Friday, 25 December 2009

Hampstead Heath was lovely in the snow

~~Sum's profile pic~~

Somehow we faded
like the blooms of the bunch you bought me
the day you told me it was over
and i felt something drain
from me - maybe colour, maybe hope
and my disbelief was a feeble wash
of grey

as their colours
drowned, dripped, dropped
from blossoms to mulch
i drooped

catching every ray
as it passed through their vase
sucking light and life
desaturation to a severe degree

head bowed
you tilted, wilted
trudged your way to the door

in a moment of reanimation
i rediscovered my true colours
took up that vase
and aimed

your exit became explosive
befitting, that crowning glory

'smashing', they all agreed

Thursday, 10 December 2009

What would I know

I need to take a little lie-down
a bit of a time out, just a few decades or so
to realign, re-assess, rejuvenate and return to myself;
a while for the world to catch-up
with itself, a pause from its eternal spinning into infinity
and for me to adjust to my own insignificance within the universe.

It’s probable it’ll take a little longer,
centuries, perhaps even millennia
to even come close to beginning to understand
to get even iota of an inkling
of what it all means,
and who I suppose I am supposed to be.

The why of it all does not even bear considering;
this world will have frozen over,
or maybe heated to cinders and beyond ash
a thousand times over
before any mere human could even come
within harpooning distance of that particular truth.

And if by some crazy miracle,
some spectacular flaw in the passing of the seasons,
the turning of the tides, and the order of the constellation.
any mortal should stumble onto a glimmer of this conundrum,
the ferocity of the light of such immense knowledge,
it would be beyond unbearable.

A mind torn wide open
by the enormity of it all,
oblivion would become the new quest,
clawing at the vault of prior ignorance
wishing for a return to an utterly irretrievable innocence.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Old letters and other stuff under the bed

Some days
I like to try and defy time
attempt to throw a spanner in the works
or even tinker enough to turn it back,
even if only a little

Slip on that green jumper -
you know, the one she knitted me
with the crazy bobbles, and monkey-long sleeves
struggling valiantly in the cupboard against feasting moths
and out of it, on, hanging down to my knees.

Make hot cordial in a mug so big
I need two hands to hold it
and it covers my nose
as I drink.

Wear giant woolen socks that pick up the fluff
and sit back on the sofa
watching Sam be baffled at every new leap
or Fox telling Dana why she really should believe
or maybe just dancing round the living room
to Stevie and Michael and Lionel and Bob.

Monday, 30 November 2009

Listening to Crack The Shutters, reading Lil & Silver Star

Insatiable this
to get every thought, every idea, every movement and memory
to share, in flowing couplets, or stilted rhymes
in reams, over pages, or just a line
And yet the desire remains
by the ability to relate
So the fever of the passion felt
just that - only experienced, unshared
Every scribble, scrawl, printed or penned
to relay the intensity that pulls everything crashing together
a million images at once impacting and
through every corner of my mind
starbursts and sunsparks at the
of a photo that recreates, not imitates
or a turn of phrase that reaches in
and twists me wrong-side out and upside down
But how in the world to assimilate and
exactly how each ignites inside beyond fathoms
each sends me soaring, propelled by awe, suspended by the wonder
How to make you know what I know,
feel just what it all makes me feel,
understand what I'm trying to tell you?

Listening to Little Dragon

each time I think I've reached resolution
got to some sort of standing place in my head
i realise, too late, those guiding lines I let go
are still so very necessary
so I'm left, dizzy and spinning
in my attempts to go it alone, or perhaps
in the aftermath of opening myself
to too much newness all at once
my heart sirges with each discovered twist
every novel revelation or interpretation
but my head - overloaded, this excitement fatal to rationale
short-fusing the only to deal with this mass fusion,
more, mass confusion

floating, spent, back down to conformity
but even so, still compelled to snatch at
each shiny new idea on offer

Saturday, 21 November 2009

And a bit of auto-writing for November

--Slips & scribbles stuffed into diaries--

Take me
up and away
Let’s float high on ebullient inconsequence
Make disregard our means to an end
Escape our end to all meaningless
Shutter take it down put it away
shut it out anything to escape
No night too dark no way too narrow
Any shout let it out release or risk
the explosion building up inside.
Take it apart with your own two hands
No one else will do it for you.
Better accept it’s up to you, kiddo,
no hero, no lone ranger to come riding out of the sunset,
except perhaps to pick up his hat
which he forgot in his haste to get out.
Oh wot laughs!

Shelter shimmering shameless nights.
Altering alternate overview overclouded
upbraided unnested from its comfort perch.
Brought out and made to face th emusic
Face up to its responsibilities
Take it down a notch or two

Pause - gasp for breath.

Overwhelming overbearing incident accident
subsume human thought
devoid of warmth
descants of fresh pain screaming in the silent night
What tuneful despair
How lustily we laugh at their petty sighs
their unfounded fears
making light, making little of what explodes
from their hearts, from their minds
The terrible terrains
unchartered truly by any man
no man at all knows the truth
Gets close only in feeling,
undefined emotion
scrabbling for a foothold
Anything to save from falling
into that abyss of unknown
that pit that mocks our illusion of safety.

Damn you, sir!
Pedalling your petty truths, penny lies,
betrayal tainting all you tout.
Go then. Leave this place and forget my name.

Soothe soothe soft and calm
beware of so much vexatious beration.
Be rational and soft in your approach.
Let there be love and light and kindness
heart take over anger’s fearful brow.
Soothe this row.
Rate it low and return
empty handed open pocketed
packaged penalised
no penalty too great for the grave crime committed here today
foul treason, man, and no mistake.
Truly it were a disgrace to this house,
to your very name.
Fie! for shame on you.
Banish yourself hence and do not bother to be seen again
or it should be a sorry and final sight.

Tackle it down to the ground
Forgive, only because you can,
it is within your power
and there is no greater power than that.

What is this thing?
It does not soar, nor is it jubilant.
Rather, low, it shakes and heaves,
laden and lumpen
Mishapen and abhorent
to the eye and ear and all senses
that have power to perceive it
How they wish they had not.

And I? What of I?
Nothing really in particular that I can think of,
that comes to mind.
Distress built up, calcified,
needs to be banished somehow
righted before it takes too fast a hold
and may never be safely dislodged.
Senseless sadness overwhelms
overflows spills out no control
only feeling.
Hoping for hearing that leaves me
dazzled shining new

A couple dusted off for October

(Sorry they're a little late...)


Melancholia grips

Its favourite stance

When it catches me unawares,


Goes in for the choke hold

Somehow misses,

Snatches only my resolution.

Leaves me a pathetic apathetic

Sole denizen

of this nowhere place.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

~If we hadn't met~

The world would be an inordinately sadder place

If it should have been that we had not met.

Obviously, we'd have known nothing about it,

Gone on with our lives,

Spent them with others who wouldn't have been quite perfect for us,

But, in the event, worked quite well enough.

No, we'd have been pretty much unaware.

But the universe would've felt the loss of what could've been;

House-tumbling tremors at its mournful sighs.

The angels, looking down, would've shaken their heads,

Exchanged pitying glances as they shrugged wings,

Solar eclipse gestures at the foolishness of Man.

Lucky then, in our blissful ignorance,

That we stumbled on each other

And decided to stick it out.

And when we think how, no matter what our hearts' desolation

If we were to ever go our own ways,

It wouldn't be the end of the world,

Maybe, just maybe, we should think again


Sunday, 11 October 2009

(September poem)

---Driven, on impulse---

A burning, an itching
a driving, a compulsion
in my bones;
a thirst,
a twisting of the lights
and of the tones.
& I've got to get it down,
get it down before it's flown,
this impulse that is telling me to get

a certain hold. A thought
that twitches as it ferrets
through my mind;
a vision,
a symphony so bright it leaves me blind.
But it's burning to get out,
to get out
and leave behind
the restraining order that's been placed upon it

in my head, it's pounding,
it's throbbing, begs my soul
to set it free
of thinking, of echoes,
all this troubled poetry -
set it down in black and white
as I write
into a prison
on a page that's been constructed to hold my insanity.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

One for Kat

---For your birthday---

I wanted this to be the best poem ever,
one with lines that held tight like friendship bonds (never sever),
endeavour to create something out of this world,
something one in a million, from my mind unfurled.
Astounding rhymes, pure sweetness curled
On the tip of my tongue, waiting to amaze you.


Each time I tried to write, nothing would come,
like somehow my huge intent had struck me dumb.
Anticipated pride led to fall, my mind numb,
scrabbling for those perfect lines, just searching for some
tiny thing worth holding out to you to say
‘happy birthday’.

So time ticked on, and I struggled in vain,
wrote a load of old rubbish again and again til
the whole world around me was feeling my pain
(or rather, the horror of each awful refrain!)
and begged me to stop torturing it, and my brain
with this trash – so, I did.

I hadn’t thought about it for a few weeks, and then tonight
for some reason as I’m about to go to bed, and turn off the main light
with some rooibos and vanilla, and some gingerbread just right
to delight my tongue,
I felt something in my head turn from dead to ignite.

The words started flowing, and well, I guess you can see
what came about – basically, this random story
of this poem and all it aspired to be.
I was only going for a few lines but, hey, you know me!
And you see, you were right when you told me to note
your advice – so simple – I learnt it by rote:
(and now, with artistic licence, I’ll quote)
“Whatever the mishap, any wrong step you take;
however bad the day, or how big the mistake;
no matter how much that boy turned out to be fake! –
it’ll all be ok, just as long as there’s tea and there’s cake”

Monday, 14 September 2009


Understand - my ego is huge as the universe,
but more fragile than egg shells and butterfly wings.
So if you love me, tell it loud
for me (and all the world) to hear.
Declare it on each breath,
as many times daily as your heart
pumps it around your being,
so I can take your words
and weave a gossamer cloak of reassurance -
a trembling shift, fine as mist
but stronger than a knight's steel shell,
made so because you spoke it.

If you have affection, show me clear
as my cat who, chest rumbling joyful
at the sight of me, brushes love firm with her
fur-fuelled greeting. Pads paws to toes, knees, face,
and when I lay,
assumes my back as her throne,
lazes regal, from my shoulders to waist,
her demonstration that she owns me
just as well as I do her.

If you love me, love, then testify.


I awoke, with my mouth dry
from dreams I had writ
as my waking mind slept
and my sleeping mind, adept,
created realities of worlds where clouds shone and trees
wove shelters above us, as crimson skies wept.

I awoke with my tongue swollen tight,
heavy with the words I had uttered unaware;
tales that I no longer recall,
But that burned as they left their home in my heart.
The memories, my own, merged with the world's,
demanding an audience, compelling a teller.
Ignorant upon waking,
my tongue fell still.

I awoke, beyond tired
from the miles I had trudged
in my bed. Travelled continents unchartered
creating, in my own, a cartographer's dream;
lands whose names inspire deserts and oceans
and the flaws in smoky cystal-cut glass,
each a glimpse of the Garden, perhaps.
Melting on waking,
as all proper dreamscapes must.

I awoke and lay, prone,
waiting for the dreams to return.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

For a friend


I saw you stand tonight
at a bus-stop, all nonchalant, so straight;
not even proud, just natural,
and the idea of a stick was laughable,
that wheelchair some half-imagined nightmare
no association with that faultless posture.

I heard you speak tonight,
not to me, but regaling some crowd
of friends with your treatise on that album
by the Arctic Monkeys (remember?).
Languid, but by choice,
your speech broken only by your laughter.

I saw you write tonight,
sat hunched at your machine,
your brow a field of furrows - focused, not pained.
And you produced reams,
covered my landscape effortlessly,
impatient for the space to fill with each new passage.

I see you smile, not to chide,
but gently mock my childish fancy.
And maybe it is only fantasy,
but I believe it real -
I saw it tonight.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Mohammed Yahya presents: Silent Lectures

The week after the Poetic Pilgrimage gig, I was back at Rich Mix for another amazing night of music, poetry, and incredibly uplifting sharing.

Mohammed Yahya and his band were the ones on stage this time, filling the venue with a sound only he has - Afro beat fusing with hip-hop, blues and spoken word.

They were joined by an amazing line up of special guests, including Poetic Pilgrimage, Masikah, Muslim Belal, R U Kid, and the brilliant Ismael, from Mecca 2 Medina.

Once again, if you haven't heard already, check out Mohammed's MySpace page.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Poetic Pilgrimage at Rich Mix

The 4th day of July, and a night with Poetic Pilgrimage rocking the house, and showing what it really means to be independent - of narrow expectations, misconceptions, and any other obstacle that could potentially hold them back.

It was a night of brilliance supreme - they blazed, truly.

If you don't already know Poetic Pilgrimage, what's taken you so long?! 
Check 'em out - they are amazing.

(double click on pics for full size)

Go well

This is for you, Umm Junayd.  Travel safe, and make sure you come back!

---journey home---
tread soft, sweet pilgrim,

soft, but sure

follow your intentions to the place they lead

let them be your map to that sacred place

you only needed come so far from home

to find the love within your soul

to reveal that love that makes you whole

you came to seek His Love

how beautiful you are, dear sister

humbled and awed, a child once more

among a family you have always known

but never before seen on such a scale

your tears trail, 

unheeded as the dust they displace

travel apparent on your face

leaves a trace that is rendered as nothing

by the light that shines through

your joy emanates, pure, inevitable, true

how could you know

what your soul had forgotten? 

memory stolen, but in mercy - 

the only way you could leave the perfection

of that garden where we all began

His Love - such Love

bathing each white robe, each beard, each shawl

the bond so strong

will you ever be able to come home again?

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

-- they fell --

tonight the stars fell from the sky

rained down, terrified, tails ablaze

liquid fire, studding the smouldering earth


could not withstand

the gravitational pull

of the planet

Newton’s discovery made potent

by the world’s misery combined


and as the final drop of hope

dried to a grain of despair

the heavens were overwhelmed


some say they did not fall –

they jumped; dove head-first

to their extinction

ancient witnesses grown weary of all they saw

seeking only to find a way

to end

their nightly visions


all i want
is a room
in which to sit
accompanied only
by the silence
of the dark

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Not on course

Sunset approach, full window view
cobalt, steel, and cotton sky.
Leaves shiver and spring,
teasing songs form the wind
as it rifles through,
chilling their veins,
every hair stood taut,
micro-shocks at this intrusion.

KOL and Karima both play with my head
where Robeson and Jackson have already planted
rich, deep kisses of melody and bass.

Awake before the sun even considered,
a day of toil - effectively shirked
in favour of musical re-education -
sweet soul, gospel, folk and blues
(awe the default)
every note, pure captivation.

Must stop that. Start this. Focus.

--The rain started--

I don't know how not to let
infatuation obfuscate
my vision, misted from the first moment
you pressed
your hand
into mine
(so soft)
and smiled


I lay open this wager
to anyone claiming rationality:
that should they,
just for some short seconds,
become me (no, really)
see you as right now I see,
would find themselves no longer free
to claim refuge with reason.
Fingers pricked, bleeding, would turn,
leave this Zuleikha to her fallacy.

My will lies fathoms deep
no chance of breath.
Patient (almost) unto death.
Faith forming bubbles of hope
drifting to the surface.

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Holding on to the truth

The most important things are the hardest things to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them-words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they're brought out. But it's more than that isn't it? The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you've said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it. That's the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within not for want of a teller but for want of an understanding ear.

Stephen King - The Body

Careless, love

My love,

how careless you are with my heart,

accepting with such disregard

affection I can’t help but send your way.

Not uncaring, but so unaware

how you play me for a fool

with no intention, no idea.

Creating chaos with a glance,

devastation in one soft sigh.

And when we touch,

in your innocent arms I am lost,

sparking on sunbursts and iridescence,

thrust into a fantasy of requital.

And for an instant my world shimmers.

Then reality returns,

wicked intrusion,

daydream dispelled,

and somehow it slips away

and we go back to being

just good friends..

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Black Man Returns

Hikmah walks in sporting a straw hat:

Hikmah - See my hat - I'm Black Man!
Me - You're Black Man?
H - Yes I am.  I have one noses, a black and white belly, and two legs!

Well, I guess those are all important features in fighting crime...especially the belly.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

A bit out of place for the current weather...

but nevertheless

----You'll catch your death---

Sitting out in the snow
that night
wasn't as crazy
as you think
when you consider
it was so beautiful
my heart ached
my throat got tight
my head felt sure it might explode
from trying to contain
all the thoughts and memories
metaphors and similes
imaginings and fantasies
evoked by the sight
of shadow clouds racing across
that smooth crisp plane.

The moon gasped, a full 'oh' of delight
appreciation at the 
wonder of all it illuminated
that night.

Even in that freezing cold
in my flimsy jacket, never meant to
share in the splendour of such a sight,
even as I sat there, back against the stone cold wall
backside downside on grass frozen white,
I felt cocooned, lulled by the hush and rush
of snow-stifled wind whispers,
wrapping me tight.

And even if I had caught my death of cold
that night
unaware of the passing of time
forgetting myself
sheltered by the dark from the far too bright
inquisitive intrusion of indoor light,
perhaps it would have been somehow more right
than standing, stretching, trying to step light
but unable to avoid leaving my mark,
walking away, eyes down
so as not to upset with refreshed sight
the perfect awe I carried back
from sitting out in the snow
that night.

Friday, 12 June 2009

The bells

I haven't quite gotten round to going to bed yet tonight (last night...),  My head is beginning to feel it right about now, so off soon for a few hours.

I just heard the bells of a local church tolling, though, and it reminded me of some years back, when I was up around this time.  I'd stayed up to finish reading 'Chocolat', and heard those same bells.  The whole thing resulted in the poem below.

Peau D'Orange


Somehow sad and bittersweet

Like memories of holidays spent with relatives long since vacated

A crystallite-nostalgia, fey-like in the heat

Fragile and frayed memory of childhood days

Clear as the haze on holiday-packed tarmac

Ice-cream hands and sugar-sweet stains

Traipsing it all back home again

To the sound of crying in the rain


Irrational fear of what just may be

Constant craving for what never was

Elaborate fantasy replayed to perfection

Touched and tempered by cruel intentions

Streaked through with crying in the night

All that has not yet passed is yet to come

And hardly ever a thought of what is

In haste overlooked and unreflected

In favour of memories soon to be made

Enmeshed in the clamour of times half –forgotten

Anticipation of the to come enlivens

Fatal attraction to the irrepressible evoked

Mingle and dwindle to four seasons in one day


Scuppered by cunning, ticking streams

Moments elude and slip by without apology

The snapshots blur and outlines smudge

And now is imagined, a study in quicksilver

Sitting back to observe and absorb in the name of love

A vague lesson in suspended animation

Subdued in the reverberation of the chimes crying freedom

                                                Monday 19/8/02; 4am-5am

La vita nuova

It was a beautiful day...

Sunday, 7 June 2009

so i guess i went for option 1...

----1st try----


struggle to recreate me,

transform, inhabit a different she

one closer to the ideal that he,

in my mind, would rather see


to become another

for the sake of one other

who is, in fact, yet to discover

that i wish he could be lover, brother, child, and mother

there is no way on God’s good earth

that, not with child, i can give birth

to a new me that is somehow worth

what i have deemed to be his dearth

and so

i set aside pretension, 

re-evaluate intention,

accept futile re-invention

will no way stem apprehension

at the truth I’m still too scared to mention

or yet accept - somehow, someway,

the way I am right now, today,

the me I see, trembling at he,

is the only she I’ll ever be

2.15 a.m.

My little brother came home this weekend.  He played me a Wiley sample, and rapped over it.  He's inspired me to attempt to write something that rhymes, for the first time in about 10 years.  And I'm contemplating whether to carry on attempting to create this thing, in a way that it won't sound like a nursery rhyme; baking a loaf of bread; or just switching on i-player til Fajr time...

It's one of those 'is that really the time?!' nights.

Saturday, 6 June 2009


Steel kisses
trace the lines
of pulsing veins;
soft, firm, incisive,
part this tired canvas;
trails of crimson bloom,
ebb, and flow
in the wake of their
sharp cold love.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

One for Mia, one for me


Do you remember that time
in El Corte Ingl├ęs
I crumpled,
coiled around sudden shock
waves of nausea
radiating from each mini-crest of pain.

You took me home
sent me to sleep;
single matress, cool, in your dark room.

You worried, when I woke,
that I shouldn't hear 'volare'
from the street
in case it should remind me too much
of him.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 


& I can feel me
doing that thing
where I draw back
and close off
and shut down
and pretend I didn't even care
                       I didn't even hope
                       I didn't even just die
                                                        a little

Just. One. Line.

Enough to read
                     a whole life
or rather,

Neither mine.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

wait for it

Today, bright sparkling, suntastically disposed,
Twinkling all over, head to toe dazzling,
Radiate the magnificence of my mood.
And all is excellent, fantastic, amazingly sublime.
Crazy feeling, love and affection
Bubbling over to bursting point,
Beaming on through forbidden grin.

But all the while,
As this good feeling glows,
As it skitters, and scatters, threatens to explode
A mass of endorphins; too buzzed to contain
Shooting fireworks of fancy out of my brain,
A part of me waits for that fuzzy feeling to fizzle out,
The part that knows how all silver linings come with a catch.
Prediction, even through this glittering, glorious, sun-drenched dance,
Of the storm fast approaching my personal joyville.
These light tapping feet will drag to despondency
In the murk of the gloom that is bound.
And it promises dense, that feeling;
It will crumple and crush as I reach
That dip at the end of this rollercoaster.

Monday, 1 June 2009

I can feel it all over

I should work - I have to work - but right now, I just need to sing.

Is it normal to be so delighted by the sound of one's own voice?