On this page is a sample of the poetry I write when something so momentous happens and I have to write it down. Not everything has a story arc to it. Some things can only be expressed in short bursts.
Christchurch, NZ – 15 March 2019
This poem was written in response to the mosque shootings in New Zealand. It could have been anywhere, and this poem doesn’t reflect on NZ but on the narrative that is out in the world right now and is seeping into our societies everyday.
the world was so big and
everything outside your gate was
wars on foreign shores were dark
symphonies conducted by despots,
played in muted tones like a
grainy black and white movie on a
wooden TV set, or a dismembered
voice on an old transistor.
you could close half an eye and
not see anything but your own misery,
which you could dance away or push
into a stranger in the dead of night
with alcohol fuelled abandon.
even morning bird song sounds
threatening, and both eyes
are stapled open by media
that is anything but social.
the full colour, full frontal, hate filled,
hate-full, bright white evidence
is so overwhelming that you can
only take it in small bytes or in
cute little espresso style purple mugs
with thumb prints of red.
On the balcony hangs a glass feeder
rimmed with red plastic, holding sweetness.
The rain forested mountains behind
show up in miniature reflecting through
the glass in muted tones, carrying
memories of snow globes with imaginary lives
that have no place in the heat of dry season.
Tentatively, a Black-Throated Mango arrives on wings
that thrum to a private beat.
Beak dips in and out and, with a flash
of lightning blue, he flies away and lands on
a nearby branch, shadowed against the sky.
More come, dipping and dancing, while sunlight
is glancing off the artificial nectar.
The dance turns wild, a chase ensues
and a quick witted Ruby Topaz is gone,
a White Necked Jacobin in pursuit.
A Bananaquit leaves the coconut tree
and lands on the feeder.
He sips the sugar water
as though it is his.
If we were ours, just for today,
I would place my heart in your centre
where you could taste the weight of
its years and the lightness of right now.
I would trace your story like waves’ fingers
playing a piano concerto over the sea;
read the braille of you with strokes like
warm oil gliding over your soul.
I would slide behind you and cradle you
in a lovers rock, whispering the universe
against your ears, of where you are
and where you’ve been.
If I was yours and you were mine and
we were ours, just for today,
time would stop and the earth
would forget to breathe.
A silver breeze ruffles a curtain
of green cotton, passing a crestfallen
angel with red shoes.
People cackle and titter and
a wagon hurtles past, its destination
of little importance.
Crockery patters against a plastic bowl
recalling memories of a sister standing up.
Old lives are laid out in glass coffins
partitioned, numbered, selected.
Dainty egg sandwiches wait against
a backdrop of Polite Literature.
Huey P Newton – A Poem
This morning I put on my crisp,
creased to perfection,
pockets pressed down.
And Bob revisited me in a rock style
round of black vinyl and I stood, poised,
the sunlight through the old net curtain,
glanced off my body, warming half of me,
slipping into the contours of my torso,
easing the pain of muscles
pumped up with weights.
I am philosophized and doctored and
my well-fingered, full-thumbed
books pile high or stand in uniformed attendance,
a testimony to the knowledge of a system
I have been through, am going through
will fight through for the rest of my life.
Behind me, in remembrance,
are white chains, lazily linked
The Black Panther lies gracefully
at my feet.