• Vol. 10
  • Chapter 12
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Other Creatures

The fair is over, it shut down yesterday
The carnival came and went.
There were strong-men and fire-eaters, there was candyfloss and
Guess the weight of the baby
Unicorn which is always heavier than it looks, fiercer than its image always
Smellier than imagination ever allows, and it cries and struggles
When placed in the harness, making the task more determined
The advertised, searched for, highly remunerated unicorn won’t
Look at those who guess on it, who are just using it to win
Some other prize
It has its own dreams, and they belong in grass and sky they
Belong above the trees. It wants to grow wings, and will one day
It feels that as a certain possibility, the weight of its body flailing its hooves
Pedalling as if it could climb clouds
While the guesser in his top hat raises a fist at the audacity
Curses these times that allow
A unicorn to assert its power, express its own purpose and its own volition
Showing disdain for fairground usage and departmental expectations
And brings emptiness instead of entertainment, myth fulfilment
And dares to do what it wants.
It kicks them over, it kicks the dust over,
Makes for the locked gate, takes the leap without
Looking back it kicks the gate wide for all the other creatures.
It snorts and shakes
And tosses its head. While ice-cream faced children and tired mothers
Scream for it
It takes off. And leaves their gaping mouths, the harness hanging empty
The scale at zero, all hands clapped together at prayer o’clock
As if its actual existence was ever in doubt.



She weighed the baby, as she did every morning, at 7am.
    Last night she had woken sweating, scrambled out of bed and went to the cot, put her hand under the baby’s nose, then brought it to bed with her, even though she knew she wasn’t supposed to do that. She drifted back to sleep, with her arm flung out, hand on the little chest, feeling its squirrel heart insist on itself.
    Her husband, before she’d asked him to leave, had set up cameras in the baby’s room, and in the whole house, to help her anxiety. But she’d moved its cot to her bedroom anyway. And now that didn’t feel close enough.
    She checked the weighing scales. The baby was the perfect weight: 14lbs.
    The baby was weighed every morning, to ensure that everything was as it was supposed to be. This morning the baby was scowling, as usual. It had brown tufty hair that formed little sideburns by each ear, and dark blue-black furious eyes, like Abraham Lincoln. The only time the baby didn’t scowl was when it was in the blue weighing harness, swinging away, stretching its plump little legs out, reaching with its fingers for the window, at the peak of its parabola, as if expecting each time, it would grow wings and zoom off, out over the hills.
    She picked it up, kissed the top bit in its skull that hadn’t hardened. The baby squirmed and cried, but she held it tighter, squeezed, said shush, and its little muscles went floppy.
    It didn’t want to feed, but she turned its cheek to her nipple, and eventually it took. Mothers online swore by formula, but she wanted to be natural. Proper. They spent the day together – every day together – she kept it strapped to her chest in a sling like a broken arm. It mostly slept, but every now and then it would wake up, and shoot her a presidential look of disapproval.

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I woke up to find the horse missing
from the painting and the gates flung open
like the jaws of a theatre audience. Now,
it is just a picture of green pasture
and blue sky, with hills doing the work
of separation between them. Previously,
I had named it The Grazing Horse.
Now what should I call it when the object
after which it was named thought
it belonged somewhere else?
Just like in life, the painting becomes
what it has missing—the baggage of all
that was lost hanging in it—rather
             than what it still contains.


Light Upon Light

And when the path grows too dark to see even
the bright parts of me, have faith in the sound
of my voice. I’m here. I’m still the one leading.
– Paige Lewis

To the serenity that weighs
to insignificance in this body,

remain calm. The gate has spread out
its palms to pour grace into your name.

This body wishes to water the fire
burning inside it & grow new seeds

of green bliss. It is craving a walk
through grace & have a taste of solace. 

Believe me, nights are not dark.
They are as bright as the light the moon

takes from the sun. Ya Rabbi, bless
this soul & turn on its lamp to erase

the shadiness of ruin standing
on its bones. Bless the broken. 


The Edge of Days

Sometimes I sit swinging my legs, one at time, looking over the edge of days. Here I weigh things, the bread, the effort to stand up and go on, the stacked calendars saved to remember the death day of dogs, when the minutes of rubbing the soft belly blur away, the loaves of impatient meals I did not make, weighted as they were by regret, the heaviness of things I did not parse or punctuate properly, now unsorted in the drawer with the single buttons and the rubber bands, the days pressed like wildflowers in the book with penciled notes of the first trout lily in New Hampshire, the breath of Louise leaving after slamming the door to her life as she exhaled the last cigarette. I do not want to weigh these things, but being here at the edge, I wonder when my exhalations will no longer be measured, when I will leave out of dusty rooms and walk into the sea, taking my stories knotted together into a string ball, and give them up to dance, an unmeasured tune, my molecules unorganized by soul or words or body when the weight of days grow too heavy.

Panorama of hue

Birth this from the hem of the turf,
the unripe growth quietened by dawn's gloss.
The path reels in the clumsy gates
torn open by the descending bloat
of trees, their hue thick with leaves.
This is the revelation: there, the blue bag
weighed by want, something
that holds everything inert,
summoning the forest out of the palm
of hills hunched as if turning away
from the violence that hides
behind the blink of light.
The sky will not pass through the gates.
It flies & hovers like a lens on the footpath
to the steps where it will be plucked,
its blue ripening; low slung fruit.
& out of the rustic hut crouching
like an abandoned anthill near the hem
of this flourishing life like a shallow cut
in the reel, the masquerade of this quiet day
peeps about & seeing nothing to stir
but the rut stringing back
to where everything that should be buried
is blurred, it begins to dance.
In the vast cornea of the sky, a white
precipice rises, smoky & stretching,
about to break into rain or not—
maybe a big city zealous in its flames
is warding off eternal night
with reeking moth wings, trying
to survive the deluge of our wingless sleep.


Weighing In

You wanted me to weigh in before I walked
But my Soul alas - was massless.

It swung there mutely - with Zero
On the Dial - then lifted off out
Of there - carried me down the path - beyond
The open Gate. Through Orchard and Foothills
I never looked back - nor paused
To pick a Fruit - for fear of turning -

But now at last it's safe to turn
Up here on this Height - and shout -
"Measure me by my Poems. I left them
In the drawer of that wardrobe
With my long white dress - beside my small square table -
And that Window with a view to where I'm - Gone - "



It rests upon me still, a hand pressed
to the small of my back,

a dumb weight clutched
by one hand, the other shaking.

(I thought you’d like to know.)

I sit in the same backstage shadows,
follow the same path that carries along the canal,

the rusted swings we plunged away in
like courting fourteen year olds.

(And you’re not here —)

What’s the city like? The one you live in now?
It looms sometimes on the news channels

I click through idly, directionless
until arrested by some small detail:

the upward tilt of a woman’s chin,
the desert of a station platform.

(I’m looking, I know —)


Worth our weight in work

They used to make them blow their noses
to capture valuable breathed in gold dust.
Here they weigh your bag and check for
contraband as you head for the open gate.

Pain leaches out with every step into green.
I’d like not to return but that’s unrealistic
so I park the thought, feel the weight lift,
find the rhythm of my skin-deep tango.

An hour in and I’m weightless as leaves,
sweat wicking, clothing clinging to me,
bathing the weariness away with every
choreographed step of my dance home.

Here in the foothills the thin air is cooler.
The house breathes a fine welcoming fire,
bread is rising, food is lustrous in the pot.
We eat. We talk. We fold into rough blankets.

The return comes, inevitable as brightening
sky and the blue of day. And so it begins,
the climbing down towards the draw of damp,
the flick of leaves on legs, the crunch of boots.

I throw my bag up to catch strap on cruel hook.
The weight is noted, quick look inside to check.
The line of us diminishes along the narrow path.
Work ages us from fine filaments to ragged string.


Weight of Farewell

The gate is open.
It has always been open, unlatched
so travelers can come and go
and know that their passing
is welcomed, even expected.

The grass greets the tread
of many a foot, a boot, a sandal
and where many steps have passed
the grass bends and folds
in retreat
to mark the trail
and green-grace the path
that such common traffic winnows
in the natural way
of things that bow to fate.

The weight of passage
stamps the earth, etches
hillocks, threshes
forest floors, leaving
among the nettle, leaf
and moss a record
of farewells
that cannot
be weighed
by the greengrocer
or the judge’s scale.

Each farewell owes
its story to an open gate.


Like Mother Like Daughter

He came before the old woman, asking for her daughter’s hand.
She passed him a bag, saying “Return in 10 years,
having filled this with that which my daughter most values.
Then I shall weigh your merits.”

As he dearly loved the daughter, he did as the woman required.
In 10 years he returned, his bag laden with jewelry, gold,
and degrees from the finest universities. Onto the old woman’s scale
went the man’s bag. The needle tipped greatly with its load.

“No,” said the woman, “this is as nothing. It will not do.
Return in 10 years, making sure this bag is filled with that which
my daughter most values.” Sadly he assented, traveling
from the village once again to do what was needed.

Ten years to the day, he returned, lugging the bag bulging with
expensive porcelains, ivory figurines, and miniature paintings
exquisitely detailed and colored. This time he himself hung the bag.
Its weight exceeded his previous effort. He beamed.

“No, no,” the woman said once more. “When will you learn?
Return in 10 years, this time making sure the bag contains
that which my daughter most values.” Sorely aggrieved, he trudged
once again over field and hill, wondering how to fulfill her bidding.

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Of All the Ways

Of all the ways to weigh herself
This was the least convenient.
First the long walk through the field,
The gate to move
The skirt to hitch up just so,
The leap to land legs first.

It almost never worked.

And when it did, there was never anyone there to see or
to applaud.

She tried it anyway, but only in the summer.

It passed the time.
It reminded her of the times she flew with grace and light,
Trapeze after trapeze and arms outstretched and hardly ever dropped.


Lost Futures

There was a point where we cared,
enough to plan what life could be
with a little one in these green fields.

Somehow, we have thrown baby
out, left reminders of new birth
hanging like question marks, mid-air.

The wooden gates are hand-crafted,
made to sustain this lifestyle and we
planted trees to offset the warnings.

Certain essentials are sourced,
meticulously researched, bought
with recycling as the uppermost concern.

I must admit, I fell for the electric blue,
it connected to my body, made me sing.
It mocks me now, cold, empty, weightless.


A brief account of our intended projection

There’s a tremor in the kingdom.
England’s having its standard fit.
You might think that it is fearsome.
No. It’s The Wreckers’ greatest hits,
Remixed in a blue bag catapult,
Tremolo moaning as default.
Over concrete forgetful hills
Rolls the litany of our ills.
Fuck that. Instead say ardently:
Compassion is always our vow,
Whatever the hardships of now.
We boldly black heart our country.
Next upon a time – grounded glory.
Let’s start a new, binding story.



We hang our sky nearer
home than afar, keep it wrapped
in blue to weigh each day.

It is heavy with symbolism;
heavy with a weight that does not
register, like a cloud.

Each day we weigh.
Blue as the heaviness of a Chevrolet
or a shade of kitchenette or

her eyes when younger. Then
baby blue or this gauche hue. Imagine
the length of rope from above.


I dreamt that I was dead

And you were there,
You weren’t you
(You know how it is in dreams),
You weren’t you
You had a dog’s head,
You were Anubis, god of the dead.
And you said,
I’ve come to weigh your heart,
You had it in a blue shopping bag,
And instead of a scale of justice
You had a hanging scale with a hook,
Like a greengrocer
or a butcher.
And you hung my heart on there,
And then you told me,
That’ll be twenty pound fifty,
And I got furious
That you’d expect me
to buy my own heart,
And I started screaming at you.

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The Old Farm

I’m going back into the woods to find it.
I left it there a long time ago.

In the cow pond it might have splashed
the bottom mush tumbling approaching slowly pressing down upon it enveloping
it finally in a sodden clutch. The bream
would swim by and study it move on to find other things in the brush.

If it is not there I will look for it
near the pink salt lick worn down by time and rain and the curled pink tongues
of calves and yearlings
where I have to squeeze between barbed wire sags or draw lengths of it like a bowstring bristling silent with pinched deer and hog hair and crawl until the twang
against my back reminds me
it could be anywhere really:

In the culvert, in the gully flooded
with a hundred autumns buried three feet deep or more where roots plunge like ribs
of the dead creek. If I find it I’ll carry it
back out in my experienced hands dripping like a sponge and see how much it weighs
if anything.


The Child Questions The Scale

A child stood before a weigh scale,
Its balance poised, its needle still.
"What does it weigh?" the child asked,
Their eyes wide with wonder.

The shopkeeper smiled.
"It weighs your dreams," he said.
"And your fears.
And your hopes.
And your regrets."

The child's brow furrowed.
"But I can't see them," they said.

"No," the shopkeeper replied.
"But they are there, all the same.
And the weigh scale measures them all."

The child stood silent for a moment,
Contemplating the shopkeeper's words.
Then, they turned and walked away,
A little wiser than before.


Learning from Birds

All night dark wings
flopping in my heart.
Each an ambition bird.
— Anne Sexton

A leucistic chaffinch, with clown-white circles for eyes,
squints at cries from a house sparrow
as if his chirrups are too much to bear.

I am not a morning bird.

All night my wings fold beneath me,
impress bone shapes where ribs hide.

Palm-sized, my beak barely opens
to trap the weight of air.

Dayflower-blue swinging scales
measure one ounce of me at a time
and the fine fescue greens

the sun-sparrow cry;

sup, chirrup, churr
sup, chirrup, churr

Fly into the day.


Comeuppance Under Construction

It carries a load that weighs nothing – a sack for gravel
dangling under a crane that is outside our field of view.

We gaze at it puzzled, open-mouthed, tracking the blue
polypropylene bag for as long as it will remain in travel,

swaying back and forth in the breeze – because it’s light,
does not register on the scale, and we are at the height

of suspense as a stunt plane does somersaults overhead,
starts emitting contrails, skywriting a message of dread:

Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin. Watch a man’s nemesis
as it overtakes him. His riches will soon be shared out

among his rivals, assets carved up by his arch-enemies.
The tyrant has been outplayed – by stealth, not by rout.

An empty rubble sack is swinging overhead, taunting
a man who is weighed in the balance, found wanting.


Weighing Lambs

You ask how much the mountain
weighs as we watch it from the step of
the cabin. We've been weighing lambs,
their stalk legs poking from a bobbing sling.

You note numbers in a spiral pad, learning
kilos as we go. You're keen to keep one
as a pet, despite the bleating, the black blobs
of excrement you'd never train away.

I like your drive, pure as a lamb’s bleat.
The world weighs six billion trillion metric tons,
I say, as you watch the wind comb the pines.
The mountain’s just a pimple on the surface,

but too big to weigh, or move if that's what’s on
your mind. You note the numbers in your spiral pad,
making calculations with unmastered maths:
only one of us is willing to be wrong.



It wants to be noticed. I look
beyond. Twin hills, forested with pines,
a place to hide on my belly in the understory
safe with grey squirrels and poisonous
mushrooms. No need there to slap
hands over myopic eyes, no need
to turn my back daily on the scales,
the empty, blue bag waiting to weigh
regret, a baby that keeps
putting on pounds. After we met,
the last time, in Costa at Euston,
you with tear-daubed cheeks,
me, already mingled with someone else,
I left. Or did I? The gate
to our compound stood open, the sky
filled its arms with blue. Years went by.  
Still I loitered, even when I lived
in a bigger house with a newer wife
on the better side of town. And you?
I saw you once, through a telescope,
perfecting a red dress, both arms saluting
the sun. You twirled on a summit,
barely looked back, vanished  
through the canvas, leaving me unable
ever to reach the hook, ever to cut
the blue bag down.



The gates were open. It used to be that they’d leave me things. Some baked bread or a small portion of their own meal. Later it was bird bones and pretty stones. Or perhaps the trinkets came first. I can’t remember. The bright blue bag reminded me of it. Woven plastic - the old styles meeting the new. There was nothing. I don’t know what made me check. I forgot myself. I forgot all the time that’s passed. There was a time I – but what’s the point in dwelling on these things? They’ve abandoned me, and I abandoned them. I don’t know which happened first. Time is a funny old thing. I created a world and these children to fill it. Built them in my image. I forgot how petty I can be. I forgot how cruel. And they lapped it up. They took every bit of me and spread it out amongst themselves. They pulled at the core of me and stretched me out until I was thinner and thinner. Then they stopped calling to me, altogether. They started learning from each other. They built on our faults, nourished them with each subsequent generation.
They started building. How I admired their little houses, the genius of wattle and daub. In a blink of an eye, I filled cathedrals. I marvelled at them. Just look at what they’ve taught themselves to do. What minds they have! There is so much, there have been so many times I’ve known, “I wouldn’t have thought of that”. It filled me with pride. I would never have thought to make, think, design so much of what they’ve created. What right have I, now, to hate the bombs they use to tear it all down? They created medicines and I chuckled at how they had ripped death right out of my hands. I admired their gumption. I was flattered by their independence. Watched them flout the rules and smirked, thinking, “they get that from me”. But that was eons ago. They still had time for me. They looked for me, cried for salvation. Looking back, I think they knew exactly what they were doing. They knew my vanity, it coursed through their veins, they knew every inch of it. They knew as long as they prayed and worshipped,

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The candles flicker over chocolate cake
dabs and dribbles of waxy pink on brown—
she blows and wonders where the wishes go
on winter nights, imagines they’re carried
on grey goose wings,

south to Caribbean blue,
then over northern ice to green moors, hills, dales
through gates that open with sudden longing—

they’re weighed like hearts,

collected in basket or bag—
one for each soul. Traveling through time,
sealed in an envelope for eternity,
Some marked “open at your own risk,”
others “sealed with a kiss.”



"what are you weighing?"
asked the sun
the wide blue sky answered

because in the silence
after bird calls
in the blank
after you’re gone
nothing will be our captain

has no boundaries
is a stranger to clouds
has not heard of blue
finds no romance in a river’s laughter
watches beaches crumble at its touch
will not grow grass
or respect architecture
evades seasons
deflects time

nothing to see here
some might say

but then out of nothing,
eager as a hillside,
will stride a poem

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This Annihilating Force

An archive is just a placeholder for nothing, but needless to say, nothing isn’t only nothing (meaning nothing is only nothing). Pennies, for example, are worth nothing, and all the same, they add up: a hundred pennies are a dollar, a hundred dollars are a hundred dollars (which is not the same as what a hundred dollars are, that’s the whole point), and as for a hundred hundred dollars – well, you can do that math yourself. To be fair, none of those pennies or dollars is worth anything unless you already believe in a totally invented, yet widely accepted definition of value; but at the same time, nothing weighs nothing but still carries the weight of the container by which it is carried, and in this case, no such leap of faith is required.
    A headstone, by the way, is an archive.
    A husk, an archive.
    To some extent, perhaps – and depending on the condition of the entrails and the pelt – a carcass stumbled across in winter woods may also be an archive.
    A memory, one might say, is the archetype of an archive, but it is also not an archive at all, for whatever is extracted from it is put back in changed, even if only by the fact of its having now been extracted where before it had not.
    And yes, this text is an archive – though of what we still cannot say, but only see – there, in the distance, where beyond all staging, the trail disappears into the trees.


In the absence of

everything but light
and sensitive surface,

consider the scales:
airy solitude against

shadowed fulfillment,
regret hiding in the pines—

what path won't break
a border with its wandering?

Oh the privilege
of being weighed

and found wanting.
What a pity to be left

empty and unmeasured
for all to see.


The Post

Potatoes for meat,
barley for sundries,
eggs toward an unpaid balance.

Fresh tomatoes for a steel tub,
two small nuggets for a horse,
the change for a trailing mule.

Squash for penny candy,
a wagon load of wheat for
Sunday prayer clothes.

This to order
from the Sears catalog,
that for a trinket off the shelf.

Scales with a heavy thumb
measuring the
art of the steal.

They wander in from the
untamed world,
wander out with a bit of civilization,

farmers, trappers, miners, rustlers
bringing their sweat and labors,
leaving with less than hoped for and

a little trader’s remorse.



Suspended in air half unzipped.
They came to stare standing
on stone steps. Lunch has arrived
the shout went up, out of reach
though, they said. Dad has outdone
himself this time. Found a skyhook
ordered online. A smile on his face
ignores the cross looks the length
of church spires. Blue bag musty
from last use. The last picnic.
They’d thought it the last
but now this?

It dangles against the lush green, a
blue sky teasing. A good
day for a picnic, nods all round.
Well, it would’ve been.


It starts with an ending

Our future will start with an ending.
With wild, raging, fires
that consume all the words we speak,
we have ever spoken,
about inconvenience, petulance, and arrogance,
and the changes we must make.
With rising, rushing, waters
that wash away all the words we write,
we have ever written,
about evidence, precedents, and presidents,
and the actions we must take.
With roaring, scouring, winds
that blast away all the words we think,
we have ever thought,
about our influence, relevance, losing confidence,
and the habits we must shake.
It starts with endings.
Each. Full. Stop.
And in that future, when our words are ash,
those who are left might pour out
all our redundant punctuation marks
into the scales, trying to understand
the weight of our inaction.


Air Lift

My burden rises
above the landscape
of the past, hills
of desire traversed
by the old trail
we ran along
when we were

         You cannot
bear the weight
of the past I carry—
nor can I bear yours.
To me yours appears
a bag of down or air.
You may calculate
mine in similar fashion.

The past is a common
inheritance and a private
trauma, an obsession. It is
our wealth, immeasurable
as the beauty we found
along the pathways of our

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Hanging Loose

Suspended from the veins of time itself
almost royal in bloodless blue emptiness
I hang in the balance

I'm leaving the end point
to find my beginning
the place where the thread snapped and

dangled me
between histories that won't allow themselves
to be chosen

Only the hills the sky
the dying light
witness my heavy weightlessness


Focus, Spring

What’s hanging in the balance here,
this planet we misname as earth,
when seas topped mountains, they its bed,
then green and pleasant, for its turf,
but born blue cradle, life rebirthed,
a cycle onwards, rough terrain.

The dial, it hovers, waiting turn
of mind and culture register,
some due weight given to its cause,
while man kind only to his own,
though all that’s owned, joint stewardship,
and daily undermined for wealth.

As Eve draws near, a clearer voice –
for lunar’s cycle moves the tide –
if nature heard, some wayward learn;
but is the dusk too far advanced,
those adamantine chains too rust,
the diamond facet hard to cut?

Maybe the newborn lust for life
will cry out loud, not whimper soft,
awaken those whose slumbers last,
and force them rise and too attend.
All held meanwhile in this suspense,
our focus, spring, anticipate.


The Weight of the World

the weight of the world is hung on nothing
babies are weighed by the sky alone
His field lies barren of hope
evidence of arrogance
yet beautiful still
beautifully still

green and pleasant lands
making way for en route
harsh lines of man-made
to house the souls
with gold-lined pockets

lions, tigers, and bears
the imagination of midwives
the air is still with prophecy
nightmares soothe the conscious
darkness inhabits daylight
danger is pleasant
taste an illusion
sight an inappropriate joke
hearing is malevolence
tactility; fear
yet all surmounts to a fleeting gasp
that partially fills artificial lungs
that have replaced what held
the air of here once.


The leaving and the left

so much water over the dam
so much under the bridge

we make our leafy way from year
to year sprout soft then brittle

into gold before we leap
this day, for instance, the road

snakes us through the fog’s grey
breath and the mountains still

summer green from heavy rains
hesitate into October’s arms

our sighs count the highway’s
galloping stripes mile markers

and minutes clock themselves
against our odometers our watches

long ago you read me Pound’s poem
about the young wife’s longing

for her love’s return.

"By the gate now, the moss is grown"
we’ve grown older too

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Breathing Dance

This morning I wake, gaze up,
elbows dug into my sides, palms spread wide,
questioning where my God is in this new crisis.
The gravity of it all bears down on what I carry,
pushing my arms along with my best-laid plans
into the unknowing space at the gate.
I breathe in the blue

and it takes my hands, takes the lead
among the trees bent by the wind,
fed by the sun.
We dance to the hum of the green.
I let the heaviness fall alongside the leaves.
I rise to the occasion—
my arms grow wings.


How do you weigh the air


how do you weigh  
the air assigned us;
that piece of sky in
our granny’s womb

that transcendental
fowl whose bloodwet
wings fold & unfold
with steady promise

that gate left open
to exquisite pastures
which closes only
once we’ve passed


place it inside a poem,
let it float through time

but know: even beyond
the scales have limits



Solid in its package, hung in place
a wind lends leeway
swing & twirl.

A marksman could hit the heart of it.
We have legs to run, skip
leap onto crossroads
choose a direction.

Whether we amble or sleep & dance
weekends away, that path
will have us, lose us… make way
for others.

Destinations loom while we dither
and complain, pile years onto the plate
or be lucky to find an escape route
while still mindful.

These minds may be lax in their choices
but even a dull one can pull a body
to standing position before
hauling ass into a new reckoning.


Bad Actors at the Pity Party

Most times the weight
of our own expectations
draws tight as a noose.

How did this one person
escape? In this image,
someone broke free from

their scale of judgment.
One final calculation
determined their sum

is worth more than its parts.
Then climbed down from
the willow upon seeing

the locked gate open,
which it was all along,
obscured by the four

dark riders of creativity:
Perfection, Paralysis,
Doubt, and Despair.

Bad actors at the pity party
enjoyed by no one.
Especially the host.


Memories of Everyone Else’s Colorado

Perhaps if she and Gideon had lived in the kind of place everyone thinks about when they think about Colorado they’d still be married. Study the picture on the calendar, Mary told herself. This is where you should have lived.

What if they had moved up in the mountains, to the suburb of a ghost town, where the streets were unpaved ruts and the gate was wooden, something that Gideon could have built himself. He was handy. She would have been happy to bake bread for him, boil wild berries for jam, wash their kids’ diapers by hand. She would have gone barefoot for him then.

Taller than the mountains in the picture, the mountains in Colorado would have kept them safe. From his family, her family, his coach, his teammates, their wives, and the neighbors. They could have gone barefoot. Maybe they would have worn work boots. She would have admired her young, handsome husband as he did this and that around their log cabin and their girls romped in fields of tall grass. She’d have picked off the ticks.

She tried to imagine if they’d have electricity. Probably they’d have a generator. Her father would have made sure of that. She and Gideon would dance to their old records, so old that they were from the time before they were born. She remembered how they had met at a swing dance on campus, how he wore suspenders, how he swung her once twice several times. She remembered how they danced at Married Student Housing until the downstairs neighbors banged on the pipes. In her Colorado, no one would care if they strutted barefoot across the dirt floor to The Byrds’ “Mary, Mary.” Maybe the girls would have danced too in their energetic, awkward way.

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The unfortunate event of the sandwiches

Bag packed,
a convenient space
for sandwiches.

Ham, cheese,
maybe a little pickle,
construction started.

A supervisory gaze
whilst placing the
upper slice in situ.

‘A little thick?’
came the authoritative query,
‘Within regulation depth?’

A grabbed ear,
between forceful
thumb and forefinger

The meagre lunch
rammed into a
blue weighing bag.

‘0.5 grams over!’
(a negligible amount I felt)
must have been
the thickly sliced cheddar.

And then,
the unfortunate me,
like a child’s toy,
tossed into the air.

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The Weight of Waiting

The sheep are gone to the slaughterhouse,
the horse resettled two farms over,
I turned the chickens loose.

I’ll keep the dogs for company, for now,
but in a few days, a week at most,
once the last of the harvest is in

I’ll find them a better home.
There is nothing for them here,
nor for myself.

I spend my evenings on the veranda
sharing sunsets with an empty chair
and more often now, an empty bottle,

and my restless nights pacing,
haunting those silent rooms,
avoiding that cold, empty bed,

and it’s too much to bear. Soon
I will leave the barn unlocked,
will follow that narrow path

down from the main house,
will follow the memory of you
out into a different world,

and when I leave, like you,
I’ll leave the gate ajar.


Bag Lady

If I had a blue bag and it weighed a ton
I’d climb out of it, fill it with October sky.
In the bag I’d put farm gates, fences, a footpath.
I’d put trees, valleys, and hills wrapped
in silence and hues, in it.
I’d put in there every crow, magpie,
and galah in my street, every mockingbird,
the blooming apple tree in my front yard.
I’d find waterfalls and ancient caves
to put in there together with my neighbours’
soft chatter and wine-sipping on their porch.
I’d put in there my nanna who makes
the best cookies, ginger beer, and almond bread.
I’d put make-belief in the bag, lots of it,
and enough cauldrons to boil endless tales.
I’ll weigh the bag and find it weightless.
I’ll keep stuffing it with whatever may bring joy
then I’ll get back into the bag together
with the old windmill from my father’s farm
and find it’s weightless


Keeping an Eye

You are still my weighing scale. I hang decisions on you to see if they’ll float or sink. You hand them back to me, light as daisy chains, each step of your logic threaded onto the next. “I’ll be keeping an eye on you,” you’d said, the laugh in your voice already an echo. I place my leaden heart onto your palm, and you blow ‘til it fragments into dandelion wishes, soaring free. You lead me through unruly fields towards the mossy summit. You leave gates open. I fret about livestock escaping but you touch your finger to my lips ‘shhh’ and the cows, who were barely interested anyway, go back to munching.

The town below pockets out beyond our bare feet, unzipping night’s slumber along the doorways of the High Street. There’s the sparrow-beaked florist. There’s the butcher, who you vowed to never visit again. Who flung a string of his Best Lincolnshire sausages across the shop floor after you complained his scales were imprecisely calibrated for bring-your-own containers. From here we can see the morning huddle outside the bakery. Gone to a better place they’d said, their voices spiked with sugar. They saw only your difference. They didn’t see your galvanising possibility. Nor how you steamed through the dutiful congregation that day, bathed in a blaze of purpose, flouncing across autumn-braised tussocks like a creature as yet uncategorised.

They told me I wouldn’t be able to cope. That I should find somewhere more suitable. But why would I leave you after so many years of waiting?

I wear you lightly these days, a crown of daisies on a diminishing haze of hair. “Are those sausages?” you ask. “They might be,” I say. You hmph a bit but you’ve mellowed with the years. All the same, I wrap them in a napkin

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The crowd shuffles forward. I catch a glimpse of the girl at the front of the line. The dress looks misshapen – its hem muddied from trailing through the grass. In the poster, the dress is turquoise, translucent fabric and glimpses of blue-tinged sunlight as it moves through the air. Real life was less hypnotic, as though with the expectations of each new body, the dress shed another layer of colour.

What's the deal with the dress? I whisper to the woman behind me.

Ease of flight, she says to me, reciting the brochure. To make the scales more accurate.

I watch the girl in the dress sit in the blue harness, the scales wobbling as it adjusts. If done correctly, the scales slowly decrease as your body and mind become lighter. Or so the Instagram testimonials said.

I am a new woman! – Betty, Chester.
I never think about texting Dave now – Sandra, Brighton.
I got a promotion the Monday after – highly recommend! – anonymous, Glasgow.

I wondered what I might say.

As I watch, her body glides through the air. She is engulfed in a wash of fabric as her toes touch the edge of the clouds. To my left, a fast and furious clicking sound. I turn to see the photographer hired to capture a baptism by flight.

The scales reveal a drop of 10 lbs.

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When it is Time

Hinged freedom
Beset with the day
Which ladens the load
Swaying so precariously off kilt
Struggling to set to tare

Skies weighted in promise
Tattoed in sickly sighs of
Carpe diem
Which we'd rip from the mantelpiece,
we never owned
forever owing rent for

Dusting the meadows
From the mountains,  
Screaming of love so free
That the past would fade
Under running feet
Aged yet nimble in liberty,
Dancing and flattening

Emerald swatches
Of shamrocks we'd box to rot
Because we won't need any luck
Nor roads or cliched paths
For we are still
Here – at one.


An offering

Looking up momentarily from the gleaming scales, the weighman cast his rheumy eyes over the villagers gathered on the cracked dirt path in front of his station and, tonguing his rotten gums, noted plenty of regulars amongst the human puddle.

His was a very specific service in the marketplace but knowing the exact weight of one’s wares had been made necessary by decree, so wiry hands would drop coins – clipped copper scraps occasionally accompanied by a spotless silver circle, unmarked barring smudges from incredulous thumbs – into a shoddy tray and fussily place sacks of grain, a basket of beets, a bundle of worn hides, a pouch of shot, a newborn lamb or a bloody bag of offal into the blackened bronze crucible of the weighman’s altar before a few suffocating moments passed and a soft rasp not unlike a knife shearing through old leather would deliver judgement.

Stood next to the crude market gate and waiting their turn at the back of the crowd, however, were two figures new to the weighman. Screwing up his eyes into tiny raindrop-grey slits, he saw two men of average build dressed in long, black priestly robes and dark eyeglasses, one of whom was carrying some kind of sack. Both wore impassive expressions and stared directly forward.

The weighman’s skin prickled with a dread sensation he could not place, but the heavy chime of coins in his tray broke the spell.
An hour passed and the weighman’s unease, a sense of clammy yet ephemeral hands clawing at his collar, grew as the two men neared the station.

Upon their turn, they took the step up simultaneously, heavy tacked boots

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We're walking the gap
between the double nubbed hills
near your parents house

You carry a rucksack of artefacts:
a ring split in half
a twisted curl of his red hair
two dried daisies ready for peeling

I carry a small tiger in my ribcage
who I hush into closing its jaws
(and, eventually, into submission)

The sky breaks into blue
I take a bite from the firm orange of the sun
Your mouth swings open
I hang from the hinges

We remove each others tongues with pincer fingers
Mine weighs the same as a chaffinch wing
Yours the cavern of a full eagle heart

At the clearing we rinse our skin
with deciduous leaves
let the magnets in our four feet
lead in a fresh direction


Guardian of the scales

You have weighed hearts -
your snout sniffing for
their blood-slippery lies,
and the warmth
of their wanting atria,
your ears pricking
at their lub-dub heavy voices.
You have weighed feathers -
your jackal-sharp eyes watching
their light truths rise,
tickling crocodile jaws.
You have weighed them all
until your teeth cracked open
Osiris's green-skinned gate.


Non-Human Nature

Whenever I take precious time
out from the commitments
of contemporary life
to trace a path through greenery
with my greenish eyes,
I tend to feel as light
as a bare blue bag
gently swaying in spring air
without a single gram
of contents to weigh it
At such times,
I try not to see green
in scientific or symbolic senses.
I try not to see green
on a microscopic level
as some chemical called chlorophyll.
I try not to see green
as a stylised textbook illustration
of green light
reflected & refracted
off & through surfaces.
I try not to see green
as a secondary colour,
as a certain blend
of two primary colours:

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The Moose Hunt

In Aroostook County, moose season comes around in September and goes on its merry way in October. Each hunter gets to fell one animal — if they have a moose tag. The chances are better if you opt for a cow, but most applicants want the antlers – a 6-foot trophy only produced by the bulls.

I was not in Maine to hunt. I was, however, aware of hunt. How could I not be with the influx of people, the marketing for guides and gear, restaurant specials and the like. The hunt brings in $15 million to the otherwise disadvantaged local economy. I am not in Maine to hunt moose, but when I get a lift into town to buy groceries I can’t help but gawk at the carcasses tied down in the back of pickup trucks, antlers extending beyond the bed.

They pull into the gravel parking lot in front of the tackle shop. I’ve been inside to buy plastic worms to try my luck at luring fish from the Aroostook River onto my dinner plate. They stock hunting gear, flannels, warm hats with ear flaps, knives, bows and arrows, an array of rifles and a section of pink camouflage gear “for the ladies” that won’t help anyone avoid being seen. Though I think that’s the point.

The weigh station outside the shop feels like a sort of gallows, two telephone poles with a cross beam at the top have been cemented into the parking lot. Chains hang from a pulley attached to the cross bar at one end and an eclectic winch at the other.

A woman in a black hoodie and boots comes out with a tape measure. She guides the driver to reverse the bed of the truck between the poles, so the head of the moose is directly centered under the cross beam. She measures the antlers. This is a young buck, antlers barely protruding from the skull. After she measures them, she wraps the chains around the bone, secured with some sort of alchemy I can’t make out from where I sit in the passenger seat of a beat up pickup, trying to observe discreetly.

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I carry parts of you in my handbag,
leaves, concors, berries, acorns,
but mostly I carry you in my heart;
the sweeping russets of autumn,
stark trees frosted, snow silent
as the dormant branches
wrapped in a coat of icy wind.
I walk with you when bluebells spread
under the canopy of new beginnings,
grass verdant and lush while birds
stake out their territory in bright song.
And in summer I languish in your abundance,
revel in the perfume of your fullness,
walk your paths until the ground turns to mulch
and the first fruits fill my handbag with your offerings.



Crackers burst in distance
drawing waves of light-
A bait of life.

Fireflies fly weightless
into darkness-
A road through emptiness.

Shadows of cotton clouds rise
above the quiet rustle of the wind
Dropping of a gift carries sorrow home.

Incoherent voices fade into wilderness-
I no longer dream.


Winding Down

Backpack on a meat scale weighs vagabond
opportunities, mapping out my life like a wind rose,
sure of location, content with time and space  
allotted, spotted hands engage in shadowgraphy.

Eight crisscrossing fingers flutter
up and down like peacock butterfly,
wings dusting yellow August fields
bracing for autumn; my outdoors excursions
increase in frequency and duration as I
attempt to maximize intimate moments
failing light complements Mabon balance.

A buffalo plaid shirt conceals my crépey skin
and liver spots that color aged arms like moss
encroaching along riverbed rocks and boulders—
minus it regenerative powers negating erosion.

My breath spews forth like misty daybreak clouds,
hanging dew heavy mere seconds, dissipating
immediately or vaporizing through a blue hole
in a redwood grove canopy where light flickers
like beeswax candles—red and blue. Watching.
Waiting for the sun to cross my “celestial equator”
hijacking twilight shades one final time.

May westerly breezes soothe not tousle my silvery hair
let me access a well-trodden path curling though an open gate

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The weight of iron blue hangs in silence, slicing breeze, tracing a wound in the sky above. Bullets towards vanishing points where heat lives inside swirling circles on top of mountain fragrance rising from good-natured leaves. I follow the scar, stretching to hold the vista on my tongue, sucking up the path thirstily. The tree wall advances, eating up slithering strips of naked earth — spaghetti slurp and tamarind pesto.

Border frontier checkpost inviting me to surrender to music carried in dying language. I feel the squelch of subsonic whispers running underneath my bare feet. Burying my toes into mid-afternoon warmth, ready to leave this space of silence. Across the skeleton spine I inhale the sleepy scent of enslaved carbon.

Jangal Santhal, wild versus docile, smile versus projectile; Naxalbari resistance reaches out from Hatighisa, offering her visions and tears, remembrance for the fallen.


An Emily Dickinson Symphony

What mountains molt and sky skips into is not given you.
All you are is an I imploring this cozy clump of trees
to respond to your sparse spaces.
From where you stand inside your life,
everything rolls away everywhere, unfurling like
“wide old velvet sleeves, green things.”

But you, still a still fetus inside god’s grand tummy,
you cannot gather this “infinite contain.”

So pregnant with yourself, you hook your small time like a collarless coat
into mundane nothings: sex, groceries, passports, book clubs.

You go into these like moonlight down a stream: bound to fade.
For what fades faster than skin, stitched as it is deep inside
small time, a blue mass of blunders rippling in the wind.

So searing (open? opening? opened?) you roam your life,
photographing desire when all you want is a photograph of (your) desire.

But what if this picture you are listening to right now
as you stand on the steps just beyond its frame was just that:
your desire captured on a canvas, captured like a large animal
that feels more freedom inside a cage against which she can rage.

We do art because we are angry with the world.

What if this moment right now with your heart straining

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Untitled [your words weigh heavy]

Your words hang in the air between us for one dazzling instant, before they prise my lips apart and force themselves inside, roaring down my throat and into my lungs. They’ve stolen my breath before I’ve grasped what’s happening.

Trying to remember what the nurse said to do in this situation, I exhale hard, and cough them out, directly onto the scales. They sit there, glistening with mucous, pulsing.

You lean over to take a look. You seem surprised by their shape and texture; you’re proud, perhaps, of the way that - between us - we’ve given them life. Meanwhile, I try to slow my breathing, wiping spit from my mouth with the back of my hand.

You’ll have to feed them, you say, before closing the door.

I’m not about to let them die so I pick the words up from their weighing cradle and put them to my breast. You don’t come home that night, or the next.

For the next year, I suckle and nurture and try to soothe your words. Of course, their hunger cannot be sated nor their displeasure eased. And each week that goes by, the scales tell me that they weigh more. My arms weaken from carrying them with me all day. My skin becomes sallow, my bones brittle. The nurse comes. She gives me supplements, checks my inhaler is in date.

Every once in a while, you walk up the path unannounced, to check on your words.

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Blue Tote

gifted on my 21st birthday,
the blue tote soaked the sun’s light
as I’d stuff it to capacity --

its contents
a reflection of varied states
of contentment

a paperback copy of Anna Karenina,
sterling silver chains, slightly tarnished,
orange Tic Tacs, Juicy Fruit sticks,
crumpled receipts from 5-star restaurants,
parking violations, monthly cashier’s checks

and various stages
of consumption

uncapped Bic pens, Crayola crayons,
pennies waiting for wishing wells,
a coupon for a free Frosty, tubes of cherry
red and midnight blue lipstick, movie
tickets, midnight showing.

The tote spent restless days
on shoulders and sleepless
nights on bedposts --

up and down the coast,
mileage and carrier

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The weight of the world

There is no perfect balance,
the world is blue and red,
and the green often doesn’t enter
into anyone’s accounts.

Some things have no weight,
like trees and birds
and the other side of the hill,
the white house red-shuttered
in the fold of the valley,

like dragonflies and carp in the pool,
wind rustling oak leaves,
acorns in the path, dusty
and ordinary, where we walk,
skinny furtive cats.

The weight of wants, desires,
waste and war, cruises, beaches,
dark glasses to shield from the sun
and unsmiling haggard faces,

new cars, old people with young faces,
fashion shows, hamburgers,
the gleam of celebrity teeth,
crocodile tears and thoughts and prayers,

the weight of gas,
guzzled until we choke,

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Tipping The Scales

Ayesha stares out of the hotel’s open window into a night sky that cracks thunder and flashes ziggy spikes of white. The rain trampolines from rooftops, gushes from overflowing gutters. She watches as roads become rivers; rivers of mud, branch, up-turned tables, chairs, and who knows what else. Flimsy fishing boats in the quay rock and roll. Lucky will be the ones to survive, she thinks. Her sister is watching a news channel, sound muted as Greek is an unknown language to them. A reporter is stood at the edge of a lake. Red-tiled rooftops pock the water’s surface, then the image switches to the field of wheat it was before, to a cattle shed, a big bright sun, a tractor. And then it switches to an old man in the doorway of his home, shoe and topless, bent and broken, sweeping coffee coloured water from his hallway as a girl in crusted silt camouflaged clothes targets crevices with the meagre flow from a hosepipe. The man sweeps and weeps. What else is he to do? This is all he has. Such images need no words.

The television is showing news repeated from the storm one month before, three days before Ayesha and her sister arrived in this country and have ever since been shepherded hither and thither to places dry and clean. Ayesha turns to see her sister perched on the edge of the bed, sitting glued to the screen. In one hand she holds a felafel wrap, the other, the remote control. She nibbles like a mouse, eyes not leaving the screen. Then, in one corner of the screen, the word ‘live’ appears and it’s a different reporter, and it is night, and it is now. And it is happening again. Ayesha closes the window, calls her sister’s name, asks her to switch of the television, finish eating. This is a tiny hotel room, but there is just enough space between the bed and window for them to put down their mats, kneel, and pray.


La Galerie Éphémère

we will gather things
for the weighing bag
moths’ wings, skeletons
of lime leaves, traces
of tigers in red weather
crumbling honesty
coins, the fade
of blue smoke, dew
on fescue

we will find
chalk pale ghosts
imaginary insets
for voiceless CDs
the secrets
of a summer
shower we’ll fill
& fill    more

& more
until the slightest
tremor of the sprung
pointer informs
us enough   

La Galerie
Éphémère invites
you to its marvels



The weight of the world hangs on small things, like a second
That matters, shouldering itself into the present long after it has passed. Or
The way little shadows mutter under each roof tile to wait out the sun.
The way blinking might be more significant at one time than another, or
A treeline might have tufts in it–
Insisting on being sawtoothed to prove that it’s not all one thing.
The way a flame can’t sit still; the way a c(h)ord could be a rope or
A stack of notes and the way an egg feels like a stone in the hand. And yet,
Not everything must be handled
To be real.


The Weight of Nature

I might weigh potatoes
or beans or tomatoes,
or items that fit on my scale.
But there’s no way to measure
the ultimate pleasure
of walking a steep mountain trail.

The sounds of the birds,
their incessant words,
the flitting of color, the whoosh of the brook.
The wind in the leaves,
the smell of the trees,
the face of a deer fading where the leaves shook.

A shocked chipmunk’s squeak,
a bright blue jay’s shriek,
bears lumbering out of the wood.
The scold of a squirrel,
an eddy, a swirl—
I’d not trade a thing if I could.

I weigh my potatoes,
my beans and tomatoes,
winter squash, garlic, and peas.
But there’s no way to measure
the infinite pleasure
from mountains, the trails, and the trees.



I closed the doors on pale lifetimes.
Ferns favored the sunrays,
Green vegetation common, lush.
My choices attempted “trying”
which failed.

Political mistakes sparked
haze from nearby clouds;
it’s bright. Weaving messengers
streaked through parallel timelines,
the bees continuously
crossing paths with me.

Behind us, blue pockets of leaves
gently flew away
into another dimension.
Here, there are roads, bloodshed.
Together, we formed all realities.

I formed connections, eggshells
that turned into excuses
that turned into fences.
Just this once, multiple loves
weigh in on Time.

Bamboo Days mean <i>seize your minutes</i>.
Tonight, secrets tipped the scales
in our favor, the worst leading us
to emerald pastures.

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No Plugs on Cradle Mountain

“Lose the hair dryer,”
Buff repeated.
“The brush—brushes—
we’ll be in the brush
and scrub—
This is No Man’s Land
—lose the loofa
If it’s got a plug
it’s got no place in your pack.
That book…
How heavy is that thing
A human heart
weighs a quarter K
Take only what you need.
You came here to get away
Didn’t you?
Thirty kilos isn’t much—
A large turkey
You bring it, you carry it.”



As a child I always beat Granma at our games of cards. “Snap!” I would shout triumphantly. No one else would play with me. Granma would bring me juice and biscuits.

“Well done,” she’d say. “You’re The Champion!”

“I’m better than you Granma!”

“Of course you’re better than me,” she’d say, smiling as I greedily snatched up the dog-eared cards and dealt them out yet again.

After Grandad finally had to move to the hospice, dying only a few days later, Granma had no one to look after anymore.

She moved back to the countryside she’d always felt kinship with, where within three months she’d created and was single-handedly running her own donkey sanctuary.

It wasn’t just animals she loved. All her life she’d given pieces of her heart to other people, from complete strangers she knew she’d never see again; to a family member shunned by the rest of them, even my parents, for behaviour they considered intolerable, until by the time she died – and I know this as fact because of my experiment – the type my family were disgusted by – Granma’s heart weighed nothing at all.



"Weigh in on this
tell me what you think –

she was born on a Wednesday
a sentiment of woe
and her body is warm
glowing, bright
the fire that burns this house down
the smile that puts it out.

And she emits this power
this strength
the potential for growth
to stand, to soar
to speak.

Cut your teeth
bone emerging through gums
gummy smiles
mouthing mannerisms
lips that err on this side of caution

the safe side
hold on, there's turbulence
break, break,
brake –

we're stumbling into adolescence
taking detours down wormholes

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This Moment Of Goodbye

Goodbye weighs heavy,
forever heavy as those distant, mysterious,
those death mist-shrouded mountains
that constantly curse this paralyzing, hungry Earth;
hurl profanities at dreaming, silken skies;
and holler lewdly at every manipulative, ill-fated star
blinking through the heavens.
It screeches banshee loud –
loud as their obscene, accusatory, their envious peaks.

Fine, fierce memories soon forgotten
leave me shaken – leaf-like shivering –
at the edge of some nameless abyss,
pearlescent droplet after pearlescent droplet
falling gently, unremorsefully,
onto creaking, secretive vertebrae;
seeping, unencumbered, into stained, sullied long bones;
floating conspiratorially
throughout marrow deep;
slowly bleeding out
into possessive, inconsiderate lungs;
arguing within cold, weeping plasma;
licking softly, eagerly, starvingly
at sobbing, grieving, electrified nuclei;
sneaking stealthily,
unseen, nefarious
past weary, wary, exhausted, and paranoid
obsessive compulsions

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She did not like heavy luggage. A real aversion to it in fact. It was one of her “things”.
That was why I had spent most of the day in Oak Court shopping centre in Milton Keynes looking for a suitable bag for her.
Listen to me. Looking for a bag – has to be blue, can’t be rectangular (another one of her things) – to allow her to pack her things and leave me.  
I thought we had something. The sacrifices we made for each other.
I got rid of my cat (no animals), my car (it wasn’t blue) and at least twelve friends who said she wasn’t good enough for me. In return, she agreed to walk on my carpets (with shoe covers) and she even held my hand as long as I used hand sanitiser first.
The shopping centre was a kaleidoscope of colour compared to our blue house. I watched in fascination while couples walked past, seemingly carefree, kissing each other without face shields.  
It was 4pm before I finally found exactly what I was looking for. A light hexagonal shaped shoulder bag. I was 99% sure she was OK with hexagons; it was definitely octagons which were the problem. I checked it with my luggage weigher – the dial hardly moved. Perfect.

The truth is that I hoped she would never use it. As I gazed out of the window on the bus home, I imagined her throwing her arms around me, telling me that it was all a mistake and that she was going to stay with me. I indulged myself with an extension of the fantasy where she didn’t immediately go and change her clothes afterwards. I would buy her that sapphire ring and have it shrink wrapped in hypoallergenic antibacterial blue plastic. We would do something crazy like go out to the summer house in the garden.  
I felt positive on the walk up the lane to our house.  
New beginnings.  

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Bodies Blurred Together

The baby is bending time to a dawning will.

She is nursing her on the porch, looking up into the cloudless blue. The air gently thrumming with summer insects. The heady scent of sunbaked grass. Dust between bare toes. Gory peach pits in a bowl at her bare feet.

Day and night don’t particularly matter any more. Life is lived in four hour increments at the very most. Some days, it will be ten minutes, pushing a huge glass of water down her throat and stretching her hands, wrists, fingers before lowering her down and feeling her latch immediately. The midnight sun midday darkness of breastfeeding.

Birds call to one another. Her fingers are somehow stained with blackberry juice already, and she can’t even remember having seen the blossom this year.

The baby is bending time a little differently with each passing day.

Across the field, by the neighbours’ porch, the crowd begins to gather. Men and women silently holding squirming bundles. Gently swaying. Patting tiny backs. Singing.

The scales are ready. She rises, joins the line, feels very far away from herself.

The baby will be placed in the blue cotton bag. The number on the scale will tell her how she is mothering. Whether they can begin the journey down the path into the hills and all that awaits them or whether they return to the porch across the meadow.

The line shuffles forward. She twirls a finger through the baby’s strawberry blonde hair. Bodies blurred together, they wait.



“Breathe through your nose!
Not your mouth!” She shouts.
I’m trying my best, but the wind
doesn’t relent ― my nose
has become a river, silted,
and air has to find another way.
My mind, blocked, moves
no further forward; every thought stops.
Clinging to the edge of the cloud,
I watch the blue sky turning grey,
the hills morphing into a palimpsest,
and weightlessness seeping into this final day.
Woozily, I lower myself down to earth,
my sense of relief is almighty
when I feel my feet hitting solid ground.
Metaphysics and ontology can wait,
there’s lunch to cook, washing to hang out
and kindness to show.
The belief that I can step outside of Nature
is farcical: How can I try and deny
my ‘self’ as embodied? No, I can never
rise above the concreteness of this world.
And yet, I’m not just materiality ― mere body ―
I am forever an unanswerable question to my Self.
Alighting from the cloud is the first step
in my search for a hinterland:
Shall I look for ladders, open gates,
or a winding staircase?
No, I’d like to meet words, sentences
and whole conversations,

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weigh me

weigh me
but you won't, and don't, but do
wrap my glass heart
in warm cotton, forego
my saboteurs, and cheer me up
knock on my door when its raining

love me instead
hand me flowers, carry my woes
ride us to greeneries through
winding roads and wuthering height
the north yorkshire moors
were glorious
the peak district and its seductive
hills had a calming way about them
i enjoyed them and the sauvignon blanc
in the steam room
in the spaceship hot tub
of our coronation cabin, where we saw nicole scherzinger steal the show
where we made easy meals from M&S
and made of our money a nest
a glamour a cozy blanket

grounding us to each other
to this gay domesticity
fairy lights on the fire place, baby's breath on the isle of wight vase
blue silver glass

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Unless You Say

Sleep was my only respite, and exercise my only reprieve.

Why you chose this time to leave, I won't ever know, unless you say.

I slept and then could not, and tried and tried again. And as the tears came, I rose in silence before the weeping came, noise I didn't have the strength to keep from the others. I slipped away, in quiet, and desolation, grabbing a small torch to keep me safer than I wanted to be.

Breathe I said. Breathe I said. Breathe, even the demon inside me said, understanding I needed to live to host the pain it curated within me. What could be purer than mountain air, I asked, a thought perhaps of clarity or confusion or utter silliness within a stewpot of recklessness.

I could not see past the torch's reach, but I knew the direction of the gate you built, stronger and more beautiful than the rickety fence of your grandparents' day. My feet brushed the grass alongside the path; I needed to make my own.

I moved slowly and quickly and with and without aim, breathing deeply, when I could between the tears and the heaving and the babble and the doubt. In the night's breeze, I could smell the leaves, a fleeting distraction from the invasive species of my thoughts.

The ground that held me up was moist in the damp. I slipped, descending, grasping for a branch, any form that would not hurt me more than I was hurting myself. I finally let out a howl, and began to sob. In the distance, I thought the others would not know that it was not a feral animal, or that the animal was me. Exhausted in ways only I could count, I curled up with

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Green Mountain

The laces of my walking boots are as long
as the blisters between my toes.
You can see them in the years-long path
leading to a green mountain shaped
like your sleeping head.
In professional wrestling, they say
getting to the top is the easy bit,
staying there is the toughest.
So, when the hike feels its steepest
and the clouds spit out low self-esteem,
I put on another plaster, wear extra
layers under the thick coat
self-sabotage is desperate to throw away
and I look at the green mountain.
I watch it breathe in through its nose
and out through is mouth. I count
its fingers and toes and its books
on the shelf and favourite yogurt
in the fridge. I watch it breathe
and let its snore remind me
it is comfortable enough to sleep
because it is staying.


Self Knowledge

I rush around the world like Santa Claus. Except, of course, he only does it once a year, but I go round and round. In your common parlance I’m at it twenty-four seven. The other difference is that everyone looks forward to a visit from Santa, but nobody looks forward to a visit from me.
I take many forms. Anubis is one of my favourites. It really puts the wind up them. Another favourite is the Archangel Michael, especially if I’m visiting someone who professes Christian faith.
Whatever my form, they eventually work out why I’m there. It’s the same the world over. They leap to their feet – It’s not fair – It’s not time – I have so much to do – You don’t understand. I always shake my head – I’m sorry, it is time. That’s when they notice the scales.
What’s that for?
It’s to weigh your soul.
I say it as cheerfully as possible because it seems to disturb them even more if I use my deep creepy voice.
They tell me they’ve been good, kept all the commandments. I ask what is the greatest commandment? They reply instantly – Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. When I ask if they have followed this commandment they always nod vigorously.
Then I ask what is the second greatest commandment? There is usually a pause, some hesitation followed by a triumphant – Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
I ask if they have followed this second commandment. As they chew their lips and look at their feet, I pass my hand through them and place their soul in the scales. Then I turn back to face them.



Down the road, past the fluttering, hungry gates
Right where the red trees beat fire
with their limbs,
And the path becomes water
Someone, faceless, falls
to a second death, flies to dust —
Remains rendered nameless and
Time hurries along, its different faces callously indifferent,

By the side of the old, thirsty well
With the hills curving around to conceal, conspire
Something strips a grieving, cloaked woman
Tells her to jump.
A drowning child holds out a hand
Over the belly of the sun, to cup a prayer
The hand lies forgotten, lost minutes later,
still opened. The sky grows
heavy with secrets and ghosts.
It is so quiet here.


Returning Home

The sky is cerulean blue. The emerald-green hills roll along the horizon. The shrubs open into the pastures. The fence made of sticks circles the boundaries of our courtyard.  

Today, the gate is open. Thatha must have forgotten to close it after he left to graze the cows. Everything and everyone is quiet now. No cuckoo sings, no coucal hops. The insects have disappeared into their homes too. Everyone enjoys their siesta.

It is at this time that Harry from the town, slips in quietly and drops off supplies for the next day into the blue bag hanging at the edge of the gabled roof of the house. Toothpastes, toothbrushes, Atta, tomatoes, potatoes, apples and oranges, glue stick – anything that we require and order over the phone the previous day will be found in that bag. Amma says that Nishma, my older cousin, as a little girl had once remarked, ‘It is our very own magical bag.’ Nishma is twenty-three years old now and the practice hasn’t stopped. Testimony to Harry’s punctiliousness and our love for the status quo.

The blue bag hangs down with the weight of all the things inside the bag until we empty it and it flaps in the wind. Of course, we unhook the bag on rainy days to prevent it from getting soaked.

Soon, it will be time for Thatha to arrive, chewing the end of a twig, after herding the cows. Amma will prepare a hot cup of coffee. And then, Amma will get busy cooking fresh hot ottis and chicken curry for dinner. Thatha will lug a pile of wood. I will help Thatha heat the water by filling the giant vessel with water for the bath.

Read more >


Do not be afraid to weigh
your blue moments with wind. Let them
whisper away like a voice inside the bush.

Your body is an entrance—
a passage to the new dawn,
to the hues of the forest reeling of life.

In case you don't know, no place is a home
till you name a home there & a garden
can be a prison if it reeks of memories

of the green pastures graying.
Of the place a flower once bloomed.
Tell me the value of the name that has no one

to answer it. Or the usage of the stable
void of horses. Do not be afraid
to place your worries over the hills.

Let them thread into birds' songs.
Let them know how greenish—
lively a home could be.


I’m Begging You to Knock It Down

I’m sorry—I did toss the kitchen scale out front, so we’re no longer able
to measure the heft of cotton candy grapes other than by mouth feel.
But while I’m here—I should mention I’m slightly allergic and much
preferred the lemon drop watermelon you ordered not last week, but the one before.

Promise, I’m not nagging—but, I saw you went back to IKEA without me
and bought that hexagonal cross-body bag. So cool.

Totally unrelated. Are you saving up—for our trip to Michigan? You promised
to lay flagstone where I drag my feet each morning.

I left you—a line. Structure to follow.
I set many little traps to guarantee your success.

Do you remember—that bag of freshly ground coffee on the counter?
Ready to funnel into its maker.

Did you see—that empty shredded cheese pouch? Placed on the edge of the middle fridge shelf.
Behind the door. To the right. Nothing left. So, you might help me

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Antigua Blue

The gate left open again
and the sheep have escaped to the back pasture;
the grand collies with them.
When the McAllister sisters step outside,
they will say, Not the way to begin our morning.
Yes, the sky is blue-eyed clear,
the lake behind their foothills sapphire and sunlit,
the monument in their yard large enough to see from the air.
We will be landing in about five minutes,
my rental car will be waiting and I'll be on my way.
In no time I'll be on their unpaved road through their pastures
colored with Delphiniums, chicory, blue specked grass,
lavender roses, blue violets, fields of teasel.
I haven't seen them in a half dozen years and I can't wait.
They gave me a polished teal agate on my seventieth birthday
and I glance at it now and laugh. Memories
of when we first met in Antigua as teenagers flow into me.
We went para-skiing together that afternoon and afterwards
described the ocean as a merging of shades of blue.
I already have my planned schedule memorized.
Probably have to fix the gate again, help round up the sheep,
compliment Sarah on her accidental blue hair,
Sam on her long hair braided with blue striped lace,
and complete a number of chores they have ignored
happy to be with them in their house of beautiful blues.


Fundamental Measurements

today I will weigh the wide blue sky
measure it in baby sparrows' breaths

the clouds will be calibrated
in heartbeats of the cream-grey gulls

I will calculate the age of the folded hills
as a tally of old men's final faltering dreams

five-bar-gates are the only correct way
to capture the fence's fierce compassion

and direct interrogation, yes-no answers only,
will lead me to understand the path's desires

and blade by blade I will enumerate
the happiness of the grassy meadow

only then, when all is properly accounted for,
will we be unfettered from the tyranny of numbers


You Are Not Meant to Hold It All

I hold you
in the palm of my hand,
the weight of you,
of time—
your burdens
from the mountain you once lived on
and the smaller hills you climb every day.

In the distance,
just beyond the gate,
is that small boy you once were,
soft curls of blond,
hope like a new leaf
tucked behind your ear.

In an old photograph,
I see the younger you,
eager to please and
happy to play card games.
Allow yourself to imagine again.
See what it feels like
to not know what’s around the corner
and not feel the need to catch things,
make things tidy.
You are not meant to carry so much
in that cloth bag of worries.
You are not meant to hold it all.


The Weight on Her Shoulders

Ah Poh said that Ah Ma carried me on her back in a blue bag tied over her shoulder like a sling. She cut out two holes to pull my legs through, and off she went, balancing the whole 15 pounds of six-month-old me, a light bounce on her gait while my feet dangled and knocked her hips like a drum. Ah Ma walked unpaved roads, crossed fields of grass with mooing cows and shrieking birds; miles of soil pounded under her thinning soles before reaching the orchard like others like her, mothers, sisters, wives picking apples for $5 an hour in the cooling wind of Fall. Ah Ma’s large, brimmed hat shielded me from the sun. My weight on her back, she ascended the ladder and standing on a rail, she moved her hands in tandem, grasping one fruit after another and twisting its stem until it snapped, and dropping them in the pail on the ladder shelf. Ah Ma said I would fall asleep drooling on her neck, then wake up to wail hunger. She sat me on her lap, fed me with apple puree from a glass container she pulled from her pocket, gave me a fallen apple to play with. By the end of the shift, her bags filled with Jonagold, Honeycrisp, and McIntosh were weighted; money was placed in Ah Ma’s palm. At sunset, she secured me in her makeshift sling, and bounced off with her pockets jiggling with coins and crinkling American dollars, the flashlight in her right hand casting a yellow triangle. Sometimes, a family picked us up from the side of the road. Sometimes, I dreamed I was swimming in a sea of red apples.



in the morning, i weigh
the blue of the sky

no trees burn, no
plastic odor from junk

left by picnickers who should
have known better
to weight down the world

tomorrow i
will weigh the
turtle-churned plastic

tuesday, the dreams
of humpback whales

friday, the oozing
riverbank, the part falling
into the lake

i caught a catfish once
and, regretting,
threw it back



Time Present.
Time Past.

Like grey, wet cobblestones
from the stream
in spring.
We've filled them
in our
gunny sacks.

The gleaners and I,
picking up
our cards
eroded dimensions,
we sing off-key.

But when sung,
the mellifluence
is for
our babies
who will
leave for
the university towns
this coming summer.

Read more >

The edge of aliveness

To know the melody that aliveness hums
To bring up a soul
as green as the meadows,  

Why carve a form with substance profound?
Why infuse it with abstract sounds and shadows?

Why guard a being with the weight of one's own?

– For a being as light as the breeze, beneath self-forged gates and grounds.


My Bag

I had a lifetime of projects,
that I carried round in a plastic bag.
A paper bag would have been better
but plastic is more durable.
And it needed to be.
It has had to last a lifetime,
my bag.

A lifetime of ideas,
doings and sayings
carefully annotated and stored
for use sometime later.
To be finished, or started
sometime later.

I can add an idea,
capture a thought,
write it down
and it would be
safe there
in my bag.

Soon I needed something bigger
thicker and stronger.
But then it became too heavy
my new bag.
Who would have thought
that dreams
could be so heavy.

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the gift

if what we send is too heavy,
too light, too much, not enough
not to stop, the opposite, to exist

in this moment, that one?
to stand in a gift shop and talk
if time is a gift, does it hurt to continue

if treatment hurts? it does
is it worse to want to stop (please
don’t stop) to listen, respect what you want

and if (and when)
it is out of your hands
if the tumour no longer responds

to stop treatment
(they might any time)
you can still exist in this moment

you are strong
you do not oppose it
flowing you away from everyone

the jury is out
the gates are still open
God only knows if the stamp is a good one

if what I have sent is too heavy
too light, not enough, to bear my prayer


A Saving Grace

The scales stay impervious
Hesitant against the dead weight
Tugging at the spring
It may yet blossom
It may not yet carry any fresh bloom
A season is hermetically sealed
In the silence of unaffordable words
The buyers of a voice can wait awhile
While the emptiness gets healed

We take swimming lessons
Across aerial views
The avian self follows the eye
Till the exhaust of lost days reprise
A slowly dispersing smog
That the rains shall further expel
Taking ghost stations upon invisible perches
Catching trains of lost thought
Tying loose ends into fresh offsprings
Spawning new from what ends now
In the hope that the last rays of breath
Shall catch a saving grace.


Twenty-One Grams

Weigh your souls here, gently, quietly,
infinite digressions judged and assimilated,
all your past assessed and assembled,
to know your history is to know your future –
are you sure you wish to know
the truth at the weary heart of you?

This used to be made of gold and truth,
emblazoned resplendent assessment of you.
Austerity times change even the gods,
weary passive observers glimpsed
in twilight, shadows and silhouettes,
cast by the light of the moon.

Objective truth is realised here,
can't hide away hidden violent thoughts.
We all think we are the hero of our story,
how will you react to becoming the villain?
Your soul shrivels and sighs with veracity,
undermines the very core of you.

You are forgiven to hesitate at this moment,
are you really ready to be judged and seen?
All the secret judgements now loudly spoken
from loudspeakers, all your lies/half-truths
gilded in gold, memories printed online
for all to see your soul, wax and wane.

Read more >

22 Ounces of Leaving

every open door, any open door, another open door, that open door, your open door, further than the open door

stepping, striding, running, crawling, fleeing, flying

the path, the road, the way, the curve, the trail, the following

a smell, a taste, like power, or hunger, a sight, a shot

forward, ahead, larger, future, beyond, far, far, far like an echo

(the memory or the dream, the dark & the missing, the longing, the weighing of cost)


Weighing out the options

It’s a lazy Sunday afternoon. I’m chilling in a hammock, enjoying the gentle warmth of an early October sun as it leisurely rolls over yet still lush green lawn.
My first born, now a teenager, is sprawled on the inflatable mattress in a shady part of the garden, armed with a notepad, pen and his phone. Long blond curls frame his too serious face, and I can’t help but wonder when did I blink and my baby turned into this handsome young man. He’s still the goofiest of the goofs, still writes letters to Santa and still allows me to hug him in public, but there's a new sense of manhood about him.
He scrolls through his phone, makes notes, then crosses out what he’s just written, blows out the air through his mouth and scratches his head.
It’s love, you see. The kind that sweeps you off your feet and possesses you, body and soul.
It took time but he traced her to a small music shop a 45-minute train journey away. It was the closest he could find to the one that Metallica’s frontman has. Hanging on the back wall of the shop, apple red with golden shimmer, it came with a heavy price tag, but it was love at first sight, sealed forever with first riff.
“How's it going?” I ask.
He gives me the look.
“Even if I save ALL my pocket money, cut the grass every four weeks, do the bins, do all my chores, be exceptionally good at school and get tons of house points, I’ll still only be able to afford it in about two and a half years.” He frowns. “Are you sure you can’t help me with that?”
“No, buddy. It’s all on you.”
“Right. Right.” He scratches his head again and disappears into the house.

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Dead Weight

Weighing the emptiness that the sky holds
endless pain that lives secretly
in the heaving bosom
of those verdant skies

who knows it? who could tell?

stretched taut like a
thrumming wire devoid of its symphony
It’s an endless tale of woe and agony

and we ignorantly live our lives
like a hamster on a wheel
counting trees on the horizon
punctuating the undulating beauty of the rolling hills
blissfully lost in the beauty of nature

strolling in the lush green meadows and rolling hills
if only you could feel the pain it holds
the invisible pain of holding everything together
One last time—
unless the tourniquet breaks and blood gushes out
painting the horizon crimson red.

There is always a weight of the secrets that we carry in our life
something invisible but still existing
like that damn virus that held the lien to our lives
as we hunkered down
lived a version of each of our realities

Did it weigh anything?

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Drop the Weight

Take back the frown, the worn-out cloak —
I am heading back to myself.

In this bewildering era, confusion
is always one step ahead of the answer.

Let go of small talk, anecdotes —
Let's face the facts and take over.

There aren't enough hashtags
to define us.

We've already started it
by re-wilding the garden.

Drop the weight.
The only way is through.

Look up: is that the sun setting,
or another fire burning what is left of our future?

Do not take a picture, speak out!
Write a book! Bring it home, bring them home:

the wild, unnamed, untamed. Hold them
close to your heart, your heart will recognise them.

Roll up your sleeves, happy in your own skin —
the world needs us,

the world is us.


The wait

I'd been staring down that path for what felt like years. When Masie ran past the gate, closely followed by Charlie, I knew they’d be back soon. Soon. I stared down at my watch – 25 past. I watched as the hour hand slowly crept around the face, taunting as it neared closer to the hour. Where were they? The orchard was only down the road; it took me a few minutes to hobble there and back. Where were they? In the distance I could hear the church bells ringing, the yapping of a dog followed by faint laugher.

“Masie,” I called. “You know your mother doesn’t want you two staying out without lunch.” Again, muffled giggling followed but no reply.

“Charlie! Come on, she'll be worried!” Still, nothing. I begin to wander around the garden, peering through the trees, hoping to catch a glimpse of them. It was futile. Every time I saw a glint of their golden hair, I’d spin around only for it to be a bird taking flight. The crunch of leaves was nothing more than a mouse in the underbrush; the whistle in the air nothing more than the wind whipping past. As I was approaching the gate, resigned to having hunt for them myself, I spotted them. Skipping arm in arm with a basket of apples in each free hand.

“Grandfather!” Masie called out, face beaming in excitement. “We saw a deer and her baby and–"
I started chuckling to myself – of course! They always got distracted by nature. “Well, that must’ve been a good adventure! Now, let’s check the weight of these apples, shall we.”

Masie headed to the scales, reaching up to the blue bag and starting to tip the apples into it. Before I could follow, Charlie stopped me, abruptly

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Everything Disappears

On a good day, a child was born with the wind;
Newfound hope, in a small house bounded by trees,
The house that you stepped in, with the weight of your own limbs
You became my little dreamcatcher, just as you chased away the nightmares.
And with a gentle breeze, you’d sway. Soon to be carried away.
Measurements were due; height, weight, tooth and nails
Almost weightless once, then you took up a crib,
Not even seven summers had passed before you outgrew the blanket.
Asking again for a bedtime tale, or a divine lullaby
While cautiously hiding your baby teeth under your pillow
Little did we know, we’d soon be unable to plow
The rewards, the messages, an assurance of warmth, tenderness.
Soon they had to buy a new machine to understand how much you could weigh
And how many hours it took for you to last a day
Was it them or you who filled your pillows
with pages and threw out the old audiobooks?
Baby steps turned into a marathon, but you’d still learn to venture
the forests, and find beings the books wouldn’t tell you about
And you circled the bushes till the squirrels were drawn out
Dug out worms and threw them in the distance.
Everything was not perfect, but perhaps it was okay.
Unlike now, where the colors bother to light up a fastidious world
And the dogma has given its dogs new collars –
The start of an old chapter but the pages are dollars.
Eyes to the static, drowsy to the murmuring ache
Hurled in the shadows of your home, back to your bed
And you miss the texture of crayons, on paper and in your hands

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Weighing Your Words

In sheer panic you grab the papers, looking for your name, looking for what you wrote, stupidly wrote, thinking they would never read it, it would not be recorded, not held in the balance, but you saw your name there, how it could be there’s no knowing. They must not see, so you ignore their shouts and now you’ve got his electronic device, the one he writes his words on (what he writes is another matter) and you’re scrolling through that, frantically scrolling but you can’t find your words.

A woman is singing into your panic, a melismatic melody spooling into the emptiness of the room. She is leaning against the wall, she must see the wooded hills beyond, and perhaps they are calming for her because she seems unconcerned that she doesn’t know her part, her voice tailing off. They’re recording her but it can be done again, everything can be done again, she just circles an arm. What secrets does she have though? Everyone has secrets.

Now you have a mop and a bucket of water, though the water is grubby already and the stains in the shower remain even though you scrub and scrub and scrub.

The world remains quiet and oblivious.

People sleep in their beds.

The darkness will shift and your panic will die down but you realise this – you must be careful what you write down, for it will still be out there somewhere, and however many times you press delete, on one device or another, your words cannot be erased and may, who knows when, be counted against you.



I watched “I Am Greta” and was touched.
So much hate for the girl
who could just not not speak.

This is us:
Crossing the ocean on the sailboat,
because flying is a no,
worrying over our overfed dog back home
who stole dinner from the table
while he should be on a diet.

This is the state of our world:
Blurry, blurry, overweight.
Still green but emptying.
The gate is open
and the hordes are coming,
in search of this:
a green empty space
with the illusion of plenty,
where the bag is still half full,
but it’s slowly going,
going out,
until it’s down to the last frontier,
the last front,
the last grunt.

I no longer like myself.
I’m getting used to not caring.

Read more >

Release the Peace

High on a mountain,
suspended in a blue lunch bag,
hangs a pound of perfect peace.

Releasing the powerful peace would end all wars on earth forever.  
But to prevent the release, the bag is guarded day and night,
as many world leaders need war.

War in the name of religion.
War to claim more land.
War to subjugate others.
War for the stock market.
War to get re-elected.

Every now and then
a brave person climbs the mountain,
evades the guards,
and releases a small puff of peace
before being stopped.

The peace floats down from the mountain
briefly causing peace talks,  
signed treaties, cessation of war, a special prize.

But then the peace runs out
and the vicious cycle begins again.

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A Murmuration of Words

You gave us a shell to shield our chattering words
excitement peeping through the cracks into the
darkness of possibility

You showed us the distant hill to climb
You fed us the images that lit up gestating words.
We hit the button, embraced the hour
filled with gratitude.

We rescued words that Wind Rushed in and
drowning words from smaller boats.
You gathered them, set them free to take root
in the right soil with ears to grow.

When we heard 'We Can't Breathe' we gave voice.
We climbed the ladders to release charred words.
Then we wept words born from the Aftermath of
sacrificed trust.

From all corners we came, stronger together,
You gathered the flock and gave them flight
Thank you.