London

Bluelight

The world makes itself anew

colder and darker

in this hemisphere

begins to shutter herself

for winter and why

do I always see a dull sunrise

over the Piccadilly line

those rows and rows of human homes

neat and pointed, roofs as far

as the eye can see

I can see

the world begin and end here

maybe

mean old time

is a bully from Greenwich

a bleak day

for a new year

as the pall of a zillion tiny screens

slides over faces

uncaring and uncareful with unshed

bluelight tears

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Absolution

A woman on the street was circling, circling

her shoulder bag dropped down around her waist

she had spittle on her mouth

a frail and old person

scraggly white hair, a stained windcheater

broken,

and yet I was too afraid to help

bad possibilities zinging through my mind

of being hit, attacked, screeched at, misunderstood

at the heaviness of a human body collapsing on me in relief

the time it might suck from me

I walked by

with tears in my eyes.

doesn’t absolve anything

lazy coward me

she stopped circling, the spell broken

by me?

no way to know how the light gets in to a fissured mind

I told a friend later and got upset again

silly, scared me

still hoping for absolution

which she gave

‘you’re a kind person for even noticing. You wouldn’t be crying now if you didn’t mean well’

but I didn’t care enough

I could have given her a tissue to wipe her face

‘did you even have a tissue? I bet you didn’t even have one on you’

I just shook my head and sighed

the secret shame of soft, 3-ply folds in my bag,

putting me to the lie

knowing they were there all along

just like

the least I could have done

was

offer her one

 

Off-prompt for the penultimate day of NaPoWriMo! 

Photo: https://unsplash.com/@raffiklopes

Home again

My post-London tea stash

 

Steam
In shower
Mixes with tears
Wash them all away
Goodbye

London
Once again
Messed my mind
It’s always a bittersweet
Encounter

You can never go home again yet I am here

 

Today’s GloPoWriMo prompt was to write a double elevenie. What’s that? Well, an elevenie is an eleven-word poem of five lines, with each line performing a specific task in the poem. The first line is one word, a noun. The second line is two words that explain what the noun in the first line does, the third line explains where the noun is in three words, the fourth line provides further explanation in four words, and the fifth line concludes with one word that sums up the feeling or result of the first line’s noun being what it is and where it is. There are some good examples in the link above. A double elevenie would have two stanzas of five lines each, and twenty-two words in all.

I’m not sure I did this right – is a proper noun OK? Oh well.. Plus, it seemed weird to not add an extra line, since it’s “day 23” of GloPoWriMo, so I did. :0

Overheard

I’m going darn the West End, they’ve got the last pair on hold for me

silver-haired lady in leopard print leggings on the bus

I don’t think Helen really trusts me

plump girl in a navy pantsuit walking down the street

The Doctor said I need to rest and eat more vegetables. I’ve been on crutches for 8 weeks. No dear, I’m on a bus in Camden

plummy-voiced older gent with red nose who got off and lit a cigarette. He wasn’t on crutches

Hei hei hei. Hei hei hei

Chinese lady on her phone on the bus

Shh shh shh

guy with Tourettes’ on the bus

Was hast du da?

familiar language overheard in a London playground

Can I just put you down here for a minute?

skinny-legged dad on the street in footy gear with his kid, the kid also in footy gear

 

NaPoWriMo prompt for day 21:  to write a poem that incorporates overheard speech. I am running late again so the speech is the poem. I had more but my brain’s too full. It’s weird being back in a place where I can understand most of the incidental conversations around me! 

Game. Bus. Match

The rules of the game

don’t engage

when everyone’s insane

or

all too sane and

out for what they can get

innit

every journey takes an hour

no standing in the upper deck

(gosh I feel tall up there tho)

the things you learn

like

never get off transport that’s still moving towards home

no matter what they say

but if it’s stopped

bail straight off

wait, walk or find another way

and always complain

to someone – even just in your own brain

A bomb threat’s not a bomb threat. Is not a bomb threat, is Not a bomb threat

until it is. And terrorism

And then there’s The Met

-bless-

On the Tube

stand

stare at your hands, stare at your hands, rake your eyes over the stands

do not make contact

move down please

move aside

got a seat

eye the crotches, no. Look around, read the ads, don’t wanna be sold to. Eye the crotches, no. read the free newspaper. Eye the crotches, no

do not make contact with eyes or crotches

whatever you do

no

Mind the gap, wait a lot, shove your shoulder, look away, never delay for the next one, although sometimes it’s a sure thing, hey?

The rules are. There are no rulez. No one learns these things in schools, mate

What a teacher.

Preach.

London.

A law of…  masses. Critical. Random.

Can’t. Believe. People. Do. It. Every. Day.

It seems normal. Actually… it seems very fucking normal

The whole world, jerked around, on a big red bus

what a sound

insane decibels juddering and yet all’s well, we’re moving

kid’s screaming, shuttup, we’re all getting home, no one cares, where I get off

let me off

Back door please!

 

Today’s GloPoWriMo prompt was to write a poem that incorporates the vocabulary and imagery of a specific sport or game. London transport is a sport all of its own.

Unneighbours

Photo: https://unsplash.com/@jamie452

Here we are unneighbours
ignorrelated peoples of
a vast and ambivicity
falsenatural scents crushed under
bootstep and paveground down
an insalubri-sewer lurking at
ankleheight and laughing
with its darklode of
chattertat, the importathoughts  nolongerseemed
unlistened to, unscreamed, suffocatbreathed
we ceasedream and retreat

 

Todays prompt: to write a poem that incorporates neologisms. What’s that? Well, it’s a made-up word! Your neologisms could be portmanteaus (basically, a word made from combining two existing words, like “motel” coming from “motor” and “hotel”) or they could be words invented entirely for their sound. Probably the most famous example of a poem incorporating neologisms is Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky, but neologisms don’t have to be funny or used in the service of humor. You can use them to try to get at something that you don’t have an exact word for, or to create a sense of sound and rhythm, or simply to make the poem feel strange and unworldly.

I did this nonsense-word poem and the compound-word poem above. 

Ghazal

 

Oh the mixed-up emotions of being back in London

Knowing you never ever can win London

 

At first it seems like a dream of English perfection

But then, you’ve always been good at spin, London

 

Your welcoming arms mask impervious charms

And they say everyone living here’s kin, London

 

How many folks when they dream of a place

Immediately go off and pin London?

 

Grimy streets and houses, all the same old shops

And you really could use some more bins London

 

But then there’s that energy, heady and strong

Delicious dens of vice, carousing and sin London

 

I may have moved on, but your pull is still strong

Feel you under my skin to chagrin, London

 

And yet I D-Claire, again I am here

Dirty-pretty auld town you’re a djinn, London

 

Today’s prompt was to write a ghazal. The form was originally developed in Arabic and Persian poetry, but has become increasingly used in English, after being popularized by poets including Agha Shahid Ali. A ghazal is formed of couplets, each of which is its own complete statement. Both lines of the first couplet end with the same phrae or end-word, and that end-word is also repeated at the end of each couplet. If you’re really feeling inspired, you can also attempt to incorporate internal rhymes and a reference to your own name in the final couplet. 

This is my first-ever ghazal 🙂 

 

 

 

The Unicorn and The Lion

Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom / wikicommons

 

When I moved to London town

I saw unicorns all around

Trotting, prancing, showing off

Their silky manes, both street and posh

Amy Winehouse with her hive-horn

Too quickly turned to crown of thorn

The gorgeous, lovely and the torn

Who’d bring it on the Tube each morn

And outside London, thought I found

Unicorn habitat all around

The ancient magick of the land

Emerald glades and pebbley sand…

I didn’t spot the British Lions

Sitting noble at their pints

Wanting to protect their pride

Gath’ring power, biding time

Shaking out their mangy fur

Memories of what they were

So golden, graceful, deadly, sleek

King of the jungle is not meek!

Claws were sharpened, teeth bared

Lies were told, tempers flared

Fighting, snarls, self-righteous rage

Ugly beasts who won’t be caged

Cruel attacks from either side

Barbs that puncture both their hides

Boris, Farage, Cameron: cowards

Rich men turning lion’s gold sour

And finally the ivory spike

Overcome by fear and might

A heavy blow, ruthless, loud

And unicorn lies in a shroud –

A silly, worthless mythic creature

Dreams slashed of charm’ed future

Now I hear the lions roar

And nothing will be as before

London innit?

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London

Like an ex you suddenly find yourself still attracted to

Such a bad idea to get involved. We made a clean break but

old habits die hard.

London

The frenetic pace of the megalopolis

Seductive adrenaline rush of desire

gives way to the sweaty comedown of failure

Again.

London

Your beautiful grotty streets

Millions of tiny dwellings chock full of humanity

in all its vibrant, glorious horror.

London

The verve of creativity bursting at the seams… I could… I should…

tap into it, I could be amazing

But you don’t want me

The pain of utter imperviousness cuts deeper, somehow, than it should… I could…

Have been a contender? Maybe never.

London

You try to hit the ground running

Keep up with the crowds, meet up with like-minded souls. A mad rush

The things you lose by the wayside

can never be recovered

Until next time, my indifferent lover,

London.

About A River

Tower Bridge over the Thames

 

The Thames

Just is

As inevitable as umbrellas in London

 

Weighted down by warships

Pinned back

by buildings and monuments

 

To the past

And glittering present

Tidal but flowing ever onwards

 

Sectioned by bridges

The powerful, and delicate

All swept by greenbrown tides

 

I tried to make you mine

The Pool of London

Familiar but unknowable

 

Not like the sky over Newtown…

But I was rushing

And you were indifferent – so strong

 

And yet irresistible

Not pretty water

Like Sydney Harbour or the Zurichsee, but…

 

Compelling, unfathomable, there

Turner’s Thames too

Shimmering on the periphery

 

OK maybe a few drops

Seeped into my soul

Absorbed from a thousand cups of English tea.