From many places, speaking truth
and making magic happen. Celebrating language.

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The Tomorrow War on want Water babies War Photo
The Lovers Lemon Love Dawn in Los Angeles The Longest Day
Haiku Haiku Word
Flamingo What's in a Name? Love is a Horse
Unnatural Act
The Greatest Loss
The Beauty and the Spy Intermezzo (nightlife) The Persian Carpet
Unbecoming Laughter A Seafarer's Tale Sonnet to a Schooner
Sonnet to Moon Rays
Friends (tough love) The Unanswered A man called Anders As time goes by
When Autumn Begins When I Met My Father Snow Cover The Ruled and the Poor
Go to Page 10 . Page 1 . Page 2 . Page 3 . Page 4 . Page 5 . Page 6 . Page 7 . Page 8

The Tomorrow

The old woman, her black shawl dust white
sits outside her ruined house, somewhere
in a village in Lebanon, in her lap a dead child;
as jets streak across the sky there is a funeral
in a small Texan town, a farm worker has lost
both his soldier sons, expendable in a war that
will constantly shift, where a temporary win is
a long setback. There is no relief, the wronged
today will be the transgressors of tomorrow.
This is the way of the world, humanity hasn't
changed since the domestication of the donkey.
But, in this dusty debris of war, there is a light,
buds of love on the tree of renewal, which we
mustn't throw to the miserable wind of hatred.

War on want

War in the valley; rabbits die to make a fur coat
for the winter queen and twenty pairs of moccasins
and as she trips along the track of rim frost, picking
up slain rabbits, wild boars snort, feeling safe, for they
know she doesn't eat ham made of their shoulders but
only turkey, to keep slim and her ankles are, it must
be said, a beautiful sight even with her hands so full
of rabbit blood that one would wish that she would break
one of them. The meat slain is going to waste, it could
have been given to the poor but the cost of cooking is
too high, cheaper to throw the meat away.

Cowardly dogs, man's best friend, have a feast getting
fat, wagging tails but hating your guts and dreaming
of the day when they can be the master race; Blondie,
Hitler's alsatian, nearly made it; like an idea she lurks
around dreaming of a thousand years. A pity her offspring
are soft with frail hips and puny bites and big whimpers
in their eyes, now that they have a perm once a week and
their toenails painted. The wild boar snorts, digs for
nuts in the woods and swims in the lake that keeps it trim
and young; if you ever kill one you are in for a mouthful
of treat, wonderful chops and nut tasting succulent ham.

Water babies

Tiny rain drops, water babies rolling down the window
drying as they do and leaving insignificant tiny white
marks that easily come off with vinegar and chamois.

It shouldn't really be raining now, the sun is around
drying flaking cement walls, homeless dogs and damp
mules that are like statues under carob trees watching
the roads with superb disinterest and with eyes that can
only see the world in black & white that make them
unsuitable as art critics.

The woman at the bus stop has long black hair full of
tiny pearls and she's a princess in a fairytale; wondered
if she had a prince in mind.

War Photo

Shelled tree in the middle of a silent battlefield,
littered by the scrap metal of war. Leafless
branches stretching up as if calling a higher power
to stop this madness. Here soldiers had to cross
open ground, where bullets flew like hailstones,
they fell like straw to scythe.

The photo was taken a spring day, dead bodies
will nourish the ground, and the machinery that
takes life will lay idle under a carpet of plants,
even the shelled tree has buds on crippled twigs;
in the nearby town a general sits on his horse
in the square, he's got bird droppings in his hair.

The Lovers

I died not long ago and became
a part of your sweetest memories;
a selfless lover's dream.

Lived there till you violently died
(colt forty five) and we both became
stuck as ire in your husband’s mind.

Mad he hung himself and the three
of us flew to amnesia where no one
remembers my birthday.

Lemon Love

On the hill where serious olive trees look
like an army of ancient generals, a lone
citrus tree stands and I, a yellow lemon,
long for love.

The maiden, who milks the dawn, came
and picked and caressed me with her
strong hands and kissed me tenderly till
I almost blushed.

She tripped on an exposed olive root,
I fell out of her hands and rolled downhill,
came to rest between two rocks where
a snake swallowed me whole.

She killed the snake, freed and dried me
on her apron that had pretty bluebells,
forgave me for running away then she
cut me in half and squished me dry.

Dawn in Los Angeles

Dawn, in the night bar, we are past talking,
sit inside our own delusions, yet know soon
we'll have to leave, but not yet, the day out
there is blindingly harsh and noisy.
The new barman looks green in neon light,
perhaps since March he hasn't known how
to smile, better not ask. A drinker stuck in
yesterday's headlines reads them over and
over again, pale lips move painfully slow,
a comedian orders a beer: "my breakfast"
he says, no one laughs. He's a rank amateur.
A sage looks up and utters: "We only need
help twice, when we are born and when we
leave this world." With that, silence falls like
a soggy leaf on asphalt, and as we listen to
the hum of the air-conditioning system, the sage
falls off his bar-stool

The Longest Day

Is endlessly grey, the green mountain where
dogs - rejected for not being pure bred - howl
to the godless sky, is obscured by a miasma
of gloom. The lake is filled with the tears of
losing football teams and watchers of soppy
TV shows, is lazy too; only half submerged
rowing boat makes a portentous presence,
signifying decay.

This night won’t be silky, the guitarist will
not wear a cape of silvery moonlight when
serenading his lust for love; bright stars
only appear in fairytales and in nurseries,
birdsong is a fading memory. I’ll open my
umbrella, walk outside and, if not hit by
lightening, stay there till clouds, mortified,
part and give the sun a chance to shine.



Cannons splinter rocks
On high mountain tops
Frost kills soldiers.


Linked embryos
Carry a nun’s silver cross
She bears our sins.


Poverty is grim,
The rich find it colourful
When seen on film.


I shed the shackles
Of the working class slums
Free now to dream.


After tantrums she laughs
Cooks me a curried chicken
I’m often hungry.


The vine, beautiful
Wrapped around an old oak
Killing it slowly.

When sun left
Ice roses appeared
On windows.

Tell a thousand lies
Carpet bomb the foreign land
Truth will rise again.


Yellow lemons
Among rain dripping leaves
Look tempting to eat

Yellow bananas
Flown from tropical Panama
Brighten winter days

Yellow plums
In the neglected garden
Are for nimble rats

Yellow grapefruit
Sterile as tethered mules
Are pink inside

Xanthous fluffy bird
Flaps yolk coloured wings
Picks the yellow fruit


Snowdrops are the white

You see in rainbows


A morning after rain I fell down a mineshaft
into a maze of tunnels made of melancholic
old man’s tears; at the end of a tunnel, a light
so sharp it sapped life's energy and pulled
me towards it like a magnet seeking a lose nail.
I threw myself into a side tunnel and found
a kaleidoscope of pulsating colours glowing
in perfect harmony, I could understand all.
Climbed up a ladder that had 95 rungs, five
more and I would have ended up in Nirvana.
I had overcome oldness and frailty, nothing
can get me low, I shall go on being grumpy
till I die.


Tempest had brought this rare bird to a cold,
Nordic shore, it found enough to eat to gain
strength for the flight back to a warmer clime;
pallid, the landscape, pink the bird, people
came from afar and cameras clicked.

There was an echo of shot in the night,
light came on in houses, memory of a war
wasn't quite forgotten. Morning came,
first day of spring and a few pink feathers
slowly blew in the warming breeze.

What's in a Name?

your nightdress
your sensuous hips
in the valley
of dreams;

where the nascent
of life is
set free
and nights are
fragrant silk;

your dream sighs,
a smile upon
your lips
as you murmur
a name
that isn’t mine.

Love is a Horse

Evening in Piraeus, going from bar to bar drinking
ouzo and ignoring "Never on a Sunday" emitting
from jukeboxes; I ended up in a house where scantily
dressed ladies sat slumped in armchairs, smoking
cigarettes and waiting for business to pick up.
A woman with a long face sat away from the others
looking as if she didn't belong, although she did neigh
when a raucous joke was told. The more I looked at
her the more I knew she was a beautiful mare with a long
flaxen mane. In her room of plastic roses, the scent of
leather and the aroma of dry hay; I paid the stable fee
and off we trotted, across the seas, to the pampas of

Unnatural Act

The man who masturbated under an oak in the hope of
being father of a tree was pleased when a sapling
grew on the spot of his semen, only it didn't grow tall
enough to be a mast on a schooner. It was crooked and
had few leaves and its bark was pale and sickly. Resentful,
he stopped calling the tree his little baby, chopped it
down instead and used it as a Christmas tree. Everyone
laughed and danced around the sad tree that wore a red
paper hat and not a star on its top. Sadness turned to hate;
in the night when everyone was asleep and drunk, the son
self-ignited and the house burned down, as snow fell and
roseate smoke lazily arose in the silence of the holy night.

The Greatest Loss

In the vast night where souls lament is an echoing silence.
I lost my shadow, absorbed in a glade amongst rare flowers,
not yet given a Latin name, hooting snow owls, ghosts of
teachers past, a two-faced moon and Chinese stars. Under
a Victorian gas lamp, in a town afar, my shadow joined me;
again it refused to say where it had been, but I'm glad
though, for without my shadow I would be a spectre that
haunts old houses and frightens those who fear the beyond.

The Beauty and the Spy

In Antwerp, walking home from the bar
I made a wrong turn and found myself in
a yard lit by light from an open kitchen
window; and there, by the sink, a huge,
nude, fat man stood washing himself

His whiteness so phosphorous against
brown walls that he cast no shadow,
his hand movement was in accord with
his giant body; like the blue whale, that
swims the seas, he was beautiful too.

Intermezzo (nightlife)

The café was empty
save for an old whore
eating chicken & chips and
drinking a litre carafe of
house wine.
I had borrowed her
newspaper and since
I wasn'ta client
she didn't embarrass
by trying to be sexy.

An extreme gay, black man
entered, clowned about a bit,
asked me for a beer.
I gave him an imperial
and he made silly walks,
talked non stops,
became tiring.
The owner told
him to leave.

The woman and I left
together, the owner
closed his café
for the night, I just
happen to turn around and
saw him letting the gay
man in again.

"They have been lovers,
on and off, for
years," the woman said.

The Persian Carpet

I bought a small carpet
from a man at the market,
I wasn't going to,
but when I asked him
to reduce the price
he shouted at me and the world,
said it was Persian,
so I hastily took it.

Rolled it out in the hall,
switched the light on -
nothing - and remembered
I had gone to town
to buy a light bulb.

Later, when my wife
came home from work
she slipped on the carpet
and broke a leg.

Unbecoming Laughter

All that expensive
white marble at the cemetery
blinded me,
another long-time friend
had stopped smoking,
I stumbled and fell into
a newly dug hole.

I had been looking at the bay,
it looked so peaceful,
my friend had been an eager

Mind, only my pride
was hurt, so
terribly embarrassing.

Later, around my
friend's coffin,
mourners had mirth
in eyes that should have
been filled with tears.

A Seafarer's Tale

I have seen the mountains when they
were raging seas, taller than Everest,
yet with a ballet dancer's grace, leap
across the stage of nature to the music
of Thor's thunder and howling winds.

Steady sea-legs now, hold on to an iron
railing, stay clear! Or the sea will bury
us under tons of water never to be seen
again. Yes, have seen peaks jive before
they turned into solid, silent rocks.

Sonnet to a Schooner

gavel to fall to the highest bidder, who will dismantle
her plank by plank, for material to build holiday homes
for the rich: "The floor you walk on was once part of
a ship’s deck," a home owner will proudly point out.
Doesn't he know she was built by hand and thus has
a soul? Seafarers' blood has dripped on her deck and
men have fatally fallen out of her rigs; funerals at sea
she has seen. If I tonight, when the wind comes from
shore, take a chance, set sail for the open seas, ghosts
of sailors past will come, man the rigs and set sail for
an ocean beyond the known, one unseen by any man alive;
only I’m not yet prepared to go there, so I'll
leave it for now, but will forever remember her well.

Sonnet to Moon Rays

Dug a hole in unwilling soil to bury my
dog when I hit upon a round ten kilo stone.
It rolled around on the grass like a cow let
out of the shed in spring, then came to rest
in the sun, free at last after a thousand years
in darkness. Too light for its size I thought,
and was right; when moon came, the stone
loosened into individual strands of silvery
rays that jubilantly flew up and joined their
mother… La Luna. Lost in a sudden storm
when time was new, before seasons became
a norm. Glad to have been of help, I thought
of my dog, she hadn't died in vain, yet I had
a sleepless night fearing my own demise.

Friends (tough love)

I lean on you till we both fall

We get up

And dust each other off

You lean on me

I move away

You alone fall into the dust

And I say:

Tough love.

The Unanswered

A mass murderer
Should there be room for pity
A crime so awful
Yet he was born an infant
Innocent eyes seeing the world

Forgive our hatred
If we have not the power
To forgive his sin
Forever we see him as a ghost
An echo of forbidden thoughts

From all minarets
The cry of one rightful god
A powerful faith
Too much for a godless land
Can we defy its power?

A man called Anders

He sits in his cell, not allowed to read newspapers
or watch TV. The centre of his mind is the coldest
place on earth…. He gives, for now, no ground for
responsible thoughts; say, he might have committed
an unspeakable crime. His mother has forsaken him
his father wishes he would have the sense to take his
own life. His cell is frosty blue, those who feed him
avoid eye contact. No hand reaches out to touch him,
and his former friends tell us he was a big nobody.
He cannot hear this; he will not hear, he is the king of
his own mind and mustn't stray from his chosen path.
Cosmic loneliness. If he, one day, wakes up from his
slumber of self delusion and sees how grotesque he is
there will be no one to embrace him and give succor.

As time goes by

In our town there were many small shops, one selling
buttons, another socks, and a hardware store should
you need a hammer and nails to hang a picture of
your mother-in-law in the living room.

There was also a shop selling scarves, and one selling
ladies' hats, and a third one, quite posh, selling suits and
ties. I mustn't forget the shoe shop; leather footwear
black or brown and white tennis shoes.

On our street of trade most shops have shut, those still
open are run by Asians, where you can buy all
you need for a very small price. If your shoes wear out,
no point going to the old cobbler, buy Chinese instead.

Red lanterns sway in the fiscal breezes of decline where
wistfulness has no price tag. But you must remember
this: a shop is just a shop. Yet, for sentimental fools like us
they bring back sweet memories of times gone by,

When Autumn Begins

20 hundred hours…is that nautical enough for you? Evening sky was marvelous,
I should have been a painter; my anemic words cannot do justice to the awe the
world still can offer those of us not blind. Blaring horns, the road back home is
narrow and impatient drivers wanted to pass. I pulled over and a driver shouted:
"fools like you should be barred from driving." Guess he was right. It was darkening;
quickly big, juicy drops hit asphalt, drummed on the roof and hollered: "save us, take
us home, we don’t want to fall on a useless road; we’ll water your rose bushes, the
thorny ones that cut your arms when you try to prune them; we can promise dew on
fresh roses for your lapel." ”Right! Like I should be a city gent, I haven't got a suit, so there."
Afar a fog horn blared melancholically; once I was a seafarer but the roses I met in harbour
bars had only vulgar beauty to offer. At home rain fell on old tiles. I made a whisky mixed
with rose dew and thought of lost love.

When I met my Father

There are many cargo ships in the bay of Cascais this Monday afternoon
and I think of my father, also a seafarer.

Last time I saw him I was eighteen, sitting on a bus going into town;
he saw me, but I looked out the widow pretending I didn't see him.

He looked straight ahead again, his face impassive, but I saw
tears trickling down his chin. When the bus stopped, I hurriedly left;
the old fool, I thought; most likely drunk. Rain cooled my flushed face.

During the war years, '40 to '45, my father sailed on ships delivering
war materials to Britain and Russia. He saw ships being hit by
torpedoes, men drowning in the cold Arctic sea. When he came home
He couldn't settle into a normal life and back then there was no help
for war-damaged seamen; many of them became drifters and slowly died.
My father was a drunk; I had seen him before, sharing booze
with his mates in the park, and I despised both him and them.
My father never played a role in my upbringing and my childhood
was needlessly hard because of him. But today, sitting on the terrace
overlooking the blue bay, I remember his tears.

Snow Cover

Protected by a gazebo in the park; it is snowing and the park looks calm.
A few days ago there was a storm and trees were uprooted, a skeleton was
found, probably of a bishop as the park is near the church and used to be
a cemetery for the rich and mighty. The bones will be tested to see how
old they are. Odd isn't, these bones are usually of men. What happened
to the women? Buried in marshland? Not worthy to rest amongst rulers?
It is almost noon, soon men in dark overcoats will come; they have been to
the wine-monopoly and to buy booze; as they have nowhere else to go,
they will find a park bench and drink. There will be arguments, fights will
break out and the police will come and arrest some. What an odd society;
'be conventional' is the exhortation to those who cannot end up in the park.
It has stopped snowing and city noises are louder. I look at my watch,
it's noon, time to find a place for lunch; I'll drink a bottle of wine with my
meat cakes and boiled potatoes, and leave the men in the park in peace.

The Ruled and the Poor

It is strange, usually when the Americans are bombing places
we are told how many got wounded, and died in their air strikes.
NATO has more or less carpet bombed Kaddafi's people for six
months, but not a word about causalities.

That makes me think they must be dropping chocolate drops
and not real bombs. Kaddafi used to pitch his tent wherever he
wanted in Europe and the high and mighty embraced him, but
he was not to be trusted, as he put Libya first in his oil dealings.

We get the sense that he is universally hated by everybody
in his country, but the poor benefited from his largesse
and the middle classes got a free education, but of course
not much room to express their enormous contempt for him.

One day when the poor cannot afford a doctor in a democratic
Libya and when teeth all rot and fall out, there might be someone
who will say: under Kaddafi all this was free and now we are reduced
to keeping the streets clean for the educated rulers.