I Hereby Permit Myself to Have Zero Tolerance

There’s something to be said for ‘Dignity’. This kinda catch-all word gets commonly defined as ‘someone’s worth for esteem and respect’. Now, ‘esteem’, just by the hissing lingering sound of it, along with its Latin root ‘aestimare’, suggests that its a relatively diffuse phenomenon: drawing a flavour of experience, objection and subjectivity from a vast perhaps gossamer network, the nebulous nodes of which may be people, cultural dictates, personal values, among many other ‘things’. In other words, I think esteem requires a singular experiencing consciousness and a sprawling mass of varyingly differentiable ‘other’ consciousnesses. Even ‘Self-Esteem’ seems like the evaluation of the self by the self as worthy of esteem in accordance with some internalized system of principles.

But ‘respect’! Ah, this gem of a word. An etymological break down reveals that ‘respect’ comes from ‘looking’ (specere) ‘back’ (re).

To respect you, I must be able to look back at you, almost always in search for a reference to make sense of apparently (perhaps even unbearably so) peculiar chaos within myself. You must also reflect something in me, something aspirational. But for that, I must look! 

That isn’t all though. I speculate that perhaps to be able to look at someone- again and again- their gaze, their idiomatic ‘reflecting glass’ (depending on whether the light is shining brighter on the inside or the outside, one looks at images blending in differing proportions from one moment to another of forms from either realm) must be sensitive to the same spectrum of colours, capable of a similar range of resolution, that mine is, and therefore, I – the dynamic amalgamation of these colours and resolutions- must feature in the frame too.

‘Looking’ is mutual and shared. We look at each other while looking at each other and everything else we’re looking at- again and again, to make sense, to take root; to find anchorage and insight and tips for navigation.

So we home into a commonly known and uncommonly practised axiom: Respect thrives on mutuality. It cannot be sustained by merely the ‘looking’ and the ‘looked at’ by themselves. So it goes, that respectable people are also respectful people.

We can’t live in a world of dignity if we refuse to look at and be looked at by each other. We’re all accountable, therefore, for the necessary practices of authenticity and curiosity. I think what all this doesn’t mean is that we go about, for the heady experience of being seen, throwing a tantrum on a bad day around people who are gracious enough to hold us but do not deserve the scars we scratch into their skins. Nor does it mean that we become the forever scratched, exhausted, defenceless onlookers.

What that does mean is that in a culture with little (but not nil) discourse about how to cultivate authenticity and curiosity together, the need for a barometer of tolerance is crucial. After all, if respect is a mutually nurtured state then I can’t be the only one labouring over it.

So I have zero tolerance for those who aren’t looking. And for those who are- my eyes are wide open.



It’s that bittersweet taste of hope that reels me into believing every single person’s faint promise of love and friendship, and most of all, a soft glowing sense of being understood and accepted.

And then there’s the impossibility of such an experience being any more than a fleeting reality; it’s an impish little phenomenon, this sensation: it fades out of existence much quicker than it had glimmered into being at first.

In its wake, there’s a deafening silence, there’s comfort of solitude and my mind the ripples of which slowly come to a still in the aftermath of that glorious contact with another’s. Yet, the comfort must end, before it thickens to a fatal thickness.

I would like to

I want to shed my skin

to let Birds alight

on the ex-posed whims


Is there a meter I must mind

or a syllable I must grind

to please a language that was

indeed meant to be mine


Yet now I am Its

and it refuses to be she

who opens her legs to me

And now I remain forever blind

and unable, utterly

to produce a brain child

Death Onstage


“And so I think my mother is death”

Gasp! Sounds the hall

Our mother is death”

Screeeeech! goes the microphone

She clears her throat, wipes her brow

“Death must be a mother”

Aaah… the sigh runs through the crowd, nodding heads bob in a wave and chairs creak under the relaxing rears.

“So”, she says, daring to let an infant smile curl upon her lips, ” we stand here, moving towards her, away from her, and through her; dying several times before breathing for the first time, and then waiting for the final embrace. And while Life, the mean school teacher, frays our edges and whittles our hearts into strange and unique shapes, the cleansing fire of Death brings us all to primal ash.”

Yawwwn! goes one, beginning a chain of eyes drooping like dominoes

“In one way, however, Life may not be so bad after all” She says, eyeing the clock and feeling sweat pool in her armpits,

“The shapes don’t really matter, perhaps.”

ehehem… a throat clears, and then a few others

“It’s your chafed contour,” she gulps, “glowing like a halo when you allow yourself to stand in the way of light, which promises you glimpses of divinity in yourself and others…”

Triiinggg! goes the bell.

She sighs, now with a full smile, “…before we turn to ash”




The walls of your womb have begun

To draw my vermilion blood

And slit by the edge in your voice

Is my throat nipped in the bud


You must know surely and indeed

That I shrink from the rage I feel

Claw at you and cleave, demented,

My thin skin I took years to weave


I can hear my heart tick away

As we say what we have said before

And our fingers fuse around

The cool pin in its dark grenade core


A Single shadow blights the room

There are no locks on the door

I vanish and you dissolve

In our vitriolic amour



You drew lines with sticks and chalks

in my soft, moist earth

while I cooled  feet in  the soil

with tomorrow sown for mirth


Now you’ve shown me a sky scarred

by ruby-eyed planes

and scraped by ivory towers

that I must climb with bars

Joy, sincerely feigned

and have my country heart devoured


it’s venom that moves me now

since the day I was bitten

with your blinding diamond teeth

It’s venom that draws me to death

in your fire, I glisten

Its smoke of my flesh I breathe


And for now I move, a beast

caged in robes of elite

glide with wings of a preying bird

carrying bleeding, mangled feet





Blues of dawning hearts

they swirl in quivering skies

shall we paint ourselves red

shall we turn to ripe

shall we turn to glowing stone

pierced and waiting to be thawed

or shall we swim in the violet whispers

open and soft

never home

gleaming one moment, tearing in another

drenched in electric thunder


Shall we soak the sun for its vital incandescence

and lose our contours to its heated whims

Shall we lean into one another

and taste the fear and thrill

of being

in flight


Made with love, whatever that is

Here’s a porcelain doll

For you to break with your kisses

Warm but cold and no qualms 

Honey charred your eyes turn to

The pieces of her scarlet

Ripe and crushed, beyond undo

The heart shaped throbbing garnet

“It’s just China” blushing you say

“Fashioned for final crash 

Mindless, thoughtless, too much to pay

One could not be too rash”

Her Gaze of glass, your spine of steel

Spirits of smoke in both

Shapeless, weightless, none can feel

brittle shells of broken oaths

Blue Moon

One day happiness will come to me
Draped in resplendent gold
And I will turn away from her
Wrath in my blood, frozen cold.

There’s a shining pin in my skin
For each day spent in trance 
Painting verses for the steel world
Never caring to  glance 

As the moon of my soul, revived
slept sans a lullaby 
Twisting and turning and writhing
Poisoned by each muffled cry 

Cratered and greying and aged
before his time to bloom
He mourned  the tideless waters 
From his violet tomb 

Impaled with silver beams I bled
Then seeking my old shell
And crawling into its darkness
Sang for my heart’s burial

The moon has drowned in my world
But elsewhere, has begun to rise
And when it rains outside my door
Memories burn in my eyes

They fuel my dreams ablaze
Char what’s left of my days
Hissing, they rise in steam 
Till only a carcass 
of me can be seen.

Crystal Womb

I dance on thin ice and feel

the aged winter trace

Fractals on my skin


Cracks are born beneath my feet

Each time I prance, this maze

Of crystal babes sprawls in


The wrinkled cradling arms of snow

And I dance, debonair

Tease the cold that waits


To pull me close by my toe

Embrace my soul bare

Take the cadent bait


Of my heart and spirit and being

To lull them to eternal sleep

Returning to the silent womb

My final lilting scream