portrait of an artist as a young woman

she said we were stars.
she said all of us
beneath our skin were
skies full of stars,
that blinking intercostal
was light indeterminably old
that peeling back clavicular
through muscle and bone
was like that first
catch breath moment
of karoo night – horizon
to horizon milky way.
she could paint us that way
peel back our skin
see the light of stars

The Starry Night – Vincent van Gogh














no excuse

we came without our gods,
without our sacred stones
carried from the place
the earth rent open and
birthed us from the void,
without the beasts that named us
or the trees that gave as speech,
with only the makeshift
sky god for company
whose truth bent ever
in our favour.

we came without our gods
lawless lost and empty
so we tried to take yours
from you – you were wronged
i am sorry.
and by the grace
of every god
that watched us
with a thousand eyes
unable to look away
while we plundered and stole,
i hope that we have failed
that your gods still live

and though the sky god said
worship no other god but me
he never could understand
our earth bound bodies
our need for earthbound
gods that were real
that we could touch
and hold and love.

so we try to make new gods
of desire and goods
and gold and want
dressing ourselves as deities
as the world we are is laid waste.

we came without our gods
lawless lost and empty
hungry for the gods you had
so we tried to take them from you
and when we could not take them
we tried to destroy them,
and by the grace
of every god that watched us
from a thousand eyes- unable
to look away while forest and river died,
i hope that we have failed
i hope our gods still live.

WhatsApp Image 2018-04-28 at 12.29.22




night rain
has given way
to a sky full of stars
not even the nightjar
wheels this frost blossom sky
too cold and
dark for birdsong.

nightjar (3)

as the mist leaves no scar – from leonard cohen


then we can go no further.
live no more without
light for the space between us
and the dark we must endure.

fall now, it is only sleep
my love, that yields us to
what never was ours to hold.
hawk flight leaves no mark on the wind.

there never was any speaking you
and our bodies remain as unowned,
the mist that steals the green hills
leaves no mark on the trees.


IMG_6996 (2)

For today’s poem a day for April I used the Napowrimo day 18 prompt using Leonard Cohens previously unseen by me- As the mist leaves no scar as a starting point.

“Our prompt for the day (optional as always) isn’t exactly based in revision, but it’s not exactly not based in revision, either. It also sounds a bit more complicated than it is, so bear with me! First, find a poem in a book or magazine (ideally one you are not familiar with). Use a piece of paper to cover over everything but the last line. Now write a line of your own that completes the thought of that single line you can see, or otherwise responds to it. Now move your piece of paper up to uncover the second-to-last line of your source poem, and write the second line of your new poem to complete/respond to this second-to-last line. Keep going, uncovering and writing, until you get to the first line of your source poem, which you will complete/respond to as the last line of your new poem. It might not be a finished draft, but hopefully it at least contains the seeds of one.”




coming clean


she did try to make
a molehill of that mountain
but when
he returned to them
he smelled like another country
like elsewhere and soap,
a distant shore –

and how could she
ever come home
to somewhere
she had never
been before.


quiet sundays at the lily pond

WhatsApp Image 2018-04-18 at 13.19.59


snake leans lazy on the lily pad
draped neck on stalk
its body elsewhere
it knows i am here
knows every penscrape pulsate
lymph squish movement of my
stillness at the lily pond.
in the mulberry tree above
the startle neck
iridescence of sunbird flickers,
breaking the spell.
snake is gone
not even a ripple in the water.