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.

Looking for Wilde Stars – Vincent Edward Manda

blackfriars-rail-bridge-edit

On the land

We dug up and replaced the jungle

With concrete structures

Spewing effervescent lights,

While in the skies

We stole the stars

And put in their place

Lit up planes

Ferrying us to distant shores

Like Charon did the damned.

 

All through our descent

Deeper into a chasm

Where even the North Star is invisible,

We mix our air

With the fumes of industry, progress

And celebration

At turning our concrete jungles

Into one hollow land

Made up of

Monolithic glass structures

Reflecting the effervescent lights

Devouring the diamonds of our skies,

 

Taking them directly into

The clogged gutters of our dream kingdom,

This creation of ours;

Our very own never ending valley of dying stars.

A Dream – Vincent Edward Manda

We stole grains from the sandman

To make our dreams

Last a little longer

And for a while,

The moon stopped running

To smile upon our fantasies

 

Before hastening away

On her cold trail

Which would soon

Be set ablaze

By her jilted paramour,

Who enwrought in the

Dreaded light of understanding

Pursued her hotly.

 

As the red sun

Kissed the sleeping hills

Beyond the river we never crossed

We saw dreams pave way

For reality

And realised that

Even the longest night

Abounding in tempered kisses

And passionate embraces,

Comes to end.

Words – Vincent Edward Manda

On one hand

They are meaningless,

 

Just words.

 

On the other

They are what you’re selling,

What you need to buy,

What you want to give

And what you’d like to receive.

 

Push, purloin, dispose of or pillage,

 

Words are everything and nothing,

Sticks and stones.

 

No, they aren’t food,

But they are a means to food, water and air…

 

They’re steaks sizzling in the pan,

Rivers feeding the earth,

Winds whispering through leaves or

Shit slowly circling the putrid, partially blocked sewer.

 

Words are life and death,

 

Or, to be pedantic

Death and life are words,

 

Just words.

The City Dreams – Vincent Edward Manda

The city’s dirty sounds:

Like the devil’s waste water

Streaming down the dead leaf

Carpeted streets

To drip into clogged gutters

 

And the sickly sounds

Of stray dogs, cats and foxes

Scrapping over and in dumpsters,

 

The alcohol fuelled cacophony

Of slurs and distended shouts

Hinting at fights never starting

Or crescendos of

Toothy, bloody brawls

Finally punctuated by fatigued police sirens

 

And the frustrated

Night’s ambitions, the rushes of

Stilettos in hand,

Girls on shoulders,

Fence and gate clambering

In the stifled closing time stampede

To the next event,

Twenty four hour booze shop,

Last bus or first train

 

Where the glaring contest of judgement

Between tired zombies of the day

And worn out vampires

Swearing to never drink again

Commences.

 

These are the sounds

That reveal a city’s heart,

These are the sounds

That lull a city to eternal sleep,

 

These are the sounds

That ask it to join the ranks

Of cities that lived before it;

Old cities now slumbering in

Death’s dream kingdom

Forever awaiting one last sunrise

In that buried valley of forgotten stars

Where none claim

To have seen

The city’s surprising departure.

 

These are the sounds

That make my heart beat and weep;

The sounds of my dreaming city.

Naked Ladies – Amy

stuck to this night
to this summer
to this endless summer
which sounds idyllic and hot, so hot
but really it’s just sticky and wet
cut grass and drizzle
naked ladies in the grey evening
english hedges peeking
a century gone by, we didnt notice
fountains turn water around
and around, forever water
the thames slips by, unnoticed
a silver banner waved in the background
of the game
never centre-stage
only the bridge to the place
i always wanted to visit
sunken lawn, now I’m dreaming
the sky lit up like burnt amber
we cant see the sun
but the sky…
the trees are alight
no smoke just fire
over the river
eel pie overcooked
no-one else is here
no-one else can find us
a secret garden, like the book
but no kids, just a
coke bottle in the fountain
not so poetic, but what is
can certain materials not be included
in this poem
with the silken lilies
the fifty shades of green
moss, weed, grass, leaf,
my jealousy

Pub talk – Amy

A short conversation with one guy

10 mins later

he leaves the pub

with that classic line

‘behave yourself’

oh yes

I’ll behave myself

when you keep your dick in your pants

your tongue in your mouth

your mind outta the gutter.