All those voices, whispering, murmuring,
Their words have no weight
Until given shape,
Until they sear themselves into the air,
Until there is someone else’s ear,
The unspoken word does not exist
Outside your mind’s cage.
Let it be released.
Let it rage.
The passage of time is
The rise and fall of moist, warm bodies
An eight legged chimera
Wet and heaving.
The slow pulsating of inanimate
Heaps of rumples sheets,
The floor is a lake of starless night
On which we precariously gloat.
I have no hands anymore.
They are a painting ruined by rain,
And artist, enraged, draws
Ten in the place of one.
There is a woman brought out of the sea
Soft bluish skin, a mermaid
Asleep, smiling in the darkness.
Bag of bones.
Wraiths swim in front of a void of
Destroying all light, heat, life.
Our fused bodies
Are at once a hibernating beast
That blooms into a flower
Each petal carving it’s own path in the night air.
The first phantom
Is twenty white faces in broken glass
An eye where a nose should be
Four mouths fighting to be seen
The second phantom
A face of black silk melted onto marble
Horned like the devil yet silent,
Like a regal Fury.
And what I behold before the great void
A tragedy written in a living mural,
The face of the white phantom bursts
Into a silver phoenix,
Ebony peacock feathers explode from
The Fury’s neck like a crown.
Claws, wings, teeth
Surging and pushing against some
Invisible barrier of liquid smoke.
Their grotesque mouths move yet the sound
Is of muted mourning screams.
A silent longing
Unheard by my mortal ears.
A singular desire to erase
And fuse into an almighty being.
I covet your hands.
They will let
Water, sand, and someone else’s love
Slip through tiny gaps between
Yet they will never let go
Of the memory
Of what you touched.
Of who you touched.
Trafalgar Square at 3 am waiting for a bus home
Wearing a jacket too big for me
Strangely enough the collar still smells like you
Of your trust
It’s easier to pretend it’s not the sleeves
But the ghost of your arms that are shielding me from
The midnight breeze
When the bus comes
I feel a little warmer
Every time I say your name
Flowers bloom in my lungs
Invisible fingers curl around my spine
Butterfly wings beat hurricanes in my
The pressure is so strong
You could shove your hand down my
Pull out diamonds.
My name in my language
Rolls off the tongue like liquid silk
Music on the ridges of the palette.
But in your language it’s the
Violent scraping of teeth
All wrong and aggressive.
Isn’t it strange;
I only ever love my name
When you say it.
You’re not a fire
That burns bright for an instant
Only to be snuffed out by time.
You’re a flood.
And God how I want to float in your waters
And drink the life that pours out of your mouth till I too
Become a flood
And sink the world in life.
Something as self-contained
As a storm in a teacup
Remains in equilibrium
So long as no one
Asks for a cup of tea.
I wash the sin from my hair at dawn
With rose water and the last remnants of moonlight.
I scrub my feet with rags dipped in milk and yesterday’s prayers.
I have sandalwood incense sticks for fingers,
Braided coconut husks for ribs,
And jasmine blooms for a womb.
Swirling mandalas trace themselves on my thighs in fine ash,
Bright vermilion pours from my parted lips.
The fire is stoked with charcoal and cinnamon in my belly,
The bells are silent in my throat,
Waiting for the ritual to begin.
Qamash tied around my ankles
Pulls my legs apart.
This is where you come to pray.