ANGRY is the SCREAM as I papercut myself trying to go too fast

It reverberates in my bones, in my skull

I don’t scream out of PAIN

My FRUSTRATION has reached the boiling point

The tipping point, the point of NO RETURN.

YELLING let’s out steam, that build-up in my veins

Borne of vexed dreams, DOWNED expectations

As I try to FLY HIGH.

That scream is ME

Calling out to the GODS for a respite.

Angry bypasses reason.

It goes straight from SYNAPSE TO SYNAPSE

Short-circuiting all attempts at moderation.

It feeds on itself like OUROBOROS

It is WHOLE and complete and happy to be

SHOUTING to the world: I AM!



sad eats up all my energy
it is voracious
sad preserves my self from Angry
it scares others more because it is quiet
and doesn’t say its name
sad shuns light and life
it is gray, it swirls into the void
coriolis striving for non-existence
making inertia beautiful and desirable
sad is no-capital
it takes you on insidiously
wants you to stop feeling
to stop thinking, and stop being
whispering to the world
am no longer



HaPPy bOuNcEs Up AnD dOwN

It Is MoVeMeNt aNd SurPrIsE

lIfE mAnIfEsT

mUSiC aNd DaNcE

bUbbLiNg LaUgHtEr

It MoVeS YoU FrOm WiThIn

To ToUcH ThE WiThOuT

iT Is CuRiOSiTy FoR tHE WoRlD

Of WhIcH YoU ArE pArT

AnD wHiCh Has CrEatEd







White plaques on atrophied brains
White handprints on fissured rock walls
I was here – do you remember?
Before those hands obliterated your senses and sense of time
I was here yesterday, and the day before
I am your daughter, not your sister

Your sense of self intact, a collage of other lives
You never made it to Morocco, although your friend did
You talk animatedly of the spices and the souks
Of the brutal men and veiled women
You don’t remember why you went
In fact, you never did

You still have your sense of humour
To every song, you create your own lyrics
Your dizziness a chance to sing of the Seine
Meandering around Paris

It takes its toll, though
The deep fissures are covered in moss
The cracks dusty, the edges brittle

Your flame flickers
It throws shadows on the fissured wall
Illuminating small bumps, concealing flaws and cracks
The candle just a stub now
Where once a proud pillar stood

You have started to shuffle your feet
And suspect foul play.
When someone stares at you,
You hiss and growl back.

You won’t leave me alone in a room –
A stranger with your treasures?
I am no stranger – I am blood of your blood
Flesh of your flesh

And yet your core remains
Under a veneer of crazy talk
And suspicion
I still see you behind those fearful eyes
That once were so fearless
Behind hesitation
That was never yours

You are as beautiful as ever
Full of light
You have never before spoken so freely of love
Of how important your family
Of how beautiful your children

You still lead by example
Humility, resilience, compassion
Never steal away
You still have so much to give

You have shouldered the cloak
Of Alzheimer’s
And the cape has made you

You fake enthusiasm
Desperate for acknowledgement
And belonging

We assure you that you belong
In our hearts, in our souls
We smile and you smile back



Rock Art

I read of the white plaques on the brains of people suffering from Alzheimer’s. I look at mom, picturing the landscape under her skull – splotches of white paint on ancient fissured walls devoid of sense with the passing of time. Were those prints ever meant to convey anything? I was here, here in your olfactory cortex. You used to smell the roses, balk at cigarette smoke, enthuse over wine. I was here, in your visual cortex, see the rugged wall under my print? It speaks of faraway countries, and distant lands of the imagination.

Now you see ghosts, reinterpret the shapes into abstract concepts that confuse me. I strain to grasp the meaning of your words as they mercifully still pour out of you. I tentatively offer my version. You look at me sternly, “Never mind, you don’t understand.” I feel I am failing you. You point to paintings, your own or your son’s. You discuss weight, colour, light and shadows with large gestures. You glow.

I know you are not beyond meaning. You sit contented, try and engage me. Your temporal lobe is still vigorous; it remembers sound. Your body sways to the music, any music; you know the words to every song. To every music, you create your own lyrics, the words conveying your feelings.

I introduce myself, recite the names of your children, point mine out. “See, I am the girl, your daughter,” I say proudly. I smile. You smile back.


That time of year when you catch a cold because you are sick of winter and you go outside without proper clothing because you believe in the power of Mind Over Matter and dammit if you can’t do what you please… You are no longer a child and no one but yourself will control you and who wants control anyway? Who needs it? Politicians will pull wool over your eyes like that toque you did not want to wear it gives you hat head is that what it’s called? Cat hair? I hate when my mind plays games. How can I have Mind Over Matter when my mind plays games? Last night I heard the sound of a metal pipe clanking on a cement floor, the sound reverberating in my head but there are no cement floors in here and no one said a thing and I could tell it was all in my head from the way the sound waves were travelling out instead of in. So. I am lucky today to have no earworms though I must admit I miss the incessant chatter and music that typically fills my head must be those new pills that dull my Mind Over Matter. I will have to start faking taking them – meek, and I will inherit the Earth but what will I do with it? Cover it with greenery and shrubs and maybe little green men will come and visit. Yeah, that would be nice.


The bed beside him is cold. He waits.

Silhouetted against the doorway, eyes wild, seaweed hair heavily roped on her shoulders, white fish feet. “Little mother, come to bed,” he says softly. She lies down beside him, at a distance. She sighs a heavy sigh. He coaxes her gently, “And?”

Her eyes are moist. At long last, she intones, “The great sea has receded. She is showing her underbelly. The sand is smooth save for little breathing holes.” A beat. “It can’t all be crab down there! I saw the most hideous creature coming out of one of them, covered in warts, gelatinous. A large bird was waiting patiently for it to climb out. It didn’t blink. Someone will be eating.” She spits out, after a moment, “There’s loads of rubbish too.”

He can tell she relishes the sound of the word “rubbish.” It rolls off her tongue and crashes in his ears. “I wish the sea would stay on top, the waves hiding it all, waning and waxing.” Her hands going to and fro above her, in the air. He knows better than to speak. He must respect her rhythm.

“You know you can walk for miles out to sea? You won’t realize when it stops creeping back, and then rushes in, and traps you, and gobbles you up. Quite the monster really. A fake tame beast.” Her voice is flat as salty drops wet her cheeks.

They will not sleep. They never do under a full moon.


Well I came upon this woman, see, and she was writhing on the ground with foam on her lips, her body all rigid, only the white of her eyes showing. It was a full moon too. She was a sight to see.

I knew there was no point slapping her cause there was no sense to be had. I had seen this in a horse once, a mare, and they had shot her to put her out of her misery. And so I did.

After the shot rang, people from all around came running in various stages of undress. All were wearing their boots, and some wore their holster and gun. I had started digging her grave but not a soul was stirring to help. She was a sorry sight with her brain outside her skull, and the foam congealed around her mouth.

The sheriff was called. He did not help with the digging either.

As I said in court, I had seen the “event” in a dream a few days ago, and I knew I had to stay away from the Vampire to avoid her bite and become one myself. They said Jane, the victim, suffered from epilepsy. You have to pity those who will not accept the truth of vampires. I denied it forcefully, and the good doctor had me committed to an asylum, whereby I avoided the noose.

I get along well with Napoleon and Marie Stuart. They are my kind of people.


He was listening to music as he walked. Actually, he was using music as a way to drown  stuff out. Marsha had walked passed him without a smile, a nod or anything. The music filled that space in the hollow of his stomach. Ms Bartosik tried to get his attention but he feigned deep concentration, bopping his head to the rhythm. Dave walked by his side for a bit, sullen and grumpy, which suited him fine.

Dave knew instinctively when he needed support. Having him by his side made the music recede a little in the background. They were shuffling in synch, which lifted his spirits. He started doing some fancy footsteps which Dave matched and then embellished. Pretty soon they had stopped and were dancing in the hall. They were striving to take as little space as possible, as though dancing on a tree trunk, whilst being as extravagant as possible. He had cranked up the music so that Dave followed without missing a beat. They were getting hot, and out of breath, but neither wanted to be the first to stop. They locked eyes and grinned. A small crowd had gathered and were cheering them on.

The bell rang. They broke it off. Fist pump, then they each headed to a separate class. Geography for him, calculus for Dave. Masha appeared by his side – you were awesome! I didn’t know you had it in you. What’s that you’re listening to? The only music now was her words and her eyes.



Thoughts on a merry-go-round, going up and down, round and round. I set it ablaze, the whole thing engulfed in yellow-red flames, peeling away the veneer, releasing the wild horses trapped underneath.

The thoughts go up in smoke, tickling the gods above, causing one to sneeze, the vibrations shaking the highest mountain. It’s avalanche season I told you to watch out, now you’re buried, your skis sticking out like a cartoon, except you’re not laughing you’re trapped, and is that a rescue dog you’re hearing or just the wind howling? You wait and quench your thirst with snow. You snooze from boredom. You are not cold in your fancy suit. You drift off though you were advised against it, hypothermia is to be feared not indulged in. There is digging about, and shouts. You don’t want to be part of it, let me sleep. You feel like a teenager again in a deep slumber. You make the dog happy. He has been finding nothing but dead bodies but your limbs move. They airlift you, you hate flying what if it crashes? You feel close to God whatever that means.

A gust of wind, just your luck, as the helicopter crashes against the mountain wall and bursts into flames. Your last thoughts are of wild horses fleeing a wildfire. You don’t know why but it feels just right.

Till Death Do Us Part

The woman of steel took care of it.

She had heard that the girl had been buried a month ago, after a long illness. She regrets not attending the funeral. She had considered it, but her pride prevented her from going. From all accounts, it was a grand affair, and she expects the family must be swimming in debt now. They are her best chance, pride be damned.

The family is told of her grandson’s untimely demise. They commiserate. They are tactfully informed that he had not yet wed, had not tasted love, and asked about the state of the late young woman. She is reassured to hear that the same fate had befallen her.

They make sympathetic noises over tea, muse over possible family ties. “I believe my cousin twice removed…” “Yes, yes, we are related. This is such a large family.” “Then you will pardon my asking, and you will understand my grief…” “Yes, yes, but will you pay for it all, and will you take into consideration our anguish…” “Yes, yes, such a tragedy, and what will the neighbours think.”

In the end, they agree to dig her up so that both can be buried together, as the couple they never were in life. The man will not present himself alone to Death. Someone will be by his side to take care of him where they themselves are not yet ready to go.

The neighbours approve.


She had always wanted to run away with the circus. She dreamed of rubbing shoulders with elephants and tigers, getting to know the person behind the clown, befriending the bearded lady. She was afraid of heights and admired the trapezists safely from the ground.

She started out as the knife thrower’s assistant, learning not to flinch when the blade penetrated the wood oh so close to her skin. The knife thrower had a temper and very few friends. He was the brooding type who only lit up when people showed interest in his craft. He polished his knives obsessively, talked to them in endearing tones. They loved him back and never failed him.

Her crewmates held many secrets – she was privy to them all. Her innocence opened many doors that remained open since she kept her mouth shut. Discretion was prized among those outcasts – they had all found their way there for a reason–some tormentor, betrayer, or one of the many ghosts that plagued them. They were always on the lookout for The Reason to catch up with them.

In turn, the others were curious about her reasons for fleeing her home, which by all accounts, looked cozy. They knew better than to presume it was, and waited for her shadow self to manifest. They saw it the day a knife grazed her. Her secret was out: she fainted. The wound was oozing green blood.

Black on Black

The whining wakes me up. Puppies have tiny bladders. I lay awake in bed, not moving, willing him to fall back to sleep. I think of the hoot of the owl earlier today. I answered it jovially. He was not amused. I was excited to tell my neighbour about the owl.

He warned me, through missing teeth, “He can carry that puppy of yours, tear it up and eat it raw.” I shudder. He’s a no-nonsense farmer. Tells it like it is.

I’ve put my large black umbrella by the door. I pick it up as we make our way to the porch, down the steps, and into the yard. I’ve put my puppy on a leash and stay near to protect him. I feel foolish with my large black umbrella opened on top of us both, but I don’t know what else to do. At least it’s too dark for my neighbour to see us.

I hear no night noises, no scuttling about. My imagination gets the better of me. I fear the owl is hunting, and his preys know it. My puppy has done his business and is puppying around.

My senses are suddenly on high alert. I dive and pick up the puppy, my umbrella tilted forward as I bend down. It gets ripped from my grip and flies to the sky in an angry fluttering. My puppy is trembling in my arms. I sense the umbrella gently drifting to the ground, black on black.


“Karl!” …Just like that!

I look at her expectantly.

– I wouldn’t read anything into that. It’s a common enough auditory hallucination.

I am disappointed. I came here because I was told great things about her, how she understands and helps people.

-You look disappointed. No doubt you heard good things about my abilities, but lying is not what I am about. I don’t want to fill your head with fanciful notions.

I feel foolish. My head is already full of fanciful notions.

I usually hear my name called just as I am about to fall asleep. Is it a warning of some sort? I wait for the voice to call again. Is it waiting for me to answer? Is somebody from Beyond calling me to them? And what I will never say aloud: Am I about to die?

I don’t recognize the voice but there is an urgency in the tone that wakes me up as surely as being poked with a stick. I feel alert but not afraid. My dog sleeps through it but my cat prowls the bed, meows over me, frets with the pillows. Sometimes I think it’s my cat’s doing. The Egyptians knew something about cats and their ties to the Beyond. I ponder this some more. I won’t be able to fall asleep again.

I get up and feed the cat.


Guerilla gardens are never static. They live in a host’s head, and roam with the would-be gardener until they find the perfect spot.

-Mom? What’s a “gorilla garden”? Rachel said her dad planted a gorilla garden last night. Is he growing bananas? Or a jungle?

-It’s “guerrilla” garden, darling. It’s urban warfare. Some people decide that they know better than everybody else. They think they are good people, but they prey on unsuspecting landowners who they accuse implicitly of dereliction of duty. They plant flowers! Or vegetables! But not in their own backyard. Noooo!

You are not to play with little Rachel anymore.

-But Mom! That’s not fair. We didn’t do anything!

Once the host finds a spot, they stake out the place to find a suitable time to do the deed. They are outlaws, vigilantes of the vegetable kingdom. They move stealthily like ninjas!

-Never you mind, Missie. If her father is an outlaw, then she’s an outlaw.

Sometimes, they plan elaborate schemes. They enrol accomplices with soil and tools. They might decide to plant flowers to liven up a vacant lot or a vegetable garden to feed the hungry.

-Why are you so angry anyway? It’s not like they’re spray painting graffiti on your house!

-It’s just not done. Where would we be if people grew their own food? Or started enjoying living in poor neighbourhoods? It goes against Nature.

Every seed sows dissension and will hasten the revolution. Long live anarchy! Long live the Vegetable Kingdom!

Graduation Day

Today started like any other day. Mom left early. After a while, the whole brood started calling her back. She puked breakfast. We slept soundly, dreaming big dreams. I woke up feeling uneasy. Robert had disappeared; mother looked stern. She pushed Anita out of the nest. Anita did not make a sound as she frantically flapped her wings. Mother was methodical, cold. I was her favourite and I was next. There was to be no exception. She did not hesitate as she heaved me over the rim. And pushed.

Time slowed – I saw my life stream past me – family dinners, communal sleep, then itchy wings and discomfort as feathers grew. And now this. Before realizing it, I was frantically flapping my wings and uneasily stopping my fall. I landed on a low branch from where I could see Robert and Anita, both visibly shaken but safe. We looked up as a terrified Olivia seemed to bomb down toward us, only to stabilize as she flapped her wings like she was possessed. She landed a few branches away, shaken not stirred. I leaped to her rescue flapping like a madman and almost knocked her off her perch. We huddled and looked up. Mom was staring down at us.

“You left quite a mess,” she said, a satisfied note in her tone. She started cleaning out our home, throwing all our stuff overboard. A lucky pebble, my Elvis stamp. “I guess it’s graduation day,” shouted Robert. With outstretched wings, he flew away.

Graduation Day