Visual Verse

Kerfe has just pointed out to me that we both had pieces selected to appear in last month’s Visual Verse magazine. I hadn’t noticed. Kerfe’s poem and my short prose piece are together, which has happened before and I like that. You can read mine here.

The Quai de Brazza at Bordeaux has been tidied up beyond recognition. From a crumbling relic of the city’s past glory as a rich commercial port, the overgrown cobbles and tramlines have been covered in tarmac paths for cyclists to whizz along, screaming at walkers to get out of the way. There are lawns where colonising saplings were starting a forest, and the old port warehouses are fancy coffee shops or boho hangouts.

It seems like a terrible shame to me, but land is expensive in the city and if there’s a buck to be made, someone will work out how.

Propaganda

What with Paul Brookes’ poetry challenge and NaPoWriMo, I didn’t get around to posting this one that was published in April’s Visual Verse. Thanks to the team for choosing it.

Propaganda

I wonder what she’s trying to prove,
the statue, athlete, red, her perfect symmetry.
Like the tiger, she burns bright.

I wonder why they put her there,
looking out to sea, poised like Nijinsky,
juggling with her Olympic hoops.

Who is she gesturing at across the sunset
water, where ordinary folk like me come
to watch the tide come in?

With her hoops and her unitard, red
as blood, I can almost hear her shout,
but I don’t understand the words.

It’s only when the sun goes down, and
the rays slant across the water, slipping
through the hoops, pinning her to the sky,

and the gulls circle in a mocking wreath
about her head, and the tide rises and slops
around her points, that I understand—

the posturing is clutching at past glories,
a blind Arno Breker gathering only
indifference, points, poise, irrelevant.

Such immensity of water can never be conquered,
no matter how much red she spills, how high she holds
her banners. The crowds have all gone home.