The Mundane, Sublime and Fantastical: 165 New Poems (36-40)


2014-08-02 20.25.13

On the other side of Saturday

she is shiny with desire

Today, not so much


Desire for what?

A clean house?

Well-behaved children?

A successful practice?

An unwavering hand at her back?


Saturdays leave much to be desired:

Breakfast in bed for a tired woman

One day in the year, two, three — a bouquet of flowers


A lopsided smile

A sensuous pinch


Ah, bwana. Lakini wewe?

Let us not arouse the dead



2014-08-04 15.47.32


1. Your loveliness — for this there is no struggle

2. Your location on the east gate.  No one is coming to acknowledge your presence

3. The relationship between a stiff breeze and a full skirt

4. There is nothing else



2014-08-04 16.58.39

Grace Lee Boggs on the period of transition:

“I’m very conscious of that sense of time. How long will I live? How long should I live?  I’m very conscious of what time it is on the clock of the world.  As I have grown older, I think in terms of centuries, whereas eight or nine years ago, I was only talking about decades.”

It’s almost morning on the clock of the world

The chandelier in the living room used to swing on its own, remember?

A pale sky

A tired night


It’s almost morning on the clock of the world

The earth itches and convulses

The chandelier swings wildly

I’m remembering the first sign that the cold season was over: earthworms wriggle out

I’m remembering the first sign that the cold season will never be over: Grace Lee Boggs is gone



2014-08-02 20.54.12

This is only an idea:

— That the spell is complete and no one has to believe it, least of all you

— That the narrative matters

— That banners spell doom

— And friendship isn’t blood.  Glue and horses are related by foot


This is only an idea:

— That some encounters are nothing more than the evidence of of humour from an old ghost

— That there is a frenetic energy to this story

— A fragile end and a distant close


This is an idea:

That this is in fact a story that we cannot poke with a finger.  We live in the shadows of castles and castles of clouds

On occasion, we look up and say: look! the rain is coming



2014-08-03 11.18.32


I’m yearning to speak to you in a language in which blow means kuti

I want to speak to you of a breath that we can climb onto

A breath like a single note

A breath in which I’m holding on to you

Holding on to you on a note that time will not control


It’s on the breath out, isn’t it?


It’s on the breath out, right?


Let’s climb back on to that note

Let’s try

Music is nothing without you




The Mundane, Sublime and Fantastical: 165 New Poems (31-35)


2014-08-03 11.18.32

Now I’m riding a wave of Hail Marys and underneath a chorus:

You’re only human

You’re only human

and with that, you’re just a woman


Deep baritones and alto currents and the occasional soprano spray

You cannot move in just yet

You cannot move in just yet


Now I’m standing at the threshold

A river of Hail Marys rushes by

There’s a tide I’m waiting for

Clear spirits will carry me there



2014-08-02 20.25.13


She insists on walking on the edge of the ditch with her arms outstretched for balance


her mouth is tight with focus


The edge of the ditch, like the rest of it, is muddy

She slips

She catches herself

but she will not walk on the generous path like everyone else


— that’s for walkers, she says

— that’s for walkers

— I’m not a walker, she says

— I’m a balancer.  I hold the world divided in my palms



2014-08-04 15.47.32

what night

what night what burning proof what riding in the wind
howling in the throats of hungry children, hanging strings of broken guitars
what burning proof of light

what incidence what music what leafy branches, now stark, naked, dry, whitened bark
what memories of life what shadows from the backs of women
bending over howling children with churning acid, burning insides, tight, round, hollow hot bellies what leaking

what night burning with proof?

what dry knuckles what country, what crescent moon, what red cross
what worries about what neck-laced bullets, shards, casings, strips of cloth, strips of stories, stories of people, people of a desert glowing with memories of leafy branches and the burning proof of night

what meaning what conclusions of our women raped with knives, hands, broken bottles, bayonets, sticks

wet shop window panes of winter countries glistening, shimmering rain stones bouncing, where we long for love in shiny diamond rings, blood rubies, topaz blue dangling from earlobes, glinting from the newest cell phones


what meaning in the screams of one woman long confounded by a polish man in the darkest heart of Africa what howling by the river red bottomed monkeys darting off the road, scattering off in the path of jeeps with the blue and white of United Nations, red and white of Red Cross, FAO, We Care, We Care, We Care, we don’t.

what need for the children staring back at the screen, for pennies a day, only pennies a day

less than the price of a grande cup of coffee, a latte, a half sweet, half decaf, no foam, skim milk, vanilla, double shot of espresso

less than the price of a daily paper

What lies.




2014-08-04 16.58.39

Purple is to Lavender

(Alice Walker)

Purple is to lavender

What crimson is to red blood

Gushing through the sin-stained heart

Purple is to lavender

What royal is to blue

Sky, blue blood, blue day blues

Purple is to lavender

What light is to the absence of white

On your wedding day, wedding night

Wading, wading muck

Purple is to lavender

What right is

In the face of right ways

Right rules

Right, might, height

Purple is to lavender

What crimson is to red

Heartache to love

Blue days white nights

And you





2014-08-02 20.54.12



If all possible permutations of words

Have been calculated, sentences spoken, sentiments undone, expressions underlined, scored, beaten, shot, gartered, quartered, bent, given, taken, delivered, stored, left, denied and burned in piles, with elephant tusks and women;

If all possible permutations of words have died at the cross with Christ,

Or buried in mass graves of Bosnia, Liberia, Congo, Haiti, Mexico, Rwanda, Acholi, China, Chile, Poland, Siberia, United States, Sudan and Sea-to-Sky highway in Canada;

If any words rose from the ashes in epic poetry and song from the silenced and then disappeared into the nothingness that trails like falling stars, like the smoky wisps behinds your eyelids;

I can still be certain of this – only those three words I hold will remain unsaid