Balloons

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I travel swinging

Through tails of colourful balloons.

I keep in mid-air

By swift and careful choices.

Your threads of rope,

I know they’re tied to driftwood.

Keep them away

From my acrobat forest.

I try to travel far,

And follow the albatrosses.

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Fear

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This is not my fear.

The window was open.

It came from the girl with curly hair

Walking to school, crying.

She did not want to go there.

She did not know why.

It came from her mum.

Yesterday she couldn’t sleep.

Fear caught her from the man next door

Who lost something

Or at least it sounded like it.

Steps trodding in the dark.

It was not his.

It got him every time

He remembered the war.

He did not fight it, it was not his.

But the siren was loud,

All his toys were outside.

And fear gushed

From the eyes of his parents.

It wasn’t theirs

They got it from others.

Invisible epidemic

Moving through time.

I must have caught Napoleon’s fear

today from an open window.

I live it carefully, letter by letter.

Invisible history book behind my eyes.

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Tension

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Between water and air

The mirror waits

Elastic.

Waves and winds

Splash.

Return.

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The senator’s prayer

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‘Yes, this is also who I am.’

‘Me, the better than another,

Born on the right side of history

The one allowed to preach

To the weak and wrong-minded.’

‘Me, whose safety and comfort

Is worth more than another’s

Who can shut all doors

And ask to be always welcome.’

‘Me, who believes inwards,

And lives on pre-packed truths

Rolling off assembly lines

Of certified suppliers.’

‘Me, who will get the gold

By outsmarting others

And seize from the world

The reward of the noble.’

‘Me, who is afraid of giving

Lest I share the poor’s fate,

And wishes others be less

So I can shine brighter.’

‘Me, who gets the first choice

Of the words in the story,

And decides who can enter

In my kingdom of heaven’

‘Me, who knows the way,

and can take you all there

If you would just obey

And walk on my footsteps.’

‘I can see all these,

In my distorted mirror,

My eyes throwing daggers

At my own revolt.’

‘I can see myself,

Praying on my own

My glory be restored,

My brother defeated.’

‘If I pray enough

Half of me will vanish.

Would I then get to see

The other half of you?’

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Chaos

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I am falling in the void

of our differences.

Gravity pressing up,

darkness seeping in.

You and your laws of physics

against me and my fading stars.

My versions of truth

hang in mid-air

ready to vanish.

‘Keep yourself together!’

I shout at myself for help.

Do you feel the same

when I am winning?

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Rest

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Swept by the torrent of others’ ambitions,

Eroded and swirled in the travelling storm,

Cracked and then creviced for all my omissions,

I turn to the shore now, a hollow odd form.

To wait in bare sunlight, aloof and bewildered,

The colours of turmoil soon bleached by the wind,

Be picked up and shine in the hands of my kindred,

Those curious children long lost in the mind.

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Gone

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At last, the spell is broken,

The old house bare.

No voice, no warmth to lure me,  

No magic there.

Upstairs a bitsy presence

has cast its web

to reign over the silence,

and prod the ebb.

It’s time to grab my satchel

and find the sun.

Outside, my years of travel

have just begun.

No need to look behind me,

no door to close.

The clearing is all empty.

The river flows.

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Meeting

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She was not really there

The first time.

She sent instead her name

with legs and hands

a posture and a voice

to carry all the words

that might need to be said

to fill the silence

uncomfortable for most.

She brought her face next time

without the words

and the silence fell

empty and boundless

stretching the spaces

between atoms

until faces disappeared.

The words that match her face

are not in city libraries.

She waits for the code

to crack itself open

until the third encounter.

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Hey Jude

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he sang, sitting on the pavement
outside my window
the last two strings of his banjo
slicing the air of the morning
displacing the structure of silence
with a betrayal of sound.

I know this song, I thought,
mixing memories of past harmony
with stories of my own defeats
and inner shrieks of protest.

Shouting to stop
would add to injury.
Closing the window
would be giving up on air.
Lending my guitar
risks serious damage.
Music theory
is not emergency aid.
I sit on the floor
with the window open
my breakfast cereal getting soggy.

Maybe Jude lives on my street.

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Crowd

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I met many other me
yesterday at the market
me who was selling bread
me who believed in clouds
one afraid of getting lost
one charmed by the toys stall
buyers and sellers
tearful and blessed
all waiting for something
and meanwhile
getting on.

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