Morning

Every movement above us, the ceiling
cracks in protest, we cuddle closer,
I smother giggles in the sticky sheets.

With morning bright behind the curtain,
I stand with just my skin to clothe
what the light seeks to outline.

Swiftly I slot into the sunlit bathroom,
fail to draw the blinds, but with veins
still flush with gin, I barely care.

The Singing Blues – Vincent Edward Manda

It’s the smell of decay

Following the way

Making up the footsteps

Of my day.

 

It is the smell of years spent

Chasing the ideals of a money tree

In the concrete place

We all call home.

 

The numbers appear and disappear,

Just as the hungry

Appear and disappear;

The numbers, they dance

To the songs of loose change falling

Into a coffee cup.

 

The numbers, they dance

To the sound of spare change

Ringing on the counter top

In exchange for whiskey,

Tissues and food.

 

The numbers they dance,

Unaware of the blues,

Unaware of the evil,

The evil of dreaming higher

Than the nothing you have;

The nothing you are.

 

And the blues, the blues they sing

Of historic troubles undreamt of,

 

They sing of the decay

Making hearts weep for days,

They sing of footsteps

Leading to no place.

 

The blues, they sing

Of what’s always been known

And never acknowledged.

 

And the numbers, they dance

To a master that isn’t your pocket.

 

And all the while

Each second

Seeps into the gutter,

Until you are drowned so far

You can’t even see the stars.

Five Thousand – Vincent Edward Manda

Five thousand cigarettes

And I am still here,

 

One thousand whiskeys

And I am still here,

 

Ten thousand beers

And I am still here

 

A million thoughts

Running every minute,

Providing ten million opportunities,

 

Why am I still here?

Why am I still here?

Why am I still here?

 

When the silence

Whispers so softly.

The Cave – Vincent Edward Manda

Spring brought the sun

Months later than foreseen.

They’d forgotten their sister time

And danced together, along

With Autumn and Summer,

To ethereal Nordic music played

In the midnight sun;

Their colourful skirts swirling

Amidst northern lights.

 

In a cave further south

A bear awoke promptly

To find all covered in darkness;

A thick wall of ice

Blocked the entrance to her cave.

 

For weeks, from behind this ice wall,

She watched salmon skipping up streams,

Heard the colourful music of flowers and bees

And smelt the enticing promise of honey

Hidden high up in trees

Whose bark she’d use

To scratch her itching back,

 

But winter had stayed

To cradle her head day after day

In the dark, frozen cave

Until one night

She dreamed her last dream

Of salmon dancing out to sea

While the flowers wilted and their petals,

Riddled with caterpillar holes,

Were carried off

Into dark tunnels by

Droves of emaciated ants.

 

When summer came

The maggots had

Turned into flies

And worms in the bear’s brain

Crawled out from patches of parsley

Growing in its eye sockets and

Into fishermen’s hands,

 

While somewhere far away

A man wrapped the lemon and dill drizzled

Carcass of an Atlantic salmon

In foil and placed it on a charcoal lit,

Tulip shaped barbeque stand.

16 December 2016 – Vincent Edward Manda

When against a

Sky of dreams

Tree limbs

Resemble phantom smoke

From forest fires,

I would pluck a

Moonlit yellow tulip’s shadow

That bees

May bathe endlessly in the

Rooted, breathing flower’s

Fragrance filled air

While we share

Some of its

Dusky beauty.

The Upside Down House by the Canal – Vincent Edward Manda

 

camden-flats1camden-flats3camden-flats2

Above, where waters reflect

A blue sky slightly tainted grey,

 

In between, where all

Is an unresolved mess,

 

Or below, where the windows to many souls

Are reflected on the water’s surface,

 

Where is it

That dreams lie in wait

For weary eyes

Hidden beneath the water’s face?

A story Lived Here – Vincent Edward Manda

It was worse

Than watching that last twenty pound note

Meant to tide you over coming weeks

Fall out of your pocket

And float in hot, flushed air

Signalling an oncoming

Piccadilly line train

As you put your oyster away.

 

Much worse

Than watching trains

Pull away

To reveal your piece of paper

Turned into Hors D’eouvre

Served to a rat

In that exclusive restaurant

Between live tracks.

 

Worse than

Walking hungry

Past smells of

Friday night kebabs and quid burgers,

Sober, right through boulevards lined

With music, frenzied dancers and booze.

 

It was almost as bad

As walking into the

Darkened, silent house

Clinging to a fading scent

Emanating from dusty shelves;

 

An essence particular to her perfume,

 

That faint memory dwelling in a home

After all the books

Are closed.

Last Day by the River – Vincent Edward Manda

To while away

Jobless seconds so precious

In a world other than my own

I sat, hungry, by the bewitching riverside,

Baking in the city’s heavily polluted air

With a book in one hand,

A pint of poison in the other,

And one long, strong piece of taut rope

Tied an end to one foot, the other to a rock

Then thrown deep into the middle,

 

All the while

With a mouldy cigarette burning between my lips.

 

The smells of

International foods sizzling

Brought the story I read

To life;

Buttered corn on the cob

From South Africa,

Mexican Chilli,

Paella,

Indian flame grilled stuffs,

Schnitzel,

Italian dough,

Smoked eel

Portuguese rolls,

Curry goat,

Oxtail,

Texan hog roast,

Real Irish stew,

Fried honey plantain,

Cordon bleu

Garlic sautéed oyster

And for the most

Spilt, pooled and stagnant

Strong English cider,

 

That story was as alive

As the flowing river

Whispering seductively into my ear,

And the unsatiated monster growling in my belly.

 

I didn’t take my eyes

From the many pages

Until an unfamiliar scent stole my attention

And bid me:

“Let’s lie by the riverbed rocks

As the tide rises

And watch the sun

Break into a million little stars,

Then make love

To oblivion

Under the pale gaze of

The sun’s constant night time companion.”

The Dawn of a New Age – Vincent Edward Manda

That night we drank

As though the dawn

Would bring not the sun,

But a perpetual silence

Broken not even by the

Quiet mourning of birds

That wished to weep

But knew not what

They had lost.

 

In truth, our drinking

Was a silent affair

Punctuated only by the cracking sounds

Of opening cans

And lighters to cigarettes.

 

The four of us

Sat around the table together

Breathing each other’s air

And looking into each other’s eyes,

Yet were alone and lost

In our thoughts;

Unsure as to what

The morning would bring.

A Simpler Time/Make…Great Again – Vincent Edward Manda

Back in the day,

Back in the day,

Back in the day…

 

Ah, back in the day

I was an abomination,

The offspring of an

Unholy and inhuman union

Between the races.

 

Back in the day you:

The writer, the poet, the journalist,

And you:

The accountant, the soldier, the dreamer,

 

Back then; whatever the tone of your skin,

You couldn’t even read or write!

 

Back in the day

Your knees were worn

And your back bent.

Back in the day

Your eyes knew the bull’s shit

And never dared steal

Glances at rainbows

In the presence of your betters.

 

Back when times was for

King and queens

And ours was

Hung, drawn and quartered.

 

Back in those long seasons,

That never ended for some.

Seasons of side sickness and plague,

Small pox and cholera,

Polio and malaria…

 

Back in that simple time

When thirty was old age

And grandparents were never seen

By the likes of you and me.

 

Back in the day

They lived in the present,

And someday soon

Our glorious dreams,

Of a bright and peaceful future

Full of food

Will be longings

From back in the day.

 

Back in the day

Will be a time when

Women and minorities

Worked twice as hard

For half as much,

While the women from minorities

Worked even harder for much less.

 

Back in the day

Will be an age

When FIFA 16

Was better than PES2016,

A time

When a self proclaimed genius

Butchered Queen

And threatened Bowie…

It’ll be a time to ask why

Fresh food was discarded

Amidst world hunger.

 

Alas, I can’t predict the future

But I can imagine a scene

From the time of our descendants;

A time with cures for cancer and AIDS

Wherein some writer, poet, journalist,

Accountant, soldier or dreamer

Will gasp for oxygen

And wonder what tree bark

Felt like against the skin,

 

All the while

Longing for Universal Healthcare.