Friday, July 27, 2012

what we do to each other - Syria

The hands of fate
meet without will
the hands striking the sky
in shapes of artillery
a child's fresh lines halted
a once soft hand traces that face
and every belief that vanished

the flowers still, are here
silent witnesses
as the last tears of the damned
water their bitter roots

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Knife Tip

this place is no longer the place I came to
and I changed too
a wintery dress, apt for a funeral
what happened to the red sash of my youth.

now a rusted harness
of broken spirit kissing its tormentor

held by soul stealers casting hallucinations
and the emittance purges forth in the sacrifice of ritual dreams

look to the street, look sideways and see a discontent unhidden
a slow tapping


I want to belong again to the smoothness of marble
of promises

as I put star halos around their faces and flowers at their feet
as I write my devotion in so many languages
as I gather the birds to sing their morning aubade
and the lilacs to breathe dreams
as I ask the night to bring me Him
as I break the knife's tip in my scar
as I give up 100 times
as I run to the moon

Sunday, July 15, 2012

For the One with the Moon in his Name

The beginning of my womb misses you
an ache pressing down to meet with your river essence
My fingers trace the night, circling stars and the night above my face
as my lips open to taste your fruit and read the moon of your name
The arch of my back, the cleft of my knee, the bridges of my body
all wait
I see you in rooms, in the contours of the walls
Last night your eyes were covered with leaves, not believing your way home
the trees were calling you, did you not hear them?

Ode for Cairo

Audio track of this work here:


I am coming to you, to your first stirrings in that dreaming sea

Did you hear it as I hear it?

This is an untrackable destination.

The muezzin calls, salutations rise as cars rumble in the wide belly of this night. We cross the Nile, cross ourselves, cross into gypsy heart opened, the tears of so many

whispered with longing for night to meet day, moon to meet sun in endless devotion, earth and sky making love for eternity.

Cruising Cairo by that star powered river; open top convertible, a black jewel speeding through the bracelet of streets. Downtown plunged into pharonic salutes, libations, talismanic truths. Anubis watching still.

The heat and the noise and the light. The heat and the noise and the light

We stumble out into the ongoing night and walk along streets of shadowed images, snakes and lovers entwine to the Nile.

I rise, demolished by drink and heat, demolished by love, everything passes like an hallucination. Lying in the darkness of the Cairo night I see my heart, my winged heart and feel the blood begin to descend and




I don't know, I do not know anything.

And now the totems come; crocodile deity at my knees, Sekhmet above.

Let them come, let them take me; here I am.

It's pouring down upon me; the realisations the abandonment the loss the love the fight the fire the beauty of your form

I want to touch you have your hands on me your lips to mine I want to start and never stop

This city, this madness of streetlife and cars

high rises

hawkers and call to prayer

big business and farmers in the mixdown

Oh Cairo you are some strange musical, some script of old, curling under the surface

There in your gypsy glamour and in cool girl heels, lipgloss perfect with perdita eyes

with your galleries and bars, your spoken prayers in fashion boutiques, your hijabs and tight pants, your men with eyes searching for a meeting, your desire for indulgence and dance with denial, your love, your closed doors, your chaos and sanctity

and here I am careering through your streets, changing my life, I felt I was changing my life

What's the time it takes for something

What's the time it takes to know

I thought I knew

I never knew angels had fear

I never knew any angels to ask

Did you?

And did you hear the jiins in Cairo jaywalking across the stars

as wide boys marked hearts for target practice

Did you ever do what you wanted?

So the tears fell like a rain of white flowers, flushed with the sound of

emptiness is the dreadest weight

another name

another beginning

and thousands of words and beliefs growing

We are into each other. We fly, we run, we float, we eat the fruit of each other, we taste the possibilities and walk in real and imagined gardens, our souls stroll through rose temple paradises

seduced before the next S P L I T

Bistro Dwarf

I saw him, he was dropping some solution into his eyes, that's what had caught my attention, but then my gaze sharpened as I picked up on his shape, his contours, his being. His face was somehow mis-shapen, undefinable, more neck than face. Big ears. He will be lucky I thought, with those earlobes – money will come to him. I could see his feet were not placed on the floor, they dangled above, like a child waiting on a school bench. His airborne feet gave a feeling of not totally belonging, of not being taken as an equal at that table with 'the others', the ones smoking cigarettes and poised confidently with all their length. He was bulky – to the point of morbid weight, as they call it in clinics and chat shows. Seeing his legs conjured the phrase from Bukowski's lips, of Toulouse Latrec and his 'little legs'. One of the lengthier ones, the cigarette smokers, the sophisticateds – sat legs crossed, flicking her ash before it was created. Seemed that they were lovers. Her with her chiffon scarf and bistro style ways, him with his dwarfism. The bottle of wine sat between – the compass of the night.

Inspired by the Paintings of Joseph Clarke

In that land
the Invisible Land
time is a perpetual dusk of tired souls
full of unknown dreams
that have only ever glimpsed love

and did you, did you have the strength

in that Loveless Place, the realm below our feet
inhabited by things yet unformed
a radiant bird of gold
out of reach
It wasnt Icarus that learnt the lesson
it was the Sun that wept
as he lay burnt
but he had the trust of a child

and do you, do you still have the trust

they say in that land above, our egos roam
and we choose to live well or selfishly
many sugared with a dogma that fills in every gap
but some still know the voice that calls them in dreams

and do you, do you still dream
still turn their faces to a hidden language

a thousand times there my cries fell like rain
nourishing nothing
saltwaters of disturbance through the processions
Look at what I was
a shadow in form
one step behind
I was a place visited

I used to hear the ocean in my ear a song from a distant shell
then one day I went to her
dared to be lost
and swam into the deep watercolours of Life

If You Asked Me

If desire sought desire
if with each breath it yearned, and those unanswered wants collected like hopeless butterflies
if its nocturnal wanderings in that darkest forest, within its own shadowed heart were as silent as the feathered exodus of the birds once there
and its tears collected into a downward flowing stream looking into that water
what would its reflection be

A mouth so effortless it called out to be traced by fingers
singing over skin
reading its secrets and outward stories
its cry of loving breaking into the scented eve

And if you asked me of my night in that place
would I say I had seen you
that you smoothed across the length of me and opened my soul

And if I asked you of your night in that place
would you say you had seen me
that I smoothed across the length of you and opened your soul

Inspired by the painting 'On Me' by Hossam Sakr



steadfast love

what is it, this not being able to be here

you ran to the plains

a thorn came and thrust inward

and so you adopted the outward

button holed and contained

yet the question continued

and shaped your gaze

with ochre tearing, a tear of tense

of past, of what now, of will

oh but the beauty still undeniable


and there is a child that remembers

and a mother's wish

Upon your face were whispers

hopes and dreams

and no yet, no yet or but – your heart held by a father's echo

the charcoal

and your name

The Boathouse

The boathouse is neglected
and the water passes it by without a murmur
not even a slight lick reaches inside its walls

the canoes were proud once
ventures of strength, muscling down the river
ardent yet without seduction

Now the boathouse is an eerie memorial
an architecture of past
containing experience like water damage, cracks, fissures

and the water scientists build memories

Writing in water
circles, ripples
'Sometimes I don't trust you, it shows in my body'

I become dry
and our lips feel rough without the warm juice of abandonment
what can lie between?

The boathouse is empty
My name written in water
The river without a time


Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Dancer

I want to make a dress like a lighted minaret
like a fountain's kiss of water
like a silhouetted dome in the Cairo skyline


I want to make a dress like this
to pirouette through these ravaged streets
and reclaim the love that used to be here


I will make a flower crown and take it to my waiting lion
we will remember each hope
then set fire to the ocean of our hearts


I forgot the poem
I deleted the words
but I sat and felt the feeling again
the motion of night, roads, lives
passing images without utterance

Sometimes she likes to say 'Nothing can shock me now'
and she flicks her ash, purses her red lips
gives that intent look
and we nod and there is a moment of silence before we say we have to go

In the taxi the African driver plays some tune
and the poet in me holds the nostalgia for us both
but later he declares his love for the dirt of this city
and his eyes glitter in the headlights of the oncoming car

Meanwhile the only truth seems to be the pizza delivery
always on time, always the same guy
driving through the Cairo streets
past the election halls
and protests
yet still he brings it warm

Ennui Baby

I had never seen a baby look so bored, an impossibly fat baby. Its limbs and extremities marshmallowed into one continuous wave. Meanwhile as Baby looked ennui to its right, Pop Sock Leg Warmer Lady was showing us all her black nylon treats with an in-car demonstration; but no-one bought. I came to realise that it's all about elbow room. Maybe the metaphor can extend to all areas. Maybe one day I will open a bar called Elbow Room. The girl opposite was wearing one of these 'relative pendants' I've seen around recently. Get a photograph of your ugliest relative, make sure they look like they are sitting on a morality rules panel and then encase their un-gameel self into a cheap locket and hang round neck. I noticed the woman next to her was holding a bag that said 'Peace of Mind'. She looked troubled.

I Heard The Whales

I awoke to the whales singing
amongst the cement and cars, the dry ground, the movement of the city
their plaintive sound waved the street
and I knew they were passing my window; with their memories of beauty

I cannot forget you
Like water from the desert

An ocean that changed its mind

I Was Written With Stars and Swords

I smell of mother's milk, moon dog milk, ancient moon blood cardinal and ferrous

I am sabotage, I am ferocious, I am an ambush waiting behind the Stop sign
I move with a jackal leap, I leap with a lame leg, I am my own trickster
I hear the chastisement hanging on to every goodness and the goodness smiling at stars
My duality is a twin scar
My scars do not shame me
I was written with stars and swords
and pushed out as a fire into the night 

Unbidden Unbinding

The grace of swan
perhaps this is you
a serendipitous ocean, the river I called you
feathered with oracular crests

I don't know
but I touch your lips in the night
and I breathe you
without holding
without stopping

in this unbidden unbinding

The Sex of Magical Flowers

The shapes are indiscernable
faces I see upon old walls
and pathways ghostwalked nightly

oh the jungle flowers around your form
and my dreams of stars

Shapes that flashed nocturnal blue
rain dripping from open mouthed canopies
and we tasted that sacred water
showered in its magnificence
came alive again and again
with Life determined to be within us

Honeysuckle milk from the breast
delight coursing
as the petals opened
and the sex of magical flowers was one

Now I know how much you held me
as I wake from the summer spell
and see where your hands have been
traces of silver and gold upon my skin
and across my heart, a kiss


Above the sail is where we stored our dreams
hopes that took so long to fully surrender
for the heart chooses a time unknown for its healing
and first the death must be absolute
and so I died, finally

above the sail is a night of fever
you at the helm of that stormed darkness
as we rode what hell we did not know
did not know that it was a vision of what would come

and belief was absolute
as our hearts skipped in joy, just for the being next to each other
our beauty before us for the tasting
our loving
was a sacred place

That last morning you said your body was a fire
that rose into your eyes
and I smiled in my naivete, not knowing your consumption
that a line had just been drawn
and now I was outside

Tender is the Night

I kept the stone letters in my pockets
and under the pillow
where I dreamt of the seas we were sailing
and the gardens of spring
My breath was weighted with the taste of your leaving
a taste of absent fruit

You did not come
for such a long time
I became old and blossoms turned to dust
Ashen inscriptions upon each new snow
Songs of ancient fire flowers, unbelievable to the heart

Perhaps like the salmon you were journeying upstream
and the water bent your will
and your will reshaped the river
I listened in my nightless place but heard only the clouds with their rumours
and the dogs
with their brave fear

I cried over so many moons
each one a pearl of sadness
each one a tender beauty
each one a wish
and watched with a darkened heart as each jewel fell

The stone letters are smooth for your soul
cracked for your pain
Blue stone
of star and sea


I follow your body
a surge of want
an intent that pushes into mine
I don't know what will happen next
we are into the river
singing, illuminated, broken and freed
and I am scared
resisting the ocean
yet it pushes up from my mouth, my heart
I wanted to call you my soul
but I hesitated

There are pictures of you no-one will ever see
back waters, imaginings, rushes
I do not know where all the wanting went

Forgive me Lord for I did not live my life
Forgive me Lord for I censored myself


The Bull and The Flower

Hearing the hypnotic thrashing of the bull

the bull and the blood and the moon and the cat calling its insides twisted with the bite of the praying mantis

the desert yellow, textured and soft, a pigment none could ever catch

he said it was Venus up above
his voice and his warmth, his hand, our hands

and now I am waiting for blood

the silver bull waits, that waiting not as a meditation but as grass grows or trees root, a knowledge

and oh the dancing girls of Apis, how I see their plaited hair and sensuous limbs
and the flowers placed upon the glorious creature

this is the Egypt in my sex

the beatific boys
and the priestess cults

and I say 'I dont care, he gave me a poem'

he gave me a poem yes
not the kiss but that breath after the kiss
yes, that

and the blood came and the blood and the moon and the red, all one, a sonorous flower

remember the bull by the sea, not the white one who brought his urging upon that spellbound queen, but the one who heard your tempo, as I

you pushed

I opened

again a flower, flushed with hope and desire
in a rapid moment of life

and the desert sands and the oasis and the birds at dawn all bring me into and out of this
this gloriousness

he is sleeping now, his nostrils gently pacing his dreams, dreams of pride and freedom, of suppleness, his lithe soul, his uncontained will, virility and ownership


because those of us who hear him are owned by him
unleashed as he is within the soul