The Road-Shaped Heart

The Road-Shaped Heart


View All Available Formats & Editions
Eligible for FREE SHIPPING
  • Get it by Wednesday, March 28 , Order now and choose Expedited Delivery during checkout.


The Road-Shaped Heart by Nick Purdon, Felicity Purdon

"an intimate journey of self-reflection...sensitive, sincere, and skillful"

--Sherry Quan Lee, author of Chinese Blackbird

About the Author

Nick Purdon was born in 1976 in East London in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. After a few moves around the country, his family settled in the Western Cape city of Cape Town in 1981 where he has lived since. Nick began writing poetry seriously at the age of 27, though he had been writing on-and-off since his teenage years.

About the Chapbook

The Road-Shaped Heart is the poetic journey of a man winding his way through a landscape of darkness, anguish, addiction, loss and grief; carrying with him a lantern of hope, courage, idealism and love to illuminate a pathway to self-forgiveness, acceptance and spiritual growth. While often haunting and melancholy, the poems are also rich in vivid colour and imagery, with an ever-present sense of fire lilies relentlessly springing forth from a razed and scorched soul.

Acclaim for The Road-Shaped Heart

"The Road-Shaped Heart by Nick Purdon will squeeze the heart of each reader to elicit emotions held tight. Each reader will find his or her own life pain and loss within the words spread before them like a feast to be swallowed until the soul has been touched."

Barbara Sinor, PhD, author Tales of Addiction and Inspiration for Recovery

Learn more at

From the World Voices Series at Modern History Press

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781615990573
Publisher: Loving Healing Press
Publication date: 03/16/2011
Pages: 46
Product dimensions: 6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 0.10(d)

Read an Excerpt


Table for One

The girl in pink wants another balloon The blue one has drifted out of the window With her parents' deflated conversation Her mother sighs: "There is nothing left to save."
I draw deeply on the remaining half-inch of my cigarette and kill it like the rest.
Roses Amongst a December of Thorns

December's thorns Tear my hand; my crimson Grip stains these White-knuckle days

I will not accept this flower's touch:
A glide of knives on twisted stems:

Oh this is quick, so steely sharp It is a scalpel, be cautious when you wield it Taken to our polarities It will shave the dead wood; bone chips

Will fall away, the way your worldly costume Coyly slides off bare shoulders and nape And spirit slips down around your ankles.
You knocked it off in haste, it Clattered to the floor.
A disposable carcass, the fat red pump removed.
Leaving Port

There is a sense of coolness In my disappearance over the horizon
Heavy, like a spell about to break,
Open eyes as white as sails The cracked compass deceives –
Out in the sea, a glimpse of a buoy In the deep, churning waves Blown to black, a bruising back And, like The Flying Dutchman,
Poseidon's Waters

Thundering sea god splits the night his hands, claws of rain,
Impaled on his trident my ant-body separates like oil and water.
I curl like a singed strand of hair,
my welt-red newborn memories gasp in the dark for air.


stoned i awoke, cold as slab just a rustle in the rest.

From atoll to atoll step carefully so close to the edges
Within her song the feathered lure hides its barbed hook the open-mouthed wait She cannot love me though her honey

strips flesh from bone and unclothes the insatiable threads of mortal tastes Disguised, she is the scarlet

retinal splash that unblinds and uncolours a world in negative Polarized skies lower with my mind at the abyss edge to where all water must flow – compelling, imploring:
Here we are inextricably bound in whispers, where truths hurry after secrets:
I Gather them from stone smoothed by her waters, in a soporific lungful of her voice
She is in my skin, wearing my skin as I smother under the covers of her carbonous clouds with doors that close, my eyes that close

(Sleep here ... sleep beside me ...)


As the dark clouds roll in,
decaying ravens plummeting from a sky of cracked bones.

Black spears of Lethe pierce and tear my eyes from their sockets,

nerve-whole with dull blue irises that stare round as blank as silence.

Blood thickened with ice,
strips my body parts and places each on twenty-eight

stakes, where scavengers perch and gorge themselves hungrily.

Delirium Tremens

White noise sandblasts midnight into my eyes

Cleanse the air of spiders, flowers and floaters Replace bilious cracks with descending dry mouthed cries and the room with shadows that loom at the foot of sleep

Pulling, tugging –

Follow the trail of spinning constellations, I am in a frenzy

Smoky barrel; a bullet morning
The shaking of heads in disbelief,
A gathering of ants around death

In a shroud of cold sweat
against a gloaming sky, mirror after mirror
  In that mind sky the sun bursts like a poppy, a thousand
A scattering of discarded husks swirl in gales

I cannot hold onto this breath any longer

So let my body fall like a burning cross into blinding synesthesia.

Gothic Woman

The pregnant sky drifted slowly above us like a jellyfish Tentacles stinging that April evening With the early arrival of winter Blood-spots of rain dampened your long coat From the inside out, bleeding from The ineffable burr of sorrow that lodged itself in your throat

I saw the sleepy red eye of your wound open slowly You opened the door a crack Such was the godless gale that grieved through your canyons That it whipped you crypt-still and stinging raw Crouched in a corner, your hands wrung out the shadows Cast by your falling chin on the hardness of Hell's knees A place where the taste of your angel's desertion Remained acrid on your tongue

From the flowering thunder of trees that forested your days Beneath the nights' silver lancets that sliced up your heart You hung And the endured atrocities you whispered Hung and snapped my neck from your dark boughs You spilled thick from my eyes, like tar down to my feet Rooted, as one by one Confessions, like flesh stripped from the bones of innocence Trailed unwaveringly from you like a wolf's aria

Your hands reached out to me But I too was imprisoned and unable to rescue you Pinned amongst my own blackthorns like a shrike's prey I could only watch you draw in the world around you And steadily blacker it became An enshrouding grey season A mist of grave-flowers in a dusk of swords

Lithium Carbonate

I do not like you; I do not like your power It is not as if you can power my watch Or turn my clock mind back to mimic your dull

White, so I pour water on you; my brain like a shaking wet cat Off, off ghastly sticky thing you make me retch Heaving up my milky opaque mind like a blunt knife – it

Is only good for an angry stab at my arm whilst drunk anyway It needs stitches. Stitches, stitches? Something must be sewn up Otherwise things will fall out and drop behind the couch or
My bed. Oh lost it is lost, all is lost. Help me doctor, help me safe Clinic. Draw my blood and check my levels. Are they alright?
Book, pencil me in okay.

Wandering around inside myself Secrets appear – drifting passengers of hush Fingers to their lips and stilted Something in my blood simmers and renders my brain a fidgety occupant of my skull

Feeling like Plath's tulips I bunch myself into each day In beats, beats Heartbeats, the heart contracts You'd think everything I see would be all red, but

Instead, the world I see is yellow Like an old photograph It is all ice to me My hands too – sculptured ice, splitting light into hundreds of pieces, like birds coming home a fog of wings settling on grey stonework

In my First House, the Lord of the Oceans resides The master magician mystifying the masses Neptune has a soul, yet it borrows mine too It is the base of a gas flame, all blue And its blue face makes me itch An itch vague and insatiable

I would like to touch dark matter I am sure it feels like wasted stars Countless buttons to seal my darkness –

The mirror of the sky's grey face shatters illusions of last night; they splinter into dark alleyways crunching, my boots choke back tears of wet streets and the last grains of hope become trapped in their grooves

It is incomprehensible to a tree-skewered riverbank:
Unravel the stairs, under falling plaster from it all I cannot make new shapes I can only turn my face slowly like a sunflower to the east, where the sun forgot to rise.


Sheath disturbance in the airwaves Sheath something old, something new Sheath your scar smiles at me Sheath snuggle in your tunnel Sheath hunger snaps ribs

Sheath, a cocoon –

world I spin you into a garment of black cotton.

The Offering (under Thunderwood skies)

You have kept your heart hidden like a coven in the woods.
A Sunday Afternoon

Remember that Sunday afternoon?
It's funny, I'll always fondly remember us buying tomatoes at eight o'clock on a spring Sunday evening.

Softly, softly

For Slinky

It makes me smile The way sunflowers turn towards you How they wish to hold you!
And do you know That your skin whispers to me That even air motes stand aside for us?
And, I Will

from the bittersweet earth of my longing

every night,
nail myself to a cross

And, I will

hand you a blade I will you to slice me open I want you to see how scarlet I am for you.

On Saying Goodbye

You want to drop the coal; because it burns You want to drop the bomb; because its blast is beautiful and apocalyptic, it cleanses –

The heat has split the hurt evenly between us

An eclipse – the now dead centre of flames in which We had loved So drop it, drop it, drop it, now we drop it From a height that only comets can relate to

Are you now walking on the doused coals as I do?
Our moon had long been waning, yet

Still, I breathe in Your every breathing out.


A heart able to hallucinate flowers Their petals – I lay them down So I may remember my way Maybe, once again, they would become something Like a deck of cards I could shuffle, then deal With some luck, a Last Gamble.

But ...
And while I was at it I thought I should brick up the door I'd left for you Though it's true, I cannot keep the ghosts at bay They were always this side of my spine anyway I feel them reach out from glances in a hand-held mirror Diamonds: I keep them in a box named Seasons Buried far below the foundation A pure white coffin, a fine resting place And beneath the lid – memories a restless scent and still warm whispers.

And though the streets of my inner Berlin seam endlessly through me I am secure, for now – no checkpoints through which the outside can pass These walls: someday maybe someone offers me A hammer and reasons They may just come down with the dust of a thousand mile journey At the break of dawn like a tumbling Jericho.


Whipped into a corner by some gust Torn at the edges, far below

A window, stains of dried rain like copper A place where ragged nails taste like an obituary

A track to nowhere, lay this swan down over the sleepers Gently does it, the palms

of summer have offered powdered bones into the hum of power line days

Let me have your clamorous stare; the red eye of this ember hisses into past womb-waters

I am diaphanous, a web, or just an empty


Detonation Alley

Treacherous years!
Burnt, crushed, skewered or hanged Drawn and quartered –
A shooting star has such a distance to travel!

Before it burns itself out or crashes to the ground What a lasting impact I shall make Seen by the world, water Will fill it, water, water - safe and sound

In up to my neck I am coy with lit fuse in hand –

Extrication –
Something heaves violently Rib-cracking lung-burst From the expansion of a single breath

Turns flying shards of panic into shrapnel Turns my heart an alien hue, spatter The damaged loves, bullet-riddled by old hurts

Silent tears: a world rimmed red But I stand. Stand against the wind Gritting my teeth against its shriek, as

It scythes straight through me But still I stand. Rooted, rooted as a tree I am old, older.

Add another ring.

Shock, decoded

Blink stare blink A red eye means I'm on standby Glow, cathode-ray, decode The equation of this laceration And a mind of salt, a mouth of sand Blink stare blink In a white-out of the bends The hard water of micro frames:

Excerpted from "The Road-Shaped Heart"
by .
Copyright © 2011 Nick Purdon.
Excerpted by permission of Loving Healing Press, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Sherry Quan Lee,
Table for One,
Roses Amongst a December of Thorns,
Leaving Port,
Poseidon's Waters,
Delirium Tremens,
Gothic Woman,
Lithium Carbonate,
The Offering (under Thunderwood skies),
A Sunday Afternoon,
Softly, softly,
And, I Will,
On Saying Goodbye,
Detonation Alley,
Shock, decoded,
Scattering Your Ashes at Kalk Bay,
About the Author,

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Road-Shaped Heart 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
beckvalleybooks More than 1 year ago
A very deep and concise verse of poetry portraying the author's innermost thoughts and feelings, each poem sensitively written from the heart by the author. The poems carry their own story and is up to the reader, like any good poem, how to inter-prate the moral and message that is given. Every emotion is felt as you work your way through the book. To fully appreciate and understand where the writer is coming from, you need take a time out and read these when you are in a contemplative mood. The descriptive poetry is accompanied by black and white illustrations by Felicity Purdon adding to the message within each poem in which the poet wants you to see. Even though the book has 25 poems it will touch you emotionally and in busy times might even slow you down to contemplate what you have just read and make you that little bit calmer.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago