the moment migrants hear slow leaks
in blue-hulled boats they notice
the moon wears quiet shoes
to walk the rippled sleep of oceans
they drift off the coast
frozen in their own juices
frost-eyed fathers of sapphire
jagged mothers diamond-hard
their children are still
the chipped angles of glaciers
when the birth of an iceberg cleaves
cold migrants from frozen nations
more songs are memories in those bellies of ice
than whims of currents float dead water
hollows in iceberg hearts melt into cathedrals
voices crackle in the stain of their glass
and a crystal weight thaws into the blue blood of us
to shape a safe hope in the cup of our hands
I took the sea in a cup
poured it back into the tide
allowed time to mix it
when I drew a different cup
from a beach on the other side of the world
I traced the salt of that first water
heard iceberg songs settle caverns
in the chill of my core
The autonomy of lines
On the way to the door I used to brush
past my mother. She was always
asleep, not quite dry, a free-formed splatter
of oil paint, open hands dripped
over the couch.
One autumn morning an abstract design
intrigued me. It mattered –
like hand prints blown in red ochre on the wall
of a dark cave. I was not baffled by the art of it
got in close, felt the texture
couldn’t find a place to start my eyes.
Jackson Pollock was an alcoholic.
He, too, spread his paint on the floor.
All his figures were blurred. He never touched
his works. They wore the skin of his enamel
over their eyes. In the process
he followed, he lost himself. No wonder
his paintings had no borders.
I never wanted to paint my mother.
I found the key when my lines became autonomous.
I drew around her and coloured her in until
I saw a shimmering substance.