21st-century blessing

May you never know the meaning of terror.
May your hands and heart be held as often as they
need holding. May your children, if you have them,

want everything they have. In a world where more
is always better, may you forget to keep count.
In the midst of summer, may you find shade,

however scarce it may become. When you find
a place to stay, let it be safe or at least let it be
safer than the place two blocks away. And even

if you don’t believe in prayer, may you fall
to your knees sometimes, and when you rise,
may your world be bigger than it was before,

and may it stay that way as you glide or stagger
or wander as best as you can into the future
that waits for nobody and will not wait for you.


contributed by R. Delaney on feelgrafix.com



This is before the bruise, the eventual scar,

before two days of watching the swelling

darken, before wondering if it was enough

to fracture bone.            No, this is metal and wood

and you over a valley,     concrete ravine

waiting to swallow your next landing.

It doesn’t care what you do in the air.

We are a different story.             180s, back-

and front-side, nose grab over an eight-stair,

the varial you can almost land     again and

again. Still trying.            Why just pivot

when you can pivot       fakie – 360 that trick,

add a kickflip. Nobody wants to

talk about balance,         much less          you and I,

a double grab    off our favourite ramp

the closest we come                   to compromise.

No wonder we grind towards pain, when it’s

not even an afterthought, eclipsed by      hang

time and a heartbeat       lighter than air.

            One one thousand,

                        two one thousand, keep counting,

eight steps can feel like a mile.



Stock image from Dreamstime, by Arenacreative

(S-K-A-T-E refers to an informal game sometimes played by skateboarders. Players take turns executing and replicating tricks to earn points or ‘letters’ in the word SKATE.)

À Samedi

On the Sabbath, the Lord took rest
but not the day before that, not
on the day of the Baron, no sir.
No rest for the wicked and none
for those who make them – no sleep,
no death is still enough, nor long
enough, not with all these souls to
carry across day after day and night
after night after night. The Baron
keeps busy, runs hisself ragged, but not
too busy for the likes of you. Never
say no to your rum and baccy, poor fodder
but that’s all you’ve got and that’s all
the Baron ever asks in return for what
all he’ll do for you if you ask him
nicely. It’s the small things, a bite,
a cigar, some coffee – he’s not so far from
the man you need help with, who hasn’t
turned to rot in the grave, the man who
isn’t a man anymore but comes walking
in your nightmares. No sir, the Baron’s
got empathy. Got a heart or used to,
just kidding, big difference, no voodoo
strong as the Baron when he works. Work
hisself to the bone, so many crossroads
to walk between the living and the dead,
but don’t you worry, he’s never missed
a meeting, not even with those forgotten
by the Good Lord, no sir. The Baron’s
the one you want when it’s getting cold,
when your body’s too full of the poison
of living, when all you need’s a little
rest in the soft dark earth, so that
when you wake, every day’s a Saturday.

baron samedi (wandering-earthchild)

Note: Baron Samedi (Baron Saturday) is a high-ranking Caribbean-origin loa (spirit/supernatural go-between) whose dominion includes, but is not limited to,
the dead, dying, cursed, and reanimated.


Some bodies cradle aeons of
tectonic songs. Galveston silt
and Polynesian myth, it doesn’t matter

which creaking ocean swayed at rest
when Hinemoa swam towards her lover’s music,
we’ve all heard it – the static

just beneath the tide, a turning
record lost above the horizon.
Submerged long enough, meaning erodes

so listening is all that’s left, not self,
not silence. Nothing twilight touches
can sound the length of this wave,

unravelling in fathoms and fathoms to
echo the only words worth knowing.


David Doubilet – Stingray with sailboat, Grand Cayman

No News Is Good

after Nicanor Parra, Sentences

Everything is sacred.
Making money out of water

has never been easier. Happiness
can be digital. Two wrongs
don’t happen by accident.

What can’t be figured
out can’t be figured in.

What is waiting has been
waiting for a while.

Forgiveness has no end.
The canyon is a cloud.
Nothing is reversible.



Underfoot snow, colder than stars
and brighter. The last sounds sink
without echo. In sixteen hours
of night, night lit strangely
like heaven, even time has a shadow,
even breath must leave as smoke
a trailing skein of warmth.
To freeze could mean solitude,
to drift into sleep alone and at peace,
or to stay awake watching the slow descent
of stars into the earth. Whose arms stay
outstretched in gratitude, whose birches
in dingy stripes root the horizon? So wide
the sky you could fall into.


Winter trees by Bryan Hansel


What is the sea urchin
in your throat and what depths
does it come from? Green or purple,
they somehow eat kelp, sometimes
getting caught in low water,
sitting ducks for someone else’s
discomfort. While waiting for the tide
to return, birds crack open
molluscs, crabs, sea stars, feast
on the helpless insides.
A surprising number of things
hate being touched, would rather grow
defenses twice their actual weight.
Inside the mass of spines, perhaps
a word, maybe a name, its prickly carapace
a battle between what you want
and what you would never say.

sea urchin (gettyimages)

Green spiny sea urchin, Getty Images.

Note: I realise that I run the risk of expending more space and time on apologies for hiatuses than on actual poetry.

New Wuxia

Heron parts the reeds, two
handfuls of light and air. Ink on
water. Divide the moon into
daytime and dusk. The mind is
a void, is the distance between
now and heaven. Become mist,
here where you stand, mist over
still water like glass. Reflect deeper.

Heron takes flight, wind moves
among lilies. The body is a shadow
like any other. Is it not tethered
to the soul? Does it not follow
the mind as a shadow follows the sun?
Become breath, escape your lungs
like smoke; like fire, fill the space
between light and darkness, and darkness
will be a road towards heaven if you seek it.

great blue heron (kevin fleming)

Great blue heron by Kevin Fleming

Note: Written for an assignment on figurative language. Wuxia is a genre of Chinese fantasy, based on martial arts, honour, revenge, and loyalty. Here, the values and forms of Chinese swordplay philosophy provide a play on movement, meditation, and spiritual journey.

Theme and variable transmission

Symphony, I said, and meant ‘all these different
musicians on a stage playing notes off a page’,
until you showed me piston slap, clutch and flywheel,
the steady, honest rhythm of crankshaft and camshaft

and half-speed rotations. I know we can’t hear it,
but this is real chamber music, live from the distributor,
melody of octane and oxygen, brass and strings
suspended together in fluid coupling. Surely

this is what con fuoco means: sparks, a collision
in pitchless consonance, mechanical expression
and thematic engineering inverted in a suite that still
turns over itself long after we leave the concert hall.

In the orchestration you know, each movement
leads to another, differential joints sequenced
like episodes, modulations, transformations.
What have you conducted, how many fugues

for this ensemble, toccatas in moto perpetuo
all those gears in counterpoint, constant progression
from manifold to manifold, allegro-andante-
presto, intake and exhaust.

(for a writing exercise on diction)



I could have sold you
stars like apples, or paper
cranes in chains for miles.
My arms were full of mixtapes
then, my younger heart an island
of dirt held together by cotton
thread and pride. What I had
was always enough, maybe too much
at the time. Later, as a stranger
I wandered through a town built
on reclaimed land, sea-dust still
drying on its roads and roofs,
already starting to become soot,
a town I took with me because
I couldn’t stay there myself.
You can’t buy that today.
What I carry in this thoracic
space isn’t always for sale,
but some things I eventually give
away. In the end, everything I keep
turns into music. Someday there will be
nothing here worth trading.


Deviant Art: thetachi546