Poetry Blog by john short
FIGHTING CHARLES BRONSON
It must have been those slant eyes
that tipped me over the edge
and every aspect of his fraudulence.
I remember blue hotel radiators
rattling their way through winter,
you saying how you missed Berlin.
I trailed cold streets as February
surrendered its grip on hardship,
gave way to clement March
and Charlie flexed his ...
Thursday 2nd January 2020 1:15 pm
You can't seal up death
despite the rituals,
it abides in tobacco
pouches and old armchairs
and abandoned shoes
worn once to tread
the winding alleys
of this town.
In sleek black cars
and creaking wardrobes
with their mothball smells,
in distant excursions
recalled on paper scraps
that fall by chance
from picture frames.
Saturday 23rd November 2019 12:45 am
Sometimes I dream of Siberia
and reindeer herds invading wilderness
invisible on paper maps or Google.
From nowhere a tiny village:
a post office, gas station, two hotels
an outdoor pool for masochists;
mountains wear a cloak of ice
the Moscow cook's on strike again
as executioner climate change
advances drunk with forest songs
Tuesday 19th November 2019 10:36 am
Poverty sent you far from home
and the sin accompanies us always.
Today we're down from hill forests,
shedding leaves on hotel carpets.
I sense the energy of coming rain.
In narrow streets the heavens open,
we dive inside a tiny seafood place
and later, tapping to a disco beat
chill out with studded girls in leather,
all party mode ...
Sunday 17th November 2019 6:09 am
At eight in the morning, after coffee
we must leave the House of Friendship
to pass the freezing day the best we can.
The Mistral is relentless so wine is bought
from a supermarket. All of us adrift
in the pointless boat of this town's winter.
Watching the more fortunate as they pass,
we wrap up well and comment on life;
Monday 9th September 2019 12:50 am
ON A SICILIAN BEACH
A ladybird lands
on my foot in the sand
as I'm reading The Life of Pi.
A blue stretch of sea
carried me here
where an army of shiny black beetles
unbreakable as tanks
will persist in trundling by.
He was days on a boat
now I'm days in the sand
reading this book
with no appetite to leave.
Saturday 15th June 2019 7:12 pm
INVOLVED IN SWITZERLAND
He said he was a poet
but his modest recognition
would dissolve in a bottomless sea,
that he wrote in the dead of night
then washed up on distant shores
where his shoes were seen walking alone.
That he could catch the words
that welled in his mouth
like vagabonds shuffling darkly
towards unbearable daylight.
He said he failed ...
Saturday 8th June 2019 10:56 pm
She left him like a boat
when the tide has gone out,
sandbank hours, lost hope.
Stole his dreams to distant sea
and drowned them in the depths
but up there in obsidian sky
the universe was concealed
behind a curtain of blindness,
silver stars he couldn't see.
He just couldn't see.
Tuesday 4th June 2019 12:13 am
His grandmother made us drink
before work began.
Sour wine and cough mixture
by the taste of things:
a poisonous warmth expanding
like a pack of nails inside.
It was seven o'clock
and cold fields had not woken
from their early dew.
The cat's called Socrates, she said,
because he ate the hemlock
in the garden, over there
past our broken tractor,
Monday 20th May 2019 3:50 pm
A DREAM OF MISFORTUNE
I remember your father as
a friendly man who ate his meals
in the living room
with the huge cream fridge
but what was he doing
in my dreams a lifetime later
in the back of your car?
Shall we drop him here,
he said, or just keep driving?
It seems banal to say -
you drove me into the night.
I woke and you were very close...
Tuesday 7th May 2019 1:14 am
BACARDI TAIL LIGHTS MACHINE GUN FAREWELL
He tried to drown his dog
under the canal bridge
but it came back.
Rang the planning department
and warned them there'd be blood
if one more estate was built.
His dad abandoned,
hobbling to the pigeon loft.
Daniel is leaving tonight on a plane.
Local junkies got hold
of the bottles and the furniture
then ended up scr...
Monday 1st April 2019 2:36 am
QUEEN OF THE NIGHT
That flower right next to us,
its honey perfume coloured the sea
and all the air breathed after dark.
You told me how it grew back home
profusely in the villages, but that
you and your sisters would steal it
from a neighbour's garden just for fun
which made me smile at this illicit side
of tricks and secrets as a general rule.
Saturday 2nd February 2019 3:25 pm
That shiny steel guitar
he got eventually
was what he'd always wanted;
just to play the blues.
I killed so many people, he said,
was called up twice, unfairly
because of skill in martial arts
and when we took a town
would often be the first to enter
but the bullet-proof vests,
they never came.
I should be dead by now
along with all t...
Saturday 26th January 2019 5:12 pm
I dreamt of an aquarium
fixed into my back,
a miniature box
with tetras and an angel fish,
its glass sunk deep
instead of memories;
I had to ask each day
if they were still alive,
in that wall of flesh.
It was necessary
to watch out for these
delicate creatures, cradle
this transparent cube of life
while treading carefully
Thursday 17th January 2019 1:41 am
DEATH OF A BAR
The warmth has gone,
the boar's head taken down
all fireplace brick surrendered
to the sledgehammer,
that old woman who
punished fruit machines
denied her homebound pleasure,
the jaunty evening crowd
now scattered like funeral ash.
The barmaid with her optimistic hair
left stranded, the perrenial
Wednesday 26th December 2018 3:45 pm
Some writers marry other ones
it seems the natural course
but she has never read a book,
in fact she hardly learned to read.
In Nigerian villages, they say,
you have to pay to go to school.
Her father was a teacher too;
in time I've come to understand
that this is just an economic irony
of life down there, however,
she can handle a sewing mac...
Friday 21st December 2018 2:13 am
From dripping dawn to milk churn
to sheep and village fountain.
From orchard and empty
mountain road to gurgling cherry town
I carried a yellow-black fire symbol
through deserted evenings
in hidden streets where men put away
their tools with an apprehensive glance
until at last, we met and drove
the winding road to Olonzac,
and sat next day in the b...
Monday 26th November 2018 2:27 pm
It's time to face that room
and all its sundry clutter.
Old stuff he kept for years:
opera magazines, sports trophies,
brittle yellowed journals telling
of obscure endeavours long ago;
the passions and activities
that cause the junk of decades.
I open the door and greet
my own past too - I played here
in a cloud of fantasy and aspiration,
Monday 19th November 2018 2:09 pm
My love is like
a crimson rose
and no one knows
from whence it came
nor where it goes -
a rose in winter
solid as Frankenstein's
monster, a frozen thing
its lifetime hiding
like a garage spider.
I didn't chide her
the garage spider,
but now the rose has
said hooray - come out
to play, has seen
its own refle...
Friday 2nd November 2018 3:32 pm
THE DOGS OF ATHENS
More than a city
a cluster of cities stretch
onwards through space,
one sprawling into the next,
so many areas
I've never set foot in
and west of the electric line's
a foreign country;
you see the names of neighbourhoods
on yellow buses passing
this evening square
where, instead of Nokia,
the street dogs are connected
by a different...
Wednesday 31st October 2018 1:22 pm
Pardon me for ringing you
but all my friends are dead.
It's strange to be sitting here
in the place where I was born
and no longer know a soul.
They were sand through glass
you see. Now I'm like an invalid
who struggles unheard,
consigned to oblivion, yelling
in silence, exiled on the spot
and every new day I cease
to exist again.
Friday 7th September 2018 11:58 am
BENT OVER GEOGRAPHY
When off school sick
dad would bring me toast
in bed before he went to work
then leave me crumbed up
in a world of dreams,
ear stuck to a transistor
as the day went on its way
beyond closed curtains
in the blind distance
of car horns and shouting
over garden fences.
I'd suck mints if boredom
and loneliness crept in
or season permit...
Tuesday 4th September 2018 11:56 am
Safe in a tower somewhere
a woman writes about anger
while on ground level a woman walking
home from work gets a police check.
Made to produce papers, abandoned
for three days in a cell, bedroll and blanket,
no chance of a phonecall either.
But egotism rolls around the tower
she paints it beautifully with blackened rage,
scars of privilege ...
Wednesday 20th June 2018 1:26 am
I'd like to walk into that house
over the road where a lamp shines,
quench many whims in fact
but extra vibrant years and brief dotage
are nothing more than fantasy.
I took photographs every day in vain
but didn't spot the change.
Too old now to keep bulldogs
I recently acquired a Chihuahua,
last night dreamed a cloud of fragile birds
that sang o...
Tuesday 22nd May 2018 12:31 am
AIR IN THE MORNING
The morning air speaks loss;
slides through a sunlit moment
as eyes open to her memory.
From across damp fields
shrill hammering signals
a disconsolate world
where trees stand huddled
under saturated clouds.
Sharp black wings
tear the sky with flight;
a feathered firework erupting
until the air would burst
from its heaviness....
Tuesday 8th May 2018 3:41 pm
PORCHES OF SUBURBIA
She's delivering leaflets again,
urging residents to oust their charlatans
who'll vote through a bad deal
then claim they had no choice.
The people here are house proud,
they all have pretty porches and loiter
in back rooms until they think she's gone
then emerge to examine the leaflet.
In her old country they'd be outside
at this ho...
Monday 9th April 2018 3:31 pm
Jerez de la Frontera
In the catherdral shadow
a woman peels limes
then washes them
at the blue fountain
as an angry sun burns
shapes on stone.
From dark passages
a bright guitar
emerges into afternoon,
across the water
like momentary fish.
It predicts your path
past broken balconies,
ragged skirts, ...
Monday 29th January 2018 3:47 pm
LOVE AND LOBSTERS
I love you in the car park
of a popular supermarket chain,
then often in the Judo class
where you usually go to train.
I love you cracking lobsters
with a twentieth century hammer
and later in the wine bar
after twelve tequila slammers.
They say there is no future
as the seas are full of plastic
and all of us will per...
Wednesday 24th January 2018 9:49 am
We used to raid the freezer
in that dirty garage but cement
and dust made him cough.
His mother was a puritan;
he'd sniff and splutter when upset,
dance defiant on the car roof
then run off to town
giving her two fingers.
Winter mornings across ice,
spitting steamy gobs
through a face-hole in wool
with pale knees shivering
out of coa...
Saturday 23rd December 2017 8:11 pm
An old photo snapped
in front of that plastic bubble sign,
our first date being the last time
I ate flesh: no more traumatic gristle
and though you were perfection
in heels, a pale silver dress
my carniverous girlfriend
you persisted with the meat habit
so years later, still together
you criticise me for courgettes
said at the ...
Saturday 16th December 2017 10:32 pm
Peering through clouded glass
into empty space and silence.
I used to love that accumulation
of ornaments from earlier times;
Quixotic history casting shadows
on a family by their open fire.
There was always shelter here
no matter how late the flight arrived
and with luck you could escape
the bugs - a kind of bedroom roulette.
Creaking passages s...
Thursday 7th December 2017 9:14 am
Here one learns a new vocabulary
tinwash, tray off, mobcap,
swiping in and stacking down.
Some of us arrived for a month
one spring and stayed forever
like jaded nomads finding pasture,
needs met, horizons ending here.
In ghost-infested rooms
the newcomer gets lost, disorientated
by the sprawling tangle and pulse
of peculiar machinery
Tuesday 5th December 2017 2:37 pm
PART OF THE COURSE
I guess he was
just no good at it:
stood on every board
banged his knee
on the coffee table,
collided with silver;
he might as well have
worn a striped T-shirt
and carried a sack
So when they caught
in the rose bush
and led him away
he still hung on
to his dream
and vowed to try
Saturday 26th August 2017 9:37 am
At an early age he learned
the folly of swimming in wrong circles
and how some languages
have no word for webbed feet.
I'm going to leave you
Adipose Harry, his wife says.
You are morbidly obese.
Look past appearances, he protests.
I have a heart, pure and good.
Yes, but it's enveloped in fatty tissue
and you'll most likely die.
Monday 14th August 2017 3:04 pm
CHANCES TO LEAVE
Hunched over his ouzo, unshaven
as the steamer pulled away on visible blue.
A guy who's going nowhere, you said,
meets every dawn with negativity.
Later we sat upstairs while Kumiko picked
through rubbish on the beach for fun.
Less of that scrap, you shouted down,
not everything is sculpture! Then turning to me:
At school back in Denmark we fou...
Tuesday 18th April 2017 3:08 pm
THE GIRL FROM GALLIENI
The town looks run-down
this rainy weekday morning;
a single street climbing
to nowhere special,
an old boulangerie,
some sleepy Asian shops
but the church door
extends an invitation
so I step inside to breathe
the incensed silence
of wood and alcoves
then without a word
a vagrant poet appears
from behind the church,
Tuesday 11th April 2017 10:26 pm