Ode to All Lost Things

(c) The Lost Thing – Illustration by Shaun Tan (from the picture book with the same title written by Shaun Tan)

Where do all lost things go?
Is there a special Universe for them?

An elegant corner
A lost and found box
Hidden from our sight
The keys you misplaced this morning
While in a hurry on your way to work
That notebook with all your best sketches
All the breadcrumbs you never ate
The nights you were out and drinking
Befriending the dawn
The breakfast you skipped so you could
Sleep for ten more minutes
A loss of appetite after a fight
The millions of cells that die in us every other minute
The hair loss we have to deal with on a daily basis
The missing bus that reminds you how poor you are
That train you were about to take from platform 5
Never coming back…

To that earring you loved so much
Now lying in solitude on the floor somewhere
To the broken jar
The smashed vase
To the pieces that cannot be reassembled
To the teacup that shattered
Turned to bits
All forgotten and devoured
In the kitchen of lost things
An entire cupboard of loss
Accompanied by spilt salt and milk
Losing your train of thought in the middle of a speech
To lost empires and fortunes
Lost a prize, the gold medal
Losing a bet with your friend
To all those times you lost your temper
And never apologized for it

To lose your chance at saying goodbye to your dying cat – that is cruel and undeserved
To all the lost grandmas and grandpas
And all the love letters
Sent and misplaced
Forgotten, suspended in time
To all the choices we’ve never made
To all the lost babies
Who have grown up and are no longer babies
To all the miscarriages
To the loss that forever aches
Night and day, day and night
A loss so grave no one can deny

There’s no loss like human loss

Losing your best friend to the world
In your darkest hour
Losing all your senses
Losing your virginity
To the one you love
Losing portions of you
Standing unrecognizable in the mirror
The flesh is still yours, but everything else isn’t
The loss of what you cherish the most
Where does it all go?
The hug that brought together multiverses
The gaze of love
The loss of a chance at forgiveness
Losing all meaning
Losing faith
Losing your childhood dream
Your dearest memory
Losing sight of that which matters
Losing the now in the tumult of life
Losing your life over a death sentence

Where do all lost things go?
Is there a special Universe for them?

We search and search
Because no speck of hope is ever lost.

Lilac Requiem

Lilac in Kiev Anastasiia Grygorieva
(c) Lilac in Kiev by Anastasiia Grygorieva

Lilacs are waltzing and waltzing in pairs
On the quickening sounds of rain
Falling on the tin roof
A satiating fragrance of lavender and amethyst
Lullabies me to sleep
Away from the odorless dystopia
That we call life

The wet flowers cleanse with their innocence
And through an open window
They stretch their petit petals and hand me a return
I would do it all over again

As I watch them blossoming to a climax
They begin their descent back into the ground
Darkened by misfortune
With violet tinges of violence
The lavender turns mauve with raisin reflections
In unison with the damp soil
The dirt and moist that cover tombs and flesh
The dirt where maggots and insects crawl
I would do it all over again

Watch the lilac grow and wither
And learn about the ways of the world
Listen to raindrops weeping their fate
Onto the wound
Never bound to heal
Like an open skull with brain cancer
Like paint that never dries
Like ominous leftovers
Carrying me into a starless night
I would do it all over again

Little creatures below the ground
Engulfed in a universe of their own
Not once do they leave me alone
They scratch and hurt the Mother Earth
In the midst of a smearing drought
I lose the sense of touch
And what used to make perfect sense
Ends up making no sense at all

With no green or purple in sight,
The last odorless droplet falls from the sky
I would do it all over again


At the Artist’s Table

(c) Leonid Afremov

At the artist’s table there’s always a seat
A place to carve art in flesh and wound
To bake sounds with poems and tint
Where the thick brush slithers on the moist greenish cloth
With almighty stains of vermilion and sweat.
I stand nude at my large table
And, bare-handedly, begin to caress the brutal cloth
Which speaks back tales of beginnings and hope
As my imagination becomes a sewing machine
That shoots words and colors like bullets.
I hold hostages all the blank papers towards my release from the blues prison
While a red string commits adultery with my art every Sunday afternoon.

The artist’s table is the whole world viewed from a dying angle
The frowned-upon outsider looking in
Feigning a pas de deux to begin her oeuvre
And end it with a supernova coda, the masterpiece’s last musical cry.
As the spectacle unfolds, I pour myself another glass
In the midst of the dénouement
I proclaim nobody a winner, but the vicious circle of day and night
Day and night
Art is my prayer, my battle, my middle ground,
The playground on which I stretch and stitch myself

At the artist’s table I find closure
And you come find me
Bare-footed, with dreamy eyes
Always made whole by what she creates
But always unfinished
I paint the blues away, sing of possibilities,
Commit all the non-sense,
And dream of an afterlife of heartbreak.

Long live the repetition and the major keys
Arias with tunes of random
Play play play
There is grace and god and stars during daytime
At the artist’s table.

The space around me becomes the whole cosmos
And the little pieces we give birth to
Carry the marks of forgiveness
Of rage and radical honesty
Of emptiness and foul
Don’t colors make life easier to bear?
Shout in ecstasy that this table is all you possess
Then walk hand in hand with your sorrow
In the place where the poet writes a poem
The novelist drafts a novel
The drummer plays the drums
The painter varnishes their canvas
And the lover awaits, and mourns…
What was lost becomes a distant memory
A leaf in the wind – forgotten but vivid
Alive with breaths that hurt the diaphragm, the soul.

Near the window sill
There is scrutinizing of the dead landscape
And in the lonely hour
When the clock ticks the last goodbye
I sharpen my pencil. I breathe in it my woe
And take a seat at the artist’s table.


(c) Vent des feuilles by Anne-Marie Zilberman

Like a house with no roof
Like a shoe with a hole in it
Like a whore lying naked on the floor
Like polluted air filling your lung
Like a painter without their paint brush
Like a cello with three strings
Like a starless sky
Like the sea without waves
Like a fake laughter
Like the grass is always greener on the other side
Like Jupiter without its Great Red Spot
Like an addict without their cocaine
Like a clock without hands
Like quantum vacuum where no one can hear you scream
Like a cripple limping to their deathbed
Like a universe of neglect
Like forensic medicine without the crime
Like a building burnt to ashes
Like a scale without its tonic
Like a melody without the final chord
Like cells mortified by the waiting
Like maggots eating at a beautiful mind
Like to the point of no return
Like wild wind wreaking havoc
Like a cracked tile
Like an apple never fell on Newton’s head
Like antibiotics were never discovered
Like daylight robbery
Like an infant crying for her milk
Like a mother mourning her only son
Like a dying dream
Like a vision of peace never envisioned
Like US foreign politics
Like sugar-coated fascism
Like a genetically cursed embryo
Like getting sued for malpractice
Like Delft without its blue
Like Amsterdam without its canals
Like Superman without Kryptonite
Like the theory of everything doesn’t exist
Like puss and abscess and vinegar and vomit
Like echoes of a failed rally
Like Dorothy didn’t return to Kansas
Like a bad LSD trip
Like geography without maps and history without history books
Like the alphabet without the letter A
Like dirt under your fingernails
Like Peter Pan grew up
Like a windowless room
Like a story never told
Like a germophobe in a germophil world
Like the silent scream of the depressed
Like psychoanalysis without Freud
Like borders and walls
Like lost civilizations and lost souls
Like a supermassive black hole
Like a shipwreck
Like a world with no coffee beans
Like Hansel and Gretel never found their way back home
Like a mask that never falls
Like it never ends

*This poem was inspired by How Do You Feel When You Are Heartbroken by Vincent Mars.

As the World Falls Down

(c) Lesley Oldaker Painting

Let the cello strings

Estrange me

From your world

Of human casualties

Beyond any repair

The music echoes bitter burials

And mourning for what has been lost

In living


Is there healing in this scribbling pen?

What coup de plume can take me there?

Where you don’t have to buy your way into the world

Where you can play with the other children

Where they teach grace and compassion

And leave the naked dead bodies out in the sun

Where there is no economic fallout, genders, nor politics

This obscene adult show

Crippling the young

Making them pride of their crimes against humanity

Crafting murderers, and buyers, and numb appliances

Where do we start

Stitching calamity and chaos into bits of creation and meaning

Sewing the wounded corpses into people with radiant smiles again

We stand divided and disgusted

Marching blindly towards what was promised to us

Not knowing that what we’re looking for

We’ve already left behind

All that was pure and good and kind

A beam of hope, a touching chord

We are now floating away from each other in a crowded ocean

Like solitary galaxies

Gravitating towards the abyss


I’ve wasted all my colors

Dulled them into grey

But still I seek for lighter tinges

For somebody more like myself

Tapping their foot at every good song

And grieving at every injustice

Am I waking up or falling into the deepest sleep?

Kill me but do it kindly,

Toy with buttons, wage on wars,

And have the world at your feet


I exempt myself from this

As the world falls down

Seeds of Violence

(c) Dear Esther Video Game

I carry within the seeds of violence

The beat of the drums that match the destruction

A delicate violence

Breathing life into a new born rage

Screaming louder than war drones

How do we save lives when all we do is kill each other?


When the soldiers hear the piano

They feel remorse and confess

They want to hear music again

But demolition continues

Building cracks, death signals, hurt, and blues

And there’s falling but never landing…

Spiraling into abyss

The one and only

Does it ever end?


Is there any violence

Greater than the one we inflict on ourselves?


We carry within the grey film

the colorless lie

the beautiful illusion

of coherence and homogeneity

the horrors we’ve seen

the atrocious acts we’re capable of

We carry within the remembrance of salvation

a kind thought, a warm word, a gentle touch

the waves of beginning

But these are silenced


like a tuneless song of despair


like in the goodbye of lovers


like in the mourning of the dead


What remains is a heart that beats violently

Like waves crashing against the cliffs of my being

I’m lost at sea, never ashore

With the seeds of violence carrying me ever further from you


blues journey

Delft Blue Mosaic

look up

towards a sky

full of yellow, white, and green clouds

only surrounded by

gray patches of grass

I don’t belong

only the wind takes me away

to a moment so dear

an april tale

a trip to jupiter

my interstellar journey

on the spaceship of love.

I remember your smile

a laughter swinging open

the gates of further space exploration

lighting up a room

an open space

a forest

the whole world.

what to do in the absence of a song that ended

an instant of poetry

days that went by in a flash

take me back

let’s reverse time and

un-spill the milk in the rooisbos tea

un-make the black coffee

un-roam the tranquil streets

un-view the Vermeer paintings

un-walk the halls of museums

let’s build a ship that un-sails

let’s go left, left, and right and straight ahead

do you hear the cry in every delft canal?

cross the miniature bridge to your cosmic lover

she is waiting on the other side

one stroll away

find me at little street

yearning embraces

a land of windmills

fields of pink and purple tulips

all point home.

a night sky pierced by church tops

an air of romance

a springtime of life

a currency of love

all at our entangled feet.

your taste of candy and coffee

is ingrained in my flesh

a bruised love affair

the strongest drug

my darling cocaine.

we are dancing in the ring of madness

sliding our way to the stage of our dreams

for one more caress

one more starry sky

one more night under orion’s spell.

you diffuse me

and spread me throughout the universe

and carry me many light years away

in a nebula of hope

of a return

of one more sip

from your enchanting potion

of new memories with you.

there’s no blues like delft blues