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Mar 20 · 125
Volcanic
K E Cummins Mar 20
History carves my sinews and hews my spine.
My menhir-body, my storybook of rock,
Speaks of the long fight. See my shoulders
And their scars, their battered stone edges;
They are sturdy footing on which to stand.
A fire-heart warms my earthen hands:
Saplings grow in the loam, seedlings sprout.
Magma-veined, spitting lava, I still rise
And will not fall. Heed my fury,
For I am one small mountain in a range
Stretching from the present to eras past.
Battles come and go; we remain.
Forests on our flanks, bears in our palms,
We will always be wild.
Mar 20 · 263
We Are
K E Cummins Mar 20
The beloved community,
An antidote to despair.

Dark things cause their opposites,
Because when night falls
We must light fires.
I found kindling in a crevasse
And called it hope.

Some things will always be the same,
So we change, we move, we rise.
We burn.
K E Cummins Mar 19
When you get home,
You will not have to make any decisions
Because no-one will need saving –
At least, those who do will not rely on you,
Because your job will be done.
You have done your part
To try and fill that black hole of need,
And we will not let you spend all of yourself
On an impossible and eternal task –
You are too valuable.
We love you too much.

When you get home,
We will sit you down
Somewhere warm and comfortable
After a long hot shower or a bath,
In clean pajamas
And dry socks,
With a cup of tea
(Or a little something stronger).

If you need to vent, vent.
We will listen without interruption
And not insert ourselves into the narrative.
If you like, we can remember your story,
So that if you want to tell it
(Shout a warning)
Cassandra’s message will amplify
In many voices.

But if you need silence,
To sit, say nothing, and just be,
We can do that too.
I’ll hold you.
You can take off the mask,
Stop pretending not to be scared,
Aghast, bewildered, exhausted,
Shattered –
Because the horror you survived
Is not bearable.
It is insane.
Whatever “crazy” way you deal
Isn’t crazy,
But a rational response to an irrational world.
Let it out. You are not alone.

I don’t need anything.
I don’t need you to be or do anything.
I am simply here with you.
Although I have not seen what you have seen,
I lived through something similar;
We have both borne witness.
So there is no need to apologise.
You owe me nothing –
You owe them still less.

When you get home
You're welcome to sit with me,
Or let me manage the daily tasks
While you seek solitude.
You have done everything and more.
No individual can carry the world –
Atlas is a myth for a reason.
We are family of a sorts,
Bound by more than blood.
Together, we are strong.
Written to a friend on the front lines
Nov 2021 · 134
Unhoused
K E Cummins Nov 2021
Will you bear witness to what I suffer
Held in the life of a woman
Cross-legged on the sidewalk
Incoherent in my grief and ignored
Will you bear witness?
Oct 2020 · 289
Light
K E Cummins Oct 2020
Some spark brighter as the days grow darker,
Beautiful torches lit as the world gets ugly.
My friend, you burn too fierce for your own health.
My spitfire comrade, you rant against the system,
You glow like a warm hearth in the rain.

Our doctor darts around lightening the burden.
One kind heart shines like a candle in a window.
The mourners on the hill stand rose-gold in the sunset.
The singers around the massive drum in Kitigan Zibi
Strike the ear as a bonfire strikes the eye.

It gives me hope. My friend, you give me hope.
I will feed it with the glee of a pyromaniac.
Wildfires rage in the dying forests; we rage back,
Sparking bright as the days grow dark.
Quick message of hope and resilience to brighten your day :)
Sep 2020 · 115
Not innocent
K E Cummins Sep 2020
I am not guilty,
Nor created to be guilty;
Although I am human
You make me wilt.
I do not understand what it is
Keeping me up at night.
Is it the noise of your passing?
Wyrd forged me iron-sinewed,
Worthless, hard, and proud.
Regret nothing - in quick time it passes,
And you cannot shame me
With the guilt you wish I felt.
Why should we allow for chronic victims?
Your tears are warped power,
Merciless and violent in their falling.
Therefore, guilty or not,
I must consider myself absolved.
Aug 2020 · 434
Singer
K E Cummins Aug 2020
Smoky breath
Meets yours on the cigarette byways
Electric sound
Floats from the mike in airwaves

Sultry voice
Croons deep velvet in your ear
Whisky ice
Swirls down the brooding glass
Eyes rove
Try to find mine across the room
Keep going
Move on, babe, move on

A dame like that
Black-and-white grain and flicker
Arched brow
Red lips
Dream on, dreamer, dream on
They don’t make ‘em like this anymore
I imagine this as a slow jazz song crooned by a chain-smoking flapper in a speakeasy. No, just me? Alright, well... guess I'm a sucker for a smooth voice. ;)
Aug 2020 · 292
The Black Dog
K E Cummins Aug 2020
The wolf in my shadow
Is named Melancholy
His tail hangs low
And his jaws hang wide

He weight lies on me
Until I can’t breathe
His fur has no warmth
And his eyes are mine
Anthropomorphic visualization of depression, written a few years ago.
Jul 2020 · 145
Recovery - Short Version
K E Cummins Jul 2020
Here I rest
Wild geese calls
Wandering paths
Don’t pull me

Go, go, go; I’ll follow
Fly, I’ll be there after
Peace carries inside me
Unbound by place or time
Not sure which version I like better... thoughts?
Jul 2020 · 656
Recovery
K E Cummins Jul 2020
To be at peace
Quiet neighborhood
Hockey-stick kids
Leafy gardens

To be at peace
Inside my skull, present
Breathe between
Grief and grief

Here I rest
Wild geese calls
Wandering paths
Don’t pull me

Go, go, go; I’ll follow
Fly, I’ll be there after
Stillness carries inside me
Unbound by place or time

I am at peace, maybe
What, if not a constant battle?
I eat, sleep, rest
But the world is not an enemy
And I don’t know what to do
Jul 2020 · 380
Rhythm
K E Cummins Jul 2020
I want to go exploring in the deep green woods
Where the leaves shuffle past on your feet, on your toes
Where the yellow streetlights and the red ones fade
Deer graze in the cracks at Kensington Station
Birds nest between the wheels of the dead railway

I want your lips against mine in the silence
In these hollow spaces, the reclaimed world
Bark peeling, sprouts, on the wood house beams
Colour of rust and liveliness, womb of ours, heart of ours
Greenboro metal on the slatted tracks
Wrote this on the train - when read out loud it should have a train-track rhythm to it.
Jul 2020 · 251
Transience
K E Cummins Jul 2020
The ground contained a secret
That bloomed
When the time was right
In good loam

Here I lie
In a solitude of green
I am the earth

So much has gone awry
Yet still I am here
Small beside ancient lives
Another animal
And we are content

Seeds grow into trees
Patience
Time is vast outside humankind
Jul 2020 · 636
Enough
K E Cummins Jul 2020
To be poor is to go back in time
I have eaten dandelions out of the backyard
And contemplated the guillotine
The revolution of a coin
Skittering to a stop.
There you go, bringing class into it again!
Jul 2020 · 353
Home at Night
K E Cummins Jul 2020
The moon rose over troubled water.

Waves swelled on the rocks,
And the cliff crags sat there in the dark;
Brooding creatures thinking unquiet thoughts.

A seal barked,
As usual in the twilight time when fish come to surface,
And the last waking eagle went to nest.
A short write today
Jul 2020 · 214
Wednesday Afternoon Audio
K E Cummins Jul 2020
Calm sleep day
Urban brick
Birdsong, windy leaves

Inexplicable bagpipes

Lift soul brave
Raw harsh demand
Rise, rise and stand
This is life and beauty

Silence
Wind
Leaves

Motorbike engine roar
Every day, a bagpiper stands outside our neighborhood Covid Testing Centre and plays for the people waiting in line. I reckoned this old poem was short, sweet, and perfect for Canada Day 2020.
Jun 2020 · 1.9k
As We Age
K E Cummins Jun 2020
I don't want to be a knight in shining armour.
There's dignity in scars and old leather,
The badges of a long campaign.
We are wrinkled, yes, and sunburned,
Full of crows-feet and lines.
These are trophies, my friend.
Wear them with pride.
Our grey hairs emerged in our twenties.
Why? Because we fought!
We still fight the good fight.
Walk tall with your notches and your rust!
This grey is the grey of battle-steel,
The burnish of a well-used blade.
Your life is a tale worth telling, my friend.
Please, do not think you're not beautiful.
A friend's birthday is coming up, and as per usual, she's joking/stressing about getting old. All the other poems I've posted were written ages ago. I scribbled this one literally five minutes ago and posted it before I had time to change my mind. Enjoy the lack of editing!
Jun 2020 · 278
Some Days
K E Cummins Jun 2020
Fear confining you
Bound to your bed
Solace; murmur whisper secrets
Until the sun shines unhindered
All the world cries out comfort
In the flight of bird-wing wishes
Jun 2020 · 258
Queen
K E Cummins Jun 2020
Blood and lipstick femininity
My heels crack concrete
Redder than wine
Smile in the corner
Snarl along the fangs
I bite what’s mine to claim it
Eat it whole and raw
Black dress, fiery hair
Hips like an empress
I know you think you’re king
Baby, I’m a lioness
You’ll eat what I hunt
Lick the gore from my lips
My slavering red mouth
My feminine blood and lipstick
Got new lipstick, felt inspired.
Jun 2020 · 331
Hope
K E Cummins Jun 2020
Today a thousand burdens coalesced;
Mind-monsters made meal of me.
Grief carved my face. Cry not, cry not,
We have no room for more tears.

In the morning, I saw dawn rising,
And a grey world turn green.
The sky was emptiness, blue bold music,
Over the sun that swift leapt high.

So cry not, cry not, my friend in sorrow,
Though masked faces weep in silence.
We are not alone in this desperate anger;
Dim lies the light before dawn.
Experimenting with Norse verse patterns: kennings, alliteration, consonance, etc. Any Beowulf scholars out there?
Jun 2020 · 1.0k
Speak
K E Cummins Jun 2020
Be fearless.
Your voice was not made to be silenced,
And neither was your thought.
Give it tongue, give it volume, give it song.
Give it your lips and your teeth.
This is what you are to the world.
This is your truth, and your way.
There is nothing more precious than this.
Bite hard, never let go.
Published a few years ago as part of poetry collection for my university Womyns Centre. Thought it became relevant again.
Jun 2020 · 481
Dawn and Realisations
K E Cummins Jun 2020
The day the apocalypse ends
The women will have risen
Sweet potatoes from loam, tilled earth
Survival of the species, life and birth
Do not depend on guns, nor blood
But an unfurled sapling

When the children return to school
And the nurses display their strength
We realise the essentials
Our grandparents, our babies
Do not depend on algorithms, nor capital

A hand-sewn mask made for comfort
To defy the White Horseman
Means the women will have risen
The day the apocalypse ends
Jun 2020 · 324
Colours of Late Nights
K E Cummins Jun 2020
Sausages and good beer at half past five
With dawn in the window yellowing
White walls and a collage of abstracts
Mismatched chairs at the table

We are only young if you see us
To hear our voices we are older than time
Cynics and lovers and philosophers arrogance
We have already been too much

This is where life happens
Where the loneliness beneath the tinsel lays bare
And brute honesty takes itself walking
Like a great black dog in our shadows

This is where we talk
Put words to what is dormant wordless
Dark brown ale between our teeth
Dark blue night behind our eyes
Jun 2020 · 197
Walk
K E Cummins Jun 2020
You have left me dazed and confused
Lost in my own imaginings
And if you see me wander
Cease, desist, let me be
I am not here for you
I am unto myself
A lone wild thing
Untampered and forlorn

On the shore of a sea of ice
I stood awestruck by tears
At the sky as it moved
Birds specked in gold sunset light
Blue, the colour of grace

Black ink branches, sky
Sky flows and knells in vast empty space
A hollow where the birds sing
The wilderness of my mind
Meets the wildness of the grass
And folds back into sanity
Jun 2020 · 415
Camp
K E Cummins Jun 2020
Restless Ulysses calling seaward
Wave-crest and trough on water
Bark seal slap rush
Carve one sweep, two sweep
Push and the wayfarer
Boot, back, and shoulder
A life neatly bundled going on
On and on and on; wander
Because no god is present
Without vastness, surrender
Fire lick crackle burn driftwood blue
On the sand in the gravel
And restless sailor calling seaward
Take the horizon to break
Spine and sinew ironmonger
The old and elderly will fondly remember
These days when we were strong
And the stars unobscured by smoke

— The End —