Precious tempo in hesitation

A prick to the fingers, bleeds a sigh.
Such evacuation of robust memories.
The red smeared over lips so fragile, that a moth would imprint its life.
With such delicate fearful steps.
You came from lands so distant that it makes society ache.
Thinking of that time and space.
Yet resided all along, you have remained dormant in our eyes.
Young was the world when you began to smile.
Now changed to veiled cathedrals where you refuse to pray.
Fragrant embers of long forgotten hymns.
Wrappings of words fall like orange peels.
You drop those curious glances like pearls on sandalwood floors.
Scattering and chasing the other.
Rolling into the void.
Yet with the midday sun you retreat from our view.
Into the shell of shelf, where we dare to touch you like a forbidden treasure.
Encased in framed beauty.
Those smashed church walls surrounding you.
Warning others of your divine right.
And inaccessibility.

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Verdure adjustment

Needle pines in palms.
The leaves grow, flow and blossom off these fingertips.
The brush of the wind, like the breath of mother earth, rustles what has formed.
Green, like the emerald forests that now hold my bones.
They sway and swoon catching the dying sun.
Holding onto the little jewels of oxygen for a moment too long.
Before the great exhale.
A chance to turn clouds into mountains that sail over tempting shores.
The leaves, bitter smelling like eucalyptus and amphetamines.
Fragrant and fragile, I break at a careless touch.
For the sun often harms, and this brittle heart demands a different type of love.
Shaded and soft, like a kiss from butteries’ feet.
Touching these olive blades deep.
High, tall and commanding if left in the sight of love.
These leaves, fronds of sweet depth cruise upwards.
Wanting to touch the sky.
And caress the face of God.

Cognizant purity

In the extremities of that departure.
Where the ground gave way and the stars beckoned.
In the evidence of brilliance.
That wandering elation into nothingness.
Searching for a home, some place to land.
I take down that crucified past, bury it in the soil that is now beneath my feet.
Sweet sand that follows in my shoes.
As the earth hums a hot vibration.
Not returned.
Not remained.
Yet back again to where I find it.
Wiping the turmoil from this skin.
Swallowing sanity for the first time.
Breathing that eucalyptus air that floods and scares me.
Missing nothing, but tomorrow.

Book Release

Raw Earth Ink

Hi there! Well, I’ve released my poetry book, Fallen Star Rising, for sale. You can find it currently at lulu.com or if you desire a signed copy, you may buy it directly from me. I’ll let you guys know when it’s available from Amazon or Barnes and Noble, etc, but honestly, I recommend ordering directly from my distributor. Generally you get it quicker that way (and I get to keep more of the proceeds).

Minor disclaimer: if you’ve been a follower of mine for say the last 18 months, you may recognize the vast majority of the poetry in this book. Though, there are some I have never published tucked in here and there. I’ve since removed nearly all of that poetry from my site, with a few exceptions.

This is a 240 page book of poetry that tells an overall story. It’s a tragic love story that doesn’t end…

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Church

How saintly is this soil?
That I see reaching off to the horizon.
That blue sky above must be nothing but god.
A shared beauty. That cobalt collection of atmosphere and faith.
The yoke of this galaxy rises in the distance.
What precious gold this is.
Which direction is Mecca?
The wind rushes through these bones, the breath of god.
Each twitch of a nerve ending crumbles in a crucifixion.
Causing me to speak.
For my eyes to blink and this vermilion wine inside to flow.
The church was built for us. Hewn from the mountains in the sky.
Yet I rarely pray here, as much as I should.
Thankfulness is a hymn I should sing more often.
Yet this house of god stands firm each day.
Waking to the walls and the salty tears of rain that fall inside sometimes.
When the world grows dark, when the candles go out.
Yet its foundations are stronger than Jerusalem.
I fall and touch this ground and feel at home.
Spun around and whispered to by many devils.
But they cannot ever touch me here.
In my church.
On this earth.

Safe & sound

Lay there dreaming, and dreaming of sleep.
This place is quiet, and in it I’ll keep.
You safe from the world with its threatening haste.
It’s maddening calls and dizzying pace.
You are so tired, like a fragile bird.
With a broken wing, it’s troubled song unheard.
So sleep and dream a millions miles from here.
I’ll keep you safe, until your dreams disappear.

40 Portraits of Pain

By June Okochi
http://www.juneokochi.co.uk/

I love telling stories. I write about my experiences of life, art, travel, culture, poetry. I even journal about living with my genetic condition.But one day I decided it would be great to express in a different kind way. I wanted to tell mine and other’s stories of living with our genetic condition through visual imagery.I wanted to use photography as an art form to express the different motions that come with this condition.How we deal with pain and suffering every day of our lives. To express how we battle fatigue levels, how we live with anxiety about when next we will be sick and back on a hospital bed, how we have become accustomed to discomfort and pain that we are no longer afraid of it. We have normalised it like the air we breathe. How we deal with broken bones, broken cells, strokes, suffocating pain, damaged organs and fight early mortality. Sometimes the pain is so excruciatingly unbearable, we chose death over life.We are born with it and we die with it. There are no easy ways around it.We deal with the impact on our social lives, our physical, mental and emotional lives. It takes its toll on our childhood, education, careers, professions, everything, until we end up borderline depressed and broken but we keep going, we keep living, we smile, we hide behind our pain, we cry at night, we keep smiling, we keep thriving, we keep popping those pills, we pop them until we die, we take your blood and exchange them into our veins to have life, to live. We need your blood donations, it fixes us for a short time until the next time when we need another fix. We take opiates to keep us alive, pain free. We use oxygen to keep us alive, we use surgery and chemo treatments to keep us alive. We do everything we can because we have no choice, because we didn’t choose this, because we were made to deal with it.Some of us do not know what a decent quality of life looks like.We fight, we fight, we win, we lose. Some fall and don’t make it, we hold their memories, recognising that they are in a better place, pain free, others keep fighting until we make our mark, find our legacy and our legacy may be as simple as just surviving.Sickle Cell…I am a warrior. We are warriors.World Sickle Cell Day, 19th June 2019Watch out for the full online photography series exhibition coming soon.#40potraitsofpain
#worldsicklecellday
#sicklecellinlondonCreator: June Okochi
Photographer: Jim Higham
Creative Director: Ijeoma Okochi-Agwu
Production: Mica Marshall and Tommy Okochi

Retreat

I cannot go outside.
They will not see.
I lock the doors and turn the world down.
Set the moon to wake me, so I can dance in the dark.
They cannot know, they should not look.
I came to disappear discretely.
The void is my own.
Yet a consequence is not from a lack.
The love and respect weighs me down more than you will ever know.
But I have to go, I have to depart.
Sailing out on silent ships that leave you all in fog.
Not a death, not a dim.
A recapturing, of self.
Until I’m stronger to hold back the waves of the world.
Stronger, to survive the sun.

A Heart murmur

A heartbeat static and stick.
Grease the wheels and grease them quick.
Touched and run, in the citrus sun.
Fingers all high fives, thumbs like guns.
The void is waiting, a sickly breathe.
Cold on clinical, the smell of death.
A rumble, stumble, fumble please.
Shake and slither on your knees.
Electioneering, ECG.
Hold your breath.
Drink your coffee.

Threat

The folds of the future, on a serrated line.
Do not cross the marker. Don’t enter the forest.
A Sound emits from the belly of the earth.
This stirring rumble shakes the pots from the ledges.
Loud is the sound, as it travels under your skin.
Consuming you like tiny bears, fluffy and in your veins.
The forest was always out of bounds.
They knew what awaited.
Yet they built your houses right next to it.
Eye lines and heartbeats finding a mark.
They tell you to keep out, they warned you often.
But they lead you to the tips of the trees.
Tickle you with possibilities.
And so the inevitable.
The forest captures you.
The monster consumes you.
Plucking out the bones to play haunting tunes that drift on the wind.
A threat in the thicket.
The doom in the gloom that drenches like oil.
I found your bones of course.
I always knew.
Having much lingered on the other side of the trees.
Up high, having learned how to climb.
I see the monster, I saw the demise.
I know how it ends.

Wandering star

These wandering stars shape the night.
Pushing out the darkness.
You weigh like dark matter.
Heavy and invisible.
Watching as the other stars dance.
Can I taste those nitrogen lips?
Just for a moment, in the vacuum of nothingness.
How you have travelled, lonely across our eyes.
Blinking in and out of life.
Pulling me like the tide.

Damaged the same

Leave those words where they land.
Bury them in time and walk across the snow.
The stretched out ghost that hangs in the air.
In our lungs.
All fog and white, fading into a nothing.
How precious was that moment?
When the blood began to shed.
And the tears you bled, from another wound.
We come in pieces, all broken and jumbled.
Your religion tells us we are perfect, but still must change.
We are damaged the same.
Scuffed knees and dormant psychoses.
Jesus in a black bag.
Satan in a veil.
We are tripping over the rug of this world.
Spilling tea on the soul of saints.
Watching the cracks creak a little wider.
Filling the voids with gold.
But not lost souls, just painfully aware we are human.
Trying to return to paradise.
Following maps that are written in tears.

RED #4: A methemoglobin state of prayer

A half-light silently wanders into sight.
It’s the beating throb of the world.
Now masked in shadows which crept out of us while we slept.
When the ghosts departed.
A dying embrace of an old lover.
The bottled words of a mother who told us to keep out of the road.
While we played, with such abandon, in the town.
On the steps of a church whose windows we’d smashed.
This lumbering giant of trouble, draws our blood.
While we stretch out our hands now in prayer.
To a god no longer there.
All in the shadows of broken mosques and beloved vampires.
Which we willingly idolize.
These empty hands reach for a comfort.
Waking up in pain.
Bruised and bloodied like knees of school kids.
Us in our youth, climbing the tree that hung over the stream.
Dripping the merlot drops into that crystal clear water.
Blurring our own reflections.

Tenderness

Don’t let them touch you there.
Not in that fashion.
You are not a tree stuck in their path.
Or a lump of coal by the fire.
To warm them on chilly nights in their frozen situations.
Devoid of obligations.
They must show us some tenderness.
A little honey with the bitter.
They should not lay their fingers over.
The precious gold, the spotless soul.
Who knows when they washed those hands last in holy water.
Who knows where those thumbs have been.
You are not pulp of a fiction with crumbled pages.
But a silky bible with a sacred taste.
Smelling as divine as Jesus’s spine.
All words of resurrecting what’s dead.
If they tried a little tenderness.
These doors would open.
To a chamber splashed a gaudy red.
And we would pray together, incomplete forever.
Cherishing what we found.

Take you apart

To pull open your world, and sneak inside.
Tearing out your heart, giving you mine.
Feeling each rise and fall of your chest.
Would lay me out like gold.
Each breath conquers me.
As you lick your lips.
Suggesting that is where we build our home.
On the tip of something beautiful.
We’ve cried out our past.
Knocked down each remnant of uncertainty.
Covering our delicate present in feathers and down.
For this is where we shall collapse.
And watch true love collide.
Collecting it up in a bucket of flesh and stars.

Red #3: Red like my heart

If I cut myself, will I find you?
Red, like my blood.
Swimming in ecstasy.
When the darkness prevails, you abandon us.
Leaving me alone with such lonely beats.
Of a heart struggling.
Like a clock unwinding.
You think this heart naïve?
It knows, but is unready to act like you wish.
To thump and rise, as you bang then blame.
Or tell it to stop completely.
Naivety makes way for inability.
Of acting against this sabotage.
Yet you are beyond such human fragility.
If I cut you, do you even bleed?
Would you leak a love all over me?
Flooding this space with such sweet honey.
Or should I let you fly.
And find you only in those heartbeats.
That synthesise a disappearing.
A pattern of a death so complete.
That it stains the world forever.
And heard across your universe.

Swimming through thorns

High is the wire, and lonely at the top.
Fighting for a chance of hope.
Fighting for it to stop.
Rationalism is fleeting, insanity prevails.
You cannot change the unwilling.
You cannot tip the scales.
So carry on regardless, but do not seek applause.
For though your side is righteous.
To them it’s a worthless cause.

RED #2: Ruddy muddy sleep

Not over, not complete.
Just fading away.
A blissful depression hung up like ruby red apples.
Strung like silly smiles on those too drunk to know.
This moment washes over, the gravity pulls you down.
Chipping out teeth like tombstones yanked from the ground.
Oh the silence that it unearths.
The faded names who hoped the future would be different.
But the future just teaches loneliness.
As a departure descends.
That long goodbye, hard on the ears but softly spoken.
Trembling in time.
Nothing really dies, we all just fade away.
Siphoned into space.
Breathed out on earth’s asthmatic exhale.
Heaving under strain.
Replaced by things we all despise.
How we spin and sigh and scream.
Reduced to floating dust and regret.
Asleep and dormant, waiting for the nothing.

Red #1: Red rain

Clumsily those bones broke.
Splintered and collapsed in the red rain.
An aching for all the world to see.
They want to give you cartoon kisses.
They want to trap your ghost.
You drag it all to the city limits.
Where there was once a river that used to run.
Under blue skies and summer sun.
Now the red rain washes only into your eyes.
Crimsoning your view of the outskirts.
What really is that thorn in your side?
What turned your bones to chalk?
You sit down by the apple tree, dyed a ruby red.
Nursing the self-made scratches.
Covering up the scars.
Who became you inside, when you true self fled?
Hanging your head is too easy, so raise it to the sky.
Push the bones back in place, silently cry in pain.
Wait for the flood.
From the sweet divine red rain.

Aureole

Changes take you to the place.
The feelings, dressed in faith.
Little voices whispering your name in silent spaces.
You take me there.
Gripping my hand which shakes and flutters.
A heart, in flight like birds of paradise scratching the sky.
The only thing that fades is the darkness of the past.
The bright light I see in your eyes illuminates and deafens.
An unknown, which used to creep like ghosts, now welcomes like a field of poppies.
Oh that heady take on life, blurring into our bones.
You come to rest on marbled floors.
An altar in which I can pray.
But you lift my hands and shake your head.
Kissing me with our new commandant.
The only religion is love.
You fall into my skin, changing the air I breathe.
Needing me, as I need you.
Worked from our souls rising.
A Perfect circle.

Cold murmur

I will always find you there.
Where the winter turns on high.
Deep down in those memories.
Still you will try to assuage.
Cutting cloths of gold to patch and plaster.
Those were the delicate days.
Filled with stories and culverts where dreams were forming.
To reduce it down to youth is insulting.
You were wicked and wild, level headed in times of crisis.
We were shamed by your glory.
Manoeuvred into your frame to sparkle in the dying sun.
The forest claimed that reasoning.
Covered it in snow, the blood of the berries as our hurt.
Primitive was that love.
A vagrant call to the future with two fingers up at god.
All too soon it collapsed.
Shattered into blue.
You remained frozen in that time.
Dreams dipped in diphtheria, coughing up only blood.
As the rest melted into the tomorrow.
We find you locked in the frozen landscape.
We call into the woods to find you once again.
But you remain, cold and unforgiving.
Trapped in ice.

Trying not to breathe

Trapped under a bell jar, while the sun is silenced.
You put this in us. You creep into our bones.
Plucking the feathers from the birds of freedom.
You show us where the darkness grows.
This infection is massing.
Rampant, like you tongue.
A hatred and loathing that was born from a seed.
Deep without our own lungs.
The small parts of me.
Something other, that I cannot understand.
A difference in us as the night to day.
I’m trying not to breathe while the red mist rises.
A fractured state of things, little pockets of disconnect.
What horrors have you exposed?
Which queen of hearts have you disposed?
I pick the wild flowers of hope.
And tuck them into my sleeve.
Sniffing at a fragrance I wish to be within.
Smelling the chance of change.
With each barricade we rise.
A flood of ebb and flow which pulls at the mud below.
Pushing up to the crystal sky.
Smashing this glass that covers us.
This is our Vietnam. This is our Notre Dame.
Running wild out of the despair, into the arms of others.
Who breathe such cleaner air.

8:42am (Insomnia)

Raw Earth Ink

She’s lying upon her bed
She wakes, trembling violently
Her jaw is wired shut
Her eyelids rapidly flutter
There’s a pressure on her chest
Breaths in spurts and shudders
There is something inside her
She wants to vomit
It moves to leave
It wants to escape
It tears and claws inside her
There’s violence in its ways
It bites and rips
Her eyes fly open wide
It writhes and screams
So does she
Her chest lifts her off the sweat-stained mattress
It shrieks one final time
Ripping itself free
She falls back to the sheets
There’s blood all around her
Her mouth fills with worms
Tar seeps from the corners of her staring eyes
Her hands shake and shiver beside her
The dark energy has left her
She collapses exhausted
She’ll never be the same


tara caribou | ©️2019

And so begins the first in my category named Insomnia. These…

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