Tired Triumvirate

1

Please let my words be useless.

I’m sorry, but that’s just what I think, sometimes
behind these paper-thin doors.

Having them ripped from my arms
to meet production quotas, with the accompanying blood loss
is much too high a cost for admiration.

2

Don’t you think water bottles are kind?

They let you choose what to fill them with
and let you drink them dry.

Sometimes I think children are water bottles,
brimming with your cigar smoke, and then, no.
That’s not kindness. That’s stupidity.

3

Let me forget the taste of victory:

she who sparkled in the glass
and filled my shrivelled stomach,

for this alcohol is built on broken promises
that progress, a degenerative disease,
into the grave of blinded judgement.

on ‘any other day’

the concept of ‘any other day’ doesn’t really exist

for me. because every other day something new comes up,

squirming and squealing, tangled and tortuous,

and drops into my lap like a tsunami-tossed squid.

and since no two squids I cook the same way,

it’s every day that I hover all first-time-mother-like with my sweaty hands a-wringing

before a stove, a firepit or a hotplate, as if I’ve never been inside a kitchen before,

and i haven’t.

all my meals are fried far outside

the ocean of my mind, on this arid sand. oh no,

i know you wouldn’t understand because you

float on a sea

of ‘any other day’, so any rocks coming your way,

you can see. they stand out.

the difference between your obstacles and mine is that

mine are lying quiet in the silt, watching and waiting

to bite me in the foot.

And into Hell with This I’d Rather Go

The silence that I know is soft as snow,

yet swaddles me so warmly in delight.

And into hell with this I’d rather go,

this blanket: seasoned soldier of the night.

 

Arising at the blazing set of sun

to shield me from the heat of envious eyes.

Like teachers, shoo away ululation,

and buy for me more sky before demise.

 

The downy tufts that muffle every noise,

imbue me full of gentle swan-like grace.

Replenish what I’ve lost in peace and poise:

A kiss of life upon my wretched face.

 

Yet nothing quiet can be done or said

to vanquish so the voices in my head.

The Gardener

There lives a gardener in this house,

Although no plants grow here.

Ink and spit both water seeds

Throughout the driest year.

 

At times he tends a swollen fruit,

The love of life it does comprise.

Inside the flesh is plump and bright

And healthy, wealthy and wise.

 

At times he waters nought but thorns,

The blood coalescing at the tip.

They bear no fruit and bare no hue,

And wings of robins they do rip.

 

Who is this man, deemed he so grand, to hold such fate inside his hand?

His land is small; his shield, abstract – a stub of chalk, his only brand.

 

The State of Things with Us

She is
an honest sycophant
simple, so much more than sugar-coated,
she is stuffed with the sweetest of songs
like a fondly-spoiled infant swaddled up,
like a weather-worn grandmother exuding honeyed essence,
whistling and waiting
for every sea to subside, she is
the fleece of a prize-winning ewe with
the horns of a match-winning ram,
a saccharine smile.

He is
a potentate under pressure
his power brittle as glass,
arrogance, the diamond ring that cuts it,
just like the snake swallowing its own tail, or
the hamster its own children in this painful preservation,
proselytizing and preaching,
trying to pulverise the waves with palaver, he is
peeling back the layers and
painting a new picture:
the art of pretending.

And this ocean is
a captured expanse,
stretched between these distant shores,
silence, saddling the weight of ships and sunlight,
it is a pocket packed for sweets and not survival;
it is a sack ransacked for promises, not pay,
turbid with turmoil, twisting and tormenting, torrid and turbulent, it roars
empty expectations.

Lattices in Lace

The world and all its time are etched in patterns, fine and deep

and optimists love to recall a flowing tapestry,

but what I see is more a quilt where simple hues repeat:

where squares ensnare our knowledge in our broken memory.

 

Quite often people say that the most sought-out lovers keep

the details of all vestiges that they may deploy in verse;

if so is true, our hearts must be as passionless as sleep –

forgetful strings just doomed to ravel under someone’s curse.

 

And though a needle strikes the cloth in one explosive leap,

and just as quickly can recoil, more quickly than a sneeze,

the stencil is still circular and seldom solids seep,

this world’s a woollen blanket and we, just a passing breeze.