Snap shots

snap-shots

Black lips. Pierced nose. Camouflage

The blank look. A tattoo on one thigh

The tube blandly transports

a tall blond in black tights

a couple with northern accents

and their chubby children

Who all,

rattle on unseen commands. Impervious

to that bow-tie on a scrawny neck

Those men in black jackets and their conformity

who look stark

against

all of it. A thoroughfare of humanity

thinking, blinking, clinking in this concertina

The smell of, the pulse of it all

unstoppable but corked

All of us. Rare breeds

enjoined to wander in pursuit

of some desire

The clock dictates with stern authority

how we should behave

pursue our leisure

and misbehave

because that face is complicit. Scornful

having seen it all

And my friend in Cairo sits

in a cafe below a full moon

not estranged from all of this

Simply surrounded by

sand.

To Claudia and Lisa, ( and I could ask for more). Lisbon 2016.

bar-staff-lisbon

Don’t ask for more.

October sun. Shadows.

Dark fingers witness

the patterns light plays

As I sit naked

with a breeze stroking my flesh

a seagull’s distant screech

and sounds from the street

rise up in music

to colour the air

concealing those foreign vowels

A casual complicity for the traveller

Me on a narrow balcony

four floors up

could be Soho

but this is Lisbon

Below a man clean’s his car

It’s sunday

Outside. Basking. Outrageous

And I could ask for more

Invisible across the tiled horizon

the Tagus is broad and easily able

to carry me on spikes of white light that dance

A playful icing on the world’s shared sea

An old tram powered by a rickety digit

to wires overhead

clatters on narrow tiled streets

that have lain and listened

to hooves and feet and secrets over centuries

absorbing the heat

The wild ego’s in flight vainly competing

against an inevitable fate

clutched in shared space

So passengers are forced to adopt

a humble pose for transit. For experience

To experience the exotic, the foreign

A morsel to remember for sharing when home

When all the tongues share vowels

that conjure sense from excited air

Back home to boast

of where we were

I really shouldn’t ask for more.

Returning as ever to sender

returning-as-ever-to-sender

Poetry is the sound the soul makes

as it exits your being

Our lives are turned around and around

like whispers in the alphabet

We are the random strokes

of a larger love

that seeks and lingers

and crashes on a distant shore

feeling always for entirety

whilst clinging to the roots

So yes, we are small, yet

we glimpse it all.

Waste Away

waste-away

The bin men parade down our street

All purpose and speed

Rolling before them a thunder of work

Of bins and trays and discarded things

Their noise punctuating this slow morning

And every week the clock-work of waste

Of renewal through removal

By these early day storm troopers

Advances and moves to another front

Still fast and hot. Dull-eyed but

eager to finish an infinite job

and park their oozing lorries

out of sight

lest the war be lost

And when they’ve gone the gimlet eyed residents

let in the clean and calm

Scuttling out to retrieve their empties

and return to an order

only they can comprehend

as they claim peace

in the recently returned

status quo.