Poetry Rehab–Day Poem

This is my second poem submitted for Mara Eastern’s Rehab Project http://maraeastern.com/2015/04/20/poetry-101-rehab-day/ It takes the theme of day and tries to apply it to the modern city.

I am aware that I need to work on the sometimes erratic length of my lines and would welcome any feedback on this or anything else.

This poem is very much work in progress. It is fed in part by a recent interest of mine in addressing urban issues and portraying urban landscapes in a discourse couched in and shaped by sharply divergent perspectives. No one city is depicted here. The aim is rather to attempt to produce a cubist-style amalgam of the various first- and third-world cities I have lived in over the past 50 years and to discourse on the particularities, similarities and differences that unite, divide and distinguish them.

 

Daylight Hours

Day begins with the deserted streets a sea

Of discarded kebab-wrappers

Blown by gentle wind

Through pools of puke

Deposited outside pubs.

*

Huddled figures finish late-shifts

Or are off to an early start.

Papers replete with right-wing propaganda

Pile up outside newsagents and are bought up by curious workers along the way.

And street-sweepers with

Their water jets and whirring machines

Appear in the crisp light of a sun

Peeking and winking at them

Round the corners and in the windows

Of a low-rise landscape of benign limestone buildings

That is home.

*

The veins of the city clog

With vehicles

In treacly slow-moving lines

Car-parks and pavements fill

Shops and schools open their doors with a yawn

Traffic-police and caretakers do their job

*

Food trucks line up

And the already obese

Queue for lunch-time treats

Punctuating work

Under a sweltering mid-day sun.

Sweat their way back to work.

*

The afternoon,

Since siestas became unacceptable,

Is a long sinking feeling

Declining towards evening,

Buoyed by spoonfuls of sugar in coffee cups

As birds chirp and congregate to roost

And the petals of flowers close up shop for the night.

Bats wheel around in the dusk

Swooping down to pick up discarded fruit.

The litter pickers with their children’s unwashed unshod

Feet dangling from the back of a cart do their rounds.

Dad’s wiry muscles sternly humping rubbish up onto the flat bed

Of a truck. Mom up the duff again. Kids messing around.

Shouting.

*

A slow parade of cars

Wends its way honkingly homewards

To luxury apartments, perched high in the sky,

Under a sliver of a new moon

In darkening skies.

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Home Poem — Poetry 101 Rehab

I post this home poem in response to Mara Eastman’s first Poetry 101 Rehab challenge http://maraeastern.com/2015/04/06/poetry-101-rehab-home/ . Any feedback is, as always, most welcome.

 

Hymn to Home

 

Home-

ward

bound

on a trip

to ward off

ghosts of guests

and guard memories.

*

Home is focus, fetus & fire

heat & hearth

core of a world

where wary eyes await

and weary limbs

are laid

to rest

& the rest

is not history

just another sorry story

just another sore spot

*

your place was always

before the fire

& mine was in the clouds

*

Home is wherever

you go

at the end of the day

where the hat you keep

so many secrets under

is laid.

Boots by the bed.

*

Home is a hospital

ward,

a spare bed in a crypt.

*

Home is a snare,

a needle in

the amygdala

*

The plug-hole squeals

like a pig led to slaughter

as the deep bathwater,

murky with the filth of the whole family

–in which children might drown—

is sucked underground.

The fire is the focus,

but the plughole

is the secret meaning

of the home.

*

The bathroom is itself a sort of home,

with its plughole & its mirror

& a place for cleansing

& a window frosted against

the world

*

And, when heavy rain roars in the gutters,

racing earthwards,

or loiters moodily around blocked drains,

I remember

your hair and used cooking oil

clogging the plughole;

and, from afar,

am egged,

like a compass needle,

ever so gently, ever so slightly,

northwards

and home.