How to chase funeral birds and play with pink dolphins 

I am constantly writing poetry. Lines here, snippets there. I remember writing poetry as a teenager. My parents would shake their heads, wondering where on earth the poetic interest came from because they didn't read poetry. I blame my English/History teacher, Mr. Thomas, who was always reciting poems in class. I dedicated my first poetry collection - Cats, Dogs & Feathered Gods - to him.

Sometimes, I send poems out to journals for publication and sometimes I don't. I'm thinking of a second poetry collection and maybe the poems below (or a variation of them) might be included. Or maybe not!

So, for the time being, I'll publish them here so I can curate them. For this post, there are three poems. The first one I wrote in 2016 I think, and it has been through many revisions. You can also read a poem I posted earlier on this blog - Another Day at the Beach.

Chasing Funeral Birds in Morocco

In Fez we fled -

through alleys behind

high walls

echoes of owls

played hide and seek

a moonless night when the air

smelled of cinnamon and goats

a thousand miles from home

we wove blankets of camel hair

to catch lost spirits with all their painted

faces that fell in fragments when

owls howled.

Playing with Pink Dolphins

along the Orinoco we waited on a wooden pier for the sorcerers to come. We did not speak as they arrived in pinkish-grey swirls, heads shining and buoyant, breaking the black water surface with wild throats. Encantados we whispered, reached down to touch them, our hands digging beneath dried bone curls on the riverbed. We opened our mouths to drown the sound of macaws as they chanted through twisted beaks – don’t swim with them; stay awake as the night sky burns. But our ears were blindfolded. We laughed and played together as day dimmed. And then - we slept under a dome of stars while the pink dolphins turned into men, walked on land, and seduced us.

Ficus macrophylla (Moreton Bay Fig). Russell, New Zealand.  Born 1870 CE. Status: Ailing. 

The fig tree ails in the place

of the sweet penguins

Kororāreka - where whalers wheeled

and only prostitutes tasted sweet

heat runs thick like raw

honey warm on heart-shaped leaves

but fruit doesn’t fall far from

parched limbs struggling to 

water’s edge to drink as

summer tourists snap shots

and the arborist thinks, yes

it can be saved -

we will build a cage around it,

we will wait…

like mermaids in the dark.


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