Something Like Peace

pelted by a rain of bullets
buzzing from the planes’ bellies
I lie in the ditch

carriages and bikes,
lone dolls and shoes
litter the road
where a moment ago
a people fled

a distant rumble is heard
a beating drumbeat
from anxious clouds

suddenly the sun is out
like a curious child parting curtains
to survey the scene below

something like peace
descends on us

the sky is back to being the sky
the planes a distant memory
except for the cries for help
from writhing bodies

I offer my strength to the injured
my health to the dying
my hand to the orphaned child

ANGRY sad HaPPy

ANGRY is the SCREAM as I papercut myself trying to go too fast

It reverberates in my bones, in my skull

I don’t scream out of PAIN

My FRUSTRATION has reached the boiling point

The tipping point, the point of NO RETURN.

YELLING let’s out steam, that build-up in my veins

Borne of vexed dreams, DOWNED expectations

As I try to FLY HIGH.

That scream is ME

Calling out to the GODS for a respite.

Angry bypasses reason.

It goes straight from SYNAPSE TO SYNAPSE

Short-circuiting all attempts at moderation.

It feeds on itself like OUROBOROS

It is WHOLE and complete and happy to be

SHOUTING to the world: I AM!

 

 

sad eats up all my energy
it is voracious
sad preserves my self from Angry
it scares others more because it is quiet
and doesn’t say its name
sad shuns light and life
it is gray, it swirls into the void
coriolis striving for non-existence
making inertia beautiful and desirable
sad is no-capital
it takes you on insidiously
wants you to stop feeling
to stop thinking, and stop being
whispering to the world
am no longer

 

 

HaPPy bOuNcEs Up AnD dOwN

It Is MoVeMeNt aNd SurPrIsE

lIfE mAnIfEsT

mUSiC aNd DaNcE

bUbbLiNg LaUgHtEr

It MoVeS YoU FrOm WiThIn

To ToUcH ThE WiThOuT

iT Is CuRiOSiTy FoR tHE WoRlD

Of WhIcH YoU ArE pArT

AnD wHiCh Has CrEatEd

YOU

 

 

 

 

Clipped Wings

Tethered to the ground
Hopping madly from place to place
Protesting, adapting, fumbling, still

I want to soar
And explore the skies
Carried by the wind

Clipping is a painless procedure
Humanely performed
It has to be repeated

Our primary feathers
Stubbornly grow back
Blood feathers

I no longer submit to the painless procedure
I want to feel up close
The sting of the sun

As I fly again
Ungainly at first
And breathe freedom

Flicker

White plaques on atrophied brains
White handprints on fissured rock walls
I was here – do you remember?
Before those hands obliterated your senses and sense of time
I was here yesterday, and the day before
I am your daughter, not your sister

Your sense of self intact, a collage of other lives
You never made it to Morocco, although your friend did
You talk animatedly of the spices and the souks
Of the brutal men and veiled women
You don’t remember why you went
In fact, you never did

You still have your sense of humour
To every song, you create your own lyrics
Your dizziness a chance to sing of the Seine
Meandering around Paris

It takes its toll, though
The deep fissures are covered in moss
The cracks dusty, the edges brittle

Your flame flickers
It throws shadows on the fissured wall
Illuminating small bumps, concealing flaws and cracks
The candle just a stub now
Where once a proud pillar stood

You have started to shuffle your feet
And suspect foul play.
When someone stares at you,
You hiss and growl back.

You won’t leave me alone in a room –
A stranger with your treasures?
I am no stranger – I am blood of your blood
Flesh of your flesh

And yet your core remains
Under a veneer of crazy talk
And suspicion
I still see you behind those fearful eyes
That once were so fearless
Behind hesitation
That was never yours

You are as beautiful as ever
Full of light
You have never before spoken so freely of love
Of how important your family
Of how beautiful your children

You still lead by example
Humility, resilience, compassion
Never steal away
You still have so much to give

You have shouldered the cloak
Of Alzheimer’s
And the cape has made you
Invisible

You fake enthusiasm
Desperate for acknowledgement
And belonging

We assure you that you belong
In our hearts, in our souls
We smile and you smile back

 

 

Careless Sea

I went out today on the careless sea
I needed something solid to pound
After our argument
My paddles hit you until I was spent
You mirrored my unrest with your tall walls of water

Towering over me
Crashing down furiously

It suited me fine
I screamed at you and shook my fist
My face wet and salty

When you tired of me
You tossed my frail skiff
Aside and under

I did not come back

Just a Poem

I know all the words
It’s the meaning that escapes me
Like a theorem just outside my grasp
Or the mystery of electricity

I like how it flows
I can feel the undercurrents of emotions
The brilliant images make me smile in wonderment
Without rhyme or reason

Perhaps it is meant to make me feel good
Perhaps it is about the journey
Sometimes a poem is just a poem
A sunrise just a sunrise

The meaning contained in the feeling
The process a reward in itself
A clank of the bell
On a clear crisp night

The Walkers

The walkers come in all shapes and sizes
From all over the world
With their colonial accent
They gawk at our sheep, at our hills
Deem everything magnificent and oh so British!

The walkers cross the road like children
Check for cars to the right
To the left, again and again
Before launching themselves
With high cries and panicky eyes

They accuse us of letting dogs and children drive
They look at the passenger side all the while
With utter disbelief in their eyes
We laugh at their antics
But never to their face

The walkers come in droves
The adventurous and the organized
The planners and the ones looking for meaning in their lives
They take selfies, they take over our pubs
Their money flows like water

The walkers sport their dirty boots like badges
Trading routes and comments with fellow walkers
They share a common sentimentalism
About the English countryside
Romanticism made dirt

They trudge up and down hills
Through dung-filled pastures
With bleating sheep
Annoyed at the intruders and vigilant
Lest they steal one in the herd

They can go for days under the rain
When at home they would hop in a car
They relish the fresh air and the Facebook posts
And the boasts that come with their feat
A hundred km in ten days

The walkers are quaint and part of the scenery
We humour them but don’t join in
We’d rather walk our dogs or ride our horses
Than follow the fools in all weather
And visit sham villages – the old made new

When You’re Alone

Do you cry when you’re alone?
Do you let the tears wet your cheeks
The sobs rack your frame?
In the silence of your home

Do you cry when you’re alone?
Or do you stifle your screams
And harden your heart
Lest you suffer more pain and agony

I don’t scream when I’m alone
I let the pillow swallow the tears
And smother the screams
As I hold it to my face

I don’t cry when I’m alone
I let the tears flow inside
Hoping they will drown my sorrow
And quiet the pain

The Cotswold Way

Walker-ships crest land-seas
Marvelling at the buried treasures of past eras
Arrowheads of the paleolithic
Burial fields of the neolithic
Medieval agricultural ripples and
Feudal ruins shipwrecked from past wars
Their history preserved, their dead cherished

Modern-day pilgrims tread routes of old
Navigating seas from the world over
Calling to village-ports in their odd vestments
To taste foreign foods and gawk at the locals
Navigator-captains consulting routes and each other
Pouring over cryptic maps, a jealous secret
Knowledge dispensed in conspiratorial tones

Numberless rock-fish
Netted and stacked into dry walls
Sheep-white foam dot the rolling waves
They protest as we sail along
Pushed by high winds filling our lungs
The occasional haughty hoseman
Showing off to the slow-moving masses

The current sometimes veer the traveller off course
He tries to avoid going from brambles to stinging nettles
The endless soothing rain hiding his tears
The pain of the journey transcended
Old towers, solid lighthouses
Where all converge before going on their way

Alas the tame adventure comes to end
Reminiscence takes its place
The stunning plumage of pheasants
The subtle trilling of unseen birds
The loud blast of the clay shoot, the runners racing up the path
The tartness of cider
And the longing to return

Bayou II

Heaving waters through heavy rains
Trees shaking their beards
The gators stick to their mudholes
Snapping jaws at unfortunate fish
The bayou smells of rot
Green turned brown
Sticky slime and sizzling air

Spanish moss and mythical flowers
Lure unsuspecting tourists to the durga arms
Of the river goddess
Staccato Zydeco rhythms just out of reach
Calling them in further still
A trick of the light, a flick of the wrist
A tumble in the now still waters

Clouds of Milk

I wish I could fly like Superman!
My cape fluttering in the breeze
The wind not quite keeping up
Not quite keeping me up

Hoist the sails and watch her fly
Like a horse whose mane trails on her neck
Nostrils twitching with the scent
of fear
Or is it discovery?

Talkative people taking to the skies
Swarming the airwaves
Disgorging in alarm their innermost quivers
Failing to arrow or even to trot

Even the fears are losing momentum
Leaking out of my feeble mind
I’m holding on to traces of reason
Scents of the past

Racing ahead
Hoping to outrun this invisible foe
Whose steps echo all around me
No pattern, just ghosts

Muslin curtains between me and the world
A fine film blurring the horizon
Will the clouds rain down tears
Are they clouds?

These splotchy white stains
Blemishing my world
I’m hoping they will dissolve
Like clouds of milk in my tea

Spring

We go down the sandy path
Crazy birds singing at the top of their lungs
Or hopping under foot
A squirrel with a death wish taunts my dog

My body tenses up
Remembering the falls not too long ago
I breathe in the quiet
Exhale the tension

My dog is grazing the tender blades
Of new grass
Unseen dangers now lurk
In the guise of poison ivy

I hook the leash back on
Before we reach the main road
I get pulled
All the way to breakfast

Gray on Gray

All around is ash
Somewhere a top has blown off
I look at the sun but see only grayness
A fine dust covers everything
Covers me
With effort I go to you
My feet drag a powdery substance
I leave a trace of gray
There are no shadows in this indiscriminate day
We meet. You stir the ashes with a supple stick.
It is alive, it touches my skin.
I reward you with brief eye contact, an ember
A touch of oxygen
You keep poking purposely with your stick
Sometimes you hit a tender spot. Again, I look up
Maintain eye contact as long as I can
The effort exhausts me
Eyes downcast again, not stirring
The hour is over
I feel nothing.
Off kilter and turned off. Off.

 

My brain is active if my body isn’t. It moves it
Forces it to breathe in the ambient smells
To look around, to take in the surroundings
To touch the trees. A taste of bitterness.
Birds are chirping I notice.
Slowly the fog lifts
Shyly the sun shines
Things sparkle in the sun
I work hard to react
To take in the colours and translate them into beauty
Still no sweetness, no taste, but movement at least
I work myself methodically back to life
Ash cannot burn but can be stirred
A whisper of cold dust rises
And settles down again
Another day, nighttime has fallen.

Down by the Bayou

Wind a’howling
Down by the bayou
Gators sticking to their mudholes
It smells of rot
Green turned brown
Down by the bayou
That’s where I’m from

We shoot at the coons
Never at the moon
Only a fool would fancy hisself a star
Or wish upon one
We eat corn fritters and fish galore
Ain’t nothing better for strong bones
Except maybe the mud that tastes of home

They tell all about the nutritional value of dirt
Full o’ zinc and calcium and such
Mother Earth takes care of her own
We don’t need no supplements
But hush! Keep your mouth shut
Don’t want The Man to package it
And take it out from under our feet

Tourists flock to experience
Spanish moss and mythical flowers
Deep in the heart of the bayou
We don’t get lost in her durga arms
Numberless and fierce
Protection and abundance flow
From our river goddess