The Sadness

Exiting the silence

Breaking open the Great Gate of Noise

Lingering in sinful atonement

Amidst clamorings of righteousness

Calls for justice and education

Meanwhile, across the water,

issuing instructions by loudspeaker

But stopping at our street

Let them sleep, let them sleep

Will this separate status?

Cost us our safety?

Ocean roars

Closer than close

Arrived on the wind

And I, exhausted, insomniac

Get ready to melt

Thundering surf, half moon light

A fragment of foam

As cities burn

An archeological layer in a story of sadness

Lock Down

The world will not have it

This idleness, empty space

Laying down, luxuriant, in the warmth of the womb

The world will not have the dark

The flame or the softness

The world would make us busy

Working so our thoughts are monsters

Clinical, thorough, precise

My resistance is cushioned by lock down

In the gluttony of rest I find a still point

Round and elegant

Here the real work begins

Not of this world

But the Other

This world would not have it

But I, watcher at the womb door

Welcome the shadow when She comes

Re-Assemblage

When the damn thing breaks

She sings

And me, on the grass, I listen

On the grass and the leaves and the coal

Drawing orange light from the Power Source

The True Warmth within

This is not snake oil

This is Kundalini

A rising and release

Motion questing for expression that this language can not hold

This ones for a deeper plane

A higher place

Bathed in your love

I can only find it in a disjointed and glorious

Re-Assemblage

Light Breath Dance Be

Francis Bebey meets Dawn Chorus

The forest is waiting for you, my child

Singing in all our languages

Known and Unknown

Named and Unnamed

Solid Melting

The Groundless Ground

Existence 

We are children

Waiting for elders

With true hunter gatherer souls

Though Our Fathers

Hold us tight

In patriarchal embrace

Leaving us rooted

Without nourishment

Only extraction

Of the wonderful spirit

In all its messy glory

That is our birth right

Here I practice

Maximum foraging returns

Riding house sits and lucky breaks

Caught in the gap between

Native & Settler

There is no sense to be made

In all of this

I exist regardless

I exist regardless

Remember My Names

Remember my names

Don’t let

The pointless thoughts

The busyness

Overwhelm

Her still and sacred heart

You, child of the mountain and the sea

Sang songs with whales

Tossed on the curve of the bay

Sitting sweetly at the table

When your hair wouldn’t grow

I always wanted

To be there for you

A steady, playful presence

When I fail

It’s not that my love for you 

Is in doubt

But because the world’s noise intruded

Seeping corrosive syrup into the safe place we made

Leaving us in pieces, divided and grief stricken

Our memories disrupted

In bodies, depleted and un-storied

When we are there

I hold you still

Beyond words and noise and silence and things

Ocean carries our secret

Criss crossing the jagged breaks

Coming home on a deep swell

A strong current

A true call

So remember my names

As a key remembers a lock

Remember my names

Knock knock knock

Evil is a Facebrick Church in a Modernist Style.

I am no one

A thin spirit

Wandering the Land at its source

Shape-shifting to become 

The peaks and valleys 

Of the everyday

The banality of Evil

All around me

Sits, hideous

Contemplating the world from a park bench 

Evil is a face brick church built 

In a modernist style

Signalling its permanence

As a landmark on the highway, heading home

I struggle to keep pace

Wraith-child match girl

Lighting flames in the wind

The terrible book of the past

Written around, and on, and through me

Jaws of bone and stone

Open to offer a route 

Elsewhere

Standing at the gate

Pink light of dawn

Cold hands of morning

Slipping into the folds 

Of a warmer place, 

A language learnt

A past unravelled 

Commentary

I wrote this poem in response to Jane Alexander’s sculpture ‘The Butcher Boys’, currently part of the permanent collection at the South African National Gallery.  It depicts the brutal and dehumanising forces of apartheid.  It is unsettling and haunting.  It is also the subject of the tourist’s gaze.  A work to be photographed with by visitors to the gallery pulling amusing poses.  This is the way of things.  Alexander made the work in the 1980’s, a time when the violence of the state, and the response of the people was exploding in South Africa.  I remember this time as my childhood years in Johannesburg.  Sun-lit and ordinary.  Lying on hot bricks, wet from the pool.  The tanks rolling down the quiet suburban streets to quell uprisings in the neighbouring township.  The barbed wire going up around our primary school.  Bombing my bike as fast at it could go around the twisted pedestrian bridge that spanned the highway.  Horror on the outskirts of an insulated suburbia that was participating either through active collusion or a studied refusal to notice.  Being in South Africa over the last few weeks, the visceral sense of a great evil that made the present is something that I feel everywhere.  Life goes on, as it should, but this poem bubbled up in response to the insidious ways in which evil sits with us.  In my practice I think about what it means to live with the after-effects of evil.  What the balance is between knowing the evil of the past, seeing how it operates in the present, and also being sufficiently free of it to be able to respond to what is right now.  It is the tension between knowing what made us, and releasing its stranglehold without the denial and amnesia that can characterise a too-hasty release of the pain story.  Working through identifying and releasing pain stories in the West of the Wheel, I am aware that these stories are woven into the fabric of national narratives, kaleidoscopically.  Poems bubble up in dawn meditation.  The cacophony of the dawn chorus.  My tired eyes snap open.

 Briefly, I am awake.     

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