Saturday, 23 May 2009

POEM: Ella


flautist with brick-brown
curls twisted in snail
shapes; up close, she whisks
a scent of spicy ginger

from Wales – Cardiff or Llandudno,
I don’t know which. With a tiny
waist and squirrel eyes that dart,
surprised. Her chatter

rolls in ripples – excitable,
kooky. She pecks an apricot
while peering at me through
pale glassy greys...

in the lens of my camera
I glimpse the shadow of nipples
pressing cotton vest, as she leans
against the wall nibbling, munching

after some minutes, with a silky laugh
she offers a fork and says: ‘Yolanda,
come have some sushi.’ I uncurl
from my stoop, release the shutter
of the digital, and accept the invite.

Catherine Mark

Friday, 15 May 2009

POEM: Tram tempo

Tram tempo

A child with a fist plunged in his mouth,
a bundle of clothed rivulets nestled in his mother’s lap.
Beside them, an elderly man taps an umbrella
on the floor; it’s been spitting all day – the gathering gnashing
azure threatens a downpour later…

‘This is the Eccles service. The next stop is Ladywell.’

Ahead, a girl preens in front of a mirror, retrieved
from her stained clutch-bag, getting ready for her weekend.
To her right, a middle-aged man avoids the bulge of her breasts,
averts his eyes behind the spread of the Evening News. He sports
a broad wedding band and I imagine him
to be married to a Joanna or Julie,
living in a semi-detached house at the end
of a non-descript cul-de-sac.

As the tram jaunts onward, my mind veers to a time
when my life’s sextant calculated more than
the narratives of strangers –

a time when my life had character and plot.

Catherine Mark

Friday, 8 May 2009

Poem: Madness

The sun hovers, an unwanted guest,
he stands on the hillcrest – glaring

while my mind simmers – a pressure cooker
of black thoughts in black pot...

Then, serenity is my playmate
for a time, that too brief interlude

when the chirrup of blackbirds no longer
sounds like the drone of a four-wheel drive,

nor the yellow sprawl of azaleas
emerge as a grey net of frozen moths…

But the black thoughts shifting in my cerebral cortex
soon return. It is almost as if the blackness has been

watching and waiting to encircle me in its sap
of sinking sand, where we plunge and fuse with the dune.

Catherine Mark

Friday, 1 May 2009

POEM: Boundaries

Potent passion corralled
in a bullpen; penned by society,
defined by religiousness,
enforced by decorum.

Tantalizing, unspoken, illicit,
veiled; like the liaison between
a monk and a whore, or the sons
of God and the daughters of men,

freedom knocks, yet mocks
at the apex of the boundary
where insanity and sanity
become one – a Ferris wheel

promising to take the curious
somewhere but circles nowhere,
the ecstasy and agony
of knowing that I will never

be master of my own destiny.

Catherine Mark

ps. I took the photo of this Manchester Ferris Wheel a few weeks back :)