Suffering?  Only lightly. Inwardly.
Searching for an exit all the same
in darkness and half light,
while elsewhere there’s a birth:
an unknown life for a new year.

Realising guilt and satisfaction,
I witness my best conflicted hopes
become a crumpled ball of paper
arcing in the air, discarded numbers
thrown to ricochet around and round

As bonfired sparks drift brightly outwards
flighting in the updraft
snuffed before they reach the ground
and others fall there smouldering
thinly smoking remnants of an enigmatic life

Now charred and bent; portrayed,
perhaps sustained, perhaps undone,
by maggots eating rotten flesh
around the ulcers worn, inevitably,
by bacteria in shoes.

Shorn of confidence and purpose
unwound without a plan to reconfigure;
distorted by the gravity of obligation
but posed in its authentic language
our question still remains:

Did you give your best?

twelve girls

Ariane, an open European mystic
Ashley, filled with vitality and drive
Bonny, the cutest and most feminine
Charlie, the naughtiest of all
Georgia, whose smile lit up a room
Holly, the best and worst of people
Jessica, who ran away and hid
Luciana, who said she saw the danger
Mae, a wonderfully fascinating person
Nadia, a kind erratic sorceress
Sophie, intense but lost to her intolerance
and Vik, my unlikely perfect pussycat.

Twelve survivors caught in the cross-hairs
of memory’s fidelity, its fickle deft agility,
always seen from my perspective –
a flickering selective point of view –
as I chased my solitary tiger’s tail,
circling back across the wolf pack’s tracks:
wolves held by the ears in fear and fascination,
prowling, howling, growling, crying out
their empathy, surging all around.