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,


Indian flame grilled stuffs,


Italian dough,

Smoked eel

Portuguese rolls,

Curry goat,


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.”


his name rhymes with ‘mince’. He’s rarely without a notebook and can usually be found next to the closest bottle of red wine. Previously a writer for The Roehampton Lane Journal.

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