Saluting Magpies

Poetry in Motion

tunnel visionaries

lights along the battled journey
when darkness claims complete
those already steady, burning; those
joining forces in your streets

allies in their constellation
offering what they have
to share a cross they cannot bear
with hands held out, aloft

the steps, the road, the drowning feeling
have not gone away
but lights along the battled journey
now lend you borrowed faith.

Brothers grim

how did it come to this
it started with a kiss?

a kiss to end as one
means to go on
(neither thin-lipped nor sloppy
nor short-lived, or cloying)
an instant’s lip-service
signing a lifetime sentence.

Love is: pre-packaged. in
airport novels, cinema screens
photo-shopped and force-fed
until we are bursting at the seams.

it will always come to this
it starts, and must start,
with that kiss:

happier endings come
from a room of one’s own
one’s hand
between one’s own legs.


I watched the washing machine
spin. I was impressed
I had never taken the time
to see her do
what she did best.

You go girl, I say out loud
In the basement,
dimly lit. She said nothing
and said it loudly:
terribly purse-lipped.

Of feeble sorority
offered late, she is rightly
dirty laundry is better washed
in public-private partnership.

water closet

turn your back to the water, the hot hard water
not a caress but a torrent, a furious torrent

press your head to the glass and shut out all the others
watching nothing, it’s nothing, the forming of droplets

forming and forming, scurrying straightaway downwards
joining forces like mercenaries, forcing all obstacles

watch them, watch nothing, watch an army of mercenaries
head-fast and hell-bent against the furious torrent

s’en aller

j’aurais donc perdu mon chemin
monsieur, s’il vous plait,
vous êtes du coin ?

peu importe, restez juste
que je m’agrippe à votre bras
mais vous partez déjà, vous êtes loin

depuis quand suis-je lasse, suis-je
lâche, depuis quand ;
à vrai dire, je n’en sais rien

ni envie, ni moyen, de garder la face
je me fais peur
qui va là, qui viendra

personne. je suis seule. autant m’endormir
se laisser passer
par l’autre chemin.

l’étoile de Sartre

teach her to reach, reach for it –
when she is still too small and easily distracted
point to where it glitters:
prettily upon the dusk horizon
there, tonight, and every evening.

let her think as she grows older
that it glitters in her name, it calls her
a single path to a shining star;
this glorious destiny or else
none other,

convince her of the prophecy, but only
if she keeps on climbing;
only if she keeps denying
fatigue, doubt,
temptress companions.

don’t ever waver from the story
or unhook her fate from the revered trophy
this is how the journey breaks her:
without destination.

mots mêlés

find the words. 
Here. I’ve picked them out
put them in a tasseled drawstring 
velvet bag.

Like scrabble letters.
You go first –
Hand in, blind.

What do you read?
I see your mouth move, but your eyes
are on the board. the meaning
is worth less
than the points; lost on

I just want to
seize the tassels, shake the words out,
ruin the game
why won’t you see this is a sentence 
I can never find the words to

pro life-choice

I don’t want a baby
I don’t want a baby, now

I was raped
I can’t afford/raise a(nother) child
I am too young
I am too old
I am too tired

I don’t want a baby
I don’t want a baby, now

I don’t want to be pregnant
I don’t want children
I have/the baby has a medical condition
I am not with the father
I am at risk from the father
I don’t want to do this
I don’t want to do this alone
I want to choose (when or if I will be a mother)

I don’t want a baby
I don’t want a baby, now.

The Continent

Amina Mussa, 30, 

I am a young woman and a mother 
but I feel old and scared

fled from the district of Macomia, 

my home

where she used to farm 
and sell her produce across the province. 

I would wake up at dawn 
Feed my smallest infant
The others still sleeping
Work the fields and lands
In the dust, in the stern sun
Until he nodded,
And ordered rest.

Along her four-day trek to safety, 

Is this safety? 
They will come for us here
As they came for us there
These wars of others,
Scars of nationhood

she buried two of her children. 

Not one, but two
From my belly,
From this world, to the next 

“They couldn’t stand the hunger, and died. » 

I heard their cries
Fearful at first, mamma, please
Then feeble,
Then nothing

“I had to bury them along the way,” 

I had to leave them, my babies
Too tiny, too ashen,
but too heavy in my arms

she said. 

She said: an interview,
A story, a paragraph, 
Just another conflict

“I covered them with branches

There was nothing else
with which to give them back

to God

and continued on. »

and continued on.

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