Saluting Magpies

Poetry in Motion

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.


Times change but
a coat-hanger should still do 
the job.

Get it done
on the floor of the bathroom
lock the door before 
making a mess
of it.

Get it done. find a real M.D
pills and potions, online.
tell no one:
they may be
an accomplice to the crime.

Get it done; undone.
a scandal, an outrage
goes the song
sing along now, folks,
sing along.

l’aller simple

ne descendez pas sur les voies
nous ne viendrons pas vous chercher
si par malheur ou mésentente
cela devait arriver

pourquoi d’ailleurs s’y aventurer
on n’est pas bien ici, sur le quai?
à attendre que notre train arrive
se vide, se remplisse, se fraye

un passage. pour s’aventurer ailleurs
en suivant le bonheur prescrit
celui des riverains sans rivière
celui du sens, interdit.

Still life

When the wisteria buds, then flowers
the cherry trees of the neighbours’ gardens
will already have known
their finest hours. We turn
admiration and trailing fingers
to Iris, Rose, the younger sisters;
with them relive a bittersweet chimera
of vital force, and certain power. A crown
passed between nature’s daughters
who share it well, in safe sure knowledge
of a collective throne which does not tarnish:
ephemeral reign, to reign immortal. Love, 
when the wisteria next buds and flowers
we will have known our finest hours; you
must sit at the table we painted
last spring time, in this spring time’s premise. 


I love that thing you do
You’re so good at it. 

You inspire me, 

So much so that, can you believe it
I had a go, myself. 

And probably through
beginner’s luck
or perhaps your genius,
rubbing off –

I rather liked the thing I did 
Even better, actually, than when you did it;

You inspired me,
You’re so good at that. 

the valentine dictat

roses can be red,
but come in many other suitable colours
whether violets are blue
is up for debate entirely.
they have been dubbed so, by lovers
lazy in serenade;

on the rest of the four-liner
I have little to comment
it is traditionally creative commons.
only that:
if Violet can stay herself
there is no longer rhyme nor reason
to end in you-too-guess who;
there – I’ve had the last word.

fee fi fo fum

These scurrying ants
incessantly, importantly busy,
are going somewhere.

With opposable thumbs clasping
cigarette stub and coffee, I jeer
at the fast-moving queue.
« servitude! » « blind obedience! »
« petitesse! »

the ants
incessantly, importantly busy
scurry past the sneer.
mighty, their purpose shall not defeat mine
with slippered foot
I squash the line; there –

no longer incessantly, importantly busy
nor scurrying

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