Monday 23 December 2019



I was 18,

had only started driving

and didn’t realise a main road
was ahead.

I just snoozed my way across
—thought I had the right of way,
no less.

I grasped the madness of my fault
as I sailed across the bitumen.
—A streaker across a warzone;
some bird through the blades of a turbine.
I could have been crushed.
I was never in control.
I was nothing. I could have been killed.

Are we ever in control?

Our passions—anger, sadness—come and go.
They’re not in our control.
We’re told, of course, they are,
but trimming hedges back will never kill a root.

Falling in love and breaking up:
they, too, are not in our control.
Even times I’ve done the breaking up:
I wasn’t really in control
of anything
at all.

The moves I make to cook my food:
I do them out of hunger
or habit: both out of my control.

Being born, my earliest tears,
or all the tears I’ve ever cried:
no control.

Then the time
I almost died
on some main road.

We’re not in control.

It calls for forgiveness, really,

of everyone.

Even yourself.

I think we learn to forgive
when we see
we’re none of us
in control of our lives;

or, we learn how to love
when we see
we’re not
even truly

The breaking wheel


Back in Old Europe,

by swollen Church
and funky dress,

they kept a thing in the
back pocket
of the zeitgeist:

the breaking wheel.

The condemned were
tied down,
the enormous wheel





for the tortured
—at such a frequency—
must feel more like death
might feel
if death could feel like anything.

The broken bones would then
be threaded through the spokes,
the puppet of flesh
hoisted up
to parade its screams
to a crowd.

For those most damned,
the Reaper took its time in riding in
to haul the soul away,
the meat
by beasts.

The condemned
were criminals,

but how that fits
fails me.

They might have used the breaking wheel themselves;
that wouldn’t make it right,
only worse.

But here’s no study of justice.
Here’s no study of anything.
No final thought,
no sombre lesson to be learned,

save for

life is hard for all,
and, for some,
death unspeakable.