Poem: ‘England’s Glory’

man person men old
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

He taps the roll up on his weathered
seat, strikes the match
towards him as an old man should, a box
of ‘England’s Glory’ and tobacco bag
thrown at me, as if they weren’t
all his worldly goods.

“No thanks, I don’t.”

He shrugs as if it’s my loss,
cups the yellow light with
the nonchalance of a friend, his hands
raw and dirty. He draws, a near
toothless mouth collapsing
like worn bellows;
he exhales, deftly aiming a spit
of spare flake to his right, while knotty
fingers wipe wet lips— the sound
of sandpaper on wood. And so
the coughing starts. There’s little else
to fill the new day.

* ‘England’s Glory’ is a brand of match

copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019

 

Poem ‘October 15’

Electric soldering iron
Electric soldering iron (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

October 15

Lingering smells of vinegar and fish,
red and green smears on an empty plate,
a solitary bone in a serving dish.

The constable pours tea
in a room drenched in sunlight;
an incongruous joke becomes light relief.

At his age a simple case of lights out, it’s said,
something you have to believe.
Only an hour before he stood at the door

complaining of chest pains that
Alka Seltzer would not relieve.
The neighbour walks in wiping her eyes,

tells of a conversation by the fence.
She cups her drink, shakes her head,
unable to make much sense.

Light another round of cigarettes,
though wherever the eyes fall
there are many reasons for regret.

So stand, walk around,
peep through the net curtains where
the ambulance casts its shadow – no sound.

You’re numb with facts that won’t ingest;
a still hot soldering iron, pliers, cut wire,
like something from the Marie Celeste.

poem © copyright David F. Barker 2012
* first published in poetry collection ‘Anonymous Lines’, available at amazon.com

Poem ‘Charity Shop’

Litter in Paramaribo.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Charity Shop

That scream connected
with the deepest level of guilt.
I’d been breezing by the charity shop,
litter and leaves scuttling ahead in a chill wind.

I saw him strapped into a chair
on the chewing gum pavement,
pulling taught in a fury
of condensation and sputum.

I stopped a safe distance away,
mingling-in with the bus queue,
all eyes askance and tutting as one,
wondering if (and how) to intervene.

Best not to get involved.
It’s nothing to do with us,
it would cause more trouble
than it was worth.

So I left to get some food,
relieved to find him gone on my return.
A clear misunderstanding:
mum had been in the shop all the time,

had emerged to the relief of all,
smiles and hugs and kisses all round.
But no. There he was ahead of me,
blighting my eye, my mind,

outside the chip shop
surrounded by shell suits and smoke,
the swearing and the sputum –
on the chewing gum pavement.

poem © copyright df barker 2012

*poem first published in 2011 in poetry collection ‘Anonymous Lines’, available at amazon.

Poem ‘Doing it all’

Doing it all

you are like a meteor
and you’re young.
I am a metaphor for middle-age

I watch you smoke,
I can’t tell you
how it makes me feel

one hand wants to snatch
while the other loves
patting your head

so why do I smirk
at your facebook smile? – oh
this envy takes many forms

though the worst is knowing
you’re doing it all, and that I,
for all my whittling

have nothing to show

poem and image © copyright dfbarker 2012

Poem ‘Bistro (when in Paris)’

Bistro (when in Paris)

what a surprise
to see our bistro still here,
so missable tucked away
between jewellers
and quirky galleries

‘au clair de la lune’
is so laid back,
subdued
in gratifying veils of gitanes,
softened
by potent aromas of pastis,
sensual
like biting through rarest
tender veal

if I may ask right now
(gently plying you with Chablis),
if Montmartre were a woman
who could she be
if not you?

© copyright dfbarker 2011

*image is a digital creation.

**I am a vegetarian now, yet you never forget the taste of…