By: C.G. Ward
The builders refurbishing the flat
below are producing replicas
of famous sights. Glimpsed behind
rubble, dusty cloths and the Gaudí
curves of bent radiator pipes are an MDF
Taj Mahal in the kitchen and the ceiling
of the Sistine Chapel lovingly reproduced
in the second bedroom; Michelangelo’s
The Last Judgement passing sentence
on any stray wasps attracted to the Coca-Cola
cans on the windowsill. I’ve seen the Polish
builder – the one with Weronika tattooed
in Cyrillic script across his nape – work
on something big whenever I turn away,
carefully hiding the piece in the shadowed
living room. Is it the Cutty Sark, complete
with longsails and bear-black timber,
the Eiffel Tower or an Aztec pyramid?
I sleep uneasily, knowing my head
could tumble down steps, the neighbours
paid off by the flat’s owner keen to understand
the many effects of art.
A massive solar flare
threatens to peel
the Earth, deep fry
whatever is left
and reduce the oceans
to a dipping sauce.
My parents never
turned the primary school
teacher who said
I would never amount
to anything into melted wax,
while I burned like an ant
under a magnifying glasses
taking whole forests
with me as I ran screaming
into the night.
No gateway to Narnia
or any childhood forest,
hideaway or bolthole.
Stores a mass of coats,
shirts and trousers
that could suffocate
quicker than a Bond nemesis.
Ignore Edvard Munch’s
The Scream in the grain
or one door slightly unhinged
in its later years, poised
to take the weight of everything
inside to keep the rest standing.
The 27 Club
Horses thundered over Seattle
when Cobain died. A Bengal tiger
roamed the Notting Hill streets
moments after Hendrix’s death.
Witnesses reported seeing rainbows
on the Los Angeles pavement
after Joplin’s death was reported.
Meteorologists were dumbfounded,
no plausible explanation given. God
dripped from the lips of every spray can.
The Seine turned into a water snake
on the hot July night of Morrison’s death
and, despite its placid nature, eyed
the drug dealers on the Rive Gauche
hungrily. Headlines screamed AMY
WINEHOUSE DEAD and I waited
for howling dogs to silence the city
while doves carried her into the night.
*The “27 club” – musicians who died when they were only 27
into the London snow
might not return”
my shivers say as I walk.
I pass snowflakes colonising
pavements and know
this is the first sign of regime
change. A man throws grit
outside the tube station,
every hand movement a gesture
for resistance. I shiver still,
think of the future, the incoming sky.
Christian Ward is a UK based writer who can be currently found in Culture Matters, Impspired and Poetry and Places. Future poems will be appearing in Sein Und Werden and Asylum Magazine.