Friday, 15 November 2013


I’ve struggled with this poem and I’m not sure it’s finished now. It is poetry as reportage. The driver who collected us from the airport did tap the roadside seller with the car, perhaps I make more of it than what there was? I think this is what I have been struggling with, how to convey that action. I’ll be interested to know what you make of it.

Welcome to India.

A plastic airplane with sky blue engines,
So similar to the one I’ve just spent eight hours on,
Is in his right hand, the left taps the window.
We wait to be allowed to move forward.
This is their one chance,
a regular, repeated opportunity to make money,
The driver waves him away.
I have two sons, fine boys sir, to make a man proud.
Outside there is a sale, crumpled brown notes
Come out of a lowered window,
 the boxed toy disappears inside.
One is still at school sir, but he will be a lawyer.
The lights change as 
the scatterlings conclude their transaction.
The drivers hand is heavy on the horn, again.
My eldest he is studying for a BSc.
Outside the seller is slow, the car a bruising blow,
His hand is up, the car impatiently stops.
A BSc sir, he will be an electronics engineer
Making it to the central reservation,
he watches us slide past, his eyes say everything.
Engineer is a good job sir, much respect.

I think there is always a fine line between prose and a narrative poem.

Here’s another one though not from India, from Portugal about ten years ago. I was at a Saturday market in Alantejo and there was a blanket covered with old black and white photographs.
photographs on a blanket

cut adrift from their history
yellowing edges
sepia people stare at me
serious faces
in their best clothes or uniforms
in a Portuguese Saturday market
I sift through lives
too self conscious to buy
too ensnared not to look

I had some difficulty with the punctuation with this one-what do you think? I felt like a voyeur but could not help but look through them trying to sense the story of each old photograph.

I have been waiting for the new Midlake lp since seeing them at the End of the Road Festival a few years back. It came out this week but as of yet it hasn’t chimed with me. On the first few listenings it seems to lack the grandeur of the last two albums.

However I also read the Anna Terheim is back in the studio. I leave you with her singing The Longer The Sweeter The Kiss waiting from her last lp The Night Visitor.

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