It started when we stood hopefully,
with our thumbs outstretched
by an English roadside.
We were heading towards Italy and Yugoslavia
without maps or money,
or sense of direction.
And we made it to Italy.
and swam off the rocks,
with a man we’d met in a cafe,
because he said we could.
And we swam and swam until two policemen came,
(one very stern and one very twinkly),
and said we couldn’t.
Nor could we leave the rocks without clothes on,
or with clothes clinging to our still wet bodies,
or lie on the rocks until we were dry,
in case we disconcerted the traffic or populace.
This being the main street in Trieste.
And we made it to Pec and lived
in a house ‘typique du Turque’
with a water pump in the garden
and a toilet, also ‘Typique du Turque’,
which made us very ill indeed.
But the parties were good and
the conversations interesting,
Even though no one spoke English.
And we learned to speak some Albanian,
which was always handy.
And we survived to sit thirstily by a hot,
dusty roadside and fantasise
about the ice cold mountain water
streaming through the streets of Pec,
and even about the water pump in the garden.
And we made it back home.
We had got lost a lot,
but hadn’t got raped or murdered.
So far as we can remember.
First published by Silver Birch Press, Perfect Vacation Series, August 2015
First published by Silver Birch Press, in My Imaginary Skill series, June 2016 https://silverbirchpress.wordpress.com/2016/06/13/part-of-the-chorus-poem-by-lynn-white-my-imaginary-skill-poetry-and-prose-series/
Ripples of time gathering pace. Working up to the wave that crashed into me, propelled me forward and now sucks me back.
Thirteen decades. Back. To a place beyond my imagining, so tidy now after the crash. Gentrifiednow. Rippling gently.
But before, in my father’s time. There wasbeer mixed mud and crowding children. And smells of horses and metal. Working. Fire and metalwork.
Children who would leave behind the mud, and country smells, for the dust and smog. For the city grime. Streets and factories. More fire and metal. Bigger. Grander. And what then? Still poor. What then?
What secrets lie in those ripples of time washing over me
I shouldn’t have done it. I’ve always shunned the spotlight, always feared it. Unlike the horses and dogs who play the game, perform, do what’s expected by their human providers, by their audience. I’ve always been afraid of being seen onstage just in case I was taken short and golden notes fell from my arse and made rainbows brighter than the spotlight, upsetting the lighting engineers. I think we’re all the same, we unicorns, shy creatures. That’s why we’ve survived, hiding in dreams.
First published by Pilcrow and Dagger, January 2016