The Purple Cape

of a comic book character

broke free from

the minds of the children

playing in the verandah.

In the wind

it floated through the dark passageway

of bathrooms bursting with stars

into the mango tree nearby.

There it remained stuck in the branches

mistaken for a bedcover

which I always cover myself with

before going to sleep.

Looking out at the sky today

from my window

it’s beautiful bright blue

everything seems perfect.

Part of the terrace

of the building across mine

is a child’s painting

from a sketch-book.

Two white pipes

rise beautifully quiet.

A crow flies next to it.

 

The above poem is from my second book Circling the Sky (2013).

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Things Are Not Like That

not the way they seem

it is not about an old street

late in the evening

there is more

that we don’t know

there is the moon

bright and high up shining

and there is the

beautiful dark blue bed

of the sky in which we sleep

we are shooting stars

passing through

and our lives are short and sad.

You Will Have To Look

far and wide

and deep within

yourself

until the glazed bottom

turns into a green ocean

you will churn

and burn

and learn

everything you

need to know

and think

that is enough

you are wrong

to think of yourself

as King Kong

when you are being played

like a game of ping pong

ding dong

it rings a bell

and you say well

I’ve been here before

life show me

show me more

that’s the spirit I say

and if you think like this

get on your way

it’s a long time

a long time

before the day.

Years Ago

it had settled in my head

like a scene from a picture-book

the boat-ride to the other side of the shore

a former class-teacher and her family

the derelict church and its graveyard of skeletons strewn

the long walk along the island of red earth with swaying palm trees

the sea rising like some furious living creature

frightening the child who fell into it

and rose with no support from the sky abandoned floating like a kite

farther and farther away

the man with his long bamboo pole picking a singing slipper

nothing was amiss after that nothing at all

all the pretty cottages in rows quiet in paradise peace

welcoming the stars so loud in their laughter

I cannot contain this joy rising inside me

breaking into lines of light dancing so rhythmically I remember.

 

The above poem is from my second book Circling the Sky (2013).

The Building Was In Black

and white

like a dream

so diminutive

its two storeys

its wings

its arches

its red tile roof

flashing

in light

and silence

the heart

is still there

in its place

you have straightened

your hair

you have shaved

your head

you I did not recognise

you look so different

you are in a foreign country

you are smiling

you are holding your child

and I am there too

how many of us had a clue

as the winds blew

and the birds flew

I am saying I love you.

Now The Falling Day

how it dives

like a dove

how it is sacrificed

at the mad altar of the scorching sun

how hot the poor people burning

is this life

I ask myself

and I burst into a billion fragments

this is what life does to you

I hear the stars sing

and the oceans echo the endless waves

lashing the earth our poor mother

onto which we now fall like dust.

Ovid

I say

bring paradise

bring that green garden

on the hill

with beautiful and strong trees

bring that white bird

that flies calm like the wind

like the warm sunlight in your eyes

sometimes Ovid the mind simply breaks

the body crumples its bones become dust

and darkness descends into darkness

like an invisible falling staircase

Ovid bring song

bring sheep and rivers that delight

how the city burns like paper

its black smoke its heat killing us

like flies

Ovid let your drumbeats roll like calm white clouds quiet

give us our wings and let us fly

let our hearts drink the blue mist of your high mountains

let them quench their thirst Ovid

see the millions their bare bodies hard and miserable

how they disappear on the horizon

how the dizzying darkness now takes my speech my tongue

Ovid it is all just too much

Ovid I say

bring paradise.

This Fall Into The Gutter

This endless swaying of the green treetops

The beginning of the world

The tie and the bridge and the tongue burning

The hare and tortoise race

Madness

Howling men and screeching spitting women

Children hanging from trees upside down grunting like stray dogs

I swallow the oceans with all its creatures and life

I switch on all the streetlights and then I switch them off

I hound all the bars all the shops selling skulls and bones and flesh

I eat 200 cats and 400 rats and 600 bats

I eat every strand of my hair running wild

Through the shops closing shutter

And now you can imagine my fall into the gutter.

How The World Sulks

in the heat

like an animal

it’s too much

these dull periods

too heavy

makes me think

of life as garbage

rotten fruit peel

waste excreta

mud dirty napkins

and soiled paper

all this and then the noise

see how the vehicles go screeching

down the sky

and the birds how they fly scared

hurrying home

and the faces of the people

O it is just too much

the way the windows look

any moment now

a shard of glass

could turn you

to a piece of blobbing

blood and bone

you will go down

like everyone else

you will feel like a lame blind dog

you will smell

and you will

lose yourself

in the ensuing chaos

there you are

I see you

your bloodied body

almost gone

no arms

no legs

no torso

your face

fading away

your eyes

beginning

to close.