Pregnant Witness

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There are two guys fighting on the street.
One is in a car
mouthing off,
head twisted back,
one hand on the wheel —
the other, I assume, is on the hand break.
The second man pursues the creeping vehicle up the hill,
speaking in tongues.
The first talks in spits and swerves his wheels.
I can’t hear what they are saying;
I’m sure it’s very important
but I am watching the pregnant witness
who looks out the window opposite.
Glasses on, she can see their very animated picture,
but she opens the window to better hear the drama
because her life is empty of it.
There is no darkness in her
refurbished house in leafy suburbia.
I would like a life like that
but I’ve too many shades on me, it would seem,
a spinning prism is my diadem.
So I’ll watch the pregnant witness
watching the two men screaming on the streets;
she’ll get some junk mail later
and that’ll be as bad as it gets.

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Photo: Martin Parr

Spoilt Rotten

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My soul has buckled under the weight of all the strange gifts you have given me,
Crumpled like the silver linings I crushed with the beer cans in the recycling.
But still you keep giving, donating twisted things to a
Cabinet of curiosities that’s already bursting at the seams.
You –
If that is your real name.
And my essence depleted to the compact crystals of flint.
But still you bleed me like a maple tree,
Leech from me
I walk through the streets like a zombie.
Not hungry.
Dim mist is me.
Who kicks stones at the legs that keep marching,
Keeps laughing at the ghost with no life-lines.
“She’s so persistent; but aren’t they all
Drowning in my dream whirlpool.”
Can you see us in the water?
Can you see us in the bright blue-green?
Can’t you see that I’m your daughter?
Can’t you see I’m in the waving trees?
You who speaks in sunlight
But giggles in blackness.
Yeah you,
Who I forgive for the heavy treasures I did not wish for,
That I will not list here –
Did not put on my Christmas List either –
Because there is warmth in the wind, there are grebes in the pools and there is
A man who speaks softly to his dog. Who speaks like the earth.
Press this still-wet summer grass against my flesh.
In the seconds of this particular forever
All is well, and all that is wraps me in its bubble
And rolls me down the hill. To the lake
Where the bathers go to chill their brittle bones.
So cold.
Where did you go?
There are whispers when it’s hardest that
Do not exist.
But there is drama in your silence
Like the bottom of the sea.
See me: I am the echo of the waves.
Living proof of
But a siren call called

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Painting: Milky Way by Peter Doig

Strange Windows


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The black doors here are framed
with yellow roses
and the whores with neon burgundy.
There are fox gloves by the water,
what is framing me?

Lilith’s eyes
dancing in the glass,
I see myself
in the reflection as
she smiles and waves me in.
But I don’t have the kind of money
to pay for basic needs –
I’ll never have enough.

Her breasts pressed together,
like two magnets
forced to face each other.
Why hold them in if they
want to get out?
Or is it in the release?
Does that please
the gentlemen?

Her long hair extensions
have been straightened
into great curtains,
like the velvet ones she parted
to give a better view –
as she did with her long,
shapeless legs; because
she is too kind.

Her lips are lined with
what looks like kohl, and
words so well rehearsed:
“I’ve seen it all. I’ve seen it all.
I never wanted any more,
than to sit in the windows
of this city,
like the cats you see
forever napping
in the sunlight on the sill.”

Even stinging nettles bare flowers
but I think I’ve seen
enough for now.
If I blink she’ll go away;
but there’s the neon like a worm and
those strange window frames.

All the tears at my disposal
but no longer motivation;
what a happy lack,
what a happy missing.
I think of Lilith kissing
all the men,
does she need a friend?
An ally in bed
might improve the sex.

The grass blows by the river bank
in a breeze that makes
the houseboats creek.
Make me an aperol spritz
with soda like the sweat
from sailor’s necks,
Lillith licks her lips.
I never wanted more than this.


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If I Were A Sphinx


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Would you still love me if I were a sphinx?
If I had a tail and wings,
if I came from a beast.
What if I did?

If I were a sphinx
I would slip through your arms,
I’d shed fur in your bed, I’d climb up your leg;
I’d have whiskers and
lick milk from your fingers.
I’d have claws with which to draw
a little bit of blood, enough to write
my name in the sand,
and make me of you.
In the dust I am human.

What would you do if I were a sphinx
and you found the sacrifices of another man?
Or you found me scratching
on the corners of the pyramids?
When you found me in the kitchen
on the throat of a lark,
what would you do?

If I were a Sphinx,
a beast to begin with,
would you still love me? (Not want me, that’s different.)


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The Pity of Moths


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Do we,
all of us
with the black dog that roams the mind, that,
like a jinx, snaps at bright thoughts;
do we
sit in darkness out of pity of moths?

And if not,
why flatter Oblivion;
why dress His crown with more
Obsidian jewels?

You rob yourself of your ashes.

all of us,
who’s thoughts creep like some dark vine;
winding us to the end in every second.
for who this flower
was plucked straight from a grave.


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Apples and Oranges

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In a wooden Spanish village watch
drizzle dress the streets, the rooves of
terracotta, in a coat of water
where the whitening of the sky
suggests an infinite siesta
woken only by the smell of cooking
in the kitchen; the stewing of chicken,
the plethora of muffins, the unsalted butter,
the whole boiled bulbs of garlic –
and other traditionalities that tend to make me nauseous.

Over lunch a woman sings in Castilian
of losing her favourite apple,
her voice not sweet but dappled like some
by-gone prophet, I’m drawn under her harmonics,
undulating like wings in waves over my body.
The stream from the gutter racks
the tierra firma. Clothe me in the corner;
make me a wooded foothill, a sweet
dream between the oaks where they
send the pigs to slaughter.

I called you from the orange grove but
my voice was lost amongst the fruits,
as they lambasted the blue mountains with their contrasting tones.
A sailboat with candles drifts towards the dusk,
brought to life one last time by the sky’s skin-like light.
Old rain is collected again by its forgetful seamstress,
ready to make the desert her long-awaited dress.
Take some rest. The heavens have welcomed this
holding of hands, sticky like the pastries here,
baked in the shape of Palm trees.


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