Penelope van Maasdyk

Peddling Severed Parts

Looking takes everything
Fits their souls
A baby sniffing soft arms
The pebble rolled of sand
The eternal
Small grains assemble
Eye out cliff’s fissure
Little suns
Can’t breathe
When the moment spits them to you
Little sun
Leave behind hucksters selling god
But at last yourself be.

Penelope van Maasdyk


Hollow womb. Bloodied ground
cannot be heard on echo breath.
Empty nostrils sniff out the sound
of silence in a heartbeat’s death.

Pull a child from chink of day,
breath beats on in empty lungs.
The echoes of the dead still pray;
mute serf cut out their tongues.

Darkened holes of eyes drill deep.
A person turns to fill the space.
An empty body chants a beat
when incense idols leave this place.

The earth revolves and spills its light.
Bend, wring, echo twisted life.

Penelope van Maasdyk

Many mountains. I am

Thirsty roots suck life from earth
Rain that falls seeps through my veins

I lift my feet, pull up, resist the ground
The water creeps.

It dilutes me, cuts me, makes me weak
porous. I am rooted in water, and air

that rises gives life to plants, gives none to me
I shrivel. Close the gaps where darkness forms

Set loose through cracks, the barefoot hippy
freefalls, catches rainbows, leaps and springs

with yelps on jagged rocks beneath
I catch the birds and set the water free

I am old. I am wise. I am high
I am all the flowers and the trees. They are me

I am unpredictable. I am power. I am many
Penny, you are seen by all.

But you are things no one can see.

Penelope van Maasdyk

reflections in the Dark

karmic chanting in time with my mind’s breathing … in, 2, 3, 4
I sit on the edge of my emotions … hold, 2, 3, 4

in lotus pose, holding up the sky… out, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
forget the cat, the child and superman

breathing to the beat of my mind, I cannot stop
… hold 2 … relax

terror, agitation, anger
fermenting, festering, feverish

I am soda water
bottled under pressure

bubbling emotions force their way
up my throat, my neck, my consciousness

my mind wide open
my top is snapped off, it bleeds

down shaky knees
and the mountain loses its pose

I fall through mind’s eye
down into the abyss, my demons’ lair

of fudge-sweet smells and burning incense
I explode on impact, and then expand

filling every gap, crack and cave
I gaze, I see, I am the eyes of my fear

I shift and move, melt and meld … in, 2, 3, 4
dissolve in fear of god … hold, 2, 3, 4

I am everywhere
I am everything

it is gone, it is over, I have found
inner pieces of the mirror … out, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

when I look closer at the depth of my fear, I see
there are no demons in here

… hold 2 …
there is just Me


Penelope van Maasdyk

SCRATCHING around in the depths for the words. Scratching my brain for the structure. Scratching my heart for the emotion. Scratching the dog for inspiration. Scratching the surface. Clawing my way deep inside myself. Nails and teeth. Grit. Torture. Physically exerting the quiet writer inside. Teeth. Biting through the heartache. Covering over with sand. Startled at what was there. The bedlam. The mystery. Use the angst to write the story. Coffee bay and beds. Scratching at my truth. Whose truth. Twisted and dark. Delusions and delirium. Chalkboard. Silent scream. Mice behind the skirting boards: bleeding from nose and gums. Tragic death. Gorey. Brutal. Honest. No compassion for the words on the page. Putting up boundaries to break down the barriers. Feel enough to no longer have to feel the pain. Scratch at the heart because the head does not respond. Scratching tired eyes. Close the book. Put down the pencil. Enough now.
STABBING at the people around me. Solitary existence. Pushing them away. Violently resisting any more feeling. Nerves pricking the edges of me. Stabbing at the pity and stabbing at the judgement. I stand by my choice. Fell them; watch them fall. This is my bubble. My vacuum. Don’t pop it. Don’t let air in. Don’t let me breathe. Suffocating left here alone. But it is my choice,. Mine. I own it. How can I own my own solitude? There is nothing in a vacuum. Creativity is an illusion and my writing is pure impulse. I have to work at the talent. Stabbing at the pages with sharpened tip. Pencil threatened. Pages exposed. Stabbing at my heart – make pain release words. Words now stab the page and watch it bleed. Inspiration flowing away on a stream of blood and pencil lead. Poisoned before it left the page. The poisoned creative genius. Afraid to write. Stilted. Stabbed in heart and head. Death comes to the lonely. Self-inflicted and sore. Missing the point. Sharp. Metal. Buried. Dig with dagger. Dig it out or die alone. Balance on the blade of blame. Lashing. Falling. Rising. Writing. Pencil sharper than sword.