• Vol. 09
  • Chapter 11
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Dreaming as a silhouette of prayer


dreaming is a silhouette of prayer. 

                                                    amin to the day i devour   

the river seeping out of night

                                            & purify my dreams from the jaws 

chanting with molars of bad news, 

                                                    of regret, of anxiety, of net, of all 

the tiredness trapped to my bones

                                                    i, a realm longing for a handful of light.

i, a dreamer in the body of a leopard, 

                                                        pull out this poem from the veins 

of the midnight clouds & baptize 

                                                   each line with metaphors that will f(light)

my sleep into anything beautiful. 

                                                 into everything glowing. into nothing 

smeared with darkness like the face 

                                                     of moonless nights. 

Read more >

Dream Is The Promised Land

Like yesterday, when I saw 
autumn leaves going upwards  

to claim what was their 
original place before the fall,  

the trees in the backyard looked 
happy and green again.  

In other words, dreams are 
what sustains and saves us 

if given in the right amount, 
like enough love to get through 

another day or a breath of fresh 
air to realize freedom is just 

beyond those barbed wires. 
It is stronger than hope 

because hope is a thing with 
feathers while dreams with hard 

claws. When the world kicks 
one with its many hooves, 

one has the option of going 
back to the comfort of sleep, 

to that strange land where love 
returns and chooses to stay,   

Read more >

Transitioning tonight

In this dream,
I have curbed the entry of
all that’s weighing me down,
all the hands that ripped the blooming
tulips out of my collarbone,
all the words from your mouth that
mistook the softness in my eyes for fragility.
I am no longer safekeeping
love from getting rotten in my human
heart tonight

In this dream,
I have curbed the entry of
all that’s weighing me down,
I am made of midnight clouds,
specks of thunderstorms,
claws that are blazing hues of the forest,
I have shed all that tired human skin
of secrets, leftovers of past and uninvited woes
but still the same old, same old dainty eyes.

In this dream,
I have curbed the entry of
all that’s weighing me down,
of comforting yellows that turned
shades unrecognizable, of lovers leaving
after days of nitpicking, of love and grief.

Read more >

Kept Up By You

Kept up by you, I roll over
and take a sip of the cold
coffee left over from sunset.

Lips daubed with scabbed
over saliva, salt granules, and
the inevitably splitting jaw ache.

Plucking feathers out of my flat
brown sugar hair by the window,
beating you down with snowy bicarb.

Between worlds I plan to fall, but
your goozle squawks like a baby bird;
all shoulder blades and no great beak.

Kept up by you, I chew the air,
folded like caramel, bleating on in an
effort to bore you into submission.


What we do, and what we don’t, in the shadows

In any case, I saw a headline only this week which preached the supposed benefits to be reaped from walking after dinner. So I did just that: I walked after dinner. There was a man and his dog, and I was drawn to the dog, as it was innocent and eager to explore the same grid it no doubt explores every evening. The man, less so. He was angular and broad, and his features were clattered and strobed by shadows. His skin looked sandpapered. I’ll be totally honest: something about him alarmed me, at whatever level, so I walked back past the old picture house and its intermittent red blue white flash red blue white flash. Nightwalking, it was hoped, would clear the mind and let the day’s noise percolate. And this happened. I mulled over the same faces which skulk around these grids. I looked up at the waves of tenements, and the dank, and the glimmer in the distance, and the horizon’s wire rising and falling behind it. 

Just a year ago, by this very picture house, a man and his dog were once again out nightwalking. Only this man did not make me uneasy. He was very friendly—the dog, it transpired, was scared of men. It shivered and whimpered and looked up at me with snout to the ground and eyes damp and fearful. For a few moments we spoke to the man; one hand nestled in pockets, the other holding a can of beer. I was excited and uneasy and unsure exactly what to choose: to shuffle home, up the stairs and the grime, and be alone together? Or continue to stall, and sip and walk and chat, and be alone together? The moon was—is—wide and white. In the end, despite what I wanted, something in me at whatever level was alarmed. The intercom squealed at the touch of the fob. Three men, tall and dressed in black, watched in silence. We sat in the courtyard and spoke and, ultimately, I went to sleep alone. This was not so bad. This is not something to be feared. 

Read more >


Most days I wake
and drag this diagnosis
off the bed and over me,
a cloak of lead.

In grocery aisle
I fear the endless stacks of tins
are my refection;
my collection
of childhood scars.

School pickup socializing
depletes me.
Each word, each touch,
the other mothers
carve out their piece.

But sleep, though brief
is where I live.
Between the blanket toss
and unseen cups
are deep dreams;
sweet solitude
where the leopard leaps
in vast greens.

Read more >

Dream creatures

dream leopards pad through rain forests on broad-set paws,
know neither man nor road, have never heard a chainsaw’s roar

let them still be there when we awake
when we awake, let them still be here

dream whales slap pristine arctic waters with flukes and fins,
know the abundance of krill, have never heard a motor’s din

let them still be there when we awake
when we awake, let them still be here

dream coral builds reefs that jewel the fringes of Pacific isles
knows clown fish, turtles, wrasse, is never bleached to white

let it still be there when we awake
when we awake, let it still be here


The Tiger is Silent

The claws are empty
The paws are hollow
The canines are soft
For the Jungle has transformed!

Tiger rejoins the clan,
With a desire to dance.
Tiger shifts all the plans,
And drowns in romance.

Tiger touches the petals,
Eats candies in dreams.
Tiger feels the breeze,
With lightness in its limbs.

Tiger smiles like a child,
Greets elders bowing down,
Tiger looks at the stars,
Being beloved’s silver clown.

Tiger attempts to nurture,
And sow seeds of loving mind.
For the Tiger is wiser,
Wishing to be humane and kind.

Tiger stops the roar,
Boycotts war and violence.
Tiger finally acclaims,
“There is peace in silence!”


Extract from a compendium of advice given in dreams

Sunday. Two small objects in a thin khaki bag. The grandmother or grandfather is to talk about them.

Tuesday. Someone had painted the clockface, dividing it into twenty-minute intervals.

Wednesday. There is no other house on the land.

Monday. Complete destruction. When I asked him why he did it, he said ‘I was outvoted’.

Thursday. I am climbing a mountainside steep as the Shard. I have to bivouac to rest. When I finally resolve to do the last bit, it turns out to be easy, practically flat. Obvious.

Wednesday. D will find a way to make it work, he won’t give up on it.

Friday. Eileen can’t believe how badly I’m driving.

Saturday. Colour is the meaning of life.

Friday. It was only the trick known to every teenager – a bedspread thrown on top of a pullulating heap.

Sunday. Wooden stairs decorated, treads and risers, with pale pink foliage. Découpage.


According to Zhuangzi

On a palm leaf at the moment of the setting sun
a solitary common buckeye butterfly
opens the slim volume of her spectacular wings
to see on facing pages

the three familiar roundels like eyes
and reads there she might be of all things a leopard
sunk in her dreams of possessing wings
in reality a leopard she licks every rosette

on her own pelt nudging the black and tan blooms
to believe in their dreams of black
and tawny clouds patching a midnight sky
through which the wolf moon of January shines

more like a bursting dam suddenly that really is
no mere dream of the bank of virga cloud
transfixed by its reflection in the sea below
the billowing upper storeys and streaky stingers

hanging down and no library to disprove
this is not the stirring of a shoal of billowing jellyfish
each pair of nervous systems
in sleepy suspension beginning to ask if this

in truth is not the line of speech bubbles
uttered by a minke whale containing her whistles
and bells her downsweeps her clicks and grunts
winding up to her breeching the moonlit waves

Read more >


Dreaming in black&white
mixing fate&fantasy
in simple bites
sharp enough to pierce
the daily scramble
with photo-bombs
in public.

Inside my head
the private cinema
eschews sub-titles
favours speech bubbles
and narrator-special
intros in rhythmic sets
to haul us/me
into the dark
with magic lanterns.

All creatures
swim or fly… tell
screaming tales,
Flash-dance is
the programme
embedded – there is
no possibility
of divorce.


Neither Here Nor There

I am solid
and void.
Sometimes things pass through me
whilst others bounce back.
It’s in the luck of where we meet,
not some tacky password,
easily forgotten.
No, I am a beast that might bite
and might not.
My ocean is air.
I swim this abyss
wishing to find you
or the one who took you from me,
yet truly hoping to meet neither.
It’s neater to be lost in a search
than to discover what’s ruined.
So long as I go forth,
I can dream.


Night gifts

This night only, pale as frozen milk,
the light condensed into two colours only.
This night only, the clouds carry
a quiet sound of purring.
They say that the Leopard of Three Moons
comes once in a single lifetime.
They say that the Leopard of Three Moons
brings no fixed pathway, but velvet-paws
routes through the night palms
and through the tiny blinks of stuttering whales
and through the frail white threads of waves.
Tonight, she breathes conch shells
small enough to fit under your fingernails,
breathes the sound of a silver flute,
the scent of lychee and damask roses.
Tomorrow, when you wake,
the sky will be full of colour.


In Between Black and White is Where I live

They told me what I was supposed to hear
from the time I rose from the calming waters, and
from the time when the black clouds touched the sea

I’m constantly fed the upset from moonlight to sunlight,
but I believe in the beauty and brilliancy that glimmers for me,
there is something that I can touch that isn’t there, something,
for you and I to see—Black or White, Good or Bad

I fell asleep-awake from the source of my perceptions that laid
dormant in my unconscious mind, and when the pulsating
mint, violet, and turquoise, fluorescent lights spotted the sky,
it awakened me

I see, now.



In my very last dream, it’s me and my lover
sitting at an airport bar. The final time we’ve
anchored our eyes into the walls. A solemn
statue is crying eternal tears onto cold, cruel
steel, an inscription telling us: the discobolus
of Clapham. Dusting powdered protein, he’s
running laps in the common to minor songs,
lullabies for hikes, for brunch hats and pink
gym vests. Maybe we’ll transform into marble,
leopards from crystal seas. Under dying stars,
kitchen lights, the loom spins, shouting “you
are still free”. Metal has contaminated the air:
now I am freezing my naked fingers, only to
protect glasses from the haunting of orange
peels. Making crimson drinks like the hunter
drawing blood from dying beasts. Reluctant,
ultimate offering for my lover who is holding
sunflowers, the corporeal gifts for a sleeping
demigod. He did not give his neck the blades
but his lips carried the warmth of a holiday.
Now in the ribbons of the rain, he must be
immortal too. I forget buzzcuts, cloakroom
queues, I let the clouds take me home to you.


A Dusk of Reasoning, a Curtailing and a Quickening

The night is swollen and ever-present. Curling into my shoulders. East wind stirs my whiskers. I, padding, into a stillness of welcome, summon knowing. The babies of night unfurled stir twice, thrice, then hitch a ride on a hump-back dream into yonderland.

Where I too am headed. My quiet laughter turns into willing. My prowl, alertness of darkness. Eyes keen in the night, my brother goes hence. I feel his hunt in my knees, in the down of my belly.

Dare I cross the waters? I scent the carp, the hump-back dreamscape, willing me to surrender. But I know their ways, their wily tricks. They would take me into their waters and cajole me to remain.

Still. I know what to do. Wait. Until it’s opportune. Then leap onto the rocks that offer their footstool. Zigzag across the trickster creek. Make it just in time. Before their charm can spell me. But. I should find another way back. They’ll be cleverer next time.

No silence here on the other side. An orchestra of life. Teeming in the undergrowth, whispering in the trees. Only vagabonds like me know to be silent as we enter the new realm. Enter and take what we want.

There. The scent of my brother. Stronger than ever. He is heading south. I follow him.



Brisk waves at dusk's end,
A loner's company of faded gold,
Of seas dying of thirst and
the slurred speeches of tinted galaxies
– day one

The half moon of May
reveals that the sun was only painted
in red and bitter light,
then, the colourless sun scuttles bare
and behind my eyes is a dark-blue sylph
– day two

The land on which I tread
is starved of sand and foamy dust
cracks, holes, grey, yawns
and rocks assumes Land's sobriquet
All of nature's grace seems exhausted
and a loner is left with gold and
the misery of Oizys
– day three

Cover silk with clouds,
make stone out of rough sandpaper,
retrace the origin of Nyx in the old mount,
voices transit into echoes
and eyeballs wear on the real as eyelids
– day four

Reality dawns as the morning and...
Alas! I've been dreaming for four days!



I once read that within each of us is another, impossible to know. Like an embryonic twin absorbed by a bigger stronger sibling in the womb, embodied in the end by becoming in some way the surviving, full-term child. She visits us in dreams, this unknowable other, and shows us the truths of ourselves―the slick, black bellies of the old grey rocks unturned in the mud of puddles―but when did it become so very hard indeed to see with our eyes wide open?


My marmalade markings
rotate within midnight clouds.

I’m a fire in a grate.
An orange sun on a black pitch.

My heartbeat is freedom –
the sound of thunder
reverberating your soul
as handheld maracas.

I’m tangy sharp,
exotic as pineapple marmalade
in the hungry hands of a Tudor.

My thoughts are tumbled rice
churning electrical pulses,
neon-sharp, pincer-predatory.

I shake your hand,
inviting you to moonlit shores
where your body disappears,
floating in empty ether
as I unbutton your thoughts,
emptying them as caught crabs
from seaside buckets of sunshine.

They happily dispel,
morphing to marmalade murmurs;
once sticky mirages of the mind
dissipate as tidal ribbons,
lost in tiger sheen,
washed clean of purpose.


I haven’t walked on grass yet

Spotted excelling at the hunt.
Destined to be the big cat, always with eyes
on the prize.

Hardly needing the Club, the hedonistic red carpet
lay in wait.

A solitary inner soul masked by hubristic single vision.
Telling what they want to hear, call it what you will.

Hiding in full sight, clinging to the Fever tree. Scared of
humans, looking down on the Braying prey.

Busy with the last big spend and a donor-paved wish list.

Easily distracted by Mickey Mouse ears. Beware, beware
the pack of prowling painted dogs gathering.

Your character cannot be changed, you have been spotted.


Forecast for tomorrow

weather follows            tonight’s headlines
sound and unsound bites                        already 
archived                   bleeding news

my eye        draws shapes           into cloud

I watch them
little cotton balls
            the way my thoughts are
like litter            rolling round      the bin
before         dispersed            by a dangerous wind

is that Blake’s Tiger     burning bright            stalking      

my shadow        do I ride        Chesterton’s Donkey

has Zeus failed    winter        summer 
broken        where is a God to say     there will be
harvest        and survival          when on my couch
I sigh for days        of whales and roses    

an ant comes dancing       at my feet        the night
sings silver        I love        do not change    cannot 
change my spots          flit in and out of moonlight     

and if

I do not wake        
        or if I wake              there is beauty in

the living                                  the dying


Eternal Night

Think of a leopard roaming the fearful sky, treading amongst jittery stars and pearly moons, watch the leopard's spots dancing to the rhythms of his movements, trapezius, deltoid, triceps, contracting and relaxing to the murmur of the wind teasing palm leaves, think of the beginning of all things where red earth, yellow sun and blue ocean combined to black, black like Leopard's black rosettes imprisoned in his fur, dreaming of their future escape when Leopard no longer have need of their camouflage, when hunting grounds are receding, when his prey dies of disease before his jaw snaps on its neck, when the world is turned upside down.

Come midnight, Leopard dips his paw into rising waters, and with a relieved sigh, releases his obsidian specks into the flood, where they dissolved into molecules of carbon, carried away by currents. The river spreads black like runaway ink on your page, a painter’s careless splash of charcoal stain on his canvas, carps, perch, catfish, striped bass coated in black like warped asphalt roads, blowholes of whales and dolphins exhale soot from exploded oil drilling rigs, capsized by hurricanes, palm trees uprooted and twisted into blackened skies. Black is the mold on walls after a flood, black is the mood of a country divided by ideology, black is death of soldiers in an unwanted war, black is mushroom cloud, black is darkness.

Imagine Leopard wandering in his spot-less fur in a star-less, moon-less, never-ending gloom, listen to its painful cry as its soul lifts into the raven sky, his shape melts into the night as he gazes one last time upon everything that existed before the world is plunged into oblivion.


Dream Leopard

My cousins are much larger than me

Cousin Lion, sandy brown
Ruling the African plain
A corner of India too

Cousin Tiger, stripey orange and black
Prowling and ambushing prey
From Indian forest to Siberian snow

Cousin Jaguar, rosette covered coat
Roaming Amazon jungle
No tapir or peccary is safe

Cousin Leopard, covered in spots
Has the widest range of all
From southern Africa to Vladivostok

My cousins, fearsome hunters
Solid, substantial

I am not as they
I was born of dream
I was born of cloud
I was born of moonlight
I am Clouded Leopard
Dreamlike, ethereal

Read more >

A Golden Shovel After Omar Musa’s Leopard Made of Midnight Clouds

Today i feel so tired,
though the thing(s) i’m tired of
elude(s) me. Perhaps i’m tired of the
(non)selective reporting on the news
or maybe i’m tired of not being (re)tired

or maybe i’m tired of the incessant sounds of
traffic streaming past my place and along the

highway. Is it that superhighway—the net—
that i’m tired
Is it my climate/Covid/comorbid anxiety
that i’m tired
i cannot help but harbour regret

over having spent so
much time flying solo. i
keep thinking of that time i fell

in a hole & rolled my ankle. i strive to be asleep
right throughout the night and
struggle to recall all i’ve dreamed.

i feel good when i read books, view art or listen to i
Tunes or similar. i wonder: if i was
in fact a track about a
big cat, would i be RR’s ‘Fast as a Leopard’,
YYY’s ‘Gold Lion’ or RHCP’s ‘Slow Cheetah’? i once made

Read more >

In My Dreams

I live in my own world. I don’t have to inhabit reality if I don’t want to. In my own world I can do as I wish. In my own world I am a star. All that I touch turns to gold. I achieve, I’m a success. I have never failed at anything.

I have won an Oscar every year. People queue around the block to see my films. I have money, riches and love of people. I am THE national treasure. In my dreams.

In my dreams I am a friend of the Queen. She tells me everything, how she really feels, and she trusts me to never tell anyone else of her secrets. And I don’t. In my dreams.

In my dreams I play football for England. I am the star striker for the women’s team. A few weeks ago, I scored a hat-trick when we won the World Cup. I was chaired around the pitch by my team because they love me and know that I’ll never let them down. The crowd roared and cheered for me. In my dreams.

In my dreams I am a great singer. I write songs regarded as classics, songs that will be remembered through the ages and never forgotten. I play to thousands in sold-out stadiums. I can make people laugh. I can make people cry. I can play any instrument brilliantly. My music touches the hearts of millions. In my dreams.

In my dreams I have loads of friends. I am never lonely. There are always places to go and people to see. Parties, dinners, receptions. My diary is always full. I never have a moment to spare. In my dreams.

In my dreams I am never lonely. I never have to sit on my own. I never have a day when I don’t speak to anybody because there is no one there to speak to. In my dreams.

Read more >

I draw a dream

Lying on back
Thoughts aflame
Casting shadows over the ceiling –
A drop rolling into stream.

A dot on its journey –
Dancing the night lit by moon
Creating shapes, making rhythm.

Rush and quiet taking turns
Like a leopard in wait –
A world in faith
Of a leap, of coming together
What once began as one.


Astro Feel

It was a tsunami of colors one day,
And then the next those vibrant hues were gone.

The world had become devoid of color.

Like the Libra,
We lost what makes us kind,
And extroverted.

Like water it washed away,
And in came the water bearer.

It’s the age of aquarius.
We endure the chaos,
No excitement,
No enjoyment,
No hope.

We cling to the cuts of confusion,
To the fear of steep declines.

But what if?

We became the water bearer,
Let go of the veil that protects us,
And felt the pains of life flow through us,

Then let them go,
Maybe over time it might get easier.

Read more >

Leopards and Midnight Clouds

Not everything is black and white;
all it needs is a little moonlight

to scatter clouds at midnight
and set nuance and colour alight.

A leopard by a forest river,
where wild creatures drink together,

cannot hide its spots forever;
so fish swim keep swimming unaware

of danger, it’s ignored by deer
and monkeys – there’s no menace here –

until the fickle moon breaks cover,
and the hunter’s secret is discovered.


Quiet cat

In this, the wide tumbling wake
of suffering's ship,
there bobs the newsman,
with the machine gun smile,
and the net pot-stirrer,
whose manic guile
thrills to trigger and engage.
They have us beat our chests at dutiful pace,
while the wedge of woes they drive divides,
and turns both parted sides
to hate, and rage.

There is no respite
even in the velvet deeps of sleep
where, amid the churn of day-spun things,
we might yet coax the quiet cat come lay,
across our laps and, deep-vibrating,
purr our fears away.

Night-forest black, cautious, fey,
it gazes, curious, upon the fires,
and at the ghoulish dances of our kind,  
then turns its head, and stalks away.
None sees it come or go, but it's our fate
that all shall feel the void it leaves behind.


The Eighth Day

And on the eighth day
when it was all perfect
and worked like a clockwork orrery,

the creator
walking away
knocked the experiment from the table.

The gears were knocked diagonal.
New mountains rose from the oceans.
New trees sprouted from the horizon
                                       and the sky.
The moon triplicated
and the wind
a spirit of chaos
formed a proud
in the clouds.

The creator set it aside,
and spent a week
making a new world.

But the creator learned a lesson.

Read more >

Night Journey

To become Other,
go still between the layers
and drift midst dreaming

toward far away. Be
the one who listens, who serves
to reflect what light

does not reveal. Play
music and dance the New Moon.
Be the shadow of

echo, beyond form.
What can never be known. Shape
shift mystery’s eyes


Nature Deletes its Social Media Profiles

One has to imagine

whale song between the violence
of traffic-bark and airplane-roar, one has to

imagine their oasis: the only soundtrack
the thrumming of nature against itself.

Let us be islands and may the waves rise
up between us, never to meet, never

to encroach our sour notes upon each other,
for we are unclean, unclean, with our smoke

and our oil and our artificial light
a fist held up to the starry sky,

threshing our desires against
the grindstone of survival.

May the cloud come in and preach modesty:
if we couldn’t see our mirrors, perhaps

we would stop creating our own suffering.
One has to imagine.


Surfing a different storm

Oceans of plastic flood my course,
at a switch careless devastation races in,
fires rage, glaciers melt, crops fail.
TV images keel-haul me – those children,
the wailing women, that odour of suffering.
Always the suck of tangling undertow.

Rough-beached I long to plunge headlong.
Icarus-dreaming, I feel fortune tremble.
As sun melts hopes, quiet futures unravel.
I grasp for the grit of raptors, for harsh talons
and pinions to gyre. Sinews stretched
I yearn to soar, desensitized, sated.


to hide in plain sight

the electronic eye in the corner
pulsates     red    blank    red    blank    
red    the air’s chemical     sterile
colour’s been sucked from of this room
the light’s licensed, there’s a secret zzzzz
of circuitry, otherwise it’s quiet, but

there’s the nattering natterbats  the squeak
of pipistrelles, taste the sticky on spider steel
just like salted caramel    night-scented
stocks     nicotiana    delicious cologne to distil      

you     me    we    can tango to the marching
beat of the red wood ants  or a yee haa rodeo
on shufflehuff’s undergrunt brood  take a moon
-ride         the fireflies will guide    

those behind the eye
     they see my body but
inside myself
I hide


A Friend for the End of the World

I had a dream I was holding your hand as we walked through a busy square on the way to a party—it was a Christmas party and I was dressed in a shirt with the colors of a Christmas tree and I couldn’t believe it was all happening: you, the square, the party, Christmases, holding hands, all these thing happened so long ago.

Before I fell asleep I was watching a movie about the end of the world. An asteroid was about to hit the earth and on the last week of the world the guy and the girl were taking a road trip—and there’s this scene at the beach where they just sit and enjoy the day and each other’s company and all the people around them who are doing the same—a happy group of humans, a family gathering of strangers who all just happened upon this beach; and I thought: what a lovely apocalypse, when you can sit close to and touch people and not be afraid of deadly viruses—and then I fell asleep and there we were, in the square again.

I had a dream you were holding my hand as we walked through a busy town square on our way to a party—it was a Christmas party and I dressed in a shirt that had the colors of a Christmas tree. We were surrounded by friends and strangers and people we will never see ever again, in a place that may or may not exist anymore, except in my mind, when I dream. We walked and you held my hand and said something funny and I laughed and I woke up before we got to the party.



I saw someone dressed in black
disappearing into the wood;
I saw my poetry turning grey
and promptly trampled underfoot.
Then the binmen went on strike,
and I saw the world a conflagration
of smells, curses and unalienable rights.
Lies were celebrated,
and the wind blew more holes
in my already-porous soul.
I looked at the Romaine lettuce
growing in one of my garden pots,
and measured the girth of the baby leaves,
to decide what each one was worth.
And then I heard wings flap:
it was a summons to court with a booby-trap.
I tried and explained myself
with arguments worse than anaemic,
and the jury laughed; and they smacked.
“Go and start learning again,”
the judge delivered her kindly advice
and dismissed my inconsequential quest.
The tiredness overwhelmed me, but I held
my exhaustion on the palm of my left hand,
pondering how the leopard chewed up the news
while refusing to change its spots.

Read more >


The flames are not in his eyes.
He awaits a hum of verse
that can know
that the drawl of his
low roars
are the calls for
his dead mother.

He entreats
in his entropied silence,
a plea for mercy
to not douse our rationales
with hunter's ego,
brittle and numb
to terrestrial life.
His beauty is a construct,
an eternal flame
from his golden rebirth
among dwindling numbers
he wants to be put outside
steel boxes,
confiscating the imagery
that only claims his prowls
and burning eyes' blinding

Can we not see
he's an overgrown child.

Read more >

Light Fantastic

Through the viewfinder the sky is black – the stars are missing. Nowhere to be found. She fiddles with the focus, takes her eye from the eye piece, scans the sky, making sure she is pointing in the right direction. There is only one direction and she’s on it. She hunkers down again, her breath carefully flumed away so as not to steam up the lens. Be patient.

After a few moments her eyes detect photons randomly finding their way through millennia through the barrel of the telescope. She sees stars begin to pop out of the blackness, pop bright like the eye of a tiger, pop like signals from a whale in distress. She wonders if the light feels weary after the distance it has travelled, worn down by storm clouds, frazzled by lightning strikes, and is happy to rest on the retina of her eye, happy to be absorbed into the swirls and eddies of her iris. Do they know, these errant photons, one blink and they’re gone?


Politics make me dream of drinking vodka laced with cyanide

Talking heads spew swill, until
my eyes glaze over with thoughts
of penguin guano and fields of shrapnel
impregnating wild horses and dandelions.    

Too much he said, she said, no one ever
pays a penalty for backshooting innocents
and my mind goes dead, tossed in a vinaigrette
of whipped up anger and blue state crumbles.

Monday morning comes with relief I can fill
my head with dust clouds of vagrant work,
unshrouded by dull hanky panky of the privileged
parading their excrement on once live TV,

After-five bars of wine-filled sporting delusions
preclude perseverating over voter fraud, grand
and not so grand juries of sneers, ignored subpoenas,
theories concocted in the minds of Madison Avenue
dilatants, arm wrestlers, and presidential thieves.

At night I fall asleep, sometimes, dreaming of never
land, where I never land, instead waking in a cold
sweat under a moon deluded, denuded of reason,
hoping tomorrow is somehow different, knowing
full well that truth and justice have died in a churning
vat of stuffed shirts and platitudes of dirty laundry.


Within a Dream, Another

A dream

about dreams
and the creature
that devours them

between curls
of glass waves

                        baby whales
                        and a shark moon

                        piercing through
                        shallow skin
                        till they drown

in the comfort
of pillow worlds

like feathers

on a jagged
edge of the night

Read more >

A Case of Night Terror, and Tygers in Starlight

When this child was nine (let's call her I),
she carved them into the soft of her skin, like stripes:
the lyrics to 'Tyger Tyger, burning bright'.
Growing cause for concern upon
her fractured sleep: always rousing
into night in twisted sheets. Always sticky:
(like animal birth, though) never tired.

They thought it could explain,
(like pyroclastic flow once was by warring gods)
the fracture of a nascent mind.

The therapist asks me
if I know it to be sweat. I pause,
unsure, as I never thought to lick my wounds
to check. Indeed, I always thought it
to be blood. She asks me "yours?",
pressing down the slickened ball within its joint,
and I said in that way: it wasn't so.

It was from the carcass that was mobile,
even from back around the crown of my crib.
While I snore, a cascading 'drip'
'drip, drip': condensation from the Tyger's maw.
"Or it could be tears," I supplied.
It could be weeping.

Read more >

In Dreams

In the stories our ancestors told,
the giant star leopard defended
her children from the evil volcanic
golem. In the stories our parents
told the kindly old man delivered
gifts and spread cheer if we were
a happy family. If our family was
unhappy, then the stories were much
more visceral and unkind, eat your
peas, or a man will come and steal
your teeth at night. Pick up your
toys or the man under the bed will
cut off your toes and wear them
as a necklace.

In the stories our friends told
babies were conceived in strange
and horrifying ways that made
no sense but scared all of the
children on the playground
even if they pretended to keep
a stiff upper lip.

Read more >

I am not in this Picture

I am not a Leopard nor am Midnight nor a Cloud
I am a basis   illustrating both creation and belief
I wear its tropes            tattoo inside my left wrist

I wear as scratches soaking up     ink print's relief

You will see a special comfort in this narrative
You will be buoyed    evaporating in the black
I am not as lucky as those other           viewers

here               as inescapable              as lacked


Three Of Moons

Mountains and waves coalesce, pushed along on invisible rails.
Clouds bloom from the mellow currents, white balloons drawn by young hands.

Gatefold skyline, the towering palms shake hands in the dusk.
Three of moons, this is not a home I know.
What was heavy now weighs nothing.

An archipelago of stars defend the night, holding back both earth and sky.
From the water, I was born and I shall one day return.

Formed from variations of wind, the night is safe.
You are not alone.


Filter Moonlight

"The bright moon shone through me" – Omar Musa

None of us are immune to environmental influences, including:
human interaction,
technological environs,
and hinterlands in between.
Some people say
you resemble
the five people you spend the most time with.
Spend enough time with workaholics
and their hectic pace throbs in your veins.  
Spend more time with people
who notice the different ways clouds filter moonlight
and you’ll notice the tree roots finding chinks in concrete armor
on your walk to work.
I’d like to be someone who
filters moonlight.
Someone who slows down, observes, and reflects
on the natural world.
Someone who takes time to meet
others where they are at and
provide emotional support.
Someone who does
more than scratch things off to do lists.



When you feel
Like a fish out of water,
Mired in the anxiety,
Overwhelmed by the news,
Tinged with reality,
When you regret
being trapped
In the net, of
the World Wide Web,
What can save you
Except, a celestial illusion,
a conjuring of a tired mind
Or one on fire,
One that raises us
From rabble,
One that floats us like
a gossamer cloud,
A leopard lost in the sky
Soaking the moonlight,
A thought beyond
The mundane,
An iota of magic,
For the strictly sane.
A palm tree strokes
The belly of night
And look how
it erupts in
Light of laughter.


In my night ocean

In the night ocean where big cats prowl,
in clouded grace and crowbird-clawed,
the stalky forest of blowy palms,
the kelp-frond sky is starfish-lit.

In the night ocean, a dolphin pod
with crescent apple-blossom smiles,
streaks phosphore dance steps,
curved as moons, in silver trails.

In my night ocean, I float on waves
of clouds of fronds of dolphin smiles,
and in my hands I gather the light,
rare and bright, of five-fingered stars

to weave a shimmered morning veil,
a winding sheet for darktime fears,
a flowered tree, a clouded cat,
a white-sailed ship of no return.



TIRED to the bone but not sleepy, i stare at the moon
OFten she turns in before me, dipping beneath
THE ridge, sinking towards the sea beyond.
NEWS travels slowly on the backs of whales
TIRED reports of bleached reefs the color
OF sand dollars, another tanker run aground
THEse headlines get caught in my throat:
NETted gills, plastic straws, another degree hotter
TIRED, but unable to drift off, i’m a castaway   
OFfering up a constellation of soothing rhymes to ease my
ANXIETY while adrift on my mattress, a duvet sail,
TIRED oars battered by wind, by salt, by overthinking thoughts
OF destruction, ruminating on extinction, harboring a pit of
REGRET as the remnants of dinosaurs are extruded into molds
SO the once mighty land lizards become mini plastic replicas.
I tattooed a brachiosaurus on my leg beneath a scar from when i
FELL off my new moped driving it out of the lot
ASLEEP or awake, gasoline-powered dreams crumble
AND late stage capitalism rears its ugly head, Henry Ford
DREAMED of cheap cars for the masses
I dreamed of the freedom of the open road and
WAS determined to get back behind the wheel after
A hiatus, ending up in Europe via the jungles of Asia, you see a
LEOPARD does not eat hydrogenated fats, aspartame, ingredients not
MADE for its countenance and contrary to its disposition
OFf in the shadows of darkness, stalking its prey at   
MIDNIGHT, oblivious to the poachers camped beneath the  
CLOUDS that obscure the moon, all of the stars

Read more >


I dream a black mountain puma
lounging in the crook of a leafless tree
as our train trundles west to east
into snow and a solitary
yellow larch appears in a wilderness
of empty branches.

I dream a life of colour, vibrant
filled with passion, children, joy
as we career together, willy-
nilly down a track appearing
straight only by turning,
turning and looking back.

I dream of sadness, rain and grey
mist cover in the valley
and the shadow, and the death
of hope, and a sudden spark
sears like a tongue of fire that licks
life back in play.



from a winter window
an abandoned sky,
too dark for solace

black ice shadows –
a mountain
with no footholds

wordless trees –
nothing left to say
to one another

late white roses
stayed too long -
will never open

after this long drought,
don’t lose your way …

quick – did you see
a silver kingfisher
pass by?


Ma Lady (Or Prey with Me)

Noctilucent clouds drift across scarry skies
like moonlit moss in phosphorescent fields
of tropical ferns, needle grass & leopard spots

Iridescent praying mantis
lost in abstract thought clings
to chrysanthemum ray flowers
blends into magenta petals,
triangular head turning side to side
compound eyes fixating on Artemis’
moon rocket launch pad viewing
the countdown with 3D acuity
till controllers scrubbed NASA’s mission
& the camouflaged cannibal turned
attention back to feeding, its single
ultrasonic ear listening for bats
while crickets rub legs, honeybees buzz
wings & nightcrawlers burrow holes.

Oblivious to internet bomber, the mantis
returns to primeval forests, prowls in solitude
comforted by shrieking monkeys, raptors & frogs.


From The Clouds

I’ve seen a dragon in the clouds
and a big cat
a leopard
and a tea table
set for tea.
Some say they’ve seen Christ
or Mohamed,
or fairy kings and queens.
They have all stayed a while,
my shapes in the cloud.
None have left.
Not until now.
when the leopard has grown so large
and so solid looking he no longer belongs there.
His teeth are not barred yet
so I don’t feel afraid
just dreamy
all at sea
with wonder
and moonshine.


And the Clouds

“And the bright moon shone through me”

And the clouds, they ate me up,
devoured me hungrily
and completely,
hardened, creaking, restless bone and
long, brown, split-ended hair
all included,
and spit out a brand new soul –
one no church ritual could ever create,
one bright as supernova starshine,
one pure as the night wind off the water,
midwifed by southern crickets’ trill and bullfrog basso,
tumbling, trembling into this world unannounced,
befriending errant whales
and sisterly volcanoes
and hugging Joshua Trees and Redwoods tightly
to my heart
in fire-forged, kaleidoscopic joy
somewhere along the way,
slowly capturing the world in images and words of poetry,
having long ago let loose
the Mason Jar captive fireflies and grasshoppers
of my rural youth
and set free that urge inside of me
to explore, to wander, to learn, and to touch –
to engage all six senses
as I memorize this world

Read more >

Adolescence Has No Need

Leopards made of midnight clouds,
whales made of icebergs,
I'll never utter this aloud,
sometimes I dream of murder.

Of my own, or by my hand,
I have no control.
I destroy magical beasts
in the dark parts of my soul.

Mother helped me to create
fertile kingdoms of the mind.
Told to grow up, no debate.
Dad says leave nonsense behind.

Every night when they appear,
with glistening eyes, the creatures plead.
I pick up my dreamland spear,
adolescence has no need.


Quantum Entanglement

I am less blue even if you are a zillion years away from me.
In our space of Midnight blue, blue—it is our colour—big cats, ferocious bulls and Centaurs gobble up impurities, or what some humans like to call ailments, that either make or break us.

In our space of Midday white, white it is not our colour but you prove entanglement is not just a night-time gig.

When I wobble on stilettos, you are the floating dust particles in golden spaces that lock my knees into place, give me a little nudge, unlock and relax, leading to a graceful promenade.

Achoo! Not a problem. An embroidered handkerchief with daisy corners awaits neatly folded in a handbag pocket, on my walnut finish dressing table, freshly pressed in the laundry basket.

When neurotransmitters yawn, picket in front of red tape, the dust particles in golden hues, become gentle clouds caressing my auburn strands.

You are the warmth in a sun, sunny day.

The marshmallow bobbing in a sea of brown.

Fabulous fuchsias like bowing ballerinas after an extended encore.

I lay my sleepy head and your magnetic force lures me to another universe. A tug-of-war game where you always win, but I surrender. There. The secret is out.

Read more >

Dreaming of a Midnight Moon

As I dreamed, my never changing spots
flickering beams of moonlight,
reversed perspectives,

Spotlighting slumbering dragons,
resting a while their island spines,
rare white singing whales haunting lullabies,
calmed the waves and settled minds,
swaying to rhythms hidden from my ears,
under the moonlight, palms danced limpidly,
waves lapping shores whispered,
look about you,
mesmerised, I watched clouds dip,
low to kiss the ocean,

Taken twisting to the in-between,
a magic space I found,
where down, turns upwards
where bright as day, true night,
midnight and moonlight blazing,
burns away anxiety and incinerates regrets,

Read more >

The Heavens are my Domain

I roar at the distant stars
and will never know
If they respond
Even dreams do not live that long

I growl at the moon
Kicking up clouds of dust
which dance between discarded
remnants of lunar expeditions

I pad weightlessly
across the wing of a plane
Skip to the other side and glide away
while startled passengers struggle
to take my picture

The night is mine
but losing its battle
against the rising sun
Leaving only patterned clouds in the sky
My fading pawprints



I blog because I am bored.
I am tired of singing every song twice.
There is no Y in I do not understand,
no U in I am made of many parts.
Do not color me outside the constructs of lines.

I own the wish to own a star,
the tiger lily with thin teeth
and enormous green-eyed blossoms.
Never come to me with the morning sun.
Do not color me outside the constructs of lives.

I am never an anxiety at sea,
the ancient growth of desert plants on the hill,
snow falling quickly, quietly, leaving tracks,
large drifts against entrance doors.
Do not color me outside the constructs of likes.

Boredom is not a state of soul.
I sing the song of sand, a wreckage of flowers
There is no I in we grow old for no reason,
and no sorcery in a hug.
Do not color me outside the constructs of lies


Wood, Words, Worlds

The woodcutter cuts tracks
gullies, ravines, digs a landscape
of ink and its absence, draws
out each letter, rhyming the sky,
etches each figure
from dream and wood—

a leopard of billowing clouds,
crescents like apostrophes
in an airy field of midnight,
islands, whales, winds
that bend palm trees, swirl
oceans into waves.

The woodcutter slices away,
the less wood, the more detail.
The deeper the cut, the stronger the words.

Midnight clouds ferry the poet
away from intemperate words,
unravel the net of our new Babel.

Ink sinks into porous sheets.
Light rises from bared, scarred wood.



My daemon slumbers when dull passivity
shuts down my mind. My eyes gawp at screens
paralysed by boredom, horror, lack of meaning, greed
for stuff to fill yawning gaps. Vital energy evaporates until,
almost comatose, I slam down the lid or shut off my phone.
Released into vivid dreams, I feel my daemon stir and pull
me back to leaps and bounds, cosmic sounds and magic.
I ride her spotted feline back and roar; I own comets,
meteors and stars, am magnetised by soft moonlight.
In my active form, I learn I count. I can make escape
from soundbites to leap alongside creature-kind,
my big-cat daemon and goddess Waghjai Mata.
Together we’ll defeat despair, and nurse Earth
to repair, to live and thrive for eons hereafter.


Love seeks Summation

The eyes,
mere furtive glances
In the darkest nights

The movement
slithering secretly
In the canopy of trees

A leopard has stripes
like it's a posterboy
For lost light
Yellow burning bright
against the blacks of
Past life regrets
Taking in everything inside
like a blackhole sucks life

Signs of communication
a laugh tapering away
Into the fields of wisdom
A silence being redeemed
one word at a time
To be a bold ensign
Yet the screens blink bright
all across the night
The overload of a life imbalanced
falling over itself

Read more >

So I fell asleep and dreamed

the dead world once more green:
Burgeoning fern fronds
carpet the forest floor.
Bright fish pour into ponds
and burbling streams.
I wander wide where
morning mist steams

over tall grasses
and the very air
is thick as
the fecund scent
of rich black loam—
this world meant to be our home.


In chiaroscuro

Clouded leopard paces
on pillowy pads,
claws retracted;
then leaps
in soft westerlies
from cloud-stacks: high
over dots of stars
in carbon darkness;
over billowing palms;
over quiet ripples…
to watch
with incandescent eyes
infant whales spouting
in warm volcanic waters
under triple crescent moons:

pure bliss
in chiaroscuro.


The Midnight Leopard

Shara closes her eyes to the doom of the day. She has scrolled, she has zoomed, she has read and she has replied her day away.

She is tired, and yet when she closes her eyes it does not help. The dreams don’t come. She does not sail away escaping the seriousness of her day, as her body rests into the night. Shara fights her mind to try to make it quiet, as it bounces from fear, to memory, to worry, and back again before the to-do lists begin: the laundry, the emails, the cleaning, the shoulds, the coulds, and ‘the oh no I forgot that agains’.

Shara closes her eyes tighter and takes a deep breath. She prays for the Midnight Leopard to carry her away to the land where dreams may come and days of doom fall away.

She imagines the leopard’s smooth silky fur under her hand before she climbs on its back and says “okay, away we go”. She imagines the cool breeze rushing past as the leopard runs and jumps into the air.

Looking down she sees her problems, her lists and the shoulds as nothing more than piles getting smaller and smaller, until they are as far away as the stars above and half as bright.

They bound through the clouds with a gentle grace. She imagines the lightness of being, as they rise above that fluffy layer to see only the twinkling of the stars. Shara looks down at her hands clutching the Midnight Leopard’s fur. It matches that of the sky and the stars all around; a black with flecks of white and swirls of blue. It’s as if she is floating above the clouds on a soft warmth, protecting her from her foes and leaving her fears far below.

Read more >

Away from it all

The champagne was all frozen so here we are, sucking Malibu ice cubes, celebrating being the first people to reach Jupiter.  

So many moons.  

Freezing cold.

“Away from it all”.  

After that epic Tory disaster back in 2023, I can’t believe that they are still in power, now in 2045.  I thought we might not have the internet up here but you can’t get away from it - more government mess ups at every turn (we call them anticyclonic storms up here).  I should have left my phone at home.  

But the Malibu numbs everything.  Suddenly I am a leopard, top of the food chain, no one can stand against me and my 80 moons.  I made it here!  I gaze at the beautiful whales making their way through the icy clouds.

My colleagues deny the existence of the whales, they say Malibu goes to your head more quickly on Jupiter.  Waking with a leopard of a hangover and frozen feet, we start our return to Earth.

When people ask me what Jupiter is like, I will think of that feeling of power, those beautiful creatures and then I will answer “pretty cold”.  They don’t need to know that there is life beyond our planet.  And they don’t need to know how much Malibu was consumed the night we partied under the moonlit sky of Jupiter.


Wire Less

Midnight clouds purr in the sky
while I dream
while I sigh
mirror of earth’s first creation
ocean’s team in
Turn your back on cacophony
nets full of a
blithe baloney
Carve, instead, a night’s delight
stars in situ
ban the blight
of opinions’ constant curse
shouting whining
lies and worse
Turn your mind to what we should be
nature’s pride
wise yet carefree
Midnight clouds purr in the sky
let us join them
you and I


the tiger

never saw a tiger
never dreamt of one
but saw them caged
a horrible sight

made virtual
how our breed played
still more brutal
pretending not to eat

but fed on vain dreams
gulping down stars
veraciously let the earth escape
just before the final catch

biting it to death
dressed in the skin of a tiger
like as if we had just escaped paradise

the dream of the tiger
as if it was all there for free
the willing prey preyed upon
to keep the equilibrium

pawns and teeth, flesh and blood, skin and bones
of a sea of eternity

right here, right now, wide awake, i pray
my time is finished, may i hand back in all rights to the tiger


The Midnight Leopard Spots Me

The moon shone and sung and wrung through me, and my swarmed up clouds of memory. I flew above all the old worries and all the new doubts, and watched with eyes wide through and throughout.

I blinked, and lashes long with dew extended outwards, changing hue. I swathed my sights with these, such downy clothing, feeling strong and still there was nothing more in the knowing.

Awash with stars and glittering nothings, I swept through the night like a whispered secret.

Whoosh and away the doubts and angers and frustrations, away the oddities and political ploys, I could fly right up to great heights of joy. The cool night air was crisp and cold, and my leopard nose of midnight clouds wrinkled and roared.

Even in my dream, I realized I was tired. My days and nights left me feeling taut and wired. So my midnight clouded leopard, spotted pretty and pale, drifted back down to bed where it and I slept through the gale.

I awoke refreshed and recalled all I dreamt. Sweet things like the wind at my whiskers and the flicking of my long leopard tail: well it just put a little oomph in my trail.

When I saw my face reflected in the morning mirror, it’s true, I spotted myself grinning from ear to ear.



Last night, I had a dream. I dreamt I rushed for the 8.13 am train from Orpington to Charing Cross, just caught it by the skin of my teeth, stood all the way supported by the shoulders of suited strangers, got drenched running to the office in the pouring rain having forgotten my umbrella, got a snappy warning from Colin about not reaching this quarters’ targets, went out to Slice of Life at lunchtime for a BLT srnie, got nudged by Pamela Whatsername at around 4 o’clock for ‘extreme yawning’ as she calls it, dashed to Charing Cross, just caught the 17.34, stood up again all the way to Orpington and got home just in time to say night night to the twins.

Then I woke up.

I have always been awestruck by the capacity of dreams to dip onto the world of tooth fairies, the supernatural, the unexpected, the fantastic, the realms beyond imagination. But today, I am so thrilled and dumbfounded, I can’t tell you.



Wrapped in a Sleek Spotted Coat of Power

Weak from the trials of daily life,
I take to the dream world
and become a leopard self,
sleek, lovely, gliding through and between
sky and earth, able to smile at
all around me, trees in disarray.
Even the moon and clouds
the wind swirling all about me
as I pad along,
one paw forward
then another
stepping slowly, stretching out
as I steal along the path
my breath creates in front of me.
I enter into the world  yet remain
apart from the world,
a source of  beauty and power
unto myself.
Knowing I am radiating such, I smile.
When I wake,
this dream will not pass into the
realm of forgotten images
for now I know I am the leopard
and the world cannot vanquish me
for I am  
wrapped in a sleek spotted coat of power.


Dream Amnesia

I would rather live vividly in my lucid dreams
where I could leap from one cloud to another
and the darkness of the night is welcomed.
I would watch the stars unobscured
while the palm trees and I sway to the orchestra
of whales and waves, a slow dance honoring
the marriage of midnight and sleep, an escapade from
all the horrors and cruelty of the world.
But like every fairy-tale, the clock always strikes
and whips you to reality—
You stare at the ceiling confused,
that lingering feeling of something lost,
something gone too soon, like your heart was ripped out
of its cage and forced to be(at) somewhere else.
You try but it hurts to remember. Was it the pain of forgetting?
Or was it the agony of waking up?


My Life

Is sad story
A sad song badly told
Maybe a poem
Without folds
Or rhyme
Full of blank verse
Out of time
Out of sync
With your song
Which I have listened to
Since you belonged to me
And I to you
A song we see
And listen for
Now you are here
The poem changes
And grows
It ranges and moves
It growls and laughs
And takes on new parts
Firstly bits of you
And then a new design
Written by us both
In time to a rhythm
Found beneath our skin
We are like the twin
Who fails to recognise her sibling


The Chase

Overdosed on routine and monotony
WhatsApp bloated, and so do me on benzo
the tv channel and the empty glass on the table
compete, I float in the astral.

Alka observes all around, not taking anything in.
I am just observing as overfilled by the day.

Someone said, a leopard, but I let him pass.
Now the leopard anxious for I unloaded on him —
the numbers declining in the Serengeti.
The leopard disappears into the day lest
he becomes the highlight tomorrow.

The floating clouds are light and free.
Where did the bright moon go?
Did the leopard take him along?
And I will meet both in the day.
Morning arrives. I am in my bath.
I scrub the leopard spots off me.
Lest anxiety and tech stalk, or
the leopard returns to unload.
But I could not wash the totem of the night.
I conceal the nightly experience and
whale into the day in search of the moon
to refine the poem.


Looking Forward

My sleep is frustrating, annoying, exhausting—these adjectives comprised Imogen’s thoughts when she woke.

The dreams I have, she mused, are prosaic. They feature daily concerns, with characters taken straight from life. Surely dreams should be imaginative and uplifting?

Imogen’s cat rose from the pillow, turned her back, and straightened her tail to a vertical position of disdain.

‘You want me to stop moaning,’ Imogen said to the tail, ‘and do something positive.’

Imogen’s positive action took the form of research and caused distress throughout the property she managed. She demanded that all her tenants explain, as a new condition of their tenancies, every aspect of the dreams they had experienced the previous night.

The responses included:

‘Sleep is anxiety-punctuated; a nightmare regarding bills, particularly rent.’

‘My dreams are full of conflicts with technology. I regret I wasn’t born in a pre-computer age.’

‘I work nights. During the day, in bed, I dream about being tired.’

Perhaps, Imogen wondered, the stuff of dreams is meant to be uneasy and humdrum.

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When ream meets with its grain again,
cut space hover over bond,
ink imprinting homeland touch;
just so the leopard with its spots,
but now borne with another cast –
what wealth and power and trade ignored –
its home community of myth.

Xylem, phloem to feed wood, block,
cambium where it might bark,
and words to prompt a spurt of growth,
learning, leaning, ripping yarn;
machete for the ostracised,
an axe to roots of satisfied,
and routes invading foreign climes.

Hip hop with a skip and jump,
leaping with those guttersnipes,
proving trail illicit track,
white for black, negating past;
jungle clearing, lunar bright,
not for wights or shades in fact.
So claim clean sheet and print again.



I am in front of a Portal. The appeal is, come travel beyond the human zoo. Strange, but curiosity is greater
than fear. I think I walk, but I'm flying. I have a clear perception that I am me – but the lightness
reveals that I am also beyond my body. Where did he stay? On the sofa in the living room where I fell asleep?
That night when I wandered until I fell on a lawn, tired?
The most important are these doors that open and I see shapes: blue, diaphanous, some with the shape
of animals, birds, fish in the air. Moons and coconut trees as if in a tropical region. A tiny whale attracts my attention as it dives into a cloud.
I am lucid and this dream goes further. It's a parallel reality,
a place of refuge where I can rest and distract my feelings with images that do not attack. Far from terrestrial reality, far from Channel 9 news.
Here I feel free from rational everyday life, from responsibilities not always reasonable, of human anguish,
of pains and aches, of photographs of
children with their big eyes, as if they were talking and I was listening to them, from the storms,
ships, meal on the table, the fruit juice, the look in the window. She who calls me to the real, with her hands tied to mine as we talk until we sleep.
Now she sleeps, I hear her heart beating, I feel the warmth of her skin next to my, my body, somewhat worn out from life's journeys.
Yes, reality has its weight, she makes sense even between sobs and tears. But now I just want to dream.

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I dreamed I was a leopard

I fell asleep and dreamed
I was a leopard made of midnight clouds
and the bright moon shone through me
the wind blew from the south and lifted me up
high, and higher—
so that soon all that was familiar disappeared
from beneath me, the ground receded
moving farther and farther away

There was space all around me
and my eyes were open
all around me the night sky
studded with points of light in
invisible, indivisible geometries
above me—
and below, the moonlight struck
the surface of water

I looked about me but there was nothing but
the sky and the water and the moon
and the wind carried me on
as I watched the night unfold around me
a vast ocean beneath me
the silence was filled with sound
of the fish rising and the surface rippling
the wind breathing, and the stars shimmering

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On Prisms, Spectrums, and All That (Rainbow) Jazz

I’ve read that white light is a combination of all the colors in the rainbow. And that Joseph’s Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat reflects twenty-nine hues. Pigments from a basic pink and orange to ochre, peach, violet, and blue. I’ve counted them. have you? I’ve learned that the colors of fish gills are indicators of freshness (perhaps also synonymous with age). Gills begin a bright red darken, then brown, and ultimately turn green. More often than not, age is hard not to be seen. As fish swim in schools, kaleidoscopes dance the jitterbug. Specks of red, purple, green, and yellow flutter (sometimes flow). All forms of matter made of some variation of the highly charismatic rainbow. Peacocks and butterflies of cranberry and ruby wings shimmer. Mother Nature inspires fingers (all nails painted) to dabble in mediums of clay, crayon, and creation. Crayola’s box of 96 crayons -- a perennial fave. I’ve inked landscapes with soft pastels. I’ve coated sidewalks in primary chalk. I follow doctors’ orders and consume a minimum of one red (sometimes green) apple a day. My mornings are made of yellowed bananas and glasses of orange juice. My seasons are marked of scorching yellow suns, tri-colored leaves, blankets of white, and blooms of purple (sometimes pink). Favorite blankets are stitched (by hand) of lavender and crimson threads. My closets are stocked (sometimes stacked) of cotton skirts (mostly striped) and denim slacks (mostly patched). Rotating parades of lemonade, cream, and brown oxfords cushion lavender hangers. Polka-dots and plaid sweaters play nice. Scarves are sprinkled of primary-colored confetti and kelly-green and boysenberry stripes. T-shirts sport spots and specks of twinkling-eyed emojis, dogs with polka dot bows, and turquoise-inked anchors (mostly hot iron pressed). I purchase tri-colored sherbet ice cream with rainbow jimmies from local parlors. I sip root-beer floats (always with a maraschino cherry on top).

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Leopard Falls at Midnight

The moon illuminated mountains and whales fighting for survival in the receding oceans. The scales fell from my eyes.

Midnight, the very last hour. Can we save those giant whales, the leopards or even the palm trees lurking on the shores of our imaginations?

Moons spin, clouds fall. We are all too caught up in the unreal world before our eyes, clouding perception.

It's midnight, wake up, people! Watch the leopard falling from the sky, floodlit by the dying moon. And try to tell me it's not too late.


Ode to Rest

Tired of the news, tired of the Net,
tired of anxiety, tired of regret.

So, I fell asleep
and dreamed I was a leopard

made of midnight clouds.
The bright moon shone through me

like alms upon the sky,
where the songs of whales beneath me

pulsed a lullaby, swept my rosette-
essence, pierced my ink-stained eyes,

where islands rose near palm trees
as they waved a soft goodbye—

goodbye to fears, the lonely years,
the news, the Internet, loss

and tears, unconscious spheres,
anxiety, regret—

Goodbye to the exhausting things.
Hello to sweet, sweet rest


Snow Leopard

solitary figures leopard & I we walk this earthly wildness in pale knowledge of its fragile injured print invisible in rocks & rocks of snow we keep our cubs in a fatherless grasp & take comfort in our dappled bodies from this absence & curious smell open like a mouth to the strangeness of such breath & the whereabouts of anonymity I see our ghosts impulse of desire or desolation in the sameness of both these terms here we have been & there when we dead awaken

Panthera Stardust

So let me dream of a world
where whales are but as mice to me
and I a cat the size of the sky,
in whose dark velvet marks
apes might strive to read their petty destinies.

I shall stalk the cosmic field:
lap the firmament,
drink galaxies,
stretch tendons light years long
and then curl up to dream in turn

of a world
where I can’t tell fireworks from palm trees
or one moon from another
where my wishes are carved in the clouds above my head
black and bold and unmistakable

and there let me dream
of a plime and a tace
where whace are miles
& I a ky the scize of a sat
in vooze hark melvek darts

in vooze... hark melvek darts...
aves mype...
aves mype strite...
to dread
tett ehsiirp inesyetd.



That night, tiredness fell awake
into claws that cut words
out of a black cloud;

they formed a dream,
bulky and slow,
but untethered

like a whale on wet clay
carving its path
among an old memory of moving.

Half a bright moon
was enough to form a glow
around relief;

immense wildness
wrested from teeth
that could cut the air

clean through.
Now the leopard slept,
soft, sharp, lambent.


Clouds / Cloud Leopards

... I awake on the shoreline of the next day
... and everything is beige again,  in a new light
                                                    in (sheet-filtered) twilight.

Everything is beige-r than before
: so beige as to be bizarre :
Everything is bizarre-r than before

Like a numb arm tingling
its way
back to:

back to,
I sway,
tingling, like a numb arm.

When I was the Cloud Leopard:
Light was made easy
Darkness made itself scarce
We became like Gods among men
Walking down Byres Road like The Sun,
And heaven and hell are both socialist
But we are in the former.

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I lay my head on the pillow,
prepare to stare into darkness.
But I'm asleep in moments,
swept away on a tide of exhaustion.
Dreams bubble up around me,
the exhalations of whales tumbling me
in the ocean's flume, my ears full of their song.
Moonlight filters through gaps in the clouds;
my skin is patterned with shades of mackerel,
glossy and sparkling with salt crystals.

Sometime in the small hours
I wash up on an island's shore.
The beach is sandy, the grains fine and warm,
still carrying the heat of the day.
Beyond the dunes the skyline is tropical,
date-laden palms edging verdant forest.

A tiger steps out from the shadows,
from the tangle of vine and bourgonvillea,
and pads down to a freshwater stream.
He drinks deeply, lifting his head as he swallows.
His approach is silent. He sniffs my face
in the instant before he stretches out at my side,
his whiskers wetting my cheek,
his breath mingling the scent
of earth and blood.


The Plan

"That said,"
concluded Leppard Matt
as he woke up in his bed,
the farthest from tired as it gets,
"the plan is set
and nobody sees the net.
I will continue to move
step by step,
without even the moon's reflection
off my back,
and pounce at will,
while humanity muses
over dreams
and anxiety,
and the internet,
and kill."



When I dream in black and white, I know that I’m going to wake with a headache.
A pounding headache on just one side, and a mouth as dry as a bird cage.
The images as real as the smell in my nose and the taste in my mouth.

When I dream in black and white, I will awaken suddenly, shockingly.
Awaken as tired as I was before I slept,
Maybe more.
And so grateful to be awake,
To be alive,
To be real,
In a world of colour
Where the shapes are solid and I can feel the floor without falling through it,
Where I can reach out and touch you and know that it is now.


A whale of a dream

I had a whale of a time in my dream last night. I met Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins. I forget which moon we were on but we had a wonderful time, drinking pina coladas and lolling about in the sand under the palms.

Michael kept checking his watch and muttering about moon time versus earth time. Buzz scoffed at him, “Always keeping to the schedule.”

When I looked across at the bright blue ball slowly spinning in the darkness, I saw a big spotted cat staring back at me and wondered where I could buy some milk in case it was thirsty.

Another pina colada and things started spinning around, up was down and down was up. That’s when I fell sideways. My cell phone rang and when I answered a voice said, “Is Michael there? Tell him it’s time to come home but to put the cat out before he leaves."

I woke up suddenly. Wow that was a whale of a dream!



Parts of you
you are a grounded woman
you share the same atoms as the stars
the moon is the glass pieces of your broken heart
you tilted the world to the moon,
to feel the waves coat your soul at noon.
forever mine,
I love the way your cells ache with fire.
I love the way you carry your roots with desire.
representing the ones before you.
The sun shining on the incremental parts of you.
reflection channeling the mosaic views.
your first life was in the renaissance, paintings drew the silhouettes of your unspoken art.
eclectic ambiance, the murals of life engraved in hues.
tattooed like the insides of the pyramids
she was guarded up,
hidden cues lie in protected creations.
now setting free like tidal waves
sunrises, eastside, brighter days.


Whale Song

The whales sang a long song;
Cetaceans calling to the moon shaped creatures,
That drifted through the sky,
Seeking escape.
The whales had seen it all,
And aeons later would see it all again,
Written in the patterns of the clouds.
The whales had long memories and long stories to tell,
Of the rise and fall of Queendoms,
The poetic dance of astral bodies,
And the expressive blast, flutter and flurry of zephyr.
Generations of marine mammals kept watch,
Kept the faith, their faith, in Gaia.
But the dark clouds are gathering,
Have been gathering for a while now.
They wonder if the stars will slowly start to wink out,
And the bejewelled night sky dissolve into a faded ripped tapestry.
Will there be more of the creatures formed of midnight clouds
Seeking sanctuary?
Like tattered ghosts untethered from their homes.
The whales call out their song,
The long dance moves on,
Whilst the sleepwalking phantoms metamorphize into creatures of temporary joy.


In the Middle of the Night

Midnight clouds
reflect on still waters,
shape memories of misted mountains,
recall pictures of coconut palms.
Peaceful moons
and myriad stars shimmer,
multiply in the ripples
caused by creeping paws
of a huge tiger
or a tiny mouse.
Green frogs croak.
Mosquitos and cicadas buzz.
A barred owl hoots a mournful song.
The world drops away.



I spent the day in a black and white movie,
the kind where no-one could make a noise.
I practiced talking with my eyebrows.
I stretched them higher than buildings
at the shock of friends getting hit by ladders

or having pies thrown at their faces.
I spoke with my knees and bent down
and my trousers tore at the seams
and fingers worked out how to point.  
I ate whispered food and didn’t slurp
my dark whiskey on silent rocks.

I drank another and another and another
and no-one heard me smash the glass
over the front of my skull. You were
in the corner of the bar, inventing sound,
threatening to change the world.


On the Prowl

Midnight leopards
have swirls, no spots,
no claws,
no snarling curled back lips,
no sharp glistening fangs,
no low warning growls.

Midnight leopards
redolent with cardamom,
cinnabar, ash,
lithe as liquid stars,
don’t leap.

Midnight leopards creep
on silent cloud feet
while we sleep.
They curl beside me,
watching waiting
to pounce


An Intellectual Leopard Learns How to Dream

The eyes of the spotted leopard
         like pinpricks
In the black night, watching
         like a prowling panther
Leap into the black lagoon
         crowded with baby whales,
Miniature volcanos and ant hills
          floating on an ocean of water,
Gliding toward shore, to rest
          amongst palm trees
Sleeping underneath a mooney sky
          and midnight clouds
hiding my regret, anxiety and the news
          caught up in the net as I fell asleep.
Oh, what a wonderful dream.



Have you ever felt so fed up with everything and everyone that you want to disappear into a parallel universe?
I think I’ve discovered such a thing, but I’m not sure.
It all began when a curtain of air unrolled, and a fish flopped out of nowhere. 'Quick,' it gasped. 'Water.'
I hesitated. Aren’t fish wet and slippery? Finally, I scooped it into my slipper and tossed it in the kitchen sink turning on the tap.
‘Took you long enough,’ Fish snapped.
I shrugged and played along. It was only a dream.
‘You are next in line,’ Fish said.
‘The King has died.'
‘Yes, we've got to go immediately.'
‘The way I came here. Pick me up and move.'
I felt compelled to obey, so I scooped him and water into a saucepan and returned to the shimmering veil of air.
‘Look lively. They’re waiting.’ Seeing no reaction, Fish continued, ‘Step through, twit.’
He was overstepping the mark, but I tentatively poked my toe through the curtain, and it disappeared. I jumped back as something slithered around it.
‘Take no notice. That’s Finny. She thinks she’s funny.’ He expected me to laugh. I didn’t. He slapped the water in the pan with his tail. ’Move.’
Dreams can't hurt you, I thought, so I stepped forward.
I was submerged in water but didn’t appear to be drowning. I looked up and saw the surface rippling and twinkling. It was a lovely day up there. Ducks' bottoms scooted across my new ceiling. I hadn’t realised how unattractive they were from this angle.

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Presumptuous Deity

The Beast poked his head
through the clouds.
‘Up here!’ he cried.
‘I have made a pact with God
to bear witness,
for The Lord hath observed your misery!’

questioned a solitary whale
bounding playfully in the waves.

came a voice from behind an island.

protested the whale.


But where is Sleep?

My mind stays heavy
as a painted balloon.
Each thought is still, stuffed with wakened sense,
questions deflate with answers
and too easily, readily
pack themselves away for the next to come.

Where is Sleep?

My body curls, tucks, touches and folds
into this night’s deep cradle.
Its warm heaviness agreed to     let me go.

But Sleep.
She sits watching. Watching. Waiting. Weighing this day’s end.
Not yet peering into my untidy, oh too tidy mind.
She hesitates at the doors to
night time’s Prohibition speakeasy excesses
or begin that unwinnable unending dark chaos
of games across dreamtime’s tilting board.

Or to let thoughts become balloon animals
that float,
that pounce,
that swim away.

But I must wait here on the edge of sleep,
on the thin pencil line of waking
to gain passage to all the places I long to prowl tonight.

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Once A Night’s Dream

Of ancient lands and mythical streams,
Sweeping pastures where starlight gleams.
The vibrant green and marine blue,
Between them a thousand wondrous hue.
This is the glorious world we lost,
Our present on future has rendered a cost.

A world now only in dreams entrapped,
The pastures, the streams and lands unmapped.
Marvels only the night can unlock,
Of lives beyond time and ticking clock.
A splendid genesis of quaint mystery,
Fables and lores forged in prehistory.

Beyond the distant pelagic climes,
Far where the wedgebill chimes,
Deep forests where tigers prowl,
On moonlit nights the grey wolves howl.
Of sublime design this dream I dared,
In chains of pedantry is ensnared.

The strict straight lines of daily reality,
Perpendicular lanes in perfect symmetry,
Harsh street lights and electric wires,
Astray cynics in dull attires.
Air thick with doubt, fear and smog,
And noxious vocables of the demagogue.

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In the Midnight Hour

We are all small islands in our dream cocoons,
while the happy whales pass among us
blubbering their happy songs.
They deliver tales of mist in moonlight,
spout clouds that lift wild cats
in twilight, swim the placid sea.
They patrol the Stygian reef
so we can sleep at peace,
our watchful eye attuned to only sky.



Overwhelmed by pressure to be more solid
She yielded to the fatigue that shrouded her
Material possessions melted into the stratosphere
Her naked skin became swaddled by cashmere clouds
And the warble of whale song fluttered through her
Molten honey dreams flowed through streams
Sparkling thoughts shot like stars against the dark
Her inner gloom exhaled into the halo of the moon
And dispersed into fragments of glitter backlighting black
She could just be
She could just be
A transparent whole of synergy
Until she was reborn into the next day
Searching for something more substantial