We didn’t come here for perfection

We didn’t come for black and white.
Not for days that split into seams.
We didn’t hope to ask for clarity,
From our timeless, day-less dreams.

We didn’t keep up for knowing,
That we were half way up the climb.
Not for the promise of happy conclusions,
No, we must leave inertia behind.

When words didn’t meet their meaning,
At the point they ought to have met,
We didn’t toss them into the gutter,
Far away from our furtive heads.

When we didn’t take to maintaining,
Old tropes we’d adopted in haste.
We didn’t tear apart our reflections,
When we saw your disconsolate face.

We didn’t come here for perfection.
Not for those who are right or so.
We came here instead for you,
And all that in bedlam glows.

Orange Juice

I never knew
A glass of juice
Would be our first together

That oranges
Taste fresh and sweet –
Not of ego or agenda

I never knew
That breakfast
Could ever be an option

That we could linger
As old lovers do
In sheets of banter
And compelling chatter

Turning nights from black to blue.

I never knew
There was nowehere. else. to. be.
That you didn’t flinch or scurry
And declare, “I’m in a hurry”

To be anywhere but here.

I never knew my defects
Could look like works of art

That my breaks and kinks
Didn’t need to be
So recklessly flung apart

I never knew you saw me
In that glass of juice we shared
Or that oranges
Could leave me
So buoyantly unprepared

For this.

If only

It was Thursday when
My body broke
A gangrenous cyst
Launched missiles of pain
Into my belly
And up through my heart

Which was broken too
Because of you.

I couldn’t tell them apart
The strangling hands.
Too many, too tight
They clawed at my breath
They shredded my might

So I was taken
To be fixed.

More hands jabbed at the fiend
They poked him with blood
And dulled him with drugs

He slept for a while
Like dragons do
Dreaming of fires and rage
Through peaceful breaths

My body awoke
Together with hope

That you might be there too.

But the bombs now dropped
Inside my belly
And the War was on!
So it wouldn’t be long

Before I had to fight.

I fought with strangers
For a different cause
All hail! We won the battle
Now I recover alone

The cyst is gone
But so are you.

I heal while I break
Pieces of praline scatter to the floor
And I wonder why I fought at all

If not for you
Then for who?

They tell me it’s for me.

My heart was broke
A troubled pump
That never knew
The good stuff is supposed
To flow inwards too

I reach down
Past my quiet wound
To collect the pieces
One by one
That I had shunned.
They’re brittle
Scarred, who wants them anymore?
Not you.
But I do
To give them love anew

If only you had too.

Beautiful brave fools

I’m holding on with uncertain hands.

Uncoiled from the arms of home, I look to the 20,000km ahead and allow an enigma to carry me onto the plane.

This move to Berlin feels like so many other lofty decisions I’ve made before. And even as I strap myself into the seat of the A380 airbus – even as we shoot up into the sky – I’m still not entirely sure…

I don’t have much cash, nor a job. And I don’t sprechen sie Deutsch. But I do have an imagination and an inclination for hope.

I’m to meet a man when I land.

We met three months ago. He’s a musician from home living in Berlin. Not for much longer though. I once saw him play the piano in a smoky local pub and his everything flawed me. He had dark features and enviable talent. I was certain he saw me through the smoggy light. I planned to ask him if he’d seen me too…

We first connected as many dreamers do. I messaged him; he messaged me back. A few small exchanges and vague plans to meet in Berlin soon morphed into something a little more. And more. Our digital love letters became a shared journal of our innermost worlds. This space, the words of two unknown lovers, was our solace – a quiet place for our worries and doubts, for our fears of the tangible lives that didn’t ever enter our realm.

We spoke on the phone once before I flew over. We arranged to meet. And I trembled. My friends, my family – they all urged me not to invent a story, yet I knew he would become one for me.

They told me, “what are you doing entangling yourself with a musician? You do realise his music will be the beginning and the end of his love for you.” He warned me of this too. That we would meet at the centre of our cross, before continuing in opposite directions.

But I don’t take well to being told, and this is my story, so it’ll go how I write it.

Berlin welcomes me with a homely embrace. Her air breathes restfully. The delicate autumn sun brushes the buildings that line the river bank where I sit.

Jet-lagged and hazy, I ease into my new home. All the foreign and familiar sensations of this place swirl around me in a tender dance.

I’m happy in this moment sitting at the precipice of possibility – at the intersection of what has been and what might yet become.

I hold it tight, as tightly as I can before it leaves me, as these moments inexorably do. And then it’s gone, and I’m left to wonder why we wait.

Why do we wait, and plan and give away our days, our months, our years for something so ephemeral? Even though we know, too well, that just like a train, she’s only passing through.

If this love story were an equation, my input versus output would never be worth the investment. Still, I’d splurge it all, all over again to feel how I do in these minutes before we meet.

We’d agreed to rendezvous on the grand cathedral steps. I get there early to see the entrance blocked by building works. I can’t reach it. Instead, I see him for the first time through two “Achtung!” signs telling me to “Steer Clear! Steer Clear!”

Just try me.

He emerges a little dishevelled with his dark brown mop and weary eyes.

What comes next is my Hollywood pitch. We pull out a map and pick a spontaneous route through Northern Italy. Lake Como, Verona, Venice, Milan. All are draped in superlative landscapes and sumptuous food. We fumble in Italian. We kiss. We have conversations that matter – the ones that challenge and reveal more than either expects. There’s a heavenly chemistry; there’s red wine.

I watch him from the amphitheatre steps meandering in the arena below. I spot him from across the Basilica studying the decorative walls. I lose him in the Duomo gardens. Then I lose my breath. I can’t bare for him to be gone. Soon he will be gone.

My entire life I’ve longed to be a part of this, of us, of our little story. It’s not possible.

I’m too overwhelmed by disappointment in myself, in the hopelessness that floods my thoughts and drowns our final moments together.

We argue. He reminds me that our dalliance was destined to be short and sweet, just like me. I try to be okay with that. I try to be like him, but we are not at all alike. It’s no use when he tells me he’s pleased to be here with me. I cannot believe him.

Before we part ways at Milan station, I ask him if he saw me through the smoggy light that night. He didn’t.

Am I brave? Yes. Am I a fool? Absolutely.

I’m a beautiful brave fool who risked a great deal for a story.

And though he doesn’t love me, how comforting it is to know that no matter far I’ve travelled from myself, however far I’ve gambled all that I am, even in spite of myself, despite all that has been, there I will always be.

And how lovely that it can never be any other way.

My train is pulling back into Berlin now. I’m back on the precipice. But this time, I’m holding tighter; I’m holding onto me.

If you would like to listen to this poem performed as part of an exquisite podcast for the restless heads and racing hearts, Night Light, visit:

Hello star

Hello star

It’s you and me alone again tonight.

Just us.

And the great expanse that flickers in your light.

I haven’t seen you in a little while.

I know.

It’s been hard down here.

In the paradoxical cheer,

you like to call my life.

On some days I don’t need the dark,

As you know.

I do well in my unblemished face.

Once I’m blushed and bronzed


Not a soul could ever see a trace.

And then I vanish.

Each time, you know.

Into entrancing screens,

that hurt my eyes and all the space that’s in between.

You’re gone by then.

Or is it me?

Who leaves you like a fool whenever I get lonely.

Oh, how I wish it were a fractured leg,

and not this fracture in my head.

You know the one.

That splits from inside-out instead.

I’m missing you by now.


the light down here is not enough.

True. I’ve been able to succeed.

I know.

I know the drive in thunder and in rain,

so well,

so worth it for the gain.

And yes, I’ve laughed.

I’m sure.

I know the kind that ripples through the bones,

so much,

it soothes you to your core.

I’m good at loving too.

Like you.

The noble type, where you’re for them

more than they are for you.

I dance on top these pillars.

You see.

Their attempt to hold life up for me.

But the struggle is the distance

from seeing to being seen.

There must be others down here,

dancing next to me,

to the song of disconnection,

called happy irony.

If only I could reach them.

To tell them it’s okay.

That to be alone in loneliness

is never a disgrace.

Perhaps they have a star.

Like you.

I hope they do.

They only need the one,

to be the light that sees them through.

If you would like to listen to this poem performed as part of an exquisite podcast for the restless heads and racing hearts, Night Light, visit:


The voided void

I am a museum

for the voided void.

My walls speak words a millennium old.

My home it’s built in homage to you,

the displaced, the disoriented,

Resilient Jew.


I don’t claim to be facts.

nor a timeline of terror.

No, I won’t chronicle each. Last. Tremor.


Keep going.

Past the hair, the glasses, the letters unread.

Past the accounts of genocide mapped out in your head,


to the room at the end that’s made of stone.

Without heat or light,

you’ll feel you’re alone.

But the Holocaust Tower, small it may be,

was never intended to stand empty.


Stop there!

Can you hear the wail of a murdered Jew?

Who’s finally come to the surface in you.

You cry for him, and the millions more,

because who are you,

if you’re not crying for


the bloodlines of family you never met,

or the Jews in the art you’ll likely forget.


In my home… you can cry.

For all those who suffer

at the useless, wasted hands of each other.


I don’t mind,

if you leave your grief with me,

once you’ve been and done what you came here to see.


All the matters is your empathy.


An ode to the Jewish Museum in Berlin, to my family lost in the Holocaust, and to all humanity that aches by cause of one another.  


Is that you over there?

Is that you over there, without your distractions?

You seem so stranded, so bare

without your companions

Who once busied your days until they were years

too busy to give you the time for your tears


You’re frightened I see, in this world undisguised

now so eerily free

that to your surprise

You can’t know who you are when there’s nobody near

let alone when alone in this perplexing new era


You reach for assumptions you took to be friends

in the hope that they’ll cushion

what you cannot pretend

That nothing is changed in these empty streets

but for the whole damn earth that’s beneath your feet


At last, here’s the time

so go on, leave behind

the dead weight of lost time

that’s built a life undefined




You step into the hush

and look up at your eyes

now easy to spot in the purified skies

Then you pivot yourself towards the new

because really, what’s left for you to do?

But to walk and walk and walk some more

til you find yourself, you’re worth walking for


Is that you over there, without your distractions?

So quietly aware

of your autonomous actions

Which won’t ever fold to the whirlwinds of haste

Nor will ever dishonour the silence, the space

The Mirror

Let me hold this mirror up to you

For the God-willing chance you might finally see through

The beasts who play tricks on your almond eyes

And blacken your beauty with their beastly lies


Prey girl, won’t you please look into the glass

If it’s the one last thing of you I now ask

As the faces you see, they are not your own

Nor are the sins they reflect, yours to atone


What would be if you broke their stare?

Who would you see if their faces weren’t there?


Perhaps you’re afraid of what will remain

When there’s no-one left inside that frame

But an empty outline of a hollow face

Whose empty features you cannot trace


Just keep looking dear girl, and don’t look away

If you want that line to be filled in someday

For the mirror’s eyes, they are yours to see

And the mirror’s heart, well that’s yours to beat.


The Master of My War

The man standing watch at the door to my dreams

Does little to veto our guests

And so snakes and cracked planes are ushered on in

To a house of chronic unrest


He unwinds in the room where I cannot sleep

There, indifferent to my escape

When he knows that he’ll prosper regardless of whether

My dreams live in slumber or wake


He’s the lens to the eyes that unshut to my day

Spreading veils across all who pass

And while from beneath some may smile, to me they beguile

Hidden guns aimed straight for my stars


Try as I might to shield their light

It’s me against a battalion

Of belittling hisses and venomous kisses

That send me to oblivion


Still, there’s solace in the one who never brings me peace

He, the master of my war

Who, to my despairing cries commands that I

Must do better and be more


Did I choose the thoughts he blares in my head?

Or are his the only I can hear?

Then, I’ll take the love that I know – the one in my shadow

So I’m not alone with my fear