Just another earthquake?

I didn’t think much of the earthquake, to be honest. And I’m going to be very honest about this. The first time I experienced a tremor, I was sitting in my upstairs room in a rural village in the Ecuadorian sierra. It was kinda cool – cool enough to write home and tell people I’d just been in an earthquake. But it was also disappointing because I … Continue reading Just another earthquake?

The opposite of vertigo

The opposite of vertigo
Is your wings poised for flight
and your feet stuck in cement;
Is the skyward pull that makes
you ill to be on the ground.

Gravity versus your dreams.

The opposite of vertigo
Is conversations about the weather
and getting angry at traffic;
Is display windows taunting you
with things that won’t make you happy.

You can see right through them.

From the pit of your stomach
to the tip of your tongue
the air here’s thick,
swallows up inspiration.

The opposite of vertigo
Is the sickening sensation of settling;
Is being shackled when you should be airborne.

The opposite of vertigo
Is the curse of those who come down from altitude;
Is the Icarus in you and me. Continue reading The opposite of vertigo

Reconfiguring Home: Weddings and Earthquakes

October 3 She is lovely. Creamy vintage lace, delicate buttons all down her back, descending into a sweeping fishtail. I fumble through the chapel, out of time with the music, but whatever. She floats down the aisle after me. Dad is smart in his officer’s white dress suit although he only reluctantly links arms with her. The day is lovely. Agreeable sun, genuine smiles. People we haven’t seen in years. A photo here, … Continue reading Reconfiguring Home: Weddings and Earthquakes

Victor

I.

It was perfect in a bittersweet way

The overcast day
The fresh flowers
The waiting

The shades of black and grey
The Padre Nuestro
The father’s chanting

II.

They ushered him through a maze
of flagstones well-polished by the varnish of water
and the heavy footsteps of generations of mourners.
For fifty pesos a stranger sang
as we showered him with rose petals and rain.

Amidst her wailing and her brothers’ silent despair
and the cement mixed and laid thick to immortalise him,
the sky stops crying and its blue eyes blink
and I, for a moment, stare into eternity,
into sorrow, into loss, into hope.

Avenues upon avenues of memories
in this city of the departed;
yards and yards of carnations
doing their best to defy time –
but who can resist?

Grief made her embrace linger, made us angels
without wings, and stranded on earth,
but angels nonetheless.

III.

Another Padre Nuestro
Another sigh
Another moment without him

The first of too many. Continue reading Victor

The kids that break your heart

Filing photos is an emotionally taxing task. It’s not easy flicking through the faces of kids who have been sexually abused. Equally powerful are pictures of the parents determined to have justice for their son or daughter. Smiles. Frowns. Joy. Sadness. Hope. Despair. Courage. Fear. Our image archive spans a wide spectrum of emotions. It’s beautiful, but in a way that makes you ache inside. Most of these are photos … Continue reading The kids that break your heart

Stuff that doesn’t make sense

I count the days till I go home and they are too many and yet too few. I think of what happened to her and all my sorrow and outrage leak out again. I speak at length with a friend and have the sensation of being simultaneously trusted and betrayed. I speak briefly with another friend and feel the last month of intimacy chill within a week into a relational … Continue reading Stuff that doesn’t make sense