Kiki Theo

I am in
this day forever
in a feathered hat
adventures
hover in-between the lines
glittered and sparkling

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Kiki Theo

Scarfing the Silhouettes

Scarfing along, she stillettoed down the road, gleaming. There was no end to what she could imagine doing to him. She would glass him, ice cube him, soufflé him, bolognaise him and then she would macramé his testicles onto the bedpost. Perhaps papier-mâchéing would be better….

The cat running along her side smiled, scarfing her claws in delight. Her diamante collar caratted brightly and her whiskers canaped with delight. Yes, she too would purr him and glance him with her piercings.

The bus was late as always. It arrived panting in yellowness. The advert on its side toothpasting everyone in a smile. The driver, as always, was barefooting it to work, undeoderised and halitosing, and if that was not enough, his hair pointed humourlessly at his bald patch, greasing morosely.

She latteed on board, and gave him her money with cinnamon fingers. He ticketed rapidly, intercommed his departure, and whooshed the door. The cat hissed and furred, shredding his left shank with her claws – then she hairended her stalk dismissively. The driver, totally beet rooted, and feeling very pinnapple, geared sharply, glassing the curve ahead with apparent nonchalance though he secretly petuniad.

‘Yes’, she cappuccinoed, flicking images past the window, she would certainly not sugar around this time. This time it would be full lathering before she pebbled the room with her words. She would certainly crevice this time. Full bouldering. No more penning and scissorcing. No more excuses. He would either pencil her in or she would shoe-lace him, curtain him and then carpet him fully. And she was not souffléing words, either!

Kiki Theo

Shadows

Float into her dead face
the shadows gath’ring lace-light loom

wild wind pacing the room
as darkness spreads and soon the orbs

of eyeballs dull and torn
will glaze; thin light forlorn will fade

snow breath light puff slow laid
till body’s debt is paid in blood

the wav’ring shadows sud-
denly awash with muddled breath

the wind sigh that is death
unravelling to rest in space

Kiki Theo

Poetry etched on my liver
I write the writer
As far as the nursery slope

Cutting flesh with a sharp stone
Whole bodies filled with music
The truth is in the listening

Purple boxing gloves filled with stars
Punch entrance to other worlds
Written by wayfarers at dawn

Strangeness and synchronicity
Wearing long ears and silky noses
Leap into the abyss

Poetry etched on my liver

Kiki Theo

Sapphic Song of the Night Wind Woman 

Empty packets of memories lie scattered
on distant highways. Forgotten tracks buried
deep in her soles. She walks boldly tonight on
lost visions’ slumber,

treading softly over the worn ears of dreams.
At home in her own hair, her skin hangs lightly
across the lives of her ancestors, lying
deep in the abyss.

Drifting on lily pads across the domes of
yesterday’s horizons, she sings wild songs in
the spaces between here and there, now and then,
savouring her breath,

until wise words gather up around the folds
of tomorrow’s children glinting in her eyes,
like bandanas, like anchors, like travelers
from another land.

Kiki Theo

The Tale of the Seafarer, the Secret Scroll and the Underground Cavern

wherein Love Conquers All

Deep were the waters lapping around the isle and treacherous, though the azure blue beckoned like the warm thighs of a maiden on midsummer’s night. Earl swung his muscular legs across the stern of his ship and wiped the sweat from his forehead. He gazed at the map in his hands, his long hair framing a handsome face. Twelve moons he had sailed the oceans to the Inner Isles beyond the Lands of Spice, and still, he had not found her.

A gentle hiss on his neck, “Yes, Nigel, I know you are hungry.” He stroked the dragon distractedly. A full two lengths above the mast the dragon stood, his iridescent wings shimmering gently in the sun. Enormous claws the size of a man’s hand gripped the ship’s side.

Earl took another swig of water as the island up ahead drew closer. There were trees and a beach to the left, and a waterfall carved between craggy silver mountains to the right, above a small harbour. Was this the Isle of No Return? Is this where he would find her? “Go, Nigel, go. Go and seek out the land,” he said, “I will follow.” The dragon unfurled his wings in a graceful motion, and was gone.

With his ship safely moored, Earl set off, armed with his sword and map. No sound could be heard as night came. No birds, or crickets, or frogs dash here, nothing but the sound of water gently lapping against the side of his ship. Of the dragon too, there was no sign.

Earl crept through the forest, quietly measuring his breath, his ears alerted to danger. The trees, scrawny silhouettes clawing towards him in the bleak nightscape, creaked in the light wind.

In the middle of small clearing, scattered with the bones of the dead, stood a large tree, its roots convoluted. 23 degrees N to NW, just as the map showed. And there, tangled in its branches was the scroll, exactly where it should have been. Even in the darkness, Earl could see the many jewels encrusted on the scroll’s protective cover – emeralds, rubies, and diamonds worth a king’s ransom.

The silence became more ominous as Earl drew his dagger across both arms releasing his blood onto the tree trunk together with the words of the secret invocation. Three times the words were spoken, three times was Earl’s blood released onto the tree. Only then was he free to remove the secret scroll, only then did the tree draw back its roots to release it.

‘Thank you’ said Earl with a deep bow, turning away to leave.

‘So, you have come, my brave…’ said a honeyed voice. And there she was, as beautiful as he remembered, danger glinting in every curve of her body ‘you have come at last. But I wonder, is it me or the scroll you are after?’ And in a flash she was gone, only to reappear in the distance, naked, laughing as she ran towards the entrance to the underground cavern. Yes, he remembered it well.

Earl stood frozen, his sword raised, his heart thumping, indecision and passion stealing his every breath. For the scroll was needed back in the kingdom, but she is what he needed, and he must have.

Yet he knew that entry into the underground cavern was forbidden to mortals, and once he followed her in, there was no return. He would be changed forever.

The wind grew to a howl. Earl grabbed the scroll, tucked it into his sleeve and was off toward the cavern where she stood waiting.

‘Well Nigel,’ said Earl to the dragon lying guarding the entrance, ‘I guess this is one tale I will never return to tell. Take this scroll back to my father with my greetings. Tell him I have chosen to enter the underground cavern. He will understand. Good bye my friend.’

With a flap of his wings the dragon was gone and Earl was left to unravel his own treasure.

Kiki Theo

Lift Off                                          
 
“Excuse me” says James in his curt, plumy voice. He places a snow-white handkerchief on the elevator floor under his immaculate leather briefcase, and retrieves a small silver bell on a silver dish.
 
“Open the lift. We are stuck. Open up, I say,” he cries, ringing methodically. Instead, the elevator suddenly jerks downwards and his briefcase spills its contents.
 
Maria bends down, and hands James a pen. She smells of honeysuckle and roses. Long silver hair tied in a french twist, her face is ageless. Beaded leather thongs decorate her bare feet. A straw effigy hangs over her dress, like a voodoo doll.
 
“Everything will be fine,’ she says, her pale blue, almost white eyes, gazing into the distance. She continues to hand the spilt contents to James.
 
Perspiration is building up, and James tugs at his collar. I cannot remove my jacket here, he thinks Simply never do. Why does that woman fondle my pen so? Looks like a gypsy, maybe a witch, with those shocking eyes.
                                              
He scowls. No shoes. Peasant no doubt. Good bone structure. Child bearing hips. Why does the bitch look so content? Unnatural! Witch bitch. Will not remove my jacket. Not done. Keep my chin up. Breathe. It’s breeding. Endurance. Show my mettle.
 
Maria hands James a book. “All done,” she says, and sits cross-legged on the floor.
 
Sad man, she thinks So uptight. I see the death of his wife. Shut up since. Closed.  Sad. What karma brings us together, in this lift? I wish I was home in my forest. I’ll send him energy, my heart to his. Help him relax, take away some pain.
 
Maria begins to breathe rhythmically, eyes shut, beaming golden light from her heart to James. Slowly she stands up, extending her arms towards him.
 
James shrinks into the elevator buttons. He’s feeling decidedly strange. A golden warmth is spreading through his body. Godammit he’s feeling good! Yes! Like he should be smiling or ripping off his clothes.
 
What an attractive little witch! he thinks to his dismay. He finds himself holding his jacket and tie. ‘She’s casting a spell! Who took off my jacket?’ he wonders while unbuttoning his shirt.
 
“Stay away from me!” he screams as Maria approaches, now brandishing the voodoo doll. Yet he continues taking off his clothes and feeling good, as he cries, “Don’t touch me! Keep back!”
 
“Whoa mate! Calm down. All’s well,” says Kate, her green eyes glinting in amusement. She is tall, blonde, and athletic, dressed in khaki shorts. Some sort of game ranger thinks James.
 
“Let’s just put your clothes down. Sure I’d burst into flames in such an outfit.” Kate leans towards James, her rounded bosom moving fluidly in her snug white t-shirt, a carved ivory knife glinting in her back pocket.
 
“We’re all grown ups here,” she continues “I’ve seen a man in briefs before. Here, let me help you.” Smoothly, efficiently, she unbuckles his belt and James steps out of his trousers obediently. “That’s better, I’m sure,” says Kate smiling. “Did you hear about…”
 
James cannot hear her words. His world’s become a jumbled mystery, in which he’s Naked. In a lift with two women. Feeling good.

“I am in my briefs, on my briefcase. “Do you get it? Brief -case” and he roars with laughter. Then they are all laughing till tears roll down their cheeks.
 
“So we opened the lift doors, to find the chairman sitting on his briefcase in his briefs, with two women,” said the security guard. “A young blonde in khaki, and an older one with blue white eyes.
 
“And the chairman was smiling! “Hello there Ted,” he said. Greeted me, after seven years, by name! Then he burst out laughing!”
 
The older woman gave him a pendant like a voodoo doll from around her neck. Can you imagine, he was actually laughing!”
 
“Hard to imagine that,” said the secretary.

 “Lift off”             A ballad 
 
James in a suit, plumy voice tight and curt
pulls out from his briefcase a bell
and says to the women, also stuck in the lift,
‘When I ring this, all will be well.’
 
Lift jolts, briefcase spills, and Maria bends to help.
She is silver-haired, ageless and fey
with her piercing blue eyes, no shoes on her feet
and she’s calm and relaxed in a way,
 
that sets James to wonder if she’s gypsy or witch.
Won’t take off my jacket, he vows
Sweat pours, bitch unruffled, stop fondling my pen!
Keep my chin up. Show mettle, he scowls.
 
Maria feels sorry for James, sad and stiff.
She can sense that he’s just lost his wife.
So she beams him with energy, gold rays and light
from her heart to make everything right.
 
She holds out a straw doll, James screams, ‘Keep away!’
but cannot help feeling quite well,
and removing his clothes, though he cannot tell why,
plus the witch now looks sexy as hell.
 
Young khaki-clad Kate, blonde with ivory knife, says ‘Relax,’
pulls off trousers and belt,
and he’s left ‘in his briefs on his briefcase’ to laugh.
It’s so funny he thinks he will melt.
 
Maria, Kate and James: singing, laughing were found,
‘Chairman stripped down,’ said the guard.
 ‘But he laughed! How he laughed, a straw doll round his neck!
He laughed, just imagine!’  – ‘That’s hard!’

Kiki Theo

No breath  

Purple. Dark deep glimmers of velvet. It is a velvet glance that caresses the eyelashes. Slowly, one by one they shiver, eyes widen and tease the delicate fluff behind the neck. The hair quivers down the spine setting all hair atremble. The dark shiny hairs on my arms reach out towards him grazing his skin.
 
His eyes respond, leaping over the abyss of longing and pouring over my lips. Liquid cherry promise. Saliva fills my mouth, leaving my throat dry. Parched. I swallow. Look away from the next instant, which draws towards me on a black stallion, tearing through the branches. Its breath hot and dripping, nostrils flared. It is wet and parched with longing. It draws out the moment between the breath. Poised like a beast above me, waiting. I am the beast, and he, the beast above poised to ravish me with his next glance, he is merely my prey. Juicy, tender, waiting for me to glance back through the instant.

A flick of my lashes and the moment is gripped on the wrist, my wrist, between his fingers. Warm, long fingers. Smooth golden skin draws the longing towards my fingertips in a slow caress.  Fingers flutter and slowly respond. There is no breath left between us. Slowly desire draws down into my thighs, hot pulsing, they quiver as he strokes another finger, all the way down to my wrist.  His eyes, naked now, undress my lips, closer, ever closer. There is no more breath left between us. The moment will yield and let me through.  Hands held tightly, our lips touch. Slowly they taste each other. Tongues flicker, wet, warm, hesitant. They embrace in a sensuous dance. Darting, leaping, caressing, drawing out each other’s scent. Eyes drown in the pools of their reflection. We sink into one another until there is no breath left between us.

Kiki Theo

clogged and creamy mass of sour milk
dehydrating in a thick and salty tear of mud
a crimson gorge that nestles between
billowing folds of bamboo

Linda Price
 
Between                            
                                                                                                   
she slips into a deep pool of goat’s milk:
stone columns white as her teeth
line secret caves beneath the palace
where no man dares.
neither jasmine oil, nor attar of rose can drown
the smell of hide. deep languid waiting fills her to the hilt:
a restless, gnawing throb of violent ache;
longing to rip her hair, tear at her eyes,
thrash through these tranquil pools of silk,
unleash a clogged and creamy mass of sour milk.
 
eyes blazing she emerges naked, savage,
black mane covering dripping milk buttocks
scented in goat’s hide and roses. impatiently
she grabs her spear 
leaps onto her horse. mind in turmoil
her lust pulses between her thighs in flood 
maidens scurry, doors open, gape, shut,
pages drop lutes and goblets:
a bowl of strawberries falls with a thud
lies dehydrating in a thick and salty tear of mud
 
 
galloping restless forests, she cannot find him
grasping through caves and lily-covered dales
she climbs the eagles crags. then far below the sea.
foam, mounds of sperm caressing the sand,
in and out. her fury mounts. she lunges
at the cold waves, swims to an isle that’s never been
tangled, glistening, spent, wrung. then
calm as dark tides change
she settles into being
a crimson gorge that nestles between
 
between life and death, between night and day
she threads her way through
centered in the moon upon her breasts
lying on a seaweed bed. finally.
he comes to her between the spaces. caressing
her milky white skin with a promise to
wing her away, poured lavishly across his back
on a palisade of violet satin. flowing nectar
between crevices. minutes of bliss balance on the edge of his lips. deep blue
throbbing ecstacy  in billowing folds of bamboo
 

Kiki Theo

“Imund – the book without an author” (Helen Cixous)

(I)
Without author,
plumed parasites unhitch the colon:
oracles, advocates, and anecdotes write
the book can
write        
shimmy across the pages,
pen people in parentheses;
 
the book can
anything it can
imund it can
exclamation! climax, inversion:
the pages demand letters
on black satin
wearing apostrophes
 
the book can
write
with a skipping rope
skip pages
book paragraphs for summer
epiphany, metaphor and against
read itself write:
without sight or symbol
the me of my aunt is hyperbole
 
for hours without commas
the book will free write the author
to insert interruptions
the page breaks. punctuation. stop.
of pages lissome and curly
of pages sordid and rogue
write
the book can
anything it can
imund it can
 
the book without author
hides the credit
in the cover
a golden mirror, hyphen, pearls.
the title is. period.
there is no author
imund
 
 
(II)
imund
there is no author
the title is. period.
a golden mirror, hyphen, pearls
in the cover
hides the credit
the book without author
 
imund it can
anything it can
the book can
write
of pages sordid and rogue
of pages lissome and curly
the page breaks. punctuation. stop.
to insert interruptions
the book will freewrite the author
for hours without commas
 
the me of my aunt is hyperbole
without sight or symbol
read itself write
epiphany, metaphor and against
book paragraphs for summer
with a skipping rope
skip pages
write
the book can
wearing apostrophes
on black satin
 
the pages demand letters
exclamation! climax, inversion:
imund it can
anything it can
the book can
pen people in parentheses
shimmy across the pages,
 
write
the book can       
oracles, advocates, and anecdotes write
plumed parasites unhitch the colon:
without author
 
 
 
 

Kiki Theo

All the Doors are Shut 

(I)
The little girl sits near the bottom of the steps. Her white cotton dress gathers in pools around her feet. The staircase is dark wood, worn smooth and shiny. Behind her, up above, and to the right, a verandah runs across two sides of the courtyard. The courtyard is draped in twilight. Murky. Cool. Silent. Thin shafts of light creep under the front door to her left, like smoke. The wooden shutters looking out onto the street are shut.
 
All the doors leading off the courtyard and the verandah are shut. Siesta time. Everyone is sleeping. A hint of honeysuckle drifts in from the garden. Curls around whispers of rosemary lamb left over from lunch. Faint chirping noise wafts over the cool stone floor. A brown and black cat pads silently towards her. Tufts of fur are missing in patches all along her back. Her yellow eyes glint. The little girl hurries up the stairs.
 
She runs her hand along the carved wooden columns of the balustrade. The courtyard is far below. The cat has disappeared. All the doors are shut. Slowly she walks towards the end of the verandah. The last door. This is the forbidden door. Not allowed to go there. The door is rounded at the top, slightly smaller than the others. There are deep scratches gouged along the bottom. Not allowed to go there. No one is in sight. All the doors are shut. Everyone is sleeping.
 
The little girl looks behind her, and slowly opens the last door. She steps into the bright warm sun. On the roof top, square wooden birdcages stand on long legs like stilts. Not allowed to go there. The wire meshing cage doors have wooden bow-tie handles on the outside. The cages are full of budgies and canaries, finches and parakeets in every size and colour. They chirrup and cheep loudly. Not allowed to go there. She moves from cage to cage opening the doors. The little girl watches the birds fly away. 
 

 (II)
The little girl watches the birds fly away.  She moves from cage to cage opening the doors. Not allowed to go there. They chirrup and cheep. The cages are full of budgies and canaries, finches and parakeets, every size and colour. The wire meshing cage doors have wooden bow-tie handles on the outside. Not allowed to go there. On the roof top, square wooden birdcages stand on long legs like stilts. She steps into the bright warm sun. The little girl looks behind her, and slowly opens the last door.
 
Everyone is sleeping. All the doors are shut. No one is in sight. Not allowed to go there. There are deep scratches gouged along the bottom. The door is rounded at the top, slightly smaller than the others. Not allowed to go there. This is the forbidden door. The last door. Slowly she walks towards the end of the verandah. All the doors are shut. The cat has disappeared. The courtyard is far below. She runs her hand along the carved wooden columns of the balustrade.
 
The little girl hurries up the stairs. Her yellow eyes glint. Tufts of fur are missing in patches all along her back. A brown and black cat pads silently towards her. Faint chirping noise wafts over the cool stone floor. Curls around whispers of rosemary lamb left over from lunch. A hint of honeysuckle drifts in from the garden. Everyone is sleeping. Siesta time. All the doors leading off the courtyard and the verandah are shut.
 
The wooden shutters looking out onto the street are shut. Thin shafts of light creep under the front door to her left, like smoke. Silent. Cool. Murky.  The courtyard is draped in twilight.  Behind her, up above, and to the right, a verandah runs across two sides of the courtyard. The staircase is dark wood, worn smooth and shiny. Her white cotton dress gathers in pools around her feet. The little girl sits near the bottom of the steps.
 

Kiki Theo

Waiting in the Wings – Kiki Theo & The Monthlies

Poured into the cauldron of memories
I swim afloat in the sky
Held by the earth, the essence of myself
Waiting in the wings                   

I swim afloat in the sky
Chase over the landscape 
Waiting in the wings
In a wide striped wind

I chase over the landscape
Under a blood orange moon 
In a wide striped wind
On a giant explosion of storms            

Under a blood orange moon
Painting in wordshade, waiting
On a giant explosion of storms
Poured into the cauldron of memories

Kiki Theo

Don’t look back

Eyes locked onto the eyes above the gun, I step out of my car. Yield to the second man’s grip like an embrace. Ignore the third man holding the back door ready. I turn my back on their indecision, move towards the garden gate, and don’t look back. Slowly, deliberately, step by step I measure the sound of bullets exploding in my body. But only silence meets the roaring engines. The cars melt into the night. I press the remote. I am alone.
 
Iceberg roses envelop me. Yes! I cry into the night. Yes! Yes!

Stars beckon, so far away, so close. I reach out towards them, expand in every direction. I melt into the earth, pour through the grass, into the bark of trees. I am the roses, the white wall, the gate. I am the leaves, the earth, the space between the stars. I have no beginning, no end. I pull back into a centre point of stillness. Calm, poised, balanced, like the fir trees behind me. I listen to the night. I remember who I am. I have been for a very long time.
 
My age is a luscious velvet cloak, deep, heavy and unfathomable. It drapes over my shoulders, comforting me. It trails me across time and space. My wisdom is anchored in the core of the earth, in the secret gaps between the roots of trees. I smell the wings of angels surrounding me. The smiles of my ancestors beam down from the moon. I am always safe and protected. I remember everything.
 
Thank you, I whisper to myself! Thank you! I yell to the moon and the stars and the earth and to the men who have helped me to remember.
 
 

Kiki Theo

Ten times as long a midnight

Ten times as long as midnight
is the sound of the empty gate.
I wait, with no one in sight.

Not a mouse or a leaf stirs in the light
of my candle. I know it is late.
Ten times as long as midnight.

Fry up some eggs, make tea, take a bite,
then I sit with my heart on the plate,
I wait, with no one in sight.

Shuffle my papers attempting to write
while the clock mocks my hands, as I wait
ten times as long as midnight.

Drop my pen on the floor, and I jump up in fright,
that’s it, I am now in a state, in a state
I wait, with no one in sight.

Rip up the paper, and set it alight!
He’s not late … the bastard’s with Kate!
Ten times as long as midnight
I wait, with no one in sight.
 

Kiki Theo

Jump off the edge!

I’m going to jump off the edge,
leap up from my bed!
Out of the car, out of the blues,
I’m going to kick mediocrity,
with high heeled shoes
I’m going to give the finger
to do’s and shoulds
and even possibilities,
’cause they don’t rhyme
 
I’m going to jump up, leap off, shake out, fly,
and climb!

I’m going to write up a storm,
then do it again
I’m going to sing out bestsellers
and walk in the rain with
an umbrella of starlight, and nothing else

I’m going to kick timidity in the butt
or maybe its arse,
’cause it doesn’t rhyme
and you can’t keep a good thing down –
that would be a crime

Believing in magic!
Fire!
Jump the edge!
Fly into tomorrow and

peer over the ledge
to see yourself climbing
out of your book

have a peek, have a peek,
have another look

I’m going to stretch out my wings
and write that book.
Look!
 

Kiki Theo

Find it in the Darkness

To find your voice, you must
enter the darkness in the shadow of yourself, deep
within the shadows. There where

it is smelly and shattered with shards
of nastiness; there where you fear to look
in the mirror; there where you dare not

voice your thoughts. There where you imprison
your monster, bound in chains
of chastity, submerged in a dark, dank cellar. There

you must search to find your voice. It is hoarse,
parched, croaky. It trembles in fear and shakes
with rage. It needs tenderness, warmth, light,

and kindness. It needs ears, a mouth
to voice. To find your voice, seek
the deep wells of deceit, search

the pools of isolation hung with knives
of despair. There you will find
a solemn child, hidden

behind the waterfall in tattered skirts. You must
embrace the child and feed her
chocolate till she smiles and leads you

to the light. To find your voice, you must climb the jagged
cliffs, then leap off naked with butterfly wings on
your ankles, and your heart on your sleeve. Trust

that the winds of fortune will carry you safely
into the meadows. There you will stalk,
roar, and pounce on all resistance. You will gallop

with breasts hanging comfortably. You will
sit with your legs open,
unashamed. You will speak silliness

to magistrates, with authority, and find the rudeness
hidden in poppies. Shine the butterfly wings on your ankles and keep them
close. To find your voice, you must breathe

in musk, pain, jasmine, fear, coffee, vomit and charred flesh. You must eat
your monster, then belch, fart loudly and spit
out the rose petals. You must embrace the darkness

to find your voice.

Kiki Theo

Writing myself into the tail

In my life, I have worn many cloaks. Masks, aspects of myself, roles fulfilled. Faces, each so different from the next, I hardly recognize myself in the photos. I begin as a dark withdrawn child wearing the face of neglect and desperation. My clothes are tatty, worn with bitterness and despair, woven of fear and abuse. Yet threaded deep in the dark folds is the silver thread of my imaginary cloak.When I wear this cloak I can become anything. Often I am a superhero, and I fight the bullies at school, protecting the weak girls like sweet Hazel, with the limpid eyes. Sometimes in my fairy godmother wings, I bring coffee to beggars on my way to school, and play with homeless children.I wear my Indian deerskin tunic and ride wild horses through the American outback in the afternoons in my bedroom. When adults become really ugly, I put on my cowboy suit and blow them away with my rifle, into tiny little bits.I discover my slinky cat suit in my teenage years, and this I wear with tight leather, masses of mascara, musk oil, and bright red dancing shoes. I still have my dancing shoes in my cupboard.I keep my superhero outfit close at hand, and later, thread it into my kung-fu pants. In it, I am warrior, trained to kill without weapons, invincible, indestructible, protected by the gods. I give lip to brawling men on the streets, confront youths with knives, and walk from hijackers with guns, unscathed.In the townships I re-discover my rebel suit. It is a cheery yellow one-piece woven of innocence, cheek and bravado. I wear it with a sword of righteousness and silver snakeskin boots. It is a little worn out from my school years, but I flaunt it in defiance of the government and interviews with security police. I drive to Lesotho in it, every weekend, in a buggered old red Ford Capri to meet my black bass player. I party in it in Soweto, with deported activists. And who dare stop me in this suit?

My first wedding gown is white, which is a lie, like my marriage. It is hired which is just as well, both are returned a year later. That outfit does not suit me, not at all.

I wear my first business suit at nineteen. It is not as refined as my later ones, but it is feminine, with lots of attitude. Little dresses and jackets in delicate prints are held together by foul language which I use on construction sites. Pure silk suits with mandarin collars, and heels that kick ass. Such fabulous high heels they are. I even wear them around the pool. Challenging hairdos hide my curls and youth. Wit and temper hide the rest. I discover my garters contain magic money magnets. Soon all my outfits are lined in gold.I replace my suits with a sari and meditation shawl, a commune and an Indian lover. I try to wear noble poverty and simplicity, but my magic garters continue to line everything in gold.

I own a gossamer light musician’s jacket made of spiders’ webs which was left in my birth cradle. My mother tries to force me to wear it. She tries to starch it to make it more substantial. I wear this jacket next to my bare skin, secretly, waiting for the right time to weave its colours more boldly.

Mostly I wear business suits. Accurate skirts, high profile heels, precise blouses, jackets bulging with success, punctual stockings. My magic money garters are pure platinum now, and I wear the most incredible gold underwear, with everything.

I long to rip off my clothes and swim naked, skew, and late, but the money always draws me back into a briefcase in my office.

After hours though, I wear colourful skirts, loose and flowing, and dresses woven with magic symbols. I wear an artist’s smock, my red dancing shoes, fairy godmother wings, and my slinky cat suit, all at once. I find a writer’s cap trimmed in peacock feathers with huge emeralds and I begin to wear that too.

One day I rip off all my clothes and leave them in a heap. I run away to the sea. Beneath all those magnificent outfits, I discover a dull grey body suit. It is torn, bleeding, tired. Its pockets heavy with unshed tears. It is painted with anxiety, lined with stress and age. Below are clay boots, wet and soggy. I draw down its hood and hide.

The courier delivers another wedding dress. This one is creamy lace, patterned with new beginnings. It hides my grey body suit well, though the pockets still bulge.

I never get properly used to my pregnancy outfits. Not one, but two arrive, one after the other. They are hazy, big, floral dresses bought at flea markets. I wear them with flat shoes.

My high heels are gone, my dainty pointy shoes, killer stilettos, all gone.

Now, nothing fits me any more. I try to buy a mommy suit, but I don’t know what it looks like. My business jackets lie in suitcases. My flowing skirts have shrunk. My cat suit will not be worn with flat shoes. My superhero wears red dancing shoes and fairy godmother wings. Nothing fits me any more.Only my gold underwear and magic money garters remain. And my writer’s cap. Its peacock feathers are still shiny though a little crumpled. I put it on. It still fits. I begin to weave a tale. It is a tale of a magical cloak of many colours.

It is part deerskin, part slinky cat suit, with superhero stripes, businesswoman pockets, and fairy godmother wings. It has all the colours of woman, and some of man. It is shaped like a song sung at dawn. It smells of mother and cook and artist. It tastes of musician, poet, mystic, writer, lover, wife, and child.

It is fringed by iridescent feathers. Strong enough to fly at tremendous heights, waterproofed to swim dark depths. It is sprinkled with sequins of blood and glitter. And of course, its lined in gold.

It is a magnificent cloak. I drape it around my shoulders, put on my red dancing shoes and write off the past into my new tail. It is tail of enormous splendour – long, fluffy, jet black with mischief, bristling with wit and optimism. I add it to my new cloak, at the end.

I do not know what fits me any more, but my magical cloak will cover me, until I find a new dress.