Monday, 27 April 2020

Recent online manifestations

The last few days have seen a little flurry of online appearances -  in Two Rivers Press's ongoing Poet of the Week series and in two international online readings.
The Two Rivers Press piece includes two poems of mine plus some thoughts on writing and a video of me reading the poem 'Portishead' from my TRP collection 'Recreation Ground' in our living room in Sofia. You can link to that here.
On Sunday I was one of more than 30 poets who took part in the United World of Poetry event online. Poets from Japan to the USA, India to Brazil and many a European country took part, reading their work in English, their native language (with translation into English) or both. You can watch the whole thing or dip in and out of the recording here.
And on Saturday I joined another international reading, Prozor u svijet (Window on the World), this time mostly with poets from SE Europe, as well as Italy (and SE European poets living elsewhere in the world), so most of the readings are in one of the Slavic languages, with some English readings. Again, you can watch the whole thing or dip in and out of the recording by following this link.

Sunday, 19 April 2020


In the absence of the right temperament,
I’m astonished by the arrival
of a pair of black swifts,
screeching towards early evening,
disappearing, appearing again,
heralds of summer, of change,
here in a world that’s already changed.
The path from fear to irritation and from
irritation to longing’s unknown to them,
just the route between suns,
one over Africa, one over here.
Faced with their clean energy,
I’m ashamed: my inertia
on another long slow afternoon.

It can’t be the beginning
because nothing has ended.
Time passes unpredictably
and attempts to understand events
are like attempts to sew
clothing without needles and pattern.
And right here on the abandoned pavement
between home and the non-stop shop,
it’s as if the only things
which might make sense
aren’t ordinary human sounds,
but the sweet shrieks of these birds
that are winding through the sky
like signs of an alternative future.

Saturday, 11 April 2020

Archaeological dig

Boots thud cobbles, march time, match day; things best not to be messed with. Received lack of wisdom. Xeroxed polemics. Keep it simple - the message. Let actions emerge with no instruction. Tactical denial possibilities, strategic rebuttal. Frayed denim, tattooed skull, fixed grimace, sweat: what, us, your honour?

And thus the aforementioned does hereby and justly request an occasion for the restitution of honour in accordance with the constitution, deeds, articles and clauses of our respective guilds and societies, namely …

Cul-de-sac lock-ups. Concrete chipped on girders, rust patches, sheened puddle, dog crap, grass sprouts. Arrays of warriors, improvised weaponry. The stand-off, reiteration of causes and entitlements, the shout, alarums, the charge. Imagined as Agincourt.

Attestations in annals in the form of: witness statements, police reports, hospital records, personal medical records, police statements, news-in-brief articles, legal affidavits. A notable absence of: eulogies, elegies, odes, battle hymns, epic poetry. Graffiti citation found with scuff marks, skid marks, stains, splinters, shards, bone fragments: Ere we do em (erased).