• Vol. 10
  • Chapter 06


in dreams, i tread
the underside of waves, baleened
and corseted, sponge-bathed
and powder-puffed, my delicate
lady-fingers haloed
in dandelion parachutes - every
iridescent inkblot a potential
damsel, a lady-friend, arms full
of upside-down
tulips. the turquoise green grows us,
balloons and releases, every
shipwreck folded back into
particles, underwater phylum pearling
the crest of waves, calling


(all herring-boned
and clasp-fingered) to learn
the ancient art of cloud      gazing.


pond metaphor:

in languid afternoons,

amoebalike,                                 we floated formless

by humidity
                                            lazily different

holiday incarnations: 

                                                  two June peaches in a green bowl

                                                  two pale crescents, afternoon moons
                                                            reflected in the water   

                                                  two cast-off wedding gowns laced with
                                                  pond                                              scum

                                                  two little pearls in a jade cradle

each sun burned the pond down
and we found                                silver      walks       home
through the night.

The formatting for this poem will not be accurate on small screens, click here to view a PDF version.



We're like a pendulum, we're here and then we're there, then back here, we oscillate, we're happy and we're sad, the happy in the sad and the sad in happy, and we're neither here nor there, we're everywhere, we revolt, then retreat, we're defeated, then we win, we're shallow but then deep, we're the clouds, we fall like rain, you think we vanished, but we go back up, evaporate, form a new cloud, only to fall again, we're on our cloud, back on the ground, we oscillate, we're like waves, up and down, back and forth, we're high and we're low, and we hunt high and low and everywhere and in that sense we're chaotic, we venture, then curl back inside, we don't move much, but we go far, we don't evolve, we oscillate and in that sense we're static, we think liminal, we live minimal, we're ethereal but not in a fragile way, we're grounded but not in a practical way, we have taught ourselves to turn a blind eye, but then we see, eyes wide open, we may not be present, but we're not absent either, we hit snooze and we lie there, oscillate between dream and awake, and we're strange characters in an existential joke, and we keep pushing up the rock that keeps rolling back down, we know, we know, but we choose to forget sometimes, and we claim snooze is self care and getting up is solidarity, we oscillate, between hope and nothing, half awake, half asleep, and in that sense we're like dolphins, and like a pendulum, we oscillate, we oscillate.

Our Love For The Sea

Let us parse and analyse
our love for the sea:

  -incessant trawling
  -fish skeleton necklaces  
dressing ourselves as gods
skin indicative of bath salts
  -the death
counted in wave-beats
but we hear only roaring

and, after all
we close our eyes
  -to the jellyfish fairies
ripping stars like wishes into the waves

  -to the mother-of-pearl
tears sewn into nets
heartbroken tomb stones
and the summoning of light

  -the squid’s inky law suit
(in the reefs
 those little babies
 killed by misquotation)

Read more >

[escape schism]

I am looking down at the shell of the sea
triple-stitched, folded silk along the wave
of a dolphin-road, Fantasia-feathered dancers
drifting down like apple blossom.

They knit and drift, the ballerina girls
on great fronds of tulle, oceanic aeterna
razorbilled with seafoam, tiara'd with salt glass
sepulchred in their driftwood thrones.

But I am barely alive. Great tides
of dream-clouds wrench polar bears of thought
away to a land of blueberry-peach boats,
hot air balloon sundaes, snow-glitter-whips

and sandcastle summers. Better to stay there,
lemon-edged with cinnamon knights
and aurora-moon daisy-chained pearl-crowned sea dancers
than to wake one more moment

into bloodstained darkness.


What the Waves Have Taught Me

She drove the car, carefully but swiftly – three wheels of rattling, draughty fibreglass – it’s pig nose pushing into traffic, snuffling its way down through the cars parked on either side of the road. Other drivers always stopped, gave way, acquiesced. And the hand would go up. Not a tiny flick, not a finger or two, but the whole hand. Slender fingers, the 3rd encased in the thick wedding band that she never took off.

She taught me to be appreciative, to look people in the eyes and acknowledge their humanity.

She rode the horse, carefully but swiftly – four huge, feathered hooves – shaking the ground as she passed, peeping over hedges into houses she could never afford, not with longing but with curiosity. Cars always stopped at the baffling sight of the tiny woman taking on the herculean task of the snorting, gleaming gelding. Her crisp blue perfectly ironed shirt, incongruous in the summer heat. And the arm would go up. A clear signal to the whole county – a thank you from all riders to all drivers.

She taught me to be compassionate, to understand society.

She baked the cake, carefully but swiftly – two hands rubbing sugar and butter – no weighing scales in sight, she just knew, as a magician knows their well-practised tricks. It was as if she had been born knowing how to bake. There was never a recipe book in the house. She wrapped the cake in greaseproof, making a perfect parcel of banana-flavoured love that would last a week. She’d stand on the doorstep and the arm would go up – high above her head and it would stay there until I could no longer see her in the rearview mirror.

She taught me to show love, to pour love into everything I do.

Read more >

A Neptune’s Project

Tell me you feel it too, completely.
The water lifting you off your feet.
A sea – oh ok me – washing you away.

To float is to fly in my schema;
that at least is what I am telling
the patent office in my latest filing.

And once you give in and trust me
enough to be borne by me – and it
won’t take much: just a shove tide,

a ginger wave – then we must turn
to the real, true business. Why do you
keep wishing to live in a drowned power

station made of wool? Your pain won’t
get washed away, just rearranged.


Watching, Brief

Through hoops, both obstacles in sway
and see-though drapes in cut away,
illusions punctured by the real;
the reels of past concerns replayed -
magic lantern, that the butler
saw fashion shapes would mould ourselves

As comfort bath and cleansing rite,
the loofa scraping off dead skin
or phytoplankton from the deep,
those trenches buried beyond reach -
could they be trenchers from our board -
hid swathe of faint in feinting light,
a horde of treasures unexplored?
Pearl mothers, poisoned families;
wave energy where waivers surf,;
The hungry Cloud, most unaware?

Bouts, sailing through this pea green soup
without texture (contextualise?)
pass fleet of dream though not of foot,
pick pin point pricks in vaguery.
Broad cut outs from a storyboard,
but bored if interrupts our growth
as words re-rooted from our store.

AI rebooted, scoring us,
ensuring we are apt to scratch?


Drifting the Oceans

From the custard viscosity of the English Channel, I set out and travelled the seven seas.  The Mediterranean was bluer than your eyes and sparkled in the sunlight.  I captured a porpoise and held him on a lead of ribbon of satin, but his unhappiness begged me for release.  At the Cape of Good Hope, I near ran aground, I thought of the clippers bringing tea from India and wished I had some for you.  I would carry it in an ornate box coral pink and encrusted with pearls harvested from the oceans coral garden.  I swam in the Tasman sea, where the wind blew like the very devil and sails strained against the bellowing tempest and fantastic clouds. 

At last, in the Pacific I became becalmed in the translucent green shimmer and while I floated, comforted by the thought that you would wait for my return.  I gathered shells on the Californian shore and made a necklace to carry as I drifted homeward.  Traversing the Northwest passage, avoiding bears and rapid flowing rivers filled with rocks, I found my way to the North Atlantic, I collected ice crystals and kept them in my pocket for you to see the wonder in their patterns.  I captured a giant cod and battered it for tea and dried its skin and polished it till the scales shone like gold.  I floated on the current now, drifting down the coast of Scotland, passing the Isle of Man and the Welsh coast and reaching once more the English channel waving and shouting “Ahoy” to those on shore who saw my drifting heart hoping you had cast your net.


What he sees everyday are clouds

and sometimes the moon is a cloud too
breaking white through a fine blue sky
and there may be blossoms, petals, falling
from a tree in bloom, or dandelion fluff
his little sister has whispered into air.
He takes my hand: there are small spirits
on the wind, he asks their names, but I
do not know them, so he suggests
singing, he suggests dance, he suggests we
run, but I cannot, so I am now only
a watcher, applauding as he turns his four
year old hands toward the sky, yes, I see,
a great whale has breached, it rises, it spins,
and pale ladies in pale hooped dresses
spin and spin, in their tiny whale-bone stays
and we whisper Simone, we whisper Vesper,
we whisper Celestine.


Green Floating People

In a world where everything was black and white, the green floating people were a curious sight to behold. They drifted through the air, their limbs extending and contracting like the tentacles of an otherworldly creature. No one knew where they came from or what their purpose was, but they were a constant presence in the skies above.

For some, the green floating people were a source of wonder and curiosity, gazing up at the green figures with awe, marveling at their effortless grace and beauty. But for others, the floating people were a source of fear and unease. They whispered rumors of the strange powers they possessed, of their ability to control the minds and bodies of those below.

I was one of the curious ones, drawn to the floating people like a moth to a flame. I spent hours watching them from below, studying their movements and trying to decipher their strange language. I dreamed of one day floating alongside them, free from the confines of gravity and the earthly world.

But as time went on, I began to notice things. They seemed to be everywhere, watching and waiting with an eerie patience. I heard whispers of disappearances, of people who had been taken up into the sky and never seen again.

Despite my growing unease, I could not shake my fascination with the floating people. I longed to know their secrets, to be one of them. And so I began to practice, to hone my skills in the art of floating.

At first, it was a clumsy affair. I stumbled and fell, crashing to the ground more times than I could count. But slowly, through sheer stubbornness, I began to lift off the ground, my body buoyed by an invisible force.

Read more >



radiating combs

princess trails

         a dance under glassing water
                miraculously bellied
                       bell of belles

flex and swim
pulse and sting
    beautiful without the need

    old-fashioned hobby, bobbing
    netting boxes, tiny
        along the invisible current

or sized like a human head

uncoil your barbs
sting like Goneril
sing like Cordelia
    be one and the same
    beauty, beast


A Dream

We take a break from our work
restoring the old church window.
Standing on the front lawn we wait,
you on your phone, my eyes on the sky,
a bent world where the moon should be,
massive, a horizon unto itself.
Stunned by the vista, I pull out my phone
to take photographs, shoot video.
I call your attention to this world before us.
You look at me, but your mind’s clearly on your phone.
“It’s sublime,” I say. “Truly sublime.”
The flake white of the clouds,
the cobalt blue of the skies,
the bladder green of the seas,
all bearing down on me, more than I can handle.
Then the storms come, crooked columns of lightning
crashing around the rim of this world,
followed by a flurry of shooting stars.
I must document this, I think to myself.
Finally, a tidal wave rushes across the world
like a white whale, like a counterpane,
from west to east, as I watch in horror.
I have all of this on film.
Before me, again, the old church window.
Step by step I steadily approach it.
Something’s going to happen.
For every step I take, a year passes by.
Spring gives way to summer gives way to fall gives way to winter.

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Out of Sight

It's not the string of pearls
that she deserves
but a different type of wonderment
that lifts her excitement
with wild words
and plastic clouds
and fairies floating
all around
and she waves as she wavers
only to savor these
unique and fleeting moments
flying free
like a noun that is not a subject
but an object of desire
and as she respires
untouched air
that stings with a flair
for simplicity
and with the audacity
in the limelight
she flies a kite
that drifts
above the mountain
and far out of sight



We are
    drifters on turquoise waves
We are
    wanderers, adrift in a yellow-green tapestry
We are
    jelli-fairies flashing as twinkles in a cloudless night

        nacreous halo crowns our destiny

We are
    diatoms throbbing to the tempo of lightning
We are
    desmids zapping through your dreams
We are
    ciliates brushing against your cheeks in dreams

We are
For your pleasure
    the frisson
        the tingle
            the spasmic gulp of your jaws

Read more >


Listening to songs as a mother rinsing her brushes

Lately when painting, the greens aren’t right in the head:
ruddied & weak; backlashed & dilated.

I’ve been listening to too many songs with baby in them—
nearly every songwriter uses babai to appeal to the masses.

I’ve never called anyone babe except when my son was new-born
& that lasted less than I thought. When I picked up my brush again

he was doing sums & learning complex nouns.
Before motherhood I wore bangles & tight skirts, now I wear

a size too big, so the seams don’t dig into my motherly body.
My painterly body is screaming for a rich velvety green;

a sexy babe of a jade; an expensive emerald, a bottle-green lagoon;
a dead sea where I can wash every brush clean & swim

in the marbled water of my paint. Swim like a baby born from
mother-water into world-water; get the colours just-right in my head.



Over nacreous waves
the angels in their passages,
their drift and fall
and skyward lift
and over there
is down below
and under there
is up.

Snowflakes of feathers
they lay in striations of air –
a geology of waves,
a tracery of vapour,
a map of future nests
in which to willow and recline

but they will always ride the currents
that butterflies know to avoid
and crows consider broken.
Even starlings will break
a murmuration to get clear.

No one hears the insubstantial hammer –
not one bird –
the rainfall heartbeat,
the sunlight-punctuating bell.



The muse ascends
the primordial ocean
a benthic thought
             beckoned into being
a ciliated song
older than atmosphere.

A phosphenous photon
            she dartles tantalizingly
                                                     evading space-time
with luciferin l i g h t n e s s
a pul-sat-ing epiphany

an anaerobic revelation
prophesying oxygen’s abundance.

                                I am sense-bound
                                but perceive her
                                awaiting my awareness
beyond delirious sleep
                                         beyond fevered wakefulness
where two eons
moment and memory
cloud into coraldust.

I am incapable
of forsaking ignorance

Read more >

Such Commotion For One Dead Lady

I watched her as she sank underneath the water’s surface. She looked pretty again, not so flat as just after her fall. She had looked very much like something that needed unfolding then. Now, she was a blooming flower, the pink petals of her afternoon dress opening up around her dot of a head as the dress’s weight dragged her deeper. It was the most beautiful sight in some time. The gloom of the winter had governed the last weeks on board and I was glad I finally was allowed to see something so serene and colourful. Only now, looking at the waves, I realised the water’s colour seemed different. It had changed from inky blackness of home to almost turquoise. That was why she was allowed to glow in the depth of the sea with such intensity making me jealous and pining for a similar dramatic exit from this life. Not now of course, but some day.

Suddenly, the serenity of the moment was broken. “Man over board,“ the shout seemed to come out of nowhere. The alarm startled me. I had not expected such commotion over one dead lady. For, I was certain of her condition. I was pushed aside as more people joined the growing crowd on deck. I still tried to tell them that they would not find her. My voice ineffectively small against the agitated babbling. Adults, how clueless they were. I wished I would not have to grow into one of them. Several men had bound ropes around their waists and were jumping in behind her. But she was beyond their reach now. The sea had become restless all of a sudden and I was undoubtedly sure I had seen her body swallowed by a worm of the deep. Good for it, I thought, it deserved such a treat from time to time. I went to the other side, settled on a spot where I would not be disturbed and began observing the storm clouds gathering in the distance.


Dandelion Dreams

At daybreak, meander
down a winding country lane
find a field, near a church
a field filled with a thousand dandelions
whose yellow petals remind you
of childhood games
He loves me he loves me not

Lie down flat on your back
on the dewy grass
no blanket required
breathe softly and slowly
pick a dandelion
bring the flower to your nose
Does it smell like the sun?


Theory of the Magnolia Edges

In his study, the professor told the philosophy student: ‘Your thesis is worthless. You’ve failed to include references and a bibliography. You haven’t provided context.’

Despite such criticism, the student remained calm. ‘My “Theory of the Magnolia Edges” that I expound in the thesis has no references and context because there are none. My work is original. Nothing relates to its concept. It stands on its own.’

The professor glanced at his watch. ‘You’re wasting my time with a lazy excuse. But I’m required to discuss the thesis with you, so kindly summarise it in as few words as you can manage.’

‘Of course,’ the student replied with a smile. She stood and adjusted the tone of her voice to one of didactic assurance. ‘Existence is contained within a frame comprising magnolia edges, magnolia being a suitably non-committal and, I suggest, non-controversial colour.’

‘Yes,’ the professor muttered. ‘Hurry up, would you.’

‘The frame encloses the stars of our universe. When our birth occurs, we step among them. Later, we choose to stand still, drift, or acknowledge our environment before we fade. Thus, my theory describes the nature of existence, which is exactly what philosophical studies endeavour to understand.’

‘At least your summary is concise,’ the professor said and reached for a cigarette. ‘In turn, I’ll try to be reasonable in my comments.’ He remembered that he shouldn’t smoke indoors and gave vent to an exasperated grunt before continuing. ‘I find it hard to believe that your three years of work here in the university has led you to formulate such a nonsensical, unsupported theory.’

Read more >


As we walked across the Aegean
you were frightened by the flying fish in your hair
I reminded you of the trilobite
the boy gave you in the sands of Peru insisting it was something he had made
yet so old we knew the earth had made it
long before women dreamed and men wove
when the earth was intact except for its moon.

We had no map with us then
not even one the Portuguese made
when they visited that land
and knew it for the first time
its denizens had come long before
tripping across the land gap of the Bering Strait
braving the icy waters between big and little Diomede
and trickling down two continents
until they found more ice.



The sea rolls in.
Wave crests white as pva
layer sand and gravel
across the wide-sky beach.
The day becomes a collage:

a landscape of
shells and bladderwrack,
forts and castles,
ankle-twisting hollows;

a soundscape of
sea-roar and wind-moan,
dog-bark and child-laugh,
kite-rip and gull-shriek;

flavours of cinder-toffee
and spun sugar;
the smell of crab,
of chips served in newsprint;
the salt drying on our skin
as we walk home.

Later only fragments remain,
torn slivers of days rearranged,
ink-washed and pasted.
Memories of childhood, 
images faded
as old photographs.


Space sponge

Is it a plane, is it a bird,
or a loofah lost in space,
polyped and poulped, médused,
bewitched, bothered, bewildered etc,
Zeppelin-bellied, hoola-hooped,
playing the game
of who gets thrown out of the basket next?

Or a shipwrecked baguette,
sunken, spongified,
among figments and fantasies
of Aldebaran’s nightmares?

Coleridge would have known the answer,
seen it drifting on purple wings
among egrets and flamingos,
where he lay dreaming in a blue haze,

he’d have whispered it in Dorothy’s ear,
who would have whispered it in Willy’s,
who would have yawned and asked her
for another dozen fried eggs,
yellow and glistening
as a host of dandelions after the rain.


Mother of hope

Shine, shine bright
you iridescent clouds –

you puffed up piece of dreams, and hopes, and futures.

Waving, fantastic, like Cinderella’s fairy god mother,
you wait until the perfect moment, then, POP!

You pour forth your bounty to those who await,
(patiently, waiting) for more to come,

Even, sometimes, when you have nothing more to offer.


Fantastic Clouds©

We argue over the colour of the skies
              pearly wonder.
We laugh, the answer unimportant as
we were as light at the dandelion seeds floating
with us, our dresses billowing in the windy waves.

I didn’t think that this would be possible
        so much fun and happiness.

I dance and twirl in movements impossible
with nameless strangers—our expressions similar: glee.

The breeze picks me up
to pollinate elsewhere, I think, feeling important.

I float, flitter, fly,
  float, flitter, fly,
  float, flitter, fly…

       away from others, a small memory intrudes.

Install Fantastic Clouds?
Recommended by psychotherapists all over the world.
5 stars, 2.5m ratings.


she sells sea snails on the sea floor

the dolls will drop
like octopi
down to the ocean floor

their gauzy dresses
lifting like lids,

everything is dreamy
in these fantastic clouds:
almost nacreous

dark & hard on the outside,
shell-shone and iridescent
on the inside

soft bodies swirling
down like faeries or queens
in the fading underwater light.


The Arrival

Of stars on a dark night,
Deep over the sprawled grief–
Thin muddy brown
Halting a lucent green–
Drifting howling into intermittent cries.

The sudden appearance of a deer
At the threshold of our vacation home–
A perfect spot for a day that had not begun.

The arrival of fairies
Wrapped in bright tears–
Could I be laid here–
Amidst songs of void and smell of absence.



What was the reason my great grandmother
secretly kept 'nerve’ pills
in a sea foam green compact beside her bed

Authentic! Antique! Made in Italy!
She had ideas about fashion

Dentures in an amber salve jar
bobby pins scattered on the floor
verdigris costume jewelry
that left marks
on her pink vanity

She had opinions on people who drank wine

My great grandmother lost her baby
buried her down into the ground
crimson pills to numb the pain
money sent to preachers on the TV

She had thoughts on why God took her child

The doctors called her crazy
in the days before trauma
and PTSD were talked about
They wanted to shock the sadness
right out of her bones

She told people
she heard the voice of God
clear as the shrill crow in her barren garden

Read more >

Little Feral Dew Drop

Little snow drop parachutists – listen.
We are tilting left towards Cinema.
Our mother of fabric, lime green
intentions. Hoop skirts and hula hoop
rosaries in sky-way swings.
O Eiffel Tower, O Lady Liberty, your croissant beret.
Your plum affection is in the delegation
of crimson saltshakers, the blueprints of upside
down cocktail-aunties. And the dancing,
dancing along Madison-Avenue’s nightclubs
of Heaven. Tumbling seeds of renewable
resources. The eclectic electric slipper. A banquet
offer to sessional relations between torrents
of toes. March, March. Marching drunk to
the archway of the sea, the green algae seaside
inside Heaven awaiting New Year’s lyrical bells.
Pearl doublets, buttons spinning. Deft hands
weaving from inky bandstands surplus April’s
dripping life jackets. All new, some older. All at
the ready, spun from winter fleece by
tailors, milliners, the husbands and wives of miners,
with electric heaters, coral diver’s
tenebrous winks.


Mother of Pearl

Pastel-painted ladies
float in long bell skirts
on a sun-faded wall.
Mother of Pearl prays
in rhymed verse
for their safe descent.
Dappled damsels
in transparent shifts
sway, their fairy bells
tinkling, gowns
billowing afloat
on powdery paper.
Nacreous waves
stir yellow in blue
to a greenish pallor,
a reticent field of hues
for pastel-painted ladies
adrift among clouds
casting dull pearls
on brittle painted paper
and dry-cracked walls.
Oh, Mother of Pearl
pray for us all.


A Mind of Science

What if small things
really aren't small
questioned the (mad) scientist
as he aimed his shrink ray
haphazardly, wild hair obscuring his vision

Wait, why are the clouds at the bottom
but they are labeled at the top?
Hold my (non-alcoholic) beer while
I light this tardigrade up
Whoops, it was set to blow,
not suck, and that cute
little tardigrade is
now the size of a house

and not so cute either
to be honest.
You shouldn't science while drunk
the lab manager screamed,
I assume because he didn't realize
that the beer was non-alcoholic

Which I pointed out while the
super-sized (super saiyan?!) bug
thing, I don't even know what it is, really,
rears its head and just basically,
ya know, destroys shit

Read more >

Silver Lining


As a child I watched the
Clouds’ mottled shadow-dance
on my bedroom’s windowsill
Outlining them with my finger until
They wispily disappeared

My mother would often say,
"Every cloud has a silver lining"
I always asked her what she meant
"Each cloud is seamed with
Its own silver lining, and
Sometimes the seam tears
Just a little

And when the sun hits the tear just right
Streams of color prism the sky in a rainbow
Pouring out from the broken seam

Within the clouds live tiny,
Beautiful, bell-shaped faeries
Who flit around in the foggy white
Measuring the weight of the clouds
With their ancient Alder wands
And when the clouds become too heavy
They prick each cloud just a little and
A    rush    of iridescent pearls
Rain down onto the earth"

Read more >

Wardrobe Essentials


Chiffon, georgette,
organza, voile –
diaphanous skirts
offer no defense,
but none is needed.

Strong, muscular
legs hold steady
beneath the frothy swirl,
hard as nacre,
carbon chemistry,
magic mother-of-pearl,
female protection
as potent as potions.

Even jellyfish,
dismissed as gelatinous blobs,
but known to be survivors,
sea crones with wisdom of the ages,
graceful dancers pulsing
with synchronous symmetry,
at one time, sported armor.

Read more >

Don’t Look Back

She let it all go,
dove in without accepting
any naysaying
about cellphones or hair,
felt them
run out through her ears,
with her fingertips’
When she found
where she belonged,
hung there
among the stars
and the flattened landscape
below, her skin glowed
and she gave in to the pull
of the atmospheric tides.


The dance of delirium

Is this the dance of a mullosc,
scooped out of its paper thin shell,
that spiral appendage like whalebone
anchoring the beautiful girl's scaffolded
spine as she twirls from the top
of the stairs to the bottom,
to grace & grass & germs
frolicking beneath the stars?
She wavers! we scream.
She will fall so we stretch our length
like paved stones, a walk through
the garden for her glass slippers
to tinkle & chip, crack & catch
the multicoloured evening in its disarray.
But what an evening, all garmented
in red skirt & yellow hair
like nocturnal flowers! & there are
barbiturates & amphetamines
in the mix because see,
see the huge mitochondria held
in the girl's palm.
That must be the Beast,
we've heard so much about?
& her iris seem to cover her face
with eternal night.
Oh my, what a beautiful, terrible sight!



I’d started shopping days before. Grapes translucent green and pale purple, crackers and dips dull red and white, golden cape gooseberries shielded by fragile beige petals. I’d baked a quiche, and a chocolate cake with pastel sprinkles.
I dragged the kitchen table into Ann’s room. It was the brightest room in our flat, with glass doors opening onto the balcony. I had insisted that we each have a space of our own when we moved in together, and we were lucky to find a place with two large rooms. We’d tossed a coin and the heads had smiled upon me, so I’d chosen that bright front room, and she’d seemed fine with it, at first.
I manouvered the table up against a wall and covered it with a long white lacey tablecloth, its ends flapping down to cover the flaked-paint legs. I put a vase of pink camellias in the centre. I’d gotten them that morning to make sure they wouldn’t wilt and scatter before it was over. I had also bought four matching candles that I arranged around the table. A stack of small plates, cutlery, and serviettes at one end so people could help themselves. Glasses and wine at the other end. I opened a bottle of red to let it breathe.
She’d invited 10 guests; mainly people I barely knew. I had no idea if they knew about the clinic, or anything else.
I heard music through the bathroom door and the occassional ripple of her bathwater moving.
I put the dishes between the candles and scattered grapes and cape gooseberries between them.
Only the cake remained waiting in the kitchen, with 30 candles on top, plus one for luck in the coming year. A lighter at the ready.
She’d said that the dark room made her ill. She’d said I was cheating on her. She’d said that non-organic food gave her a cancer that the doctors couldn’t find. She’d said the neighbours were listening, and watching. She’d

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The dance
of the Hours:
fairy princesses arise
in the aquarium,
floating, drifting,
timelessly moving,
I fell asleep in my chair
and they were there,
or here—
They were watching me
as though I were an ocean,
or space itself.
they gazed inwardly
as the great green
sea cucumber arose
lie behemoth or leviathan,
by the tiny hand
of a wee fairy princess
who evolved from a jellyfish,
a medusa, sting
absorbed into humanity,
the gigantic being
to one drop of water

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A Dream of Diatoms

The invisible ethereal made real through microscope
An eclectic collection of gossamer engineering
Diaphanous renditions of -
Wheels and springs and rods and couplings

Each so elaborate and yet barely there
Our naked eyes will never see them
These tiny lives held captive-
By the meniscus of a pregnant water drop

Good evidence of the inexhaustible geometry
Of nature’s creativity
Our scientists show them and explain
But still I struggle to believe

May we not dream-
Of another universe within our world?
A minute, multi-populus other-world?
Where the strange sea creatures we used to know –
And added to our maps, live on?
Where the faeries we once were sure we’d glimpsed –
And pictured in our childhood tales, hold sway?

Why must science endeavour to explain all?
Allow a dream of diatoms instead.


Fairy Godmother Fact Check

Their smiles are fake.
They bleach their teeth.
The dentist told me.
And the optician says
it’s eye drops that make their eyes twinkle,
not kindness.
As for those fancy cloaks and dresses –
I’ve been told they are made from spun sugar
so they melt in the rain, and their wings
are attached by elastic
because if they can fly
it’s only farts that make them airborne.

They feed you a diet of fake news, false hope
about the future that gives you the excuse
you needed to dress up. You’re too easily fooled
into believing that you can find love
and transform your life by midnight.

They learn all they know from the internet
parrot it as truth, lie when they say
they couldn't care less where you came from
when they tell you it’s beauty
that leads to happy endings.

When they cracked their wand
out of the kitchen drawer, it was only because
you wanted something to believe in
when you’d stopped believing in yourself.


The In-Between Time

She’s about to wake,
To slip into that
In-between time where

Morning’s scent is pearled and blue,
And the waves of her dreams
Release breath’s steady meter.

Dawn spurns twilight, and
All her nocturnal chatter, so fluid
And easy, dissipates and disappears.

Vapours. Translucent. As jellyfish.
These dreams go, forgotten
As the sun drifts into sight.


Mother of Pearl

Her daughter follows her everywhere as they walk along the sandy shore. She swats the little girl away, annoyed but secretly flattered by the attention. She wonders if her own mother felt this way, but can only remember the woman as coarse and impatient.

She thinks of the baby she lost, her wish to break the pattern of a lonely daughter becoming a haggard mother, then a depleted grandmother. But this family is female, rooted to the earth in a way she can’t stand anymore.

She wants to swim through the water like a jellyfish, tired of being tied down and obligated. She thinks of that lost baby and wonders where it lives now, if it feels her yearning. That baby could have made all the difference. That baby could have changed her world.

She grabs her daughter’s hand, the fingers sticky and wriggling in her fist. She reaches for her mother, who pulls back with a scowl. She can’t wait. She needs to leave now.

Her heart takes the lead and they dive into the ocean.


Ma Knows Best

When I asked my Ma for a tea party, she unfolded the portable mah jong table she always used on Saturday afternoons for when my aunties dropped by to play friendly matches. She fetched a scarf from the top drawer of her dresser, the red one she never wore, except on Poh Poh’s 90th birthday. The silk square draped over the table, its corners frilled like a summer dress.
Not exactly what I imagined—a white, crocheted tablecloth hugging the dining room table—but I went along with it.
I placed a pastel tea set on the mah jong table: a teapot and teacups with gold handles, matching saucers, along with plastic cupcakes, cookies, and crumpets. I wasn’t sure what a crumpet was, a pancake, maybe?
Since I didn’t own a cotton candy dress with lace and puffy sleeves, I dug through Ma’s assortment of gift wrap and fished out white ribbons and tissue paper to fashion a belted skirt. A tiara and wand from my play bin completed my princess look.
Ma’s brows squished together when I twirled. The tissue at my waist floated down to the floor like snow.
“I had something else in mind.” She held up a cheongsam, the dress I was saving for Lunar New Year.
I pressed my palms together and nodded. Ma replaced my tiara with a jewelled hairpin I’d seen her wear to fancy dinners. After Ma dabbed perfume on each of my wrists, I beamed up at her, grinning.
At the sight of the tea spread, my eyes widened. A rose porcelain teapot, hand-painted with golden florals and emerald leaves, sat in the table’s centre, surrounded by matching teacups, the kind you hold with both hands. My favourite dim sum dishes decorated the table: steamed buns, turnip pancakes, sesame balls, egg tarts, and sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaves. A mooncake rested on each plate—Ma must have picked those up specially for the occasion. Two of my guests waited for us, their arms

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Aqua Magic

Deep ocean plankton
drift like snowflakes
fecal pellets, blood red

jelly fish illuminating
the depths, brushing
shoulders with sea sapphires.

Glass squid & transparent
octopi propel themselves
through inky saltwater.

Exotic bacteria peek up
translucent flashing skirts
of mushroom shaped cephalopods.

Lantern fish float on currents
through worm riddled Spanish
galleons & sunken treasure

bioluminescent sea stars, algae
& organisms like aquatic gypsies
endlessly wander, chill & flicker.



"Leave it, Jonas. It's just the spirit of another drowned girl."

Old Samson's sharp tone made him jump. Jonas had been using a bleached driftwood stick to poke the corpse of a large jellyfish, lying high and stinking in the noon sun. Despite the rising heat of the day, loud with the hum of sandflies, a cold frisson passed through him, like someone walking over his grave. Must have been too much rum the night before.

There was something otherworldly about the jellyfish, mostly transparent but with hints of something more, flashes of pink and purple. Samson's grizzled voice rumbled again, "I'm telling you, lad, if you touch that, you'll regret it."

Jonas had seen them at sea of course, floating in a kind of water ballet, beautiful, diaphanous, glowing in spectral colours as they pulsated.

The thought of their movement brought memories of the lacy petticoats of the tavern wenches from the previous night. They had flirtatiously flashed their hems at the sailors newly arrived in port and ready to spend their wages at the Old Sea Rover Inn. In his mind the girls had danced and floated as they brought the bottles, flagons and glasses to the tables, their skirts ballooning out with that frothy frilly edge shimmering on their ankles.

Farther along the sandy strand he found a razor clam shell, empty but with a pearly interior. Jonas felt a pang of sadness remembering the buttons on his sister Rebecca's favourite blouse, how the double row of tiny mother-of-pearl circles, so tiny, so delicate, had shifted the light into scintillating patterns. Rebecca and his parents were long gone, taken by cholera like so many in their village. After that a life at sea had been his only hope.

He looked back at old Samson, a veteran of forty years of sailing, far older

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On Gathering

the hand, wrinkled, finds
another in the blue,
as crisp brown noise
showers above, below,
yes, we’ve been gathered by
the hold of the wave,

the hands do find each other,
hold each other with
generous force, lest
the current’s pull triumphs,

off the reef
in the deep end
under, the
brushing by the waist
of the atoll

we gaze up with
some violent desire
for the surface
we kick, kick
until we realise how
the sharp splints of sun
do really come from a

i like to think that some elemental
sprite had reached for my

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Shoelace and pillowcase

We stood near the water counting
The seaweed stuck on our clothes

You left your shoelaces on my bed
And sand grains in my pillowcase

Still, I feel them when I sleep;
I blink and burn as I dream

Of saying goodbye to you again.
My fingers try to scratch my eyes

But my hands are tied by your
Soul – night-time collects dust like

Your jumper and tie. The Sun
has risen and the daffodils have died.

How many times do I need to see
the leaves fall until I see you again?



Lustre of oil on water, rainbows,
as fairy godmothers wave wands.
Stars fall into formation.

A Cinderella carriage awaits
and the princesses are pendants,
suspended mid-stream.

In fluid pearly waves,
iridescent dreams multiply
after sunset, before sunrise.

From below, this world is
luminescent, reminiscent.
Thin layers of light scatter.

Strangely, a Luffa floats in the sea,
fibrous skeleton divested
of seedy earthly treasures.

It could be a sky full of planets,
or a daydream ocean, pure, cleansed.
This is the world we deserve.



The secluded loch just beyond the pasture
deep in the temperate rainforest
where sometimes a quiet splash
suggests a startled frog
or maybe an elfin denizen.

It’s where we’ll take the boys
after the football goal is up
and after the LEGO’s sorted
because we’ll be looking for adventure
of a different kind, the kind where
faeries dwell in enchantment.

We’ll make up stories as we walk
we’ll murmur softly on the bench
and then they’ll squirm and run along
into the sunshine in cirrostratus embrace
and I shall scoop up a cup of water
from near the bank, and bring it home.

Upstairs, in my study, under my watchful eye —
the dissecting microscope I saved
connected by a colour cam to laptop screen —
we’ll see what wondrous creatures we can spy
like the green euglena,
the ponderous paramecia
the spherical colonies of volvox
and later, if we’re fortunate

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sea sponges
tight-waisted full skirts
what does it take to be
full and ballooning
does one have to know
to properly sense
the wideness in the water

spines cannot pierce
lace cannot interrupt
the sheer quantity of turquoise
flash of warning
flash of blood
these things just set it off
a complement to the sparkle
at the inevitable shore

history is blue
and does not let up



The sea will take you
where it will,
little diaphanous being.
You live in his world,
his currents are stronger
than you, there is no struggle.

The sea will support you
and caress you. The sea will order
your ways and lay your pathways.
He is always there,
to watch you in your dance.
He is your going out and your coming in.
He makes the rules,
which may be to your heart,
or maybe not. He doesn’t care.
He dances with you, loops
pearls around your neck
but will not take your hand.

When will you see past his commanding presence?
You have no rights he has not pilfered.
When will you shake yourself loose from his embrace, his formality?
You have no strength that he has not squandered.

All that you have now is what he has left you. Pale pickings. Detritus
Take what you have and build your strength.
It is not ordained that you are his to command.


The Corset’s Many Regrets

Sometimes I’d wonder,
I’d wonder why,

I’m shaped as such.
So impractical. So much.

Who am I?

I understand my history.
The patriarchy.
Male-dictated perceptions.
Expectations of femininity.
Periods. Hard Stops.

Do not breathe.

I breathe.

Consume my reflection,
in mirrors (amidst eras)
of male domination.

Undersized waists.
Freedoms denied.

Hues of pearly white.
Ivory bones. Rows of clasps.
Metal grasps. Eyes and
eyelets watching.

I conform(ed).

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Wake Up

I struggle
The words evade me
The formless
Has taken form
But the form
Eludes me
It nebulises me
I am the formless
Hydrating those around me
Whilst losing all sense of Self
My Self
Is a lie
A dream
Shiva’s dream
Christ’s dream
Lucifer’s dream
The Dreamers
Are one Dreamer
Dreaming one Dream…


Two Fairies

I had turned six, my cousin Peggy was nine. Our families were invited for the opening of a heritage hotel near Jaipur. The road to the palace was narrow with vast cover of mustard fields on both sides. Peggy drew stars on the foggy glass window of the car. When her hands got too cold she put them in the pockets of my jacket.

The hotel was on top of a hill. The outer walls were festooned with bright marigold flowers and inside the lobbies were lined with glittering Christmas trees. Everything from furniture to tea spoons was expensive. The dining area was buzzing with chatter. And Peggy in her frill frock, camouflaged perfectly with the shiny red floor of the hall.

The elders sat at some distance from where we were playing and a beautifully dressed woman came with a bowl of candies. She was giving them to all the kids. We both took one each and the woman remarked, good girls.

When she left I asked Peggy, is she the princess?

No, she is not wearing a tiara, she said and tore the toffee wrapper. Come let’s look at the Christmas trees.

And that’s when I saw them hanging. Tiny fairy dolls, with thin nacreous gowns. All the ornamentations on the tree were glorious, but we were awestruck by the fairies. I gulped down my candy. Peggy like always noticed my wonder and said, you look like you have met the princess. Want one?


No silly, one for you and one for me. She quickly plucked two fairies and put her hands in my jacket to warm.


Fade In, Fade Out

Within the velocity of vocabulary,
the language of chaos,
a thesaurus of love,
a dictionary of dreams.

Within the velocity of vocabulary,
a vast field stretching past infinity.
full of gardens of lily,
begonia, sweet pea, tulip,
passion, protea, on and on
and grand areas of briar,
thistle, thorn, nappy and braided,
thick and uncomfortable,
but everywhere a power to heal.

Within the velocity of vocabulary,
the wonderful and the evil,
the connected and disconnected,
the well dressed and underdressed,
the erased,
the redrawn,
the misplaced,
in the right place,
until there are no words left.

Within the velocity of vocabulary,
images beyond a scope of syllables,
vowels sing in silence,
consonants dance to a private drum beat.


At the bottom of the sky

We hold parasols
like so many Marys
the wind a bus
-stop timetable.

Yearning for lands
beyond our
-selves, we cough
politely & wring

our hands. ‘Magic,
ain’t it?’ Someone
shrugs. ‘I heard Van Dyke
had wifi.’

When you get to Fiji,
send a postcard.
Tell me how
you’re happy,




Come dance with me
upon a sea of
green and gleams
within the sheen of
shiny star light,
water’s lilt-lights.

Dance a-twirl
as sparkles swirl
adrift in worlds as
large as thought, as
small as twinklings,
gossamer dreams.

Waltz fine and free
in floating frills be-
drifting bells, above-
below wild wishing
wells, where swish
and swells of fancy

Come dance with me....



The little folk are leaving
planting footprint     on everything –
they’re walking up walls
across my art     tip-toeing around the ceiling
following artex patterns.
It’s fine. I like it; am trailing after them
with spray varnish to prove it
if a need arises but it won’t because no one
believes. They’ll think I’ve gone   way
over the top      slipped down the pipe.
I appreciate the Farewell – it’s very personal
which is why I won’t say a thing to anyone.
They must’ve had a ball all last night
in my living room and hall – my bedroom
is left virgin as comparison
perhaps they recognized naked walls
that I didn’t want to be distracted while
persuading sleep to come.
The rest of the house sparkles
in sudden flashes of colour – you can see their toes
printed… flurries of dots
to match my mood this morning.
Outside people are running a marathon:
inside I’m tripping to Irish fiddles and bluegrass jazz,
windows open     keeping me alive     in the moment,
muslin curtains wafting,
making the day spin in anticipation
of new ventures and tantalising risk.
Though I worry the garden will be lonely.


Lost and Found: The Drifter’s Journey

Whalebone cages ribs. Tulle scratches fences. Malleable steel puts the hoop in hoopla. Dainty domes have no place in narrow chocolate, strawberry and vanilla pathways. Only pistachio can soothe my inactive palate. Clouds drift. I escape whalebone, tear the net and knead milky metal into abstract art. Those I leave behind turn their heads at bareness, but they do not understand that I am not naked—just free. I select my undergarments. I imitate the ebb and flow of my chiffon skirt. No longer getting stuck, no longer squeezing through, no longer brushing against muddy tones. I yearn for pastel. A sugary cone awaits at the waist. I do not want to sit on someone else’s throne. I do not want to be licked against crispy wafers. The eaters can stick paper parasols in piña coladas. I am no cocktail. I am nobody’s dessert. I crawl between eager fingers. Where am I? Wherever I am, it tickles. Dingy. “I wouldn’t be caught dead in a place like that.” The passerby passes by. I thank him for the warning and enter Dingy anyway. Shells open. Nuts are crushed. Pistachio falls upon me like refreshing summer rain. The ones that are eating chocolate, strawberry and vanilla are offended because I prefer pistachio and choose dark places, but it is not dark here at all. They hurl choc-chip meteorites at me, but I open wide, let the rocks come inside and then I spit the bitter chocolate out. I am a pacifist, so I fling back snowflakes. I walk and wander in this wonderful space. I discover tulle for tutus and crinoline for hoop skirts—like sugar—to be consumed in moderation. Five times a week. A sign in Broadway style bulbs: Drifters welcome—a reading room. I am melting. Once, I would have concluded that melting meant dying. Now, here in this lost—found pretty pastel palette, I become an ocean of green.



Years and years and centuries,
     best dress formally–
filigree bell-shaped lace over Venus's girdle,
     for the viewing.
Pyrosome drifts in the depths
     but leaves its stinger at home in a cup.
"Could" you hide?     Could you "hide"?
You've traveled without restraint. Hair mess.
     Comb jelly swims right toward nothing
                             in particular "you".
Pity. It could have been a head band, belt, shawl,
old family movies flickering in concrete rooms.
NO!! Swimming drifting cilia driven...singular.
Your compadres remain far with caution.
Was the language massaged prior to its release?
Was it consumed one letter at a time by
     pyrosome #2?
Was it even the correct language you selected–
    did you remove it from the spice rack?
The captive hang on the garage wall with
     incarcerated nails.
Whales are small.
There’s a conundrum in the young lady’s hand
     that dares touch.
Are they clouds reflected beneath the sea seen?
     Are they unfeigned fogs?
The time must arrive eventually means an
     interval stitched with a discarded memory.

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Night Boy

I never went to bed when I was told.
I came alive in the long quietness−
a sort of moonflower;
my head a rose
petalled with misgivings
lulled over to the windowsill
where I was small enough to perch
with the window wide-open.
I’d wrap the duvet around myself
the way a wave wraps foam
across its forebearers
when it crashes.
My breath was light
as a moth against the glass.
The street stretched out
beneath me in pearly relief
from the neighbours.
And the tea-stained moon,
magnificent to see by,
drew scudding clouds
across the Severn
to a once glittering Bristol.


Tuesday Morning

She’s waving
at the trees playing home
to fairies, minding their own business,
doing what they can to remain magical.

She’s waving
at the fantastic clouds
unashamed she’s unable to find
a more complex word to write
to reach up and pin to their flesh.

She’s waving
at the cars on the road
making their way to work
or a funeral or both.

She’s waving
at a stranger in the café
doing his best to remember something
about a day that will change his life
forever, wearing a black baseball cap,
desperate to wave at someone.



Sprinting to the back
of the playground, where
there was nothing
but grass and weeds and
a friend’s mom, who
would sneak us treats
through the chain-link fence.

Out in the field,
we’d pick bright yellow dandelions,
make flower crowns,
stain our jeans.

My eyes watered, and my nose
ran, but I couldn’t have cared less.
I’ve never been good at resisting
what’s not good for me.
Doesn’t that sound familiar?

I shove myself to the side,
in favor of reaching out to stroke your
delicate petals.

Squeezing my eyes shut,
I wish I could remember what I longed for
every time your seeds began to
show and your petals turned to fluff.

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Not wavering or drowning
floating, flickering,
feathery little women fall;
twinkling, glimmering,
like the light of candles growing faint;
wink and blink
in the harsh day light,
don’t fly too close to the sun.
Quivering, shivering,
coming in to land,
on my palm, in my lashes,
softly stroking my face –
with your trembling down.
Growing weaker, faltering,
fluttering to the ground..


Fantastic Clouds

Lately they all seem to say, “don’t mow the dandelions ‘til May”
Let the bumbling bees drink their fill on spring’s early yellow nectar swill
Let the buzzing bumbles flit unperturbed, bleary eyed from winter’s sleep disturbed

I blow cotton puffs with disregard, from stalks I plucked up from the yard
The white milky sap drips down my wrist as I close my eyes and make a wish
A hot air balloon to give me a ride, up through the stratosphere I glide

Above the trees, above the birds, 'til city streets turn micro 'burbs
The women dressed up to the nines become like dolls in grand designs
Their petticoats and hoops delight, they fade away they’re out of sight

Mother of pearl, mother of mine, I drift back down unscathed in time
To rest my head on the sweet earth, the worms and slugs will share their berth
Until I’m called inside to sup with knife and fork and brimful cup



The cumulonimbus clouds
peer down at us–
we in our jelly-fish costumes,
twirling around specs of light
tangled in the threads of the sea-whip,
we who sashay our way
through the shapeshifting acropora
and call it a dance,
we who are like lost bubble-corals
in search of cooler echelons of
night’s peace,
we who drift through the liquid
days of kelp-green wilderness,
we who are propelled in pulsatile jets
of life to search
for sparkles of meaning,
dust of calm,
for the semblance of the sea
in an aquarium-life.


She is Nacreous

she has lustre
and the pearly inner surface
of the strongest shell

she is iridescent
with skirts and wings
of gossamer

she can illuminate
when she is low, still glow
in vivid colours

she is rare
her clouds reflect light
between sunset and sunrise

she is reminiscent
of an oil reflection
in a petrol puddle

she is opalescent
and wishes upon
the horizon



Ctenophores with tentacle clappers
muted, pulse rhythmically
like silent bells in a marine carillon.
Combs of cilia in serried ranks,
Graceful foot soldiers waltzing
synchronously in elegant unison
scattering light and beauty
to create shimmering rainbows.
lives as transparent as their bodies,
bodies in limbo, neither liquid nor solid,
flinging sticky colloblasts at their targets,
to reel them in oh, so gently.

Four teens twirl around
in billowing gowns at their first ball.
Lustrous fabrics swish and rustle
as they glide across the floor.
With coiffed hair, pearly complexions,
sparkling eyes, and feminine wiles,
neither children nor adults,
they throw coy glances like
Cupid’s darts at dazzled hearts,
unaware of the power they wield,
while chaperones yearn for bygone days.

In heaving oceans and grand ballrooms,
imbued with hues of palest jade,
life conducts unique, gentle rituals
of exquisite renewal and survival.


Flying with eyes wide open

I had a fever dream and when the fever went
the dream stayed and the dream became,
the dream, it rose, bloomed and I was sprouted
        a fairy
I flew.
       And I flew down stairs and I flew up towers and I circled
and with eyes closed up into the green
away from.
And I was surrounded by stars
and still I floated arms out wide
a space
away from.
And the dream was I, I was the dream
and it carried me
away from.

And I am holding it
the dream
its silken-soft hands
and it guides me, still holds me
I follow that green-dream-thread
away from.

And the dream it will still hold me,
envelop me
the dream I
I the dream-secret
and it will fold-blanket-carry me
further, the furthest,
away from.



Adrift, you mothers of pearl,
yet nothing like this,
the ringing bells of women
who no longer exist,

who never properly lived,
yet drew life from within
the feeble or febrile minds
of presumptuous men.

The oceans are rich and green.
The sea-light, nacreous.
The swinging bells of women,
who have ceased to exist,

whose chimes of pulsing life
glimmer and spin and drift,
complexly, independent,
bearing no resemblance to this.

Bring me my bucket and spade!
Set me beside the shore,
the full draft – sons, patriarchs
delve as if to catch more.

The sea-light grows nacreous.
Clouds above, clouds at sea,
where you, mothers of pearl,
shoal, eat an angry sleep.


A childish fancy

In a world populated by fantastic clouds and finely dressed fairies, only the onlooker is transient. From behind the barrier, a child reaches out his hands and attempts to capture the one dimensional colours and impressions laid out before him. To fly, to dance, to dream without restriction. But perched on a chair to the left of the artwork sits a middle-aged man in a blue security jacket, who, observing the disruptive behaviour of the child, rises from his seat and approaches the mother, giving her a firm piece of his employer's mind. This being completed, he retreats in the manner of a snake seeking shade, and picks up the Sunday Times he left beside his chair. He considers why every child is so fascinated by colours, shapes, mess with no meaning, but cannot discern a plausible explanation. Now the words on the page are blurred by his irritation, and he can no longer focus on the murder, or the natural disaster, or the strikes. He sets the paper aside and watches as the child is whisked away in tears. What a strange world it is that willingly removes the children, is the shared thought from within the frame. Our devout listeners! For combined in the pale green shades and woven into the hems of our pretty dresses are musical notes. Sweetly they fall on sleepy ears, like raindrops on lilies. Only an unmuddied mind will perceive the secretive majesty of our melodies, and be tempted as Eve was by the serpent, to reach out and touch the canvas, to rinse their senses with it in its entirety. How we miss the artist's touch, and the change it brings with it! Now we are stiff with sameness. They hardly realise that it is change that robs the children of their ability to hear them, to love them. When neglected, a bridge will erode over time, and these childish listeners are neglected by their elders and betters. Sent to learn numbers and fear art, sent to obey orders from nowhere and read of the results, the childish dream dies. The fairies are powerless against the barbarity of man. Why haven’t they wings? A body cannot stay suspended in the air without wings

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Done debating: trance or reality;
whether to go against or with the flow.
Lie down on this velvet fern-green grass with me
as we pause. Grow. Slow.

Mother of Pearl cloud gazes down on us,
waving in iris colors.
We wave back; this ephemeral beauty
etched. Budding. A core memory flowers.

The sky moves closer, or maybe I
am moving, towards the haven
of cottons floating. Some parts held,
some parts unknown

as I break into a dandelion blown
into debris.
Crashed. Loosened. Awakened.
Oh, how the ruin set me free.


For the apocalypse, we wear ball gowns

My skirt is red, an upturned champagne glass
My body, Barbie proportioned not from vanity, but from hunger

It’s 2100 and we, three sisters, live underwater.
Nuggets of pollution, deceptively iridescent, shimmer through the water
Air tanks cocooned between our legs, obscured by wire-framed skirts.

Destruction is more beautiful than it should be;
The mint-green water splendid with decay

We stay close to the canoe that was our home.
Where our mother seared to death under a stubborn sun.
Where our brother leaked from her body, scorched and stillborn.
Where we watched the earth burn and collapse into indifferent sheets of ash.

We spin in the water, pirouettes of grief.
We will die soon, but first we dance.


Sky Peach

It was unfair to call this an obtrusion, as it wasn’t really bothering anyone. To be frank, it was hard to tell if it was there at all. It fazed in and out, dodging in between the clouds like a fancy man’s lawn dart. The main difference was just how rounded this object was. This sky-faring blob of pinkish sunset translucent material seemed quite content to just bob along. Bob along like the big blob it was. Blobbiling? Or perhaps bobbling instead?

Of course, it attracted attention from the other sky folk. Peering through their bifocals, their monocles and fancy telescopes alike. The great balloons they rode stirred by flame and gas to leave the Earth and join the birds and the bumblebees as well.

Some narrowed brows furiously at this strange hunk. Was it organic? Was it some sort of mad flying contraption stoked up in a laboratory somewhere deep underground by some brilliant boffins? And, above all else, just why could they clearly make out the puzzled expression of the hovering fellow directly opposite them through this thing’s…body? When, quite clearly, there was a silvery, glimmering outline that, by the natural order of things, should have been enough to dictate something should be directly in their way!

A lady in a flowing daisy dress reached over, her left hand clasping the controls of her magnificent golden creation, built from lollipop sticks and bottlecaps, poking at the shimmering aerial lump with her right hand. She was no fool, she utilised an old, rusted poker at her feet. Where was the practicality of just jamming her hand into it and hoping for the best possible result?

All she was met with? A gurgle from the very atmosphere itself! Quite something indeed!


The Sea – written in Umi Falafel Belfast

Sit down delivery dude,
Rest your weary shoulders.
The nacreous clouds
Turned ashy, tumultuous
And poured down on you.

Sit down delivery dude,
Uncurl those toes
In your runners –
Hidden under bin bags
To keep out the rain.

Sit down delivery dude,
We’ve already made
Sense of it - the root
Of this downpour –
The hurdling waves –
The Clydesdale foam.


Esponca Liberation Front V The Waivering Wavers

Enough already with the magic sparkle pixie
dandelion fluff fairy dust
Clogging up my airwaves and crusting my nostrils
Those pastel shades make me queasy
I long for a burnt sienna and prussian blue sandwich

Your feeble wands cannot transform those giant
clumsy floating loofahs
Into tiny shining androgynous knights on horseback
No matter how furiously or gracefully you wave at them

So quit wiggling your iridescent scantily clad hips
Whooshing through those feathery hoops
And leave the liquid creatures of the watery deep
To mind their own gelatinous business



Who are you now, ladies,
inhabiting this green space
beyond pain,
pulsing up
and down
in your diaphanous crinolines,

not knowing how greatly
you are reduced – five or six of you
to the length of a sea-cucumber
equally out of its element?

Do you miss your lace parasols,
the young men scissoring their way,
to you across camomile lawns,
the champagne flutes abandoned
at dawn for punting beneath trees,
trailing your hands through water

not knowing you filtered your sisters
through your careless fingers?


Incurious Fingertips

Sea sponges waving amid
sprinkles of sunbeam,
dispersed to twilight depths
while girls in diaphanous dress
billow as jellyfish,
or, fractal-scaled,
to protozoa, whose bioluminescence
strobes against mother-of-pearl.
This universe,
in a seed of soft longing,
we crush
with incurious fingertips,
against the glass
of two-dimensional


self-actualisation; colby inspired in turquoise

an aqua winding,
weathering the doubts, the turquoise
washing over you in waves.

here find all your defenses dissolved
a sasha colby prowess
giving you light, like little sparkles streaming
across the scene
be king queen, past present future,

the transient consciousness
knows no bounds;

making out new shapes
from magnificent clouds,

breathing life to an attentive lover
giving us unconditional warmth
just as winter doubles down.

screaming don't try to run
i can keep up with you
nothing can stop me
you've got to               open your heart

weave the fairytale
onto the tapestry of your story
for the shining protagonista.
the worthy narrator.

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Cloud Daughter

I wave to my cloud daughter
as feathery high she scuds across
washed out sky in ice crystal gown.
I am the red skirt. The scarred earth.
I talk to her in Gaelic. I tell her
the fertility goddesses, Epona, Perseus,
Andromena are in the stars. I tell her
the whitecaps of waves are the horses
of Llyr. I tell her a Celtic spiral is sacred.
I tell her my heart is a rose gold sunset,
a dandelion clock, a weeping furrow.
I tell her that time is an illusion. I tell her
that corsets are made from sparrow bones,
that fairies wear diaphanous crowns,
that crinolines can sing. Tonight, I will
make marrow soup for my living bairns.
I tell her I could have been a buttercup field,
had she stayed. She sheds soft rain tears,
whispers, I’m still here I’m still here.



turfs of phlegm green
sprouting rhinestones of cashew-pale
like creases in lips is the stretch of land:
glossy, nestling, and intimate
the ovaries of nature mumble
a singsong glissando of growth
I am reminded of a flâneuse in 2016,
rose-gold satkonas swing in her ears
as she exclaims, "I like the clothes
of your country!"
and asks, "this Kurti suits me, right?"
her undulating Australian aspirations
surge like flashing silhouettes of
her exotic skin embellished in a Pakistani Kurti
I nod, as my mind engulfs itself
into the sunset sky, soft like curd afloat
in pale lemon-juice sky
the curds in the sky tickled rosy-yellow
by the sun
now glisten in an effervescent crease
in my dalgona mug with its frosty flanks
the returning winter in the night clouds,
and the returning jolts of the ambling land
entangle, like the filigree of henna,
a tale of loss, melodic but agitating,
like insomnia - an addictive pleasure
of suffering and restlessness.


The Origin of Modern Mermaids

There they were,
flailing and sputtering,
seemingly delicate,
but apparently, incredibly strong –
Earthly seraphs
fallen unapologetically from grace,
exiled unremorsefully
to the bottom of the deep blue sea,
like monsters no one could bear to look at,
their god still loving,
still forgiving,
still granting them grace and strength enough
to slowly adapt,
to acclimate,
with each mysterious fathom.

So, they floated,
and they stroked their arms
endlessly but tiresomely,
choking on plastic pollution
as they slowly descended –
gasping, gasping, gasping
for air all the way –
in this, their punishment by men,
for the supposedly egregious sins
of love,
of protesting peacefully for their freedom,
of simply demanding the choice
that they and others so rightfully,

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Anxious Clouds

I have grown the nacreous wings of a jellyfish,
I am soaring in the spiralling linguistics of water
lilting my feathers to eclipse the sea sun.
It is here the fishers with
too many faces to count take hold.
They throw a net into
the starry pinpricks of
the moonlight ocean
and it magnetises my
heart towards edge-less fear.
I lose beat, breath,
and the sense of all oxygen.
The fishers watch my formation fall and
each face of a past lover, lost friends,
my sister's ghost reappears
pouring waves down my mouth.
I lie anxious in the nether
regions, the never places
of green iridescent despair.


Pump Number One

Unencumbered now / the weight is lifted / Little things / battlefields once camped up in kneecaps /
have been rendered silk / No longer that heaviness / fear of below / green tricks unable to hold / the
heavy body / No longer that fear of above / the cellulose puffs / French-cut clouds of a Lime green vape /
to stare is to break / A patch of moss / under the diesel pump / to sink in / The body is a canvas meant to stain.



my sisters and I
         were never cut out
for the nunnery

we're too wild     too free     too fashionable

we crave colour
          and cannot be constrained
by black habits – or even good ones

we run through fields and meadows
         scattering seeds
and inhibitions

we pick magic mushrooms
         and dance in the cloud
full petticoats our parachutes

we wave no fond farewells
          to those who would tame us

our only vows     to each other
          and mother nature
whose love
          makes us shine


Damsels or Sirens?

Tazmin grabbed her colour pencils and got to work before the dream dissipated, or worse: spilled back into the vast, unexplored sea of her mind. Were there clues in these images that could help her decide which project to accept? Steampunk, or an over-the-top drama supposedly set in the nineteenth century? A mere costume designer wasn’t invited to give her opinion on the script, she thought, as she sketched out gowns before they melted. She couldn’t concentrate on just one gown, or the rest would sink back in the slippery bed of grass-like reefs.

Luckily, a clear patch had yawned in her mind, and had survived the opening of her eyelids long enough to be caught on the waxwings of her imagination. As most of the dresses turned into dandelion flowers, blowing away in the heat of the morning sun, she ran after them, but ended up clutching at petals which rearranged themselves into skeletons of daisies, asters, or starfish.

Keeping half an eye on dresses hovering on the edge of her imagination, regretfully she watched some blow away. Looking at her fingers drawing it, she wondered why a giant jelly fish sans filaments had shown up in her dream. Unless the Grey Witch Siren, their Clan Leader in the steampunk tale actually wore a translucent gown, since she stayed in her coral palace, and didn’t have to contend with unruly waves. Tazmin wished she could sweep away all clouds enveloping her rêve. It was a lot easier to come up with new ideas via dreams than to discard dozens of sketches any given day, while trying to come up with original patterns.

As she tried to stitch disparate parchments of her dream together, their seams kept yawning apart. Feeling hemmed in by her agent’s insistence on her accepting the period drama, and her own preference for fantastical sirens, her lids closed as a deep sigh bubbled out from her pale lips.

Read more >


Hooped stars lie impotent on the verdant playground
Dashed in vain against the barricade of his authority
Oversized boot to crush promises dreams
For us, he hopes no escape shall ever be found

On rare occasions, his opalescent words try to persuade
Imploring his pretty flowers to remain safe in his garden
We tell him even princesses must leave their castles
So, we’ll sweep away his print, dispense with this charade

For you see, this imperfect fantasy is his and not ours
Father, we are women now, children never more
Made to blossom on ground, not hide in the clouds
Untie your laces so we can unleash our powers

Hooped stars turn to tears on the verdant playground
The barricade crumbles as he steps out of our way
Lifts his boot from our tender adult lives
Hugs us tight now escape we have found

So we bear his love close as we step off the grass
Small hands leave his, unfettered, seeking our own fantasies
Although his lawn is overgrown and the clouds dull
We visit his playground where pretty flowers adorn his headstone


Visitor in My Home City

I walk around my home city and watch.

Through tourist-tinted eyes

I marvel in the sense that I am home.

Yet, the clouds capture the sun's rays,

In magnificent pearlescent colours

They cover the streets in darkness

Stopping the likes of even Glinda

To come and help the poorest of souls.

I watch them as I walk past, silently

Deprived of the simplest of help.

I walk more and regain the tint.

The one that makes the city pretty.

The one that makes the city come alive.

The one that ignores the pain,

The suffering of where I truly come from.



is mother of Pearl.

who goes by Purl,
is twin sister of Knit

who is always the one
brings the family together
at Christmas
and other times.

Father Time,
ran out
on his first wife, Space,
claiming he needed more,

took up with Authority.
But the family
never took to Authority
(ain’t that the truth).

by the way,
is the daughter of Time,
though she was born
of necessity.

And Necessity is the mother of Invention.


Forgotten Fairies

Have you forgotten
The fairies you now call luck?

So many blessings
Along the path

Like fallen petals
Your past's your Point Nemo

Shall I gift a few words
to the wind?

'Foreign', ‘Far’,

But what about the fairies
You now struggle to recall

How you were caught
Right after that plunge

Don’t call it a free fall



Desiring beauty, I pressed them all flat
between the pages of a heavy book

      Between the pages of a heavy book,
      dying, their essence seeped out slowly

Their essence seeped out, slowly drying
in a monument to childhood's glimmer

      (Erect a monument to childhood's glimmer
      as the sun dies soft behind the clouds)

Behind the clouds there is soft pastel light
or so the ancient tales have promised me

      I've promised tales myself, to ancient ones
      caught in shining nets of milkweed silk

In shining nets of milkweed silk I caught them.
Desiring beauty, I pressed them all flat.



It takes a few minutes for the kettle to boil;
and a few minutes for the houses to be destroyed.

You drop a few blueberries into the simmering porridge;
they drop bombs on the schools and the bridge.

I’ll turn down the volume, you tell yourself; too loud
too horrible is the news. Here though is a good story:

an actor with Alzheimer’s playing another Alzheimer actor
on a theatre stage. But how does he do it? You wonder.

And then: the military rulers speak ― they’re playing dumb.
“These are terrorists,” they say, “we don’t shoot innocents!”

No, just a bowl of porridge will do, I’ll not have toast;
another boat is sinking, too far from land, moribund.

Yes perhaps a pastel-colour drawing with pearly clouds,
gentle waves and angels or ‘my fair ladies’ on their way

will be an infinitely better apéritif before breakfast
than the early morning news bulletin.

Stare at it long enough you’ll surely hear the susurrus
of contentedness, to be added to your Earl Grey tea. Milk?

The radio crackles, bringing you back from your daydream:
you have to listen, you want to listen, if you’re tough.



we got lost in imaginary landscapes
a pink translucent petticoat
revealing the flesh
drawing corsets for your
alter ego

secret medieval gardens
the geometrical spaces between
your trees and mine

spinning memories
waves of nacreous clouds
dissolving déjà rêvé scenes
casting shadows in
soft pastels

painted on an overcast day


Lime, Laugh, Love: A tentative discussion with femininity

A winter to spring
A spring to… nowhere
Which painted dress shall today's weather bring?

Could I afford?
Afford could I?
A painted dress
To be seen, in, a painted dress?

Always spring
Spring always
Never winter
Winter never.

What will they say?
See, say, seashells seashells on the seashore
A lovely spring dress
Loose, lilac, long, lime
to cover, to conceal
See sand
Sea by sand

Painted dress
Lady painted
I know you
You? do I know you

Your paint stains
Stains My fingers
Stains My hands
Stains My soul

Read more >

Little Girl Dreams

Little girl dreams, they still exist in me
Magical wishes
Soft delicate dreams
A world full of magic
Everything at peace
Happiness prevails and love is the key.
Fairies floating, granting your heart’s desires
A world of possibilities for all to see
Little girl’s dreams
An endless time
Of innocence
Of purity
Of love divine

Dancing in this world
Never letting go because who wants to go to the reality of the world below
No, I’ll stay right here where my imagination can run free
Riding unicorns,
Floating on clouds,
Sliding down rainbows
Into a world of possibilities
Little girl’s dreams, I won’t let them go.


Royal Presence

Aloft in the air
in clouds remarkably beautiful and so rare
Maidens soar in glamour to accompany her
Poised in sophistication
snatches a king's attention
Anatomically correct
Images one will never forget

She utters and precious gems fill the atmosphere
A tongue of wisdom and a humble disposition
A crown that fits only she who is a worthy queen
Appears in this unforgettable scene

Drifts amid pale, but rich cirrus
Nothing short of glorious
Warm colours
Emphasize their presence
On a backdrop of cool essence
Elegance fills the ethos with its astonishing presence.


On Far Emerald Shores

In this flaking down of last light, stars flicker into being
over Åsgårdstrand, Oda’s skin blushed post-coital pink
beneath wind-washed dress, bathed in the fleeting nacre
of lost Nordic summers, she is sinking deeper & deeper
into the peace of this sensual world, and I long to hold
her afterglow in my hands, to feel her pouring up inside,
to break like a wave on far emerald shores, in dreams of
naked lovers swimming the northern fjords, their silent
lips locked in the frozen sunset kiss of iridescent clouds.



I’m a nacreous cloud; fantastic, rainbowy, and beautiful.
I’m a dangerous cloud; fanatical, ice-cold, and beastly.
I’m a visual treat for all, a dream come true for some.
I’m an aviation terrorist and a killer of the ozone shield
Looking like innocent pastels on a huge sky canvas.
My hair sunflower yellow, lips scilla blue,
Skin marguerite white, nails forget-me-not purple,
Corset potentilla pink, skirt tulip red, satin blouse
Hibiscus turquoise and high-heeled shoes cosmos orange.
I fly high in the winter sky at twilight and never
Hide inside the hell of a shell in the sea summertime.
My favourite places: the Arctic and Antarctic. I also visit
Other altitudes when they are up for extreme winter sport.
I’m a wave cloud surfing the dry wind of mountain ranges.
I’m an ice polar cloud pole dancing with the light.
I’m a majestic cloud of ice crystals with iridescent tiaras.
I’m a mother-of-pearl cloud damaging airplane engines
And I’m a rare cloud placing the kiss of death on the wings.


a stranger in a strange land

sometimes stuck amid tiny hills
   tiny yet insurmountable
and sometimes deep in a crevasse
   one of many many deep, meandering ones
i stand not knowing
where to turn
when to turn
or even why to turn

after all one tract looks so much like another

all around me is a churning, turbulent liquid
   formed by my many memories
whose role is supposedly to protect (me)

that liquid seems more intent on
drowning me whole in the memories
of my past selves
carrying me along my present selves
(hopefully to my future self)

for now
i am now a stranger here
a stranger in the strange land of my brain


Jellyfish Women

Buoyant as balloons
they float waters,
water nymphs,
playful pixies.

Skirts are oral arms
swaying in fairytales
attracting silly suitors
with seducing colours
of maidenhood
yet once hooked,
fast in love,
they sting fast,
clutching chilled cadavers
in siren worlds.

Pretence is key.

Lure them in
as feeble fairies,
but murder sharp
as sharks’ teeth,
hiding beneath veneers
of soft satins, swirling silks,
damning damask
- all fooling fabrics;
veins of virginal velvet
are trailing veils,
hooking gullible fish

Read more >