Poetry Blog by David Cooke (2017)
You insist upon living till the life you’d live
has damned you, your intransigence
forcing you on like a train that pounds
its rhythms across some hard white terrain.
Adulterous and anachronistic, a stubborn
glow illuminates your doomed affair
as when, like a ghost reborn, Strelnikov
told you: The private life is dead,
his rectitude a new kind of purity
whose thought is doctrinaire,
Wednesday 8th November 2017 8:43 am
There’s another city inside the city. It lays
its template of odours across postal districts.
One day, perhaps, you’ll sense it
beneath your speed: a faint hint of fox piss
that clings to street lamps and bollards.
Leaving its marker, it establishes different laws.
Beneath our fences there are badger setts
and mole runs, scrabbling polities
obscured by ...
Friday 6th October 2017 11:48 am
Taking the coastal road to the fortress town
of Galle, we embarked on the desultory epic
of an island barely at peace with itself
in one more uncertain truce, driving
past ramshackle backpackers’ beaches
and sealed-off compounds of luxury hotels,
where locals glimpse at the kind of leisure
only imported money acquires.
And how unassumingly they accept
Tuesday 12th September 2017 2:24 pm
From across the crowded passeig
your eye is drawn to the shimmer
of its otherworldly façade,
its bits and bobs of broken tiles
washed by tides of light.
Its carnivalesque balconies
and freewheeling contours
are like the feckless dreams
of those who have no need to prosper
by hard graft or deals.
Incongruous, then, the way
it rises from this city’s
Monday 21st August 2017 10:26 am
On a wet afternoon in Wetherspoon’s
I came across her: gazing intently,
like a survivor from some belle époque
into the mirror of her make-up box;
and making herself presentable
for a night out and its chances,
she applied eye shadow and liner
with a practised hand, then blended
a blusher to the natural tint of her skin.
From time to time she paused,
deflating the ba...
Thursday 10th August 2017 9:08 am
after Willi Ronis
In the quietness between
before and after, the girl
unspools her broken thread,
addressing the problem
of time she has lost.
from her routine,
her posture is that
of a handmaid or lover
bestowing an intimate gift.
Yet kneeling there,
on her own, she is like
an ingénue, taking in
Wednesday 17th May 2017 11:28 am
A shabby and uncherishable growth,
it is at first unrecognised and scarcely noticed
as you make a roadside halt, your visitor’s eye
lured by distant iconic vistas. And so,
inveigled always beyond the details,
you appraise each photo op, framing,
say, the Silent City raised up against the sky
on self-absorbed strategic heights;
or lose yourself in contemplation,...
Wednesday 8th March 2017 5:49 pm
after Willi Ronis
A small boy running, but not for his life,
as all can see in his fearless smile
and the sense of freedom
that lights his eyes. This is the day
he will always remember,
important only because of an errand
and the small coin he didn’t drop,
holding it up on tiptoes
across the counter of a baker’s shop,
disregarding for once
Thursday 5th January 2017 11:17 am
The first thing we had to clear was the one
he prized the most: the cluttered pinewood bar
he’d salvaged from a neighbour moving on
at the end of the nineteen seventies.
Embalmed in a gloopy coat of varnish
that set to a brittle sheen, it lacked retro chic,
scuffed down to the wood along its edges,
its surface crazed with memories.
In the days when family came to ...
Tuesday 3rd January 2017 10:02 am
In San Quentin prison the psychos,
thieves and junkies exchange
desolate tales, and each one’s
a variation on a theme
that ends the same. Breathing in
and breathing out
to keep his panic at bay,
the man with the sax
is no exception, but tells his
in a different way.
Reinventing where he’s been,
one shimmering note
at a time, the way ahead’s unclear.
Sunday 1st January 2017 9:18 am