on Ukraine

narrow strip of earth
turns into no man's land
time to draw the line?
a telephone rings
again? so soon? let me see
awkward exchanges
death calls at the door
its noose swings from naked tree
nuclear winter
who has the power?

~

n.b. It has come to this. Another conversation, the second in three days. Things are hotting up.

CLP 24/10/2022

on time

all we have passes
what is it we really need?
used, used to, once had

~

CLP 23/10/2022

on Ukraine

no news from Kherson
means no news of any hue
blackout to blackhole

~

CLP 20/10/2022

on Ukraine

somewhere someone sits
game controller at ready
distant drones despatched

~

n.b. Hey, Moscow! Why sacrifice the blood of your sons when you can just murder people in their beds in Kyiv remotely?

How low can a human being go?

CLP 17/10/2022

on time

completed circle
nostalgic stop on life line
forty years rattled by

~

n.b. Farringdon, you’ve changed, but I still love you. My first regular commuting destination on moving to London some years past.

CLP 15/10/2022

on Ukraine

original sin
reimagined in slaughter
fear of losing face

~

n.b. Somehow the self-importance of one man perpetuates the maiming and murder of civilians, deaths of combatants from both sides and the pointless destruction of villages, towns and cities.

CLP 11/10/2022

on Ukraine

let us not pretend
a Russian life has less worth
deaths are not victories

~

n.b. War mentality dehumanises us all.

CLP 10/10/2022

on streets

Having a good time, everybody?
empty eyes, blackened
fingernails, frayed cuffs, alone
throng gets down and dirty

~

n.b. Nashville, Tennessee, ‘The Recording Capital of the World, (as I heard a man in a check shirt, jeans, cowboy boots and a cowboy hat label the place to two men in check shirts, jeans, cowboy boots and cowboy hats), is a busy place on a Saturday around noon.

It is mighty crowded. The sidewalks too narrow to accommodate the people. The shops too small for the lines of customers. The Johnny Cash Museum fulsome of people buying tickets, lining up to enter its exhibition rooms, queues of others waiting to have a gander around the souvenir store.

The air is filled with the low throb of traffic congestion; the whoopin’ and a hollerin’ of open wagon loads of young-acting women and men drinking heavily. Every building that isn’t a boot store, or souvenir shop is a bar with a stage that positions a duo, a trio, or a full band with their backs to the sidewalk. The bass drums and cymbals, distorted guitars and amplified voices tumble, conflictingly onto the street.

All around groups of friends, couples, families, stag and hen parties, step around each other trying to agree where to go next, what to do, or hesitate to check their party retains some coherent form.

In the bigger bars, several storeys of open windows and roof top terraces are full of people standing and drinking, or sitting and eating, often with bands bashing out popular songs which encourage customers to try singing along.

A plane passing close overhead on its landing flight path cannot be heard. If you add a couple of ambulance sirens, or a police vehicle’s whining to the cacophony, then you have a good idea of the unholy racket. Music City indeed!

Well, getting back to the senryū above, in the heart of this overwhelming nonsense, there are some very isolated people. They carry all their belongings in a plastic bag, or even a suitcase or two.

They are not of this tourist party world. The crowds so loud and busy there is no hope of being heard if asking for handouts. These sun-weathered ghosts just wander around, or sit in the not so rare boarded-up doorways, or just stand and stare, sometimes mumbling to themselves, maybe fumbling a rolling tobacco cigarette.

Hieronymus Bosch would have loved Nashville. On a Saturday lunchtime, a setting for the centre panel of The Garden of Earthly Delights; at night the setting fit for Hell.

~

CLP 09/10/2022

on Ukraine

Opening paragraph from ‘The Measure of a Man” by Martin Luther King Jr. (1959) Published by Fortress Press, Minneapolis.
ask "What was it for?"
"We are liberating land
without people on..."

~

n.b. The first quoted line, reported in The Guardian in the UK, are words of a citizen of a town liberated from the retreating invaders.

The second, (same source), from a Ukrainian soldier making his way through the ghost towns of the temporarily, but deeply scarred territory, briefly held by the occupying force.

The attempted annexation of Ukraine has again demonstrated the empty rhetoric of nationalism, the pointless slaughter of innocents and vile destruction of homes.

Are we not all African, brothers and sisters?

~

CLP 05/10/2022

on time

waltz me into it
walk up the aisle side by side
no witnesses please

n.b. Nothing to see here at the horse and carriage store. As the song says ‘Walk on by’.

CLP 02/10/2022