Posts Tagged ‘Poetry’

Koh Phi Phi

August 31, 2016

Stepping off the boat

the waves of sales

men crash over us

following the scent

of our currency.

The current flows

 

Into the land of lads and ladettes –

To large linoleum dance floors,

And listless signs proclaiming

“You know what goes well with beer?

 

Sex.”

And everyone has it dripping in the sweat

That circulates through the square;

The throbbing beat of nineties classics

And the traffic of hungover teens

 

Living the Thailand dream.

And I feel like Philip Larkin

Watching them

on the long slide.

To happiness. Endlessly.

 

He accepts his own impending mortality, however.

 

I’m 28.

And this is torture.

Ohrid – Sofia through the Macedonian countryside

July 25, 2016

The paper land is ripped to reveal the sky –

A hand-torn collage of crete-paper trees,

Orange sugar paper rock faces and

Harsh lines drawn through the green.

Houses cut from old travel brochures

Dot fuzzy felt valleys or peep out

From behind make-shift leaves.

 

Later, as mum cleared the mess and put away the glue,

She could have sworn she saw my little rickety bus

Travelling through.

In Between Belgrade and Budapest

July 31, 2014

As I am about to embark on another month-long European journey, I have been looking back at some of the things I wrote and picked up along the way when I last did this. That was back in 2007, when I was on the verge of turning 19. That time, I spent all year saving up, and had my interrail pass ready and so many plans that ended up ignored. This time I’ve been far less prepared, pretty much doing the whole thing on a whim.

Back then, I had had a difficult few years leading up to that point, and this was my first true taste of freedom, and my first solo travelling trip. I suppose you could say it changed my life – in that I realised that travelling was going to be a big part of me and my life. But then again, I was still me: I didn’t feel different and I didn’t find any inner strength that meant I could escape the troubles I returned to afterward. That came a lot later, after a lot more poetry.

Anyway here is a poem that I wrote on a night train from Belgrade to Budapest. I was in a cabin with these cackling old hags (for want of a better word) – in my mind they are almost pantomime versions of the witches from Macbeth, the floor between us their cauldron. Across the horizon lightning cracked through the sky over and over again in intensely close dry storms, and all I could hear was the lightning, thunder and their laughter, non-stop, all night. LJ

In Between Belgrade and Budapest (2007)

Jumping along rickety track
Window held open
With a ball-point pen.

Sharp shrieks scatter
Across the silhouetted landscape.
Straining to escape the confines

Of the carriage and open myself up
To the cracking sky,
I push down rounded-plastic
And tap a roll-up into the breeze.

Flashes of exposure engulf my
Awaiting skin. Impulses of awakening
As lights dim

From towns propped up on the edge
Of the horizon.

Momentarily, I glare into the cabin:
Smiles from women with broken teeth;
Cigarettes hanging from broken mouths;
Destitute little dots returning
Or leaving, ricocheting through the static.

They are
Deep in foreign conversation so
I return to the opening chasm above

Ignoring the decaying butts and composted dust
Wiped into the fraying green rug
Beneath my feet.

Machu Pichu: The Tourists Take the Dawn

August 1, 2013

Aguas Calientes
Your dogs are revolting –
Patrolling sectors
By night; three perch
Beneath my window, by 2am
Lack of sleep has me barking with them.

2 hours later, tourists take over
Following the scent of the station
Like ants toward their nest.
The queue of backpacks and sunhats
Extends into the sunrise
While condensed-milk coffee is sold
By the roadside.

A town of tourism rises early
And the sleepless nights in you, Calientes, show
In the rattle of fingernails she runs through her hair; the momentary stutter of her fluttering lashes; and the need in her face that says
Buy, buy, buy:

I am awake for you.

Buses come and run past
‘Te para ti?’
The queue moves slow
‘Cigarillo or three?’
But on each bus a reminder
Of our destination
And as we board and pull away, Calientes,
We are brought above you
Ascending, ascending, ascending until…

Abre los ojos, Calientes,
For above you is what you could be,
Where the sky’s canopy breaks
And an all powerful sun
Frees us
And awakes.

The Ladies of the Office Wear Black

March 11, 2013

As a little background – my friend and colleague has had his leg in a cast and has been spending most of his time in our office with it up on a spare chair. Now that his leg is finally healing, we are all missing him being around and it was suggested I write a poem. So here it is.

The Ladies of the Office Wear Black

 

Is it wrong to weep so as he walks

Atop granite and corridor laminate?

To watch the office chair spin empty

Without falling over and grabbing  it?

 

The ladies of the office wear black.

They are mourning until he comes back.

 

Am I stupid to feel hurt every morning

That my desk is less cluttered and clean?

To actually put things in his pigeon hole or e-mail

Rather than handing it straight to him?

 

The ladies of the office wear black.

They are mourning until he comes back.

 

When I phone and it goes straight to voicemail

When the coffee I make goes un-drunk

When the form captains all come a-searching

When that groove in his chair comes un-sunk

 

They can ask at my desk (and they will)

“But where is Mugglestone? Where has he gone?”

And I must have the strength to reach out –

“He has wings now, boys – he has flown”

 

The ladies of the office wear black.

They are mourning until

That moment, that thrill –

When he falls over again and comes back.

Eyewitness

October 21, 2012

It was there in your eyes.

It flickered between the fractured

Backdrop of the fairground

and the faint reflection of rain

 

falling from the rim of your woollen hat and

Landing on your cheeks

Shining red

0000000000and blue

0000000000000000000and yellow

Under the Ferris wheel.

 

No, you couldn’t have seen it,

And yes, I guess that means it’s possible you forgot it

And no, I can’t place it exactly – that erratic moment of stillness

In the static, the pinpointed spectacle in your pupils

 

But it was there.

 

For a second, I wasn’t simply a spectator

of your face, your lips, your tongue,

I was there, steady, in the lens

As tidal rainbows rolled like waves through your eyes.

A Masterchef Love Story

October 8, 2012

I have written a little love poem as part of The Great British Bard Off which you can read there, but, because I’m nice like this, I’m posting it below too. I simply call it…

 

Gregg

 

He said I had lovely puddings:
That no baking powder was needed
To get a rise out of him.

He said my buns had great warmth:
That the dough needn’t be kneaded
For the sin to grow within

He said our flavours complemented each other:
That on the palate we pirouetted like peppercorns;
Pole dancing ‘pon the rolling pin.

He wanted to go to heaven on my spoon,
Felt that divinity was in my chocolate
That my soufflés were deities
That he had found his soul in my jus.

The temperature keeps increasing,
The kitchen is getting hotter –
I don’t want our sauce to split.

Mr Wallace, I realise:
Loving you couldn’t get any tougher than this.

 

To join the Bard Off and submit your own baking show/baking based poetry simply e-mail Amy or Charlotte at greatbritishbardoff@gmail.com!

Let’s Bake.

First View of the Pacific

August 16, 2012

White lines on the road

 

OOOOORepeat

OOOOOOOOOOWhite lines on the road

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOBlack.

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOThe snoring of passengers

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOThe rustling of bags

 

OOOOOOOOOOThe vast window –

 

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOColour.

 

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOGreen

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO hop-scotching

OOOOOOOOOOOOO over rocks as

The teeth of the cliff edge open ahead:

 

The Pacific.

 

A sketched outline with the sky

Brush stroked softly between two blues

Horizontal clouds recline and stretch beneath the canopy.

The vista broken

 

By the rising and falling of land and wave.

 

 

A gradient sky lets

The sun

OOOOOOwash

OOOOOOOOOOitself on the water

 

The landscape turns to

OOOOOOmoonlike silhouettes

 

And layers of wave paint the sand.

On Happiness.

April 17, 2012

A lot has changed

Since Janis Joplin – Ball & Chain

Blasted past my ears and

Along Dalmeny Road

As I span, stoned,

Arms outstretched

In my mother’s seventies clothes.

 

The mist settles beneath streetlamps

Catching the light

attempting to escape

and scattered

Autumn leaves shimmer

Like embers at my ankles.

 

At Number 26,

The silhouettes of dancers in the window;

Cars saunter past the pavement

As if on promenade and

Paving stones bounce

Beneath my feet

Following patterns

Of an old rehearsed beat.

 

The air feels different.

 

I pull my red coat tight around my body;

Strings of hair fly around my face;

Wisps of wind nuzzle

Visible breaths against my skin;

 

Colours brighten.

 

I’ve never written about happiness

But it seems this is it –

Twirling through memory

No longer dancing because of you but because of me –

Just dancing now

 

To be free.

How to write a poem.

April 14, 2012

1. Write poem in draft (with whatever comes into head first).

2. Leave for a bit

3. Make the poem stupidly verbose and complicated

4. Leave for a bit

5. Take out stupid complicated metaphors

6. Leave for a bit

7. Repeat indefinitely

8. Forget what poem was originally about

9. Realise the first draft was probably the best anyway.

10. Give up.

 

Grumble… Writer’s block.