My Five Big Sisters


Effie’s love of the exotic lands her with

Some ancient Greek guy named Spontaneous,

An improv actor or gigolo, or probably both.


Riley leaves the playground in a fit of rage,

Frizzles her braids with a stolen lighter,

Throws her shoes at a taxi, lies on the double-yellow.


Veda is telling her friends why Nubian goats are needy,

Why they should all become Zoroastrians, and that a dux

Is a Roman general, not that fucking Sarah Fletcher!


Paige cruises about as if she’s a small nation

With a high life expectancy and

A well-trained standing army.


Adeline is demanding her bovine, boorish boyfriend

Read Claudia Rankine’s ‘Citizen’, look up solipsism,

And write ‘love’ not ‘luv’ when he texts her.

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My Kathleen to her Sabine


You’re so black and white

In that check dress Sabine,


Under a watery sun

Saying KISS off ‘keep it simple stupid’

Me carrying unpacked complications

A display of who I am, and you

Not THAT at all, not at all,

Your relaxed pose, look how far up in the air that nose goes!


You know opposites attract Sabine,

On the chess board

Opposing colours move in close,

Close at hand,

‘Take’ each other

Ravage and remove

Till the king is dead,

Long live the lonely queen!

It’s not all black and white,

You hear me Sabine!

Her flipping me the bird, saying ‘Argh, Kathleen!’

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He roamed the cloudless stretches

Gathering cities under his nails

His quarried face

Had seen more sun than the moon


He had the air of a man who

Favored silence

If he talked it was to birds

Not the louche travelers and traders crossing his path

He carried a common currency

Walked a hundred boots to death


When he left a place

The citizenry felt something had been snatched from them

They prayed he would never return

and that he would



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