If The Flower Fails

@KaremIBarratt

flower by karem april 2016 rose

 

And if the flower fails,

To caress your core with its perfume,

Let the sweet morning dew

Wash away the darkness

From your eyes. Let sun rise

Draw open the curtains of your fear,

So its gold can paint your spirit bright.

And if the light fails,

To warm the coldness in your heart,

Let the little bird’s song serenade

A note of hope, deep in your soul,

So it too can fly.

And if your soul fails,

To find its wings and soar high,

Let the gentle earth support

Your steps, as you find your way

To the temple of life, hidden, somewhere,

Behind the vines of your mind.

And if the temple fails,

To reveal itself in a glorious sunset,

And astound you with murals of

Emerald and bronze, let the silence

Guide you inside, to that lily pond within,

To the lotus throne where the One,

Who loves you, beyond error and time,

Smiling awaits for you to dress

In the magnificent garments of the Divine.

The Poland in my Heart

@KarermIBarratt

Venezuelna protest 8

(To Venezuela)

 

I am walking in a march,

My body ring by the snipper’s eye.

One, two, more on the top

Of buildings and shops,

All of them knowing that I know.

I am going to die.

Today, tomorrow, the day after that,

On these streets, which are mine,

By right, by birth, by choice,

The streets I am not yielding

To their hate or fright or power hunger,

My streets, my land, my home,

My tomb perhaps.

 

I am walking just the same.

 

The dictator’s face watches over

Me like a mock angel, a travesty

Of protection, from billboards

And posters hanging on street lamps.

My lamps, my street, my life, my right.

And I am too angry to be afraid:

Too jaded, too tired of waiting, talking,

Voting, running, fearing, negotiating.

 

And I am not surrendering

The Poland in my heart.

 

I will no stay put and see it

Being violated by ideological tanks,

Flaring bullets, gas attacks.

Sorry Herr Hitler, a la Tropical.

I am fighting back.

I’ll bring down hell onto your realm.

I’ll bring the fire and the burn,

I’ll bring these walls down,

Reduce your temple to rubble,

Rob the dream from your sleep

And paint crow’s wings under your eyes.

 

Welcome to my World War.

 

I have nothing to lose.

You have tempted the desperate man.

The desperate people,

The desperate land,

Bruised, bound and bloody.

But still alive.

By martyring our saints, you

Unchained the buried demons in our hearts.

We are your legion.

And we are not hiding back.

Fleeing nowhere, vanishing

Into no darkness, drowning not

In the deep.

 

We have drank our

Tears and become the sea.

 

Your tsunami, we are, extending,

Deluging, destroying your all,

Your flags and false swastikas,

Your Caribbean Third Reich,

The jail of fear where you locked us,

Broke us, danced over our hopes.

And for those who fall, ten as many

Will rise, up, ready to paint your world red,

Scorch it to ashes, ambitions shrunk to dread,

At the cost of our blood, our old, our babes’ breath.

There is no turning back.

We will detonate the bomb and set  the armoury ablaze.

We will die. We will burn. Create fortresses with our dead.

 

But we shall not surrender the Poland in our hearts.

 

protesta-concentracion-marcha-oposicion-6a

 

 

 

Depression and Lice, Oh, My!

@KaremBarratt

bathtub-crying

 

I can take the gloomy days marooned in my head like an abandoned boat house. I can deal with the eternal cloud hanging over my head that makes me Eeyore’s best friend. I have grown accustomed to the hurt: those sorts of imaginary heart attacks that turn my inner chamber into a maniac rock concert attended by punks, high on acid. I can deal with all that. I can find the lesson, the challenge, the opportunity. Like everyone keeps on reminding me, it is only in my mind: the fear, the terror, the claws grasping my throat, the electrocutions that kill me and bring me back to life again, time after time. I am even fashionable now. Depressed, anxious, somewhat paranoid, psychosomatic, suicidal. I am almost a super star in the making -just need to burn myself down after one or two top ten music hits and I’ll live forever.

But lice?

Seriously?

What? You didn’t think I had enough on my plate?

What else do you want from me?

I take my pills, like a good girl. Exercise at ten, meditate at three, do my CBT journal to use all my mind tools and ask myself, ad infinitum, if the world really hates me or if it just my opinion. I breathe in. I breathe out. I count to four, to ten, to one hundred and seven. I express my feelings, write them down, burn the pages and let them go -go, go, far away. I detach. I accept. I embrace my vulnerability. I ask for help. I humiliate myself as I’m held like half- drown kitten, shivering, screaming, trying to remind myself who I am, that I am, pretending, hoping, praying I will well someday, normal once more, human again, like Disney’s candle stick once said.

I try to be positive. I listen and listen to all this motivational talk, chats on how everyone and their cat have overcome far worse than this, so surely I, too, will reach the heights of triumph and someday give my Rocky speech, my Henry V on Saint Crispin’s day; be one of the happy few, who, old and grey, will look at their scars and smile with pride because I dared, and went for it, faced the foes, ten to one, and somehow, with the power of my mind and sheer will, I escaped the dungeons of my soul and pulled away the scales from my eyes. And I saw the light. And I was okay.

Not yet, though.

Someday, I tell myself.

I affirm myself.

Each day I get better and better.

Except that I don’t.

And then I find lice on my head.

And I know someone has it in for me. Above or below, someone is playing with me, laughing at me, watching me like a favourite soap opera where the damsel in distress never gets a happy end, because that’s not fun, you see. That’s so predictable. This is a radical approach. Or a classical one, perhaps (Ophelia, anyone?) Pain does not stop. Failure only sleeps a while, to make me put my guard down. Someone out there is the Lucy to my Charlie Brown, pulling the football away at each attempt. And I fall for it. Again and again.

I do rationalize this, of course.

We are talking about tiny insects, after all. Not the end of the world. No Syria, no car bomb, no famine. Just me. In the bathtub, watching them wiggle over my wet fingers. Me, of the eternal night. Me, living about phantoms no one sees. Me, choked in my own fear, beaten by all the dark possibilities that fly in my mind like a murder of crows. No biggie. Just two three, five little lice.

And I cry.

 

 

Of Children and Death and the BBC

@KaremIBarratt

doll rag balck 2

 

I saw a child die on the BBC,

Squeezed between two jokes and a red nose,

Her little body trembling,

Being punched back to life -uselessly.

But it’s alright, you see.

It was for charity. She’s done her job.

She’s given us a great message,

Like the presenter said,

About how 10 pounds can change

Africa’s fate, and although

No British kid would ever be filmed

Like she was, her lifeless body served

For a sober commentary

In the three-hour comedy show.

It is fine. She was little and dark and scared.

No warning was given of her incoming passing,

Captured for the cameras weeks before.

We do not know how deeply her mother cried for her

Or if her sister got the food pouch that she did not get,

Because her death was untimely, poorly scheduled

-She did not wait for the BBC’s red nose day

And those 10 pounds flocking,

And those sketches of a karaoke in a car.

So, she died.

And it was alright to show her death

On national TV, the tired, desperate eyes

Of the doctor who tried to save her,

Her little body strewn over a bed like

A forgotten rag doll.

Because it was for charity.

And that excuses it all.

 

 

Salsa Night

@KaremIBarratt

salsa dancing

 

Step by step,

Little by little,

A small hip shake,

Half smile, entwining fingers

Toes, towers of power

As they guide, back and front,

To the side, my waist

The compass to your bod,

Your torso teasing mine,

My heart echoing yours as we twirl,

touch, move back, your hand,

at my lower back, the mast

to the sails of my thighs, wiggling to

the music around us, our eyes,

playing, flirting, pretending

is just a dance and there is

no wormhole of pure

energy oscillating between our profiles,

the time-warp turning our bodies into Ss and Rs,

Serpents up and down a rod, Caribbean

Breeze and wind becoming hurricane,

And you know and I know,

That little by little, bit by bit, 

We become explorers

Of the landscapes that make us, us,

You and I, gorges and valleys, mounds

And plains, jungles and forests. Caves.

A whole new planet forged from your

Earthquakes and my floods. Or

Is it the other way around? Round

And round, the sand, the sky, the sea,

The drum inside our weathered shells,

Some ancestral song pushing blood

And sweat and kisses, erecting

Hills, orchestrating moans, calling

Down the moon, the stars, the sun.

You and I, one step to the back, one to the front,

Shimer, swirl, embrace, turn, confront,

Surrender, two, one, none, any,

Stump, stamp, swish, swag,

Step to the front, step to the back,

Super nova, big bang,

The first molecule, expanding universe.

Little by little.

Step to the front, to the back,

Two to the left, two to the right.

Slowly we start and then

We call the wild, Bacchus, Bacchae,

Initiations form time immemorial,

Woman, man, Tarzan, Jane,

You, I, beach, sea, sunset.

Eyes crossed, crossed legs,  

Spaced pumped out between

Us. Einstein and relativity.

One step to the front, one step to the back.

Flesh melting, breath deepening, breaking,

Summoning angels and demons

From the inners of our bones,

Ready to merge and explode and float

Into the nothingness of a lasting note

That goes on and on, the wild tamed,

The gods serviced, the slumber settling in,

Little by little, a nook, an arm, a back

Moulding to a chest and the night,

Pregnant with cicada songs and the murmurs

Of waves. Tomorrow will be what it will be.

Tonight is the faint echo of trumpets and

Bongos, the party far behind, the sand,

You and I, your hand cupped in mine.

And nothing else matters.

salsa danciang seniors-dance-on-beach

 

Sometimes a Dark Goddess

@KaremIBarratt

morrigan silver3

 

Sometimes a dark goddess raises in your heart,

And your lavender fields turn poppy red.

And she asks you to take your sword, that sword yield

So long ago and put to rest, wrapped in silk,

Under your bed. And you say no.

Sometimes a dark goddess will not take “no” for an answer,

And she’ll call again your name.

She will stand outside your window,

The wind lifting the veil of her moon-lit hair

Like a praying flag hanging on a tree.

And she will wait.

And you try to explain about your long

Winding quest for inner peace; the years spent

At the feet of masters; the mantras you said,

The blue lotuses you opened in your heart

To put your champion to rest.

You speak and you explain about the colours

In your life now, about the sweet birds singing in personal meadows you have come to create,

How you love everybody and everything, And how you tread gently, a child of the light,

Focusing only in the kindness and the warmth.

Sometimes a dark goddess smirks so softly

That all the temples inside of you crumble and crack.

At her feet, an armour has your name engraved on it,

And she will hear none of your reasons or truths.

Your sword, that one you believed safe away,

Rests on her hands, as she stands, still,

Outside, her silver eyes fixed on you, looking through

The wall, through your skin, through your bones,

And suddenly you noticed her raven sitting on your shoulder,

The barriers gone, her dark wings stretching

As wide as the night.

Sometimes a dark goddess brings birds’ songs to a halt.

She announces the season of the warrior; she demands you go out and put the wrongs right.

And she reminds you that only in her darkness

Can you truly see your light.

And you know you have lost: the excuses, the desires, good no more, not today, no in these times, and the only

Way to put away your sword, is to take it again,

And ride once more with the Morrigan.

When the Child in My Soul Cries

@KaremIBarratt

weeping gilr a

When the child in my soul cries,

There’s no one to put her

Over a comforting lap but I.

There are not many words I can actually

Tell her, as her eyes glaze over the same,

Old, tired pain that never goes away.

She just doesn’t grasp it,

As baby zebras don’t get the why

Of the lioness’ chase.

The child in my soul still doesn’t know

That some things just are.

Some thoughts don’t change.

Some people are in so much pain that

They need to hurt, over and over again,

For that’s all they know and understand.

My soul child just wishes for

All to be like in dreams.

So she extends her hand to the scorpion

Hoping that maybe, perhaps, this

Time it won’t bite, at least not so badly.

It always does.

And it always hurts.

And as I sit her on my lap,

And sight, and hum, as I pray

She will someday learn

To let the scorpion go away.

The Note

@KaremIBarratt

 

lovers kiss

 

Placing my hand upon my chest,

Feeling the music of my beating heart,

The drum that guides my life,

I can only but say,

That its music would not be the same,

If your name was not engraved

In the caves of blood and flesh,

That pump living cells into myself.

Without your name, the music of my heart

Would not have that crescendo, that

Sweetness, that echo, that rush, that staccato,

That fire, that mellowness, that caress,

That melting sensation, that impulse,

That bang which turns me into imploding sun,

Dwarfing star, black hole, beginnings again.

Without your name, engraved in my heart,

There would be a lot of silent gaps in

The melody of my life. There would laughter, missing,

Words lost to empty spaces; looks that would

Not be reflected back to my eyes.

There would be deserts in parts of my soul;

Some of my inner fairies would turn into stone,

And there would be places where the sun would touch

Me and yet I would feel cold.

And yes, I would be who I am,

And yet my “I am” would be missing a note,

A something, a je ne se quoi, that touch

Which turns good and nice into spectacular.

So as I place my hands upon my chest

Listening to the concerto of my beating drum,

I give thanks to the Universe,

For engraving your name in my inner core.

The All-Father

@KaremIBarratt

 

all father

I am the fire in the head.

I am the hare, I am the hawk,

I am the wave that breaks into the rock, and flies in rainbow drops

To the sky, to fall again with the rain. Down I go, my body,

A spear of water ripping open the earth, as I mutate

Into pebble, soil and seed. I split open my back with my resolve

And lift up to the sun. I grow. I die. I come to live

On this world once more. I whirl the currents of the Eastern wind,

I myself am my own storm: the lightning and thunder

Brimming and broiling in my blood. I have changed the course of rivers,

I have tilled valleys with the power of my Horns. I am the stag of the south,

I am the bear of the north, I have ridden dragons and become

The fire from their throats. I am destruction, ashes, and void.

I have loved the Mother in the cavern. I have sired the faraway stars,

The air you breathe, the food you eat, the soil you walk on,

I have willed it, I have been in it, I have become.

In your belly I rise, in your heart I have my throne.

I am the fire in the head,

The hawk of the east, the salmon of the west.

I am the above, the below, the centre, the in and out.

I am the eye that sees in the darkness, I am the light no eye can see,

I am the bread and the water, the plant and the beast.

I am the maker and the making and that which is being made.

I am the giver who’s always taking.

I am the fire in your head.

 

Beneath the Storm

@KaremIBarratt

storm_surge

 

 

When the storm passes and the hurricane

Is downgraded, like a naughty child, and the

Curtains of water enveloping us dwindle to

Delicate lattices, and then to nothing, and the

Sun comes out and they arrive to rescue us,

You and I, to save us from the fall and

They are too late, we will pretend nothing happened.

We shall shake hands, friendly survivors,

And go on our way. You to your life,

I to mine, and we shall hardly

Speak about the shack, the thunder, the wind.

Never, ever, shall we speak of the warmth and the sweat

And the kisses, and that caramel-like aroma

At the nape of your neck. Never shall we mention

The fingers, gliding, glistening, the wetness inside

The four trembling walls, the musk, the moans,

The bites. Never ever even think about the scratches

At the back and the softness of the eyes, turning in,

Lost in an implosion that sounded like screams at times.

Never. It did not happen. We sat under a blanket,

That was all. We saw the flash of the lightning through

The broken window. We did not speak much. Just

Waited, in silence. You and I. Did not even asked

For middle names. For addresses. For spouses or mates.

Perhaps there was a slight touch, an accidental contact

Of hands. And hips. Legs intertwining, bodies slithering,

And you were so silky and fresh. Juicy like an apricot

In the early morning. All of you. Tasty and sweet.

Fuzzy in places. Cushy at the curves. Cuddly

And firm, valleys and hills, raising to meet

My lips. And we shall not speak of this,

Once the storm has passed.

We shall not speak again, except for the

Expected pleasantries. The PTA meetings.

Perhaps at the school bazaar.

Mrs. X and Mrs Y, never in first name terms.

Not really friends, more like acquaintances

Who once shared a shelter from the gale.

But the sky is a sea above, a wrathful ocean

Lashing its fury at the land. Trees brake,

Rivers flood. Husbands and children, safe at home.

And here we are. You and I. Bared, naked, raw.

Two survivors coming alive beneath the storm.