Category: 1. Poetry

The maraschino and I

Sometimes I’ll leave it there for days,
scared to touch it, for if I do
I know how I’ll be tempted – no,
demanded by the crystal
to stuff it full of ice
lace its skin with sweetness,
and douse with golden poison…
straining into its smaller cousin –
decadent, and invitingly chilled –
a single, large cube begs to crack,
as I have,
under the spill of viscous concoction.

I raise my glass to the maraschino and I,
drowning in our sorrows.


What is it you see
when I bare myself, torn open,
pins holding back the flesh,
heart pulsing, shuddering in electric air,
lungs shivering, exposed and rapid…
I strain to see you,
to read your expression.
I scream out for it.
What is it you see?

What is it you hear
when I pour and pull the music from my throat,
dig words out my gums from the raw, sharp root,
eyes watering, glistened with agony;
I’m desperate for it to sound like the truth…
I cover my face,
striving to zero-in on your voice.
I beg for you to tell me.
What is it you hear?

What is it you feel
when I force your hand through my chest,
ribs cracking, organs displaced,
fingers splitting through sticky blood….
I wince, twisting your knuckles to pull you deeper;
even if it kills me,
I need to know what it is you feel


The sun rises, pulls up shades,
eyelids, and tilts heads to the sky,
lifts spirits, and lights the way.
Romance over its setting;
eyes clinging with sad fascination,
sentimental for dying flames and waning embers.
Follow it now,
down, down, down over the hills,
till staring, reality beneath feet,
grounded again,
seeking sun through the floor.
Gravity pulls and draws heavier truths;
forces peer through the dark,
and examine the ground.
Ponder in darkness.

All the while, it rises,
ready to raise us from beds and bad decisions,
where we’d fallen (fast) asleep.

Run to the moon

I lost a day to a curious night –
how I suffer for the play and no pause;
the food sat too heavy, and my mind’s never ready
to admit to the sleep it implores.

Some find a way to recover their might;
how they rest before dusk is an art.
Even when I’m deserving, I find it unnerving
to arrive the same day I depart.

Instead I pray to a mug (held too tight;
how it burns me awake through the palms)
to speed up the sun from a crawl to a run;
pray the moon scoops me up in her arms.

A novel case

The symptoms hide in silent whirs
of hearts that seem both fast and slow,
as if the wary beats could stir
the beast our world has come to know.

We wear our masks to hide and guard
a sickness we cannot discern,
and suffocate behind facades
of shallow breaths, and numb concern.

Contagions crawl through eyes and screens,
they spread through tongues and social feeds,
infecting our society
with novel mass-anxiety.

You can’t hide from the wind

The countryside scares me
at night, when all I do is wait
for the crack of a twig,
or spasm of leaves,
or single cry in bleak air,
not to wake me
(for I am never asleep in the countryside),
but to jab me again with that white-hot awakeness.

So I moved to the city, instead.
At night, I’d leave the window ajar,
no matter the time of year,
so the sirens, and laughter, and trains, and shouts,
and smashes of glass, and loud songs from cars,
and helicopters circling, and doors slamming too hard,
and nightclubs emptying, and garbage trucks reversing,
could sing promises to me, from just-far-enough away;
you are not alone, they say.
We are here, with you.

But one afternoon, collecting my mail with others in the lobby,
a gust SLAMMED its face against the glass,
shouting something aggressive and unintelligible;
smeared as it left,
leaving us with that unsettling feeling
that we hadn’t seen the last of them.
And, as if word got out, the streets began thinning of souls,
dwindling of errand-runners, happy hours, and dinner-guests.
An unspoken quarantine befell the city;
devoid of people, traffic, and noise.

In our apartment block, we wait, as night rises from the tarmac.
That stillness I’d long-feared, and sought escape from,
holds us hostage like a small settlement lying in wait
of bandits, spotted tearing through nearby towns;
indiscriminate in their chaos,

And now
they were here…

ready to expand within our pregnant emptiness,
and force themselves, screaming, from any crack left unclosed.
It begins with a
in the window-frame,
a whistle through the bars.
It teases.
Its menacing subtleties come fast
then slow,
come hard, then soft;
it creeps,
and stalks you from the
By the time we see the trees moving,
it is already done…

SLEDGHAMMERS pound their rubber heads on the walls,
on the windows, and bellow their bloody murder
through and under our buckling doors,
sucking all the air out the room
and throwing up all over you.
The one cowering in the storm.
The one whose scent is on its tongue.
The countryside has come for you.


I don’t hate the way it obscures the view,
how I open the blinds only to be blinded still,
because I wake up high in a low-down cloud,
shivering on the balcony,
peering over the edge, I’ve less fear than usual,
as if the sky had brought the ground to meet me,
promising a soft landing
all the while filling my lungs with crisp, wet air,
as I breathe out soft little clouds of my own in the chill.

I don’t begrudge how it makes us hide our skin,
bundled up beneath layers of cotton and down,
because your gorgeous smile still peaks above the zipper,
eyes unhidden and softly aglow,
reminding me of what you harbor
close and warm under your gaze.

I don’t long for the end of foggy winters,
the washed comparison and cooler tones
that clears my windows of dust, bugs, glare and streaks,
leaving me to survey, whimsically, with tea in hand,
curled up with my summer, indoors.

A trap

Clouds form behind doors,
deep-set in hills, like eyes in brows.
Hums leak from edges,
cause ripples of air, like heat on roads.
I’m drawn to it.
Blood pressure infused with gravity,
it weighs on me
heavy silence, like thick-laid snow.
Words wait there, I’m sure;
snared and bear-trapped, deathly glow,
laced with poison,
rigged to blow.

He leaves a mark

I wish one time you’d scratched me,
and left a mark I could look back on.
But you never scratched, did you?
Your mommy kept your nails short
so that even when you greeted us at the door –
both paws stretching up onto our thighs –
or when you clambered onto my shoulders –
tail swishing, always purring at your efforts;
that funny little parrot-dog you were –
the only marks you left were on my heart,
and in your tiny trails of mischief;
knocking greeting cards to the floor so you could put them under your feet
and skate about.
What cat does that?
What cat trusts so wholeheartedly,
stretches full-length, draped across his mama’s belly and chest,
arms raised,
‘asking a question’,
his own belly exposed,
toes pointed,
and falls asleep in that position
as the rubbery hums take him?

But they took you too hard this time, buddy.
Too soon.
They took you deeper than any of my pleading rubs, nudges, or words could rouse.
I promise you we tried, Apollo.
You knew – and inspired – the truest love.
Sweet prince,
my buddy,
you marked me good.

Dedicated to our sweet boy cat, Apollo, who passed so suddenly and unexpectedly at 3am this morning; a cruel theft of half the time we should have had to love and be loved by this beautiful little dude.

It’s been only 14 hours since we lost you, but I have never missed anything more in my entire life.

Sweet dreams, buddy. I am so thankful for every moment we had together.

– 23 November 2019, 5pm

Slow at Jo’s

My streets
are damp and puddled from overnight rain,
lined with trees and coffee shops
glowing from the dark corners of morning,
decorated with yellow and blue lightbulbs
hung like a tiny county fair,
green, wood frames holding the glass in place,
a home amidst the high-rises,
bigger on the inside than seems possible from out,
coffee refills,
egg sandwiches,
and time.
How does it do that?
Hours emerge from minutes
like stripping back a Russian doll.

Time slows down for Jo’s,
and I, for one, could use some slow.