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Verses for our Audrey


In December 1993, Audrey took hold of my pen and did not let me go until March 1994. She anointed my head too, to bring her words from the cross. She made me share the load that she bore that August evening in Toronto when the police strip-searched her on the street near 20 years ago.{{more}}


you can search me.
It’s all part
of your duty
and for me
it’s a matter of honour
…to dispel and scatter
your doubt.
I will go with you
and you’ll know that
the ebon fibre is
noble, is proud, has

When you order me out
from the car
to search me naked
on the street
you are changed to me and
change me
for you whose rules are mine
whose Word I accept and heed
I know now you never were
and I am dissolved and unmade
on Audrey without being

a crushed and shattered thing

hung up there on the car
in the dusky August street
cold, stripped on it
being searched
neck bowed hair rooted
mouth tongue and throat torched
armpits swung open
breast each upended
black triangle combed
still searched
its birth port spread
anus rectum stretched
soles and toes lit up
its whole dark business place
looted and razed
to downtown’s busy sight

then its dishonour done with ‘thank you’
the prowl goes off
leaving the dust and ashes
to regrope towards
an Audrey reborn
from inside
a new order

And you who have ever heard

the granted ground say
‘Get off me’ and
turn to space
against you
and make you instantly fall
to pieces
then you
know the ragged cut
of broken trust
and what I am becoming.

When they uprooted Audrey
fingered the rainforest
poked the sun’s eye
into the dark and left
only the street spoke
only her parts
were voted on
because she is
only Audrey
just another
dark piece of
continent adrift
like you
like me.

Calling (the name)
they put a human
under the hammer
put our colour
on the scale
as it was when
sugar and cotton
seemed to reign
because in spite of
and five thousand
years of dignity
In these days of Winnie
and Toni
the officers
perceive Audrey
to have nobody of worth
in her family
and only shadows
for the company
they know it
shall forever remain
that skins and continents
be chained
to profits
lost and gained
in the name
of paradise

Big heads of state
throw down causeways
over the fate of
each missile
solider in Vietnam
oil well in Kuwait
student in Grenada
and Lebanon
there is no way
until the streets
those whose feet
do not
seek the council seat
call the thunder
to the cause
of our Audrey
let lightning’s claws
rip the dark spot
of their sight
and rain sperms
warmly kindle
our forest.