Truth burns blue

No one knows how to heal our broken world,
barely held together by twisted concertina
wire. We made enough to circle the night.
Several times. How else will we protect us
from ourselves? How will we decide which
side is free? Truth burns blue on the pyre,
it’s final act of resistance is to choose if
it should turn into smoke or ash. Then why
does the air still reek of toxic optimism?
Aren’t bright eyes and unbidden cheer
frightening in the dark? I push his hand away.
Hope, I tell him, is just another four-letter
word. He laughs, his breath oddly warm,
frankly, what other option do you have?

Poetricks

Lay down the aphorisms, brick by brick. Play word-
tricks: the awkward juggler has to catch all the

balls tossed in the air, here homonyms fall neatly,
at their pleasure. Isn’t war, unwarranted? Isn’t man,

manipulated? Was there a poet present when light
emerged to rhyme with night? Dot every ‘i’ in

strength and truth and togetherness. Open a popular
wound. Hyphenate the personal and the eternal.

Bleed a little. This always works. Show just enough
flaw so it seems perfect. (They have learnt this from

sighing at the moon.) Cross every ‘t’ in grief and smile
and morning. Pour a free-size ending that fills every

thirsty mouth. Hurry. Is there room between the first
right and the last rite for one more rhetorical question?

RIP

Poetry is dead. Long live the poems.
Does the poet still bears the burden of dissent,
of finding new words for a retro revolution,
when there are none left?
Let the seas rise, the cities fall. Let the snow melt.
Let the last of the evil fly one-winged, out of that box.
Let the chasms widen until
there are no more rivers to run through them.
Let people be divided over and over and over again
till they fit in tiny spreadsheet cells.
Let me be gathered as a data point by a factory of
algorithms that build a bubble around me.
Wasn’t it the scriptures that said that the world is just
perception. (And that was before Facebook.)
What do you want to resist most, today?
What outrage fills your coffee cup this morning?
How many odd tweets does it take to draw an even breath.
Because I have no poem for you to declaim.
No verse for you to hang your mask on.
No couplet. (What rhymes with orange or against?)
Go stand upon your upturned crate and say to the
three-and-a-half people around you that
poetry is long dead. Gone.
RIP.
Now kneel for a minute in silence.

Hello, it’s 2021!

Why does it seem like more has happened in 11 days of this year than in 12 months of 2020? Sigh.

Am grateful to all those who have been reading and responding to my chapbook “The night is my mirror”. It has given me the momentum I need for a couple of new projects this year. A book, perhaps, and an anthology, maybe. Fingers crossed!

Meanwhile, I read this beautiful collection by Susan Chast. I posted a review on Instagram (@tp_poetry), but here it is again for those who don’t do the ‘gram. The book is available on Lulu.com and I totally recommend you grab a copy.

Grieving into love: Friend, Family, Neighbour – poetry by Susan Chast

An ode to grief, a handbook of acceptance and healing, a heartfelt record of love for self and family and community, this collection is a cathartic expression of the medley of emotions that comes with loss. Susan both enthrals and educates with standout lines like these that will forever become part of your everyday lexicon:

“But birds,birds! I’ve opened the window/ and thrown out the dead. Now you must leave, too./ I’m cleaning out the nest, longing to fly.” -Trying to move, but birds are in the way
“Last time it rained, I stood arm in/ arm with a white pine to feel drops/ glide on skin, to drink with my fingers.” – Becoming a weather Vane
“…Nothing is fuller than this moment/ of life caught in the lens of emergency.” – The metaphysics of family emergency
“Timber. Timber. O!/ Call loud for the fallen whose/ roots still feed the earth” – Timber
“Judas moaned. Ah, rope. Was I ever in control?/ Who profited when I took money for my soul?” – A very good deal, maybe
“So, friend, let’s talk about making Black Lives/ Matter while we walk six safe feet apart.” – I am white

Wish you a year of fruitful reading and writing. Stay safe, while virus vs vaccine plays out!  

New chapbook: The night is my mirror

from then to now
is never the same distance as
from now to then

From my new chapbook: “The night is my mirror”.

Through the lockdown and the near-isolation, words were hard to find, but this came together in the last few weeks and I am delighted to close the year with relief, gratitude and hope.

I think the poems are real and personal and have been churned out by the silence, unease and reluctant acceptance that was 2020. If you’d like to read the chapbook, do give me a shout and your email information.  and I will send you a copy.  (leave it in the comments section or write to suspension.point@yahoo.com)

Happy holidays and a very happy new year.

****

This micropoem was selected by a reader from Ireland, Jane Carson,  who reimagined it and posted it on instagram with a beautiful soft background. I love how poems resonate differently with readers and grow bigger than the poet’s imagination. The original melancholy has somehow morphed into a kind of optimism. 

The night is my mirror

A little chapbook to end a year that has been challenging in so many ways. This collection of poems came from the long months of lockdown and silence. The poems are personal and were hard to write. I hope you can connect with them in your own way.

Write to suspension.point@yahoo.com for your free PDF copy.

Warm wishes for a better, hopeful, safe and healthy 2021.

2020: Outro

What one poet learnt from 2020:  Preview DRAFT 1.x

  1. It is never too early for an outro.
  2. Rain is louder than thoughts, but only in the first four three minutes.
  3. Our Your shadow is still stuck to my wall, where it was cast, without care, that last weekend before the first lockdown.
  4. At some point, I turned this year into a convenient excuse. Like you did.
  5. Probability is inversely proportionate to the length of silence. Words however cannot change the outcome.
  6. If so much pain seems senseless, a little little happiness, by extension, is senseless too.
  7. Every existential equation is solved in the songs the birds made up when humans emptied the streets.
  8. The thing is, phone calls end. Like life. Like time.
  9. It doesn’t take that long for “every day felt like a year” to become “a year that felt like a day”. (It takes a day. Or a year.)
  10. Isolation is terrifying without a secret preoccupation. (Unless you are secretly preoccupied with the terrors of isolation, in which case the preoccupation is terrifyingly isolating.) (Why secret?)
  11. Being a poet during a pandemic is a test of brevity. How best can the endless void, the featureless grey wrapped sky, the road that bends into the horizon, the distance that is measured in everything other than distance — how best can the infinite be compressed into neat lines that in the seventh reading still make some sense.
  12. Size has swapped meaning. Big has turned small. Little is too much. Consider. The Universe. One word. Forever. Now.
  13. Mostly, just #11.
  14. Truly, just #4. But concise is always a verse, thirteen verses too long.

A poet asks if we should keep writing poetry

It’s hard. Not all of 2020 can be kneaded into grief-
shaped poems, most parts are so silent and so

alone – pages filled with punctuation marks that
have lost their words: forlorn ellipses going nowhere,

commas waiting between space and space and question
marks that know answers have been quarantined.

Not all of 2020 can be shaped into light, darkness
shifts in unexpected places, strange, defiant. On a mid-

November Diwali morning, in a year that broke in
March, I wonder what poetry is – anymore? Stepping six

feet away from a stranger, I look into his indifferent
eyes. I pretend he is smiling behind his cotton mask.

 

A flash of inspiration from Khaya’s post.  Happy Diwali! Wish you love and light and – a vaccine!

Like an ache, like a fervent prayer

Come quickly then, familiar stranger, familiar
touch, familiar taste — love waits to flower in

the cold sun of November. We will moult the
skins of the months of separation and find that

our snake souls are chameleons: changing colour
to match the unslept sheets. Nothing learnt,

nothing gained in the static months, racing into
familiar fields to reap what we never thought to

sow. How long, how long before we remember
these times of distance again, fondly, like a

memory, like an ache, like a fervent prayer?
Winter will come, with its lantern light and

unfeeling skies, winter will come like a train
on a moonless night, as if nothing ever happened.