Wednesday, 13 April 2022



Prisoners' Round 
by Vincent van Gogh

Always the discomfort with questions

A booming sound, distant, distorted.

Me, a shifty dark room

Closing in on itself.


Like on a captor’s command

I step out in the blinding sun

Look up first and then down to my toes

Show up, speak up, account for my woes.


A mad scramble

For words and threads

A patchwork robe

To dodge the probe.


Handy wear, held fast and close

Eyes on the ground

Grows heavier still

More robe than me, less me each round.


I wonder tonight

When this term began

The penal call

The eyes downcast.


I wonder tonight

If I could shrug off the robe

Stretch an arm and pull it down.


When right beside me

in the open ground

I could ask perhaps if it would befriend me. 


Thursday, 9 December 2021



Nocturne in Black and Gold, Falling Rocket (1875) 
by James Abbott McNeill Whistler 

You stood before me 
Master of your art
I stood before you
Bewitched, gaping.

With long slender fingers
You crafted for me
Whole worlds
in a bubble.
Of bubble,
whole worlds.

Believe me, when I say they were
Worlds singing -
with tunes most tender
Luminous - 
with daubs of thick paint
Soaring -
with words sprouting wings. 

Oh, to hold them in my hands
To press them to my ears
To peer through them all!
We levitated together,
These bubbles and I,
For several light years. 

Who knew, 
(Did you?)
they would pop.
Each one,

With a shatter so sharp
Strings cut 
I fall headlong
(Do you?)
A dawdle of a fall
With echoes of sweet bird and far-off song. 

Monday, 20 September 2021

The clarity of silhouettes

Milliner's Workshop by Pablo Picasso (1926)

Oh, how long our day,

Now come to a close.

Oh, how tired these eyes,

From your saturated tones.

Now the lights switched off

Now the colors drained out

Now my dizzy slows down

Now such silence abounds



A wicked specter of the mind,

Trailing me all day,

Exorcised at midnight.


Friday, 27 August 2021

An Evening with Friends


Avenue de Clichy by Louis Anquetin (1887)
Avenue de Clichy by Louis Anquetin (1887)


Night rush.

Faces, food, and frenzied fumbling

Masks half worn 

and half undone. 

Night hush.

An uphill trod

Soles buckling underfeet

Each step lighter till finally set free. 

Night slush.

Word piled upon word

Some rehearsed, some drawn fresh

The poet's and ours. 

Night hush


And a wide open window

Nestled in the city, a party

Slivers of laughter floating our way. 

Wednesday, 19 August 2020

In My Dreams

The Waltz 
by Felix Vallotton (1893)
The daggers drawn during the day,
Venomously tipped,
Rested in cushioned sheaths,
In my dreams.

So easily we swam,
Across the chasm of silence,
Filled by moonlight,
With freshsweet streams.

Easy steps,
All in perfect time,
Can you believe?
We almost waltzed,
In my dreams.

Leaving the day behind,
With its many rough jibes,
We met in a world quite unknown,
In my dreams. 

Thursday, 23 July 2020

If You Ask Me, I'll Say

New York Movie, 1939 
by Edward Hopper

To say the very thing
One feels and thinks
Is getting harder by the day.

How does one say a thing,
When chatter swirls within?
An unruly cast
Assembled at a reading deranged
Flinging, singing, mumbling, screaming.

If you insist too much
I could present to you
a feeble show
Strung together with
Someone's sputtering opening
A muddled middle
And the wriggling tail of quite another.

But if you ask again
I would have to tell you
One cannot possibly say anything at all
While waiting in the wings
Of one's own cacophonous play
Lips pursed
And listening. 

Friday, 17 July 2020

Last Night Arose

Head by Karl Schmidt-Rottluff (1915)

Last night arose
Beneath my window
A golden gleaming sun.

Steady glare of the streetlight
And a troupe of dancing rain
A whirling expressionist woodcut
Etched onto the tarmac plain.

I watched transfixed
As the sky raged
And the tears began to swim.
I watched transfixed
And willed the glum fog
Inside me to lift.

But what warmth could I borrow?
What light could I seek?
What courage could I muster?
From a pool of damp lies and dreams?

To watch it transfixed
With hope and patience
And a quiet desperate might,
Was only a weak trick
To get through the black, black night.