• Vol. 03
  • Chapter 12

Hotel D’Arte

The boy can feel us in the room. He feels our silent laughter, perhaps. He does his best to ignore us, though.

He knocked several times before we heard the key turn. Time enough for us to jump up from the bed and to run across the expanse of carpet and into the cupboard. We watched him through the wardrobe slats as he pushed the door open, first a crack and then all the way, pulling behind him the trolley.

He must be new. None of the swagger of the ones who have been here for years. He stood on the threshold just a second too long, as though entering someone else’s room is not yet second nature to him, as though he does not yet feel he owns the place. We liked that.

He did what they all do. That instinctive appraisal of the room. What clues have they left? What crumbs? A glance towards the bathroom, though the door is open and the room clearly empty. He left the trolley at the foot of the bed. Pulled the covers back on and smoothed them down. Arranged the pillows. He did not check the drawers of the bedside tables as some of them do, though. We noticed.

He stands between the trolley and the regency writing desk now. I can feel her naked and feline in the enclosed dark and we slip for a moment out of the hotel altogether to where the river outside is all ice; white thick in patches and glassy in others, black water beneath. It has fallen below minus twenty this morning. She presses closer to me and holds her eye steady to a gap in the slats and we watch as he lifts from the trolley the teapot, the cups, the saucers, the covered platters of food and places them on the desk. As he does, his eyes flick from wall to wall, trying to find the source of our silent giggling, perhaps. How old are we?

  Read more >

Elephant Boy

On first meeting Bradley, one is struck by the geometry of his skull: heart-shaped – a favorable descriptor when applied to the front elevation of a human face. In Bradley’s case, the likeness is literal: a three-dimensional replica of that convulsive mass of bloodied muscle tirelessly circulating oxygen and metabolic wastes, the good with the bad. Funny that the existence of Bradley’s actual heart, its nervous valves perpetually flickering open, shut, open, should be advertised by its nemesis, the head. The impulsive and irrational mistaken for the premeditated and planned. Bradley’s head is both paradigm and paradox – an accidental cipher crowned by limp but prolific strands of hair the colour of unbleached canvas when seen by daylight, in their natural state; conditions which have become increasingly unlikely, thanks to Bradley’s heart. Deflect. Delay. Disguise. Disappear.


are you speaking with my mouth? are you speaking with my dirty mouth? sliding into me at a painful and necessary intersection, this is how we occupy the same point in space: i will kill you. not so recombinant but enduring community, when a boy who is a girl, a sphinxing boy, is always slipping off the eyeball, such a womanly blue boy and with redder hair like a dirty-talking sunset. like her i am picturesque isolationist terrorism. riddle me that. over here persons are lambent as anemones, persons sway in the dark stir of the sea erotically, light dark persons and we say abide with me. in your fairness and my stupidness abide, in that yellow dress, in that hateful shirt abide, abide in your working and in my not working, in your all-levelling colourlessness (and in mine) abide, lie and when you do so abide. there is a moistureless desert which abides, there is a petrified wood which abides, in them are houses suddenly abandoned, the planets pass over them and abide. summers of biding and abiding, for in the winter we die. so if to say cedar is to smell cedar, then what am i? if a bird is a snake and a lion is a girl then get your eye off my eye! keep that mouth away from me! you wear a face of quietly sad dislocation because you do and i am off-broken, drifting above vague, gloaming anemones because i am. when the voice that ends me calls it calls like i do, traumatised, needy, righteous and raging. the sphinx is the beast of peace i sent to devour you, with just your head left, sticking out.

Mirror Test

Again the boy cries himself hoarse
while we sing these hours just

before dawn. First the alphabet,
then “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,”

then “Lupang Hinirang,” the words
like foxes, like milk teeth. We can’t

hold him quiet yet. His body must,
they say, learn now about hunger,

about being alone. So we
hum and shhh into the yellow-

bruise of Sunday, these songs the shape
of our mouths in the dark, open

seas, and a brightness we have no
name for—


The Tale of Naked Bodies

I am naked
you are naked
we are

we slept close together
two breathing bodies
two different bodies

we living human steaks
our flesh never tells
the thousand stories of the soul

I listened to your quiet breath
I loved your womanhood

you were different
you were always different
from me

we were not compatible
we were two far universes
that slept close together

and last time
we met
we shook
close together
in a tender embrace
then we split

I here
you beyond



When I die, don’t waste your time
On thinkin’ up things to say;
You know me not (as I knew you not)
And trust me, that’s okay.
Bury me under the open sky,
Plant a lemon tree there.
Who knows I might like one day
To come up and breathe the air.
And when it is time for you to pass,
No, don’t you come looking for me.
Imagine! To be stuck, my love,
With you for eternity.



What is the past or future
when you can't bear
looking at the now?
You feel exposed and
the weight of fracture
drags you down.
Like a lion stalking
its prey before pouncing,
claws embedded, teeth
bared ready to strike.
The mirror shatters,
leaves you in shards
scattered on the ground.



All those years you spent hard after love
forgetting your own face, cleaved down
to heartwood, the reflective pools of your
own eyes spilling clouds. Now you are
back, door slamming behind you, duffle
bulked in the hall. Throw your arms around
your shoulders, congratulatory. Invite all
who know you, kill the fatted calf, raise a stink
of charred fat to god’s nose. While everyone
is still gorging, hard in their cups, slip away
to the most secret of beds. There, lip to lip,
rediscover the one who loves you best.


The Podiatrist’s Lament

At the park, Dr F sat at the foot of the statue and let the breeze cool his face. He peeled off his loafers, his socks, and wriggled his toes. It felt good to free them from his shoes. He watched as the tendons and bones, strained from the walk through the park, began to look less livid. There were traces of an old gout and a cyst. His toenails needed clipping. It was one of those things he hated doing, trimming, filing, buffing, and it was getting more tedious as he got older. His nails were turning bark-like, hard and tough, and cracked easily, and there was a brownish pall to them. His marriage was in no better shape. He wished he could give his nails – and his marriage – a varnish of red, purple, or orange, and hide their decay. In this situation, he wished he was a woman so he could paint his nails without folks judging him. No, no, he was not that way. He liked being a man. He liked being a man who liked women. Loved women. Toenails were an exception. An unfairness he had to live with. He turned to look at the statue’s bronze feet and marveled at their perfection, at how they hadn’t lost their gloss despite weather and vandalism. How many years had she stood there, silently, enduring the passage of time? A hundred? More? How many men like him, Dr F wondered, had sat at her feet to lament about their middle age? What about all the other statues – mostly of men – that had been toppled by wars and disasters, like his own marriage? But she had remained there, towering over the park and its visitors, graffitied by birds and stupid humans. He remembered the first time he touched her feet. He had felt a sensation he had never felt before, a tingling that traveled across his arms, a joy that rose to his chest, and a pleasure so great that his knees almost gave way. Read more >


The gap between us is like a jewel. It sits there, nestled into my neck, catching on your hair. It is golden and blue. Topaz and aquamarine. Aquamarine is your birthstone. Diamond is mine. But there is nothing transparent or pure about me and you anymore.

Your hair is inky – indigo, maybe. Your skin has begun to take on a purplish tinge, too. You are getting sadder and sadder and yet it looks almost beautiful. It looks normal. It shouldn’t be normal to be this blue, but it seems to fit you. People don’t notice, they just walk by. They notice my auburn hair and white skin over your face of storms.

Our lips are blue. Yours and mine, though there doesn’t seem to be any separation. They fuse us together, a spindly bridge that clings tightly, holding your blue face to my white. Rocking us together like the tide against a cliff. You are destroying me, but you make me who I am. You shape me, every day. Pulling away is unthinkable. It would tear the world in two, kill us both.

We are in a yellow chamber, somewhere beyond the sky. Maybe it is sand that surrounds us, though in my experience sand is never actually yellow. Maybe it is light, the kind of warm evening sunlight that creeps around the mountains, bathing us in lemon. But we are not in the mountains anymore. Well, I’m not. You never were. The mountains are not your kind of place. You don’t have the strength to climb. Staying afloat is your daily quest.

Maybe it is honey, dribbling down my back, clogging our hair. Perhaps we are a bee and never realised. Or maybe it is butter, fatty and runny and addictive yet simultaneously nauseating. Maybe you huddle against me to not smell it, to smell me instead. My hair of fire, burning everything it touches, including you. My skin like chalk, crumbling.

Read more >



The dark side of the Sphinx, and His mistress.
Turned, milky white,
And her, ashen grey from the split.
This incredible, Regal misfit;
Now valiantly galloping, with cloven hoof,
To rejoin her feminine, suckling bosom.
Without the other - dead of life.
Their yearning magnetises, to regain with the other,
Joining - as if to speak from one mouth,
of the attrocities inflicted upon them.
With the glowing, yellow backdrop of the blazing, desert sun - golden;
Illuminating them. Offering hope and warmth;
To ignite their new beginning,
As one, reconciled along the Nile.

Eyes Averted

Blue-face, two-faced, you peer out
In slender-necked stillness
From your coffined shell
Showing nothing of your heart

Claiming our attention
With your split personality
The dividing line evident
For all to see, you rise

From your belly, beneath eyes
Averted so we do not speak
Or acknowledge the street crawlers
The brawlers, the fallen

Instead the arrow of your gaze
Snakes after retreating steps
Shaming hollow souls
Contemptible lepers, rotting inside


Image of a Sphinx

The image is by Werner Stuerenberg
and shows a sphinx in multiple perspective,
perhaps two.

So why has he signed the painting ‘Joe’.
Is it for the son of a neighbour, fascinated
by Egyptian things?

Perhaps one of the characters is Joe,
or when they kiss, it is the sound of
their lips parting.

Most probably, given the placement
of the legend, is that he’s named the
sphinx’s left boob.


Eve Speaks

Although just one snake is well known
in that so-called paradise, actually
there were tons of them.

When we ran away, I was never so
happy. My feet no longer touching
swarms of mushy poison.

Fruit smelled to high heaven in Eden but
berries tasted yum yum good as we filled
our faces hurrying happily to the east.

And Adam replies:

She’s so beautiful. I would have
followed her to the ends of earth.
I am her captive then and now.


Lion Woman

Born under the sign of Leo      I am a monster
A Hellenic demon                     I squeeze, tighten my hold
A living image                           I am a killer
Carved out of rock                    I am a beast
Crowned with beauty                I am bad luck
A lion’s body                              I am destruction
Eagle’s wings                              I am unloved
Sting of a serpent’s tail                I am a weaver of riddles
If you cannot solve my riddle      I will eat you up
If you cannot love     me              I will eat myself
Love me                                     Myself


Danny tapping his chin with one finger and his eyes fixated on the painting, tries to figure out what the image means?

A middle-aged woman with short black hair, dressed in a blue pants suit, standing tall and conservative approaches.

“Excuse me, I couldn’t help notice how you haven’t moved from that spot in quite a while. This painting has an effect on you.”

“Yes, I can’t quite imagine what the painter means by this image?” Danny still tapping his chin.

“Most people don’t.” She answers, then sips her coffee without slurping. “The image represents the Egyptian era. See how the painter’s yellow and blue coloring in the man overlaps the woman’s timid pale complexion and grey hair. He’s conveying that the man has absolute power and is of much importance.”

“Huh, I never would have thought that until you came along. This is my first time in the museum. There are so many interesting paintings, but this one in particular caught my eye because of the uniqueness. How do you know so much about art?” Danny asks.

“I’m a college art professor. Well, it’s been nice chatting with you.” She throws her coffee cup in the garbage and walks away.

Danny leaves disappointed that the painting is not ambiguous to him anymore.


Rainbow Dagger

Everything gone forever
In the blink of an eye
So precious to me
Standing still, begins to crumble

Auction shack elemental
Bullwhip cracking far and near
Staring rage becomes rough and tumble
How do I cope?

My strategies all need glue
I am not even able to clutch
Hand soft velvet gentle
The right way forward

New born finger cross caressed
Dripping ravenous posterns
The loss is enormous
Whenever nature dares to gamble


Fate’s Early Arrival

A warrior undone, no comfort
from man or wife. The great king
beat the sphinx, but where is he
now? The moon’s face is distorted.
No measure of armor can keep
the delicate pins from carrying out
their rough task. We have found it
to be true. Ribbons of blood await.
It is clear: exile is the last answer,
and we are all bound.

Light And Dark

The light always seeks to hide
the dark.
The dark,
the infiltrator of the light,
the secret side emerging
ready to cast a shadow
that will add to your mystery.
just maybe
shine a light
inside your depths.
The dark
revealing what the light
was hiding.
Not everything,
not all,
but some things
that were hidden
by the light.

The Other Side of Me

The light side of me
        is flamboyantly childish,
        words fall over themselves,
        skittle and ping,
        as I scrub down and clean house

but the dark side of me
        hides in desolate rooms,
        squashes words into the mattress,
        howls to the moon,
        leaves the dishes to mould

the light side of me
        seeks out the sun
        flings wide the drapes,
        breathes and feeds
        on daylight soaked hours

but the dark side
        craves the night but cannot sleep,
        starves the flesh,
        those chilling bones
        that walk the floors

the light side of me
        is the life and heart
        of every second lived;
        songs bursting through skin,
        the sea in my ears.

Read more >



May, May is welcome
And by these roads, these lanes
Young people come to home
To sing to my sisters.
What pretty they are
With her golden hair
And coloured lassos
And my mother combing them
To disentangle it.
That is their faces
What face so bright
Their lips, what loveliness
Painted with lipsticks
Where the same Cupid
A Kiss plant.
Their eyes, what pretty and lovely
As star lighting the same Sky.
Their snub noses
(I wish I could to have them)
Silver twists are
That none of the jeweller
Knows draw
Only mother Daniela
As their ivory teeth
And their two little bust
Behind their white blouses
As two early lemons
Read more >

Her Blue Period

She feels the blue creeping
in again. No, it has nothing to do
with the rain. How quick
they jump to that all-too-easy
conclusion. She’s so moody—
he loved using that excuse
another missed party,
another inappropriate giggle,
another quiet look of disappointment,
another too-bright yellow dress—
the one she wore to conceal
her melancholy.
Pop another Prozac, dear.
Life’s so much better
for all of them
when she remembers
to take her daily dose
of Vitamin P. How easily it goes
down with a full glass of water—
she’ll hardly even notice
the rain.

The Other Half

You are the other half of the problem
and also it's solution.
You listen with rapt solemnity
to my wittering monologue of woes.

Yet, in the midst of all of this
the cat's paw of judgement, my heart
sits. Power to change comes too,
So, quiet as death I wait...

The instant of knowing,
gelling and being fully alive arrives.

I will never tame the chatter
of my minds' activity,
but by sitting with them
comes the joy of reality.


Ready. Set. Do Not Pass Go

We keep telling it: the Universe, we’re ready. Pick us.

But it makes us wait: the Universe. We have a theory: we’re flecks of dust, nano-particles. Dots between dots. We sit within a (metaphorical) bed of mud. Upright, rising. The Sun flashes us with its spectrum, yellow whiskers and then, hot mist.

And we grow.

We dare to sense the weight that’s collapsed on our wilted shoulders, they can’t carry as much as we’d like. They show us what it’s like to feel weak. Judge and be judged, they remind us.

We wow to reign the creatures, release the ego. Be still when actions stab us and wound our ribs, even when it pains like a wrongful twist of fate.

Recognise when the Full Moon comes out to play and we soar like caged fireflies. Keep it under control, like a couple of acrobats.

Find a desire and encourage it to grow. Work hard through hard work – be forever curious, set a pace. No need to compete - we are not born individual.

Walk by blind faith, In God we trust. And if not in God, then in some magic, because as the saying goes, you will not find if you do not search.

Let us throw that thing called humanity around like bird food, if not in action, we’ll keep it verbal. If sticks and stones choose to break bones we will let our tender words be ready to soothe.

We keep telling it: the Universe, we’re ready.


Two Spirits

Two spirits dancing in kind
Black verses White, White verses Black
which are so inclined
Dancing, swirling, twisting
melding ….. Together as One
Light verses Dark, combines as One
The storm crashes in the eerie Light above
as they combine
in the distant fight ....... of Dark and Light
A distant scream swirls around
within the beings
sending shivers to those involved
immortal combat with Ones of olde
The Heavens above … split in two
encompassing spirits
which combine as two
Twisting, Twirling, Combining as One
Dark verses Light, and Light verses Dark
of mortal combat between the two
A swirling mist twists and weave
Interweaving between the two
of darkness and Light
crashing with all their might
Crashing Thunder ….. sounds above
giving fright to those below
Read more >


It’s not the twisted sisters who draw my eye,
Nor the lesbian lovers, with bobbing boobs.
It’s not the dichotomous twins, one evil, one
A goody two-shoes.

                It’s the boy.

Politest student in the school, he blocked me
On Facebook, and on Instagram made a
Social Pariah of me. A quick flick of
His fingers on the keyboard, and he snipped my
Skin and sliced my heart.

So no, it's not the two-faced heart-shaped bitch I see:
It's the boy
Who upsets me.



kiss me kiss you kiss us hold me hold you hold us then
look me in the eye and tell me you don’t love me and
look me in the eye and tell me you do and then feel
this heat and feel this feeling and tell me that one and
one is two and it takes two and it takes us and tell me
it overwhelms us like we asked to be overwhelmed
in the sand and bury me in the sand with only the bits
you most love showing and kiss those bits that show
us for what we are and what we are is nought but love

Two into one

The eyes have it you know
Pull the curtain it may be Joe
Let us lock lips, not a word
Anonymity or die by the sword
When in Rome do as they do
Your Cleopatra to my Romeo
Hiding behind the painters brush
My alter ego continues to push
To explore and reveal
Paintings which are the real deal
Keeping abreast of new and old
Abstract must continue to be extolled.

Hey Joe

Hey Joe, I’ve seen what you’ve been: accountant and fraud, (voyeur and secret keeper.) Hey Joe, you’ve seen what I am: my dislocated selves hinged under one face. How’ve you captured that stuttering changeover when parts of me roll free to let the other half click in place… I can only imagine you’ve felt it too.

Oh Joe, that you understand—oh it makes my fingers twitch as each side fights to smile. Joe, (my darling Joe,) what I wouldn’t give to not be as you see me: a halfling creature, part woman, part beast. (What I wouldn’t give to be whole and alone.)

You understand though, you understand. You know my mind better than I do (the other side guards herself against me). You know why we’re here, don’t you Joe? (I know you too, I know you do.) You know why I stand over you, why you can’t leave, not yet (not ever), don’t you?

Hey Joe, you’ve stretched my soul in canvas, you’ve mapped my mind in paint, and what have you found? It’s time to share, Joe. Don’t worry, neither of us are going anywhere.


Cubist kiss / A lover’s embrace

It looks like love
Whatever that is
It looks like love
However that works

Intimacy on show for all to see
Uncomfortable voyeurism
For unsuspecting folks

They could not care less
Their actions are for themselves
For each other

Two worlds collide
And then
They are hopelessly, faultlessly in love


On Ardhnareshwar

There was confusion, those days. The myth of Ardhnareshwar would haunt me. It's not that Ardhnareshwar's myth was extremely alien to me. But over a span of a few months there were four times I encountered the myth.

First, a tarot card reader drew a card which looked like the Ardhnareshwar. I wouldn't obviously meet a tarot card reader out of choice, but I did simply because I was so lost, and one approaches the charlatans only when one has stopped believing in anything. It is for re-seeking belief one ventures out in search of belief. Second, in the autobiographical book of Hoshang Merchant. Third, the cover of a notebook I had bought was engraved with an artwork of the Ardhnareshwar. Fourth, in the house of the martial artist.

I started finding all sorts of meaning in the myth. Yin yang. Jung. As the months rolled by the obsession slowly disappeared. After all I'm an atheist, but then why do myths interest me? The perpetual duality of the world shatters the mind and the body eventually. Myths have nothing to do with religion but with meaning-making, storytelling. It took me a while to come around to accept that, even though while reading Levi Strauss in class I nodded my head, I didn't believe in him.



We map our body as lovers do,
the riddle of it beneath Egyptian sun.
Our hair is copper and carbon,
skin the bruise of heathered moors,
slate sky harbouring storms.
Beneath our tawny coat we are lion,
a single pink breast to suckle our young
between paws with claws that pluck.
We are scarab, airborne and horned.
Our two faces stare from one heart.

Morning rush II

Every morning
I stand
Before her
And I roll my eyes
At all the truths and tells

Reading between
The lines
The shadows
And blotches

Then I set to work
And smearing
And concealing

Every morning I stand
Before her
And she smiles
Back at me
My Mona Lisa

With all her secrets


Back 2 Back

So man. Yes, ADAM. There were two of them. One with the creativity, the extrovert, the mountain climber, the field sower. The second a man of few words and many books. So eve, at bay in body back to back looking at the world through two eyes from behind Adam. Destined to be separate. Sleep they did together. Back to back. A cold world looking across the equator never to meet. Sleep they did together Destined to separate.


I am Khatra the Great.
I am The Terrifying One:
my bedrock limestone incarnation glaring
across the Nile…

I am castrated.
I am the redefined one:
two dimensional consternation staring
across the aisle

By the third eye
and psychotropic fugue,
my rugged visage transformed
into intertwined lovers:
manifestation of Osiris’s staff
for a coarser world.


Hegel’s Revenge

Millennia of farouche guardianship run aground. Centuries of lonely erosion. Sandstone trituration to elemental grains. Riddled, winging back into his own face. Bringing a granular tear to the eye in this parched land purged of water.

Mona Lisa inscrutability, hieroglyphic mythic mystery. Picasso-applied panoptic perspective. Three-hundred and sixty degree circularity misnomered Cubism. Oedipal partner provided for a mind meld. Corporeal convergence. Lips locked in suction kiss. Chagallian floating against gravity on an upthrust of passion. A deepest thirst in this desert of aridity. Hegelian dialectic idealism refuted by a material avidity, a substantial love. A rain of tears. This time not grainy, but watery from a passion wellspring dammed for three thousand years. The animal part tamed human, the mortal guise inflamed bestial. The leonine clench on the throat. Suffocated until dead and devoured. Sphinx grateful at last to have been released from its eternal empty vigil. Assyrian cousin Lammasus repatriated to the soil by zealous high explosive and fanatical sledgehammer. Hypostatised heresy. Atavistic era of sentinels buried beneath fervent art and wild-eyed doctrine. Hegel’s revenge.



Through Asia, Greece and the African continent we have wandered, needing the heat for our metabolism, thriving on the waste of civilizations and eventually spawning with humans to provide them with another … hybrid … creature of myth: vampires.

They don’t bother us. They prefer the more temperate zones, and know our peril too well to encroach on our territory as we strut about in plain sight, the perception of the humans we feed on blunted by terror, religion … but mostly by the infantile rationale they call science. How could we possibly exist?

Annoying children! They defile our holy places and poison the earth we walked before they had the wit to cover themselves in their vile petty destructive ugliness.

I mated at a theme party with an Egyptian girl who reminded me of my ancient beauty, Nefertiti, and consumed her afterwards, ingesting her whole through the portal of what is known as the heart chakra.

There was a mustachioed artist and mathematician there whose name escapes me. He was smoking something which was not just tobacco, and his aura was strange. I think he saw me.

I left, expecting an outcry at any moment, but the rest of the revelers – as expected – had seen nothing of my true self. They were too busy chiseling away at the gift of life afforded them, tearing it apart in a frenzy of abuse.

Needless to say I was surprised to see a painting on the net recording that moment of satisfaction. More surprised to see it signed by someone called Joe. I was certain he'd been Germanic.



Away from you I am a porcupine
guarding your warmth from the thieving air

withdrawing my quills only when in the sun
Your signature kiss is half of a species

trying to make a whole

Half of you dividing a whole of me

From your black windows
 I am the village
my roads take you 
to a city of desire

From my mist-lipped glass
, you are the truck

brightly coloured with animal motifs

taking me away from the gray suits 
into the golden hay

crash, the glass resists
. We break it and call it love making

The shards embedded in my skin 
are narcissist singers
"Sin against living, 
sand the sojourn through the human shell"

Bloody lips cling to asphyxia. We are the sphinx couple
The desert landscapes on, over us, in us and despite us


Face Off

We say it will be different this time; we will try to enjoy ourselves, go home and fall asleep with our chins resting in the hollows of each other’s collarbones, but there is a spark of devilment in your eyes, and I know that you won’t be playing by the rules.
I watch you shrug your shoulders, cross your arms and pout every time we enter a new room. No-one would believe that you’re on the cusp of thirty, a single grey wisp curling at your right temple, and pencil thin sketches of crow’s feet around your hazel eyes.
‘I’m bored,’ you say, rolling your eyes so they resemble two golf balls. I look away, concealing the wave of nausea roiling in my gut. You have a habit of making yourself ugly within a handful of seconds, and I am embarrassed to be seen out with you, wondering whether strangers gossip about us whenever our backs are turned.
You’re ugly now with those golf ball eyes, the ones which silently follow me across the room, colourless, ghostly and bulging slightly.
‘I wish you wouldn’t do that,’ I say. ‘It’s not a good look.’
You snort, something else I hate about you, and suddenly I’ve been joined by Miss Piggy. I resist the urge to smack you on the snout.
Sighing, I leave the room.
‘Wait,’ you say, and before I have time to turn around, your hand, like a milk-white spatula, rests on my shoulder. You give it a gentle squeeze, and in that moment, the temperature in the room plummets. Your touch is too familiar, too intimate, sickeningly so; your hands have become a part of me and there have been times where I’ve wanted to chop them off. They’re constantly messing up my hair, pulling at my tie, and tugging at my waistband.
Read more >


Oh we how
merge the Sphinx and I
we rise up out of dust
and ennui
Ancient kisses new
like a shopping mall
holding hands with
George Washington
skipping down the lane
Julius Caesar to my left
Cleopatra to my right
Stars of the 1970s
sitcom Three's Company
dancing in between
Telling myself I like
the blend the merge
of old and new


"Don't you get it?" he asks, pointing at the painting. "It's duality. It's us. It's complexity."

I nod my head and let him pull me on toward the next exhibit. Some Chinese artist, and he begins to talk about liberty and the government, while I stare into the eyes of people I'll never know and wonder if he's really seeing it all.

"Don't you love it?" he asks. I don't even have to answer. He knows what I'll say.

"Come on, let's get some coffee."

I never drank coffee until him. Now my hands shake without it.

"It was an okay exhibit," he tells me, and I have to agree. "It has nothing on the Met, but you know."

I tell him I've never been there and he groans.

"New York is amazing. You'd love it."

And I suppose I would.

"What should we do next?" I ask him, hoping the answer is go home, where I can wrap myself in his blankets and let his fingers trace my body and forget about art for a little while.

"There's this really interesting documentary playing at State," he says. "We should see it."

So we do. And he holds my hand. And it's like a tether. Afterwards he asks me if I liked it, and I say I did, and he kisses me on the lips, and for a second I believe it.


It Happened at the Art Institute

"Tell Pablo I cannot see!"
says the man in the Picasso painting
as I pass by, program in hand.
The man has a hairy nose
where each of his ears should be.
And his ears have become a butterfly
where his nose ought to be.
I paid top dollar to see this exhibit.

The man in the painting rants on:
"Pablo has done me wrong!
The eye in the middle of my forehead
has a detached retina.
I need a new eye so I can watch
you and the other voyeurs
roll your eyes and laugh at me.
Tell Pablo I cannot see!"



We are joined together as two playing cards. It's as though we are stuck in a nightmare: a catastrophic handling from an inadequate, amateurish dealer. Like he cut sharply, too fast and we flew crisply, as one.
        Our mouths struck diamond kisses, encompassing and nearly suffocating. Her face, which only minutes earlier had showed a royal flush, was turning blue, cold seeping into her bones.
        The crunching noise convinces me the game is nearly over. Piercing screams and shouts rent the air, then subside as the 'bus hits the jagged rocks at the edge of the road. As we tip into the ravine my last memory is of the sharp rings of her necklace thrusting into my throat...

Sealed With a Kiss

The kiss that turned us both to stone.
Once lovers full of life.
Now frozen in time.
The once passionate kiss has become lifeless.
Now prisoners.
Two lovers merged as one.
Eyes glaring with fixed gaze,
unable to see beyond each other.
I took you with me,
for all eternity.
You will not disobey or deceive me again.
This is your punishment.
Now you are mine.

My World, the Hand Grenade

Smithereens I meet you
All blown out of proportion
Your ass is my eyeball
Now how about for that

Kabloowe went my heart
On the open stoop of logic
Used to take leaps of faith
But I'm too dizzy to reach

I once knew your lip sweetly
Sucking like bone marrow
Meeting you face to face
A new complexion looked back.



The stream of consciousness bombarding him, halts with the abruptness of an ill placed full stop. He is bolted awake. The same dream has troubled him for three nights in a row, but he can recall just a single fragment; one woman’s face merging with another’s. His pounding heart provides unwelcome accompaniment to the spinning and out of focus hue of yellow bedroom curtain, and gilded edge of mirror. His eyes rush across the wall to the security of the old Trilby, bought from Camden Lock years ago, hung on a nail. This hat saw him through a string of girlfriends, then the thick and thin of a failed marriage. He jumps up, still assailed by dizziness. Blinks. Thumps a fist into his thighbone. Tells himself to get a grip. The thought of that first strong, coffee steadies him. This is the start of a weekend - no 6.30 sharp alarm today. In the bathroom, he allows a prolonged first piss to expel all overnight angst. He remembers he has a ticket to that new exhibition just opened at the Portrait Gallery. His entry slot is at noon. He licks himself over with a dabbed towel. Rubs his chin, decides he can get away with the emerging stubble.
Over Crunchy Nut Cornflakes, an icy chill descends, though outside it is bright mid-summer. He hurries down a second cup of coffee, using the burst of caffeine high to rip the plastic sheath off a newly laundered blue shirt. This brown corduroy suit, which has become a second skin, could do with dry cleaning… On the tube, he reflects. Thirty years ago, there seemed the possibility of escape. Life had stretched before him- a promised land. He unfolds the gallery ticket, and plays with it between his fingers.
Read more >


Just once, to sit without her there.
Each time the artist comes she curls
her lilac cheek, swings her charcoal hair,
cold as a halberd blade, before me.
I am effaced.

The flame of my mane dims;
my skin thins like whey
in her strange, sad stare.
The trunk of me radiates light;
my head ghosted in shade.

She thinks we are silver and gold.
He paints us with eyes only for each other.
And I am eclipsed again
by that dark half
who will not fade.



Remember the first time we spoke
your soul had tremors, I was hiding

a face. Like a crystal fish that swims
with fairies of a wonder nest,

I showed you many enchanting tales
of my underworld. How algae

on corals that stole my shining fins
made your heart want to restructure

the ocean. My split tongue cradled
your sorrows in mouths of despair-

less eccentricities. How could your
feet not have strayed. I hid my tail

in the black ink by the pier. Your eyes
never coming up from the warm pools

of my gaze. Air leaving lungs
as my unstained fragility

possessed your lips.


Disfiguring Images

What if you don't wish to bend?
To fuse your real
With macrocosm of artificial self

What if you don't bow down?
To totems & symbols of social consciences

You might be real
A deconstructed embodiment of "normal"
You might be a 'She'
Or a 'He' to conventional

Or,you may be a fluid
That doesn't fit
In shackled ideas of normativeness

You might evoke scorn & disgust
And get trampled upon each day
For being too effeminate
For a strapping apparatus of rippling muscles

Or, may be a wild gush
Casted upon with wily glances
For being caged in a voluptuous figure

Your whims might be delicate
A blushing reality
That's ensconced, chagrined
And too fearful of strangulation

Read more >


Blue Heart

Put your hand into the graveyard.
Pull out the blue heart.
Under cover of night, shift and strike.
Blow the fog over your baked complexion
And bathe in blue.

Stretch your useful leonine limb collage.
Wind up the blue heart.
Go indigo and gold.
Saxe, sapphire, cerulean.
Blast your own way out (mind your nose,)
Up you’ll go – the blue one’s got wings.



We were a hydra, monstrous, beautiful
And mundane in our everyday dependence
Wrapped within our blushing bluish skin
Face to face, body in body, endless
You pull the fabric of our skin combined
And slice those stitches which we made with care
Separate the segments of our minds
Rip pith and gossamer that held them there
Unmesh our breasts the years have knit together
Unclench our hands to force us far apart
And last and lasting, loss and losing, loving
Sever the arteries between our hearts.


we have always been together
before even ancient times
and announce it again now

we are Aditi - limitless
mother of the gods
spirits from the cosmic matrix
celestial mother of existence

we are space and mystic speech
the eternal cycle of rebirth
creatrix of all creation
though bound and fettered yet

we are unbound and free
goddess of earth and sky
the two faces of light and dark
together and unopposed

we have always been together
we are more than two
we love and cannot be parted


Camera Ready

Two in one
love encapsulated
just to know
that you are there
clutched in soft
stirrings of strength
don't move, simply
remain, otherwise
bondage will be shackled
but you have to
Picasso captured
all in trance.
Remain there
lovers of Bohemia
remain there captive
in love's bedrock of fullness
body wavers, lips swerve
Remain there. Camera ready.

Addled Riddles

The idea to not ask a riddle as soon as she was presented with a human, had not yet occurred to her.
Lady with the ‘L’, sat on her haunches with the primary focus of guarding her royalty. After all, she was one in a million.
Actually, the only one.
It so happened that on a day that was not as sunny as was expected, she decided to stretch her legs for a bit. A walk here and sight there. She slowly made herself up- licked her paws, broke the strain and clambered up to walk on the sands that slowly heating up.
Paw one, step ahead. Paw second, step further. Paw one again; a walk begun..alone,alone on a long vast land where shimmer met sun. This is lonely, she thought to herself. Very lonely.
Not that she hadn’t heard of tales of an oasis in the deserts, but what did she know. She spoke only in riddles!
Imagine then, to her surprise, there was one solitary speck moving at a pace slower than hers. Tiny, inconsequential speck, with a shadow longer than its caster- as perilously close it was to meet the mystical L, there was no measure to L’s own bubbling curiosity.
It settled down, abruptly. Aha, must pass through this ordeal.
The speck arrived, slowly and unsteadily. It was ambling along, leaving a trail of debris that indicated a long journey- alas, a debris that left no evidence, as it cruelly melted into its surroundings.
From where it comes, it goes.
The speck (which was a human) looked up at L. Bleary, red eyes looked at a creature with the head of a woman, body of a lion and the arms of a bird. Or so it thought.
Read more >


the other me is whispering
deep in my ear like a lover
her long tongue unraveling like liquorice
sucking out the marrowed secrets
of nights spent with fingers
entwined in wet sheets
and silent stifled cries
the nectar of my sticky ruin
cradles her tongue in blissful
bee stung shame

Come Closer

‘Come closer’ she said. So I did. She reclined in front of me as if to suggest intimacy. Instead it suggested familiarity: familiarity with the situation, familiarity with the surroundings, familiarity with me. She did not know me, and yet she knew me all too well.

I was at once both the centre of her universe and the Arcturus star, only not as bright. We declined to look at each other and instead her gaze swept around the room as though seeing it for the first time, or so I thought. I followed her gaze and took in paintings by Vogel von Vogelstein, Édouard Manet and Jan van Eyck. They sat side-by-side on the wall and suggested an owner who knew where they had came from, but who knew where they were going. To this viewer too they offered tantalising glimpses of past, present and future.

‘Kiss me’ she said. So I did. To do so I stepped closer still. I bent myself double in order to get close enough to touch her lips with mine. Her lips parted and all at once I felt crushed by the room and all its contents, the air squeezed from my lungs. She smiled knowingly at my gasp while I, breathless and giddy, tasted stale smoke and bitter wine.

I heard a professional sigh, and when I closed my eyes I was both present and absent. Here…and yet not here. My knees buckled and I almost fell. ‘I’m sorry’ I said, ‘I’ve never done this before’. She hushed me and issued further instructions.

‘Help me up’ she said. So I did. Standing in front of me she looked proud. Defiant. These were her choices, her decisions, her life. My being here was her choice too. I knew this. I felt honoured.

I followed her gaze to another picture. A photo. A black and white Read more >



Androgynous, half male half female, split down the middle
Synthesis of the Purusha and Prakriti male, female energies
Its union the root of all creation, where opposites merge
Inseparable as word and its meaning, instilled in our consciousness.

Or is it the progress of civilisation that subtly transforms
That synergy to inequality, the might over right
Cartoonised in shades of purple and blue
The female reduced imperceptibly
Smaller, weaker


Duplicated echo

  in the posed
  camaraderie of fixated
of what the paused
    eyes do,
    inward focal meaning

      joy     semblance of future,
    prophecy     dedicated emblem

        —nothing but of a death
      awaits when the warmth
no longer breathes
    becomes what was meant when
  language inserted this
        current tribute into
      whole and



The Last Word

I, the blue one, I’m looking down at that Tutankhamen thing that’s separating me from you and wishing it would stop hurting my chin. And I’m wishing my off-the-shoulder was on-the-shoulder, as it should be; wishing you’d stop willing it off me. And I’m wondering: if my other half really is to be you, how can I make it work?

I, Pharaoh, am entirely sure of myself, although she’s got something she doesn’t seem entirely willing to give. I want her blue hair for my Khepresh, my blue warrior crown, and I will have it. All of it. I’m pretending to look into her ear as I pull off her hair and I must admit I’m surprised to see what I don’t want to hear. She’s quite determined. Not malleable. What to do?

I don’t know what that large lipstick-thing you’re holding is doing between us. You’ve probably put it there to soften me up. It’s obvious you want something from me and you’re trying to pretend you don’t. I’m pretty sure it’s my hair, you’ve already pulled some of it out, so you’re holding that lipstick-thing there to distract me, but I’m onto you.

I’m whispering now, telling her how beautiful she is. It usually works. But, I hate to admit it, I’ve been whispering for a while now and it isn’t having the usual effect. What to do? Stop talking and listen? To you? Really? Ask you to turn towards me? See what you have to say? But I thought I was Pharaoh-boss. Heavens, you're beginning to smile ... .

If you want my blue hair for your Khepresh and if you want me for your Great Royal Other Half, then a bargain must be struck between us. Order me a Crown like Nefertiti’s (to hide my baldness after you’ve taken all my hair) and, because I'll have sacrificed my hair, you'll sacrifice your non-stop whisper-talk.

You’ll have your blue warrior helmet and I’ll have the last word. Always.


The Twin

Regina woke up and so did the parasitic twin beneath the folds of fat in her stomach, squeezed somewhere between her spleen and lower intestines. She could feel her there, the creature whose thoughts sometimes crept up into her own mind, indefatigable, throbbing like a sore.

Yesterday, she had whispered to Regina during one of her routine late nights at the office. It would be simple (so simple) just to siphon a bit of money off from one of their investors. To taste the yolk of some eighteenth nest egg, sitting fat and un-shelled in a Cayman Island hideaway. And so Regina did, cracking a CEO’s retirement fund to transfer a modest amount into one of her old bank accounts she rarely touched anymore. She licked her fingers after the act, feeling full and satisfied.

The day before that, her twin had told her that Stephanie’s boyfriend was fair prey. Her best friend had never held onto a relationship for more than three months and this one was nearing his expiration date. He was curious, attracted, and brushed the small of her back when they were trying to get through the club’s crowded dance floor to the bar. Stephanie excused herself to the bathroom, and she and the boyfriend (prey) shared a drink, a kiss, a night of debauchery against rumpled sheets.

Regina felt her toes curl as she recalled those sinful pleasures.

But now her twin was more than stirring. She was demanding, craving the smell of brewing coffee and the sizzle of fried eggs. Regina ignored the wailing voice and opened a window in her studio flat. Read more >


The Room of Now

We are overlapping circles of love.
My lips are your lips.
Soft skin brushes against apricot cheeks.
You hold me in this golden, dappled light
while birds feather their nests
and leaves rustle in the wind.

Where charcoal lines meet,
you lift me up –
suspended life and light.
This day could be any day.
It could be an endless day.

Do not speak to me
of calendars.
Do not answer the door.
Let the phone ring on and on.
An endless song of longing
matches our bonded flow
of me and you –
you and me.

Wrapped up in this
room of now,
I could not possibly want.
You are my pomegranate
and my peach.
You are my yesterday
and today.

Read more >


A Certain Dignity

He was always right - that’s what I hated about him; and loved. The sperm had barely reached my egg and there he was, a tiny, heartbeat in my body. That’s how badly he wanted to live; to be in this world. He never gave me any trouble except for a manic hankering for mustard covered sardines followed by anything Häagen-Dazs. And later, when I looked like a hot air balloon, he used my kidneys as pillows. Why wouldn't he? They must've looked plump and inviting. Anyway, all was forgiven when he arrived; a healthy baby boy with a pair of lungs that would give Pavarotti a run for his money. From the moment he stepped foot in the world he refused my breast milk; I had to feed him formula. I felt cheated (plus it was more expense). Then I found out I had HIV. He was always right - that’s what I hated about him; and loved.

Between Myself and I

Unbalanced I live
in this house divided
floors always tilted
one way or another
making navigation difficult
and rest a faded dream.
Caught in my own dynamic
surge and ebb of energies
I am always turning, moving,
plunging down beneath
the swell to where
no light can reach, no heart
keep blood from slowing,
thick and gelid,
dense as stone--
Or I am rising, flaming bright,
and quick as lightning
dancing over the dark hills
at the farthest rim of vision,
leaving hot ash in my wake
my path an arabesque
of inspiration, traced
in scorched earth, my name
a signature of fire.


No scissors. No knives. No hacking
makes known how we split inside
ourselves, smearing blue silence
over the tenderest skin, blue lips
freezing ice words so deep
they are forgotten, buried
inside the chalice throat
until the cup runs
and we willingly
say enough
is enough.


’Oh, hi.’ I said, as casual as you like.

I had let the telephone ring; counting, counting, as I tried to slow my breathing.
The days had inched forward, my panic rising with every minute. The absence of contact filled the space, the nothing becoming everything. When I called earlier (maybe it was the fourth time. The fifth?) I knew as I dialled it was a mistake. But my longing had seduced me into the attempt to fill the humiliating hours of waiting. I can’t recall what I said as I left another message, but my throat was thick and I worried after that I had just sobbed and howled. Maybe I did.
I ached to crush myself into him, to meld our bones together into a chimera creature. Never to separate, conjoined.
My black hair, his red hair; eyes so close I would know his soul every minute of every day.
I stared at my skin as I waited. I could feel where his hands had branded me. I marvelled that something so powerful left no visible signs; sometimes I imagined they would appear as gleaming mother of pearl trails of love, sometimes as hot molten lava flows of desire that oozed across my body.

‘Oh, hi,’ I said, as casual as you like. Then I said, ‘Please don’t leave me.’


Sphinx to Fellah Woman

Bear with me, as you have abased the livery. Skin
of bluest desert, sharp as a catamount’s grace. Here
your rain is a kiss; the cold from glaciers. As if
to enthrone a pharaoh’s ochre warm of sun is to
gaze at love in the appease. After all, I am Tut
and tomb lionized—
seeking like immortals, for you are pried, sprout
of a tremble, a cerulean glory now mine.
Eyes alight of mirth. You have found us thrilling
in this awash, plethoric against Nile’s gulch, this
entity that we are chained nights
of a thousand. Listen to my paw
this I bespeak tenderly, your dreaming moon-pale
breast, a cradled worship for our children.

Red or blue?

We have been met by many in this room,
with eyes that have spelled out
stories sought by the other. All wonder
bound by the bounty of the entrance, shrapnel
and pieces torn and strewn. One head asks
the other, ‘Who’s to say what?’ with the other,
replying with the last breath that two were to share.

Red pill? Or the blue?

Turned out that the choice to perceive had
one too many heads.


Done in a cubist style

Life is multi-faceted, personalities and its places. She said, “time always seems to go slower when you want it to go fast and faster when you would like the clock to stop”. They say a watched pot never boils; the last minute on the clocking off machine seems to be more like five. Time is a dimension we cannot see, smell, hear, taste or touch, we question whether or not it exists at all. We measure it, but even this may be a falsehood, are not seconds, minutes, and hours, a construct?

All we really have is day and night, and the changing seasons. The stars shift about from our point of view and over thousands of years. The comet Hale-Bopp graced us with an appearance nearly twenty years ago now, visible with the naked eye, last seen when the ancient Egyptians ruled the then known world, a time of sphinx’s and battle shields and at the same time Stonehenge was under construction.

There she was in the spring of ’97 glimpsing at an object that will not return again for 4000 years, how very existential she must have felt at the time. It was the spring then, and nineteen October’s later, a whole evolution of daffodils have flowered and disappeared.

Read more >


Strangers in the Night

Two strangers, two different lives
Excuse me! have we met before?
I think I know you from somewhere
An early evening dream, a past life shared
a nursery rhyme or a beautiful affair?
Acqua cheta rovina I ponti,
Can I tell the depth of the water by looking at its surface?
I think I can
The face is yours, the soul is mine

When The Sphinx Thinks Of Herself

Thousands of years they've imagined me. I am their impenetrable enigma, wrapped up in desert sands. I am a gaze which sees through aeons, and seems to understand that time means nothing. It is only slow decay, the endless erosion of form and texture and reconfiguration.

They look at me and believe I am in possession of a wisdom that could bring it all to an end. Or a beginning.

And they could be right.

I don't deny them their delusion. If it were me down there in the sand, my feet sinking in that ever slipping surface, getting nowhere, I would do the same. Decide there was a realm beyond all this, a place where knowledge is not required. It was attained a long time ago. Absorbed like the warmth of the sun.

But the truth is I look in many directions. My gaze falls everywhere, and nowhere. Though when it falls upon myself, I am reminded of a curious joy, coloured and fragmented and many sided.

Wise to nothing, save life itself. And time.


A Sphinx, Methinks

There's a Dream wrapped up in my head,
even though I'm awake (or at least out of bed).
It's a yang and yin, caught in the act,
interlocked in a fond embrace,
gazing at one another's face--
while across the burning desert waste
a Man comes with Himself as the fact
of the Riddle that rends so many to shreds.
Nevertheless, he shouldn't feel too blest,
get too cocky and thump on his chest--
since without the legacy
bestowed upon his race
by Picasso and Sophocles,
he'd never have had such success.

Broken Woman

She was once whole, but now she's two halves,
Split like a curtain, torn from top to bottom.
Now she bonds with melancholy
and anger has become her
squeezing together tightly like a knot
in the pit of her stomach.
The coldness of the dark,
Like a casket with a body.
The unresolved questions linger
like the Samaritan at the well
waiting in hope of answers.
"Anger" questions, "Could I have done more?"
"Sadness" answers with tears
streaming down the faces of a broken women.
Why is she broken?
Imprisoned by the piercing silence
that wrestles the voice within,
The voice of her child,
Lost to a loveless world of woe.
Her only begotton son,
An arrow sprung from the bow.
Now she bellows from a distance
equivalent to the living and the dead.
But her son still lives inside her
like a Monarch in a jar,
Read more >

She Left

There was nothing left to say. All the words in the world had been sucked up and spat out. They had left none for her. She sat, furious and bursting to speak, her throat constricted and swelling shut. Just when she thought her head would burst wide open, she became sphinx like. They did not notice at first. She became cold as she took herself away from this place of anger and arguing. It was too late by the time they saw the stone in her silence.

Part Bitter Part Sweet

Because I was so habituated with Success-

Failure interceded for me-

That moment held but just Ourselves

And the infinity

We halted, we hopped- we knew no shame

And I had put away

My acquisitions and my prizes too,

For His Reality

We passed the phases of Success,

At school- where I'd excelled

The college - where I'd prospered

We passed the glittering trophies-

Or rather - Success passed Us-

With Its fleeting recapture-

Sent shivers down my spine,

Into my Silken Saree-

Read more >


Skin Deep

Picasso would have seen who I really was,
He would have seen my two faces,
A Queen, imperious and regal,
A beauty,
Whose eyes could captivate and lure any man into her arms,
My true self masked by the perfume of power,
I could change destinies at my whim.
Pharos had to build pyramids to preserve their memory,
My passport to prosperity was my face,
Captured by poets,
Passed down through generations and spread across the world,
And yet I was not as I was painted,
I was simply a woman in a man’s world,
Fighting to survive.

Twenty halves

Half a temple, half a market,
half a dais, half a golden target.

Half a hunter, half a myth,
half a hind, half a labyrinth.

Half a crescent, half a Cruyff turn,
half a whirligig, half a spectrum bloom.

Half a bill of claim, half a balm of pain,
half a corkscrew wit, half an elegant trip.

Half a secret tattoo, half a rainbow burst,
half a genuflection, half a beautiful curse.

A brazen fusing,
a random choosing.

A full infatuation,
a total intoxication.


Years shuffle Faces

Day breaks in mirrors, ready
for the ritual of reflection, the slow
unsmearing, steam of held breath
released. Soft above the basin,
I shuffle faces, a tarot of years
gone, of years to come.

In years to come, as years gone,
I shall shuffle faces, steaming breath
smearing reflected rituals
on mirrors breaking daily.

In days of broken mirrors,
breath steams, faces shuffle-

years go by.


Two-faced beings

Are we unitary or split centers?
One face blurring with another
or, another emerging from the shadow
of the former in the private/public spheres
despite best control, it slipping out
the subterranean
and taking over.

Are they identical or different images?
these painted masks we wear
along with the Seville Row suits everywhere
the human visage as seen/ pictured/reflected
in the honest mirror
the source of multiple copies---
some, same
some, the different version
of the ideal

realities buried deep
surface with terrifying speed
and we stare at our own incredible other!


Those Arpeggio Days

If we were flowers, we’d be
crisp around the edges by now.
Fragile and bee-stung, holding
on to our last harmonic breath.
Grasping at last aesthetic hope.
This morning you said that you
finally understood the world.

It’s all a trick, you said,
it’s a Derren Brown trick, and
I hung on your every imperfect
breath, every implied hope.
But you’re still the same
unhinged daisy. Still squawking
at the world — hope does that

to reasonable people; turns them
into breathless flutter. Takes
them hostage, one tick at a time.
My father was peevishly suspicious
of the whole thorny world. Now,
there was a man who was never
hostage to anyone or anything.

Sadly, I take after my mother
who was forever holding her breath.


Need to Know

I just need to know
if we're always going to be
face to face like this.
Will my eye join yours
and will your shoulder
be confused with mine?
What happens when we
are in public and we are
called by a third name?
We are joined in eternal
kiss, but will you one
day decide that my mouth
is distasteful?
I suppose I should not worry,
just enjoy your company,
but we do share a brain,
after all, and so you must be
thinking this too.

Our Fever

Her hair, indigo
untied - and the stars
are helpless shoal

caught in the evening tide

In our yellow hearth
a fever burning bright
Between us silence

is a small prism, a lonesome blade
- it captures the light
Your stance

sphinx - like
encompasses my plight
and shows it where to lay

I say to you, my love
over and over again:
I wouldn’t have it any other way


Her Face

resembles my face
where blue

leads to winter to a room

that's ashen that settles

where nettles obscure

though my eye finds a clearing

a window nearing brilliance

and blue shifts to sky.
Her face

resembles my face
but only in winter

for Camus
taught me well:

In the midst
of winter

I found
within me

an invincible

And that
makes me happy.

And that's
where I dwell.


First Love

How many times do I need to give you this body
peel layer after layer, shed the clothes to the ground
before you realize that there is no I and the other I under my roof
one with desert and sprinkled with tufts of water jugs, I am the color blue

tinted like a sky in Autumn, washed
not bottled, not peeled, to this destiny to shift
change colors, take in a new paw
maybe a foreign hand can teach me to rhythmically pat my shoulders

maybe not when it scalds, it's not about who touches you
it is about what you reach to touch back

a shoulder before lips upon mine and these eyes
are suddenly brown up close, who claims there is no calamity
with too much coloring? the deepest hues of Tyrian purple
essentially came from a provoked oyster

his eyes are not blue pearls, rather
hazelnut, warm, like mine

you ask why, then, am I a mixture of both
genealogy and germs, a gemstone and a pebble
untamed hair that's long with envy from shortage
of sun and water, add devotion and subtract this faith

Does it matter, really
the direction of prayer, honey?

Read more >


Rainbow Cake

“Quickly! She's turning blue!”

Muffled and tight-lipped, her button-nose wrinkled, face puckered as her innocent, giggling mirth surged in a mighty force. A sticky spray of pink, liquid icing and particles of chocolate sponge squirted out from between her lips. Unable to contain her hysterics, Libby, with her cheeky, dimpled grin, gasped for breath. Her friend however was choking on cake.

Across the table, the snout of the Peppa Pig rainbow cake occupied the foreground amongst wibble-wobble jellies and unhealthy party nibbles. The last wizened candle was yet to be removed. By now, they should all be in a jubilant full circle, ready for ‘pass the parcel’ and even ‘postman’s knock’. Libby, suddenly aware of her parents’ concern, stopped wriggling and smirking. The party glee had switched to a cold glumness. Her best friend’s convulsions were no longer the shared twinkle-in-the-eye of conspiratorial laughter, but something else. Something ugly and sinister had unfolded.

Unaware of the sombre change in atmosphere, the youngest revellers had left the dining room table and corralled themselves into the corner, eager for musical statues. Unsupervised, they rallied and dared each other to operate the Dolby music system, cassette deck and record player.

Read more >


Your Foot

Pardon me but your
Foot seems to be lodged
Heavy in my hip
Your cheek has been molded
Up against mine
Your name is a living
Portmanteau for me

Whatever will the neighbors
Think of our unintentional
Always coupling, our inseparable
Sweet round delightful faces
Our personal collision
Of our entire lives and bodies.



What is in my stocking this year but another person deep and round full of delights ready to kiss me pluck me and I just wanted a tiled fruit from a lovely tree not a doppelgänger

It's all too messy to endeavor trying to figure out or figger out as they say where you begin I end if I'm making you up I must be really talented at making beauty up.



A streaky but steady
hand wove us

Remember the blinking
doctor light hovering

The slight tug of stitching
as we met

My name is really Harry
I said

You never told me yours

But it's little matter

since now we have each day
in the company of the other
two stars four hands
a barrage of problems.



I colonized your body
as you did mine
and now a silent unspoken rule
lets me wander over you
lets me go where I please
lets me roam over every
piece and hair and speck of skin

I made you into a ritual
of green tea and tangerine and groans as you kiss my feet
while they rest on your shoulders
and words fade to sleep

I made you into a part
of the mess on my floor
of the stories that colour my dreams
of the sanctity in the morning warmth

So I will put you to bed
when your body and mind have gone soft
so we can bask in peace
in our extensions of ourselves



One day you were green,
And the next day you were red,
And the next day you were yellow,
And the next day you were black,
And the next day you were purple,
And the next day you were blue,
And the next day every hour brought a different hue.

How bright colours fade, and blur, and blot,
And bleed into each other
As the eye clings onto pictures
And the painting dries.



Entry was easy, it was artful
Hello and welcome
Was the message I heard

Exiting was harder than it
Should have been
Tugging and pulling away

This is what happens
When one being consumes
Another, when real life
Becomes sound and dream

We are not a monster, darling
We are not.



I followed you
through the flower heart
an open field
through drugged sleeps
I found your scent
so intoxicatingly
we had many firsts
I followed your voice
found you singing
songs of marriage
even dark hearts could
not move us apart
I found your footfall
a comfort close behind
like two teardrops
or particles of dew.


True poetry plays a miming game like this painting where two (three?) identities come together

Just as the painting plays a game of mimicry, poems act like drum beats and wild beasts and abusive husbands

Poems act like I wish I could be and I want to love someone the way these two (three?) kissing faces love each other.


The Hidden Saint

The voices whisper of saints and sinners;
death and late dinners, penury and debits.
Eyes walking in the surf, looking for bikini wrapped
buttocks wet with perspiration and suntan lotion,
to kindle the long dead flame
that time has spilled away.

The surf breath a soothing song,
waving away the cracking sun staring
down my brain and piercing my darkness.
The voices whisper of landlord's calls,
wife's monthly divorce allowance,
dirty laundry lying on the kitchen sink
and last night's dinner still swirling in the toilet bowl.

The deck chair is stretched taunt with weight,
dark shades hide the scars of daily debauchery,
and the quaint novel, Things Fall Apart,
covered over the two days grey growth,
paints a proper picture.
and you think all sinners wear black
and allow saints have white halo on their head?


Reflection: Notting Hill, 1968

Years away in those wild days and time was not an issue
when an eternity of hopefulness stretched onwards
and memories were not yet cruel captors.
Then we had no past to speak of and the future was of dubious concern.
In the high, wild days of that brief halcyon,
we were freer than we knew or ever would be all our lives;
our hearts blissfully unencumbered
and our minds
were seldom mindful of the later rotten preconceptions,
preferring, then, to trust our new-born liberties
to Leary-induced reflections on the holy scriptures preached
by Hendrix, Kerouac and Baudelaire.
Always drunk – that’s it!
Drunk on our own exuberance, impertinence
and arrogant imaginings,
drinking in the seedy, sweating nights
of Notting Hill and Ladbroke Grove,
where couplings were short and inconclusive,
in artless striving between unremembered thighs,
but lovely, too, in light of retrospective mornings
as cracks of heavy sun broke through the basement railings
into rooms of tossed, disordered minds
where scents of Lebanon hung warm and sweet
to our naked senses
and patchouli-infused clothing lay strewn across the floor.


Sometimes I’m Celia,
Other times I’m just C.
Perhaps on Fridays I’m Cee-Cee.
On Mondays I wonder, where’s me.
On Wednesday I’ll be crying,
On Thursday I’ll feel like dying,
It’s just my pillow and me,
A rock under my head,
My head mired in fog,
Fog swallowing me whole,
My whole divided into parts,
Parts of me drifting to where I cannot reach,
And where I reach is up a path,
A path so steep,
A perpetual mountain.
And if Luck is my friend, I’ll chance upon a plateau,
But Luck comes and goes, never in threes.
Still – the plateau I’ll take
Just for a while,
The sum of my parts rejoin
And I will be me.

Morning Commute

morning train ride
a man rests his head
on my left shoulder
into the tunnel
black mirrors appear
i gaze into my reflection
hundreds of people
combatting awkwardness
by touching screens
the smell of
working adults
made me uncomfortable
doors open
I realize
breathing is beautiful


It has so many things to say:
Some days are blue
Some days are grey.
Which one is you?
It’s difficult to tell apart
Two faces together
Shaped like a heart.
Is it Cleopatra
Sailing down the Nile?
All flow together
Be they from now
Or from long ago.
That we shall never know.

She Wants To See Egypt Now

There was this lorry that was always parked about seven o’clock down the end of Oldhouse Road. And we walked mostly in the winter, my Father and I. Because it was always dark, that’s how I know. He’d only get home about seven o’clock and it was always dark when we’d walk the block up the top of South Road, where we lived, snaking back down Oldhouse Road and past the lorry where I’d hold my breath and try to get around the corner before dying from suffocation. I’d be holding my Father’s hand, that’s why I couldn’t run. I’d have to walk because I’d be holding my Father’s hand and he never ran. It was a fish lorry and it stank of rotting fish. It was a Bedford flatbed lorry, I know that now, but back then we called it the Poo-poo Truck. Hold your breath, here’s the Poo-poo Truck! It was always dark, we must’ve only ever walked in the winter when it’s dark about seven o’clock. I’d get home scared with pains in my lungs and my Father telling the house it was good to get out and about now and again.

When I told her about the Poo-poo Truck she disputed my pronunciation of Oldhouse Road. Old House. She said I meant Awldouse, running two words together to make something new and we half-joked about who should know more about how a street name is pronounced, someone who lived nearby or a primary school teacher. She loves the garden. She loves going to the garden centre and choosing plants and talking to the staff about perennials and hardy annuals. And she loves books about history. Read more >


Thank You Joe

My goodness, thank you Joe
for this lovely ensemble.
You've really outdone yourself
this time.
Looking at this painting reminds
me of a nervous first date

a trip to Egypt
my last hair stylist Barbara
      who died tragically
      but not in real life
      just in one of her stories

This painting reminds me
of a poem I wrote one day
about a painting.



Night wraps, stitching , sewing bodies, blurring boundaries and erasing distinctions between us
This chilling air is a reason, pretext of love, a bailable excuse, the blame of this flame between us
What's warm other than our chalked shadows, burnt cigarette butts, honey bleached stars, moonless trails, disowned dreams - unimportant, period What's the humming heart got to do with lonely whispers, rhapsodies of the swaying trees - nothingness, void, period
Let us let go of the duality to become each other
Let us become the rhythm and the lyric that makes a song
Let us forget the existence of individuality, forget the senses that separate, forget the labels that tag, forget the manners that make us behave
Tonight we will set ablaze the desire and burn
Tonight we dissolve in love
Tonight, we surrender and forget

hey joe (sir real

oh no jimi jimi no no not another song about killing a woman you are purple before prince and more woman than man and that's the nicest thing i can say seems you put a cow-catcher on my breast, it takes a lot to laugh but it takes train to cry just like a woman's split infinity, split britches, watch out below, and what's that King Tut beard you gave me? weird the mournful dove turpentine hair and when lilacs last in the fractal bloomed O jimi O joe O werner werner bra burner where are my hands my hands is gone as venus de milo why are you all picasso so-and-sos so eager to make us armless and two-faced purple with love's wound or just strangled and silenced black and blue and i like it on wilshire boulevard hey joe hey i can't breathe it's for real sir real sir real that woman cut up the cutup poem the blazon that scatters and shears

A monument of time

The pharoeic heroine appeared as a crazy arriviste in front of the monument of time, in front of the image of another, in front of herself. The duality of the self possessed , the so-called good versus bad, the so-called back and white of it, the so-called truth versus what? There are limits to what we should know. There are limits to where we should go. there are some limits when we must never exceed. At this time certain paths have been crossed, at this time the quiet complacency of the other will let go and be two faced in the present of the dilemma.

We are one

Burst from the womb of me, set free
my breast, today I am woman
tomorrow man.

Wash away faded summer skin
mud will stain any naked foot
we all bleed red.

Hunger gnaws at every belly
beneath a gifted robe, eyes wide shut
hear only a cry with no colour.

One mouth, one nose, two eyes
one skin, one life.

Bricks will fall on painted hair
and all children draw patterns
in the dust.


licking back feet

on my left back foot
which is once
your eyebrow
twice your shoulder

thick with saliva
I suppose you
we're trying
to heal me

lick lap lick

nothing sticks

there world
is melting
a Dali universe
again & again

I am condemned
by the weight
of a maid
whose body
is my warm chamber.


Upon reflection

she was fine, fine until
raising her eyes she caught
the eye of the other
woman, reflecting a self
she did not know, did not
recognize — the woman
she had become, the one
her son calls tragic, the one
the world by-
passes, the one
who stands clutching
her scars, but not
her lost dignity
flowing slowly out and down
the drain — she stares
at the faucet and weeps.


I am not a cheap copy of one of Picasso's woman.
I am half-sphinx and half-Egyptian goddess,
my perfect breasts and paws always out of place.
The only man I loved was Oedipus. I killed myself
for him. He became a king and married his mother.
What a waste of a life! He would have been happy
with me.

Clay Lights

‎~ Blow out all the clay lights ,
moon is lit up tonight ...
O' My Passionate Eros !
Drink this silky mercury ,
with long awaiting solitude ...

In the yonder valley ,
lingering fragrance is still optimistic ...
O' My Prince Charm !
Command flowers there
to stay bloomed ...
It's too soon to terminate servitude ...

In the shivers of chilling breeze ,
freeze night in petal smooth embrace ...
Shade the royal suits of existence ,
let the souls dress in warm elegant antiquity ...

Unable to make out ,
who's longing for who ?
Drop of ecstasy for evening hues ,
OR ...
Drop of eternity for morning dews ? ...

Read more >



Your neck around mine. That as much as anything I'd have you remember.

We magnified the modest strokes with such providential meaning in the first flushes of love! Holding it to the light when it first caught my eye, you said it was something destined to find us, something plucked from the eternity of our togetherness. Ours was an irresistible conjoining, "beyond the austerity of wishing". I should've thought it trite from the lips of any other man on Earth, but you had the guile to make an apostate of the strictest adherent. I had learning and possession enough to question all the insubstantial truths of the world but yours.

The air was still thick with dust and the smell of cold diesel when the reckoning began. I was the fifth to be seated and the least knowing of all. The first four felt the benefit of the barber's strap: not I. The blade was dull with overuse and rather carved at the roots than cut, my falling hair flecked with the blood that spread over the neck of my dress as it ran off the slope of my nose.

They threw me in with the schemers and fallen women and drove us through the town like an unruly herd. The mob fell on us with all their spleenful scorn: this one made them fat whilst we knew only want; that one earned her silks laying bastards by the score; this other's saddled with the bastard of a bastard now, the sorry bitch. They at least were the sole architects of their shame. The friends and favourites who pushed through the crowds to spit their disgust in my face did so with the curse of your name. I took everything they could give in your stead. Some of their indignities weren't devised for men.

Read more >



We are what we seem. Two people, joined, our boundaries smeared together until we don’t know if we’re completing or devouring each other. It certainly feels that way sometimes, as if who I was before wasn’t real, or wasn’t important. That I’ve never had a nose or lips of my own, that my face exists only to cradle yours. But while part of me lives only to taste your shadow, other parts of me—my hair, my breast, my back—are sunlit, far away from you, because you’re so small, really, and you can only control what you can touch. You know it, too, which might be why you want to attach yourself to me, eat away at me, as if by doing so you can gain everything you can never be. There’s a power in unbecoming, in self-effacing, in letting your color seep into mine and tinge me all over with you. Because it lets me know that I’m enough, so much enough that I can be you and me at once and never lose anything I will miss.

Smashing Darling

Pumpkin smashing in the lawn
reminds me it's October
makes me wonder about how
atoms meet atoms
How one life becomes another
as a fish swallows another fish

We are most effective at close
hoping to live and die, a small
packet fluttering heartbeat
followed by a fast track
inhale of air.



Jekyll and Hyde my own
two faces
Never sure which one I will get
Scorpion from sand
or balm from high above
Kisses or bites
Time unwinds and I see
the rings inside me like
a tree
A pair of fruit growing
side by side
on the vine
Inseparable and united.

The Spinx’s wife

If the sphinx had a wife how would they cuddle at night?
Would she wrap herself around or drape over his back and hold on tight?
Was she a Nubian princess or a Phoenician merchant wife?
Was she stolen away when a hidden asp took his life?
Ignored by the Pharaoh his bodyguard made her his
And as the darlings of court became the brangelinas of Memphis
As the Sun God aged the bodyguards image was cast in stone
To forever guard the path to the eternal sun god throne
His looks were painted but they didn't weather timeless sands
His final moment taken with her holding his reassuring hand
Was it just his image etched to forever guard Ra?
Or is there another image nearby, of her, unknown, but not to far?

Loop hole hearted

He had a black leather heart, he’d said
and I had promised him I could change that
believing in myself it was true.

We played the emotional strip poker of life
and I thought I was winning
but his hand was stronger.

For every item dropped
he had another reason to hide himself
until I laid bare and broken.

I don’t know which way to turn anymore
when he tells me he still loves me
cross stitch my heart and hope to die.


Myopic Vision

I did not see eye to eye with you.
In fact you spoke with duplicitous tongue.

You used to say we are of the same opinion.
Our minds merge, cohesively and collectively.

Sorry but I beg to differ and always will.

My sad eye is looking over your shoulder.
Into the middle distance of a small sad country.

Your sharp eye penetrates with indifference.
Mine seeps at its outer rim from the betrayal.

I didn’t vote for this – as we try to extricate.
And morph into my blue period with resignation.

As you the golden Boris sail into the sea of the unknown.


The Color of Transcendence

I want to show you how rhythmic blue blood shapeshifts into crimson revelations,
how loss and life are a continuum built into your flesh.

Don't confuse the outside with a permanent place we will live.
There is a forever that changes elasticity
like skin surrendering to an eternal starry night -
I hope you will strip down to bare your primitive fears at the edge of that mysterious void with me.



this is the wax room
for the preservation of youth,
here it’s always November.

The draught is a trip wire
and on flood days the water sluices
under doors
and sets the limbs loose:

they come together oddly,
and the time spent slotting sockets
is satisfying - is the best part
of the repeated misadventure
of remembering this

one has to ignore Do Not Touch
and accept the further wrecking:
warmth is anathema
to form
and my hands are soft.

I keep my eyes wide
the whites pearlescent
what you don’t know keeps you whole.

I look for the things I don’t know
and hold a gaze
so as not to know them further.

Read more >


There We Were

The chips are stacked against us.
Turn, then look. It’s the pit boss.
My pocket, or yours, if we conspire
This picture’s framed.
Look at it from reverse
Your face in mine
Or am I one - that's overtaking yours?
Either way - look at it from both sides
Whether I move, or if it's you -
If the chips fall, one by one
They dangle through the air
Bounce and spin, topple and slide, skid, then bottom out
It never mattered, they will say.
I needed you as much as you held us up.
But who's to say this was us, winning
This corridor isn't too narrow
Still we can't pass by, abreast
So let it serve as distraction
Let the chips fall,
not railing against reason
everything is out, now
Read more >