July 30, 2018


1  the magician
mover and shaker,
shaper or sharper---
either way, he makes you see things.

2  the high priestess
veiled mystery, she
coolly calls it as she sees it,
with enviable clarity.

3  the empress
green velvet and a full goblet,
lobed, globed, a pomegranate,
richly rounding fertility.

4  the emperor
all angles and hard certainties
carved in stone.
he'll have his day.

5  the hierophant
rules the ruler, pointing skyward,
guidance and restraint.
beneath his robes, feet of clay.

6  the lovers
choices, choices...
all souls seek a mirror.
who are you at night, in the garden?

7  the chariot
a path chosen: onward, forward,
but only by yoking the self.
you must be prisoner, jail, and warden.

8  strength
lady and lion contend,
the jaws of ego closing,
gentled to a purr.

9  the hermit
time passes.
go within
to learn what will endure.

10  the wheel of fortune
the only constant in life
is---you saw it coming---change.
take the chance.

11  justice
we want things to come out right.
and so, an attempt to redress
what offends the balance.

12  the hanged man
arrested development,
the suspense is killing him...
betrayer or betrayed, we wait.

13  death
scythe-bearer on a pale horse,
the inescapable: what lives, dies,
game over, a final checkmate.

14  temperance
divine mixologist,
holding a cup of moderation
to the seeking lip.

15  the devil
all excesses burn.
soul-stealer, yes, but
your own hand holds the whip.

16  the tower
uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.
evolve or die.
if not evolution, then revolution.

17  the star
lucky lady, renewing
the springs of hope
with an inspired solution.

18  the moon
all is not what it seems...
don't swear by it.
use the inner eye to see the light.

19  the sun
shine on, golden child---
for now, we bask,
and know the world is right.

20  judgement
now is the rest before fruition.
sleep, and trust to wake again,
perfected soul.

21  the world
know yourself and take your place
in the great harmony.
here all is gathered, known and whole.

0  the fool
lets go of certainty and falls.
the carnival carousel begins to turn,
he picks his horse and eyes the golden ring.

July 25, 2018


(for every woman
who has ever been told
that she is too much)

too much of a good thing
is just a damn good thing.
there is no part of a person
that can be too much.
woman, listen, i beg you:
you take that big belly
and love it,
take that big laugh
and laugh long and loudly,
take those big hips
and swing them as you please,
take that big voice
and use it for justice,
take those big ideas
and use them to grow wings,
take that big sorrow
and cry a river to water the world,
take that big hair
and rejoice in it,
take that big sensitivity
and let it heal someone,
take that big anger
and make change happen,
take that big song
and sing to anyone who'll listen,
take that big mind
and use it proudly,
take that big love
and love everything hard,
take that big heart
and set it free...
woman, i will stand with you
and be too much
for the way things are now too,
because this world needs
a whole lot of too much women,
and there's a chance
that if you set yourself free,
and i set myself free,
and all those other too much women
do the same,
we might all just end up free.
and that would be

out of my arms

(for beatrice, 2015)

out of my arms, now,
but in my heart
i remember the start

two years longing, 
nine months waiting,
forty hours labouring,
and (oh welcome) 
there you were

i saw your face
and time stopped

from that moment, 
now, forever,
a mother
when a child is born
a mother is too

fiercely protecting
and gently drawing forth,
sometimes falling short
of what i wished to do

each day was new
the lesson: begin again

watching you grow
the days, the years slip by
like beads on a string
i blink and you are eighteen

out of my arms
and into the world

July 15, 2018


i've been thinking of posting some little fragments of writing, micro-stories or glimpses of things...here is the first:


It's an emblematic day, where nothing feels innocent or void of subtext. She moves heavily through the morning after a disturbed night, still partly tangled in late dreams, remembering only the colours and a vague sense of loss. Washing up last night's wine glasses, one manages to click against the faucet---the gentlest of sounds, yet it shatters the bowl of the glass. Three great triangular shards fall into the sink, leaving the stem with a wickedly sharp piece that glints and threatens. Not even safe to put into the bin, it must be wrapped in something before throwing it away. Like newspaper, but she hasn't taken the papers in years. A plastic bag might do, but rigorous use of cloth shopping bags has ensured a lack of those, too. Stymied, she sets the broken thing on the windowsill and moves on to wash the linens.

Later she checks the laundry on the clothes-line, not liking the way the sheets snap in a bit of wind; it startles her and feels oddly ominous. She is reminded again of her hazy dreaming. Putting the kettle on for tea, she notices the flowers on the table are past their peak. As she looks at them, a ragged petal drops to the floor with a faint sound, that if she had to characterise it, she would describe as a dried moth falling onto parchment. Surely she has never heard that exact thing... The petal, as she stoops to pick it up, reminds her of the skin on her own hand, grown rather dry and thin of late. The veins there so blue, barely veiled. For no reason, she thinks back to the broken wine glass. More like a dagger than a glass now, she thinks. And then, irrelevantly, the old saying "a bell is a cup until it is struck" comes to her mind. She shakes her head very slightly at the unruliness of her own thoughts. Placing the tea things on a tray, her eyes fill suddenly with tears, as useless as they are unprovoked. She decides to have tea inside----outside the wind feels sharp, and the light pricks and pulls at everything, too bright, yet bringing no clarity.

The tea pours almost musically into the cup. The room is pleasantly dim, and the little light that comes through the curtains' gap makes a bar across the old Turkish rug, which glows wildly scarlet there. She wonders how long it took to make the rug, and whether it was a burden or a delight to the maker. Perhaps it was made for a dowry, she thinks drowsily, and frowns a little because she cannot know the end of the story. Was it a happy marriage, or one of the many small domestic tragedies that women live? Resolutely turning her thoughts away from this idea, she focusses on the teacup, frail and translucent as a shell. It's beautiful, but almost madly delicate. Somehow still very functional, though, having survived decades of washing up by her hands, and who knows how many other hands before hers. The teapot, though, has a hairline crack in its lid, barely noticeable, which cannot be felt but is quite visible on the underside. She knows the crack as well as she knows the slightly freckled back of her hand, or the occasional stitch-y pain in her heart.

Taking in the sheets after tea, she is reminded to look for some tissue paper to wrap the broken glass. Rifling through a plastic box of gift wrapping papers, she finds the piece of printed tissue that came in one of her daughter's early birthday gifts, a pastel floral design. She touches it gently before replacing it in the bottom of the box, and pulls out some utilitarian packing paper tucked away for re-use, not pretty enough for a gift. Returning to the kitchen, she shrouds the fragmented wine glass with the tissue paper and places it carefully in the bin, pointy bit downward. A small bloom of red on the paper alerts her to the tiny cut on her index finger; the shard that grazed her was so sharp that she barely felt it. Mingling with the water drops in the sink, the blood is magnified in dilution, a little red rivulet moving slowly to the drain. She turns the tap on briefly to wash the basin clean, and moves away to take the spent flower arrangement out to the compost. More petals fall, leaving a trail behind her. She admires the deepened hues of the dry flowers, as if they somehow concentrated themselves as they came to the end of their time. She rubs a few petals together in her hands and watches the plum-purple powder that results as it trickles to the ground. Like a cross between confetti and ashes, she thinks. She makes a plan to keep the next batch of petals and see if they will make a pigment that she can paint something with, as she used to do with her daughter when she was a toddler.

Back at the sink with the empty vase, she sees a fine line of dull purplish-brown on her finger where the flower petal dust has settled into the cut. She feels no desire to wash it out; it's a fugitive colour anyway, she thinks, rather elliptically, like the dream of a colour which doesn't endure in the light of day. And then, like a conjurer's trick, it is dusk...nearly time for dreaming again...and the sky is washed in shades of plum and violet that only a few short weeks in late autumn bring.

midwifing the future

lately there has been much discussion about eco-despair, and the unavoidable degradation of everything, and the urgency of action to fight-...