Lips rouge as the sunset
that prunes the Pyrenees
she smiled and spoke of her dreams.
In between espressos, red wine and cigarettes
she laughed like sunrise
and when she danced,
she danced like incense from ancient altars
with my hands on her hips fanning the flames.
She is not a prize to be won
she is a fire that won’t run.


On days I feel inadequate

I make my bed, fold my clothes, hang the washing,
blanche the bathroom with bleach, brush my teeth, scrub my skin,
steam my pores, soothe them with sweet almond oil,
and a layer of coconut oil for good measure,
then I dwell on scripture.

Sometimes, the valley won’t let me go and so
I put on clean socks, a fresh tee, and old Nikes
run in a new direction, scrape out the soot from my lungs
and breathe in threes.

Sometimes the imbalance is acute
and my favourite album won’t do, so
I write a new lyric, no rhyme, no scheme
just me melting into stream,
the pen a syringe into the deep,
I must be my own physician.

Sometimes I switch off my phone, cover my watch,
cross my legs, sit up straight and wait
like a fisherman with his rod to the sky
I’ve been here before, I know the clouds by name,

And so like God, I speak light, breathe life and rest.