Tag Archives: poetry

lost

In the bottom of a cardboard box,
a photograph of a girl.

She’s fixed in that one-hundredth of a second
– a sketch, a pencil of lines and light
on the cusp of adolescence.

I want to reverse engineer her,
pull her apart piece by piece,
see what made her tick,
discover if imitation is possible.

Because decades on,
I can look in any mirror and see her face
dressed in the contours and constraints
of adulthood, and not find her.


crossing the road

Today, I’m back at my desk pulling together threads of notes I’ve made and not had the time, of late, to develop. This small piece, grafted and no doubt in need of more work, is an imitation of the form and shape of a poem by William Carlos Williams which appears below. Whatever it takes to get words on the page. Whatever it takes.

Crossing the Road

The mobility scooter stops

at the crossing.

Its rider wears sunglasses,

sleeves billow.

A wide-brimmed hat covers

thinning hair.

In the front basket, stocks of

toilet paper glint white.

She grips a cigarette between

her lips and waits

for the signal to go.

 

Proletarian Portrait by William Carlos Williams

A big young bareheaded woman

in an apron

Her hair slicked back standing

on the street

One stockinged foot toeing

the sidewalk.

Her shoe in her hand. Looking

intently into it

She pulls out the paper insole

to find the nail

That has been hurting her


poets I’m reading: Mark Strand

 

Keeping Things Whole – Mark Strand

In a field

I am the absence

of field.

This is

always the case.

Wherever I am

I am what is missing.

 

When I walk

I part the air

and always

the air moves in

to fill the spaces

where my body’s been.

 

We all have reasons

for moving.

I move

to keep things whole.


sounding the coal: Lambton, 1889

sounding the coal

Lambton, 1889

Each day in flannel shirts and moleskin pants,

they ride down in an iron cage

to hew and harvest carbon crops laid down

in the late Permian age.

Along the face, incessant dark encloses these Cimmerians.

They raise their picks and chance their fate

to sound the coal for signs of vacant space.

This is where the prayers take place,

in this Stygian chapel of the working class.

Lamps illuminate wet walls and streaks

of vitrinite light up like ink-stained glass.

Still fills the room.

The heading weeps.

Walls glisten.

Flames flicker.

Listen.


Sri Lankan inspired haiku

 

along Galle Face Walk

umbrellas shelter couples

snuggling in the heat.

 

woman crosses road,

hand raised to oncoming bus,

– Colombo traffic.

 

men walk slowly in

a funeral procession

from the Galle Fort Mosque

 

preparing Koththu,

cutting up vegetables,

chopping roti strips.

 

Sri Lankan road rules.

vehicles take up road space

in pincer movements.

 

signs on the rail line

– lack of metal, weak sleepers –

reduce engine speed


Myanmar inspired haiku

 

 

in the evening at

the Shwedagon Pagoda

women sweep in lines.

 

across Myanmar

gold htis adorn pagodas,

precious parasols.

 

from her cafe seat

the Shih Tzu in the pink dress

barks at the street dogs.

 

on a Yangon street

men adjust their longyi knots

catching a warm breeze.

 

Myanmar women

decorate their faces with

yellow thanaka.