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Posts Tagged ‘Poetry’

14. USA

A cruel wind whipping papers and dust from the night before against my legs.
Old lady shuffling past.
A yell!
Fit young man sprints ahead, her handbag clutched under his arm.
Seconds later, a NYC mounted trooper gallops past on his mighty stead,
giving chase.
Surreal…..

Only in New York.

jpm (posted from Toirano, Italy)

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13. Morocco (Fez)

Dark, narrow, twisting, threatening.
Alleyways in the old town.
Mules push past improbably.
I stumble sideways under another archway.
Nostrils prickle, assaulted by the stench of the Tannery ahead.
Bubbling, mediaeval vats, vivid yellow and red dyed skins, scraped clean on the earth, basking their stink in the bleaching sun.

jpm

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12. Indonesia (Sulawesi)

Seated with care in the esteemed guest’s position,
itinerant strangers shepherded in to honour The Dead.
The squealing of sacrificial pigs exploding up through the floorboards.
There we squirm, eyeballing the black cardboard coffin.
Garlands of flowers, not quite masking the slightly sweet aroma of humid, three day old death.

jpm

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11. Egypt (Giza Pyramid)

I’m folded over, shuffling upwards at a 45° angle, my nose inches from the bum ahead.  The stifling, dank air nothing to the claustrophobia – which is naught to the dent the 3000 year old roof puts in my head when the man behind me fondles my captive bum, in delight.

jpm

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10. Pakistan

There’s nothing worse than being kidnapped inadvertently.  Wrong place, wrong time.  Karachi 1995.  Dangerous times.  Rationalising my heart out until I couldn’t deny it any longer – I was definitely in strife.  Until.  A mutual realisation of mistaken identity dawned on my accidental captor and me……  Halle-bloody-lullah!  Now I can laugh.

jpm

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Bouncing maniacally down the middle of the road.
No man’s land either side.
Can’t step left
Can’t step right
Mines everywhere except the cleared road.

Busting.  Holding on.
No good.
Have to pee.
Nothing for it.

Driver stops. Out I tumble.
Squat!
Middle of road.
Modesty less worthy than survival.

jpm

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8. Canada (Algonquin Lakes)

Erupting from a cloud of
VORACIOUS midges,
We paddle our tinny canoe
furiously
around the next bend,
Glen swearing all the way
his skin exploding in itchy welts.

Too late!

We’re eyeball to kneecap with
A skyrise
of unmoving mooseflesh,
Chawing away disdainfully
on his midstream morning tea
of waterlily.

jpm

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7. Jordan

It is the silence of the night desert that remains with you.
Deep in Wadi Rum,

The stars swallowing the sands.

Until the surreal moment,
When a company of Jordanian foot soldiers
Materialises from the north,
Clanking along in the night cool.

Assalamu Alaikum!

Then fading.

Into the startled moonlight.

jpm

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6. Malawi (2004)

The red dust rose around the plain wooden box
as the coffin-maker finished his work
at the side of the road into Blantyre.

Competition for scarce wood was fierce
in Malawi’s only growth industry,
ruling out the fancy decorations of old.
Perfunctory maybe,
but Michael’s carpentry held spirits in thrall.

jpm

Coffin Maker outside his workshop, Malawi (image by Rob Noble, courtesy of international HIV/AIDS charity, AVERT: www.avert.org)

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5. Turkey (far north-east, 1990)

The dolma was stuffed.
Heaving with humanity and its trappings.
Wheezing over the mountain pass.

Another woman and her produce by the side of the road.
Impossible!
No way!

Muttering in the back, general shuffling.
Still no way.
Claire squeezes onto my lap.  General approval all round.

Room for another.

jpm

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