What can you do when you like pain?

It’s a bad thing when you like pain,

because then you practice the art of incising your skin 

in ways that leave paper thin cuts that only ever hurt 

but never draw blood;

kind of wounds that only sting, but can never kill a thing.

It’s a good thing when you like pain,

because it’s the thread that runs through our everyday, 

woven into our very grains.

Pain is that unbearably soft thing that holds 

happiness’ frame of reference in place. 

It’s a good thing to know,

on first-name basis, 

it’s a good thing to get comfortable with;

as long as you stay kind to everyone else

and, in the eyes of the world, to yourself.

Photo—Piet Biniek, and


Too much rosé

“I’m Taking a year off to head Downsouth,

to be by the ocean and collect my thoughts.”


“That is so lovely, I wish I could do the same thing. You really deserve it.”


“I just want to step away from the circle

to kind of, deconstruct myself, you know.

Because lately, I’ve felt like most of myself

is borrowed.”


“I know, I know- my sister’s friend did a similar thing up in the mountains

and she came back radiant.

Now she makes jewellery and its

going really well. I’m happy for you,

this is so exciting.”


“Yes, it is.”
After three months of drinking the sweet South,

where at nine in the evening

your options are to sleep

or water the white anthuriums,

a rosé in hand

half-listening to a voice documentary

about Syria (to keep informed)

and the racket of crickets (to keep going on).

In either case, there is only one option for the view: the grand night of ocean sounds, serious stars and coconut palms.

This full-circle view for the last ninety two nights is now cut into the back of my eyes;

and in my long sleeps there was only one dream that I had-

long palms and white stars that swum drunk in a pink sea mass.


If at nine o’clock in the evening,

while you are watering white anthuriums

in the seaside South

with a rosé in hand,

you find yourself wondering

‘Now what?’,

clearly, happiness is a semblance.


Marjorie Content

Image – Marjorie Content, Anthurium, Gelatin-silver print, 1931


Separation: day one

I made a plan.

A foolproof regime to surround myself with things

as delightful as ripe, red tomatoes bursting under laughing skin.

A perfectly plausible, markedly intelligent

logical thing.


I lined them one after another,

in a careful, well-thought-out sequence;

Books, burning questions, Earl Gray and full cream concoctions,

sad stories for bed, classic rock for Wednesday next-

no cracks, no slips, fucking perfection.


It’s two a.m.,

our bed is still soaking wet from before you left

and on it my plan has turned to glorious wilderness

of the way your arms weighed on my breasts.

Eight more days to forget.



Image – Michael Drummond


Night of February twenty sixth of two thousand sixteen


Absolutely nothing.

Is it terrifying like a new graveyard

– beating pangs across spilt clouds?

Or is it really just a shattered glass

in the sky’s Sahara blue heart?

Only one thing alive to see

beauty being just to be;




Image – unknown



Last night I eddied wakeless,

down my well of secrets, where

I rushed to swallow the sound of myself

– it rippled far too much of a dread.


Down the well I felt, a life that I’ll never know

watching me glide – although

the threat of water only trickled in drops,

the air has already resigned to choke.


Washed up on the morning

I found someone new under my skin;

alive, breathing and already awake

sitting drinking the sun on my bed.


Her newborn thoughts fresh and pink,

cut holes in my perfect morning routine.

‘Is this what tea tastes like? Do I just hang my hands –

otiose down the sides?’


You live your names for the many, many calls

in every mirror, bead and bone.

How long before we lose sight

of the ocean between our secret souls?



Image by Freudenthal Verhagen, uncategorised.