired him. I hadn’t heard of him before the gig, but I put that down to my ignorance of what’s what.

Now we’re seeing each other every week, when he isn’t performing, doing radio interviews or seeing his kids from various past relationships. He asks me if I know how lucky I am: there are so many women who would like to be with him. I tell him yes, otherwise he might leave me, which I dread. ‘Linda,’ he says, ‘you’re perfect for me,’ which makes my heart open like a rose.

When we walk down the street, I feel I am at least two steps behind him, in the shade cast by his powerful lamp. I am the moon to his sun.

Since I met him I’ve lost interest in my sad scribbling. He never asks about me in any case. Being such a feeb, I don’t blame him.

People often ask me what it’s really like being with him, which I find difficult to answer. Usually I say I’m a lucky woman and he’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me. My friends say he’s no good for me, but that’s because they’re jealous.

Read more >

Neverending Grace

Life's waves overwhelming
Tide rolling in over my head
Alone on the shore, I lay
Wanting to bury my head in the sand
But a small voice inside shouts
"Hold on to your heart!"
It stops me in my tracks
Feet frozen in place
Breathing in the fresh ocean air
I realize, there is hope
Hope everlasting.


Close Encounter

Today you almost consumed me
But not quite.
I dared you again
I laughed at you
As you lapped at my toes.
Then receded
Now ebbing, you retreat,
and gather strength
For the next attempt.
For now I am safe.
I breathe your breath,
I feel your spray as you
spit in fury.
So close.
When the tide turns
the game is up.
You will win.
I surrender.


reach to a creature flick limbed

a draped membrane/
caul? Thin
skin skims of
cells –

reach to a
creature flick
limbed : a winged
thing to the fore –

could it be
a tissue scan in
coded colour those
supra magnetic bands?

Cobalt mottles
unscroll applied on top of pliant
plant green arsenic
behind wet lace.

You might see
granite specks texting
unease emoji-ing some variant
of tranquillity but

the cadmium sand/
epidermis is it rimmed
by water or
is it plastic damage?


Ocean of Deference

You come to me on salt crusted knees, your green
eternity throbbing against my cold ephemera

as my vision moults in a reverse alchemy
that corrodes your gold to velvet pitch,

you bring your unending pretensions to
godliness, you question my faith, what will you

be without my perception, how will you measure
your foreverness without my fleeting gaze,

who leaves and who remembers, who bears more
the visceral rub of the changing moon, know that

I am the child of an imploded star, a burst of
causal consciousness, yet you who swallow

rivers and corrupt rain, you who bed the sun
and awaken time, who will wait for you on these

naked shores when I am gone, who will tell you
what your wetness really means?



The self can be projected through space and time,
Angled whichever way you like. Today you might
Already be here next week having finally painted over
The messy marginalia of last autumn’s skirting boards.

Or there in the early 90s finished with university, she
Continues writing poetry, waves on the empty shore,
Imprinted for a while somewhere clean and quiet,
A Selected moving towards the Collected, then death.

Best of all: you taking A Mindful Stance, sweetly
Detached above the swell, where crimpled thoughts
Expand into Ashberyian prospects of cinch, noting
The colors of the day put into a Super-Retina surface:

Your mixed-media project of cork and hospital gauze,
Aquamarine glazing and a single ink-doodled doily,
Stuck to the canvas with a distended cocktail brolly.
To think it all started as a messy pencil sketch.

In the poem, as in the detached imagination, there
Are no burning bodies, no bags, no clutter, no sunscreen
Bottles caked with gritty sand, no vomiting behind the
Bathroom door, no half-read paperbacks left in the lurch.

Maybe this is like asking the apple tree to step away
From its autumnal fruit rotting slowly at its fallen feet,
Or asking the slow tide why it still advances and retreats
Never quite going or getting anywhere by doing so.

Read more >


that pimple on the chin?
comes with a trigger you can push from the outside in
makeup forever, pancake, foundation - what a lark!!
cover-up like butter pooled in the late morning of a southern hemisphere's day

collage skin. bladder lamp. macrame muscle

two cotton eyelids and a beard floating like a man leaving his wife
like East Coast Swing in the bottom of a glass as the whole world watches
like pieces of a young girl's togs, wet and defiant with meaning

limbs and brains
limbs and brains into a sea so green it doesn't stop
churn pool of remembering and thunder

clap hands, clap the silence, the pancake applied for one last time at the end
the end of us the end of you the end of the end as we crouched under the water together not even glancing,

sleepy streets. burnt bridges. knitted tomorrows unpicked

moon song
pimple, pancake dripping

small and so big


The play of sun on a prospective lover

Today, I am building a quiet mandala of you,
limbs four open gates, your body sand. A drifting

east and west of space, down here where wind
breathes water, and sea kelp billows greenly far

far out, borrowing light from all this burning blue.
Dunlins dip, turning stones of sound like time-pieces,

counting the edging tide as it lips along your skin
in ways I've yet to learn to do. I could leave us here.

You star-circled, washed, transparent as a saint,
and me kneeling, a meditative colourist in shifting shells.

I am a gull's distant eye, I magnify our little things.
The winged shadow of my arm, your conched hands,

how sea holds a sliver of sky from a mackerel flank,
the way sun fishers me in, hesitant as baited water.


There is more, beyond the water

You cross three thousand miles of deserts, mountains, plains, just to get to water. Invisible barriers sound in your head like sonic booms each time you cross, hidden, hiding. The crushing flush of blood and air pound in your ears. Quiet. Quiet, you school your unruly organs.

Now water remains between you and your destination. A channel cut off by concrete walls and wire. A channel cut off by riot police with pepper spray stinging you awake, shredding your sleeping bag in front of you with Gallic indifference.

They have a job: to keep you on the move. To prevent another Jungle. They perform it efficiently, ruthlessly. They don't see you.

But you are there all the same. Resourceful enough to make it this far. Determined enough to continue. To crush your fear into a small sour ball and keep it from choking you. Your instincts are honed. Whose eyes to avoid. The best place to sleep. Where to find plastic to line your worn shoes.

You know there is a better place than this muddy field, its two water taps for 400 people, the woods with its scattered trees for shelter. Better than this endless queueing for food, for blankets, for clothes that are too big, for shoes that won't fit but at least will keep your feet dry as you tread this sodden ground. More than this sitting and waiting and football and fights. More than the man with his gold chains who says $5000 no guarantee, $10,000 guaranteed crossing of that water.

“Line, line,” the volunteers gesture. “Back back,” they shout. And you rub against the others, acknowledging them with your eyes but not your body, knowing there are only so many bags, so many coats, so many pairs of shoes, so many blankets.

Read more >


The tongue of the sea licks the cheek of earth,
cleans this sandy plain like new skin. Its breath
is strong with ancient flavours crashing up
from the soupy, living green; a pungent bond,
unfiltered. Grit and sting of ocean.
The sibilant pulse of waves returns and goes,
will not be paused; cleansing, like time, those
scratches in sand, a moment’s scrawled impression,
made to disappear. Perhaps you can be brave here.



I liked my tiny space inside
I was familiar with every nook and corner
Every place where I might stub my toe
I felt comfortable in confined spaces

Then I followed you

Now as I lie on this enormous beach
Thoughts scurry and scatter everywhere
Some gasping like breathless fish
Few paddling in the cerulean waves
Yet others drowning at the deeper end

This empty space inside my head, too vast now
To fist them like flower stems, so impossible
You were the string that strung them together
Kept them on a tight leash – then you let go

Now they wander off unescorted
Unbridled horses running with the wild wind


The Gentle Approach

Swell of surf, veil of brine, along
sand sodden with your passage,

you rise. Unfolding in hems
of gossamer, your lace emerges

from aqua tides, where foam
and froth flow in slips of chiffon.

How tenderly you move as you
reach for the one who is patiently

awaiting with arms outstretched
for you.


Perfect Relaxation

In the lap
of soft sandy beaches
She feels all shackles
one by one

Away from city life
and the unpredictable struggles
She can at last
breathe some liberation

For hours she listens to
the songs of the waves
Sometimes a mermaid
also joins in
Her eyes capture
the sea blue-green
A poem
A painting
smile in her mind

Lying on the beach
on a perfect sunny day
She feels
Her body, mind and soul
She feels re-energized.


The Cloud Breakers

plunge and spill in the oceaned sky,
refract in a curve a gust of breath.

Cirrus ripples, cumulonimbus breakers,
your spirit observes as it rises above yourself

spread on a blanket laid on watered memory sand.

Out of body, out of mind, look at the lilted lap
at your feet of cloud tumble, wax and wane

of moon tempered ruffled white.

A tide of clouds inches down,
leaves a faint thought
of where it has been.


Motivating myself

Gaurav 1: Why are you standing on the seashore? Why don’t you go in?
Gaurav 2: Why should I? Even if I go in, won’t the waves throw me out?
Gaurav 1: Yeah, so? You could try again! Couldn’t you?
Gaurav 2: But look at the waves! Aren’t they getting bigger, wider, stronger? And am I not smaller, littler, weaker?
Gaurav 1: So are you going to just sit and watch?
Gaurav 2: What else can be done?
Gaurav 1: Attempts can be made! Pearls can be found! Can’t they? Won’t you?
Gaurav 2: ???



The thrill of take-off clasped bowels so,
I felt obliged to tighten cheeks.
It was passing spasm though
phantasm of potential reek,
and then I could enjoy the view

until instructor opened door
to pierced air, which buffeted my chest
that I might have hit the floor –
chute and all – but passed the test ...
and then I could enjoy the view.

And then I found I lacked a *must*:
the canopy was oddly missing ...
but at least a kindly gust
tacked to where sand sea was kissing.
I can at least en–



I am a dot. Just a dot. Nothing that interesting.

A dot, but if you look again, if you squint from over there, I resemble a printer’s stamp, a do-dad, a curlicue, an abstract and fixed image embossed on the surface.

I am a gray-scale blob. Then again, if you come a bit closer, I am more being than blob. I stretch inside my minute circumference, both center and diameter, with appendages jutting into a sandy world.

Upside down, as I appear to be from your perspective, do I look up? To see the lapping, frothy slurp of the blue-green sea? Or sideways? Toward another landscape, something picturesque, perhaps bucolic with cows or sheep or a stand of swirling, pulsing sunflowers?

I am a stationary point. I anchor the eye in a field of disorientation. I am a point, not much more than a dot. I take up so little space in the world, in this landscape of the liminal and shifting scene of collisions between states of being — liquid, solid.

I draw the oceanic waters to me. A divining rod, I point in the wrong direction. The white froth bubbles along the edges of a thin, vaporous sheet of water. It yearns to lick the soles of my feet. Like a drain in the beach, I wait for the waves to tumble into me.

I am more than a dot. I am the enigma that the magnifying glass will not resolve. I will most likely dissolve or disperse before I reveal my secrets. A blemish on the chromatic design of curved space charted on a rectangular map, a smudged reminder of misplacement within an elementary world of imminent glass and rising seas. I am the fly in the ointment. The conundrum of composition.

Read more >

My First Parachute Jump

I am an acrobat,
descendant of acrobats
who entertained in ancient Chinese palaces.
I fall through folds of oxygen,
geyser-foam, slivers of silk
under a dome bathed in aquamarine.
The South China Sea brims onto the sand,
casts shells and salt at my feet.
I make snow angels, smile at the dangerous sky.


Where the Horizon can be Seen Miles Away Across a Vast Open Space

We discussed the inevitability of growing old when we were young.
"I don't want this busy city shit." She passed the cigarette, a glowing dot, floating in the night air. "I want my toes in the sand and the sound of waves in my ears."

We lay there all night, dreaming of this place where taxis were a fiction. Dreaming of how it would smell, sweet from the flowers of red, blue, purple, white. Dreaming of a sky full of stars, thrown across the sky like you gave a six-year-old a bag of glitter. Dreaming of a place where a beach is made merely from sand, rocks, sticks, shells. Dreaming of a place where the water is clear, showing you the thousand-and-one things that will kill you.

The sun broke the skyline of skyscrapers, the rugged jaws, closing in on the almost-blue sky. She pushed herself to standing, threw the orange filter at her feet. "You comin'?"


When the sea falls

He was waiting for the sea to fall on him, or so the stories go. He was cursed. They made time stop and tilted the sea up, with him underneath. The waves looked like clouds against a turquoise sky – those who have seen it describe it similarly. Everyone believed the stories, and everyone felt sad for him. It was punishment, for he had stolen glances at the unseeable. What he saw would've probably been punishment enough, but the legend remained – he is to lie, upside down, in a moment frozen, with only his thoughts free. His mind unfettered, everyone believed him to have gone mad by now. No one really knew how long he had been that way, but there were rumours, which would make you cry.

In his mind, he welcomed the moment, hoping that it would be soon. He wanted the sea to fall.


the wash

the wash
has capillaries of air
the wash
has a level of description
the wash
has plasticity
the wash
with its warm forests
describes and describes

on whatever level it fits
the wash
describes and describes

the wash
chokes on its food
before it swallows it
the wash
has been made to touch me
the wash
and what comes out of it
and what goes in


We Are Satisfied

That’s a great shot, man. Did you use a drone for that?

Not really, he says. And he opens Photoshop. Three layers: one for the girl, one for the beach, one for the ocean.

It’s amazing what you can do with a handful of filters and the brush tool, he says. Content-aware fill, it’s Adobe’s gift to humanity. All of our lives are Photoshopped, didn’t you know? Everything’s an illusion. If we want to see it, we believe it. Who cares if it’s real or not? We are satisfied, that is all that matters.

Yeah, he says. Yeah, I guess you’re right. Great shot, though.


Too Soon

there is still a place inside of me that sits rustling, untouched
a slow growing tender leaching bad blood from me, but I know that someone has to be listening to the noise I make. I am half done being a vessel for your love, for this feeling, for the deep, and riding the train on a day like this reminds me that it is lonely to be anyone. It is hollow to become, and I’ve lived so many undoings and unbecomings since. I’ve forgotten how to let some parts of you take up spaces and dimensions that mean something.

I still have dreams where the ocean of you, where the water of you, fills my lungs and I wake wanting you to know that I, too can disappear with Florida. I, too can be erased. so if everything is drowning and I haven’t learned how to swim then maybe the noise here will reach you with my silence.

at the bottom of the pool it’s spring again. my mom tells me that the carnival is back in town. and I dig past that loaded gun in my drawer to find my favorite shorts that remind me of the lightness of the rides that waltz for us. and the sick fullness of funnel cakes that we lick the powder off of.

the news reports that a mother and son died in a car crash on kelly drive and my mom holds me like I hold my breath under the weight of this drowning. I am silent. she tells me it was you and your mom and that tender place throbs red. I drop my weight and push it all down letting my body be a just body under the body of water.

I buy us tickets to the carnival anyways and I reach past the shorts to cock the loaded gun.



Cloistered by terror of petrifaction,
child grew in shadow of mother’s death
and pulsing trident.

Resentment burgeons with maturing muscles.
Eyes emulate hardening scales
as she watches Poseidon falter
with worshippers’ decline.

She grows curious
of the fascinating scents and detritus
as retribution approaches.

Bursting from eon-eroded shackles
in absence of long-dead jailor,
she dares the unfamiliar open waters
to rise – starving maw eagerly swallowing
families who betrayed their home
for delusion of greener pastures.


The Joy of Vulnerability

Joy liked the feeling of vulnerability as she spread her towel on the sand. The tide was coming in and she found the perfect spot within feet of the frothy waves. She brushed the sand off carefully as she looked around, not a person in sight. Miles of ocean tide and sandy beach all her own.

She plopped onto the middle of her towel and spread her arms and legs wide like a sea star. She loved the breeze tickling at her skin. She could just reach the sand with the tips of her fingers. She dug them in delightedly and wiggled her feet as she listened to the waves ebb and rise.

The sun caused her to crinkle her eyes in a happy squint and she let out a short squeal. This was the life. This was where she felt free to think. This was where all her decisions were made. Sometimes she would doze, feeling so trusting of nature to care for her. Thoughts would pop in and out, fleeting like the waves which would soon be splashing against her outstretched toes.


The Water’s Call

It starts with water, tepid and foam-free, bouncing off her skin in the shower; small tears fracturing as they collide with porcelain, exploding on impact.

She drinks only water, pure and transparent, encased in glass. She does not trust herself to add anything to it, not even a slice of lemon; something which packs a hidden punch, something which would get to the heart of the matter.

Water is everywhere and accompanies her to sleep, surfacing in her dreams in the form of huge waves crashing on to the shore, wiping everything from sight. A clean sweep. Blink and you’ll miss it. The horizon now spotless and resembling a single tidemark.

Sometimes she dreams of giant taps, water running, continually flowing, seeping into hidden cracks, bloating and swelling anything in its path. She likes the unpredictability water brings; how, despite it being most definitely a liquid, can be frozen into a solid, and if left exposed to the air, can evaporate into nothing. The idea of freedom – unbound to anything – flows through her veins, quenching her thirst and increasing her desire for adventure.

In the bath, late at night, she immerses herself completely, pinching her nose and closing her eyes before taking the plunge, entering a water realm; a world that is constantly moving. Here, she forgets the woes of daily life, the struggle to wake up in the morning with a smile she does not feel is plastered across her face. She thinks that if she stays here long enough she might just pass beyond consciousness and enter a more forgiving place.

Read more >


You imagine that you sleep in innocence,
but everything points to you, even the edges

of incoming waves. Your blanket holds you
in its pucker like a burn, the cigarette lifted

away. Beachgoers, too, give you a wide berth
as if they sensed the hovering drone.

Only you are dead to the world. Only you
have let this and other things happen.



Atlantis first belonged to the desert –

this is one of the many preposterous
inconsistencies you have me conceiving
in my drained-of-saneness mind –

I see a palm tree grow out of a pond

where the year’s rain fell and collected
with a dwarf stump that won’t measure
up to its full quasi propensity of tallness

and growing just enough length to be
able to leave a little water un-parched
around it, I imagine, that will fill

a chalice or, perhaps, two at least;
a few years ago I had seen a similar tree
grow out of an identical hole, counting

the number of leaves that fell by will

against a weather that tried pulling it down;
it was a despondent, dispirited desert then,
a pile of sand in motion, in migration

relentlessly, as the dunes thinned away
into skeletal terrains of a flat, stilled state
when Atlantis had sunk back into the hole

from where it had first emerged, the tree
showed no signs of existing, like branches
martyred of their leaves became branded

Read more >


in everything a smile and you
the dot to my exclamation
wide as the emerald sea.

we are 3-D
only in proximity
for far we lie

flat as flounder
or vows to another.
but those will wash,

churn our le(ft)(aving) eye
as we wait under the distant sun
for heat, or wet, or the dark


My retro panel

Aye, I'll be there at ten.

So that was that, into the diary and now I had only to wait.

The smart panel of retro acrylic contained memes, logarithms and IT things!! In the bottom middle a rather special button if pressed would/could remove disagreeable scents! As we move up the panel [of multilayered colouring with foaming veneer] the possibilities are quite extraordinary. I had selected mine from a discreet catalogue downloaded from a website of empowerment and enchantment. So here we are, all multilayered [I've said this before] in foaming greens, shadowing, rippling, waxing and waning with tides of slow moving shadow forms. You may well ask, what's with it? Well, if I want to eliminate odious political ideologies there are number of stroking and touchy-feely things that I can do all over the upper stretches of this panel. With a single sweep of the hand I can distort a whole days reality.

At ten the engineer should arrive. I still need to decide where to place this nifty wee panel of enlightenment! Oh and do I select the voice activation mode? And where might this take us all?


120 metres, higher

The drone soars, and then there is blue and blue.

I’m spotter, so my gaze follows that tiny dot – black beetle, grain of dirt – as it ascends, the spot ascending. Too far away now to hear its unlark-like sound. There’s a chime from the control screen as it reaches 120 metres, a warning bell that it is going up beyond the legal height. On the screen there is Snowdon, there is the ridiculousness of the Village, the towers and gelato coloured buildings, shrunk now into models of themselves. Like the model we have at home on the mantel, the house within our house.

‘I can barely see the drone,’ I tell him. ‘You’ll have to bring it lower or closer.’

He does. With his mother not his mates, he will do these things. The gnat dot grows, just a little.

‘Where is it?’ he asks.

I point with my finger.

‘I’m going to fly it up the estuary. Over the sand.’

A short distance in comparison to the places the drone has been. Bought from Hong Kong, made in China, it travelled round the world to reach us. Parcel tracking told us how it changed flights in Amsterdam, and I remember us doing that on the way home from Venice, thinking there was lots of time and then having to sprint through Schiphol, almost missing the connection. Then the drone was found to be faulty, made its way back via another courier, ages in East Midlands Airport, then Hong Kong. Back to China for repair, back to Hong Kong for checking, back to us to be flown again.

Read more >

On the Beach

What is the lesson
I've come so far to learn?
Somewhere between invisible
And barely there
A few bubbles
A dimple in the sand
Like a ghost crab trying hard
To avoid capture
Like all things born in water
Drawn back to that familiar
Mother sea
I come to hear her heart
Pound in the tides
Regular and strong
As the blood-tides of my body
The drum that life depends on
Still beating with the elemental
Ocean's pulse.


Waiting, watching waves

Waves rolling slowly toward me
On my round towel.
Waves approach silently, high, then low,
Releasing at the end just the smallest
Bit of water to quietly surprise me.
I wait. Today I am not asleep
Water has lightly dampened my toes already, but when that far verdant green
Splashes up upon me,
I shall leap up and run into the cooling
Waters until my hair lays out behind me
Until my towel is soaked and sandy
Until the sea hears me laughing,
Knows I share his joke


A Bay of Storms

Bit by bit she inches away from us.
We're tethered to home’s acre —
squealing brakes for her anchor, but
she’s wild, that girl, always swimming
out too far, aiming for a red sunrise.

She’ll be the death of us, I say, that
wildness of hers, but you remind me
that she was conceived in the wildness
of a snow-blown night in the stables,
us floundering on a horse blanket.

Can’t disagree, but that girl is our
apocalypse waiting, swimming
the universe like a blue planet.
And we pull at that anchor, steady
ourselves for more tectonic play.

Life, she says, has a sell-by-date,
and so she lives for a perfect sky.


It is time to wake up!

The water leaves a shadow
It conquers your footprints
Shades of green and blue
And white froth somewhere
The man lays down
Without any care
Blind to the forces
he can’t control
It’s not a beach
It’s not an ocean
Not waves, or the sunrise
It’s the snapshot of life
Man, oblivious and grand
Forgets where he stands
Lying without fear
When death is so near
The sand is wet
Where the water left
If you see closely
You will find
Parts of you
The perspective becomes opaque
Even though so much is at stake
Man, wake up to the sounds of the waves
It’s your last call.


the sea the sea

The wind begins in pathways shore to shore
as tides retreat in rhythm with the moon–
these boundaries have no ceiling and no floor–
and never means as much to time as soon.
Remains of footprints written like a rune
in foam ebbing and flowing through the air–
the waves my bed, the sky my dreams to wear


Gauze of Time

The body lay still taunted by the micro movements of the sea. It was a female one, of course. An aerial shot captured by chance in a world where no one is ever alone, even in death.

Three weeks earlier she had camped out on that same beach. Bought the smallest tent possible to act as skin repellent of water, sand and other. Curled up as ammonite of preservation, testing her resolve. She woke, alone, in the morning and ran through dunes that were people in the dark and found the edges of freedom.

Two weeks and three days earlier she was sent a photograph, time stamped in the wave of her sleeping without sound in her tent unrocked by fear. 3.03am, time of sleep. Hands of other holding the camera, taking the photograph of themselves outside her tent. Unseen faces of clocks, of hooded them. Only numbers, lit up in the photograph of dark.

Two weeks and two days earlier she had disposed of the tent, placed it inside a black plastic bag where the memory of the unseen face could not stare at her.

One day earlier, she had returned to the spot. Lain down as compass of herself, marking the sand with intent. Allowed the sea to wash veils of protection over toes that would not be tagged with tropes. Micro-movements building up in her mind, unseen by anyone.

Ten hours earlier she had looked at stars through the gauze of expectation and tried to reconfigure the tropes of nature, of all.

Seven hours earlier she had considered death but knew it was unlikely.

Five hours ago she was unsure if the tide was going in or out.

Ten minutes after this, she did not care.

Read more >

Welcome to my blue

You can find me underneath the waves
my hand, waving
no, not like that
I don't want to be rescued
I'm saying hello
I'm waving you in –
into my sea
wet, then wetter
until we are dots
tiny sea creatures
the star
on the tarot card
foamy intuition
our bodies, frothing
deep, then deeper
the water is alive!
neck back
in one slick click:
welcome to my blue


A Villanelle on the Seashore

Do not go easily to the ultramarine shore,
The green, blue, white, the translucent twilight,
It’s the irrevocable call of the seashore.

The pleasant, surreal colours of the sea shore,
I could only see it in Taxi Driver’s night-light,
Do not go easily to the ultramarine shore.

High or mighty, all waves break at the shore,
The mélange of colours somehow doesn’t seem right,
It’s the irrevocable call of the seashore.

The psychedelic, synthetic colours of the shore,
It’s near-death, I see those sharp shades of the light,
Do not go easily to the ultramarine shore.

The pleasing colours, breeze—the mirage of the shore!
The sea, every time, wants to embrace me, ever so light,
It’s the irrevocable call of the seashore.

The corals, the hidden mermaid, call out to the shore,
In pitch dark, the sea holds out its fathomless beacon light,
Do not go easily to the ultramarine shore,
It’s the irrevocable call of the seashore.


No Hiding Place

It came, as things often do, through perseverance.
I always knew I’d find you. Call it serendipity.
But I never forget a face. And from a thousand
feet up in a chopper there was little doubt
it was you; Zeiss 20x60 image stabilising binoculars
saw to that.

Like the Jackal, a master of disguise and forged
documents, you fooled everyone: priest, attorney,
chemist and now carpenter in Casuarina, New South
Wales known to locals as Barry Evans – not Eddie
Sweeney, bank robber. You had everyone fooled
until that fatal error, drunk and bragging in a bar

framed perfectly on a Polaroid by Aunt Isabel
last month. And now I’m here, with a crack team
of detectives, circling above your inflatable dinghy
in this idyllic beach setting, waiting for that
moment when at last we have you in our grasp,
in your final hiding place.


Time Off for Good Behaviour

We always said that we'd like to move abroad when we retired. I couldn't wait. I never enjoyed working on the assembly line at the Vauxhall factory. Some of the other guys weren't bothered about the mind-numbingly boring work but I wanted to do something to stimulate my mind. That's why I studied foreign languages and oceanography as distant learning subjects instead of going to the pub and talking football with them after work.

We jumped at the chance of early retirement when they relocated the plant. 'Time off for good behaviour,' I quipped. It didn't make such a difference to you. You only worked a couple of mornings a week at the corner shop once the children went to school. You often joked you'd prefer to be a lady of leisure.

So here we are. Three years after selling our terraced house in England and buying a 'cute' little villa out here at half the price. I knew we should have had a proper survey done. The repairs have gobbled up all of our savings. Look at us now, me up here in this cradle, cleaning windows at this exclusive seafront multi-storey hotel and you sat relaxing on the beach under that ridiculous sun hat.



A sharp slice of memory
sluices her toe-tips,
a jab of jade
which creeps
and cups her heels
in opulent folds,
coercing her.

A juice infused with malachite
and shattered emeralds,
the liquid vineyard
where crystal drinks
flow cold
and in abundance,
parches her.

A spillage and spoil of
spectral brides
in shredded lace
with flaxen hair
and ivory veils
and sugared frills
melt around her.

In salty, silvered digs
she sinks through sand,
lit by sun,
fringed by frost,
milky skin
bleaching to pearl,
and set free.


He Who Holds Back the Sea

They never touch my feet, the waves. We have reached an understanding.

And yet sometimes the white tips of fingers will come close. I shiver at the near-kiss, though it is warm and I am old and have long resisted the temptation of her lips.

When the sun is up, I lie on the beach and stare up at the blue sky, watching the birds watch me. They caw in delight as they dart and dive along the invisible currents of air. These yellow-beaked gulls bring me gifts: pearl-pink shells, crabs, oysters. They know.

There was a time when men and women arrived with offerings in palms and psalms on tongues. They sang for me, for the one who holds back the surrounding sea.

On long nights when the moon is full and high, I can see her shining eyes in the silvered water, so wide and wonderful I can feel the draw of those pools of light.

What a fool lies there, endlessly holding back the endless waves. This is what men say, now that memory and mystery is no more. I cannot blame them, brief things.

Sea-sick, lonely, I lift shells to my ears and listen for her voice.


The Time Keeper

I have one job, to stand wasp-waisted
with just enough sand granules to trickle down
in measured time.

I am here to help you through the period
of transition. You have been observed to be
in a state of constant deliberation.

You rise and swell then sink to slow finger creep
clutching at the shore only to hesitate then allow
yourself to be drawn back, blaming it on the moon.

We did not choose to stay, when your white water
lace might puddle and befriend a rock, offer shelter,

encounter new species keen to paddle in still waters
search for new riches and welcome in new growth.

Time to remind you we are breaking free, you will pool
together. Much anger will erupt and release a seismic
wave. A wall of water to flood what we knew.


Perpetual Lovers

Ocean surf, endlessly stroking the shore,
caressing her with soft foam.
Bestowing treasures from faraway seas,
gems of colorful shells
and driftwood art.
Ancient lovers,
locked in an eternal embrace.
Salty kisses
deep and sweet.
Carried into the depths of passion
with violent crashing waves.
Surging tides wash over her desires.
An amaranthine romance.
An enduring story of lust and love,
forever entrancing mankind.


Holding Her Breath for Starfish

On the dry sandy part of the beach she waited,
Outside the reach of a wave, for something,
Like a bird,
A crab,
Or a cloud to pass, but
The air remained still.

The ocean exhaled its frothy breath.
Ragged waves of dragged sand,
Dared her to sacrifice a toe and in exchange
An island waited for her.

A granite platform splashed but not covered by waves.
She’d reach the rock by night.
If she held her breath underwater,
Kicked with the force of a wave,

She’d sleep with one foot touching the ocean,
Her head next to a starfish.
She could balance on one foot,
Eat shell fish, like oysters or clams.

She’d wrap herself in a blanket of sea weed,
Watch the stars.
Never look back at the sand.

If only she held her breath
And kicked with the force of a wave.



Pedal a fantasy on the ocean bed

It foams into falcon wings
which fly towards the beach,
Or breaks into a blossom
made of wind, water and withdrawal,
Or pulses in the pulmonary veins of your dreams
that begin with time and end in me

I stand within the reach of the riptide,
It sinks into a whisper like a promise kept

My feet melt into the frequency

Every time you reach now,
I don't flinch anymore



The approaching wedding was everything, had been for nearly a year. Sophie texted me twice, three times a day. By June I thought we had settled everything down to the colours for the bridesmaids’ hair, and Sophie and Piers went off to sail in the Med for a week.

During that week temperatures in London soared into the nineties and, like everyone else in Camden Town, I sat on cafe terraces into the late evening with friends, drinking more than I should have done. There were tiny green insects attracted by the lights of the candles on the tables. They had golden metallic eyes.

“Imagine them preserved in amber,” said one of my friends. “Just as well Sophie isn’t here, she’d want them as favours for the wedding guests.”

We all laughed. I took a picture on my phone and sent it to Sophie. It was a joke.

“No, not favours,” she texted back. “But make them into lace for my dress.”

I didn’t think for a minute that she was serious. But when they got back from Greece she raised it again.

“But,” I said, “just because they’re called lacewings doesn’t mean...”

When Sophie got an idea in her head there was no arguing with her. She scoured the internet and came up with someone, somewhere, who could make the finest lace. They sent her a sample.

“Surely,” I started, “it’s not...? Is it?”

It wasn’t, but it was so beautiful you could believe that it was made from angels’ wings, if you believed in angels.

Read more >

Where Land Meets Sea

White-capped lips
and two eyes, one winking—
a face appears in the green jeweled waters.
To adore the sun is expected,
but the sea longs for the shore.
The sand waits expectantly
for the tide,
like a sea captain’s wife.

In time, the water will envelop
every inch of land—
up until the dark line
of expectation from yesterday.
Land and sea dance with each other—
they flirt.

“I will go as close to the water’s edge
as I dare,”
says the seashell,
not knowing what tumbling twirl adventures
a large wave might take her on.
The act of not daring
means remaining motionless,
while all else moves around her scalloped edges.
If waves encourage great leaps,
then let this emerald sea being
kiss the shore again and again.


The Tale of the Distant Bather

Am I waiting for my lover?
No.    For I came here alone.    Once
I might have quaked at the thought.
Once,    you told me the why of the sunrise,
explained away the stars.    Now,
I watch the morning for its crowning,    not
its science. I’m sitting through the boil of waking day,
watching the puce-plum cauldron of fizzing reds,
the blatant victory of the white-hot, rising disc
over the kings of sludgy night.

Dawn, when the sea air goosed its dead fingers
is past. My nipples stood to the chill, cool as cod eyes,
I wore a pimpled coat of urchin lumps.    Worth it
to have crept away, left you slumbering off the rum
in a toss of sheets,    worth it    to shed the skin
of your clumsy need, your fumbling nudge.

My reward is heat – from blue with early cold, to blessed
with yellow rays, I let myself uncover.    Show
the bits that have me curdle at the mirror, have me
cover in disgust.    Yes, I am changed.    Yes,
I am blemish and bulk    but even as the whale
wears blubber and scratch-marks,    still it remains
beautiful in the ocean, still it sings.    You would shy
at my nakedness.    You would remember when
I was thin.    The sun bites into the sensitive scars
left by my carrying of our son –    pale and sore
against the bloom of tan, unaccustomed to this bare display,
Read more >


Vitruvian Man

I'm alone,
spreadeagled on my beach towel
on sand smoothed by wind and tide.

Each day, the sun warms my skin,
twice a day the ocean washes it cool again,
at night I watch the moon cross the sky.

my arms and legs make a square,
sometimes a circle.

The navel is my centre, always.
Four cubits make a man.
I count the cubits to the centre of the cosmos

while I wait to be born into this world
or the next.


A Powerful Messenger

I stand on the brownish sandy shores,

The aquamarine waves invite me to

I gaze at the blue yonder,

What if I mix my darker side dipped in fear,
with the ocean.

I walk towards the roaring ocean,
facing forward,
and dive deep,
no fear, no trouble,
my mind in a soothing bubble.

Come forward,
face the challenges,
this is the ocean,
a powerful messenger.



A chance to break away,
To cleanse the mind of its daily grind,
Routine suspended,
Any surrounding clouds of anxiety evaporating in the heat of the day,
Time to release the tension,
Forget everything and everyone,
Relax and drink in the warmth and comfort of the Sun’s energising rays,
Absorb the soothing tonic of the Sea’s sibilant sounds,
Breath in the wandering, whispering scents,
Carried from distant shores,
On the caressing wind,
Block out reality and relax.



They met in a night club. He wore a white shirt that turned blazing blue in the fluorescent light. She wore a pearlescent dress, shiny and tight.

He hadn’t noticed her until he found himself right in front of her sparkling, turquoise eyes. The dancing crowd had pushed and shoved him, spun and swirled him to the center of the dance floor, where the bass rolled loudest and the flash lights quivered like lightning. Right there, in the center of the heat, their eyes locked. Right there, among the sweating bodies, amidst the bouncing and swaying, they stood still for a moment, just a short moment and yet this moment would later extend into eternity, like water spilling into a void. Later, when he was alone again.

Her wet hair stuck to her face, clung to her pale neck like seaweed. On her white shoulders sweat pearls shimmered. He was breathless, didn't know what to say. Scared that she would drift away just as unexpectedly as she had appeared, he gathered all his courage. He leaned forward.

“What’s your name?” Inadvertently, his lips touched the salty, moist skin of her ear.

“I’m Pearl,” she murmured. Her long neck swayed back and forth, her body undulated as it was moved by the crowd.


The moving and shoving all around threatened to carry her away, so he grabbed her. First by her delicate, wet hands, then by her slippery shoulders and held onto her until she put her white arms around his shoulders. They let the crowd move them as one, spin them, whirl them. They drifted like flotsam.

Read more >


Alone at last!
So very, very alone.
I look down at the glass on the table in front of me.
Small table. Small, round, easy to clean surface. Ready for the next customer.
Just like my house. Just like my furniture.
Just like my wife, and my beautiful little daughter.

When I looked at the empty glass, I couldn't help but think of the slogan:
"Half full"
(Well, half a slogan really.)
(Actually to be pedantic, as it's two words out of three, only two thirds of a slogan.)
What are words, though? Not important at all. A mere collection of letters.
So, actually, if we count the letters, and spaces to be fair, it's really, um – five, six, ten, eleven, fifteen, and then five, six away, that's nine – nine fifteenths of a slogan.
Tch, less than two thirds of a slogan – not much of a slogan at all, really. Not enough to hang your fucking hat on, let alone your fucking life,
Glass half full indeed. Look at it!

But I pick it up anyway.

I've always loved the feel, the heft of these glasses, thick, chunky, weighty. Proper handle. A proper handle on the weighty affairs of life. And best of all, the trick my dad taught me. Hold it right up to your ear and you can hear the sea.

So I do.

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The Sea

Water water everywhere
Colour green, blue everywhere
It hold the Ancient philosophy
From that one can disclose human philosophy

Waves are coming and going
Time is passing with accurate timing
people coming and going
Nobody knows from were it comes and it goes

But it surely has a hidden message,
Ancient mystery and unknown facts
Achyut, thou shall disclose the mystery:
Life comes from the Sea and goes back to the Sea

But life goes on further with the Sea,
Beyond your Imagination and Thee...


images alight or the fade of an iridescent song

you said
you said
waves that undercut
a song
i want
you said
no images this time
a glass jar
stripped carcass of fish sprouting
scattered rainbow
filled with God

a poem may be
a wash of the sky

ghost is the point
raindrops hit
before leaning away



My mother’s hands
made two yards of lace
for my bridal slip –
the delicate froth swirled beneath my gown,
later to lie beached on a sandy carpet
while we frolicked
in the snowy waves of a hotel bed.

Now the lace,
too precious to cut,
waits like a handful of dried foam
for another gown,
while my mother’s hands
lie still as driftwood in her lap
unable even to hold a teacup with ease.


The Mistress

A wistful, yet still blinded, mistress paws longingly at the uninterested lover. Grasping, pushing forward with force. It is a fleeting romance as the fool is repeatedly pulled away, collecting relics as it slips back. Cracking, crushing, grinding, the worn down lover illuminates with a golden glow, seducing passersby. The romantic body glides, foams, begging for attention, only to be dragged away again, helpless. A mere soul, coerced by the glimmering glow of the coarse surface, resides upon it. The blue reaches, wanting to consume, set to devour, like a vulture on carrion. Yet, it cannot quite reach, wrenched back once more. The mistress looks on, knowing the stranger is feeling the lovers' warmth as it falls through the cracks in between their fingers. They will never succumb to its power. So it was that the deep blue was mocked once more.


Tide Times

Luna ran down the coastal path and through the rows of marram grass protecting the sand dunes from erosion. She was late. The first time in five years. Of course, it had to be today. Her anniversary. She’d lost track of time waxing her legs for the party tonight.

Her denim espadrilles hit the firmer sand and few paces on she stopped, placed her round towel on the ground and sat cross legged on top. Her heart was thumping and she was gulping in air. Luna took four calming breaths and let her mind stretch out into the water. Pushing out through the breakers and diving away from the sunlight, she began to pull the sea towards her. At first it resisted, as it always did, but today it was stronger. Her lateness had emboldened it. The tide started to rush away.

Luna had never felt this before, but she’d heard the stories. The missed tide. Flooding and tsunamis engulfed the world. After that, the role was entrusted to the women of her family. Fifteen generations. Never a tide missed. Until now.

Luna shrugged her shoulders, stretched her neck and concentrated. Her consciousness sank deeper. She danced in the deep water mixing, surrounded upwelling currents and tugged hard at the base of water columns. Once, twice, three times. On the fourth she felt something go. The next wave came a millimetre further up the beach, as did the next and the next. Within a minute a centimetre of sand was underwater and Luna had control. Billions of gallons of water were edging towards her.

She relaxed. Her hands slid down her legs, the left one brushing the fuzz of an unwaxed shin.


Peaceful Illusion

A world turned upside down
teetering on the edge
of destruction
Warm orange of nuclear tests
glows in the sky
as millions await their doom.
Maybe one brave soul,
              or rather two,
will find a way
to escape this earth
and find their way
to a new Eden,
floating through space
to a better time.
Until eventually
that world too
will fall victim
to the scourge that is



The hydraulic love, tangled in tango;
turbulent and fractal
reaches out to kiss you with its
limbs of liquid dunes. I think it

was Heraclitus who said you can't
step in the same river twice. And Osho
who said you can't step in the same
river, even once.

I see no river to step in,
only a becoming that never sleeps.



I escaped–
treated myself to
a snippet of paradise
on an island far
away from what I knew
as home.

you wanted to join me.
I declined.
the sound of the waves
crashed at my ears
as I sipped my
specialty drink with the
little pink umbrella.
I never even thought
of you one time.

I would not give
you the satisfaction
of ruining my experience
alone with ME.
you'd love to know
the sadness of my
aching body, if I
were thinking of you.

but, I am not.
Read more >



Just say what you see.
The waves shore up a ringside seat
to a sun intent on creating an Ishihara plate.

If you squint
you might observe
a dolphin throwing in a running stitch
across the clear horizon,
holding us all together.
A decoupage of waves
to uncouple a face
in the flotsam, carrying all
that’s jettisoned on its back.

This says more about us;
that you’re seeing faces
and I see a plughole
down which the vastness of existence
is slowly spinning, anti-clockwise.
These facts place us where we stand.



The water whispers through the wind to me:

You do not have to wholly believe in the goodness of things, you only have to be aware of beauty. For a hundred hours among my stony companions, you have let yourself wander, asking if it is all a colossal direction or a lucky coincidence. 

You do not have to be wholly grounded. You do not have to be heavy or light, you only have to remain. In the hundred hours you have wandered, I have heard your heart sing and break and yearn. I have heard it hope.

You do not have to be the sun or the moon, you only have to let your eyes be open. Lend your eyes to the hues of where I am contained, your ears to the noiseless sounds.

Drown for a minute.



Oh! Here I am…
Upside down
Had planned a holiday bright
But now killing is this daylight.

Mundane were the days,
uninteresting were the nights
followed by the dull
and boring lulls.

Once, a day at nine
I packed my bag
dumped a few hither and
took out a few from thither.

Rushed to the life
leaving the life behind
but, OMG!
no cola no rock-a-rola here.

Only the green and white
rather dull than glittery site
spreading out arms
I’m trying to decide.

The days are long
and nights short
waiting for the (Fri)day,
someone may come.

Read more >

Water Breaking

a tick      attack      a man some sand      a mother
a looming a loam a foaming      a fast-paced rushing
an orgasmic edging      a fine line      a curved brine
a resettling      a wet gavel smoothing      a surface
retreating      re-entering      a force unending
a life giving      a myth surviving      a symbol describing
a whole devouring      non-relenting      a speck drying
a dreaming      a mirror      a moment      a misconceiving


Courting the waves

Arranging the tryst on the lonely seashore
as a neo-Romantic in a market economy
—What a contrast! Phew! So rare, these days, such a mindset—
chose the setting for an unearthly experience
where the elements combine to beget
a mystic texture;

the random figure caught on the lens of Sydney-based shutterbug, Leio McLaren—prostrate, bit unwound, face skywards,
stretched out in a classic pose of a regular beach-goer

a tiny speck there
an organic dot
relieving the vastness of
a brown canvas
infinite but neat,

and, all ears,
ready to receive
the music of the foamy waves
patterned like a fine leaf
about to crash on those
uncrossed feet.


On The Seashore

My grandmother dug her hand into the beach, all the way up to her wrist. She took out the fistful she'd chosen and as the grains spilled out from the gaps between her arthritic fingers, the sand gushing back to itself, she said, "You know what sand is? Sand is all the Roman tiles that have been broken. It's the priceless tiles you'd find in museums if they were whole. It's all the imperfect ones, the mistakes and the out-of-fashion ones, the tiles that didn't match a colour scheme, tiles that were thrown aside and found themselves accumulating in pottery piles, grinding each other into these tiny flecks. It's the perfect ones too. It's the tiles lost in fires and earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Sand is all the tall Grecian urns and the statues of philosophers we've forgotten, the statues that fell overboard from great ships when the seas were stormy. It's the great ships themselves. It's the anchors.

"It's all the windows that once let sunlight into humble abodes and it's the stained glass ones from holy cathedrals, powdered down, sharp shards rubbing against each other, cutting the cutting edges away. It's the bricks of the cathedrals, oh yes, and all the mighty rocks that huddled in circles to reveal the seasons, and all the bones of the fish it is. Sand is all the bones of the fish and the shells as well of course. The shells that sit on the beach today will be ground down into sand one day. It's all the soft things, that without bone, that which is found as fossils inside the rock that's been ground. It's our ancestors, it's Napoleon and Nelson, my own grandmother, all your great-great-greats brought to the surface from their resting places by the oceans, skeletons grinding into these little grains of sand. All and everything there ever was, shoved into the sunlight again by oceans willing us to see it. Do you see it?" she said. "Scoop it up into your plastic bucket and play with the stuff! It's irreverent to wear reverence like a badge. Read more >



The tideline is etched in wet,
deep as the sea can see,
dragging in what sand it can,
laying it all on the beach.
She sits tempting,
teasing out what water allows–
slow glowing, going
in and out with the breath
of the water, waiting to be taken–
the space pulls, the waves draw–
shaken, to recede from herself.


Never Again

“Come in base, come in base, this is Foxtrot 95, come in…”
“Foxtrot 95, this is base, Foxtrot 95…”
“We found her, we found her…”

[On the ground]

I open my eyes to a blinding light. Shielding them, I turn over and slowly got to my knees. The sores on my wrists still visible against my skin, sand sticking to every inch of my body, my dress heavy with water torn all over, my whole body sore from the attempt, everything hurts.

'Did they see it? Did I get away? Please let them see it, please,' I think to myself.

Incoming waves lick my feet as I slowly crawl inland. Sand sticking to every inch, tears slowly drip down my face as I crawl and crawl from sea-soaked sands to sun-baked sands. My skin, raw from the salty waters, starts to burn as the hot sand stick to me.

'Please let them have seen it. Or just let me get away. Please just let me get away. Please…'

Already halfway towards the green grass ahead, I will myself to go faster. Everything hurts in the hot sand but I can’t stay here in the open, not here where they might see me if I haven't gotten away.

'Please let me have escaped. Please…'

I’m now no more than a few feet away from the grass, my nails starting to bleed, the sand sticking around them. In the distance, trees grows thicker as far as I could see.

'Yes, I can finally get some rest there.'

Read more >

Sea Bed

The sea spreads her lacy
petticoats wide on the dunes,
dry as dusty animals
grazing in the field.
Over and over, she licks
their flanks till they
disappear. From above,
from the view of a pelican
hovering over a trawler,
we can see the tide
rise, sweeping off every
shed shell polished by
the shifting of wind and water.
And here, so small we hardly
notice, a woman sleeps
on her pillow of sand.
She doesn’t sense
the surf coming closer
till it almost touches
her curved instep, like
a blanket she has
tossed aside. It goes on
hollowing the dunes with its
subtle blades, casting up
thick tangles of kelp,
driftwood bouquets.



Once when I was a child,
something happened while I lay in my bed.

The ceiling came unglued from its child heaven
and spread itself over my limbs.

I was as heavy as the planet. I was planetary.
The sea, all seas, were nothing more than the sip

of water I'd swallowed hours before turning
down bedclothes.

My clothes, if I was thinking about seas,
were too nothing to count, not even sea foam,

but they crested where I willed breasts
to hillock and cave.

Later somebody told me there is a name for this.
It's called a Lilliputian Hallucination.

The brain subtracts spacial dimensions,
volume, from any equation.

Since childhood, it's happened again and again,
the most frequent bout of believing

myself the entirety of our hot heaviness, full
of tiny seas,

was when I carried my first child inside me.
When I stretched and felt the wet blanket of the sky

yawn and buckle. The stars
all constellating Lilliput, lodging in my throat.



the air in this sky was determined
forcing its mood upon the water
plunging its shiny blue ego into the gnashing green
it looks like it was trying to make something or someone
into a replica of itself
and if it wasn't, you certainly were

the sand on this beach is needy
rubbing against legs and arms
and the nape of my neck
it feels like it's grasping at something or someone
that detests endless friction
and if it isn't, you certainly are

the waves in the ocean are desperate
throwing themselves at me the whole afternoon
my mouth still spits salt and grit from this morning's exchange
they sound like they're calling something or someone
that they know is beyond their reach
and if they aren't yet, you certainly will


The white tremor

Today we can tremble
we can whisper
all the pain of waiting
and narrate how we drank the ocean
                      to find us

Before living in this white room
Were we just a number on this sleep-walking land?

Now we are a city that vibrates with laughter
                      with the heart in the hands
and our breaths very close.

We can not believe
that today we can tremble
of the other


Borrowed Blessings

When do we stop
their names?
Even in the vastness of despair I
still search for
my mother’s
My daughter brought with her birds and
turtles, trees and
She speaks so clearly in Jade Green behind those Skyline Blue eyes and
I could loose days entwined in her hair that thickens daily, soothing her third eye and I don’t know if she is blessed or cursed with this otherworldly insight that I
can not articulate to the untrained.

Fearless and ready she knows
that she will ride waves
and they are already calling

Fearless and unsteadily I know
that she chose my school

Read more >


Traversing tropical jungles, I emerged onto snowy peaks. In the distance lay the smooth sands where my target lay. Still a tiny speck without human form, I knew another hour's travel would bring it into range. I shouldered my weapon and started the descent. Suddenly my vision clouded, the target disappeared.
My Kindle battery failed.



I’m playing that children’s game, Grandma’s Footsteps, with the sea. I lie on my back with my toes pointing towards it, eyes closed against the sun. Every few minutes, I sit up on my elbows and look, feel the tug of my stomach muscles. It’s creeping in, the waves washing closer each time. Unlike the game, I don’t find its gradual approach unsettling. There’s a gentle breeze, the call of seabirds. I tune out the tide’s white noise.

I feel the cool water at my feet. It siphons the sand away under my heels, shivers my calves where it touches. I look up with a start as it shocks my lower back. The sea is an arrow, its tip pointing at me, staking a claim. To my left and right I still see dry sand. I’m pleased it wants me.

At last, it lifts me, I’m floating with arms outstretched. The water fills my ears and I hear the distant hiss of stones shifting on the seabed.

As it carries me out, I smile, think of a suitcase, hotel room, a job, a game I always lost on purpose.



There has been
no time
to write,
and so,
the little puddle
of unwritten words
has widened,
from puddle,
to pond,
to lake,
to sea,
to blue-green, sun-gilt,
restless ocean…
so near…
so unreachable…
one tiny trickle
forces its way
between the barren grains
of ‘no time’
to insist
‘Write. Now.’


Brevity of What This Means


                                                         my etching breath
                             solves the innocence of my younger

self         always nearer to death than away from the mouth of an

open window’s philosophical

                                                       wandering. Here

thrown turquoise

lands in softened tissue-white
against my waiting/watching

feet: this is what a final pivot near

elation endears my language

toward: breath, the ease of hearing

life interior to my
motivation to continue
spelling days into
continuity of spatial
jazz, unobstructed


Just not beautiful enough

not your voice, selkie
not its range from depths to air
not its wave pitch rolling
not your guitar playing
not your skills of pick and pluck
not your rock
not your written song, lullaby, shanty
not your smile, pearly
not your wit, seal wife
not your folk
not your presence
not your abalone sparkle
but your hips, your real fur-sloughed hips
will stop you being a star.



Looking down
or    looking    up?
see    the big wide world
poised    like    heavens
you are, tiny tot    of    misery
beguiled    into surmise
what    is,    is not
and    on top    the balloon
of    mists    hangs like a bubble
pierce    it, so that with your wishes
comes tumbling down the world
smashed topography, into smithereens.


The Figure on the Beach

This restless island has something concealed
Lying tranquil beneath this windswept land
Stormy seas have stepped aside to reveal
A sleepy figure lying on the wet sand

Sleeping in a perfect peaceful state
With no time to take in any disputes
The figure idle while awaiting her fate
Imagination brings needed routes

But she awakes to a broken solitude
Seen from above a strange craft or form
Is descending to change her mood
Closing her eyes she forgets about reform

It's a blip in an eternity of concern
Time has done it before only to return


Postcard to Nowhere

The man I love is standing by the sink: he’s tired of his beard.

The shaving foam is floating over the waves;
as the water is driving itself back to the shore
it belongs to.

The sand from my grandfather’s garden –
and the teal sky is from the day when we
were catching clouds.

Me, in the lime green bikini which currently lies
curled up in the attic, which I could never bring
myself to throw.

Lying over the yoga mat from back in sixth grade,
hiding in yet another space, which I only ever
see in glimpses.

The sun is falling with the strength of the home,
yet the gentleness of the house, and I realise:
I’ll miss this.

I make these things up in my head: I need a photo to call home.


Sea Dreams

‘Describe it to me,’ the therapist says.
She leans back against the cool black leather and closes her eyes.
‘It’s always the same,’ she says. ‘There’s a long, flat beach. Sand the palest gold you could imagine. As far as you can see, no-one. Not a soul. The sea is so far out it would take minutes to walk to the edge.’ She opens her eyes and begins to sit up. ‘It’s ridiculous. I live in Nebraska, about as far from the sea as you could get. I’ve not seen the ocean since I was a child.’
The therapist shakes his head and motions her to lay back.
‘Your dream,’ he says. ‘The beach.’ She closes her eyes again.
‘I have a towel. A round one; always a round towel. I lay it on the sand where I know the tide will turn. I know the exact spot. I relax on the towel and wait for the waves to creep towards me, knowing that just as they reach my feet the tide will turn. Every time it does. But sometimes, once or twice a month, this man appears.’ She stops and draws a deep breath. The room is silent apart from the rhythm of raindrops against the window.
‘Describe him,’ the therapist says.
‘He is tall and fair. It’s the wrong sort of beach, but he looks like a surfer, tanned and athletic. There is a fluid balance to his movements.’
‘Do you know him?’ the therapist asks.
‘No. Never seen him before.’ Her lie is emphatic, perhaps a little too quick. Her lids are still closed and she does not see the therapist raise an eyebrow. ‘He is a little too perfect, you know? Flawless. Like someone from a book, or a model from a fashion shoot. He smiles but just as I think he might speak he turns and grabs the waves, actually grabs them, like they’re linen sheets. He runs towards the dunes, pulling the waves behind him, covering me in the sea.’ She stops abruptly. The rain continues to patter against the windowpane.
‘Does it frighten you?’ the therapist asks.
Read more >



As the clear water strikes and recedes
They let loose a channel of memories
Bitter and sweet, the right mix in which life proceeds

I see a pristine soul maligned by devilish powers
I hear an innocent plea silenced by fetish voices
I sense the truth choking beneath the demonic towers

It pains to see flimsy excuses being raised
Vicious egos being satisfied
And fallacious facts being praised

This too will glide quick
Though 'it' will never be the same
With friends switching into foes in a flick

Such transitions we experience,
Such transitions we live through
With them giving me more resistance!


Boy overboard

Of all the boys I ever loved,
You I loved the most.
Despite all the hurt you caused,
I don’t know what it was.
It must have been all the love you gave
The love they couldn’t see.
But there’s only so far love will go
Before it hits the sea.
My vision started blurring,
The waves, they hit me harder.
I wasn’t floating anymore
The sea had taken me in.
The beach was too far
And your love seemed safer.
So I learnt to breathe, despite the struggle
And made my peace in your stormy sea.
You were everything I ever wanted
Until I saw the shore
And I knew I wanted sunshine,
Just to lie on my back and breathe.
You let me go through crashing waves,
And now as I sit on the shore
Looking out into the sea,
I wonder how happy you are
In your stormy sea.
And while I lie on my back
Staring out into the sea
I realise finally
That you weren’t at all the man I wanted,
You were just a boy at sea.


A Nice Place by The Sea

Nobody leaves the island in any rush,

If they decide it's your time to go, they don't make you swim,

They let the sea take you instead.

People rarely protest, they just let the waves do the rest,

While they watch from a distance, igniting torches and throwing themselves in every direction, limbs pivoting violently like sticks,

The sun falls below the waterline, as the tide floats them away.



As a child, the ocean reminded her of beer. The white froth bubbling and swishing, caused by any collision with anything solid. She just wanted to jump in and drink it.

As a child, colliding with life she decided she no longer wanted to exist.

So she jumped in.

She dived into the head, already frothing, already foaming. Within a day, she drank her way out.

Within a day, she came to the conclusion that she wanted to live there forever.

Within a day: she moved in.


Universal Shift

My mantra is the sea breeze,
It hums with the sounds of freedom
Like a rogue wave traveling the oceans,
The sand between my feet is soothing,
And as if Mother Earth’s energy is flowing through me
I can feel her moving,
Now senses heightened I am ready to drift
For the sea is the universe
And now I am enlightened


Under surveillance

A hot day, warm sand, nothing for him to do
except lie in the sun, enjoying the holiday,
the solitude he has promised himself,
to listen to waves lapping, seabirds calling ... and an irritating sandfly whining.
He swats it away from time to time –
the only thing
spoiling the bliss of this afternoon.

On the cliff behind, a woman with binoculars,
her twin lenses trained on him, pausing
her scrutiny only to take another bite of her sandwich,
another sip of soda – or to jot down a note.
"He keeps raising his arm. Maybe he knows
he's being watched and wants us to know
he knows," she writes in a laboured longhand,
"or perhaps he's signaling to an accomplice."

She admires his tan, his choice of beachwear,
the length of his limbs ... those legs ...
puzzles again at his raised arm, the
wrist flick,
sweeps her lenses back and forth,
up and down
the beach, see's nothing suspicious,
their resolution insufficient to detect
a gnat at such distance.

Read more >

No Money No Problem

The water is calm.
The weather is fair.
The shoreline is fine and golden.
The serenity is majestic.
He is tired.
He is heartbroken.
He needs rest.
He goes near the seawater.
He imagines the coast as a comfy bed.
He lays his sorrow in the sand.
And the waves rush to give him a huge blanket.
Oh, he has the largest hotel room.


Sleep Patterns

I was six years old the first time I saw the ocean. I remember the blue-gray hues of the waves, and the crisp chill of the water as it brushed past my toes. How the sky and sea appeared to be one after a certain point.

I remember too the soft sand of that beach in Cochin. The type of softness one's whole self can sink into. Like meeting a stranger you've always dreamt about. I recall the slow swaying of tall coconut trees, and the young boy selling wooden drums. I recall with fondness the vastness of that beach in Sydney. The colourful umbrellas obscuring the crowds. Forty-degree heat. Children and adults alike holding ice cream cones. How good it felt to be so small. That one beach in Lisbon, where the world felt simultaneously brighter and quieter. Tourists in sunglasses, caps, and baggy shirts. The aroma of fresh seafood. Loud laughter. A contrast from the stark quietness of that beach in Hoi An. Desolate, like a closing scene in an old black-and-white film. The only person in sight was an old man, white-haired, wading in the water, lost in his world. The faded signboards in French. The never-ending trail of seashells, all white.

There is something beautiful about how the sea never changes, no matter where you are. The way the waves move towards you, and away, and repeat. The sea foam creating patterns each time the ocean beckons and recedes. Each time attempting to tell a story, each time teaching the art of letting go.

A bell rings, and my thoughts shift from the sea to where I am in the present moment. I sit here in a chair, alone. The dim light streaming in through the windows tells me that it must be close to sunset. Read more >


Atlantic Blue

Entranced by the counter-clockwise churn of the North Sea,
she observed how the tides resisted the will of the sun, turning endlessly
away from the light.
            How had she caught her reflection in such choppy waters?

In the distance climactic crests scratched white fingernails down
the arched backs of waves that never tired of breaking while she remembered
ancient artists once painted sirens as men.
                        Her gaze drifted too far out into their ageless palette

and she forgot herself in the thrall of stonewashed whale song, mist of iron-scaled mackerel,
aventurine quartz, witch flesh, foam of Triassic lizard bones, ebb of moorland rain, the lost,
indigo shadow of Atlantis, the whip and salt of sea spray and the silver whispers of a crisp
February morning speckled with gull egg grey.
                                    The countless moods of his Atlantic blue eyes
those eyes she’d begged to drown in.