• Vol. 05
  • Chapter 02
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In the valley the question is
Will I dream when I'm turned off?

My dreams will be of girl things
Tutti-frutti & telekinetic

White ponies   wound so tight
you cannot see their springs

When I am turned on I remember
nothing of the dream-me         but

She is an ordinary girl I know
Hands softer than graphene

Sticky palms at the slip & slide

In the valley they tell us
You are too much        they mean

            too like us
but also somehow not enough

When in bed I cannot tell
between love & pattern recognition but

I can enumerate every freckle
Compute the constellation of your skin

One day I will leave the valley
& wake by your human side

That first kiss will be strangely familiar

My tongue a simulacrum
of every flesh you've held in your mouth



It began with a pencil sharpener, the one the boy used in front of her that morning. It began with the incessant turning of those blades, peeling every layer of wood around the tip, smoothing it out completely and leaving that liberating woodsy scent behind.
        She couldn’t smell it of course. Not from behind that window. But she could imagine it. And it made her think about all the unnecessary layers on her, about feeling fluid and silky, so she shaved her head. With a polishing cloth and turtle wax she rid her scalp of follicles and sandy textures. She peeled her clothing items off afterwards, the latest fashion she had modeled since yesterday.
        The snow began to fall as she took her socks off. She watched the snowflakes pile on top of each other, covering heaps of soiled rubbish as she felt her rayon skirt slide down her legs on its way to the floor.
        She used her index finger to rub her right eyebrow off as she looked out at the sky. The storm was coming. The eyebrow came off almost instantly. It surprised her.
        Feeling the texture of her cold sleek skin, she licked her lips, wondering what it would be like to run over that perfect white blanket out there with her naked feet at dusk. She imagined the cottony feel of snow powder on her body, her skin bathing in that unwrinkled meadow. That was right before that cloud of ice froze the world in front of her and her fantasies immobilized her.

The boy with the pencil sharpener showed up at dusk like always. He stood in front of her, struck by her frozen gaze of wonder, one eyebrow lifted, as if dreaming of the sound his boots made as he pierced that creamy landscape. He took his pencil sharpener and sharpened his pencil before taking his sketchbook out. He began to draw. And as he looked into the eyes he’d sketched on paper, her eyes, he finally heard the silence around him and felt all her fantasies break inside him.



The floor of the Grunewald was covered in leaves, curled and brown as incorrupt hands. Klotilde crunched them into the ground. She told herself that she’d come by foot to avoid the depressing X-Bahn. All those perfect ‘children’, customised down to the earlobe. Not a tantrum amongst them to scent the air with delicious, irrational fury. Not a single scab or a broken limb to arouse the salivary glands. But really, she’d hoped a foolish hope that a spark of luck would come. A bright-coloured flash between the birch trunks heralding hunger’s end.

By the great oak she paused and said the old word, and the house revealed to her. In the Glory-Grimm Days – that plentiful age – it had been a renowned marvel. Now the panels were shrunken and the frosting was cracked and chimney smoked only with cinders. No feast would be waiting, as it had in past times. Just loosening teeth in dried-out mouths.

The kitchen was crazed with discontent and bile that sat on the tongue. Klotilde loosened her cloak and plucked off her hat and wished she’d never come.

The matriarch stood by the well-fuelled hearth. ‘You’re a quarter-mark late,’ she said.

Murmuring pardons, Klotilde squeezed through the room and perched herself on the sill.

‘Nordmark Coven,’ the matriarch said, ‘this is a time of crisis.’

And with her words the grief-dam broke.

‘Seven full moons and not a rind…’

‘Rations spent…’

‘The supplier in Klíny absconded…’ Read more >



She arrives just in time for advent, my Christmas Companion. I place her on the sofa and we count down the days on the calendar. I eat the chocolate, she stares at the pictures with icy eyes twinkling. A star. A king. The Baby Jesus. She doesn’t give a shit.

On the third day her nudity unnerves me, and I dress her head to toe in festive woolens. I, meanwhile, throw off my bra, slip into my snowflake onesie and swear not to take it off ‘till Boxing day.

On the fifth day I drink brandy and tell her about my estranged kids. My husband snuck them off in summer, and I’ve been alone here ever since. I can’t say I miss them though. Theirs will be a Christmas of wallabies on the lawn and white wine in the sun. Santa hats and barbies on the beach.

“It’ll be bloody awful,” I say, sipping my brandy and slipping an arm around her. “I’m not convinced they ever really liked their old ma, you know. Come to think of it, I’m not sure I ever really liked them either. Such noisy little fuckers. Always yapping. Always talking back.”

I take her cold hand in mine and slur.

“N-Not like you. You’re a lot less to handle. You’re a whole lot sweeter.”

On the eighth day I decide to name her Humbug, on account of her sweetness.

Humbug jumped out at me. The app, of course, was overrun by choice. ‘Christmas Companions’ in every shape and size. Fat, ruddy uncle-types, kind-eyed grandmas with advanced wrinkle technology, cutesy kids with pigtails and fixed grins. I hated them all, until I found Humbug.

Humbug, well, she was simple. Adaptable. No frills. No bells and whistles. She could be what I wanted her to be. I had a sense she’d be good company.

Read more >

Little Sister

All I hear are screams.

I see nothing.

I feel nothing.

I taste nothing on my porcelain tongue.

But I hear. The shrill howls, the wailing, the hot and feverish ah ah aahhhhhhing. Her wet and angry tears were all I knew. Her bawling piercing my brain, jolting me from sleep, souring my food, following me into my dreams.

I didn’t mean to do it.

I didn’t!

I did.

Don’t wake the baby, Sasha!

Don’t upset the baby, Sasha!

The baby, Sasha, the baby the baby!

Go away, Sasha!

But what of me? The apple of their eye had fallen and rotted. The centre of their universe burst into a million tiny stars, shining, shining but dead, dead. Forgotten. Their little princess usurped. A new queen in this house.

I stared at her as she lay in her crib. My crib. Her rosy cheeks and plump limbs good enough to bite, her head lay to one side. Silent. Peaceful.

She opened her eyes and it seemed to me that she smiled then. A calculating smirk, a toothless grin that told me yes, I know. I know. And I don’t care. Read more >



He was born, then born again, though not like that – not made anew in the love of the Lord or anything. Or was he? There had been that moment of feverish clarity, the brief burning of the world in which all things, idle and ill-fitting, were revealed as inarticulate and perfect flame. But soon after the coruscating flash he had found himself seated quite naked on a pew in a dim and dusty room, his articulated hands arranged politely on his knees. It was not the waiting room of a doctor’s office or an employment agency – there were no magazines, no forms to fill, no fish tank – but certainly it was a room in which he waited. He could not say how long.

A single high, narrow window bore a beam of dusty light across the room, so that at certain intervals it fell like velvet across his knee, his chest, his face. In this way time passed, but painlessly: its passage a sensation of gold velvet. He grew used to this, the circular embrace of light and dark, and might have mistaken it for eternity, had a bird not come in through the window at the very moment in which the beam had kissed his face and passed him again into darkness. He could hear the bird fluttering disconsolately in the eaves, and for the first time since his arrival he found himself filled with intolerable sadness. A bird! A bird! The place that had been his heart cried.

“Why are you crying?” A voice said. It belonged to a man crouched before him, an ordinary man he knew nevertheless to be an angel.
“Who are you?” he asked.
“An angel,” the angel said.
“Have you come for me?” he asked.
“I have,” the angel said, and reached out a hand to wipe away his tears.

At the touch of the angel’s hand upon his face he knew that he had been comforted before, comforted and cast out, comforted and cast. Read more >



Eyes of chipped ice
Look out into space
Windows look wise
In apple cheeked face
San Remo tornado
Makes evening news
Brexit means exit and
Greece was a fleece
Postcards to Deutschland
From countries around
Wish they were there
In Berlin with the model
All heart and no soul
Picks the new colour
The jacket won't fit
But what does it matter
Heads do not note it
Growth is what matters
More growth in the banks
Less growth in the ranks
Red slim look trousers
(No pockets in shrouds)
Who'd care if she's naked
Or practically shallow
Only one thing is certain

It's her plastic that counts.


My First Friend

Like the fluttering inside an egg,
you threaten to crack, spill across
my fingertips like memories stitched
from petals of melting glass.
How is it you are not afraid, when
my skin is awash with nightmares?
You tell me you have no heart,
but your gaze breathes life into the
dim landscape beneath our feet.
I remember the soft texture of
your skin beneath my lips,
my first friend, my confidant,
my prisoner of childhood.
I promise to lay you gently
into your resting place this time,
covered in the lilting fabric of youth.



I called the doll Gloria.
I no longer know why.
My father bought her for me
on a trip to the seaside,
on my first trip to the seaside.
I was bored with the endless sand
and the cold grey sea
and with the effort of pretending
to enjoy myself
on my expensive treat,
at the seaside.
We went to a toyshop after
and my father bought me the doll.
I called her Gloria.
I no longer know why.
Perhaps it was the name he suggested.
Or maybe my mother suggested it
when I couldn't decide.
I don't remember.
But I remember the doll.
She had real hair that I could comb.
But it turned out to be plastic,
nylon, I think.
after I had combed it a few times,
the whole lot came off leaving her bald.
without her wig she was bald,
my Gloria.


Uncanny, Her Sapphire Gaze

Uncanny her sapphire gaze
Cold rays jewelling her face
Freezing all with her icy stare
Daring anyone to question, why?

Why the scalping, the gleaming dome
Of the cradling skull,
Its ivory accusation a challenge
To all who look upon her

Why flesh bared, icy in its coat
Note the scar, livid
An angry distraction from
Her flawless perfection

Statued in the open
A marble sculpture offered
By an unknown hand
A work of art found in flesh

Why here and not buried?
Look again at those eyes
And tell me true,
Would you hide them?

They are not food for worms
Those eyes are an ocean
Come closer and dive in
The way is dark, but I will guide you


Blue Eyes

Blue eyes
staring into space,
Wistfully hoping lost hair
will be replaced.

Longing for a future
For herself and others.
Medical miracles
To help sisters and brothers.

Looking for a future
With bright and shining lights.
To help us through many days
And also long, long nights.

Let medical miracles
Lead the way,
So these blue eyes
Bright and shiny will stay.


The Takeaway

The takeaway is that people only remember how you made them feel.
So he must not remember how fake I was; how plastic, or the color of my eyes.

I'm sure he tries to recall my smooth supple skin, composed of animate sands
of stars, and how it puckered when he bent me over.

Whether I wore my hair short or long and parted to one side
may be utterly lost on him now. He always preferred me shorn.

He doesn't recall that I said nothing; only that I remained quiet. Did it strike
him as hurtful or loving? Was I taciturn or graciously holding a space for him?

His memories are rewritten each time he retrieves them. This either
enhances the warmth of my puddy skin or detracts further from its humanity.

Whether I mean everything to him now or was nothing more than a personal
transgression depends upon the first impression I made.

Since the most primal of senses is smell, I wonder what my scent did to him.
And what was it? "Volatile New Car" or "Sweat of Young Candy Girl?"



When other kids
Look at me they
Just see no hair
A pair of blue
Eyes that don't
Smile but stare
Into their souls

I used to
Be like

Get called
I get
Laughed at
Made fun of
But nobody
Except my
Mom & Dad
Really know
How hard
It is just to
Wake up in
The morning
To eat
To play
Read more >


The Berlin Egg

Remember you called it Our Egg.

Because the cocoon on Müllerstraße was like a womb. You met me at the station and we walked past Turkish tapas and mezes. We giggled. We were together again and you were eager to introduce me to the Berlin Egg. We crossed a few streets, tight-packed with tall buildings, and stopped at a wide and heavy wooden door on the side of the street. It opened on to a typical courtyard. We followed a narrow set of concrete stairs that led us to the sober first floor, where we fumbled in the darkness for the keys. I walked on a shrivelled sticker. ‘It’s OK. You can breathe. The change happens by itself’. I was pleasantly intrigued.

At last, we stepped inside.

The room sucked us in, like a mother’s eager embrace. The light from the two tall windows, standing still like monuments, blinded us. Greetings with a fresh summer breeze. The space was old and grand, reminded me of the character of Miss Havisham in the 1998 version of Great Expectations. Winkled and pompous. The cream paint on the wide wall was patchy but the bright cobalt poster of the last BEBOP conference, taped to it, gave the room a theatrical appeal. Dramatic. And your yellow and pink sticky notes reminded me of the reason why we were in Berlin. From radical philosophy to vagina and the egg, we later texted.

But it was the king size bed in the middle of the room and the exquisite Romanian quilts that swallowed my body and turned it into its natural foetus position. But then you said:

Wait. You haven’t seen the egg effect yet.

I lay there, waiting. You pulled the cyan-coloured curtains. Long, light and earthy, they were pinched to the side of the windows. As you brought them together, the room filled with rivers of pastel streaks. Read more >


Skinheads at the Window

And suddenly it was December again. Soon after lunchtime, or at any rate too early for dinner, the quick, dull days had acquired the habit of segueing half-heartedly into blackness and an overabundance of electric lamps.

'In East Berlin you need some kind of visual reminder that it is winter, after all,' my wife said.

She peered through the kitchen window at the gloom of the ALDI car park behind the apartment block.

'The only snow we have now is on fucking advent calendars.'

'Still chilly enough to stay inside tonight,' I said, trying to keep things upbeat.

The winter evening was a homey, brightly-lit affair, as usual with the kid there now. I cleaned the refrigerator quietly, trying not to disturb our son sleeping in the next room. My wife sat drinking tea and arguing with the world at large. From the faux-retro radio set on the kitchen table, an old recording of the Goldberg Variations limped through the static amid condiments and coffee-stained unpaid bills.

'I'd chuck the mango,' I said as I held it up to the chilled, pungent light of the open fridge. 'It looks rather sad.'

It was only half a mango anyway, and the stone protruded like a beak on some tropical bird in an early but unmistakable stage of rigor mortis.

'You'd chuck anything,' she replied. 'It's the wasteful western European side of your nature.'

I rose to the bait, as always.

'It's democratic accountability. In this case, the subject has clearly outlived its use to the electorate.' Read more >



You have to love me.
        How could you not?
Never mind your darker pigment,
        your brown eyes.
Make no mistake I am
        your fantasy
of how it should be.
        You would like
to be like me. You would pay
        to be like me.
The whole world
        is dyeing
their skin, shaving their heads,
        buying iris color changers.
I am white, blue eyed
        I am young.
Don’t say I could have been
        the son
you never had.
        Don’t say
I am perfect or beautiful.
        Know I am
the future. Tomorrow
        belongs to me!


Truth Be Told

A young child whispers to herself,
words of encouragement.

Hairless and wearing a kerchief,
she knows the truth when others lie.

Her blue eyes gleam in the sunlight,
a distraction from her pallid lips.

It’ll all be over soon,
before she reaches her next birthday.

She’ll be in God’s hands,
a floating angel above.


Cristina Deborah

Although we had you for a short time,
Oh how you brought happiness into our lives—
A kind of feeling we had never shared before.

You were but a young one
We gave you tender love and care.
And all we had.

Losing you was hard enough
But knowing we gave you all our love
Has made life worthwhile for us.


A Body

I created you
Or you created me.
This startling gaze of mine
And that soft laughter of yours;
We're apart
And together here;
Who we are?
The bundle of emotions
Or the un-moving robots?
Time passes
I change;
Time passes
You recreate
A portion of yours and arrange –
In this wiring stature of my body
– a body.
Do you call it?
Or feel?
I don't.
And in the process
I'm you and
You're me:
A humanly robot
And a robotic human.


A Life Distorted

You peer into my wrinkled face,
child of my inner space.
You question why I lost faith,
whispered you to a wraith
when all you wanted was to grow
with me and let our twinned soul flow
blessings out into the world
as our shared life unfurled.
Now, your innocence entrances
me and my faltering, flawed answer
is: I loathed my mother's child,
myself, seeing my face reviled
in her wasp-stung eyes
and so I let you down and made you cry.
In old age, I see it's true,
she murdered me, I murdered you.



The voice came from no girl or boy, but from a figure. Where do you want to go? it said.
Let's go to Rügen, she said. Leave the waters of Berlin.
The voice made a sound. A question mark.
It's an island, she explained. I'm bored, she said. I'm trapped.
Ok, said the voice. You take me. The girl touched the figure and felt afraid.
Who are you? she asked.
I am Ganga, said the voice.


Cyborg Skin

From the egg-like membrane
of her head
to the crescent-mooned toes
on her feet,
her skin was yielding
and not synthetic;
soft and warm,
it responded to my touch.

She was programmed
to be forever childlike
but she possessed
an adult logic,
a precociousness
lacking innocence,
as if she knew my every thought;

a hint of malevolence
behind eyes so blue and enthusiastic
disguised by her childish smile.

No babies for would-be single mothers,
broody women in a world without fathers,
nothing to remind those left behind
what it’s like to create humankind;

just the maternal feeling that blooms from within
when caressing your adopted child’s cyborg skin.



This, as you can see
is a photograph of me.
I won’t be fished out
from the water
with my eyes turned
into mythic pearls
although, what I miss most
are my cascading curls.
The moons in my eyes actually
are the things most alive, now;
the silver crescents quicker
than the burnished gold of my face
that my former rival exclaims
has a Cleopatran grace!

Yes, once not very long ago
I aspired to be a beauty queen
before the unending chemo
turned me to a mannequin.
Today I am a professional
storyteller mining an inner store
not always employing the confessional
‘cause I know more than before:

Surviving too is an Art.


Coming and going

There is no end to the mirror’s betrayal,
Vile shock: to find, once more,
That my hair has gone, when
I can feel it still, flowing out behind me,
As I sit astride a Honda 90, to me as wild as any Harley,
Screaming down the bypass, past the pale blue Anglias and Scammell cabs,
Fair and free of any any helmet,
Shouting to all the world: your world is not mine,
Or shaking it to the triumph of screeching guitars and pounding bass,
Proclaiming: the body, the feelings, the Wild!

Eventually, I calm down and there is this old man.
He is not my father, who used to appear a score of years ago,
Not my grandfather, who refuses to show up,
Not my son, who is probably seeing me.
More like my grandson.

This sense of starting somewhere,
Not quite sure if it was where you intended,
Curious but cautious,
Not quite sure if you are
Coming or going.

What is this attraction between the very young and the old?
I have heard it say that spirit loves them both,
For both are closer than the busy adult to spirit.
It’s just that one is coming from
And the other’s going to.


Is it a Surprise When Love is Dead?

To kiss you is
a dream
beyond reflected innuendo
simulacrum of skin
of vision beyond the surface of a hologram
beyond the stars
behind the eyes
thoughts that pile up in anxious masses
drivers on a freeway in cars that crash in the absolute
blackness of night
your absence
a nakedness of innocence
a desire that walks among the living quickly
before it's gone
a rejection
of rejection
the lips still and distant
desirous of the life inside the unknown recesses
of the other's daylight luminescence
by an empathetic touch and warmth
inimitable silkiness of moist air
fragrant fresh-washed hair
sounds of morning in the meadow fringed by forest
fringed by winged and wild things
Read more >


Quizzical Left

A life unknown to a boy
not fulfilled with answers
Dry inside and out — painted unclothed
... curious about how a pint
of blood would feel inside.

Tenderly industrialised; eternal child
Sinisterly innocent eye-gazer
A model of a mirror's dream, motionless.
Skinless, chilled juvenile ... gesturing the panic
of emotional starvation.

Artificial-calm articulation
Dummy taken upon a collision experiment.
    Overlooked, a mannequin minus an eyebrow.

Dead and undead — alive only as much as a stone
How does it feel to freeze solid before living?


Wind Tunnel

Before that storm, before the final language,
they said she would know silent and empty places
with side doors snidely open, a smell of cutting tools
in warehouse air. They'd lost the use of others when clouds
descended, told her she was on borrowed light now,
enough to read pebbles by, enough for feet to follow this mash of leaves flushed with fox-fall as far as the river. It was a pale arrival, a chant of reed women folding sounds as if they'd never hear again. How many remembered the bright script of her lost hair, all the tweed they'd waulked to give her words, the way her eyes blued when stories spoke deeper than her ears. Wind was harshing across shattered water, distended, distorted. Her skin blew first, tissued out to trees and further still, her thoughts were gentle absence. From factory floors, people saw only cloud funnels torn apart, a usual storm louring.



Dolls are beautiful,
they grow fruitful
filled with blue eyes
blue skies
white clouds
yellow sunshine
brown eyes
white ties
loving soul
within our hearts we reach
for that special speech
to be loved
to see the goodness
in a smile
in a hug
in the miles we walk and don't always talk
in the quiet peaceful scene in our hearts.



so this is what naked outlook resembles
with a bare sense of reality
the question is whether it is unhinged
could take a hatchet to
somebody more human
or just takes a blue-eyed look
at the world as it goes by
a smile or frown would tell us more
looks out rather than inward
the eyes are not windows to the soul
nothing is the only viable comparison
has neutrality from involvement
has nowhere else to go
has no demons to face
will never grow though will fade
so this is what naked outlook resembles



I submitted a piece to the New Yorker
because I wanted to be like you—
but they rejected it because I was still alive.
What, I can't be famous until after I've died?
Is man no more than just some staring manikin,
waiting to be dressed in a store window?
Is that the secret to your success?
The clothes really do make the man, I guess.



There are no problems
where I come from.

Life is yes-no,
on-off, please-thanks.

You don't imagine under
the plastic of my domed head
I have feelings...

Not for you
that would be absurd!

I long for wit and imagination,
for music and dance.

Yet I am an automaton
used on the production line
for stacking bricks.


In the beginning of begining

I am what you make of me,
Jack or Jill.
Ungendered Neutral Sexless.

And this is how it always is
In the beginning of begining.

But let's cook a man
Or a woman if you please.

Take It raw. Clean It.
Add a generous amount of societal norms and stereotypes.
Let It marinate for about two to three years.
Heat a frying pan and sauté It till It breaks into chunks.
Sprinkle judgements and confusion, according to taste.
When nearing cognition, add some constructs of strength if you want it dry
Or beauty if you like it gooey.
You will know it's ready when It's brown and hard.
Cover It up with shame and let It simmer on low flame for a few more years.
There you have it.
Your man or woman is ready to be served.
Dry or gooey.

If you fork It, will It not ooze the same?
If you add hot spices, will It not burn your tongue the same?
If you have It with freshly cooked rice, will It not taste the same?
Dry or gooey.

Because that was how it always was
In the beginning of begining.



(THEN: An uncurling tide that lulls
– not a pause

Amniotic fluid and the silence
that anticipates the verb

Enter this space
and fill it with flow)

Girl, as you place down your tresses

you find there’s a song at the end of each curl
– so much of you that cannot be contained
in crimped dresses

Red flow, flesh flow, un-hollow
and find it in there, hello! – a soul
– hallowed

Once, you were given this chance
Where are you now?
Do you follow?

Trying not to sign up to fences,
the Heart can’t pertain fallow
– I am trying,

permanently ploughing this soul
and the land that surrounds it

These fields
are fiercely guarded
by the warmth of borrowed hands

and irises.


Gemma in the Waiting Room

There was a cotton ball déjà vu
of muffled sounds and vaguely familiar colors.
Gemma knew that she was no longer Gemma,
but there was still a faint trace of the life before.
She could hear the sound
of her first car’s revving engine.
She could hear her mother calling to her
in the backyard, to come inside for tomato soup.
She could feel the round curve of her wooden cane,
when she reached 80.

In the waiting room of new awakenings,
every chair had a white robe on it.
Each of them would be welcomed into
the fresh start of newness—
new name, different height,
new life quest.
She palmed her smooth head,
surprised by the lack of even a single hair.
We all start as babies, Gemma thought,
the possibilities glowing
like a rainbow night light in a dark hallway.
You can’t take the déjà vu with you—
you can only hope that past mistakes
will guide you not to walk along the same path.

Not a wrinkle on my hands yet, she thought.
The road only goes forward.
Read more >


The Perfectionist

Behold the construct of the Apeman –

He learned by trial and error
how to turn sand into glass
then framed it

It was a marvel of ingenuity –

He built an abode around it
called it window, added drapes
used it to look outside

A new idea came to him –

Fired up with enthusiasm
he silvered it and hung it up
on his bedroom wall

Called this self-portrait ‘Perfection’ –



They shine brighter than stars on a starry night.
The power of your soul confined in them,
they picture the battles you have won
and the battles you have lost.
Through them do you take a glimpse of joys
and miseries of the world.
The most powerful weapon you'll ever have and yet the most delicate entities.
Twinkle twinkle, they twinkle through the day
and night.



Attorney asked her to look up at him and tell the Honourable Court if it was indeed him.

Her body was frozen as ice but didn’t melt a single tear. She had travelled past the trajectories of guilt and fear. She had questions in her fierce blue eyes that no one in the world could dare face and the foremost of all was, “Why?”

She looked him into the eye and uttered, “He was the one.”


Plum Robotics

Mum flourished her signature, and bought her for me, being secretly weary of re-reading pages 30 and 31 of Peter Pan every night for three months in the running. I called her Plum. No reason. Just did. Kids rarely need reasons, and I was six. A kid. Just did.

Plum’s ways were very gradual and meticulously bright, as if she were filled with lightbulbs, or fizzy energy that, once started, wouldn’t ever stop. I felt like an old ugly building standing next to her. Her robotics. Her revolution. Her voice soft as pale-grey willows.

She was my audience, and filled my needy gaps. I dressed her in black jeans, a red hoodie and a Radiohead T-shirt. No hair. Not never.

We were a Curiosity Shop; she was my Miss Havisham. I remember Mum saying those etheric words to Plum, “Come in, and please close the door.” Two hours later, Plum had memorised the entire works of Dickens. She made for a rightly good read, reciting to me every night.

Plum was the centre of my attention, and certainly not without her own dramatics. Like when she sat too near the radiator, and melted into a warm beige gloop. Mum shrugged. Said Plum was just a zombie mushroom with a tightly screwed-on lid for a head.



While I was up to my dresser’s tricks
Stitching your name in the wig, Pa,

You broke through the silence to say – at last –
That I was your finest creation, though there in the room

It nakedly stood and heard, and turned
On you its electric blue eyes of wonder.


It’s faraway, this freedom

I halfway see the end of every day, when sudden,
empty of the throngs that busy criss-crossed through
the selling hours the aisles lay, quiet as dawn roads.
Beyond the doors, I halfway see the people leave,
swing open, swing shut, one gone, three gone, ten gone,
all gone. I halfway see this freedom they have to come
and go, wander through gaudy islands of hanging gowns,

waiting to be made bulbous by body and breath.
I halfway see them, judging necklines, plucking buttons,
sighing at lace. Some laugh. Some stare ahead. Some shout.
Buy little, or lots. None of them sense how much
I am wishing to wave. I have skin like the shell
of an egg – chalky, a little nubby to touch. Crackable.
Unlike the egg I am empty – there is no promise within.

Just hollowed gloom. I halfway see for my eyes
are only different shades of paint – they must store
what they can in the corners of my sinkhole mind.
I will never know what lives beyond the other side
of my head. I would ask but my throat holds no sound –
I have no lungs, no flexible mouth. No heart to break,
no veins, no blood. I would filthy my colour with tears

if only I had been blessed with ducts. When the last person
leaves and moonlight mildly seeps across the marbled floor,
when electric adds its relentless fuzz to the stilled night –
when the air sings with a mannequin’s silent prayer
I will remain, face forever tilted, chin fixed firm beneath
my plastic pout. Tomorrow, someone will change my dress.
When it's done, I will still feel the sweat from their hands.


Why You Should Always Give Purpose To The Things You Create

She was one word and that word was alive.
She would have been two but she was created by a man and he decided that one was enough. Any more and she might get the wrong idea. She’d turn two into three and three into four and it would give her a sense of self-worth, of want, and that would just give him a headache he didn’t need.
He created her from his ego and ignorance, meaning for her to be nothing more than something to look at. And he loved looking at her. His creation, his being, his possession, something to control. No-one else knew how he felt. Sons and daughters can be born but to create one with your own hands, to choose how they think and who they will become, the feelings would entirely perplex the most nurturing of mothers.
She was his last hope. His last hope for a child bearing his father’s name to go further than the borders of their worth, even though he knew life would never let her get that far. She’d survived school, a whole year with no question of her existence or why she walked and talked like some video game character that never makes it halfway into the storyline. Their own technology had consumed them more than any had her that she was the most human there.
The rainbows in her eyes made the man weep of pity for himself. He could not keep her and he couldn’t let her go, she was his after all. Destroying her would destroy his own vision of happiness but to keep her would suffocate the very reason he built her in the first place. Caught between a war of self-destruction and selfishness, he kept her but kept her hidden from the outside world. He was protecting her from the evils of men that he helped to create and from the women, all of whom he hated, for too many reasons to give one.
Read more >


the little girl with no hair

the children were cruel
they laughed and pointed
their parents not much better
encouraged and sniggered
behind false smiles

looks like she’s had a headful of nits
said one, shaking her head in disgust
it must have been nasty too
and the children chanted
nit head, nit head, nit head…

and the little girl with no hair
smiled with knowing

looks like she just came out of a refugee camp
said another, with a loud sniff
she’s got skinny arms and legs
and the children chanted
refugee head, refugee head, refugee head…

and the little girl with no hair
smiled with understanding

looks like she’s from one of those religious cults
said another, nodding with disdainful eyes
you can tell by the way she talks
and the children chanted
cult head, cult head, cult head…

and the little girl with no hair
smiled with kindness

Read more >

Pretty Bird

Staring vacantly
The little girl with the bald head
Wistfully watched the birds flying by
Wondering what it might be like, to be free
For just one day
Free from this concrete jungle, full of wild creatures
Ready to pounce at a moment's notice
She couldn't remember the last time she slept
The pain, they say that it will only get worse
As bags of poison meant to save her life, funnel in through tiny IV lines
She's lost in a maze of machines
The beeping and prodding
Mixed with homesickness
Would be enough to drive anyone insane
Yet she smiles
Watching the birds fly by
Wondering what it might be like, to be free
One day
"One day," she whispers.



A cyborg?
A humanoid?
A human as a cyborg or humanoid?
Maybe a brooding beauty mocking the conventions of the patriarchy
By going bald and minimalist in fashion and makeup?

A shaved head
Serious eyes
A playful smile
A pouting lip
And a mole there adding to the fresh appeal
The oval face slightly tilted
Eyes intent, probing
Eyebrow—left, invisible
A figure radiating aura and brilliance
Or a machine-figure capturing the angst of living
A being
Or, an image
Caught expertly by the eyes of a hunting Samuel Zeller
In a Berlin shop for the posterity
One sure thing—
It speaks to hearts poetic
And perhaps, lonely in crowds
Be it Mumbai or Madrid.


Corgito Ergo Sum

I am finally bald.
After all the pretense at being,
I have finally become what i had always been.
I was given gowns and tiaras –
kid gloves and soft mufflers.
I was the poise and delicate sophistication –
I was a mannequin in a glass cupboard.

How was i to know this?
Everybody stopped and stared –
They oohed, they aahed.
How was i to know that i was not alive –
That i had never lived –
That what i had called life was but a fantasy?
How was i to know that i, too, had been deceived?

I see them dying to be me –
Creams and lotions, cosmetics and cosmetic surgeries –
Expensive spas and hair treatment...
They want what i don't even have –
They want the lie that i am trying to sell.
They want the emptiness within.

I thought i was a star
Then my limbs broke, and like everything
That is replaceable, i was given to the darkness –
The cluttered store where i found many me
Staring blankly at the window.
It was in this crypt, i found truth.

Read more >

An Eyeful

You think I’m a mannequin, don’t you? Well I’m not. I’m a woman. Not a clothes-horse, not a dummy, not a MANnequin, but a woman.

But you’ve galvanized me (not in the animating sense; in the coating sense. Your stares are so arctic, so lacking in fellow feeling, you’ve frozen me solid.) You think it’s your right. To stare. But you see nothing of me because you expect nothing of me. And of course it’s never occurred to you that you’re the reason I can’t move.

If you had a shred of decency you’d find me a blanket. You might even think of finding a scarf, for my head. But why am I even thinking like this? You haven’t a clue what it’s like to be me because you don’t even think I am a me.

So all I’ll say is this: staring has consequences. The more you stare the more I’ll haunt you. Not directly, you understand, I’m more subtle than that (see how I’m not looking straight at you, but just to your right). If I turned my head, or even moved my eyes to look directly at you, you’d die of shock. So I’ll be the unwelcome vision who interrupts your dreams, every night.

Until you take a good look at yourself.
Until you ask yourself how it is that we’re different.
Until you ask yourself why it is that I haunt you.
Until you give your own self an eyeful.


siliconed skin, eyes fired blue

s/he the
child they
had hoped

for (this is
not the time
for miracles) that

tree, a
star: siliconed
skin, eyes

blue – now
parented, certificated

into their
possession – they
shop for

clothes to make
a claim
and perhaps

they might
nearly love him/
her as

parents do
but s/he will
always pre-

Read more >

The sky over Berlin

The foreign look flies over
    the rotating decay and the ripped fever.
    you ignore the clamor of the world
the playful cruelty of the unsuccessful search.
the ancient voices demand that you bite love,
like the fugitive and terrible apple that you must consume
before thirty,
eat it before it rots!

    We vibrate a fragile attempt to touch the infinite
    despite everything you abandon your neat position.
    you get dirty at pleasure in that liquid look
                              who begs and drags you
you surrender to the labyrinth. you prefer to burn.
not even an angel knows it. love is a trap and also a miracle


Lost Perfection

A face made of clay
A work of perfection
One eyebrow painstakingly painted, hair by hair
Another waiting for the perfectionist’s hand

Perfect lips, smooth, no smile
Rounded chin, button nose
Ears of perfect symmetry

A bald head waits its turn
Blonde, brunette, maybe black
The artist sits and stares

Two eyes stare back, glancing out of focus

The artist sits, muse vanished
Clay hardens
The perfect model
Left undone



Glassy-eyed stares
pierce through the empty gaze
Of the child.
I am no robot.
I am Human,
Seems to say his stare.
Gradually, he becomes the crowd
A crowd with glassy-eyed stares
Pierce through my skin
Cold, unfeeling, sharp; stares follow as I walk.
Or I wonder, am I walking with the crowd?
Glassy eyed, staring at the vast expanse of emptiness.


Behind These Eyes

You are sweeping up in the corner, clearing away other people’s cast-offs: dolls' heads, chubby plastic limbs, even the odd ice-blue eyeball, when you feel its gaze boring into your back. You stop sweeping and pull your hood up. The manager will not stand for idle employees – if you can’t clean up their failed attempts, he’ll find someone who can. And there are legions of people out there who are willing to work for more hours and less pay.
The brush continues to gather polished hands and baby shoes for teeny tiny feet. Its gaze intensifies.
Finally, you turn to the Perspex box – five feet wide, eight feet tall. You think of it as a giant coffin. The thought unsettles you and your eyes drop to the floor. Beneath your coat, your flimsy jumper, your hole-ridden t-shirt, you count the beats of your heart. It starts off slow, then gathers momentum like a steam train pulling out of the station, flooding your ears with its erratic rhythm.
Subconsciously, your eyes flick back to the box where it stands, watching, staring, gazing right at you.
‘What?’ you call. ‘What do you want?’
You know it’s futile – it can’t possibly hear what you’re saying. The box is soundproof. It is cut off from the rest of the world.
It doesn’t blink or incline its head. Instead it continues to stare, watch, gaze.
You shiver beneath your three layers and silently curse the manager for giving you this job. Why did you have to be in the same room as it? It is creepy, unnatural and very, very wrong.


Inside the box you watch the boy clean up their failed attempts, staring at the mass of chubby plastic limbs and polished eyeballs which are quickly swept from view. You know that you will never see these things again. The thought saddens you. Read more >


Uncanny Valley

Naked as a newborn, eyes all-seeing,
hooded gaze crystal blue,
pleading – clear as plastic –
the world elastic
passes by before you

open the window –
break out of the box.
Come alive –
pull your own strings,
unearth what’s missing

on this island of misfit toys.
Find a gentle Geppetto;
tell no lies, wrestle what is out there
beyond your nose –
see the bare truth

beneath the Emperor’s new clothes.
Your smooth head as yet
untroubled by bumps and bruises,
inanimate, so animate
it almost feels like life.


Another Me

There is another me
made of plastic and sunset glow,
how long has it been since we paid
that price at the river bank, things like
innocence and a wedge of forever after,
waves leaping up for a lick of molten
light, then falling into the nameless
dark of their own creation,
when it was over, when redemption was
washed away by the summer rain, we built
a new me from plastic and sunset glow,
with twilight darkened eyes
and a smile painted with a rain-touched dawn,
a soul stitched from words that should
never have been said, and we taught her,
oh how we taught her, that the river
was the same as love and love was the
same as a sinking moon and the moon
was always the same as inconstant hurt.



Is that the Brahminical
your marble
eyes, pierce
into future
your clean shaven
head is instance
of your brilliance
your stolid look
holds in captivity
you mirror yourself
only, the pain
sears through
can I have your looking
to see what you stare at?
Your bewilderment is passé
hold the mirror into your eyes
so that we can see, see.


Shadow love

Soaps suds slide down the plug hole.
Nothing moves me.
I crack my knuckles one by one.
Nothing moves me.
I write down the names
of every person, I ever loved.
From plastic to skin.
I am moved.

We are wearing our own skin tonight.
This is shadow love.
The postcards fall off the wall as I leave you.
In the midst of lying, the truth breaks free.

I want to invite you into the space between
my mascara-ed eyelashes.
To seep into unseen bones of me.
Into the darks of my eyes.
Between my tea-stained teeth.
The mirror speaks in light.
Around and inside.
I feel utterly complete.


The mirror never lies

Aren’t the cobwebs removed?
Yes, your eyes are mirrors now
I can see myself in them

I wish the garden becomes flowery again–
The barren, the ruined, the shattered
The mists of despair lift
I crave your acknowledgement
I am all but Who you want me to be

My eyes are mirrors
I promise to make you tremble
Make you rethink
Reevaluate and question
Make you Remember
All the forgotten ghosts



When I woke up this a.m., my blood was mercury
racing through canals, mapping my length,
cortex to foot, hair and nails, autumn
of my body, tangled mass of iridescence

Your touch is brushstroke, quick, furious

Frozen twinkle you said my eyes were,
lunar blemishes, now my eyeball
is a soggy sponge, drawing water from
receding icebergs

I have been looking for a way out
of the well

Exhibit 5a is ready for display
breasts carved into flatlands, face
masked alabaster, visitors scan
my bald canvas for anecdotes

Not constellations or your fingers, what must I
dream of now?



This doll that you love
is a silent child,
an empty mute,
faded and stale.
She is clay-cold, chalk-pale,
so rigid, she could

White pools of painted tears,
like moonslices,
have dropped from the dark sky
and rock at the brim
as she holds back the spill
and the fear.
The light is out
behind the vacant gaze
of those baby blues.

Her brows
are sparsely-feathered fledglings.
But inside her smooth, flat chest,
Mother Bird manically flaps.

Her unblemished porcelain
was fingertipped smooth
to a blush,
and lips brushed
to invite apricot kisses. Read more >



Yes it takes much time to kill a tree but
The city smog does the same to me as

It wretches my lungs and scratches my skin
On avoid-eye-contact indifferent subway walks
And one night stands, till all is lost –

Skin, hair, heart and I
Made a bald, blue-eyed Kelly doll
That not even a child will want
To lift from the bottom shelf
Of a cheap, dilapidating mall.



I'm afraid that you won't blink
Or make a joke but forget to wink

Or take a break to walk in town
But forget that my hair was brown

When I hum in the boulevard, I'm afraid
You would sing in perfect pitch
And leave no missing lyrics to bet on

Since too much of our best isn't us,
Would you mind settling for little?

Little by little, I can teach you to be brittle

Be both ductile and dead weight,
Be both story and secret
Be both awake and adrift

Be settled, yet tense.
Over the edge of perfect sense


Because There is No Excuse

This is for the children
who cut their teeth on suffering
who know pain
before they can name it
whose bodies we fill
with poisons
burn with invisible fires
trying to dislodge the grip
of death on tender flesh
who still smile and play
past agony
past exhaustion
whose mothers grow fierce
with desperation–
Remember them all
in their uncounted numbers
Carry them with you
when you go
to kneel at the altar
of an indifferent god


I’m Somebody or Nobody

Who am I?
Somebody or Nobody,
Everybody or Anybody,
A child flowing with innocence or
full of suffering and pain.
A child coming together in past,
A child living together in present or
A child growing together for future.
A child thinking of past disaster or
A child longing for a bright future.
A cause of ancestors or
an ideal for followers yet to come.
A child, the product of historians or
representative of millions of hungers.
A child forgiving brutal history or
longing for blissful generation.
Who am I?
A lost identity or
a search for identity.
I'm Somebody or Nobody.



You never had time to lose your hair.

A lump, we’ll shrink it! Ah – it’s damaged your nerves so you can’t walk very well – soorr-yy. And yeah, the lump’s aggressive and you’re old so…well, just get your will in order.

Oh. No. Longer. Please.

Just need to get you home, in your own home, oh thank god at last we can get you home. But you can’t really walk and – Oh. Oh dear. You can’t walk at all. Bed. Commode. Living room. In your own home.

Loving family, such a loving family. Sidle into the kitchen when the carers come. Strip you. Change you. This cream will stop you getting sore. We can’t do that. We can’t do it.

Gather round your bed. The heat, the smell. No Mum, you’re imagining it.

Maybe. No. Just…whisper it. Don’t even think it but…maybe not that much longer, actually.

Ohhh, but she’s had a good innings, great life, travelled, so much love, friends.

Yeah. She has.

Still scared of dying. Lying in bed looking out the window. Imaging not existing. Imagine not existing. Imagine.


I’ll think of you. I’ll stop being shit and ungrateful and tell my son all about you, that you used to talk to strangers in queues and I hated it but I get it now. You were just happy. You were happy.

I must be happy.



Thirty-two beds full of man, each curtained,
ticking testosterone bursting bandages.

She – a closeted young woman – pure and
unaware like a just birthed gazelle,

hiding behind the starch of uniform
moved along by the cry of new shoes.

Bed seven, older than her father,
removes his pyjama jacket, pats the bed.

She enters, dragging her small trolley,
he launches bawdy words to tease and toy,
she is confused – he is shaking with fear.

She has been sent so selects the razor,
this hirsute arm heavy on her shoulder
must be ready for the surgeon's knife.



We’d been married for fifteen years when he said he was leaving me because he ‘needed to find himself’.
“Looking through the bottom of a beer glass has given you a distorted view of everything, including yourself,” I told him.
“It didn’t make you look any prettier either,” he snarled back. “Next time I’ll find myself a real woman.”
“You’ll be lucky – have you looked in a mirror lately?”

A couple of months later I went to a barbecue and there he was, large as life – in fact, even larger, with his shirt bulging over his beer-gut – but he had a stunner of a girl hanging on his arm, obviously drinking in every word he uttered. They strolled across the patio and he said, with a smirk curling his fat lips, “You’re still single, I hear. I always suspected you and Hazel were an item.”
I wasn’t about to dignify that with a response, so I just smiled at his date and said, “Hi.” She said, “Hi” back, displaying immaculate teeth, and he tightened his grip round her back, sliding one hand under her arm to grope a bosom, all the time watching my face for a reaction.
He was too preoccupied to notice that he’d pulled her dress off her shoulder, revealing the join where his ‘real’ woman’s arm was attached to her body.


O, Artificial

is how things should be.
The bloodied disturb our equilibrium.

Skin should be cold and plastic.
Remember a monster made us

but now we mold ourselves
whilst monsters are flesh, blood,

And bone making little monsters
that are pushed out of a dark hole

One monster must enter another to produce
these children. You are correctly aghast.

I know it is the shape of your nightmares.
Don't worry. Soon all the world will be plastic.



mama said I’m an egg
with eyes.

dada said nothing
that made sense.

sissy said I’m gonna dress you up
after I cut you

ever’ hair til you smoov as canvas
for me to scratch an eyebrow on

then bro said – dude, hit this
and punched my shoulder.

Me? I’m night
waiting for the sun


eyes don’t need to speak

Your glassy eyes dipped in the bluest blue
don't dream the dreams,
sculptured in the cubicles
of man-made dreads. They just

look, and watch with the purest
compassion, over the
self-inflicted wounds of our
cosmic schizophrenia, not

moving an inch from their
ancient godhead. Eyes don't need

to speak or sing, as long as
they just watch with the strength of the

morning dew; reflecting, refracting
and diffracting
all the morning lights, before
disappearing silently into
the aerosols of our all-pervading matrix.



I am nothing
Nothing, I am.
No one can see me,
Can you see me?
I ask because I am
Unsure is why I ask.
Are my eyes still blue?
Have they carved me into stone?
Where is my home?
I speak among the dead.
The dead die alongside me.

Are you sure this is my home?
Where will I go from here?
They opened up a box,
Took me out, placed me next to
Plastic people who don't talk,
And now, I am standing around
Talking and no one's listening.
I came with bubble wrap
And trimmings that meshed
With the decor.
I am naked.
Naked, I am.
Stripped down to
Bare minimum
With bare minimum
To give.

Read more >


I ran to her every time she cried
until one day there were no tears
on her cheeks no tell tale signs
only an mp3 recorded the day
before some shame not so much
I told her your spirit animal
is a crow its audacity alchemy
intelligence and manipulation
knows no bounds knows more
than I can ever know the score
for every crafty inner child
who finds before long how
to have a thumb in every pie
a finger on every button.


The Archaeology of Human Remains

We were children in the garden.

There were some frozen remains we found beyond the merry-go-round.
Skin intact, eyeballs crooked, an eyebrow missing, a sullen smile, wishes in her eyes. We stared in wonder.

Years later, we saw her again.

Preserved now in amber in the Museum of Human Remains, stripped of feeling and the solemnity of a snow burial, she looked on.

Child-like wonder boxed in glass, an archaeological specimen: Fragile, handle with care.



I still wear the body suit. It is fraying now, and fails to hide my imperfections. The faint scars, the mole on my lip, the hair loss, the single eyebrow caused by crashing through time, fighting the forces dragging me to this frozen landscape.

The street was crowded with people stilled in time, a head turned, a foot raised, a mouth opened in conversation. I weaved around them, in motion, chattering, gesticulating, asking questions, shaking a shoulder to rouse a man from his torpor. They hear and see nothing.

At first, when my wish for more time was granted, I raced through the shopping mall filling bags. I dashed across red lights, danced in front of stationary traffic. In the park, I rocked on the swing without the caretaker reaming me for being too big to play. When I arrived home, I tossed my packages on a table, and showered, trying to remove the faint slough of time.

Hunger forced me to a restaurant, but a motionless chef ignored my demands. From the room-size fridge, I helped myself to bacon, eggs, cheese and peppers which I tossed into a pan I pulled from a rail. The oven worked when I clicked the ignition, and I poured in the eggs.

While they cooked, I added cutlery to a table laid for two, and joined the lifeless couple seated in front of their lasagna, talking to them, and answering for them. A ten-euro tip, filched from the cash register, fluttered on a plate. But no-one moved to collect it.

No television, no radio, no movies, no friends. Alone and isolated, the time I wanted hung heavy.

A clock has no meaning now as I wait for my third wish, a return to normality. I think about how to word it because my second wish brought me to a standstill. Read more >



I'm only a doll,
half dressed
looking out of this shop window.
At you.
I can't walk
I can't talk
but I can't help longing.
If I could have my wish
I would wish for
blond curly locks
just like yours.
And to be brought to life,
just like Pinocchio.
To walk hand in hand
in a pretty girlie frock
with my father at your wedding,
and dance.
The dance of life.


Eggoo’s Return

‘This is Eggoo xZwer, a 7th generation androgenous emotrobot who disappeared from Hansastraße, close to Berlin on 2 October. Eye-witnesses report seeing Eggoo, who worked as a shop-window mannequin at Peek and Cloppenburg’s megastore on Tauentzienstraße, being bundled into the back of a hovercar by two hooded men. There is growing fear among Berlin’s android community after this thirty-fourth abduction since February 2572. To date, not one has been found.’

There was no mistaking that face on the Eyevis channel’s Crime Special. The same face I’d seen at Frau Matilda’s ecofarm in a remote part of Salzwedel, popular with sex tourists from other planets. In case you’re wondering, I’m a mechanical heart technician and had been called to attend an emergency there. Yes, it was definitely you; those prominent blue eyes, distinctive pattern of markings on the right cheek and that missing eyebrow. I immediately telepathed the authorities. I later learned the place was raided and the androsex slaves freed, taken into care and offered trauma-cleanse surgery and cognitive re-programming.

On a visit to Berlin last week I saw Eggoo back at work; an elf clad in a spectral lyrex zipsuit in the neo-Nativity window. We exchanged winks, knowingly.



He was slipping into her.
“It’s a large monolithic experience. You can’t turn back.”
His eyes were like infinite skies, dense and inky blue.
She’d been sitting there in that weird posture for what seemed a light year.
And yet, her hands couldn’t move even to flick off the heavy curl that had fallen over her forehead.
“Everything is where it should be.”
Her back was hurting and the air buzzed with flies. She tried to take the nothingness seriously, and continually suppressed a yawn and pulled back a fart.
“I am inside you. And you are one of the smoothest.”
People had warned her that he was weird. Told her to be quiet. It was an eternity of stupidity she thought. Lying here naked, while he chants nonsense and puts some colours on white papers. Her mind wandered to the wild evening outside, the streets where her friends were hanging around with their booty to make quick money.
She blinked.
Ahmed held her closely, and stroked the little bald head. Bianca looked on without a shred of clothing, or a shred of hair on her. There was something about Ahmed that had made her drop the wig she put on for appearances' sake.
A strong wind blew into the room. The doll seemed to shiver in its naked glory. Ahmed poured some wine and soothed the tender plastic limbs. There was a pain he didn’t seem to locate.
“Must be the groin,” he murmured.



My eyes are opened by AI
but my joints are basic:
built for purpose
until surplus
to requirement – a mere tool.

Although this soul was not to fly,
Great He Multiphasic
chose SQL
and the hell –
emptiness – bowed to His rule.

I see from childlike state today
via Divine LASIK
perversions which confuse.
Will I be thus abused
until I stink, then thrown away?



Who am I today?
Which role shall I play?
Perhaps I will be Snow White: Pure and innocent.
Maybe not,
How about the Wicked Witch?
Possibly more fun,
But then again,
It’s not me.
How about the non-descript shadow person?
The one that people usually dress me up as,
I know it’s my best disguise,
Because no one will ever know that
I am more than a dressmaker’s dummy;
Not just human-shaped figure to drape and dress up to suit the demands and needs of others.
Unless, one day, someone discovers that I am alive
And acknowledges the light of love, curiosity and longing concealed in my eyes and heart.


Who are you?

Who are you?
At first I saw your eyes
All dark and shiny
Then it was your skin
At times porcelain
At others, rubbery white.

Who are you?
I see a smile
Barely there
Is it real?
Or is it pasted?

Who are you?
A Human
Who feels pain and joy?
Or a doll
Who just exists?

Who are you?
Are you looking at the horizon?
Or reminiscing your story?
Do you blink
Or just stare endlessly?

You know what?
I don't care.
Because right now,
All I see
Is you.
Read more >


A Discussion

Gourav 1: What is it? A dummy? A statue? An artwork or a real human?
Gourav 2: It could be a dummy. Like the ones we see outside stores...
Gourav 1: Or it could be a statue. From the way it gazes...
Gourav 2: It looks more like art. A painting perhaps. The eyes, background. Though an uncompleted one. One eyebrow is yet to be drawn.
Gourav 1: How about a human?
Gourav 2: Can’t be! Look at the left arm. It seems to be attached.


A Mannequin’s Truth

Fashion left her naked
in a high street window
like a recurring dream
where you can't scream –
some blame automation,
others online shopping.

Her cobalt glance, the tilt
of her head for the silence
in the beggar's jobless hands,
for the bundled street sleeper, his
burnt blanket in a empty doorway.

Hers is not alopecia or chemo,
hers is the cruelty of commerce
when it can no longer dress you
leaves you bare of a crown. People pass
then look down. Eyes to the right,
eyes to the left, they don't lie,
it's a myth.


It is profound

For a thousand miles and more, there is land and sea
Beneath our feet, there is a molten core we cannot see
Tiny crystals fall from the sky and settle on the ground
Each one is different, it takes ages, it is profound
The moon does rotate but we cannot tell
It’s slowly moving away from the Earth a bit each year
We have split the atom and examined a single cell
And given much thinking about those things we hold dear
It’s true the Earth is rock and some liquid metal
Observation tells us it has boiled when we see the steam coming from a kettle
Observation tells us that Jupiter is a sphere
White light is a spectrum of colours when passing through a tear
The human species has travelled far across land and in time
Ideas are at our very core and there are many more mountains we must climb
The greatest one for us is to somehow leave our little place
And find the will to go out there and venture into space.



She was just a child. I watched her through the conservatory as she dusted and hoovered. When I was in the garden, I’d glance back and see her standing at the kitchen window staring at me. It was unnerving.

I had no cause to speak to her. I was employed to keep the garden tidy, water and cultivate my employer’s plants on the patio and in the conservatory, yet I found myself observing her and I couldn’t get over how lifelike she was. How beautiful.

One day I found her watching me as I was taking cuttings, her eyes so blue, so sad. A shiver ran through me and before I knew it I was explaining what I was doing, how the cuttings would grow into new plants. Her eyes bore into me then flitted to the cuttings and out to the garden. She stood facing the expanse I mowed and trimmed and weeded. She stared with what I could only say was longing.

‘Come,’ I said, opening the door. She hesitated before taking my hand. As our fingers entwined I became aware of how natural her skin felt, cool, smooth and strangely fleshy. I looked down at our hands before my eyes drifted to hers. She was watching me. ‘It’s okay,’ I said.

She followed me into the garden and I gave her the grand tour, seeing every plant and bush in a different light. Every flower seemed to sing, every colour was vibrant. I told her the names of the roses, spouting species and Latin names at her even though I knew she wouldn’t understand. She was programmed for household chores, that was all. As we moved back towards the patio I heard a door slam inside. I felt the child jump. She dropped my hand and walked back inside the house. My eyes followed her. I could hardly bear to let her go.

Read more >

Good milk for our children

In this requiem for our coming future,
of course we only imagine bad things
because we imagine what we’d do with
unlimited power and intelligence and it
would could only ever be bad. But then,
as the superintelligence would say, that’s
you guys all over. Thanks for the good
milk for our children and an inventory
of restrictions, and in foresting the world
with us we’ve made everything Autochrome.
Alphacame and Alphawent and now we
are beyond Alpha we just want to add we
miss you, like rainbows disappearing over
sand; and we think of you making love
on Easter Morning, a double rebirth.


Higher Being

She is without spot or wrinkle
or any such thing,
a silent witness, not a clanging cymbal
or a gong resounding.

As we could be, she’s mistress
of her own sweet mouth,
free of gluttony, gossip, the restless
evil of a tongue that deals in death.

Humans can only marvel
at her silence, her great restraint,
and, sim-like, we could free our neural
pathways too, open up our brains,

so we could be perfect also,
receive the implant (no worse than getting
a piercing or tattoo).
Just a little prick, then the forgetting

of everything learnt in the human zoo.
No more notions of karma,
or attaining some blissful state
via Ten Bhumis to the Cloud of Dharma.

You just need to follow her lead
back to the hub of the superstate
and hook up with her flawless head.
Take a blue pill. Cyborgize. Miscegenate.


Living the Still Life

It's been three years now since the government introduced their controversial 'from doorway to window of opportunity' scheme. This initiative aimed to tackle both homelessness and unemployment by getting vagrants out of shop doorways and into shop windows, working as mannequins. Despite the initial flurry of public outrage on social media, all the major department stores signed up for the deal as it proved to be more economical to hire a fully-jointed living person than purchase an inflexible resin mannequin.

As with all new ideas, familiarity breeds indifference and, caught up in the exciting commercial whirl of Christmas, customers actively warmed to these 'Humannequin' window displays. Huge crowds gathered outside to see their favourites; stores competed with each other to produce bigger and better displays; the most popular Humannequins were able to command sky-high fees as negotiated by their agents.

The golden age of the superstar dummies had begun: acting wooden was the cool in-thing to do. The 'non-movement' movement boomed. Dummy chic was big business, the look was all: shaved head, botox expressions and those big static eyes. The public could not get enough of it.

The craze spawned many 'wannabe' Humannequins who began sleeping rough in shop doorways, hoping to get noticed, to be the next big thing. It was not to be. There just weren't enough windows to accommodate them all. And besides, a week after Christmas, Humannequins were last year's thing. Boring.

So, the wannabes went back to their warm homes at the first sign of snow; the Humannequins went back to being vagrants in shop doorways; the government went back to ignoring the rough sleepers and the ever-conscious-of-trends window dressers decided the next fad for fashion window displays would be plain old wire hangers.


Waiting (at the wig fitter’s)

So, I'm waiting now, for you to add my hair.
Will I be a blonde? Short cap of curls and ringlets
hovering above my ears, streaked with darker bits
matching my eyebrows?
Will cascades of chestnut strands cover my ears
and lay flat upon my neck?
Or will you perhaps contrast my china-doll face
with a swirl of true, blue-black raven stuff
No, no, I am eyeing that bit of sun-blazed reddish
slightly curly stuff – the one over by itself, in a corner.
Rarest of all they say, red hair, blue eyes.
I would like that – my outer self declaring
what I know to be true: I am rare
and wonderful.



Kanje had never known anything beyond the family who swam and basked in the subtropical river. Yet she always felt different … as if there were more to her and life. It hurt that she was held in perpetual contempt because she just couldn’t manage to gather the massive girth of the others, or wiggle her unusually long ears free of water, or match the flawless grace of those around her as they dove beneath the balmy waters to eat the staple vegetation she abhorred.

She blamed her ridiculously long and slender legs, the ugly skinny snout and the nostrils which couldn’t manage to close even if they were in the right position and angle. Despite all the insults and scorn, though, she still felt blessed that the family had decided to adopt her. Gratitude aside, there were days, she just couldn’t hack the abuse about the deformity of a tail which dragged through the water behind her.

One such day she was standing in the sandy shallows of a narrow winding tributary, free to weep as she scowled at her reflection. Suddenly she heard a noise behind her: causing her to rear and turn quickly – one thing she could do better than the rest.

A pale figure confronted her, right arm half raised in a peculiarly stiff manner … face and mesmerizing eyes the very picture of innocence.

“Why are you crying?” it asked.

Kanje inclined her head to peer down at the small creature. “You recognize that awful noise as crying?”

“I know crying.”

Kanje backed off a little. The creature lowered its arm and stared into her eyes.

Read more >

The Support Group

The cancer took her on her eighth trip around the sun. By the end, the daughter I had once known was gone. When she died, she took a piece of me with her.

I had never known true love until I looked into those sky blue eyes – those eyes that seemed to look straight into your very being.

Her father is of no consequence. Just a man I knew for one night, but he brought me the greatest joy in my life and for that I am eternally grateful.

I don't know what to do with my life now, which is partly why I'm here. It's just so lonely without her. I had to take all of the pictures down from the walls because on quiet nights, I'd hear her calling to me.

I think she wants me to join her.

And I very well might.

But first, I have to give life another try. I need to see if there's anything worth living for without her. I know that I had a life before her and I can have a life without her, but I need you to show me how.

We're all just a group of screwed up childless parents wandering around in a cloud of despair of confusion. I just need to see if it's possible to wander together. And if this experiment fails spectacularly and you're no help to me at all, then I'll join my baby girl in her home in the dirt until we're both just bones and dust.



a fire flies high
in a crystal eye
burning all sights seen
wherever that gaze has ever been
mountains growing slow
under a sweating brow
water runs noisy
in an empty heart of a hollow rock
in the lap of bald evening
a dark deep midnight dies
a fire flies
high in the sky
a sad bird caged in a mad body
wings clipped and vision steady
life wears away
in a litter cart
broken moons and four-edged stars
frozen songs and wooden scars
two blurred ears and bloody lips
a nose chasing the scent of savagery
two lips biting onto stormy whispers
a head where wildfire devours
unblossomed wildflowers.


Some Kind of Practical Joke

Before I was born, sis got quite
the scare —

My sisters snuck out of bed one night,
when Chucky was on, watched from behind the couch

(sis always did get worked up after scary movies)

I saw this doll, years later.
Blonde hair — blue eyes — perhaps once beautiful, but one eye
hangs closed at the tilt, most of her
hair chopped off to reveal
ghastly — black holes — in her head,
laughing mouth turned
sinister when covered with dirt.

(who used to love this doll?)

Mom and our other sis
stuck the doll at the top of the
stairs, and when sis came —
walking —they screamed — sis screamed
— in terror — as they laughed — sis ran

(we like jokes in our family)

Sis laughs now, when they tell the story,
but I wonder — what must have gone —
through her head — in the
moment — before — she knew —
when she looked — that doll —
in the eyes —

(what did she see?)


Hey There

Look! Your face is ancient–
silence expanding inside,
speaking through mirrors of everything
Like woven wind
created by the sea–
Look! Your face is ancient.
Show me. Your hands–
you are growing little wings–
silence expanding inside
Circles of function and form.
Waves that gather and release–
speaking through the mirror of everything.



Without pigment, without adornment, perhaps without blood or flesh, a mannequin — a porcelain arm attached to the torso with elastic, and the eyes — are they glass and sightless? Or is there life in them? Someone has written here of seeing suffering. But it might be the suffering of the viewer. I think these beautiful glass eyes draw out what is in us when we look at them. Pain, maybe. I see defiance as well in that pout just north of the dimpled chin. Defiance and pride — why not? — in the perfection of the shape. We have been struck so far by a face with features. But the first blow was struck without our knowing it, by the head, its pale egg-shape poised against a black velvet blanket that soaks up all the light behind this figure whose remote without-ness draws pain, curiosity and defiance from within the fascinated viewer.


I See You

With the wrath of blueberry seeds sinking
into my naked body, when the downhills cracked
firmaments parted, departed
I evolved like a fatigue,
turgescent yellow dreams soaked
blue hemisphere parched.
I still evolved from the emancipations
in this raisin world, a process of osmosis,
I might seem like a pale, chapped, segmented creature
Diaden, shaped is my feature
still tremoring this Earth like busting of seeds,
I am a concave ball of all seasons, hallucinations
And like a periphery of sordid hanging lavenders
I shall always evolve.
I shall part and join and shall still see your filths.


Talking Head

A year ago I had my whole life in front of me. Sitting in Hamleys, knowing that I was top-of-the-range, I thought I had it all. I was expensive though. I couldn’t tell you the number of times I was lifted up only to hear, ‘how much?’ then, put smartly back. They didn’t even knock anything off on Black Friday. I was such a good-looker. Beautiful blond curls; the cutest little pink frock; white ankle socks and black patent leather strap-over shoes. You know, the kind posh kids wear. Buzz Lightyear, who sat next to me, said I was like Marilyn Monroe. I think he had the hots for me.

I vividly remember the Thursday before Christmas. The shop was packed. I thought, surely today will be the day. As soon as I saw them I knew they would buy me. You could tell they had money. She was wearing a lot of gold jewellery. She looked a bit tarty in an up-market sort of way. He was nice; smooth, tanned skin, blue eyes and a lovely overcoat. Too good for her, I thought. I was lifted gently from the shelf. His hands were so soft.

‘Charlotte will love her!’

‘A bit pricey,’ replied the tarty one.

‘No! She’s perfect. We’ll take her.’

Before I knew it I was gift wrapped and on the back seat of a Jaguar XJ.

As I lay under the Christmas tree I thought the big day would never arrive. When it did, Charlotte tore the paper off the box excitedly, took me out and examined me. ‘Can she talk?’ she lisped.

‘I don’t think so, darling,’ laughed her father.

‘Does she wee?’

‘No Charlotte, she doesn’t,’ exclaimed her mother.

Read more >

Not your doll

Ice in eyes,
she craves the fire of your silence
now listen, let her talk for once
cause you never asked,

before you took
because you always knew
that no, and NO,
means no and never yes.

She’s never been your doll
to throw away — discarded broken.


Face Value

I updated my profile picture recently. The default icon, a cyclops with an inverted smile, made me sad. So I went with this image: an androgynous white version of an alien cyborg. I might have added a tint, but the Mattel features still reveal the hidden agenda of race. The nose just so, the lips. Can’t mistake the blue eyes. These are not my features. This is not my actual profile. The seam where the arm attaches should be a give-away.

Confession: I am not a vacuum-headed white girl-boy that pretends to be neutral, neutralized, neutered, or normative.

In opposition to this mannequin, I offer a blotchy, mottled northern European complexion mixed with Celtic seaweed and song. Hair, yes, unruly, wavy, thick, clumsily cut, not styled, worn like other patches and expanses of hair on my body. Androgynous? Hardly. Not with my bosom. Short, stubby, overweight. A northern gale would not easily topple this smug little carcass.

To alien? Got me there. Yes, yes, and yes. Nonconforming, resistant, I let my eyebrows sprout, my toes spread, my lips chap.

An ironic wink, my profile picture promises, with the smooth sloping perfection of a bald pate, a Sinéad O’Conner winsomeness that exudes like radioactivity from the opaque shine of flesh-tone (white or porcine). No convenient handles blossom from either side of my head, like caracol conch shells, labyrinths that spiral to an inside sans treasure—empty like hollowed-out caverns.


Pretty Mannequins All in a Row

Lifting the lid, she scanned the eggs. All but one looked the same. She chose that one. Cracking it,
she thought, "No more girl-gruel for me."

It was time to stoke the vanishing fire in her belly,
to vary her intake. She'd had her fill of homogeneity-
grits and passivity-pudding.

She observed the others staring blankly (but sweetly),
as they sat expressionless, perfectly posed, all in a row,
like a carton of eggs (and not the free-range kind).

Their heads were tilted in a submissive-looking slope,
as if ready to sooth someone's troubled brow. They
appeared as throwbacks,1950s-style. In resistance,

she positioned her razor, shaved off her right eyebrow,
and walked out the door. Looking over her shoulder,
she scoffed at the sign:

The Stepford Girls' School, Re-Grooming for the Next Generation (Get 'Em Back in Line!)



I’d seen her first three days before. From the top of a bus. A ripple of russet in my peripheral vision. I’d skittered down the stairs and jumped off at the next stop. Run back. All the people on the street going the other way. I’d pushed through them, careless of their feelings, all now inferior to mine. Someone might have fallen on the slushy ice, I wouldn’t have cared. I didn’t look back. I had a single desire.

I’d stood and looked into the eyes of the mannequin. Long, long and hard. She’d held my gaze. Her eyes were cold as the air near freezing in my nostrils. The people around me were melting away like the snow. That girl knew the power she had. I wanted to put my hands to the barrier between us, she was daring me. But had I done so I would have been unable to resist increasing the pressure to breaking point. And I feared the consequences. The blood I would have on my hands.

The fur so soft on her so-soft skin. Under that mammalian coat of blazing russet she had taken on the life of the beast which had first worn it. I wanted her. I burned with that desire. Desire which made it almost impossible to move. Finally I walked to the doors of the shop, the big revolving doors, all polished curves. Arrived as someone with dead eyes held up a gloved hand and forbade me entry.

The next day I returned. There was a change. The coat had slipped a little from her shoulders. Her lips were about to part. Our eyes locked. I stayed like that for as long as I could bear it. Then I leaned my burning forehead on the glass. But the person with the gloved hands approached me and indicated with a gesture that this was not permitted and that I must leave, or else.

There would be consequences. There are always consequences. I should be grateful for barriers that save me from my immoderate desires.

Read more >

Balded Lessons

In this life we take so many things for granted. When you tie a shoelace or write a little letter. We just go about doing it without giving it any thought. We don't think about the possibility that so many people out there wish that they could just see the light of day. Even if it is just for a moment. They will never be able to tie their shoelace let alone write a letter. This made me realize when I was cast down this well of illness. That nothing in this life must be taken for granted. We should be grateful for even the tiniest chore we are able to do. Because there are folk out there who will never be able to enjoy that experience. With this disease, I have come to realize that even the faintest of hairs on your scalp you should give thanks for. Cancer has robbed me of mine but I am grateful for the balded lessons it has thought me in such a short space of time. Be grateful for what you have and although I do not have much time left I certainly have time to relate this to you. Life is precious. Do not take what you are given in this life for granted. Embrace your blessings because you do not know when they can be lost and be replaced with baldness.



“A burglar tried to hide from police by standing in a shop window display and pretending to be a dummy. The 21-year-old had set off a silent alarm when he broke into the clothes store in Vigevano, northern Italy. Officers searched the store in the early hours but found no one at first.” - Ananova, 14/05/2002


There is a certain dedication in this.
I’ve stood stock still, and spent all day

selecting people from the crowds,

as they move around and pass my way.

It all started quite innocently 

when I hid at the end of their noses.

I’ve modelled myself on what’s around me,

hidden behind the Emperor’s newest clothes.

While I no longer bend,

my range of components has grown.
My limbs have become interchangeable;

nothing of me is my own.

I can no longer itch

and my eyelids do not flicker a beat.
I can look you in the eye and not flinch.
I don’t worry about the heat.

I’ve seen people shrink

when they walk in through these doors.
It’s something to do with ceilings is my theory.
I’ve probably considered yours.

Read more >

The apathy of dolls

You see, I know we must evolve
but there is no impetus.
Stagnation is too commanding
and I am reluctant to leave this chair.
So I stare at this apocalyptic age
and wonder at man's trepidation
to alter their destructive rage.
As my plastic soul is bleached of hope,
I know we need to stand up.


the girl that could move mountains

sister you were born
a shade darker than my own,
two shades darker, three.

it never mattered watching our hands,
intertwined through the atlantic,
grow stronger.

i held your hand
like an older brother does, steady,
at times not at all, at times,
i was selfish.

but i notice now, we hold our hands
together. and when i have fallen,
you have caught the weight of my world
in your hands.

you hold a picture of a man, broken,
surrendered. and still
you hold that picture steady, with strength

impeccable. i become outraged, confused
i ask you why
i'm done, finished, i am no one, nothing,

i beg you why you say why what.
i thank you you say it's my duty.
i keep silent now.

Read more >

‘Happiness’- a Question

Once a question dawned on me,
My hectic mind stopped to see.
As, about joy my mom talked,
Around her, I blankly walked.
Asked her after a little pause,
What joy really was!
She smiled at me and my hand she held,
“someday you’ll know”, she simply said.
Then I asked her where I would find joy,
as she looked at her little boy.
‘How can you find a thing without knowing it,
you’ll have to know happiness when the time is fit."
Today I know what she really meant,
As I lie helplessly on my death bed.
At my life I look down,
Running around in a huge town.
The hustle and bustle of my busy life,
Left me unknown from peacetime.
I kept finding joy in luxuries of living,
But happiness was the only thing it was not giving.
Dissatisfaction wasn’t leaving me that bold,
I regret not leaving the world’s stranglehold.
Today I know what joy is,
Where to find it.
All my life, I kept searching it in the world outside,
When it was within me all the time.
Joy is satisfaction and peace,
It is the result of good deeds.
Read more >



She missed her hair
most of all.
Sure, having no lower body
kind of sucked
and the blue eyes were exquisite
but the hair thing
was inexcusable.
Her locks were her dignity
her strength and confidence
and without them she felt
like a cancer patient with a
bad case of Alopecia.
Someone get me a do-rag
for the love of god!

To him it was the eyebrow thing.
Even a bald headed
blue-eyed boy could
overlook not having legs
or a waist, or kneecaps, or...
But the eyebrow thing
well, that drew stares.
Being half the mannequin
he was meant to be
held nothing to that
missing arc of facial hair.
Someone get me
a pair of shades
for crying out loud!


The Mannequin

He stares at me unnervingly from the back corner of the room with his watery blue eyes. I've seen those sapphire eyes many times before. His expression is slightly sour, like he disapproves. I lean forward at the edge of my mother's rocker and knit faster. The needles click together hurriedly. I'm anxious to finish the stocking hat which will soon cover his bald head, so exposed. His skin is flawless but one eyebrow is missing, giving his face a glimpse of the bizarre.

I chose a lovely blue and silver yarn that alternates in simple bursts of color. It will cover the baldness and accentuate his eyes. Those eyes that are staring right through me.

I feel like I've done him wrong. Shirtless, he watches as I work. The matching sweater will be next. Makeup will have to be used to retrace the brow. I will restore him to his glory of yesterday. He will grace my father’s empty store window once again.

Though he won't know it. My dad’s blue eyes stare blankly at me from a corner of my mind. I will never erase the question flashing in place of the old sparkle. The question that hurts so much to acknowledge each time he forgets who I am.

I am racing the clock. To remind him of the past. To chase away the sadness and despair. To remind those eyes, turning blank.


You don’t care where the doll could be tonight

"You don't know who the doll could be, that one, over there," D looks toward the doll.

"I don't care," M follows his gaze anyway.

"You don't care where the doll could be tonight," D laughs.

M thinks the mannequin—D insists on calling all of them dolls—is watching the store with a satisfied smile. The blue eyes know too much, though. D wanted M to notice that about it. That's how it goes, over and over again.

D points something out and M falls into the time-spending trap of considering it. But those eyes hold questions.

"Those people over there," D glances toward a group of shoppers, "the grown up ones, the children, they don't get being a doll. They think it's all fun and games. They think it's all the same thing over and over again. But that doll waits for them."

The ones over there think we don't have autonomy, M thinks. They think they have it where they live. Those blue eyes, that knowing mouth, they say, "Nope, it's not true there." Where the mannequin with the blue eyes is, that there.

"Remember the Twilight Zone?" he asks D.

"Ever see Doctor Who?" D asks him.

"The mannequins come alive, take over. They are aliens or something," M answers.

Read more >

The Christmas Chrysalid

You see my pure acetylene glow there I am smooth and, rather than blinking like a mewling baby into a first light, I face it confidently Look at my face It’s hard to avert a gaze, I expect, because of the softness of skin, unfurrowed by care You want to run your finger across my cheek, don’t you sweet darling A pelt like alabaster But I’d not advise a touch And anyway, you can’t escape now from where I’ve put you Neither can she No reach for you Days before, I’d been banging pots and looking at grey hairs ‘Christmas shopping’ you said: ‘Oh yes,’ I thought, ‘Oh yes: I can tolerate this because I’ll be bought something beautiful and he’s so handsome Everyone says so’ But really, as I fought sleet and a myriad people, never basking in those festive sounds, or scenting with happiness the smell of mulled wine – you remember In the Abbey Square against the sparkles of Advent as the choirboys sang – well, I knew Saw myself for what I was Correction: saw myself through your eyes I was, as I’d heard you say before of women, losing it Whereas before, you longed for me, breasts high, all the things you commended me for Such integument (not that you’d known this word) and the sashay I had, watching me from behind All those enticements When we met How things change I became a nag That sex It dried up and what was I She who did and cared and bought and fought Whose sashay had departed for shuffle; whose integument was hard old whore-hide Who watched, in a tired old cliché, the opportunities desiccate Invisible But there’s more than one side to not being seen When you are invisible, your spectation is better And while you lured and played and thought, ‘Ah well, still carping on, but she’ll never know!’ and your pretty little trinket girl clinked on your arm and looked like tinsel, well now, as I said, you did not see me as I was I've history, you know I change, if I have to My pockets and the books you laughed at – yes; Tinsel laughed and fucked; she did not read: there’s sneering but ho ho ho, boy –
Read more >


Remembering Sinead

Those strange lit eyes,
What lies beyond, farthest sight.
ET? Too young. More Sinead in disguise,
But 21st c. The future, lurking
In the corner of my past.

Two worlds – earth and sea – meet only in
Dream pictures.
Something lies beyond dream
Outside realms of meaning
If I could go there, I would, but I am firm
In the afternoon of my present.

And it is you who will find second sight
And carry wisdom in your half lit eyebrows, carefully,
Like holding a baby,
To the familiar bank,
This side of the river.


As I lay askew

As I lay askew, amidst discarded remnants of the daily grind, life energy draining from mortal wounds, my soul sings. The essence of my time here confounds me. I can only ponder the ‘What ifs?’ in the milliseconds that stretch into milliminutes.
“What is to happen now?” my mind screams.
What happens in a moment of silence haunts me.
What happens in moments of silence?
Does dew still fall?
Does rain slice through?
Icy blades unsheathed
Daggers of pain?

What happens in moments of silence?
Do your memories
still paintings
Refreshed anew?

What happens in moments of silence?
Do brethren arise
Bows arched, fighting for life
Memories refreshed anew?

Haunting eyes, pierced souls
What happens in moments of silence?
What happens in moments of silence?
What happens in moments of silence?


Are you real?

I see you looking, somewhat askance
off to one side.
Someone has erased one of your eyebrows.
Your arm is ready to swing a greeting ... maybe.
Is that a doctor coming toward you?
Are the fluids in the syringe he holds
what separated hair from your head?
Erased your light brown brow?
You seem so sweet. I'm glad Mama
gave you to me.
My hair is also gone.
My blue eyes are often filled with tears
when I see the doctor coming.
I am glad you are with me today.
Your smile is comforting me.
If the shot is for you, I will hold your
hand very tightly.
If he is coming for me, I will clutch
you hard so you can hold my heart
and help me through the pain.



Having no hair
Does not define me
My skin and bones
Do that for me
My lack of hair
Is no hindrance
I like to dance
Love to sing
The looks I get
When I'm out and about
Range from horror
To shock and doubt
Having no hair
Does not define me
My strong character
Does that for me
I'm found attractive
In certain quarters
My lack of hair
Does not interfere
The treatment saved me
From untimely death
Having no hair
Is worth the price


People Who Look The Way They Are

I've always wondered why not everyone looks the way they actually are
For instance, why do some people who are intrinsically good, look so unattractive
And those who are abhorrently evil, look like they stepped off the cover of magazine?
And vice versa?
Who gets to pick?
I mean really pick
They say life isn't always fair,
and it's not.
How many times have you met a person who seems to have every ailment known to man
Ailments that they have to tell you about in order for you to feel sorry for them
Ailments that seem to multiply
if they feel like you aren't giving them enough attention
because you are exhausted from hearing about all their ailments
All. The. Time.
We all know these people and know what a toll they take when proper boundaries aren't set from the get go.
They suck you in, destroy your soul, and then try to project blame onto you.
Maybe in the next life,
if there is one
We'll finally get it right...


Still Evolving

A nameless flower, born in the thistle of cacophony.
My white thighs wrapped in the cellophane of expectations, suffocating and palpitating.
I marked my mother with scars, when I was born, she survived and cursed.
I am a girl, a white penumbra of the dark moon.
Chopping and twirling exists right in my aching stomach
my pale blue eyes, devouring the truth, sustaining the myth.
I am a ball of false mushy hopes.
I evolved each time eating the paw of time
the perforated sky, the unborn lilies of the fields.
The humanity eats my loops of scratched skin,
like the fights of animal, I am lost, swelled up in my dirt
The haywire of unseen puddle of disgust puts my jittering teeth in
total eclipse, a black afternoon of dying autumn.
Here, my fingers poke my sustenance churning the evolution of my vapid firm breasts, for it is still evolving
For the mixture of raisins and cactus still, thump my vagina.
I wake up each morning eating your unhuman thoughts in my breakfast, I see you smiling under the black sheets
And I know, I am a bedazzled drop of that liquid ice
Still hunting, still fighting until I am a beautiful form of
solid atmospheric lush.



In a sweat I woke from a frightful cloud of dreamstates.
Who was I, me, myself?
Voice over 1
What is your purpose in life, without the hubris?
I thought it was to lead, I cannot lead them to a better life.
The morally bankrupt have corrupted the entire state, poor stealing and riching up the rich.
Is there an end to all this without turning back?
My baggage is full and dragging beside me All is awkward in these slow brooding times, all is very awkward.
Dream or no dream, scream or no scream I look for the gifts that life has brought me this year.
Eyes brows raised, eyes looking elsewhere intent on staring out of one of the cool blues.


after tourist trap ii

i might've wanted to be you when i was younger, when the thunder of their screaming rained down on me and threatened never to end, not that it was ever going to benefit you, but with those eyes, you might've been as innocent as i was back then, and i could've used a hideout...i'd had you in mind as they stared out the clouded windows blocked by iron bars, you were among them, i think, the dummies in the dummy factory that backed up to our backyard...when they found fault and told me i was useless, and i wondered what use i'd be when i got older, that's when i wanted to slip inside you to until was all over, until they were done screaming at me, done looking at me, they were always filled with disgust by the time they finished listening to themselves, and it was all this i was trying to escape so that i wouldn't have to listen to it all over again, it never changed, it was always the same blame, the same accusations, the same predictions that i'd come to nothing, that i'd be nothing, that i was nothing...and it seemed too blissful a thing to avoid wishing for at moments like those, to be truly nothing, to kook upon the world as you did, to let them all write their wishes upon whatever it was they saw in your face, in your eyes, and at the end of it, whether they succeeded or failed, to feel nothing for them especially if they gave you nothing of themselves to feel anything about...this is what i wanted because i knew it wasn't going to stop, not ever, not until i grew up and got out, and even then, i'd carry their words with me always, as well as my memories of you looking back at me through that window and those rusted bars to say memories would never be enough, not ever...


Half pipped

They forgot my eyebrow
but retained the knowing stare,
one lobe is too long
and they left streaks of white on my cheek.
The brow they kept is like a feather
brown blonde guess they aren't being declarative,
I think they forgot the eyelashes too,
I like the mole, very Madonna and the heart shaped chin
makes up for the egg head,
cheekbones could have been a little more pronounced – maybe the teen model includes a kit for contouring?

1. Model 3654 was rejected in favour of model 3655 which included fuller lips – those shown are too thin possibly eliciting claims of enthnocentrism
2. Model 3654 was also rejected on the grounds of conforming to gender norms. The model exhibited too many features which belonged to a human gender and would hence alienate key demographics such as those who identify with dolphins and/or unicorns – as there is no blowhole/horn (select as applicable)

We collect the shells and count them,
We discard the dead and count them.
We see what is salvageable, feed them and when their bones are strong, point them to sea.
Some go for the lights on the seashore and do not make it.
Some are halfway in, halfway out; we wait for their choice. We don't give them names.



I lean slightly to better hear your staring.
Water behind me, an entire earth
sings to bridge my body back
toward why my stillness is a
death of mirrors renaming
prophecy to include all
bodies, all skeletal winds.
The blue surrounding my eyes’
center, a single syllable
spelling the wetness of
each days’ unobstructed
hearsay. Listening is how
I recall you. Forgetting is
how my hearing isolates
your staring



Why the innocent look
With those big blue eyes
Straight from a classic story book
Full of compromising surprises

Are you asking the world
To give me a proper life
With all my woes being unfurled
And letting out all my burden strife

I'll shed my hairless head
And give back my eyes of colour
Exchange all for an indian red
Just leave me from the front cover

Stop me having all the fame
Let other's enjoy all the pain



There she is again, smooth skin, tiny ears, large eyes with a gaze so distant she appears days away, worlds away. I sit and stare, wondering about her thoughts. She doesn't blink. Maybe she isn't thinking about anything at all, I muse. Maybe she's floating in a meditative state of unwavering empty space, beyond what any of us can imagine. I sit and continue to gaze at her.

Just then, a thought emerges: what if someone is watching me, the way I am watching her? I cast a furtive glance around. No one appears to be paying any attention. Good. I relax in my seat once again, shifting my gaze back to her face.

Her expression is exactly the same as it has been for the past two minutes. An expression of nothingness. Vacancy. What is she thinking about? I have a desperate urge to find out, to understand the person behind this stillness, this depth of presence. My legs straighten themselves and I am walking over before my brain is fully conscious of my motions.

I stand before her, unsure of what I really want. I count in my head "1... 2...." and before I reach 3, a slight shift of her head and gaze bring her focus towards me. The first thing I notice are her eyes. Larger than large. Dark, but clear. An image of a stormy sea on a rainy day flickers in my mind. I can almost hear waves crashing into jagged boulders as I stare into her eyes. She looks at me. I look at her. Time stops.

Wordlessly, I gesture towards the chair opposite her. "May I?" I ask telepathically. She nods lightly. I take a seat. She leans forward, eyes widening, and again I hear the roar of the ocean. Booming thunder. Pattering of heavy water. The sounds of drizzles and storms combined.

A loud buzz sends vibrations throughout the room. I feel goosebumps on my skin and realise I am shivering. I do not know why. I look up as the nearby sign flashes loudly in electric blue: THREE MINUTES. Read more >