“I like your face.”
The stranger smiled
A friendly eye
In a hostile world
Not to be ignored
At the end of a week
Whose gentle slide
From bad to cess –
Until she could feel
Over the abyss
Clutching at nothing
More than the last
Frayed threads of temper.
Not minding this overture
To a careful discussion of
And closing with
Best wishes for
The weekend’s rest,
“Thank you” she said
And meant it.
Searching for my roots Through old records I pause, ears cocked For my muscle memory Awaiting the right decade Simon and Garfunkel Soothe my silences Leonard Cohen for my Loneliest of nights Lucio Dalla nostalgia Juliette Greco and Piaf For flights of fancy Childhood Winters in Paris With a pianist thumping Square-toed rhythms Ballet port-de-bras Watery arpeggios to mock High arches, pale faces Pink noses and blue lips With Tchaikovsky diluted We shivered on the parquet In a sea of legs and faces Sprung floors and tall mirrors Threw our joint grimace To the feeble footwork Of the adults at the barre Then Fleetwood Mac’s Rhiannon echoes past The jazz records listing To the left of the top shelf And as the sound swells I raise my hands, start to turn Eyes closed, I dance Delighted that for once, Nobody is watching
The frostbitten urban landscape equals poetry for the unequal.
A land of opportunity, of quick fixes and slow deaths.
Coated in slogans, we make our way through the world,
Cushioned from the harsh blows we are dealt by our velour-clad thighs,
Our Nike, our Burberry, Tommy Hilfiger.
Waiting around in the cold for a better future,
Watching hope fade away, going up with the smoke rings we blow.
Banded together, we brothers and sisters, by a common goal
It is not our apathy that sets us apart from society,
But society’s abdication of responsibility towards us.
And we wait, some in hope, some in fear,
Some having lost the will to fight, some only steadfast with faith in failure.
Whether our own, or that of others on our behalf.
It’s all one to us, marching without a banner, fed on an over-rich diet of empty words,
Our minds undernourished by rhetoric, and our hearts raw and bleeding.
Our ranks swelling with every step, every door closed to us, other avenues barred,
We gather together in a column, with low morale and high birth rates,
We shall yet overcome, but what will we win?
For to conquer the world is not enough. One must also learn to live in it.
Frostbite in the morning, wake with icicles on nose
I see breath in the bedroom as I fumble for my clothes.
Some people might view our affair as no more than a fling
But when the boiler’s broke in winter and you’re suffering
A portable hot-water-bottle, when all’s done and said
Is hardly to be sniffed at – so we ended up in bed.
Perhaps when sultry summer comes we’ll share this spot no more
As love born of necessity will melt away, mid-thaw.
But until nights grow warm enough to sleep apart, my love
I pray our hearts and minds in constancy stay hand in glove.
I take a breath, to clear my head
My stomach sings a hungry tune
My eyes are tired, my legs like lead
Freezing here beneath the moon.
I wish I could awake my mind
Some beauty I should love to find,
But closed-up shops
And ticking clocks
Are all the night will offer me.