SANCTUARY

I suffer
but my suffering
is child’s play
compared to theirs

each tiny
shallow grave
closing a
book, a chapter
a page
a sentence on
that page that
didn’t quite
get completed

and there we have it
erase the writing
dust
the board

take solace from one
or more of
the world’s
great religions

that now
finally
at last
(war’s great
ironic mercy)
they have
found sanctuary

are in
a safe place.

ANATHEMA

it was chasing me
was boogie man
dressed like my father

still the old false teeth
but they were not fooling me
behind them lurked
(I knew, I knew)
sharp serrated rows of
replaceable teeth
like tiger shark, hammerhead
of great white

and that was more like
the speed at which it moved
than bumbling, blind dodgem-car
mummy of a flesh-eating zombie undead

and that’s when it struck me
best not to run
from the devil within, even one
like this: lowest common human
denominator, literally dripping
with our worst instincts

best of these
self -preservation
for which we build
banks and bombs

and sing in unison
every Sunday
voices raised to Heaven
to join with those choirs and
our in our image God

it was chasing
but now approaching me
eyes like roving calculators
enumerating every huge
and tiny difference

all that made me
thing of
strange sounding words
anathema from beyond

CONNECTING FLIGHT

I saw that Refilwe at the airport the other day
— you know the one you had a thing for
slim, dark, beautiful
she didn’t recognize me or
maybe she did, but didn’t want to say
given she I presume knows
of my connection to you

I know since you guys don’t talk any more
and there are unresolved issues
that you probably would have
liked me to chat to her, strategically
ask about you: whether she still
hears (though I know
she doesn’t) has thoughts, has regrets
but I didn’t
just watched her
out of the corner of my eye

and I could see what you saw in her
why you were so attracted, and, as
you say, felt love

her clothes stylish, sharpish, and
her moving with a kind of grace
that led me to assume
immediately
that she must be happy, really happy

I did not see a ring, and she
seemed to be alone, at
the airport no companion.

TOGETHER

butterfly
is image
of transformation

becoming so
different from what
was once

for now you have wings
such beautiful things
flashes of
true colour

and when your lover
sees this image
tattooed
on your breast

you see
you both see

you know
you both know

that now you
must truly
fly
together

TODAY I

AM HAMLET

today
I am Hamlet

tomorrow the
Queen

and you, for we are always
on stage together,
the fair Ophelia
always remembered
in my prayers
if not the
grave-digger splitting
philosophical hairs

we cannot
escape the play
it is our mirror

if we
step out for a moment
outside Elsinore
into the
audience

then the look on our
courtier faces when we find
our deaths
compelled upon
the English King

wake up
from that bad dream as if
just auditioning
(as fresh-
faced boy for
Rosalind or
Olivia)

or caught in
Nature’s mirror none
but the
Bard himself
(most translated
of any mechanical)