Francesca

The first time ever I saw your face
I stood agape
Saw myself in tiny form
Making sense
Yet so surreal

The first time ever I saw your face
I laughed aloud
Locks of hair around your head
Little monk
Revered by us

The first time ever I saw your face
I knew nothing
Sensitive to fear itself
First time mum
to Francesca

Memories of Hong Kong (80s/90s)

(Work in progress)

Concrete jungle, land of my father
Morning fog across the harbour
Bamboo scaffold scraping skies
Skyscrapers compete for size
In a city constructed but never complete

Neon lighting electric dreams
Expansion taken to extremes
Dirty cockroach-infested alleys
Horses racing in happy valleys
Startled by guns in the searing noonday heat

Toothless drivers pulling rickshaws
Foreign devils on guided tours
Old colonials in safari suits
Street vendors selling oversized fruits
Sticky and smelly, durian putridity

Public transport most exemplary
All the buses; PL, K and C
Ferries cross harbours to islands green
Jetcats and foils to a land unseen
Through a wall of thick and stifling humidity

Sunset junk rides to fisherfolk cafes
Weekend getaways for office staff
Seaside seafood snacks served swiftly
Intoxication comes by briskly
Hungover Sabbaths, repenting intemperance

Clams (Hong Kong style) atop spaghetti
Feeling green on unsteady jetty
Welcome breezes from South China seas
On land, Wanchai bound, explicit sleaze
They love you long time for temporary romance

Backgammon, mahjong played in the dark
Slow motion throng, tai chi in the park
Harmonic movements, sight to behold
Aged acquaintances, teeth of gold
Cleansing beansprouts in baskets at first light of dawn

Decisions and desires

I opened my mouth to speak
And you hushed me

You let me speak a few words
Before you made an assumption
of what I might say

You began your defence
You made excuses

I tried to speak
You continued your excuses
Until I hushed you

Finally you let me speak

And it was only then
that you understood
I was trying to help

Yet when I open my mouth to speak
Once more you hush me
You make your assumption

And again and again
You dream up
An entire hoard of excuses

Now I do not speak

I stay silent
For it is only in my silence
That you do not attack me with pointless justifications

You made decisions for me
What was once we is I
Your decision, your choice

Now I will speak
I will decide for myself
Desire for myself

Thirteen ways of looking at …

I
Robots cut metal
Precision shapes and sizes
One, two, three, four, five

II
Men in overalls
Shielded faces from the arc
Pieces together

III
Bright scarlet powder
Spraying in plastic-coated booth
Colour beautiful

IV
Rounded, from China
Fit to your undercarriage
Full mobility

V
Recycled plastic
Little beads re-used for you
Thrown into machine

VI
Rotomoulded lids
Hung to dry on pulleyed wires
Cooled to perfection

VII
Steady assemblage
All together now, complete
Ready for new homes

VIII
What is in a name?
A ruby Continental
Eleven hundred


IX
What about the kids?
Let us paint one black and white
To look like a cow

X
Who is this one for?
Design the logo, stick it
To the side forthwith

XI
Calls from the councils
“Give us our goods, thirty please”
Get them on the truck

XII
Destination: towns
Throughout the entire country
Filling up the streets

XIII
Filling up with trash
Useless items now disposed
Feeding the landfill

Here we go a’wandering

Leaving butterflies behind
Tudor buildings
Mangos, goblets
Man goes
Globlets of spit on pavements
Black and white crossing
Men in black playing chicken
White cars join the club
Picnickers bathe on blankets, in the sun
Poets abound, notebooks in hand

Cigarette smoking bus drivers
Stranding their passengers
Red, red, yellow
Brown, cream, green
Unseen behind trees
Fittings of light, unlit
Book-filled building
Lego mania
Fountain spray with chlorine stench
Arses sitting on bus stop bench

Empress of London
Awaiting her fare
New road layout ahead
Ticket-giving lady in yellow
Shouldn’t have left your car there

Flattened bluebells
Once bold, now old
Food for bees, blossom on trees
Balls bouncing, lollies licked
Humped back lay rifling the bin
Makes park bench her home
Lying, crying, blanket-covered
Shaded from the sun

Pointed spires, towering cranes
Cuboid structures, sculptured fag end collection
Within the biggest ashtray in the park

Green-topped clock tower
Half-past three
Ding! Dong!
Disembodied voices echo from another block
Privet hedges, spiked chains
Quartered rose gardens

Oh!  Black pole of guidance
Show me the way to the
law courts, hospital… anywhere nice?

Mushroom-topped trees
Puzzlingly purporting to be of simian origin
Dogs blinding leading the blind
Acorns on pillars
Beatniks in blue
Paint my nails uniquely
Cut my hair in the urban trend
Designer coiffeur
Brings me back to the butterflies

Poor me!

“Please help me”, he cried,
and I stood by his side
“Help me, then help me some more”
I let him offload;
his problems so flowed
until helping became just a chore

“Why do you not help?”
His voice was a yelp
“I cannot until you decide
to take some advice
and not even think twice
about dropping your ego and pride”

He looked quite perplexed,
and what happened next
was bewildering to say the least
He fell at my feet
and continued to bleat
of the troubles he had with his ‘beast’

“I’ll say just once more
before I turn a bore
You must drop your pride or face the fall”
Yet still he could not
understand what he ought
And he hammered his fist through the wall

I looked and then sighed.
Could I still be his guide
or must he abide with his lot?
I was keen to assist,
but he would so persist
in not helping himself – not a jot

He was lost in his mind,
he just could not unwind
My vigour was all but deplete
I could now sink or swim;
go all out on a limb
Try to ‘fix’ him or concede defeat

The bubble then burst
as I chose to put first
My own needs above his complications
Now I feel so content
at my rapid ascent
Having built up some solid foundations

What I’m trying to say
in my own little way
Is that sometimes you just can’t succeed
When you’re fighting alone
at what others bemoan
And they’ve no real desire to be freed

When feeding off kindness,
a strange type of blindness
can overcome those who can’t see
that they DO have a choice
and the right to rejoice
no matter what others decree