Earth

When I die, I want my books

to contain explosions of flowers.

Bougainvilleas, hibiscus, and lantanas

marking the passing of seasons —

here is where I walked with my nephew

that summer when he was five years old

and still thought I was the coolest person ever.

Here is where an ex and I walked, early spring,

when I realised that fondness was not enough,

and I’d rather have love or nothing.

Here are the bougainvilleas from that afternoon

when I was so alone I thought I would die

but I didn’t and made tea instead.

I went out that afternoon looking for something,

and found it in this sprig of riotous purple

these flowers that bloom for no reason

except that they are alive.

It was a lesson in selfishness: why not take

comfort from the the world –

the wet nose of the neighbourhood dog

the arrow head of birds in flight in a blue afternoon sky –

when it gives so much so freely?

These dried flowers crowding between pages

marking the passage of a life as transient as their own –

may I be remembered as a life warmed by the same sun

and nourished by the same earth.

Tea

Tea is my most reliable friend.
Suddenly confronted by an empty house on a Friday night,
I can count on tea to bring warmth,
reminding me that though a great many things may be wrong,
a cup can hold a symphony of floral, citrus, and vegetal notes,
and curiosity is a good enough reason to keep going.

On afternoons when it feels like my mind wants to be anywhere but here,
away from this body, this moment in time, this material reality,
aswirl with imagined futures and painful questions from the past,
Tea is most often that stout friend who gently but firmly
leads me back to the present, turning my attention away
from what is ideal, towards what is important.

On some days it is just about companionship.
Watching the street corner from the balcony
as the monsoon clouds gather overhead,
Perched above people going about their daily lives,
Tea is that everpresent but silent friend
who witnesses the passing of my hours as I witness theirs.

Minotaur

Someone once told me a long time ago
that unlike the Minotaur I walk in a maze
of my own creation. Doubt and guilt
raise walls that veer off in strange angles,
lines of thought endlessly loop back on themselves,
and every fork in the road is relived
a thousand times after, and a million times before.
But as I get older, I find that the maze is losing relevance.
The future is no longer a path with infinitely branching possibilities;
it is a hill up which I roll the consequences of my past actions.
There is no “correct solution” leading to sunlight and accolades—
you just pick a direction and keep going, wondering
what surprising guest the next turning will bring.

Imbalance

Legends are full of people who surrendered
to their art their work their family their country their cause
laying down their lives at the altar of something
believing if not whole heartedly but adequately.

There are others who are masters of standing still.
Tall like trees and as nourishing
content to feel the afternoon sun strike their faces
the soles of their feet burried deep in the earth they call home.

But some of us live feels perpetually imbalanced,
years spent in the moment between tumble and
impact, slipping sliding lurching grasping
but hands closing on nothing.

But tell me, what is dancing but imbalance mastered?
There is some beauty too in swerving ducking turning changing,
and in that lurching from mistake to possibility
seeking meaning but finding grace.

The Long Dark

My favourite time of day is the hour before dawn

when the sky lightens implausibly while

the last stars stand resolute, defiant

and the strident calls of birds

combine with the rumbling of late night heavy

traffic, the rummaging of early risers, and

the scrapping of the broom of the tea master.

The ticking of clocks,

which seemed so loud only an hour ago,

is subsumed by this urban dawn chorus.

The city is slowly coming to life,

and I, having reached the farther shore of the long dark,

solitary in my small vessel but not alone,

retire to rest.

let the figs fall

 baby take it slow 

take it in

the figs are fallin

but there’s no point lookin

the sheets are crumpled

the books are in a tumble

but your skin is thirsty

and your eyes are hungry

your body speaks 

if only you’ll listen

 

baby take a breath

take a moment

the figs are fallin

and they’re not slowin

the road’s been long

and the maps are wrong 

you’re not here to stay 

and your stride is long

but you’ll see the crossroads 

if you stop to look around

 

baby let it go 

let it be 

the figs are fallin

though you’re tryin

a stranger answers

when your name is called

your glass is dirty

but the bar is full

and you’ll have stories

when you’re leavin