In The Kasbah

In The Kasbah


they eat sliced oranges
bright with sugar.

He pours mint tea from a height,
loves the drama.                     

She’s in his darkness. 
A purple shadow makes a thumb print,
a smudge, a small mistake.

It’s a squall of white that captures her attention,
alters something,

like the promise of a covenant.
She could speak
or take the lemons from this scrubbed table,

but she doesn’t want to disturb
the arrangement.         


First published in Crannóg, 2016

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After Cezanne

I saw a bowl of peaches on your desk,
no books, there were no words, no heat,
no candles spilling light. My life
was closed in your still hand,
I moved a finger slow across washed skin,
held fruit in my hands, rain fell soft,
small drops appeared above your lips
and hail hit windows.

First published in Crannóg

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The Paper Tree

I thrash from a sea bed to the surface, breathe,
backstroke through dreams. Last night –
Oxford. Jericho, cafes lit

in the afternoon. A panini, an Americano,
and I’m in every cafe where I talked with him
from here to Rosapenna.                 

The years flicker – notebook pages turn –
the story sleeps. I dig into my bag
for scissors, shred and quill paper. A tree rises

from the pages’ heart: its branches frayed. 
The table is scattered with paper remnants –
the book won’t close:

I hug it to me, leave
         and wander through crisp air. The tree
in my arms as my boots echo

I am with him again –
late at night in a cellar bar,
drinking till we fall.

First published in Prole

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A high pitch of mandolin and bazouki,
the clack of backgammon counters;
some place drenched with mint,
jasmine, and sweet coriander;
where night is absorbed into morning,
where the sound of the tide
is soothing white noise;                      
where there are no borders –
streets fall to the beach,
cedar watch waves, know secrets;
where there is no distinction
between memory and dream:
I pour myself, an offertory –
wake with incantations on my lips.

First published in Issue 1 of The High Window

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Liverpool Lime Street, Sunday Night

A wind like a paring knife peels the platform,          
lights are dim and two androgynous guards
pace, cheeks bulging before the next blast,   

a screel of suitcase wheels, a last minute stampede,  
high pitched yells, a pause – and the whistle –
a semibreve as the train pulls out.

Boys and girls, men and women,
two by two, pressed against railings,
arms hidden inside each other’s clothes.

Slow angel kisses, eyelids and cheeks,
then, Eskimo style, and sometimes, a change
of beat, butterfly kisses. My queue is single file,

chins to necks, stamping feet,
blowing into fisted hands. Vacant eyes.
I want to be in the kissing queue.

First published in Crannóg, 2014

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