Monday, 26 February 2018

Ask Me

Ask me

Ask me a question,

Actually, wait

Ask me a good question,

One that will prompt a story to flow from my heart

But, maybe not one that will make me remember the last time I was asked it,

Because I'm not going to tell you that story today.

Go on, ask me a question,

One that will open your eyes wide as I become something you've never guessed at

But maybe not that one?

Because then I'd have to couch it in explanations that would mar the velvet and rend the gossamer memory,

Rather,

Ask me about how it felt to hear his last kind word,

Ask me about how it felt to feel my first broken heart, not the last,

Ask me about how his tears tasted the night he first kissed me after she died,

Ask me about how the café smelt of coffee and cake as he fucked me on the steel countertop,

Ask me how it'll sound when your voice breaks as you finally understand the ending of the poem you've always suspected was about you,

Ask me how it will be when I finally find the answer to your question,

Ask me if I'll tell you.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Tomorrow's Thoughts.

As the sun set and the clouds became the night black

The glamour failed and they saw the other side,

A bay of red and crimson, banked by peaks and shadowed cliffs,

A place that existed for them to marvel at,

A glimpse into a world where it had never happened,

Where it was all still, as it used to be, as it should have been,

Stretched out beyond their grasp, lingering to remind them that within the intake of breath and the receding whisper of the waves -

Was the rhythm of tomorrow's thoughts and the beating of a heart only bruised.

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Counted

If we're born with our map to the end of our race in hand

And our minutes are already counted

And everyone we'll ever meet is already going to meet us

And everyone we'll love, loves us already even though they don't know us yet,

And those who will in turn hate us, already carry it safely in their heart like a lump of coal not destined to become a diamond

And every tear, smile, laugh and hug is accounted for

And every fake orgasm is stored next to the real ones in wrapping that is seemingly exactly the same

And every meal is planned, trip booked, book lined up on a shelf,

Why do we try so hard to make each moment count twice?

Spoons

I create room in my heart by wearing more and more of it on my sleeve,
For there is always more to fit into it,
New songs, moments of magic and of suspended disbelief,
Sadness, hope, trust and warning signs,
People who become treasures of my soul and who will never be asked to move,
Eternal room-mates who will linger and become beloved like the faded blanket I fold into on days when it all becomes too much or when their arms are out of reach
The real estate of my heart comes at a price,
It costs salt, from my eyes or from my hard work
It costs bitterly, in apologies and in mistakes
Or in the acidic burns of slights, harsh words and painful moments of growth
And still sweetly, in laughter, love and warm words, arms that hold it all together
My sleeves are almost full, embroidered in blood red satin chain stitch, fading to palest pink,
But now I can pour it into spoons to be carried on my hands,
Hands that can hold more and can continue to protect the growth of my heart.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Shrug

eyes averted, shoulders dismissive
it's hard to even write the words 
because they're not there
they're replaced with dried up husks
of excuses and simple phrases 
that don't touch the sides of the hole you're in
shrug
smile
shake your head
try to be in the moment
while sifting through days and years
stuck in your mind to accidentally find a solution
or even a word to help fill the silence
in your head as you watch the world
passing behind the shadow of whatever it is you're feeling
because without the words you're just....
shrug
smile
shake your head
and trying to fill the whole with nothing.

A thesaurus of me

Abandoning
Antithesis
Blurred
Dragging
Dread
Dull
Disbelieving
Lacking
Loathsome
Odious
Out of focus
Smudged
Silent
Still
Vague
Vacant
Watchful
Whispered

Sunday, 22 October 2017

1997 - A thesaurus; Learning the meanings of old words

1997 - A thesaurus; Learning the meanings of old words

Necklace, no longer just the clutched pearls at Grandmother's throat,
Now they are the mark of shame of submission to a man,
Or the mark of a feminist statement declaring independence of thought,
Or the burning of rubber and flesh to absolve the sins of one to another,
Or a warning to those watching, hoping to rise beyond their station.

Freedom, burning the 18 candles in a room of women -yet to be friends,
Dancing past curfews, drinking in the life of those whom one wants to be like,
Stupid words, dangerous flirting, knowing the risk of casually forgetting -
Three letters always thought but never said, because of the colour of her skin,
Freedom from consequence, invincible hope and faith in a God that has yet to fail, yet to fall from grace.

Fear, driven by a need for new experiences, driven in vans filled with intimate strangers,
To and from work or university or one gamble to the next,
Guns and warnings from old women who had seen too much to forget -
To keep another mother's child from falling into the wrong crowd.
Broken glass, spent needles and used people, walked past and forgotten,
Car tyres bursting, breaking through barriers and, yet, building more,
Nails and bombs punctuating the school days that pass as distrust becomes a blanket
Of black and white and brown, mixing but not coalescing.

Sadness, that children will watch their mother burn for a love that is a Shakespearian theatre,
And that letters from home will be edited and parsed by the eagerness and immortality of youth,
And the truth of the cancer that grows will be hidden in the broken telephone calls late at night and deliberate miscommunication.

Brave, a long walk down to the pool bar or a quicker walk to the tequila shots?
Visiting Rhodes at midnight, 20 years before he'll be purged from memory,
Not flinching when car alarms and gunfire punctuate each stroll home,
Smiling through the confusion as the obvious is presented in a way that maked it visible,
And in its visibility it becomes a burden of shame and it discolours our liberal self image.

Miscellaneous, visiting a psychiatrist to find out if the breaking of your mind is medical or an example of causality,
That lectures on paradigm shifting in a world that is no longer black and white can trigger a fractured family to collapse into a kaleidoscope of foreign shores and scapegoats,
That there will be no going back, because history cannot be re-lived nor can it be rewritten, it can only be translated into new words.

1997 - the year I learnt the thesaurus of a new South Africa.


Stop

Stop
Stop grasping at the leftover pieces of the puzzle,
The picture tore itself in half many moons ago
Holding them close, forcing the imprints into your heart
Is not going to make it whole again.
The picture will always be incomplete
A reflection of you missing the pieces that show the beginning

Stop grasping at the unwritten words, never spoken
That set the scene, make explanations simpler
That ground the story - putting you in perspective.
No amount of editing can change the denouement
It is tightly sewn into the narrative of your soul
It is your story.

Stop grasping at them, those you’ve lost -
For they are found, just not with you
And their stories grow, your piece is lost now too
To them, you are a story or at best, a puzzle
Shelved with the others - precious but unwanted

Stop

Go

Move forward, shadows will fall
Pieces will be fewer
Plot lines will shift

Memories will be worth more.

Ghosts

The ghosts visited again today,
Blurs of rose and silver rising
From behind closed doors
Bringing with them the scent of summer
And the taste of tears
Bringing the promises made -
Sitting on the benches in the sun,
In city streets after midnight -
Whispered in the predawn light.

Shivers of words, promises and love
Running down her spine
Pooling in her eyes
Caught tight in her throat
They spilled out slowly,
As the scissors cut,
Trying to ease the pain
To send them back behind the iron doors
Or to see them swept away,
For if they can’t recognise her
They can’t find her.

For the ghosts will visit again.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

The Pain I Feel


You know that feeling when you've taken a bite of too-hot pizza?
You're trying to blink the tears away and swallow in a ladylike fashion?
While still appearing to be interested in the mundane everyday conversations around you?
Because you may miss that one moment of vulnerability that might slip out unguarded,
And linger there in the moment,
Like a ghost of the true self that is hidden
Within the heart of the girl with the blue hair
Or the soul of the boy with the secret?

You’ve felt it too​?
The pain of trying to keep up?
The pain of feeling like the only one with a secret self?