Archive for the 'Death' Category

The end of the world

All my life I’ve dreamed of the apocalypse.
When I was a child I barred the doors
and windows against the invasions
that came when I slept.

Now that I’m grown
I still dream that it’s coming
I pack a bag and flee,
home is no longer a refuge.

When I’m awake I believe it will come
in slow small steps, unnoticed,
until it’s too late to get away.

Today I saw it
in the bodies of children
sleeping in the forest,
sprawled in town squares
on the other side of the world.

Then I turned and looked and knew
that it’s been here
all the time
behind me.



My black cat lives in night’s pockets,
screams like a peacock in the dark.
I hear his wail and try to think of God
as the Sufis say I should.

He cannot remember
where to find me.
It’s the suffering of old age
that cries out for company, for food, for love.

He is empty,
stuffed with nameless desire
that lives in his stomach,
in the hollow above his pelvis
in the sway of his back
and in the stink of his breath.

I hear the cry and awaken to memory
wrapped in night’s garment, calling out
“ here I am, I am here, you are not alone”.


Sometimes it seems
we don’t talk much
any more
the words have lost their way
teeth in a glass
spectacles next to the bed
when did it happen
where was I?

Sometimes it seems
pain could be truth
to hit my head
against the wall
not merely stub my toe
again and again
blood on the sheets.

Sometimes it seems
the world is sagging
like the springs of this bed
white paint flakes are dandruff
on the green stoop
the curtains are faded
the garden abandoned,
when did it happen
where was I?

do the whales remember?

here wild freesias grow
on the forgotten graves
of slaves and sailors

there whales flirt and float and flap their tails
and bear their calves in rolling waves
and sing their songs to all who heed

and just there on the harbour wall
men wielded knives and shouted jokes
there, the vats stood on burning coals
and boiled and stank of flesh and fat

the sailing boats are in the bay
summer winds blow through the pines
the mountain wears a pelt of flowers
wheeling seagulls cry and scream
who asked the question? Who will answer?


you packed your memories into boxes
labelled each one

left them in the kitchen
for your friends

you planned your death
in a hotel bed

told the police who to call
left us with the pieces

of your life
a jigsaw without a picture.

April 2019
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