from Falling Off
A port somewhere and a solitary traveller. His eyes on the hubbub and flags
of convenience. This strange sunlight after six months inside.
Maybe in black and white but still there seems colour. A picture near sea
carries freedom of light and escape.
Say the Black Sea, which Greeks entered in fear: barely saline, barbarous
tribes, undrinkable wine.
The details don't matter though.
From my childhood, it's
colours which bring tears.
Their optimism, the orange and greens:
days of sunburn and rolling on grass.
High blues on the Gower in a Day-Glo bus,
flint-granite battlements then sand dunes.
The blue always receding,
even its depths promise light.
Men slowly tied with wire,
about to be shot on a beach.
One removes his shirt,
blinking at the camera.
Robin Denselow, sotto voce as the rifles fired -
'And some of them took a long
time to die...'
It was Newsnight, 1980, Liberia,
by the blue and beautiful Atlantic.
I allowed to talk of how
I meet you now in dreams?
On holiday, you constantly checking
flights, times, the days remaining:
how many and what we have still to do.
Since your death, all my dreams have been insane.
Last night's, a picaresque gangster
starts in feverish alleys off the High Street.
I'm recruited into the
moving to half-sinister London -
Bayswater, Bloomsbury and U.C.H.
My mentor, displayed to me throat slashed wide,
bound in the back of a white transit van, still alive,
begs revenge - not old Hamlet, more Battling Kite.
Various gashings, cut-throat escapades.
I drive the stolen van through the Brunel
bus station, Slough - imprisoned, hostaged,
dowager lunatics, a Paddington tenement.
Sure to awake, whatever happens next.
THE PLOT UNCOVERED
Evicted from a car in east London,
the tube lines are all strange and water is
flowing down steps. Trains head east, I jump
on board - lose any faith, fight some way out.
Hurdling four barriers to get alley-chased
down a quiet slum street with open doors
into the sparse rooms of a Slavic terrorist,
adorned with charts, plans, death threats,
by a calendar with dates counting down
to three assassinations, as we three - his
estranged family - wait in a boiler room
with Islamic slogans. He returns and
no one recognizes him, not his family
nor the police, until we realize it's me.
SO HERE WE ARE NOW
In a language without words;
plosive, guttural, screams from
mouths minus their teeth, patients
dragged along corridors, then
the high dome of desert noon.
A place for farewell, swift as
a dagger's cut, spilt phrases,
a face, bewildered at
this final leaving.
No place to return here.
A long sun drops over
corvid fields - open to
© Paul Sutton 2014