'Lost' by Chris Hubbard is Write Out Loud's Poem of the Week
‘Lost’ by Chris Hubbard is the new Write Out Loud Poem of the Week. Chris, a retired academic originally from Lincolnshire and now based in Australia, took a creative writing course during his degree studies more than 20 years ago, and was “hooked from then on”. But until he discovered Write Out Loud, he had not published any of his creative work, and has not yet read at any open-mic nights. His favourite poet is Auden, and his favourite poem is ‘Fern Hill’ by Dylan Thomas.
What got you into writing poetry, and how long have you been writing?
Around 22 years ago, I began a bachelor degree in politics and government which had scope for optional first-year units. One of them was a creative writing course, with emphasis on poetry. I was hooked from then on, and have never really stopped writing it. That would have been around 1994.
Do you go to any open-mic nights?
I have thought about going to open mic events here in Perth, but somehow never did. As a retired academic (I started getting educated at the age of 40 and received my doctorate in 2001) I am not fazed by talking in front of large groups; I suppose I simply didn't have confidence that my material was good enough to perform. At my age, and with many years writing, I now have that confidence, although there is limited scope in Perth. Having said all that, I now remember that I did do some very shaky performances of the poetry I was creating during that far-off university poetry class. I recall that I received some positive responses to it at the time.
What’s your favourite poet/ poem?
You're cast away on a desert island. What's your luxury?
A computer with eternal internet access, and which never runs out of battery!
by Chris Hubbard
Lost when your eyes are too wide,
lost when the sky
shouts high notes
when it should be whispering;
lost when the fires die.
Lost when complete strangers
give you the finger and grin,
or when the beer and the noise stop
and you can hear you own ears hissing;
when a mother-of-pearl sunset
in the corner of your eye flicks
into slate and steel,
when the car hits a roadblock
on the wide freeway
and I should care but don't,
and nobody notices;
when good-looking people
with wide smiles and intelligent eyes
talk about their lives
like a slow dissolve;
when the rumble and shout
of city streets disappears
like the click of fingers
and turns into a silent film
of a silent city;
lost in the one-way system
in a wrong-way way,
and before you know it
it's four a.m., with the radio on ...
… and the stale smoke room
is also cold, like winter clouds,
and I must have been asleep,
but not you,
because your eyes are still wide,
as I am when blank minds skitter
through discarded wasteland
with knives in their shoes
and graffiti in their eyes,
because everybody's talking
and I'm listening to no-one but you,
avoiding eye contact in corridors,
banging fists on brick walls,
because they don't make a noise
like a wooden door,
a door which might open
and show the sticky floor beyond;
when friends forget to call
and their machine's switched off,
and beyond the Frigidaire's compressor buzz
you can hear the V8s spin and growl
in their nocturnal walz,
beneath the billowing sky galleons
and big-drop showers,
back-lit by the Moon, angling
and rushing off Southern Ocean combers,
as down payment on next summer's survival.
Lost, because all this
squeezes my skull
tight around my brain
and my sight goes
and light becomes shadow,
or only blackness;
rips at my clothes,
tears my skin off,
leaves me blind and naked,
burning in the studio Klieg lights,
says “bless your heart”
and strolls slowly away, laughing quietly.