I act like a dick many times a day
and you’ve learned to live with my dickishness,
but still, this very evening when you laid

down on the wet grass in your dark red dress,
I complained about tricky light levels,
how these shots wouldn’t come out at their best

instead of telling you how beautiful
you looked in the failing and fragile light
that no camera could ever catch in full.

Happy Birthday my sweet love. Goodnight.



The last time I tackled this book of poems
(another copy, from the library)
was on our Honeymoon—the distant foam

(beyond our sunbeds, hissing at the beach)
was laced with jellyfish; the throbbing tide
would drag us quickly off, out of the reach

of any rescuers that might have tried
to dredge us back from the South China Sea.
The lines could never catch, perhaps my mind

was still softened by jet lag, so I’d sleep
until the clouds blew in from the rainforest
to send us back to watch Malay TV

as Orangutans shrank into their nests
and binturongs wrapped their constrictor tails
around thick, swaying trunks as the tempest

blew over in time for our evening meal.
Right now, the sun is squinting through our blinds,
the bills come in and undergarments flail

as the wash cycle clicks from rinse to spin.
Even our little girl, dozing next door,
has come to know the torpor of routine.

The lines that sailed over my head before
all spark to life as I read them again.
Some poems fail on bright, exotic shores—

they need the dry tinder of the mundane.


There is a slight relief that comes with rain
although it empties parks and halts the play
mid set; or when we amble off the train

and make a dash for shelter, our baby
exposed for a moment to the deluge.
The relief settled in because, maybe,

the morning’s shouting match wasn’t assuaged
by mumbled sorrys heading out the door,
and their effectiveness cannot be guaged

against a sheet where hubby points are scored.
Perhaps it’s because nothing can hold tight
against the torrents of the hard downpour

that does not discern who was wrong or right.

Canto CCVI

My wife didn’t go outside today
so now she’s tidying aggressively
and I’m staying the hell out of her way,

try hard to take my bits of mess with me
so she won’t take a vacuum cleaner brush
at full force to my tender testicles,

which she’ll do anyway when she reads this.

Canto CCV

I hope that we will do this when we’re old,
walk through our manor at the Spring day’s end,
lob crusts at waterfowl around the pond,

grumble about the boozing youngsters when
they sway all giggly into our path.
We’ll fend off unleashed pitbulls with our canes

and tut as they defecate on the grass.
Then, as the last sunrays run flat and low,
we’ll bemoan how we’ve lost our golden past

until we hear the final, tremulous throes
of birdsong from the bower cathedrals
that shimmer in the final, hazy glow,

and in turn we’ll be ageless and enthralled.


Some virgin in a stupid hat and robe
seems to believe he’s an authority
on how two full grown adults share their love.

He also has some strong advice for any
women with the gall to harbour views
on what they should do with their own punanis.

Do I ask vegans if they have a clue
on how to tenderise a peppered steak?
Do I ask lions how to build igloos?

O Cardinal O’Brien, you’re the freak.
Your moral code’s cooked up by bronze age males.
We’re cooking up some rainbow wedding cake—

go swing that aspergillum someplace else.

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