As if in Florence

from The Decameron by Boccaccio, p. 50

Day was seated and ready,
to seek attention,
to protect herself with virtue most beautiful,
her reason sending some to wonder.

I recently participated in a collaborative art project by Unprecedented. In their own words, ‘Unprecedented is a public poetry project that circulates pages of The Decameron between small groups of people, one year after the COVID-19 crisis was first declared. We reflect on the solitude, urgency, travesty, and strange beauty that is now nearing becoming a thing of the past.
Each person receives a page in the mail and blacks out part of Boccaccio’s text. What’s left on the page reveals a poem.’

If you’d like to browse the returned pages or sign up to join the project, just head on over to the Unprecedented website.

Mourning song

This new season holds promise when it comes to love
a 10 billion pixel panorama is set
before my eyes, my ears, before my skin and you.
Budding green shoots, look at the way they are going.
They can’t be stopped while overhead the clouds roam like
giants, like ceiling ghosts. While under the earth a
stirring. A bridge made of flimsy rotting wood, fat
with decay yielding. And you think that you struck gold
and so, here we are. All there is left is too watch.

A golden shovel to Sylvia Plath’s Morning Song.

The joining

I like all things vernal,
lime-green, new

unfurling like a trill
from the throat of a nightingale.

I feel like the apple of the eye
of the world, and still these words

are an approximation while my identity
is being reshuffled, Inanna to Ishtar,

syncretisation. The withered grass
feeds the young. I was never

the shining torchbearer of a precocious generation,
my winter self, longing for band-aids and lollipops,

the simple solutions to young hurts.
While a dirty neon bruise cruises behind the distant canopy,

even in the lime-green light I am a clowder of cats
in the henhouse with a cudgel.

Didn’t I tell you,
I don’t do subtle in this season.

But hope springs eternal in my breast too.
All vernal things I wish for.

What Helen of Sparta left behind when she went willingly with Paris

Burnt sienna walls, pomegranate trees, oranges and the river that breaks its banks after the November rains; pieces of eggshell hanging by a ribbon from the shrine roof; clay figurines, storage jars, stories, seal-stones, frescoes, hymns; spring wreaths of hyakinthos and orchis quadripunctata moist with sweat; abducted girlfriends, disguised as boys for their wedding night; endless gym classes; thirty-one craggy-faced, grizzle-bearded suitors; countless sheep, oxen, and a horse cut into pieces; a torchlit room with damp sheets, meddling Aphrodite in the corner, smug; a motherless Theseus, a motherless Hermione, who was only nine.

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Two poems @ Free Verse Revolution

My artwork on the cover!

Two of my new poems “The barmaid” and “The cure” have been published in the inaugural issue of Free Verse Revolution. I also sent in a photomontage artwork to illustrate the first poem, and to my great delight it made the cover!

If you’d like to get your hands on this wonderful new magazine, all you have to do is go to the Free Verse Revolution website and you can download your copy there.

Be sure to let me know what you thought of my poems. I appreciate the feedback!