Cardinal Sin

It lay in the street like a puddle of blood. A soft liquid, downy, not right, I approached this small death with tentative steps. The blood shifted as if to pour away.

Startled, I recoiled.

Though detested by this fear of something so small, this unexpected disturbance, I regathered. My breaths steadied to a pulsing fog in the cold winter morning.

The scarlet pool appeared unbothered, too, resettling like an agitated baby rocked to sleep.

If the frost was finer, the dawn warmer, the effect would’ve lessened, but red on white like a Crusader’s bold announcement of the purging victory to come, gleamed. How dare it! How dare it ruin my morning?

I made to walk around the thing but life intervened. A city fox so alive as to dismiss extinction ran out of a hawthorn bush. The creature lowered its head as if to lap at the pool.

It was wrong, this I knew. Nothing could’ve turned my stomach more.

So what did I do this disenchanted morning when one of God’s creatures required my aid? What did I do when the devil in a fox fur coat came to finish what nature had started?

I let it.


There are many kinds of sin but none so great as indifference. One might say it the cardinal sin, yet we bask in its crimson illumination gladly.

Behind the Veil

The veil did nothing to hide her allure. She peeped out from a four-by-one slash in the fabric of time and blotted out the universe with those eyes. When she blinked, my heart stopped. When those lashes of Egyptian rushes swept open, my heart leapt back into life. She controlled me without ever even knowing it, moved me without ever saying a word.

In a slow-moving blur of delicate silks, she slipped from market stall to market stall, whilst I kept pace by stalking the shadows. I needed the shade, was desperate for it, whilst she like the dusky rose she was just bloomed. The glaring sun was hers to wield, a necessary illumination like a ballerina on centre stage. Even in the bazaar sand, she barely stirred the dust. I marvelled at her grace.

I followed without a clue where she led. Out of the market and the hordes of humanity she breezed like a sirocco wind, down one of the white side streets that all looked the same and then another and another and another. She navigated the warren with the assuredness of Polo the Silk Road, me following as though on a string. When at last she came to a door of simple, unadorned white, noticeable against the stonework by less than a hairsbreadth of oval shade and raised her hand, I almost died. As her cuffs fell back to reveal cinnamon skin and nails of cerulean blue, I saw Allah had gifted her with more than just eyes to enthral Pharaohs. I had to make my move.

I slipped from the shadows like a spectre from the night. She turned, bowed low, and stepped aside. The three giants who leapt from the doorway deserved their prize. They took it, too.

My vanity in thinking her not only available, but mine, cost me everything I possessed and a little I never knew I owned. The eyes of the woman behind the veil might have captured my soul, but the men she served owned it. Another European made a slave through sin, I often told the others she wasn’t worth it. I lied.

Is This Sin?

To be so in love.
Is this joy?
Is this pain?
To feel eternal
But only in name.
To suffer confusion,
Panic and doubt,
Turn on a sixpence,
This madness,
I’m out.
To never be certain,
Of ice,
Melting, dispersing,
Is this the price?
I’m full of confusions,
Oh, what can it mean?
Am I your lover,
Or are you
My queen?
This circle it tightens
Ribs breaking in,
I shatter.
My god, is this sin?

In The End

 In the curves of her skin
 In the sweat of her sin
 In the depths of her eyes
 In the breaths of her sighs
 In the beats of her heart
 In the tricks of her art
 In the thrall of her lust
 In the length of her thrust
 In the lies that she told
 In the grave she doth mould
 There is no escaping sin. In The End.

 (Image courtesy of Xadrea on

Fire To Ice (A Monsoon Guilt)

It is the hottest of days, muggy, unforgiving
Net curtains shimmy in the draught from a monsoon wind
Every window open, all as though haunted by ghosts
I stand on the balcony and watch the clouds rolling in
They will yield a years rain in mere days
I would stand and have them cleanse my soul
But I doubt even that much water would be enough
Sweat trickles off my face and sizzles on the red tiles below
My bare feet burn; it is no more than they deserve
The roiling mass of grey is still too far away
The ocean will not release its hold on them, not yet
I look down across the hillside and wonder
Has the heat affected all of us so
My hands shake on the iron rail, it rattles at my sin
And, before I can think of how I will tell her
How I will communicate my reasons, blame this infernal heat
I know she has entered the room
The sweat freezes along my spine, it chills my guilt
I hear her footsteps approach, slowly, calmly: she knows
My Indian Princess, the most beautiful creature I know
A fire spirit, skin like polished mahogany, lips of spice
I turn to her and wish I hadn’t
The dagger is raised, ready to strike
But it is her eyes, those perfect oval wells that hurt me most
Frozen over, an arctic glint, she is as ice
I have chilled the monsoon and it shall have its revenge