SET UP

The ample roadie rocks the none-too-stable
scaffold as he climbs, then crawls about
its swaying top for best part of an hour,
changing gels, adjusting spots.   People
wander on the stage, pick up an instrument
or move a mike, while desultory sound checks
happen now and then.   We wait, and wonder
whether anyone might tell them that
for most of us out front the subtleties
of colour mix, or delicate sound balance,
lie outside the range of our awareness.
We only came along to hear some music and
are wondering why they can't get on and play?

 

 

SITE

A broken form, half-hidden, lies
among ferns and saplings where
the deepness of the valley hangs
above the sea - like some ancient
aerial contrivance that has crashed,
a broken fuselage, wings
that can still be traced beneath
the bramble, the damp shade of trees.

No one seems certain of how long
it has been there, when it was used,
why it put down so far from all known
settlements.   It has been abandoned,
found again, stripped bare, left open
to the weather, yet preserved.

Carved stones go on accruing, fresh
memorials, tokens of persisting
presence and regard.  Once
or twice each year, it's said,
respondents gather in the wreckage,
sing and attempt to generate
a kind of power, as if they held
to the belief that soon a day
may come when it will fly again.

 



SHORT CIRCUIT

Pen between my teeth, I glance up at
the steel-framed, off-white raincoat
man across the carriage, who
is working with a calculator
on a thick report, but then
he looks away, attention caught
by pictures in the magazine

laid open on the homely lap
of the neat Asian-looking girl,
close-wrapped, two seats away, with fluffy
scarf and hat. Her page remains
unturned as she is gazing at
the swept-back woman with the purple
nails across from her, busy

re-organising shopping bags,
then purposefully opening
her mobile phone - until she looks
in my direction, man biting pen,
beyond her bags. I keep my focus
on the calculating guy
and so there comes a moment when

the circle is complete. It feels
as if some synergy should flow,
contingent on this brief attention
passing, each to each: instead,
the train slows as an automated
voice breaks in to tell us, 'the next
station will be Waterloo.'

 

 


DISCERNING TRAVELLERS

First April morning warm enough to sit
outside the cafe in the middle of the Gardens.
Two white-haired women, roll-necks
and pastel trousers, linger over coffee,
reminiscing at some length and
all too audibly about the quality
of breakfasts served to them
in hostelries that they have patronised
across the world and, in particular,
how well the bacon had been fried.

My only interest is just the question -
whether it reflects on me - on them -
that I am scarcely able to recall
with any sort of confidence
what kind of breakfast may have been
set out for me in Barcelona,
Bridlington or Santa Barbara,
let alone feel able to pass
retrospective judgement on the savour
of the rashers - whether they had been
crisped, or not, precisely to my liking?

 

 

AT THE MALL

The strains of afternoon piano music
filter from the fashion store
  -  She's a very emotional person  -

We sit beside the fountains which, I'm sure,
they'd like to hear described as 'plashing'
  -  ...a very emotional person  -

as they fall among the ornamental plants,
augmenting ambient shopping sounds.
  -  Is she confiding in him now?  -

At an adjacent table, where light slants down
into the atrium, two people talk -
  -  You think there's a bit of jealousy in there?  -

both in some sharp black working dress,
she thin, lank blond, rather long-faced
  -  That needs to be dealt with  -

Head shaved and thin moustache, he shows
a tendency to lead the conversation:
  -  I just think that she can be a little bit condescending  -

though periodically submerged in eager surges
of the boisterous, bright machine
  -  'Cos, I'm like.....O.K....you know?  -

busy whipping up another 'special' -
Mocha - Ice - Cookies & Cream.

           Tony Lucas 2008