• various •
• BONE •
Sometimes I walk El Segundo and ask my unmoved heart
Why I fail to feel for my tender, shaky, start.
An embryo's soft cartilage, grows hard with calcite stone,
Ossifying slowly, as our frame becomes our own.
So it was with mine. In this place.
I seek a sign: her face, his face.
Those parents who made me,
From teenage passion banned,
Yet moved the wand of life, as tide upon the sand.
I'll wager some part of me will always be
Marked by ocean or any sea.
Sometimes I walk El Segundo and see beneath my feet
Circled stones, family names, of those I'll never meet.
Dunes roll westward, lift then fall, a sun sets beyond the view,
This town where I should belong, is space I never knew.
So it is; to be outside it.
Seize the Day; the key to ride it.
Elsewhere, I had to grow
Far from here. Not my choice.
Yet still came joy of life, as songbirds find their voice.
At this shore, a smell I know, from long ago,
Merges sweetly with sewage flow.
Sometimes I walk El Segundo, and look for folks like me,
Turn down Handprint Alley, and make a silent plea.
Perhaps a whisper in the palms, a tone within the wind,
Will touch my core, expose me, like some poor eel just skinned.
I have tried to dig for roots here,
To find any sprig or shoots near
Something to call my home.
Rise Great Spirit, look, see!
True sense of place! El Segundo is lodged in me.
My blood heart, from cells is grown. Let it be shown.
El Segundo is in my bone.
left: an autobiographical study, for EL SEGUNDO WRITES' anthology published by TESS arts magazine in 2019. From and for people living in, or connected with, the beachside community in the South Bay area of Los Angeles.
reproduced here with the kind permission of the publisher
• BRANDED •
When young, our blank pages fill day by day,
seared by stages with words THEY say:
the cruel, the kind, the thoughtless drivel...
...brands a mind, makes words a missile.
Armed, defensive, our lives made small,
we're soon offensive, quick to maul.
Chapters from our bruised lives
can make us raptors – “Bring out the knives!”
I see us bold, have another view,
and hold a vision of me and you,
where we yield no ground, give up no mark,
sing out our sound, move from the dark.
For while we can't erase what THEY write,
I see us taser it with our light.
I see you choose where you look.
and lose the branding of THEIR book.
above: for the girls attending the SHE programme at Gilded Lily
in Govan, Glasgow, Scotland
first published International Women's Day - March 8, 2023
first published 2019
Vegan Tales, Vol.2
I had some structural fun with the
italicised rhyming grids in that they can
be read left to right or up and down.
It is reproduced here with kind permission of the publisher.
• BATTLECRY •
Can an 'udder' poem of blood and pus,
Outrage, compel, and alter us?
Can we take strong words, make them scan,
To cancel out the stamp of man?
Can we forge a composition
That throws open cages, the beast’s grim prison?
Can we take a razor to the human’s face
Carve deep a template of enduring grace?
Can we blend together its age old scar
With boundaries that ebb from afar?
Can we engage a hopeless, weary heart?
Spark anew some shaky, tender start?
Go on. Go on. Go on. Go on.
Be wrong. No sun, You con. Eon.
And still No rain, Don’t try, Your name.
Just kill. Just pain. Do lie. Same, same.
Where in this is any sense?
What could fend off the false pretence?
What logic decides, that, over this?
What fool shouts kill over kiss?
Danger lurks at every turn.
If not the flood, then heat will burn.
Rising tides and stinking seas
Greet our dawns and fuel unease.
We are lost, done for. Heed the call!
We, the most dangerous of all.
What’s the point?
The point that will lance the loss of hope?
The point that will unknot our hangman’s rope?
The point that will knit us the scope to cope?
No go. No go No go. No go.
No show. You know. Low blow. Cash flow
Too late. Free range, Go mad So strange,
More hate. Derange. Iron clad. Small change.
Separation is the root word of sin.
Separation bars animals as kin.
They walk this earth, breathe our air,
Need equal water, show level care.
Last long the whales’ song, we say,
Empty words to save the day,
Or, complex tech and laws unite
Let these be used to win the fight.
I say, rise up, stoke our own beast heart
Lost when we set them apart,
Ate their muscle, fried their fat,
All our woes can trace to that.
I say, we have the wit, strength, imagination
To engage our love for transformation.
We, who see ourselves not called, but chosen.
Whose science hallows the rot it grows in.
We, who run in a circle – a word with no rhyme
Nor reason, lest love bind it,
No beginning, no end – like time.
Do it. Do it. Do it. Do it.
Don’t sit, Get fit, Admit Your bit.
Do knit, Fire lit True grit. Do it.
Use it. Commit. Don’t quit. No shit.