We were distant any way, even before all this.

Even when we were sitting across from one another at a small, intimate table; how much were we really willing to give out?  How much were we ready to take in?

We were always wearing masks and carrying shields.

The only things a real connection needs are honesty and willingness; proximity is optional.

Picture: Claude Cahun, 1928, Self portrait. Pantin, France.



I live in a house,

that I’ve never left.

I don’t know how many rooms it has.

Every day, I open a new door, 

and in the dark, 

feel the things inside.

Photograph: Giovanni Ozzola, 2015, ‘Verderti e perderti’. Galleria Continua, San Gimignano SI, Italy.


Colombo looks like a bride tonight

Colombo looks like a bride tonight;

lovely, wet,

born in the morning,

heart racing, jewels burning;

here for tomorrow,

sweet, gratifying—like fresh milk rolling down your throat.


Colombo looks like a bride tonight,

whose girlhood dreams were subject to the earth’s gravitational pull

—a practical brown, boxy and tied down.

A girl whose thoughts were borrowed from the eight-thirty show.

but perfectly nice and with a secret alleyway between her breasts.


She’ll cry on her wedding night.


Colombo looks like a bride tonight

—a woman who knows better than to question happiness.

She knows that the moment joy touches your fingers

is when you hear that distant thunder.

Her best secrets—like dirty, old men—

left homeless, roaming loose and unloved

like cheap asbestos roofs quietly disintegrating

poison-proofing hearts that sleep underneath them.


Colombo looks like a bride tonight.

A woman cut open and left awake at 2am

as the lonely train runs down Marine drive,

for nothing—driving no one.


Colombo looks like a bride tonight-

lovely, pious, shiny and alone,

because it’s a long weekend and

everyone left for home

—never more empty and never more beautiful.

Photograph: Max Murrell, 2017, ‘Trees in the dark’,, Colombo, Sri Lanka


I remember mother

I remember mother, 

a memory; a dream

of a long grey-green plain flowing into the sea,

and the feel of grass peeling on the hairs of my skin.

I could run, 

but I walked

because my legs were tired from the hunt; 

and I had nowhere to be;

nothing to be,

but a rock with the world behind me.

Y. Yongliang, 2015, Fall into oblivion, Yang Yongliang Studios,



When something little crawls on your skin,

it somehow threatens your everything within

because you realise that you’re nothing and everything, all at once

—like the dirt we walk upon

—like the great big Earth we live and die on

—like grass blades

—like the vast plains

—like the one breathing open enormity that we won’t make.

When something little crawls on your skin,

pressing its alien intention against your being;

your whole rounded entirety begins to shake with questions

—like how the Earth must feel

—like how a whole other world could exist right in our view

—like the reality of reality.

It’s terrifying.

And, that’s why we scream.

Picture by Madhavan Palanisamy from the series Appa and other animals


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


To be a cloud-watcher

Sometimes I think I want to be like a sage,

a cloud-watcher,

a dog sitting by the bay—

a thing content to not partake;

Like a lazy fisherman untroubled by the day

a lizard bathing in the world’s ways

simple enough,

astute enough, 

to never watch,

but, only see;

to just be 

but, never really live.


I like to make you watch me cry

I like to make you watch me cry.

I like to go somewhere unseeing, unhearing

of ‘darlings’, ‘tell me what’s wrongs’

and other sweet nothings

—a place so far that you can’t save me from drowning.

I like to go there and cry,

while you watch helpless

as salt mountains crumble

and roll down my cheeks.


I like to make you watch me cry

quietly in a sort of everyday horror

while we sit at the table in silence

as if what we’re eating is just dinner.


I like to make you watch me cry

because it takes out my pain and all its pieces,

lays them out in a live exhibition

that you have no choice but to comment on after.


I like to make you watch me cry,

because after that game we just played

where you take the things you love and tear them,

darling, I’m feeling cruelfaced.


Image—photography by Rosanna Jones


We’re sad because

I think we’re sad because we’ve built ourselves prisons.

Tall, beautiful cathedrals with a vision

into what our lives should be

forever and ever, dazzling in the horizon.


They’re easy, they’re the same

until never becomes a day

leaning on our necks with the deadweight of knowing

that the mountains we raised from the depths are falling.


We’re sad because it’s evident

that there’s nothing in the space-time continuum

that will just, please, stay put—

pristinely, never-endingly put.


But, we try.


By building perfectly carved out shells

around our beating selves,

in miniature monumets of places, things and faces

that have long lived and left their moment.


They once-upon-a-time made us remember

what it’s like to float in the breeze above the great big ocean.

But now, they’ve faded dead.

It’s time to walk out these mansion gates.


Image- Stairwell in Building 138 by Gary Heller


Beast rally

We just want to rally,

to shout,

to hate,

to throw rocks.

Whether it’s for land, for thirst, for money, 

a man born on a shepard night’s silence

a prophet or a sage 

enlightened underneath a tree.

We just want to rally

to belong,

to break,

to feel higher

than them.

For books, for myths, for stories told

by long forgotten women and men.

We just want to rally,

to make ours

and not others’

to be known,

to be seen shining for fifteen minutes,

to be loved,

to be saved,

to be told that we are great.

To believe so deep

in our right to be,

to say it out loud, 

to live,

to kill,

to be beasts.



Photo by Aris Messinis