Verse

Excuses

The way I’m sitting,

the robe,

the cold,

the bowl being off-centre on the table.
 

The bladder- it’s always half full, half empty,

half full, I forget.

The cat’s whiskers being glorious,

the water boiling,

the long dust of drafting all this on the keys again.
 

The tingles on my back,

the unwatered plant- it looks like a wretched desert,

the dry patch on the back of my throat,

the water being too hot.
 

Peeing.

The preoccupation with how often I urinate,

the post-urination chill up the spine.
 

The palm trees against the pale pink sky being too good to not photograph-

being too cliche to photograph, on the other hand.

How the page absorbs ink making blotches marking my hesitations.

Him, sleeping.
 

The loneliness flickering in the light bulbs of the four a.m. train, 

and the racket that it makes.

The situation of the world in general. A distant, worn out panic.

The horror of five a.m. and them waking up, to this, to make this.
 

This whole thing of being.
 

Anything, something, to look away from this thing-

this thing I don’t interrogate for honest words, this thing I don’t want to see.

The fear of me,

me,

me.
 

Image source unknown

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Verse

Of sunsets and pain in paradise 

The sun is burning anyway;

it doesn’t need more pain.

Earthly love

is hardly ever a bargain.
 

Life cuts

as often as it wets our hearts

with soft clouds

dipped in orange dyed lagoon sunsets.
 

And we are left beating

with the fish washed fresh

off the warm waters

at some faraway paradise bay.
 

Image by Andy Moine

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Verse

The most important night of the year 

Things laid out carefully for the most important night of the year;

a private place hanging from the edge of an island,

fireworks,

dream pills,

a few heads that can talk and laugh,

a menu with options.

 

Bottled sparkles

to fill up the holes between conversation

with stars,

and light up the crystals lost in eyes.

 

Nevertheless,

it was the same.

 

In the morning between rocks, seashells, open bottles and sand

there were people broken

ordinary

by the quiet horror of

another day.

 

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Human thing 

This human thing,

it cuts:

it heals, it hurts:

it is the thing that man’s god hates the most.

This human thing

is a thing of shame and miles and miles of sunshine.

This human thing,

is a thing that sang,

made breakfast,

watched Netflix

and at pictures of beautiful flats;

played Pokemon Go,

shopped for Christmas,

wept,

broke

apart,

loved and

hoped

while cities of ants burnt

with their secret mines of gold.

Then everything

fell slowly

and bewilderingly apart

till humans things were dug open to find

a sun

that burns children, women and men

shooting air bombs.

 

The prophets are late,

or someone,

somewhere

lied.

Sunlight catches traces of smoke from fighting in Aleppo’s ancient souq by Tom Westcott

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Verse

The containing of it all

But,

I had to hold still

for if I were to spin,

what would shower out of my robe are

stars

stars, stars.

     

maimouna-guerresi

Image by Maïmouna Guerresi

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Verse

In my defence

Darling, in the first days of our love

I pre-made a little heartbreak:

It sits waiting behind a lock

for the day that I get cut.

 

A little device to save myself

from ruined eyeliner and losing face.

Darling, I know you’re real good

but I must; just in case.

 

According to Freud and biology

defence mechanisms are a primitive thing,

a residual muscle memory string

in the deep of our animal beings:

 

Nature’s plan in place for calamity days,

to ensure

that there is a ready-made procedure

to stay unfazed.

 

Forgive me darling, but it’s only

standard, only routine

like health insurance or sunscreen-

a map to sanctuary.

               

Image by Lukasz Wierzbowski

Image by Lukasz Wierzbowski

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Verse

Monsoon salt

It was in the heart of May

that the salt armies rose from the ocean

and marched in with quiet determination

– the kind of determination fraught in things

made to carry out the will of another being,

like machine guns or cities.

They crawled in through the slits of air underneath windows and doors

to take over, to tighten crystal saline around our throats,

to numb us all.

Perhaps out of kindness, in preparation

for the war.

 

Next came the most terrifying thing-

a lull;

a godforsaken, vast terrain where you shake from the panic of being alone

knowing that any minute now…

everything could change

into anything.

 

It must be true –

the old saying about the calm before the storm,

because then came the winds with

black sails tied to their song:

ominous and set to drop bombs

on Colombo.

 

In came the rain,

humbling away all the hard work of manmade days

down the rapids of muddy waterways.

 

The next morning,

mankind floated

on the glimmer of end-of-the-world rivers

and for an hour of crushed devastation,

in a small death of civilisation,

everything was innocent

and beautiful again.

                   

Image by bhphotovideo

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