electronic chairs

We don’t set an empty seat

at the table

where you should be.

Instead we laugh:

at what?

There has always been an emptiness here,

like a devoured stocking; an unfulfilled

Christmas Wish.

Pulling crackers is like

pulling teeth or pushing daisies

out of the grave of your memory.


You are at your home,

which is not mine,

was never mine,

honouring your most ancient ritual.

Stubby fingers clasp a brown bottle,

labelled with the same shade as the scarlet letters

you left on my mothers face.


Your armchair retracts electronically.

I think you told me that once?

An electric machine for a prehistoric man.

You sit in it all day

(At least I imagine:

I never knew you)

and do not think of the trail of

shattered green glass,

empty words,

that hang on the trail of years


of your paternity.


I used to ask myself: did

you know it was Christmas?


Do you hear the tones of your

loyal quintet this year?

They lost their harmonies in the

snow, years ago.

You did not come.

Their vocal chords froze.

They thawed into a collection of red,

blue, and black.

Exalting voices made bleak and dull.


I look for a second for your space at the table.

I remember, the next, your electronic chair.





i have been silent for too long,

crushed under the weight of numbers on paper.

words in a stiff bound spine. thoughts in a noisy mind.

but now it is time.

time to emerge, straight-backed and smiling,

and sift through the sound, the numbers, and paper,

and say for myself, there is more than just this.

that i am stronger than panic and fright, greater than the quivers of my own fragile soul.

it is time to stand, to shout in defiance, that i am better, am happy.

time to step from the shadow of myself and cast light.

It is always cold at Train Stations

It is always cold at train stations, I heard someone say today.

I felt, for a moment, the truth of their statement resonate, ironically,

in the racking chill of my bones and the laboring catch of my breath.

In England, at least, it is always cold at train stations; haunted with

The memory and threat of the man who jumps, with a bag over his head,

blind to his life and beauty he departs from. Was even he cold, then, in

Those final moments? When his legs worked, furiously, his breath

Shallower, weaker, in the final seconds before his form became flesh

And his flesh became putty. It is always cold at train stations, even

On the hottest summer day, you are chilled by travel; we are always

Lamenting our departure from somewhere, dreading our arrival or

the arrival of another, the other woman. It is always cold at train stations,

even on that day that you ran to me, sign clutched with my name blazoned

on cheap Woolworths cardboard. You said it was cheesy, but cheesy

is uncomfortable and funny and this was warm and amusing, touching

in some base, mortal way. But even then it was cold at the train station,

perhaps in forewarning of the heartbreak that could come. Did the

station know, in the power of it’s displacement, that soon we would

part like trains blasting past each other on well-kept tracks, a gush

of air and nothing more, leaving chill in our wake for those on the

platform. It is colder now, for me, at train stations cursed with the

tarnished memory of what was once only happiness, now bleak

and sorrowful. It is perhaps not so cold for you as for me, but

it is always cold at train stations.


Neither Bifröst nor Babel will ever best
the ancient division of parent, child
and the years that lay unseen, but still felt,
growing between them until the day comes that
they are not parent and child, but instead
blurred faces that were once clearer than day
and a shadowed hole that once was called home.

I Remember

I remember them still, even
now. After years, after
everything. I remember

Cutlery learnt to fly,
Fists learnt to punch,
Blood chose to spill.

I remember them still, despite
you. To spite you.
You, us, her. What was it?
That difference, between
us, hovering. There, always.

Was it hatred, love or
perhaps boredom? I cannot
say. I could not breathe, then.
On those days that I

I remember them always,
in every smile and tinkle
of laughter or joy. In
my brothers and sisters and
You, Us and Her. In a home
that was once lovely. I
do not forget. In photos
and fishing and dinner.
I remember.

I remember the lights.
Reds, blues and whites
The darkness and the sounds
Sirens, screams and smashes.
The horror, fear, hate. The
darkness, ‘it’s too late.’

I do not remember why. Why
You, Me, and Us broke and
why it began or ended:
why lovers kisses became
Death’s strikes. Or why
a home became a house
And a family just people.

I do remember how. How
each strike cried out
slap, crunch and scrape.
I remember how red rivers
spilt from new holes and
caverns. I do remember
how metal struck flesh and
how a goddess was defiled.

In my head metal still flies
and rivers still flow. And my
siblings cry and I remember,
or do not forget. I live
these nights each night,
in bed. I am trapped and
chained. I see them and I
hear them, I live them still.
I remember them still, and
I will remember them

The nights that you battered my mother.

Woman Emerges

Woman emerges from the
family home, where her
children once grew, were once cherished.
Woman emerges from her
old childhoods roam, where the
bed sheets were castles and carpets.
Woman emerges from the
shadow of love, where her
prince grew ugly and wilted.
Woman emerges from a
house, all alone,
covered in blood and
her bruises.