Geography Lessons

We are betterer then the Swiss
cause our cheese has no holes
and they need feet of snow
before they shut schools down

We are Africans that got lost
walking on water to China
and became white because
we argued with the sun

In Russia, they make cold sores
so we have to keep curtains
ironed in case they come
and make us like the poor.

Australia is made of desserts
that kangaroos jump in
but not like our puds
as they are originals

Reach Poetry

On not saying hello

It was on the 8.30 to London and I was lost in a poem
more to pass the time then for serious effect
when I looked over and saw a basement squat
and a time when you and I were friends.

More to pass the time then for serious effect
I imagine leaning over and apologetically reminding
you of a time when you knew me and my brother.
I turned back to my poem and remembered why not.

I imagine leaning over and apologetically reminding
you of my brother, now dead but scared of life yet
I turned back to my poem and remembered why not
as the train announcements make you stir.

Of my brother, now dead but scared of life you
won’t recall but it’s when I lost my world
as the train announcements make you stir
I see his face sketched now only in my thoughts.

I won’t recall when I lost my world
as I look over and see a basement squat
so as the train announcements make you stir
I’m lost in a poem on the 8.30 to London.

SOUTH Poetry Magazine

On retiring to bed with a cold

When her,
she says,
tomato soup,
Heinz, red, warm, white bowl,
round not long spoon,
bread triangles, toasted, slightly,
butter spread to be seen, not melted,
tray, pink not white, wood not plastic,
bottled water, not tap and in the nice glass,
fluff the pillow, straighten the duvet,
do you love me?

When him,
he says,
let me sleep.

Published in Gold Dust

The Shoemaker Writes at his Window

Today I write to tell you I saw Sarah again
her neck curved, each move of ballet grace

I took her calfskin shoe and placed a warm,
innocent foot on plain paper to trace

Then, as now, she is moved to speak of the patterns,
and shapes of signs that make us die or live

She laughed and mentioned that when six, Karsula,
the cow chased her down the neighbours field

so she learned not to cry out loud when running
We smiled and told stories of weddings – mine

clean fresh water and a simple soup, hers, herrings,
apples, and a plain sponge cake

We kissed cheeks and said, ‘Let’s meet again’
for we have become scratchy voices on tapes

a pair of weekend monuments for bored picnics
while out of sight, the shoes stack again

Published in Ink, Sweat and Tears

 

…but I never smoked?

The screen PDF is of cheap paper
with the grey tired print of a duplicate
made relevant by a name written in a space.

Once, this would have been dictated
by a consultant smoking a pipe, tamping
tobacco down and relighting between words.

The secretary scribbling, worried about
frozen dinners and having to explain
shop meals to a man who worked.

Linen paper with embossed type landing
on the mat in a sealed franked envelope
for a weighing of consequences.

Now a button is pressed on the way
to making tea and it arrives with a ping
in the list of discount opportunities.

Published in Gold Dust