Charivari

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One day, when I was six, I became a mountain
It was the day I yelled and screamed with righteousness into thick air, the air my only witness, while I sat on my bed’s soft bedrock
And with my pillow I swiped at that air, at the bed, at the enemy sitting next to me — her name was Injustice
And the rage burst out like lava from a fissure that needed so much to crack open and Injustice was afraid of me and though the lesson did not teach her anything I learnt there was power in truth and in my anger
I was a mountain

To freeze is not to escape but is to survive by staying still
A fawn is a baby deer but it also means to play along so someone doesn’t kill you
To flee is to run away from danger and escape
And to be able to fight and win — what a dream and privilege that would be

My inner child woke this morning, her rage amplified so hard by life that the walls pulsed, the glass throbbed and the wood thumped in sympathy
I will give you a thumping my father said to my brother
It was a threat to behave like your fingers on my throat were a suggestion of death
The fawn froze
Half-dead half-here half-there
Brain bisected violently, hurtling towards life and death simultaneously

You refuse to give life, to grow branches and shoot out twigs and new leaves
Your roots stay stuck in your concrete pot, demand that others tend without taking
A puppet ruler, a tin-pot dictator — you fail to give even air
You take life
And though we are your dead, we write — our words don’t flee, they stand and fight

Poems infiltrate the water supply like truth serum
Liars are exposed
The ghosts of those you murdered stand outside your house banging loudly on pots and pans
Charivari, the rough music of justice, the just music of shame
Groundwater toxins vibrate in time, buckle epidermis of earth which pops with stochastic rhythm driven nonsensical by algorithms forming sharp little mountains everywhere the music is heard
The rough music of justice will be heard and it will make tall mountains

Love song

I’ll take you with me in my pocket
Wrap you in a fluffy blanket
Spoon feed you a pot of junket
Lie you in a cosy casket
Love you with a golden trinket
Clear your way through spiky thicket
Serenade with shrieks of cricket
Catch the ball, defend your wicket
Paint your picket fence bright white,
in a blaze of blinding light —
I’ll simmer you a tender brisket
Fetched today from local market
Anything for you: just ask it
Let me take you in my basket

Predator

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A smile that’s too large
A look in the eye
Too intense, unblinking
The predator spots his prey
You
A shifty glance sideways
Evasive, furtive
A question ignored
Or answered too late
That too-soon bonding
With sickly sweet compliments
So many superlatives
And nothing adds up
None of his story
Avoidance, so much
His responses don’t fit
You know it, you do
Now trust it, trust you
And if you’re not sure
Just wait, you’ll see
Something will happen
A sign, an event
This thing will make sense
Of all of your doubts
And heed it you must
For it’s the sign you were right all along
And this is the lesson
It is the great learning
The one that you weren’t taught when young
Leaving you open and prey to all
But especially open to those who profess
To like you the most, to like you the best
And offer the loveliest love of your life
You’re so hungry for love and esteem from without
That you’re open to strife
For you don’t know the feeling of love from within
Or even the sense of a self or desire
You’re lost and need good people to teach you
And bolster your spirit
And he’s not it
No
He’s not even close
And you know that he’s not
As does he, but by golly you look so tasty and he wants to gobble you up, doesn’t he?

But you’re safe now for you know it’s ok both to feel and to say:

No

Piggyback

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I piggyback time
Or does it piggyback me?
I’m three
Perched on Dad’s shoulders
High above
Life ahead
Dad’s now dead
What do they birth us into
Knowing what they do?

I’m four
Swinging by the hands
Between my parents
Down the wide footpath
Lamb sandwiches
With salt and pepper
Eaten on the grass
Outside the walled house

Why do they let us keep such memories?
Even the good ones bring tears
I’ll take you with me in my pocket