Haemorrhaging [also known as the five stages of Grief ]


Somehow you can

track it,

locate your feet in the right second.

Time the hours you never moved-

not even twitched or blinked.

Wake up in a derelict



in an exiled self-rotation.

Wake up


shapes, numbers, scales, materials

already familiar,

configured in muscle recall,

tracing the recollection of neural pathways,

becoming accustomed to blackouts,

exposing them

to dim, faded, almost lit bulbs


latent images.


There are no corners in this room,

only edges that meet halfway.

Half measured, half-roughly estimated.

One foot behind the other,

counting and losing track of count-

starting over:

eight, nine, eleven, twelve,

thirteen, fourteen fifteen sixteen, eighteen, infinity.

“Where was I?”


The process of

trial and error,

and waiting,

and digging,



and salvaging,

and waiting.


Coffee/tea/opting for water

in being polite.

And waiting.



The outskirts of walls,


An obsession with a stain on that white shirt

that just- no matter how much you scrub-won’t remove..

And dusty stairways

sweeping the dirt back in,

children’s feet have a habit of doing that.

Stains and dirty spots

have a habit of missing the eye too.

Fixed gazed,

clenched breath,

holding every syllable in thought,

stapling them together

Just in case,

Just in case.


 Other senses haven’t been here before.

feeling beckoned touch to be here.

Sit here

just for a little while.

Pins and needles

grate the ceiling of skin.

Sun dries the outer layers.

flesh gradually peels itself,

cradles itself,

rocks itself gently,

flakes, then disappears.

When all things are summoned here

to sit

just for a little while.

Cutting along the dotted line

as if scissors have no sense of direction,

as if sirens indicate nothing else

but in a hurry.


sound means as much to

sprawled limbs

birthing still borns,

as bated words

to slit throats.


I remember

the internal thrusting and purging.

Mopping the surface of tongues

with locked jaws.

I remember being.

I remember being

In the focus of a street lamp behind a curtain.

I remember the curtain-


hung halfway between the ending

and emergency exits.

A limping silence

held up deformed

between being there

and being


other than

inside myself.

Koleka Putuma (c) 2013.


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