Thinking in Print

I am working on a puzzle
People do not seem to like.
It is old, yet unknown,
Hammered and sewn.
I am working on the screws
That bore deep into teak-wood
Deep into tradition and the
Layman’s intuition.
I am working on the stitches
That staple fast the scraps
The silken to the leather,
And mountains on the map
Are shifting from their designated places.
I work on making unfamiliar faces.


She keeps cutting the crusts off of bread:
those a different colour, those slightly harder
to chew.
She imposes her will on mortal lumps of flesh
through a breakfast routine, through mundanity
She collects the crusts in a jar with the sort of label
she can print at low cost, she can deride for free,
She imposes her history on new flesh,
dragging out past detritus, dragging dead dust
for seasoning.
The white tear drops of her teeth are melting
the pantry from the bread bin outwards.


Carrying circular courage,
Change careens centre-wards,
Crossing celestial causeways.

Celestial creatures – cobalt-coloured,
Cream crescent catapulting,
Centuries cradling courage.

Centuries cartwheel clockwise,
Commas change. Colons change.
Currently creasing canvas canopies.

Constellations crow, caring
Crows celebrate coarse cobalt
Conversations curl, caressing.

Change – coming, coming,
Crossing causal causeways,
Cultures change. Cries change.

Walking up a hill

I learn Chinese like walking up a hill
Since I never learnt to use cable cars
I scrape my knees on these forward lunges.

Cursing and throwing my arms in the air,
Folding an ink-stained map accordion-shaped,
I learn Chinese like walking up a hill.

The path seems sheer, flying up like a cliff;
The sky seems stuck in glass, hard and blue
Since I never learnt to use cable cars.

My tongue trips tonally, tied out of tune
To the Western colony of my brain;
I scrape my knees on these forward lunges.

The Poet

A poet hides their sacks of words
Bulging with blood and flesh.
Chameleons are less shy, and
Dearer to the ecosystem.
Embarrassing words, those
For the dearest of hearts:
Grandmothers and
Hardworking men
Infuse the poet, from eyes to pen.
Jailed are the words inside:
Kind, creamy words
Like a pastel oil painting
Multicoloured in hue
Nestled between scales and
Poets print them in patterns,
Quelling the colour with structure,
Rigid as the rising sun
Sets below the hills each evening.
They do because they must;
Unless the world is ending or
Victory fresh on inebriated tongues,
Who wants to know how much you love them?
Xylophones are less shy in volume.
Your poet is folding words in their sweater, in
Zebra print, in polka dots.

Convergence: ‘Talking to shop-keep in his own language’

“People are more likely to converge towards the speech patterns of their recipients when they desire recipients’ approval and when the perceived costs for doing so are proportionally lower than the anticipated rewards. “ – Gallois, Ogay & Giles


According to Howard Giles’ Communication Accomodation Theory, matching the speech patterns of a conversation partner may be perceived positively or negatively, depending on the intent with which it is attributed.

Talking to shop-keep in his own language,
You don’t win a prize for trying too hard.
Buy sweet butter and forget the anguish,
Since you are buying, they must use your card.

You don’t win a prize for trying too hard,
On radio they say: “It’s the thought that counts”.
Since you are buying, they must use your card;
Heart-sickness is growing in small amounts.

On radio they say: “It’s the thought that counts”;
Father spits swears, throws away the paper,
Heart-sickness is growing in small amounts,
“They can’t understand, throw away, it’s safer!”

Father spits swears, throws away the paper,
But shop-keep’s glaring at your credit card,
“They can’t understand, throw away, it’s safer!”;
Offer him cash – you keep trying too hard.

The Journal

A thieves’ cache of crimes
golden & dripping
casts a Macbeth of light and shadow
over the walls of a cave –
a tragedy of condensation,
slumping down the stones,
a haunt of superstition
in the dead and dampened air.
My own cache of confessions
to crime & fear & love
every hair-like crack I fill
with dripping, dramatic droplets
secret hatreds, and gold
are draining through the walls,
with fears both fresh and old,
I am filtered through the stone.


Familiar frame, and someone else’s tale,
tell me – is it the soldier you bolster,
is it the king? delight is the poster
that touts destruction and hails
the Lie: we all are image only,
the empty frame for someone else’s story.


Sticky yellow fingers
roamed from shelf to shelf
from the window, the sun
rifled through her collection
of plastic dolls and glossy books,
several layers of condominium,
other past-times:

Sulphur streaming in
to spectate as she
squinted at things she couldn’t understand
then tweeted about them
then published the text
in her magazine —

as she made – sentences! – constructed
poems ? the sallow rays of sunshine
peered over her silk-clothed shoulder
to watch her hammer things together.