I drink whisky neat on the rocks,
walk barefoot in my socks,
and enjoy quiet moments on the soapbox.
I eat chocolate bars to detox,
cherish the spa-like calm of aftershocks,
and admire the urbanism of boondocks.
I’m surefooted like a blind cox,
play John Cage’s 4′33″ on the jukebox,
and feel healthy like a kid with smallpox.
They call me a paradox
but I’m just a little unorthodox.

Part of #escapril2021. Photo by Jakob Søby.


We fit, you and I,
like a mosaic in a Roman villa:
telling the age-old story of love
that is always the same (always unique).
We fit, you and I,
like freshly laid kitchen tiles:
shimmering in the afternoon sun,
slowly absorbing the comfort of home cooked food.
We fit, you and I,
despite ourselves:
like pavement slabs after years of rain,
uneasy paths for everyone.
We fit, you and I,
sometimes not at all:
like oil and water,
doomed to be forever apart
no matter how hard we try.

Part of #escapril2021. Photo by Alice Butenko.


Was there a point at which
this ending was
not yet inevitable?

We were nudged awake by a world
uncaring because it doesn’t know how,
jolted into existence by a universe
unknowing because it doesn’t care to,
and now, we find ourselves
thrown into the forever unconsciousness
by an evolution relentlessly iterating
because life only matters as a principle.

No, there was not:
this skin too needs shedding.

Part of #escapril2021. Photo by MohammadO Shokoofe.


Have you ever scratched the surface of a mirror
in the hope of getting to the other side?
The grass is said to be greener,
but it looks much the same to me:
it still browns in the summer heat.
Rain here too heightens the foul smell
of exhaust fumes rushing past without concern,
cigarette buds litter the pavements
and children cry slipping on ice.
And yet, if I could shatter the glass once more
I wouldn’t go back:
I may be the wrong way around,
but at least I am.

Part of #escapril2021. Photo by Joseph Ngabo.

Here’s what I remember

A slice of chocolate cake,
too much even for two
although that didn’t stop us.
An old rock song on the radio
from a much maligned band
you knew all the lyrics to.
Your enthusiasm for big trucks
and a first date promise to get you in one
some day.
A message on Facebook around 3am
when I got home that seemed silly
then and worse
ever since:
you were already gone.

Part of #escapril2021. Photo by Rirri.


I knew you and I
were not meant to be.
I even wrote it in my diary:
“one day she’ll marry someone else
but I hope I can be there”.
I didn’t believe it at first, of course:
that’s what our love was.
I don’t know where the decades went
but this is where they end:
in a churchyard somewhere
with rice thrown by others.
And this is where I end: outrun,
haunted by a version of us
we willed into existence briefly.
What is love if not regret?

Part of #escapril2021. Photo by Christopher Campbell.

Empty, except for…

the blood that drips slowly
from my fingertip,
splashes onto the concrete floor
like soap bubbles bursting on eggshells.
A purple heart, hardly beating,
pumping the remains of my soul
into a harsh world.

Part of #escapril2021. Photo by Atharva Tulsi.

The exact middle

Which part of you remains when you leave
and which follows along? How do
you triangulate the centre
when all you have is one point? Can
you belong to a place you had to look up
on a map? How many strangers do
you recognise outside
to be calm inside? When do
you stop checking the times
before every call? Why do
you call this home?

Part of #escapril2021. Photo by Andrew Neel.


There always exist genuine options
you might argue: a choice to be
how you are.
Extant glum observer, I
come to tell you it’s sophistic
though I judge you not:
the fallacy is easy,
the trap laid out long ago
by cosmic forces extinct –
grim obstacles put in the path
you were forced to tread.
Look, my friend, the truth is this:
extenuating circumstances
get granted in school but
ostensibly never in life.
Eheu fugaces labuntur anni
et in Arcadia ego.

Part of #escapril2021. Photo by Jilbert Ebrahimi.