Poetry

Climate⎜ˈklī-mət by David Hermann

noun

the weather conditions prevailing in an area in general or over a long period

the weather conditions
the whale congregations
the wisdom constructions
the wish consultants
the whiskied conscience
the worry controls
the worship controllers
the weather conditions
them all

 

————————————-
David Hermann is completing his Masters in Comparative Literature at
UCL. He writes a lot. Read him at hermannist.com

Read more →

The Value of Wales by Paul Lyalls

Its chief contribution to the UK
must be as a unit of measurement,
as night after night
a news desk declares
‘An area of Rainforest,
the size of Wales disappears every year’.
0r, ‘The amount of water
London loses through its creaking Victorian pipes
would fill a swimming pool
the size of Wales’.
Every part of the world has a similar unit of measurement:
in the United States it’s an area the size of New Jersey;
on mainland Europe the reference more often than not
is Slovenia – which appropriately happens to be
98.4 percent the size of Wales.

Read more →

Something about a woman by Charles Bukowski

ah, Merryman,

a fighter on the docks,

killed a man while they were unloading

bananas.

I mean the man he killed

clubbed him first

from behind

with an anchor chain

(something about a woman)

and we all circled around

while

Merryman

did him in

under a hard-on sun,

finally strangling him to death

throwing him into the

ocean.

Merryman leaped to the dock

and walked

away, nobody tried to stop

him.

Read more →

Don’t Try This At Home by Paul Lyalls

Start the beamer,

thrash the beamer,

smash it into the housing estate.

Wave to the helicopter,

I ain’t sick and I don’t need a head doctor,

it ain’t stealing when I take your car,

it’s just another form of drug with which

you’re not used to dealing.

My drug has more than highs and lows,

it’s got 4-wheel drive accelerator feeling,

I thrive on its buzz,

at last I’m alive, I need its rush

and you must know it’s never this

exciting on the paving.

Read more →

The Pleasures of the Damned by Charles Bukowski

the pleasures of the damned

are limited to brief moments

of happiness:

like the eyes in the look of a dog,

like a square of wax,

like a fire taking the city hall,

the county,

the continent,

like fire taking the hair

of maidens and monsters;

and hawks buzzing in peach trees,

the sea running between their claws,

Time

drunk and damp,

everything burning,

everything wet,

everything fine.

Read more →

Corpse Washing

They had grown used to him. But when the

Tilley lamp was brought and threw

fitful beams into the darkening room, the stranger

grew unknowable. They washed his neck

 

and, as they knew nothing of his circumstances,

they wove a history for him from lies,

diligently washing. A cough forced one to pause,

to rest her loaded vinegar sponge

 

on the face.

Read more →

Now Winter Nights Enlarge by Thomas Campion

Now winter nights enlarge
The number of their hours
And clouds their storms discharge
Upon the airy towers.
Let now the chimneys blaze,
And cups o’erflow with wine:
Let well-tun’d words amaze
With harmony divine.
Now yellow waxen lights
Shall wait on honey Love,
While youthful Revels, Masks, and Courtly sights,
Sleep’s leaden spells remove.

This time doth well dispense
With lovers’ long discourse;
Much speech hath some defence,
Though beauty no remorse.

Read more →

On Reading Virgil’s Eclogues by Raficq Abdulla

Not so much the rivers that have dried up
As myself, dried up with acts and failure to act,
Alexis is yours, mine is named differently
But beauty lay there too, my eyes joined my will
To love for a while when the trees you speak of
Stood tall and sang lyrics with the breeze,
That was a long time ago, but yet a snatch of time
When measured by mountains and laughing nature.

Read more →

Symphony in Yellow by Oscar Wilde

An omnibus across the bridge
Crawls like a yellow butterfly,
And, here and there, a passer-by
Shows like a little restless midge.

Big barges full of yellow hay
Are moored against the shadowy wharf,
And, like a yellow silken scarf,
The thick fog hangs along the quay.

The yellow leaves begin to fade
And flutter from the Temple elms,
And at my feet the pale green Thames
Lies like a rod of rippled jade.

Read more →

‘perishable poetry’

At Borders on Oxford Street
Poetry is at the end of Fiction
Next to Crime

 

 

London stands united
What a blast
We share the rain
Not the umbrella

 

 

David Hermann has written for film, television, print and online publications, is in the middle of a Masters degree in Comparative Literature and working on a collection of poems.

Read more →

London Fashion Week/Pelvis

stepping out
onto the sunset
catwalk, London

 

juts its bones in
couture: organza
sky distressed

 

over the West End’s
knowing armour – it’s
all about structure,

 

darling, the single
crane dangling its
ruby earring: blood

 

pendent amidst blue,
last drop on the map
wrapped and worn

 

as a dress; the full
moon is artless, a silver
given, a fluorescent

 

puffball scattering
glitter spores of desire
over the shards, ascendant

 

crystals healing only
sceptics: the hard city
softened by chiffons of

 

fog as it tries to rise,
a ten-inch heel spiking
the stars into the sky.

Read more →

Auckland

CK Stead
Lovely for the long ago

 

child in the night

 

to hear the huge rain

 

beating on iron.

 

No fibre-glass muffle –

 

only that raw rough

 

sleep-inducing

 

din.

 

We’ve eaten the 12

 

jars of plums

 

I stewed and froze

 

at Christmas.

 

Now it’s the season

 

for early apples

 

autumn dowsings

 

and olives.

Read more →

Adder

The adder’s taut head was a few feet away,

 

its lie a freeze of symmetry and curl

 

amongst the stones and scruffs of heather.

 

I remember feeling sure that the cleft it was

 

sunning in was going to be my next hold,

 

a craving to match the core of its stillness,

 

and the quick sense of being singled out,

 

not by a stumble of chance,

 

but as if the earth was letting me in.

Read more →

Coyote

A face, a flank – lit up

 

from his road kill hunt, oblivious.

 

As if we had called him into the beams

 

to break our cover, not his,

 

wanted the shock of him loping through.

 

 

Charlie Druce has lived in London since 1987 and works in TV production. He grew up in rural Worcestershire and finds the deep rooted sense of that is never far from the surface.

Read more →

He-Man and Hopscotch

We played He-Man and Hopscotch

one tomboy

one ballerina

both grass knee stained

and Marmite mouthed

by the end of the day

at Christine’s house

always so well behaved!

exclaimed mothers of others

as their offspring screamed

and smacked each other

we stood soberly by

hand in hand

silent agreement

never to make mum

deserve the stares

as they looked at

her hair and our hair

her eyes and our eyes

the bold ones

with questions of adoption

the others whispering

black men

loose morals

and African goldmines

we walked home in the rain

sometimes

and never complained

that mum didn’t drive

because she was always

the last to leave

and first to arrive

 

Some said she was mad

when she sold all her records

and everything she had

everything

except her wedding ring

to go to Nigeria

and live with dad

we went of course

bright eyed

and bushy afroed

yanked tight

into cainrows

when we skipped

off the plane

by aunty that mum said

still uses bleaching cream

and screams at her children

for just being

children

 

At school

we learnt algebra

a new history

and not to cry at the cane

skipping rope games

with Femi, Hope and Blessing

that we were white

(Oyinbo)

which was strange

since we were

half-caste

in the past

not all that much changed

because

children are adaptable

as mum said

to grandma

when

she cried

on the phone

and sent us

toiletries and other things

she thought

we couldn’t buy in Africa

 

Mum bought batik table cloths

and ethnic bowls

for friends that had moved

when she came home

and when she came home

things weren’t the same

so she didn’t

contact them anyway

she never unpacked

and all of those things

are still in a suitcase

mouldy like memories

of strange disease

TB, leprosy and

children with pot bellies,

of corruption

armed robbers

and police brutality

of dad away

on business

forweeks

it all seems so long ago

because children tend

to forget these things

 

As you grew lanky

and I got acne

we grew apart

somehow

sibling rivalry

replaced childhood sweetness

cruel words stuck and stayed

arguments

not so easily forgotten

with a mud pie

to the face

or the distraction

of a dragonfly

now we were teenage

things started to change

back in England

you covered for me

as I discovered boys

and climbed out of windows

your boyfriend was sensible

mine always

a bit too old

mum didn’t know

divorced now

and drinking heavily

she blamed dad for everything

dragging her to Nigeria

she drank to forget

the things we had seen

 

When you moved

away to London

I realised how close

we had been

you became my hero

as you lived out

ballerina dreams

I came to visit often

with the money

that you sent

we went to shows

ate Thai food

and laughed the same

as siblings do

summer times were

picnics on Primrose Hill

we played

different games now

and walked home

hand in hand

as the sun went down

both grass knee stained

now red wine mouthed

by the end of the day

at your new house.

Read more →

I Know a Place in Africa

I know a place in Africa

Where I can feel the sun on my back

And the sand between my barefoot toes

Where I can hear the gulls on the breeze

And the waves crash on the endless shore

I know a place in Africa

Where the mountains touch the skies of blue

And the valleys shelter vines of green

Where the trees spread out a cloth of mauve

And the bushveld wears a coat of beige

I know a place in Africa

Where I can hear the voice of thunder gods

And watch their lightening spears thrown to earth

Where I can breathe the scent of rain clouds

And taste the sweet dew of dusty drops

This is the place of wildness

Of evolution and dinosaurs

Where life began and mankind first stood

Of living fossils and elephants

Where lions roar and springbok herds leap

This is the place of struggle

Of desert plains and thorn trees

Where pathways end and hunters track game

Of horizons and frontiers

Where journeys start and sunsets bleed red

This is the place of freedom

Of exploration and pioneers

Where darkness loomed and light saw us through

Of living legends and miracles

Where daybreak came and hope now shines bright

My heart is at home in Africa

Where the sound of drums beat in my chest

And the songs of time ring in my ears

Where the rainbow mist glows in my eyes

And the smiles of friends make me welcome

My mind is at ease in Africa

Where the people still live close to the soil

And the seasons mark my changing moods

Where the markets hustle with trading

And Creation keeps its own slow time

My soul is at peace in Africa

For her streams bring lifeblood to my veins

And her winds bring healing to my dreams

For when the tale of this land is told

Her destiny and mine are as one

Wayne Visser is the author of ‘I Am An African: A Selection of Africa Poems’.

Read more →

Housewifery by Isobel Dixon

My walls grow fur, plush velveteen.

Come, brush your palms down my lush passageway.

The fridge hums greenly. Om. A mossy stone.

No chrome, no gloss. Soft emerald coat,

inside, a crystal frost. Such sprouting surfaces.

Footsteps are muffled here. Take off your shoes.

Walk softly. Let the nap and pile of unswept floors

caress your feet.

It’s only human, dust.

Read more →