25. First Impressions
Much like the crème brûlée,
with all the sweetness trapped
underneath its burnt offering,
you need to crack the sugarcoat
before tapping into real richness.
Do not think of constituents,
all their cream, milk and sugar
masked with vanilla as attar.
Rather, accept what’s on the plate,
scored ramekin and all.
The blowtorch has not been kind
to some, so go easy with your spoon.
inspired by the attack on Reker Ahmed in Croydon
what could be deemed ‘abnormal’:
an accent, a skin tone, a faith,
as innocent as the wrong hairstyle,
as blameless as being in the wrong place.
‘Protecting’ their own,
although few felt any need,
the insularity of victimhood
that threatens to bite
and mauls when it does.
They were too many of them
for witness to report of any blood.
Haemorrhage. Fractured spine.
An unrecognised face.
“Are you my brother?” I am.
27. Falling Off
Who could blame the daffodils
if they decided to keep their heads
down until summertime?
If the gestation period
of sheep increased twofold,
receiving August lambs.
If frogs delay mating season
so that spawn does not freeze
in the laze of February nights.
If the bark falls off the trunk,
trees having no other choice
but to continue their abscission.
And even someday, we might wake
to find a forgetful sun
still sleeping in, awaiting Spring.
With a finger rested
in the gap where a dentist
killed off a molar,
I chew and lie in wait.
Something will happen,
always does, the inescapable
illusion of time bringing
forth one more moment
in which we can say -
if we are awake and wide enough -
that a thing occurred,
and we shall find names for such things,
and associated these names
with the people and places
these moments happened to.
Some already call it ‘life’.
You can call it ‘living’
to a certain degree,
the fruits of mere existence
dropping from mere gravity.
29. The Preparation of the Artist
Accumulate enough canvas,
stockpile your paint-pots
and ready your brushes,
and just like following a recipe,
It can’t be done. Give us a face,
a place, real or imagined,
let the world break your silence:
nothing occurs without
An object will not paint itself,
only amass your dust
as you rearrange the model
and time the curtains for sunlight
Take all the light and colour
out of the day, bottle darkness
in a jar, twist the sketchpad
into torch paper, but without fire,
30. Explore the Angles
There is nothing so repetitive as existing:
shave – growth
eat – starve
sleep – wake
wash – dirt
speak – hush
laugh – cry.
We go around in our little cycles
barely knowing where we are
on the circumference of things,
plotting our radii against dreams,
looking for three πs
to appear on a scratchcard.
Hold on to the events
that force you to form tangents,
the small miracles not repeated
day-to-day, those bits of magic
where time and space breaks out
from their rigid geometry
for God to move the Universe for you.