Poetry Blog by David Cooke (2016)

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The Girl in the Picture

entry picture

The Parthenon behind her,

bleached white in classical light,

is little more than staging,

 

the backdrop they’ve chosen

–this girl and the boy who loves her–

to match her flawless style.

 

And why should a goddess

matter to her, or the distant era

when myths were real?

 

There are idols enough

for her to aspire to

in the pages of Vogue and Marie Claire.

...

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The Girl in the Picture

entry picture

Further off behind her, the Parthenon,

bleached white in classical light,

is little more than staging,

 

the backdrop they’ve chosen

–this girl and the boy who loves her–

to frame her near- flawless style.

 

And why would a goddess

matter to her, or the distant era

when myths were real?

 

There are idols enough

for her to aspire to

in the pages of Vogue an...

Read and leave comments (1)

Chasin' the Breeze

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for Bernadette

           la petite phrase
           Proust

Back home and married
after our year abroad,
the heat was on all summer
as mortgage rates
and temperatures soared.
Recording it now,
the memory’s triggered
by the music a DJ plays –
which happens to be
George Benson’s Breezin’,
the track that eased me
into jazz, clocking on
in the council yard
to get one step ahead.

...

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Stereogram

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for Peter Robinson

 

I was listening to Dylan’s Time Out of Mind,

his late renewal after wasted years

– all simmer and wry despair –

to find that maybe he was rated again.

The voice was a wreck on a burnished track,

the songs a palimpsest of antique blues.

 

In the end the words will come

if they have to, like music that’s ghosted

by echoes stored in a phonograph’...

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Ruins

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                                      brosnað enta geweorc

 

Across unbridgeable distance we cannot say

for sure how long they thrived or bumbled on,

before distracted gods or dim-witted giants

failed to keep a grip.      

                              Sleek towers have crumbled,

their cladding dispersed, their teetering shells abraded

by simooms effacing their hapless sway...

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Penguins on Parade

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Willi Ronis

 

Although they hanker still

for desolate views,

they have learned to count

their blessings: migrants

taking a bowl of air

on this bitter afternoon.

 

Their formal attire

incongruous, their waddling

gait seems outlandish

to the natives they dismay.

 

Consorting largely

with their own,

they have tried

at least to pay their way

and no...

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Schooldays

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In our purple blazer
and gaudy tie
we sat: the putative heirs

to martyrs' blood –
though unlikely heirs
tuning in

to the back end
of the Sixties:
the philosophical

drone of Dylan,
slick blues
from Eric Clapton.

The miraculous
our staple,
we pondered

the Shroud,
its weird reminder
of truths

that underwrote
our lives –
astride two worlds,

like Padre Pio,
we had th...

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Getting It Taped

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Back then when music exceeded my means

I found a solution: the second-hand

reel-to-reel I picked up at a snip –

a Philips most likely or maybe a Grundig,

some brand I thought would last.

 

Its clickety counter gave no insight

into the digital age. It couldn’t remember

or shuffle a thing. Pre-CD and pre-cassette,

it lacked a remote or any inkling

of the bells and whist...

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Les Jolies Femmes de Paris

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Provincial girls distinguished

by neatness in needlework,

or tenement slaveys, who might

in the end have scrimped enough

to set up a laundry, their true vocation

nonetheless seemed to lie elsewhere.

 

Launched on the stage by letches,

whose lines they mangled,

stealing the show, they warbled

feebly en déshabille, until they had

hooked the monocle’d prince

or a s...

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Mill Girl

entry picture

In the quietness between

before and after, the girl

unspools her broken thread,

addressing the problem

of time she has lost.

 

Abstracted, briefly,

from her routine,

her posture is that

of a handmaid or lover

bestowing her intimate gift.

 

Yet kneeling there,

on her own, she is like

an ingénue, taking in

some visitant’s

otherworldly news.

 

Her...

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