Writing

a selection of poems written through the years.

feel free to browse using the tabs.

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bloom

those in gutters

they send those dandelion seeds up,

seeds like prayers, on the wind there may bloom

a better future, that they may not see.

down here you can’t afford to hold your breath.

those in gutters know

from acorns may one day sow trees.

november

the stream runs orange red,

dappled with the promise of change.

mallard ducks ruffle their feathers,

huddled, they brace for the chilling breeze

migrating down from the north.

the sun sleeps early.

the currents dance patiently shore to shore.

a songbird whistles by.

and the world turns steadily still.

ash

there is ash covering everything.

I still bring the watering can to the soil.

there are still seeds sleeping soundly hidden

dreaming of unfurling into breaths of life.

and I still dream of growth.

there is still not enough time

there is still not enough time

to pick apart the intricate pains of history,

to speak the names of the lost and forgotten.

even as crowds drift and handshakes slip,

there is still not enough room,

to lay bare the threads of past and power,

to heal from the constant erosion of oppression.

the world goes up in flame and there is still not enough warmth,

to kindle the grief of mothers and sons and warm the cold bodies of lost loved ones.

as if a phone screen can frame the truth and hurt in any human way.

there is never enough words to come close to convey

how much work we have still yet to do.

how tender an ache

where a seed sprouts,

there is an ache.

roots curving in,

ribs around a bruise.

longing to heal,

in the love of sun’s light,

of soil peat

and trickling dew.

to nurture, to be nurtured.

hurts like flowers bloom.

where there is growth, an ache.

but how tender an ache is growth.

to be echoes

mountains echo across the horizon,

retreating recesses of time.

to follow glimmering sunlight,

dancing orange yellow

a fractal, an illusion, not a being.

to stand on the peak, to be a ghost,

to be wondered about, but not to be.

in quiet moments, between breaths, i dream.

apple tree

when i die bury me in his backyard,

under his apple tree

i know i could never make him proud but maybe in eternity

side by side we can both find peace.

i dream of baseball games and ice cold pops,

of a childhood could’ve been,

diving into swimming pools –

a happy childhood would’ve been.

a penny dropping to the bottom,

i am a penny dropping to the bottom,

but i never did grant his wish.

i was good i pulled my weight

but there were things i couldn’t change,

when i die bury us side by side

one day we’ll try again.

anger and grief and some tea

I sit down with my old old anger,

I make it some tea,

I see it’s just a child, maddened with grief.

And I sit with them long enough,

I let them cry in relief.

I say you don’t have to be angry (afraid) anymore,

you’re safe now,

just be.

starlight

if i sing you a song across the cosmos,

will it reach you by the time the stars begin to die,

the solar systems swirl and galaxies divide?

in the folds of spacetime follow my voice,

ill wait for you home in melodies and starlight.

orange slice

I make time for you, like brushing aside flowers in the garden,

so that we may find a quiet corner out of the way, off the road, undisturbed by the restless passing by of seconds.

I think I will always leave an orange slice for you,

at the rose bushes where we kissed,

at hour twelve minute two

crossroads, blossoms, I’ll wait for you.

how to make peace with time

i. take a photo each day

ii. write a sentence each day

iii. date them MM/DD/YYYY

preserve memories, even mundane ones.

especially mundane ones.

and do it with love.

city nights

city lights peer in through half open blinds

long shadows of light on the floor. 

across the street the building is a crisscross of stories.

of loneliness and togetherness, 

of crying and laughing. 

someone is watching fight club on the fifth floor.

the air conditioner hums; i hug the bed, against the window

breathing in the cool air, barely tinted with cherry blossoms

it sinks into my skin and bones as i sink deeper into blanket folds 

now we’re all alone, but we’re all alone together.

citrus

scarred cliffs hugging bone white fields

dotted with roaming cattle grazing hay.

rusted machines kneel into tempered soil,

lonely billboards proclaiming sins

rolling by spelling out God’s name.

mountains far silhouetted against pastel sky

clouds whispering hymns of the passed

fading like dreams from a waking mind.

i trace our breaths,

the rise and fall in the fog,

i peel you another fruit, and feed you another rind.

blossom petals

drifting of blossom petal,

swaying between the trees.

with a soft sigh it twirls and settles,

moving calmly through the river stream.

try as we might to turn the tides,

we are children of nature’s currents,

the harmony to swinging lullaby,

of her gently dancing breeze.

oranges and stars

in the emptiness of the cosmos,

boundlessness of time,

i light a candle,

peel an orange, feed you a slice in bed.

a cup of tea, a kiss on the cheek,

the world is not so scary,

after all.

rivers and streams

rivers and streams, flow so easily;
at night i kneel by the creek bed,
i pray for these thoughts to join in the same.

the unassuming rhythm of nature’s breathing,
i pray for these thoughts.

if they could flow slow and steady,
like creeks and streams,
rivers and roads,
roads and rain,
so steadily. i don’t know my way,
so lead this mind and heart,

all slow and steady.

pondside

your wasp tattoo, pressed against my lips, 

tanned hips hidden in the rolling grass, 

the wind draws watercolours like palm lines across our skin.

we are pond side, buzzing mosquitos our anxieties –

but we pay them no mind, curled in the summer heat.

your body against mine like an epilogue.

unsaid words form sermons,

beating just underneath our chests;

you press two fingers against my ribs,

reading these thrumming prayers.

you can sink into me,

bury your lifelines into mine. 

if you’re afraid, 

then so am i.

could we follow the rolling train,

its whistling song into the night. 

— run somewhere,

so we never have to be afraid again. 

your eternity

If nothing else, hold tight, never let go, against the current of time. 
If you can, take all these moments; 
a long laugh with a friend, 
the smell of fresh apple pie, 
freshness of summer wind on cheek, 
rolling skyline, streaked with sunlight, 
morning coffee in the quiet dawn, 
the stars fairy lights ever watching, serenity, 
gentle warmness of a full body hug,
smiles framed with care, 
a quiet night with ones you love, 
all those faces voices lives you love, you love, 
hold them – 
kindle a fire in the amber of the heart, 
safe from the roaring rapids
and whatever lurking beyond.

Take this, take everything;
what time erodes 
cannot return so let the river run,
but hold tight: 
know what you love beneath that current 
never let them be drowned out. 
So let the river run, 
A river one day running out.

Put down that anger,
that routine complaint for 
nothing but routine’s sake, 
no more wrestling with that twig pebble leaf, 
that scratch that dent that bump that bruise;
if this river leads to the sea its eternity
then hold tight,
then carry what you love,
in a part of you that can never die, 
even when you are gone,

carry your eternity, 
and let drown the rest.

vancouver, 5.29

Vancouver, you’re as gray as usual today,

but as my hometown – in a way – I never really mind.

my thoughts and worries are bouncing in my head,

but the rattles are drowned out by buzzing construction,

engines, a horn or two, someone shouting about God.

I find a strange comfort in the messy streets,

the busses that are too full at 5 pm,

we’re all hungry and a little bit tired

just slightly too intimate with each other.

The sun sets at 9 these nights,

and I like the cool summer air

the loneliness that perpetruates,

yet we’re still restlessly content anyways.

Vancouver, you are an old friend;

you watched me scale trees

and cry at beautiful things,

you watched my childish feet in the grass,

dangling from the swings,

you watched as I grew older,

but not necessarily wiser.

The skyline is always familiar,

the glowing lights of Grouse have never really changed.

sometimes I get as gray as you are,

right before you’re about to rain and rain,

but this is still home,

I can’t complain.

Vancouver, you have watched me grow up,

go away, return with many new weights

but some new wisdom too.

I don’t know what my future holds, don’t know how long it’ll be,

but I sit at the edge of Kits beach

hoping that we can grow old together too.

late night, bus rides

it is quiet almost complacent on the late bus ride home, 
gentle lethargy, a long day blinking to a close;

rolling past all those anonymous stories scattered under street lamps;
the music in ears over the rumbling engines, all reverb and misplaced longing.

im still scared, still carrying the weight of the day to day, 
but for now, drifting in the liminal in betweens
i leave them whispered worries tangled up in the silhouettes of darkened trees, 
i lean against cold window, i let my breath fog up glass,
spelling out fading thoughts invisible to everyone but me.

stop after stop, minute after minute, 
the city falls away beneath, 
i leave myself nestled in the cracks of the pavement
– all temporary, dark highways home. 
i’ve always found myself in the in betweens.

in betweens

i left footprints at every stop,
curled thoughts around them,
draped memories over them,
every intersection, street lamp,

all those in-between places
more honest than most.

and it’s always the inbetweens that told the truth,
where you wrote your stories,
where you always belonged.

palimpsest of hearts in the middle,
scribbled ink through crooked roads;
the wires will remember the laughter,
smiles written on the skyline,
if anyone else does not.

there’s a truth,
and a belonging, a comfort,
in the time between times,
in the place between places.

has the love

Wrote this poem about healing from toxic/abusive situations; it’s about learning that violence/chaos/fear don’t equal love. Instead, it’s gentle and kind and balanced and you deserve to feel safe.
I’m not religious but it’s written as a prayer, it felt right that way.

O Lord has the love,
the notion of it – 
Been twisted bramble thorns, 
Curved vines of dependency 
and grief. 
Bleeding clutching rose stems 
-a fight, this crooked human
nature.

On our knees we beg, 
Scraping stone as
a sacrifice, 
For something greater
a love Salvation, for we 
have sinned and this shall be
our grace.

I crave the violence no longer, 
the millstone Passion
to be carried like a sin. 
For a love made of bullet wounds
and tears like shrapnel, 
is a love that will bury
Not the body but the spirit, 
The soul.

Do not take that bullet, 
Not for me – 
pray, 
put that gun down between 
shaking feet.

O Lord may it be too much
to pray for a quiet summer’s day. 
For the mundane warmth of
calm and 
wistful care.

Must it be so bad, to cut away
The beloved chains, 
To simply be with –
in the gentle breeze and
still lake,

Love and care as safe
with one other secure, 
Bulletless and bloodless,
As I wish all love could be.

infinitesimal

we are a brush of life,
next to each other a blink of an moment
in infinitesimal spacetime.

“where do we go when we go?”
i know that even when we are gone,
the love we shared, it remains.

lingering in the blossoming flowers
hope in the springtime,
floating in the sweet scent of apple pie 
in the flowing countryside,
between the notes of a songbird’s
lullaby,
resting in the hues of a sunset over
mountains.

someday someone will trace
the same path we walked through that forest,
that night you told me we were best friends
and the time we were given
would never truly end.

someday someone will bite into
that type of pecan pie you loved so much,
and the smile on their face 
will remind time of you.

someday someone will rest
in the shade of the oak tree
that grew out of the acorn we
planted together under the rising sun.

we are a brush of life,
next to each other in infinitesimal spacetime.

and the smiles, the laughs,
the tears and the hugs
remain, weaving like echoes of a fading song
through the cosmos to the end of time.

i know that even when we are gone,
the love we shared will always remain.

granville

the moon swimming in darkening blue,
bears witness to the rolling cars and the stories they hold
as hundreds upon thousands drift obliviously home.

skyscrapers skeletons of a city born
silhouetted by the leaving light, 
the towering mountains behind.

for a moment the bus is silent, 
we are nothing but the slow steady breath
of metal engine, rubber wheels
shooting an arrow from coast to coast.

heads turn and phone cameras raise
and for a second, 
all of us frozen in the amber of the setting sun.

i roll this moment between fingertips, 
i hear the thoughts calling from a thousand window lights 
a thousand stars flickering on. 
we bear witness to each other
and in this way we are heard.

these times the city a whispering dream,
and i dare not break the stillness
fearing the rolling skyline will melt before my fingertips, 
seeping like faded watercolours into their reflections below. 
if only we may pause in this mirage together
a thousand strangers dancing under the same sky, together.

if only we may press pause
and rest in this second, this arching bridge
underneath the setting sun, together.

quiet

the loudest parts of recovery happens in

the quietest corners of bedrooms.

witnessed by nobody and nothing but

that poster from childhood,

the bed with its tangled up sheets –

the sliver of 3 am streetlight from curtain cracks.

there is no trophy or triumph,

only the beating of the heart

thrumming pulse

steadied breath.

that’s all there is,

folded between the silence of four walls.

i woke up to vancouver rain against the bedroom windows again

the soft patter of raindrops in the morning

syncs with the slow thrum of the heart,

weaving melancholy, ebbing anxiety,

i close my eyes

and try to re-free fall back into dreams –

where there’s peace and reprieve,

where the weight is able to untangle itself

from the chest between the ribs

washing out through the window into

the slow rolling fog of the city.

if every morning is a grey prologue,

i just pray behind closed eyelids

for a very happy ending.

purgatory is a train station in hong kong

Shadows of lives, barely human,
clinging onto the pre-dawn mist.

Morning hue paints our shapes in
pale watercolour strokes,
leaking our memories onto pavement,
colouring their edges with unsaid words
and distant thoughts.

Rumbling of the distant trains,
drowned out by the muted weight,
on our backs, in the way.

Phone screen lights cut short by the fog,
tired faces lonesome sketches,
not quite inked,
staring off into the distance.

We are stories barely human,
clinging onto the pre-dawn mist.

a regards to dysphoria and other things

I’m sinking in a body that never felt like it was mine.
Memorized the weight,
its creases and corners.
Knelt into it, an atonement,
Carried it into dreams,
omnipresent.

Under the blistering summer sun
I played with the pressure on my ribs,
an ache of a reminder.
Under the waving shadows of the willow
I recognized liberty.
And I took a hammer to this marble entrapping,
took a hammer to be free.

what’s left unsaid

for a while now,
these words hidden buried in pockets
clenched tightly inside sweaty palms,
forming confessions, prayers,
intertwined with the lint and $1.25 loose change.

over and over ive memorised how they felt in the dark,
but i could never let them out.

is it a lie that i never let them see the light?
wrap them in apologies (too little, too late, i know),
leave them by your bedside window
for you to find on the evening i pack my bags,
walk out the door and leave everything behind.

and maybe that will be the heaviest regret of all.

is this home.

You try to settle within your skin,

the home you were long given,

make your bed between the bones and sinew.

Sometimes you want to tear the greying wallpaper down,

fingernails to wall to wall, corner to corner;

Take a hammer to the floorboards

Pry out all the dead memories and set them free;

Break all the windows, lie on the broken glass,

to just let yourself be.

The locked doors and broken hallways lead nowhere.

You light a match to the dust just so you can see.

I’ll rebuild this house from ashes just to live again;

carve marble staircases from blood sweat and tears.

I’ll rebuild this house just so I can finally breathe.

between us

We’ve walked lifetimes to meet here,

opposite sides of a river rolling, dancing downhill;

turmoil and crashing currents of impossibly, between the love,

the warmth, all of it and none of it.

We speak as if we’re side by side,

words drifting through the tides turning back and forth on my tongue,

threatening to drown us both.

Here’s a crashing river, we’re brought here to stand across,

here’s a crashing river between us, never to be crossed.

forgiveness

We can turn the guilt between our fingertips, wondering,
if we can’t forgive ourselves for all the small things,
how can we forgive ourselves for anything?
Confess our sins at a broken down payphone late at night,
heard by no one but a dead end road.

Maybe we don’t deserve this 25 cent salvation –
a dial tone buzzing on and on.
I know you’re tired of tasting apologies between my teeth,

for all these things I can no longer change.

(of loss)

every night the heaving of breaking bones,

there’s a moth with a broken wing and it beats endlessly in your chest.

frail fingers’ hold to hope like spider silk,

a baby bluebird with crooked feathers looking to the sky.

falling through the cracks of hope in endless dusk and dawn,

a body curled up on its own in the ferns,

sinking through the trampled soil and torn up roots.

bodies

this body bends and breaks around

the bones that struggle to hold a

frame

steady and in place.

the taut skin pulled tight around

sharp discomforts

serrating the insides.

sculpt a smile,

hold your breath for just a while.

place your voice down on the floor,

place it between your feet.

close your eyes so you can’t see

them wearing your skin down thin.

body breaks through

bones that hold a misshapen frame

forever steady and in place.

in the stars

swimming in the indigo night above,
we were immortalised by the stars.

how they heard our quiet words,
saw the smallest smiles,
hair billowing out window sills,
highway blues at twilight,
silhouetted by the horizon laughing breathless,
arms spread wide to the sky.

captured by the pinpricks of light,
in a million years when our time is done,
they travel on,
remembering the years
we sang our voices hoarse,
we ran danced laughed at the edge of the world.

I could have frozen those moments in time,
delicately into amulets of amber,
threaded soft blue string through,
hung them on our necks against our chests.
we were immortalised by time,
we live on through the night.

mantra

the soft thrum of pulse underneath the chest;

it spells a mantra, on repeat.

i want it to be better, i don’t want to get better.

there are floods and avalanches in the veins,

in every breath.

fight it or drown. fight it or be buried.

inhale the bedroom fumes,

pinch the skin, again and again.

slivers of memories fill peripheral visions,

the single sound of the door closing behind him,

fills the head again and again.

your mind is in the skies, in the clouds,

not here nor there, resting peacefully

unmoving in a field somewhere.

waking in cold sweat, you see storms

and storms, you can’t breathe.

the soft thrum of the heart,

it spells a mantra, again and again on repeat.

i don’t want it to be better, i want to get better.

a desperate man’s plea

tastes like a dissonant chord held between the teeth.
if you hollow out his chest, take a spade to the charcoal
lungs, replace the sinews with tightly wound
corkscrews.
a breath held under icy water and never let go,
sharp and thin and neverending.
desperation yields a disfigured disillusionment,
a hatchet to the dissonance,
to the stomach to the guts.
a desperate man’s plea that falls silent,

silent on deaf ears and it will never be heard.

untitled 01/09/17

all those laments about leaving.

dreams of crossing your name off of every memory,

every face. scramble the letters,

find a new alphabet for yourself all together.

it’ll take years to untangle these threads

to moments and memories and mortuaries,

in your dreams it takes a second, a single clip

of the switchblade. they all fall to the ground.

all those laments about leaving.

in three years they won’t remember a thing.

supernovas in your stomach

the stars spin heavy in my vision
and I slip, tendrils trailing from fingertips
into the indigo sky.

there is a nebula scorching my insides,
cracking ribcages and collapsing lungs.
solar systems are spinning circles
in my throat.

they’re crashing out of control.

losing sight of it all again,
thoughts will spiral into galaxies above.
a supernova melts my neurones
weightless and untethered, burning through.

I let the silver threads tangle through heartstrings,
feel my stomach plummeting again,
a sickly sweet feeling of flying, falling.
unreachable.

the night sky is so boundless and inevitable.

I swallow the aching silence,
let the stars collapse in my chest
cascading atoms through the veins,
they cannot and will not ever rest,
I am never to rest again.

flowers and dead things

flowers growing on me
where dead things used to be.
they’re buried and gone
but never for long.

it’s an itch that can’t be scratched
and a weed that curls around
the limbs, rooting and seeding,
all the way to the bone.

compost my thoughts beneath
the skin, nurture
my mistakes within the cracks
and the creases and the weeds.

forgive the flowers for their bended
stems and weeping petals.

the curving roots tell bitter stories,
that may soon be washed out by the rain.

I pick at the dirt and try to nurture the growth,
I want the shoots to heal
these previous crimes;
let this garden be slowly reborn.

forgive yourself for the graveyards
and all you’ve buried with you.

flowers growing on my body
where dead things used to be.

undoing

your shadow haunts my peripheral vision,
inklings of your voice seep through
trailing words and blood vessels,
entwined barbed wire into
my tendons and veins,
and I’m ripping them bloodied
apart and away.

the knots in my stomach are
rose thorns.
you’re lead in my thoughts,
you’re heavy metal poisoning.

I still feel your gaze in
unpredictable places.
between the cracks of pavements,
at the bottom of glass bottles
and stubbed out cigarettes.

your name is a stick n poke tattoo
carved into my palms,
I can’t unclench these fists,
they crack and heave under the pressure,
of never seeing you again.

you’re no good, I was no better.

I fumigate our memories,
dissect the blurry heartbeats
and wash the slurred words
down the kitchen sink.

I want to pick pieces of you
out of my brain.
I want to pretend that I never felt a thing.

years ago

So close my skin is pinpricks on hot coal,

I am aware of every inch of myself with a brutal honesty.

In the palm of my hand I hold out my thoughts,

she reads between the lines, doesn’t really care for what she sees.

My name two swift syllables from her mouth

crashing into me, every time.

Her name two swift syllables in my mind

poignant poetry I still hold inside.

Her eyes rest on me silently from across the room

My words unsaid catch in my throat;

they burn the insides of my cheeks and turn them

crimson red, my eyes burn, I close them quietly.

We read each other inside and out,

Secret confessions in the dark never repeated in the light.

Her voice in my ears on a school night,

I hold the sound in my fist so tight my bones creak;

I can’t help but wonder if I’ll ever hear the same

string of soft, slurred sentences again,

same intonations, vulnerability, from anyone.

I know this will end, I know it never truly began.

Even now I try to remember how her laughter used to sound like at 3 am,

and how back then even when we were hours away I had just wanted to know her thoughts on

something mundane I saw earlier that day.

forgotten god

a speculative poem from the point of view of one of my original characters

I was born with a better sneer,
A brighter eye.
I was my father’s soldier of pride,
A mouthful of iron tinged blood,
And not a single fear.
Not flinching from a lion’s roar,
Wrangling a hare straight from the jaws
of the beast for a dare.
They say the sun shone brighter on the day
I fought my way into the world the warrior’s way,
The planets aligned,
Underneath the arch of the blood strewn sky,
Rose above my brothers and all my cousins,
Sharp and strong I rose up high.

A line of suitors and a foul mouthed heart,
Preened and regal, I drank my wine
and I cast them aside,
Twisting tangled silver branches into my hide,
There will be no equal by my side.
Scornful, scoured the country,
Threw my spears and did my archery,
Enemies and rebels felled left and right,
Until my name was tainted with awe
and bloodied with fright.
I dragged a stag straight from its home,
Tore out its antlers made them my throne,
Beheaded the traitors and executed the foes.

Made my servants blare their trumpets,
Made them carve my crest into flesh and bone,
Won it all, land and heads and bodies and gold,
Tried to rule and reign,
Iron and steel to my fortress home.
Heart of poison, set fire to the land,
unstoppable, a miracle,
Stormed the skies and tried
to become a god of man.

Wars and blood and enemies slain,
Not a soul would steal what’s mine,
Again and again, time in time,
It was all the same;
I watched the years drag by,
I watched my mother die,
Of an illness I could not understand nor fight,
I found my father with a knife in him one night,
A scene born from horrors; couldn’t understand why.

A thousand years later and
the stars would come down, every night,
Heavy indigo sky unending and cold
where ever I looked,
I laid silent on my self made bed of stone and gold,
Arms crossed, scars marred,
I had everything in the world,
everything and more,
I had nothing,
royal and alone.

A thousand years later,
when all of us then had passed away,
not a single person or shred that I could save,
there is not a grave, not stone nor statue,
not even a friend, a stranger,
to remember my name.

remember

In my dreams, I remember how it was,
tendrils of slow, subtle memories –
delicate and fine, wavering in the wind,
untouched by sharp edges of reality,
(I remember.)
Nights wide awake, guarding moonlight and the stars above,
swallowed by the indigo sky,
unsure of what it was that was spinning in my mind,
a mosaic of scattered colours brand new,
back then, it was true.
Careless, carefree, we were lost and wasting time,
I have not yet after those days passed, felt so alive.
(a surreality so sublime;
…lost? waiting to be found.
somewhere back in that time.)
Now I…am
trying to speak, trying to write –
Alright.

It’s simple.
(It was.)

Every cell on fire.
blood and bone and breath –
a choir,
an orchestra of noise,,,,,, – what noise? a CACOPHONY between the heart lines:::::
!strings snapping, wood cracking, a deep thundering heartbeat rising/////// / / / /      /
inside, inside, inside never pausing a crescendo of life to never die not even in the quiet of the night not yielding to the cries the time the life the –

I tell you: that’s how it felt like.
We were never, ever, going to die.

I, I

I

I. remember how it was.
A scattered daydream now, a nightmare
It was never true, maybe it was never there,
tendrils of slow, subtle memories –
delicate and fine, wavering in the wind,
washed away by the tides of reality and time. 

?

not an equation to be solved,

a series of fill-in-the-blanks;

thinking if I looked hard enough,

reviewed the frames of the past,

pieced them into jagged films of memories

(so obscured, overexposed,

shaking hands,

a distorted shadow over the narrow lens),

thinking if I transcribed every word,

every one I thought and said,

sorted out emotions like careful

measurements

test tubes and beakers,

a fume cupboard of

[ serotonin / cortisol / oxytocin / dopamine/

an overdose of chloroform ]

thinking if I churned out the right

formulas and Newton’s laws,

criss crossed the variables

and symbols and dots,

there it would be the answer

for me –

(((wait, wait, wait, that’s not how it is,

it took me a dozen or so years to learn this))),

and here it goes –

not an

1) equation to be solved

2) a fill-in-the-blank

3) a crime scene tape

4) a script to transcribe

5) a chemical to find

6) a formula inside

7) an answer key in black and white

(1-7, which is right?)

facts and figures frozen in time,

however you want to describe

all of that,

but also so much more –

(slow down, slow down)

I still don’t understand the facts but it’s fine,

because it’s so much more that that.

recorder man

The street is stagnated and depleted,
strewn with creased cardboard and shattered glass;
a stray cat with breadcrumbs in its whiskers runs pass.
Out of the blue comes a singing note, drifting and
dancing like dust in the swaying wind, easy and slow.

Straggling strangers saunter in nonchalance by,
whilst I look from left to right from backwards to the side
there sits a lonely man, crouched on a wilted wooden chair,
eyes closed and fingers grasped
around a hand whittled instrument,
without a glance without a care.

Eyebrows creased in effort, deep valleys in the face,
I feel a wist of nostalgic contentment drift my way.

There dances the music in the sunlight,
a crisp colourful melody casting spinning colours,
an old man’s poignant nomadic tune.

truth

There was a breath I held,
beneath my skin, between my ribs,
unravelling veins and neurones,
I knew what I would find inside,
a simple truth, and it’s alright.

Carbon and stars and light and life,
there is nothing that I should feel the need to hide.

Endless cells, growing and dividing,
day after day, breath and pulse continue,
so natural and so true,
against all the odds,
I know they’ll make it through.

To myself in the past,
who knew you would make it here?
That much that was lost would become so true and crystal clear,
that much of the dust and grime in the mirror,
the crooked cracks and lines, would heal themselves in time,
that greys and sepia tones would slowly fade away,
and colours, calm and content, would take their place.

To myself in the future looking back now,
through bated breath and memories,
I know you’re grateful,
for honesty, for integrity,
for a life that is lived and fought, every day,
for a life that can only be your own,
for a quiet and proud authenticity. 

glass and mirrors

Let me be candid with you.

There is a broken mirror lodged between my teeth,

swallowed shards of reflective glass serrating ribs and stifling joints.

And when the skin comes off at night, when I am finally honest,

when it is dark and the light no longer throws up mirages in my sight like tantalising, wistful daydreams,

I see two reflections, a pair of silent twins, facing back to back, their mouths open and close and I can barely make out the words,

one them is lying, I know, or both of them are, or neither of them are,

and I can’t make out the truth. Two paths, both less traveled, are carving their ways through my system,

decorating blood vessels with their signature ambiguity and sharp, unsettling uncertainty.

In my stomach, shattered glass crack and splinter, decorates this foreign body,

making spiderweb patterns under this thin skin.

And let me be honest, I sit and wait, as patient but no more than I can bear to be,

for these broken mirrors to reflect back a crystal clear truth.

observations of a stray thought

At 2:13 am, at the edge of consciousness, I am born.

I am swooped into the recesses of dreams and nightmares,

I dance in the cracks of the skull, contouring the edges of forgotten memories,

I peer behind curtains to where unseen emotions lie, ready to be born.

I float untethered between tangles of neurons, soaring from node to node;

with a spark I fly into a niche, a careful corner where forgotten faces,

lost moments in time, surround me in echoing, distant whispers.

Like a gentle breeze they guide me,

towards a labyrinth of sights, sounds, smells,

mirages and patterns of light, shimmering with the rhythm of time.

A sky of shooting stars, swirls of fireflies, an orchestra, a symphony,

A growing crescendo, a supernova,

And then, I am freed.

I am ink on paper, and words on tongue,

a music note, a swaying song,

a gentle touch, I move along,

I am married with time, and glide from mind to mind,

From life to life, an unseen light,

I was born, and now I am breathing,

I am alive.

stars

In the depths, the hollowed out,
forgotten recesses in my bones,
there comes a soft quiet hum,
sounding like your voice, a distance,
echoing from nerve to nerve.

These words run like trenches deep,
rivers of shared memories,
curving valleys of softly faded scenes.

I wait, in the muted warmth,
reliving the days,
when the sun would rise and set,
with such consistency, a long ago comfort.

A shared comfort.

I relive the steadiness,
the safety, the strength,
I relive the moments and words you said.

I can almost see the dust again,
dancing softly in the light.

Now the moon only hangs low,
and the stars watch silently,
and I hold to the hope,
that they would lead us home
again.

this is how a love mutates

once a flower,

sweet scented and soft,

resting gentle in a waving field.

once a light, warm at dawn,

and in it the pollen dust danced,

and sang.

once-then-never again-

now wilted, soaked in gasoline.

fumigated and seeping

through its pores.

now an ugly angry, angry fire,

throwing up dark black smoke,

clogging lungs and airways,

shadowing all the light.

and your always oblivious

hand of acid and diesel fuel.

watch how it all goes awry-

who would’ve thought?

this is a love,

and this is how it mutates.

dawn

the flowers step from lemongrass shades to the hues of morning skies

dappled dreams dance weightless in the quiet floating mist,

hugging cliffside touching coastline soaking the whispers of time

salty tang of stretching sea, sink beneath the roots

a ray of sunlight brushing leaves and a distant seagull’s cry

mirage of memories blur like brushstrokes against the rising sun,

the inevitable washing away of time to sepia blues yet when all is said and done,

precious bittersweetness a lingering taste on tongue of all those faded past

cherish the rolling water dew the touch of a gentle loving hand,

the suspended beauty lingers on the hilltop’s lonely sigh,

as the breeze travels softly on to where the ocean meets the sky.

dandelions

content warning: body horror / gore

A seed of doubt in one’s mind, planted, a shrivelled seed in the soil

Pushing through tender leaves, a dandelion unfurling its wings.

In the gentle wind it flutters, roots spreading and sinking

its curling tendons into the earth, hungry and unseen,

birthing seeds of woe and weight, dancing and unabating.

Crawl into veins and capillaries, subtle and uncertain,

whispering across membranes and bone marrow,

an itch underneath the skin- can’t be scratched.

A gust of wind, a subtle shudder, on and on they go,

catching in the throat and burying down through the chest,

multiplying. Parting ligaments, peeling sinew from end to end,

bending bones this way and that, growing through the cracks

an infestation, creeping through, never to settle.

Ripping at the leaves and stems, buried underneath

the debris. Fingers peeking through the petals,

a chest creaking under the weight, shaking heaving

for some air. To fight, forever and futile underneath,

the dandelions take hold and there they keep.

evening on the porch and a final few words

Old porch, rocking chair,

Drifting cigar smoke,

Fog in the air.

The drip dripping of dew water down

the drain,

Tap tapping against the roof.

Take a deep breath, inhale and exhale, let the arm slide down.

Like the old man said, years ago, don’t be alone.

Oh brother- if he could be here now.

Lonely whisper of the wind,

A single bird-cry cutting through

the heavy gray sky.

A meadow waving gentle and slow,

the breath of the distant seas,

obliviously passing by.

The old house creaks behind;

a museum of relics from an empty life;

faded faces in picture frames,

long dead smiles and forgotten names,

untouched books, lined with dust,

a leaking faucet ringed with rust,

Letters unsent,

a dozen old records,

done and dead,

a bottle of booze and …

whatnot,

of sorts, by the bed.

Discarded coats

from long ago

carrying all those faded scents,

those smells of apple and of mother’s pie

from a childhood farmland home,

long since burned to ash,

foreign memories from foreign times.

Shadows creeping in peripheral sight,

a shallow breath and muted sigh,

As the light seeps and thins,

bidding farewell to the life of day.

Blood, it slows,

Skin, it goes,

Flesh, it wilts to a muted gray,

Breath, it leaves, following the sun rays melting into

the edges of the earth,

the last yawn of a dying day.

The smoke rolls off those thinning lips,

cigar tumbles to the ground,

a final wisp of air and

a single silent tear

There are no shouts or cries,

or prayers to God in fear,

no grasping of hands and whispering of words,

no lovers and nothing more.

Just a fading figure,

a smudge of paint, lost in this world,

out of its time,

a wanderer passing by,

with a last defeated breath,

vanishing beneath the darkened sky.

the cold

when your bones are hollowed out,

the words taken from your mouth,

and your feet can’t find that solid ground,

you’re falling, drifting, all the way down.

the high mountain ranges hug your shadow,

you settle your tired body into soft,

silent, snow.

you pull the cold over your skin and bones,

your new eternal home.

the frost eats at your fingertips,

the chill creeps from the outside in,

you close your eyes,

mind starts to drift,

your fantasies are such sad feeble lies.

you can feel a million things in your quiet dreams,

that don’t quite translate themselves in life.

so the tears cried,

froze before they left the eyes,

one last silent prayer,

before you lie down for the night.

winter road

I waited and waited at the edge of the road,

a futile hope and nothing more,

as I bit my knuckles in the cold.

The pale wash of headlights on the tip of my toes,

cells froze and withered inside my bones,

there was no sign of what I was looking for.

Call of birdsong over the hills, through the trees,

drifted through the blizzard wind and winter breeze,

settled like frostbite blues inside of me.

I waited and waited there,

at the edge of the road,

until the cold got too much to bear.

I waited and waited but there was nothing there.

childhood

my childhood’s turned to dust,
brick walls crumbled to death
now that im older it’s not so fun,
to make believe worlds between,
to stare down this loaded gun
ghosts of forgotten words and scenes
building in my cells, making me.

I can still hear who I used to be,
all that I no longer am.
I tread the dirt that many years ago
my younger self called home
the pillars are gone now
it’s just dust and trees,
all that I was
and all that I could never be.

heavy

two steps at a time as the spine creaks,
the flowers wither below unsteady feet
you hold it like a stone inside your chest

the stars, they hang too heavy in the sky,
i desperately try to catch them in my palms,
they burn and burn inside my mind

when the words are impossible to say,
when they sink you like an anchor in the sea
this voice doesn’t sound right down so deep
all these fallen stars freezing cold beneath

the stars hang too heavy in the sky,
burning, they burn it out inside

the house you can’t see on the hill

There’s a knock-knocking

in the floorboards of his chest.

There’s an empty kettle in his head,

it won’t stop whistling in his ears.

Cobwebs stretch from joint to joint,

the spiders are here,

they’re everywhere.

The curtains won’t stop dancing,

white and pale,

flickers of light, like a ghost.

He cannot unsee what’s outside the window.

dust chokes his throat,

the air is caught, disturbed, even though

no soul has disturbed these halls,

no one has entered this home.

For centuries and more.

the sunken piano, it no longer sings,

it stands next to a hinged door,

look down at the floor.

at all these disgusting things,

so damned broken in.

corkscrews stuck in teddy bears,

dolls with tear-filled eyes,

tiny red cars spinning out of control,

puzzle pieces spell out words,

words oh so cold.

a note caught between cracks on the wall,

last parting words of a lover who left

and never again called.

The faucet won’t stop dripping,

drip-drip, the water runs down

the drains, the phone no longer rings.

he closes his fingers into fists,

Cross legged and silent he sits.

a reflection in the window,

nothing ever fits.

ebbing

It’s that ebbing feeling, consistently it comes and goes

It’s a fist curled inside my throat

Fighting against the truths I’ll never know

It’s my feet, always the same two in isolation,

Stirring up the ashes of long gone ghosts,

The words they said and those who passed

This same spot on this same road

It’s every living soul hovering silently overhead

It’s the emptiness from every word I never said

As light as dust and as heavy as lead

Maybe one day we’ll make it somewhere,

Safe and warm, where the waters are calm,

Skies are quietly fair

In this bus going nowhere, far from home,

I rest, I exhale the past and all I’ve known

Lean to gaze at the distant rising light,

And hope we make it there.

nothing

chest a skeletal home, hollow to the bone

under the throat only lullabies sing

sleep, forget yourself, forget the being

forget it all

broken ribs are broken shards

scattered shrapnel digging into pulsing heart

see nothing but a void grey sky

miles of whispering grass, no soul in sight

don’t you lie to yourself, don’t try to hide

steel wires running through stilled veins

dig under marred broken skin

a breath of dusty air

trains of thought caught in tangled hair

there is nothing here.

a list of things

a bee on your eyebrow

an itch on your elbow

a blister on your toe

a stone in your chest

a spider where you nest

a gun against your head

you think you’re next

water in your lungs

a song unsung

an anvil above your head

you stare at it in bed

a stitch coming undone

pills melting in mouth

you sit in your room,

staring at the ceiling

you wait

for the gun to go off

you wait

for your veins to start clearing

i wish i knew

who the child is within my chest,
what it is afraid of,
what makes it cry at night,
what it wants to be;
I wish I knew how
to sing it to sleep,
to quiet its fears,
to answer its questions
echoing within me

I wish I knew the song
it plays on repeat within my neck,
how its thudding rhythm goes,
how the distant lyrics sound,
how the melody skips each time,
I wish I knew how
to hum along to its beat,
to understand its words,
to harmonise its tune,
to sing along in harmony
and forget the dissonance.

i wish i knew.

(untitled)

i listened to la dispute while writing this.

the words they slowly tiptoe across

the tongue and the jaw

letters dance like lullabies on wind

heart stirs gently underneath these rolling waves

carrying my soul away

like sorrow in the ocean slowly sinking in the sea

i sing for lovers lost and lovers found

and lovers who will never be

time, and again (written 05.13.2014)

It is the past.
It smells like stale smoke, the echoes of laughs that
were once as bright as the stars but now linger like
dust on your fingertips. It is an ancient and sunken
piano, with a distant note that echoes through the
air, an empty hymn through crumbled walls and
washed out windows;
Faded photographs, claimed by the earth, staring
longingly into the skies. It is a smile, distant and
bittersweet, the aftermath of the breeze on your skin
and the sunshine on your lips, the aftertaste of a
lingering kiss of which taste you forgot.
It is the past.

It is the present.
It smells like the sharp trace of mist at 6 am, the
splash of ice cold water on a hot summer’s day. It is
the lazy hum of bumblebees, the rustling of green
grass and a sky of travelling birdsong, a hopeful
whistle in the wind, the waving willows under a
blazing sun;
Stones, skittering and dancing across the crystal
blue lake, sun beams peering around valley
corners. It is a thin shirt, damp and drying on skin,
tears rolling, cool, down dirt-stained cheeks, closed
eyes, an echoing laugh, over the mountains.
It is the present.

It is the future.
It smells like the salty tang of the sea, the ebbing
waves spread endlessly beyond, the cry of the gulls
in the distance. It is the clouds drifting between the
rolling hills, the meadow, the plains stretching
forever on, ashes washed away by the whispering
rain;
A light, floating upwards past the lip of the earth,
shining forward a beaten dirt path, a river, curving
the lands through the recesses of time. It is the
voice of the skies on the horizon, it is each small
step, it is the cool dirt on calloused soles, it is eyes
lifting upwards, forwards.
It is the future.