Before the Floods

30 Dec


Notebook impressions from a week in Devon a few months ago.  

Before the Floods
Ashburton, Devon – September 2012


Outside I hear the traffic, morning crickets,

a bird’s low hoot, a fierce rustle of trees and voices

making plans for the day. I will spend it going within.


I need to. No, I choose to, this stuff is beginning

to reek. A negative assumption acting like a positive with

more of the same fixing to stick.


I feel pain in mind. Why does it hurt so?

The energy of this motion, this discordant moment

of moving through, jars my natural motion to happiness,

satisfaction, love, harmony, hope, peace, love, living.


I did hear one truth: I needed to get over this.

To rest my case upon the green, green grass

of new growth. The otherside, where hope meets

glory and life affirming nights become.


Beyond the trials exists the unexpected; the unexpected

exists beyond life’s trials, without which nothing changes,

the opportunity to evolve, thwarted.


Outside I feel the fresh winds in the town market,

colours bustle and people shine. The road is cobbled.

The mountain peak backdrop reminds me of the heights

we can climb, reaching the top, leaping in faith.



I cannot hear much, I can mostly feel

everything is perfection. This is what I will

hear tomorrow morning.


Does it matter when I hear this, if all is perfection?

Tuned into vibration when so I did, I know that

all of life is on purpose, divine, faultless, flawless.


I listen when it does not feel this way.



In Devon, I did not pack warm enough clothing.

Glacial voices clamber up a curved stairway,

undulled by carpet fibres and echo through thick

stone walls in this quirky terrace house by the pub

where I am paying rent. I want to charge damages

for the injury to my unclothed soul.



A word called, ‘who?’ Where wings of thought

spread from East to West and the war rages.


And, how? Can Dr. Hawkins believe that war

is perfection? Soldiers taking the lives of others

along with their own souls.


The filthy alleyway he spied strewn with garbage,

the ‘cute’ dead animal and the hungry tramp who

I imagine felt much less a rare oil painting.


Poverty, war, hate, conflict. Why do we mess up

in such an organised way? Perhaps this is perfection.



September 11, 2012

First of all I want to send out love an light

to all the families who have lost loved ones.


I want also to send love and light to the hearts

of the perpetrators of evil atrocity.


May our Gods help them.


12 Nov


Poster from the gig I featured in last week, while travelling in Kenya. It was a trip!

My Matatu Life – a poem

11 Nov

(Written recently to add a Kenyan flavour to my set on tuesday).

Part 1:

From Karen I walk to Twiga Hill Road

the giraffe hill that stretches long in the sun.

My vision mottled as tarmac heatwaves undulating slow

Maasai mother hips slow, as a new born angel sleeps

head close to Motherland’s heart, bom boom, bom boom

each step a pulse beat in time; heartbeat of Kenya.

Beneath a power line charger I wait on the dry earth,

bushes green about my shoulders and the sun is still sky high.

Matatu, matatu, where are thou, matatu? Speeding and tilted leftside,

the dusty arms and thin legs of the conductor flailing from its open door,

shillings flapping between ashy fingers and I tell him where I am heading.

I have learned: Never tell where you are going. They are always going your way,

no, look him in the eye good when you hear, ‘you can get a connection!’

Kenya National Museum welcomes me, snake garden peaceful

and the river runs through. Stone faces to the sun, silent voices rest,

and I eat my red bean stew and ugali lunch.

Again I am walking, my footsteps fast, bom boom, bom boom,

I accompany the whir and rush of highway traffic and

I cross like a Kenyan, walk quickly, but do not run. I have become

an expert jay-walker as I pass the sign that says, “Pedestrians

must not walk on flyover.”

Bad planning or rapid growth? Commerce off the charts?

Three million Kenyans in X square miles of land?

One hundred thousand cars on X length of tarmac’d roads?

Questions? Questions? Matatu, matatu, where art thou matatu?

After fifteen minutes of hopeful walking the Rahimtulla Tower in my sights,

a leaping matatu finds me. He tells me destination town, when I ask.

One space left at the back, bom boom, bom boom, my backside

hits the riders left and right. I pay my thirty bob, as the work day ends.

Part 2:

The matatu crawls up over the curb

and like a sea monster empties its belly.

My feet touch the ground destination ‘Thorn Tree Café,’

but the route is a mystery. Blindly amid human traffic,

the book in my hand is a shield and as sea monster island fades

quickly from mind, the diesel scent still lingers.

I side step a couple dressed for business,

a young child with neck ties hanging from fingers, a girl, a guy,

a man pushing an iron trolley slaloms through gridlocked traffic,

a woman carrys shopping bags, bom boom, bom boom her pace is measured.

The scent of nyamo choma hits me, barbecue savoury the spell broken

and I’m playing it safe before I’m lost in the melee, before this vortex

of humanity swallows me whole. I spy a taxi rank outside a hotel.

He says 300 and I walk away pretending the purpose in my strut,

moments before I turn back and offer 200Ksh for the fare.

We agree on 220 and I take the 100 yard taxi ride.

At the entrance to Sarova Stanley five star hotel, temporarily

halted I pass through the metal detector, bag checked (I beeped)

and inside the restaurant cafe the welcome is warm, unlike

London where they will look me over to guage my star status.

Seated on the terrace the traffic rushes, bom boom, bom boom,

just the otherside of the stain-glassed screen. The waitress smiles

and I’m offered the menu. It’s not too long before gladly

a sip of white wine. For the day at least,

I’m done with my matatu life.


Happy World Book Day!

6 Mar

What book or books are you reading right now? Comment below.


21 May

Esther Poyer:

Two for One – an interview with the excellent Jacob Ross as well as a short story submission opportunity. Who else is in?

Originally posted on Inscribe:

Jacob Ross; An Interview

Passionate elucidations of publishing, intelligent insights, and handy tips and advice for budding writers.

For those who don’t know who you are, could you give a brief introduction as to who you are and what you do?

I’m presently Associate Editor for Fiction at Peepal Tree Press which is the leading independent publisher of Caribbean, African and Asian related fiction in the United Kingdom. I am also a reader and tutor for The Literary Consultancy and run numerous Creative Writing workshops in the UK and abroad.

For several years I was a Judge for the Scott Moncrieff Translation Prize as well as the VS Pritchett and Tom Gallon prizes. My first novel, Pynter Bender, was published in 2008 and before that, two collections of short stories. I have been a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature since 2006.

I now live in Leicester.


View original 896 more words

4 Jun

Esther Poyer:

Helping to raise awareness is the least I can do. It’s also a great article and a good read. Namaste.

Originally posted on Curses and Riots:

I still get somewhat embarrassed mentioning the fact that I am sick. Shame can creep in pretty quickly and I feel I should apologise for not being fit or energetic enough to take part in a more active life. But thankfully that’s only part of the story. Perhaps this is an indication that my thinking is more about social conditioning than it is about my personality. It’s easy, for us all, to get the two confused. Luckily I have a stubborn streak – when something needs to be said I will not shut up, especially when the gauze of silence hides the truth.

And it’s this that prompted ‘Living Differently’ – a series of articles and interviews focussing on those affected by chronic and long-term health conditions. I’ll start by something that we all have in common and that’s sex. Or more precisely intimacy, because even if we are not…

View original 757 more words

A favourite poem, what’s yours? #7

24 May

From the Being Human poetry anthology, edited by Neil Astley. I have read mostly collections so it’s cool dipping and diving through this anthology. I like this piece by Hirshfield whose work I am familiar with. This poem totally spoke to me about a moment that was happening in my life, just yesterday. Nothing serious, but will tell about it soon.

What’s your favourite poem and how did it relate to your life that day?



Books to die for…

19 May


A favourite poem, what’s yours?

16 May

Six of the best #1

Check out this months round-up of the past few week’s favourite poems. Neruda, Jordan, Storni… in fact they’re all worth a re-visit.

  1. Naomi Shihab-Nye
  2. A. Van Jordan
  3. Jane Kenyon
  4. Stevie Smith
  5. Pablo Neruda
  6. Alfonsina Storni

YOUR favourite poems include:

Alright here goes my favorite poem by
Sarojini Naidu, an Indian poet and a freedom fighter.
LIKE this alabaster box whose art
Is frail as a cassia-flower, is my heart,
Carven with delicate dreams and wrought
With many a subtle and exquisite thought.
Therein I treasure the spice and scent
Of rich and passionate memories blent
Like odours of cinnamon, sandal and clove,
Of song and sorrow and life and love.

-Sarojini Naidu

A favourite poem, what’s yours? #6

9 May

Alfonsina Storni
May 29, 1892 – October 25, 1938

Alfonsina Storni. (Fotografía extraída del sit...

This lady has a very colourful background having travelled and lived in many parts of Western Europe and South America. She was a single parent, wrote about the erotic asides to life and given the era in which she lived, blazed a feminist trail with her perspective on the battle of the sexes. Her disregard for men was quite obvious. In 1938, broken hearted and ailing with breast cancer she died at sea under sad and suspicious circumstances if not, a somewhat dramatic explanation of events.Storni was only very recently brought to my attention by a fellow blogger and I don’t know enough of her work yet, to call her a firm favourite. However, the trilogy I have selected says so much of who this extraordinary lady was in quite a short space. Enjoy.

Sweet Torture

My melancholy was gold dust in your hands;
On your long hands I scattered my life;
My sweetnesses remained clutched in your hands;
Now I am a vial of perfume, emptied

How much sweet torture quietly suffered,
When, my soul wrested with shadowy sadness,
She who knows the tricks, I passed the days
kissing the two hands that stifled my life

Little Little Man

Little little man, little little man,
set free your canary that wants to fly.
I am that canary, little little man,
leave me to fly.

I was in your cage, little little man,
little little man who gave me my cage.
I say “little little” because you don’t understand me
Nor will you understand.

Nor do I understand you, but meanwhile,
open for me the cage from which I want to escape.
Little little man, I loved you half an hour,
Don’t ask me again.

I Am Going to Sleep

Teeth of flowers, hairnet of dew,
hands of herbs, you, perfect wet nurse,
prepare the earthly sheets for me
and the down quilt of weeded moss.

I am going to sleep, my nurse, put me to bed.
Set a lamp at my headboard;
a constellation; whatever you like;
all are good: lower it a bit.

Leave me alone: you hear the buds breaking through . . .
a celestial foot rocks you from above
and a bird traces a pattern for you

so you’ll forget . . . Thank you. Oh, one request:
if he telephones again
tell him not to keep trying for I have left . . .

Español: Firma de Alfonsina Storni


Victoria Beckham sized sunglasses… Poetry Film

6 May

Poems and things from NapoWrimO 2012

5 May

Call it a compilation, call it a round-up, or highlights?  I like, highlights :)

Here’s what’s been, this last month on the poetArt:

Travelling Light
This Man’s Watch

Circled Blue
God’s Acre

blind date, a poetry film
Sorry I Missed You, a poetry film
Goodbye Again

Skate Land

Saturday Night at the Movies, poem prompt
Saving Your Darlings, poem prompt
Responses in progress!

The Hang Over, just for laughs


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