Lists

Things that stress me out:
Fees. Bills. Applications. Job or PhD? Thesis. Essays. Deadline projects. Staying in touch.
The bottomless pit of introspection. Inconsistent meditation. Skipping gym.
Taking out the bin. Chipped ceramics. Unopenable tuna tins. Forgetting packed lunches.
Open microwave doors. Guest toilets that won’t flush. Frightful dreams.

Words that I like:
Dawn. Dusk. Quintessential. Pharaoh. Swift. Twilight. Autumn; rather than Fall.
Sustainable. Solar plexus. Tranquillity; tempted to tattoo it down my chest.
Thighs; preferably preceded with thick. Gazelle; horns sharp, twisted and tall.
Kiss. Lick. Bite. Lust and Summer; seasons best enjoyed undressed.
Qi; potential sixty two points on Scrabble, a life force when played right.
Triumph. Grace. Villanelle. Nemesis. Willy. Boobies; my first explicit search.
Giggle. Voluptuous. Suave. Cinnamon. Bun. Celsius; rather than Fahrenheit.
Whisper. Lavender. Sweet. Silence; as the reverential solace in church.

Things that I like:
The colour purple. Clean floors, matching tiles, smooth sheets. Quiet coach F on the Eastern Link.
Defiant desert shrubs. Closed doors. Seedless grapes. Greasy drippy bacon. Three egg omelettes.
To do Lists. Corsets and high heels; together. Pepperoni pizzas in the AM post cheap drinks.
Cold water the morning after. Crunchy peanut butter on toast. Ben & Jerry’s Cookie Dough.
Tea tree oil. Peppermint tea. Naps. Dead leaves. Ink on Papyrus. Story telling trees.
Double duvets in the winter. Flight tickets. Notes in my wallet. Fellatio.

2015 Resolutions:
Be there. Wear more purple. Drink more water. Eat more pizzas, less peanut butter. Get that tattoo.
Listen. Laugh without cause. Call mum on random Mondays. Write sonnets, sing songs, kiss more.
Breathe in, breathe out, purposefully, fifteen minutes each day. Put others on the prayer menu.
Read books written by women. Be unnecessarily kind (to yourself too). Put gratitude at your core.

Millennials

Time Magazine and the like call us “Millennials” in their headlines
An unclaimed moniker increasingly used to describe or explain away
The microwave, new-age-wave, I-want-it-right now,
Wi-Fi, possibly-bi, download-won’t-buy Generation Y,
Restless youth. Silence treated like a curse, distraction a staple

We participate in. Like I am now, setting my evening meal
Before my tablet, playing the 24 hour news channel,
It’s 7.30 exactly and a new batch of news is brewing

EBOLA, lands on the screen with a hard hitting drum beat
Like an afro electronic boy band headlining a tribute concert
With fans in masks or body bags swooning at their touch
And side-line newscasters declaring quarantine on unkempt Africans

Next on the agenda: IMMIGRATION, how PC can we be about POC say the BBC
Eh? You mean to say they’re taking our jobs and taking our benefits
At the same time sir? White men on podiums dressed in stern looks
And fixed gazes shaking their pink cheeks like British bulldogs

TERRORISM ALERT; OMG someone tried to assassinate the queen,
Pakistani or Somali or Saudi, the three Muslim musketeers
Someone tried to blow up somewhere for some reason
One for all and all for one, doesn’t matter which one as long as they’re all gone

Now time for the weather Jeff…
I get up and wash my plate, amazed
Xenophobia so well cooked, spiced and served
Easily digested with pasta and chicken soup

You don’t need an incentive to hate here.

Yet this seemingly fucked up, quasi empty, broke
Not broken, searching-for-salvation generation
Won’t taste, won’t chew, won’t swallow it,
Will spit, will chant, will beat, will be beaten,
We’ll get back up, we’ll spit, we’ll chant, we’ll beat
Spit chant beat and the ages will declare that is when
The kingdom of heaven began.

KABUL, CHIBOK, BANGKOK, HONG KONG, CAIRO, FERGUSON,
TRIPOLI, DAMASCUS, IGUALA, ISTANBUL, GAZA,
Millennials are sanctifying the streets
Becoming mortar and brick between tribes and tongues
Amplifying our voices, bringing down regime walls
Finding significance in being more than just hope
Only justice and peace can satisfy us.

Birthday

I

I had to take out the bins on my birthday
which sounds like a metaphor with depth
but really, I had to take out the bins today

and isn’t that life?

You can fall in love
but still have to do the dishes
and remember not put colours with whites

You may crash out of love
but still have to decide if you want to put
8.3% of your salary into your pension

You can throw parties and
celebrate diamond anniversaries
but still have to bleed radiators before winter hits

You could perforate the hearts of others
with callous words and thorny thoughts
but you still have to pay your phone bill

You may have cashed in at the table
or received a cracking company bonus
but still have to defrost the chicken before you leave.

 

II

I can’t remember when I stopped making wishes and blowing out candles,
maybe when I realised faith fails to translate into finances, we never went to Disneyland dad
or later with bouts of terrifying self-awareness, calculating each year’s gaping mishaps
who on this earth deserves to be fêted, let alone the writer (or the reader).
All I want is a bathrobe and some fluffy house slippers
give me grandeur as I entrench myself into the wanders of adulthood.

 

III

I used to fear that giving voice to my fears
was like releasing gusts into pirate sails
now I write them instead,
anchoring them to sheets

1. The death of my parents
2. That I may never be loved
3. That I will never be satisfied

a. It will not be Hades nor Anubis that comes to collect the souls of papa and mama
they will live long and shower their great grandchildren with gifts
sleeping and slipping into the arms of the Lord of Hosts, of that I’m certain.

b. A flower seemingly predisposed to displaying petals to weeds
nestling those who nourish with nettles, is what I’ve been
but even considering what my inner most thoughts say,
I’m fucking fantastic
and since Christ did indeed die for me
earthly love just won’t do.

c. Alas, the last I am yet to conquer,
will I be resigned to the dredge of modern monotony:
marriage mortgage mortuary
what if my true love’s kiss just won’t do
most of all, what if at the end of my days
I look back and shiver at my lack of progress, a pitiful pilgrim,
even when written, ’tis haunting.

 

IV

Birthdays aren’t for me
they’re for my mother, father, sister
and all the angels above
singing, strumming, soothing my soul.

Barber

Right next to a grocery store that sells eggs at suspiciously low prices
is ALL STAR BARBERS, part of the corner store clique run by immigrants,
thankfully empty as I walk right in

I sit in the black leather chair, staring at the mirror thinking
about how handsome I look and the transformation of boy to man
that is happening to me, as the black cloak tightens around my neck

listening to the singing canaries that my Iraqi-Kurdish barber has as pets
tiny little birds that chirp to clippings and tweet to close shavings
yellow and white, they fly about in their colourful cages

he says next time I come, it’s going to have to be £9
my landlord came in today you know,
you know how they are, they don’t care, he just increase the rent

reception isn’t great but Al-Jazeera is on TV talking about ISIS
with orange banner below saying something about Canadian football
you’re from Nigeria right?

Yeah, you’ve got ISIS we’ve got Boko Haram,
green and white keffiyeh around his thick hair, stray cotton dangling on the sides,
he shakes his head, Ebola is more dangerous than Boko Haram

they don’t represent Islam
Islam doesn’t go knocking on people’s doors
he tilts my head, pauses, looks up at the newscaster

never in the history of Islam
Christian, Yazidi, Muslim we all live together, protect each other
I don’t know much about Islam theology to verify but I concur

these Europeans won’t let people like us make decisions
in their country, but they come to Iraq and put their noses everywhere
tell me when to sleep, when to eat, when to sit down, tell me to wake up

he grips my head like a vice
thumbs on temple, forefingers on forehead
as his eyes do the measurements

I don’t defend ISIS, he continues,
but they haven’t even killed up to 5000 yet,
he scrapes the right side of my head

there’s been war since I was six
BOOM 5000 people a day, whole Kurdish town destroyed
the breath of his sigh bristles my neck

he gets some water and dabs it onto my hairline
clips razor blade in like a skilled conductor
swooshes past my sideburns and I tell him

I wish I could grow a beard like yours,
we laugh, his brother too laughs,
landlord and war forgotten, he suits a smile

Well you know, you have this, I don’t.
I have this, you don’t.
We’ve got to be happy with what God gives us.

Weekend Affair

I can’t remember exactly but I think we talked about her vision
for working with disabled children and how the future generation
has a duty to normalize and accept these kids
I nodded and hmmm’d and thought how sexy purpose is

The reason I can’t remember exactly is because we drank,
I drank red, she drank white; by the end of the night
she was in my bed, in my red sheets, in my red tee
         occasionally telling me about her boyfriend
spaced between kisses, a mix of goosebumps and grazes
she had the greatest pair of breasts I have ever seen
and I wasn’t much concerned ‘bout this current affair
          when I was between them

Last Days

there’ll be no vandalisms as delinquents are confined

to strait jackets for prophetic apparitions of the future

no more oil spills as corporate bosses become refined

distil salvation and are taken up in the rapture

trees grow as loggers bang their heads on axes

shaking off headaches and cries of Amazonian verses

the fish sing or so the fishermen think

and nets break at the sound of aquatic orchestras

as trawlers drown in applause,

bees oh the bees sting

sting sting sting

as delusional teenagers mistake honeycombs

for orifices they ought not to burrow in

pilots see two moons as astronauts

report a third of stars falling out the sky

the lustre of the universe fades

as man loses fascination with the heavens

 

scientists say we are living too long

we can’t handle retirement at ninety and our great great grandchildren

despise us for leaving this earth to them

 

no theories can explain our strands of psychosis,

our needs, can’t quantify the darkness that clouds,

hallucinations are viral by kiss, a moment on the lips,

a lifetime on the mind, as we reminisce

and forget to draw ourselves out of the abyss of lost loves

 

there are thirty minute updates on the spread of hysteria

reports that Eastern Europe is breaking out in a cacophony of laughter

mirages of the aurora borealis blending with soot stained sky

as governments tell of failed experiments and how oceans did not comply

 

the fabric of western society unravels as illusions of superiority fade

reality seems not so real, taking psychedelics to stay sane,

twisting dreams, interrupting incessant insomnia

 

the Vatican is performing mass exorcisms

demons now walk the earth and God is silent

How should I read poetry?

Fast or slow

From scroll to scrolling, manuscript to manga

How should one reflect on verse or stanza

Time forever an enemy so I read quick …

Anthologies – flick, lick, click

Some like Frost and Hughes put me in a loop

And like an old cassette I need to reset

Rewind, Pause, Rewind

Till my mind digests and heart relates

Between spaces of each paragraph