Poems: Debra Black

Ravi’s Wish: A tale in 5 short poems


We met on a porcupine’s back, darkened by the night, and deepened by
morphine, a crest,

a horse’s mane, a blackened Aphrodite, calling out, scratching the needled

We swam on a porcupine’s heart, darkened and deepened

We wed in a coat of razor blades, jagged to the touch, its edges cutting
Aphrodite’s crest,

darkened and deep-ended, scratching against the coffin’s door.

A woman unhinged; a Medusa of spun gold and spider dung.

Waiting for Sir Guppie Goodnight, slaying dragons; swimming the Ganges;
fighting Cyclops.

Bearing a jewel encrusted heart.


Swept into a garden sea, angel-kissed.

With thorns in his cock, wrapped in tissue like a present.

He dons a shroud of abstinence and blood.

Three sharp lines across the wrists and then silence.

Her heart cracks; cracking; cracked.

A cocoon of madness. Cool and tight.

Dreams full of knives. Cutting a path darkly, precisely, into the pain.

Steeled for loneliness.

The stars split. To be born again.

Infinity; singularity; absurdity.

Steeled for loneliness.

A flying uterus laced with aphids, like a sea anemone in the sky,

revealing the secrets of life.


Good night, Sweet Prince.

Dance with me on a sterile promontory with Ophelia’s ghost. The water is
fine. Mud-soaked

corn flowers graze my nipples.

Unprepared for the puzzle of the night I watch love’s mysteries divide the
chasm in my heart.

Then the brilliance cuts even deep, deeper, deepest,

leaving me alone.


I am a split infinitive.

Soul-less, guileless, tired,

Watching as girls play hopscotch

or double-dutch

in the school yard.

I am a walking ghost, mutilated by fear,

my cunt stitched with fishing tackle.

Betrayal so deep;

The eternal other;

Eternal mother.

Belly hard like a tortoise’s shell, a shield of iron forged in the depth of the

The atoms of time splitting, duplicating,

Re-generating with each breath.

No iambic pentameter left in my soul.

Unhinged by a modern-day Buddha who speaks Sanskrit. My heart soars.


She will suckle him to her phantom breast until she can hide no more,
reciting Keats until dawn.

Swallowed by Shiva, swept into a garden sea, angel-kissed with thorns

Wrapped in tissue, a shroud of abstinence and blood.

He returns and steps into another time; another place without her.

To find Shakespeare’s robust wet-nurse in love with Juliet. But she will have
none of it.

Juliet is all for Romeo and Romeo for she. Or so it would appear.

But Hamlet has had his way with Juliet a tale or two ago.

Her secret is safely buried.

Now, a jewel-encrusted heart with sapphires, emeralds and diamonds dances
on her watery grave.



The Greek Series #2

i hear the sound of the wind,
the ocean,
the sweet chirp of a bird;
the bell on a goat’s neck,
all those sounds layered upon the turquoise
all things in the moment,
no past,
no future,
just now
under the golden sunswept terrace
on a windswept isle
in the aegean sea.
so i dream of leonard cohen –he of Suzanne fame —
and a Buddhist koan – a conundrum
such as the puzzle shaped world of my heart.
on the horizon before me floats a wish of tranquility.
and the sound of the bell, repeats, repeats and repeats,
a koan of sound.
the rooster crows,
waking me.
i am again where i started
under the white canopy in a sweet little room — all white upon white — bleached by the wind and the sun on a tiny island in the turquoise sea.
the sheer joy of existence envelops me, protects me.
i step off, out and away.
connect, soften, pause.
i walk silently, slowly
connect, soften, pause.
present to the sunrise,
witnessing life and death.
i am.



Debra Black is a former feature writer and news reporter with the Toronto Star, Canada’s largest newspaper. Over her 28 plus year career there she won a number of national awards for her journalism, including the National Newspaper Award. She also has won a number of awards for magazine writing prior to her working at the Star. Her poems were first published in University of Toronto literary magazines in the mid-1970s when she was a student. The magazines have long gone, but her love of the written word and poetry has not disappeared.

Throughout her career as a journalist, she covered public policy issues such as education and immigration and diversity and has interviewed some of Canada’s leading politicians, writers and thinkers. She has travelled extensively and taught journalism in Rwanda and covered the HIV crisis in South Africa and Swaziland for the Star. Throughout her career as a journalist, she continued to write poetry for herself and others. Having left the Star, she now teaches yin yoga and meditation and spends many an hour writing and polishing her poetry, exploring the human condition and themes of love and existence.

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