COVID-19 through the eyes of the Christian zealot — « After the Rapture ».



Ascension, oil on canvas, 30 x 30 cm.
Ascension, oil on canvas, 30 x 30 cm.


In an instant,

the orgasmic tingling

of the Great Compassion

transmutes physicality

into crystalline Light,

thus releasing the

new-found frequency

to find completion in

the vortex of

universal vibration.

And meanwhile,

a gentle rain

falls upon the Earth;

cultivating awe and

aspiration in those

left behind.



Just for a moment

I surreptitiously

Slip through the

Portals of your

Watery eyes and

Catch a glimpse of

The celestial encoding

Of the Matrix.

I wander

Into the light of

Eternal memory


The sacred mantra

Deafening my disillusionment

With the illusion of the

Labyrinth’s dead ends

And in my stupor I

Recall the last words

Of a forgotten incarnation,

Wilting as a black rose

Under a peach-coloured

Sky – cloudless and still –

A mere heartbeat

Beyond time;

Echoing its low-grade pulse

As I frantically

Run up and down the

Alleys of La Recoleta

Trying to dodge the raindrops.

And just as you speak

I find myself on my hands and

Knees facing my epitaph:

“Posterus est iam”,

And quite uncontrollably, a single

Teardrop overflows the

Pocket of my left eye as I

Recapture our own

Generic moment in

Shared space and time.


PAVANE: un poème pour la fin des temps.

There is nothing more beautiful

And yet so sorrowful as

A man’s tears over humiliation

And loss, cradled in the bosom

Of a woman.

Uncontrollable sobbing —

A torrential rainfall

Recalling a wilderness

Landscape unashamedly seeking

Refuge from gushing winds

And rapids, thunder and lightning

Against a purple, grey and orange

Sky – in betrayal of a lifetime of

Emotional constipation and

Affections of masculinity.

A once-graceful sylph –

Now stumbling and gasping

For breath – beckons and

Invites him to join her in

A clumsy pavane, until

The quintessential mother

Archetype manages to

Rock the fallen one back

From the crevice of

Momentary indiscretion

At the end of time,

And whimpers accede to

Retrieval of pride and

Passion in the guise of

Poetic procreation.

Graffiti at train station in Oslo.
Graffiti at train station in Oslo.


Spent, sweaty and out-of-breath

We lie back and

Light a single cigarette

To be shared in symbolic

Celebration after an intergalactic

Battle between brazen faith and

Foolish adventure.

My tattered wings clumsily

Tucked in between my back

And the thin Styrofoam mattress;

Your head buried in my chest

And your matted hair still wet from

Our midnight dip in the Styx.

Who would have guessed that

The heaven of our making

Would be like this? … so

Characterized by the mundane,

With intermittent interruptions

Of surrealistic struggles for

Survival: win or lose … all

Or nothing .. one day at a time.

As the moon eclipses, the last

Sight I see before I drift off

Is the withered bonsai in the

Opening of our pre-war dwelling.

A reminder of a time when

We still dared to sleep soundly;

Carefully wrapped in unencumbered

Dreams in the style of our ancestors.



I have come to accept

the threat of the first horseman,

on his mighty white steed –

causing in me a seemingly

everlasting sense of suspicion,

caution and readiness, and

I have sadly learned to expect

the relentless ravages of

war and emotional famine

brought on by the

rider on the red horse,

and the pestilence in the

saddlebags of the black steed.

Ironically, I mostly dread

the thieving fourth horseman

who arrives each dawn

on his pale mare and

reclaims from my broken dreams

the yet unlived memories of our love.

Stop the genocide!
Stop the genocide!


The globalisation of

indiscriminate violence

is multiplied to

the power of the sixes,

and the Antichrist

smiles broadly at

the cancerous spreading

of fear and perdition –

rationalized by armies of

self-proclaimed truth.

But the greatest

threat from these

soldiers of hatred

is perhaps echoed in

the pestilent apathy

which is rampant

amongst those

elements of world populace

not directly affected by

the ravages of persecution,

and whose messengers

of love and compassion

no longer dare to

speak out – for

fear of getting caught

in the crossfire.


Barking dogs

have long since

gone hoarse;

the incessant

b-flat octaves

tolling from


cemeteries and

city halls are the

only musical

accompaniment to

the wailing

and mutterings

of the insane and

the shell-shocked.

Black-robed and

barefoot Nazarenos

trudge aimlessly

up and down

the flooding boulevards,

streets and alleyways

in this year-long

Semana Santa;

a macabre procession

matched in passion

only by the

mega tsunamis and

super volcanic

eruptions cataclysmically

creating myriads of

Devil’s Throats

as the reddish-brown

water whirlpools

about the rubble of

once looming


Resolutely ..

I rock myself

to inner drunkenness,

quietly humming

Ravel’s Pavane pour

une Infante Défunte.

going to hell


Once fresh air is

Now pungent

With the odor of

Desiccated seashells

Picked nearly clean

By eloquent predators

And the opportunists

Who are never

Far behind them.

Perched swallows

Look on with fear

And disbelief at

Seagulls gliding, then

Careening too far

Inland, their hysterical

Laughter a parody of

A sonata appassionata

Against a now-barren

Landscape devoid of

Romanticism and

Common decency.

If one listens closely

One can hear a requiem

For a milder Age that ended

All-too-abruptly – it is

A solemn dirge describing

The endless journey of

Displaced souls desperately

Trying not to see or hear

While carefully guarding

Their most prized possession:

Hope that there is more

Meaning to be grasped

For he who holds out

Beyond the bitter end.


Mesmerized by the

Anointing smile of

Christ the Redeemer

I see a muse


With an angel

To the chanting

Of a monk’s choir;

A solemn moment’s

Reprieve from a

Raging sea of cynicism.

And I cling tightly to my

Dream-state while

Tears of joy and recognition

Rock me lovingly back to

True consciousness;

Reminiscent of

Life between lives –

A moment of bliss




Gloria in excélsis Deo!

Alleluia .. Alleluia ..

Although our backs are broken,

And our wings are tattered;

Our hearts and souls

Will forever sing your praises.

There is only one God,

But the ways to You are many.

Alleluia .. Alleluia ..

Alleluia .. Alleluia ..


Extreme poetry: WHISPERS – a poetry collaboration between Adam Donaldson Powell & Diane Oatley.

The embrace.
The embrace.

Photo: Adam Donaldson Powell



Differentiate dream from vision: I heard a voice
telling me it was
so softly
in whispers become fingers insistent each
a separate story in whispers become
a hand coming to rest assurance
on my brow smudging wrinkle away from shadow
Shadows become whispers
sliding into sleep, dreams descending
to a new crescendo to vision turning
on its heel and reminding
in whispers as indifferent as relentless
as ocean waves
going about the business of being ocean waves.


SPLASHING whispers gone amok;
red paint SPLATTERED on white sailcloth ..
one green eye and one brown
talking with one another
but without seeing;
leaving me DISJOINTED but not perplexed.
My dream-catching whispers are now
quite rambunctious and I’m feeling rather
GASPING for words on the edge of an eternal
moment for moment
flirting with smothering cobwebs ..
You’ve shown me more than my whisper can digest.
You’re falling far .. far past the point of
being in love with yourself and
I want to cry more but
my tears have given way to
Turn me loose … turn me loose ..
A pale oyster-moon has just slithered past
the sweet nothings and penetrated my inner ear


Don’t speak.
“Speak softly,” my conscience says.
There is no room for doubt in such proximity and
waking hours spent running and arranging and defending and
composing and planning and
Sometimes I think that our sounds don’t
really match anymore …
a mad woman running from place to place in sensible shoes falling
asleep on buses and subways snarling
at old ladies coming too close with their dripping …
If only men
could bleed for love
as only women can … perhaps
then I could surrender to your whispering.
You do still hear me, don’t you?
Umbrellas. THEIR
LARGE BIRDS’ MOUTHS open and shut open and shut in silence.
You stalk my emotions, steal my words ..
(Openings rest there near rapture.)
SHHhhhhhhhhhhh…….”Don’t speak,” you say.
Fuck off …
Meanwhile an honest feast takes place unperturbed
in the moonlight.
Just because you’re not actually being
followed doesn’t necessarily mean that you
don’t have a right to be PARANOID.
Hey! Are we talking about your experience
of my words …….. or mine of yours?
but nobody noticed my shadow mingled swiftly yet another meek
among their own; they went right on eating.
I just want to SCREAM In silence.
SHHhhhhhhhhhh…………… WHAT?!!!


All I do is salvage the remains and begin again A Broken Child
teeters with epileptic balance
down along the sidewalk. Paranoia reduced to one
crystal fragment fractured and reeling in umpteen patterns,
each collecting and then returning
in its own fashion. I can’t
catch up with it: it shifts
quicker than I can move quicker than
the frenzy of my thoughts. Shiny white minnows fly
into sight like mirrors, now gone
TIT FOR TAT this for that Heads
Nodding in implied
Consent PUPPETS not the thing like
the thing itself. We accept this
and ravenously A broken room and all the while
the heart beats a dogged rhythm.


I get spooked when you corner me inside myself;
especially when you whisper those seductive,
unspeakable psychological assessments
against my ear-drum ..
tango-like rhythms bouncing
in a stilted, jerking fashion
I follow your lead
’round and ’round, closer and closer until ..
Our precarious showdown brings us
face-to-face with insecurity and dream.
An orchid unfolds an insistent
vermillion informs
pink petals distended
.. endings mute into beginnings ….
Screeching, flamebreathing dragons soar low over
violated plains of brainmatter.
As silk upon iron. Vibrato persists
confused but undaunted as wings span
a trembling distance
Fires of fear incite waves of internal uproar to sear the
ulcerated lining of delicate abdominal tissue, while
glowing corpuscles ferry hysteria into distended veins
and scorch alarmed nerve endings
.. crops fail, dams break, control centers malfunction ….
eyelids clamp shut in retreat from the horrors
of imminent disaster but optic darkness is cruelly
marred by vermillion blotches — proclaiming realization
of all that was dreaded yet intuited as inevitable.
Unprescribed; an estimate of
mute yet yearning finger
tips trembling search. Desist (as)
and as the war-drum heartbeats of
a million Amazons prepare to vanquish
my masculinity with insecurity at its
first indiscretion, I load my tongue with
silver arrows ..
Darts soaring swerve and distort
Falling short to collapse
mid-flight. One lone note
And mercilessly catapult the words ‘I love you’ against
your brazen shield and prepare to fall — breathlessly —
into the fiery ashes of countless charred impulses
raining heavily upon furrows of creativity;
cultivating retrospect with expectation.
Tests timbre tone tenacity. Yawns
and swallows seeds of hope.
One lone orchid
unfolds out of my throat
an insistent vermillion.


Our whispering draws to a close ..
the stillness of space around us
empty of airflow and sound;
all confirmed by the syncopated
racing rhythms of my own heart ..
unaffected by the rotation of the Earth
while breakdancing clouds laughingly roar
with all the grace of
And there our whisperings remain,
rather indistinguishable from the multitudes
and dulled by disclosure and dessication.


Je m’accuse … je suis tombé(e)
Openings rest there near rapture: A pale oyster-moon
has just slithered past the sweet nothings and penetrated
my inner ear: je suis tombé amoureux.
(Implicated and falling in love ..)
BIRDS’ MOUTHS open and shut open and shut in silence;
one lone orchid unfolds silver arrows loading for flight.
Je suis tombé amoureux de ton chuchotement
A hoarse licorice whisper on the edge of an eternal
moment for moment shiny
white minnows fly into sight
like mirrors, now gone missing.

Copyright Adam Donaldson Powell and Diane Oatley, 2005

“Whispers” (a dialogue for two voices) had its world premiere in Kathmandu, Nepal (at Gurukul Theatre) in 2006.

Diane Oatley is a poet, writer and dancer. She is also the author of “Swoon”, published by in 2005.



Singing the poetic blues.

Another foggy day … I sing the blues.

A Wrist Cutter's Glow (Oil on canvas).
A Wrist Cutter’s Glow (Oil on canvas).


to inner-city true believers,
average is the ugly consequence
of weakness and error —
their idols being tv immortals,
and greatest foe time.
suitably, peer group heroes
inspire the less visible
with eloquently-layered lies —
and not once disassociate
mask from morality.


on dog days,
when nothing goes right,
impatient young men grumble
that the gods are
not on their side.
their pursed lips
may boast indifference
but tell-tale scars
of self-abuse underscore
the misery of defeat.


the rhythmic atonalities
of steely, staccato tears
pelt graying pigmentation
almost senseless.
but the romance of flesh
frozen emotionless by
half-dried ablutions is
the poetry of endings
muting into beginnings.


white roses lay neatly placed
upon the hardened snow —
just centimeters from where
the still-absent tombstone
will one day proudly loom
over wayward leaves, single
blades of grass and stalwart
perennials in rainbow shades.
the first tear drools, then
streams down my wind-burned
cheeks and others quickly
follow suit in search of
the meaning of life and death,
as well as other unanswered
mysteries prompted by your
almost coincidental passing.
friends urge me to go on
with my life and speak of
the treasure of memories and
shared experiences that have
made me the unique human
expression that I have become,
and which will further shape
the lives of others I touch.
but I believe in the worms
which industriously toil at
converting your precious bones
and ashes to fertile soil which
will nourish the flowers my
successors will one day plant
when I, quite coincidentally,
find the answers you now covet.

LE GIBET (The Gibbet).

the stench of five-dollar perfume
and embalming wine wafting
around the barfly’s sunken eyes
and drooping cheeks held a
bizarre mystique that I
couldn’t quite place at first.
but her incessant cackling and
swaying from side-to-side
as she talked to herself
soon set me to thumping
my foot and humming knowingly.
goaded by cat-like fascination,
I slipped into her consciousness
surreptitiously, and together
we conjured sublimely bittersweet
images of Ravelian desolation:
her swinging from the gallows …
and me waiting to cut her down.


I swear they make this tightrope
thinner each time I attempt to cross.
I remember how my psyche could once
dance endless sommersaults back and forth.
and how every now and then I would
laugh mercilessly to myself at how I
astonished and sometimes even
infuriated others with my devilish
dexterity of mind and wit.
but now, having fallen all too often,
I quiver at the sight of both
challengers and supporters; and
look upon success in reaching the
rope’s end as another day’s survival
rather than a demonstration of prowess.
I know a good sport never complains but,
I swear they make this tightrope
thinner each time I attempt to cross.


well hidden behind the portals
of passionless and watery eyes
the incessant carousel of an insomnious
three-legged waltz is revealed with
childlike vision; hypnotically in
syncopation with the murmur
of the inviolate ticking clock.
in this surface-like existence, well
beyond resistance and emotion,
every attempt to break through is
as futile as punching a pillow
or screaming in a dream.
and in the absence of promise we
eventually find solace in our perpetual
state of existentialism and blues –
and pretend not to recognize the
everpresent and bittersweet
scent of lemons exuding from
each and every passerby.


walking the fine line
between glamour and
sobriety … taking care not
to fall between the
cracks … not to believe
in the darkness of the
daylight alone,
away from the glitter
of champagne cocktail nights,
designer jackets,
tastefully-torn jeans
and uncomfortable shoes.
the music must not stop;
shine the camera on me
just a little bit longer. see:
I am setting the pace,
flaunting a fashion statement.
synthetic is but a natural
reaction against reality.
just give me my moment.
a self-made idol;
cliches spat out and
yes, I could be a star.
what … my name?
I am just part of the
rhythm, the lights are
my melody against the
night of glittering glam.
a torn off piece of
average sparkling
against the annals of
history and the


an overturned glass;
red wine rushes
across the tabletop.
I let it run over
the edge and stain
my off-white carpet,
knowing that it will
forever remain a
signature of our
kiss of passion;
a reminder of a
moment of forgetfulness
and a time when
I had you …
under my skin.


crumpled paper.
edges blood-stained
from paper cuts –
ridges of emotion
desperately trying to
conceal the words
of love that were
never meant to be
written for all posterity;
but merely muttered under
my breath in a moment
of mindless passion.


please don’t ask me how I am;
you can’t really expect
me to be any different
than I was yesterday.
we’re all really quite normal —
me, myself and I, and in
spite of our narcotic state can
be up and down simultaneously.
and don’t look at me too long;
I despise those “I know
how you must be feeling
eyes” and concerned tone.
why must you always misconstrue
the way my gaze avoids yours?
my anti-social disposition is
intended to protect you from us.
no — it doesn’t help to
speak slowly, pronouncing
each word with the sweetened
diction of a nun or nurse.
I honestly can’t tell you how to
act, for I have trouble enough
getting us to agree about
how we’ll shield you from me.
it’s really best to let me volunteer,
lest my unbridled demons unleash
their flame-throwing dragons to singe
the delicate threads of your own ego.
and you, so footloose, must avoid looking
back into the darkness whose glittering
maze of mirrors encapture those who poke
their noses where they don’t belong.
go ahead — ask me how I am …



when the moon is in Fresno
and the sun sets a purplish
haze over early-autumn skies,
the cold winds of Hell
breathe heavily against
the hopes of local heroes
and the women who made them.
farmers stare off into the fields
without realizing, and housewives
pull their young close to their
bosoms – suddenly and
without explanation.
intuitively they sense the onset
of a long and severe influence;
a time of hardship and hindrance
when the faith and courage of
more than a few good men
and women are put to test.
the carousel is out-of-control,
and in the whirlwind confusion
crops will fail, loved ones will
pass away, jobs will be lost
and the simplest of dreams will
be stifled by saturn’s blues:
a mocking nursery rhyme telling
of horror and despair, and sung
over and over again with endless
variations on the same cruel theme.



october winds lick at my shirt-tails
like a cat eating ice cream;
but the cold only encourages my oblivion,
for it is emptiness that I seek.
dead to the sirens rushing corpses
to their moment of truth,
and limp to the prey of wayward housewives
shivering on shadowy streets,
I desire only to be alone with my private moments
until the romance of despair numbs
my failed ambitions and consumes my pride.
and like all truly self-sufficient men,
I once again return home … alone …
to celebrate the birth
of winter.


you know — I hardly recognized you
out-of-drag this afternoon!
your clever disguise
enabled you to sit down
before I could run away.
you both surprised and intriqued me
when you lamented the slow
passage of time — for I
have often envied and despised
your freedom and almost fickle
sense of reality.
funny how …
all these years …
I regarded you as crazy.
but now that we share disillusionment
with expectation and time,
I recognize you in myself.


in the spring of our rapture,
you assuaged my hunger
with gallant love-bites and
wept rubescent teardrops
as my own offering
cascaded willingly into the
vessel of your thirst.
enchanting midnight promenades,
serenaded by love-sick werewolves,
inevitably climaxed with
splendiferous candlelit repasts
of aristocratic blood plasma
and the finest port wines.
magically abducted by the ecstasy
of transfusion and reminiscence,
we who are forever young
renewed our vows of
never-ending devotion with
all the certainty and bliss
intrinsic to incipient passion.
so golden were our halcyon days —
yet unblemished by the ravages
of overfamiliarity and diseased blood,
now yielding insomnious forenoons
in separate coffins and
solitary meals under would-be
romantic moonlight.
since our greatest promise
has become your heaviest burden,
I look upon eternity as
the merciless side-effect
of myopic infatuation …
and dream, perhaps,
of growing old.

(all poems and still photography copyrighted by Adam Donaldson Powell.)