Friday, 25 November 2016

Столът/The chair

Typically, I find it – this vantage –
on the all-but-last day I’m here.
I should have known. I’ve seen
the chairs put out for passers-by
on the forecourts of shops,
the pensioners with legs akimbo
beside the speckled hearts        
of water melon, the graded ranks
of tomatoes. And here,
at the neighbourhood’s edge,
I’m on a chair with wisteria trails
shading out the sunshine
on this almost last day of August,
with the traffic all but gone
and the end-of-season goalmouths
bruising the field where neighbours
walk their dogs. The city –
and its business – is that way,
past the trees whose roots explode
through the pavement, the café,
the cosmetic surgery clinic.
It won’t be long before I go,
but for the moment there’s this chair
and the open space
and that radio on a building site
which is playing a song
that once we thought was our own.

Image: Marina Shiderova; text: Tom Phillips

Friday, 18 November 2016

Сезоните на Живота/Seasons of Life

Well, for me, of course,
it's autumn – that sting
of age and what I’m part of.

In the room that’s still open,
I’m doing my best to hold on:
flies delve into plums
and that’s just what they do.

The brows of ships nose out
into a harbour beyond the point.
I came home once
and I had none of it.

But that was me just saying
how old I might have been.

Image: Marina Shiderova; text: Tom Phillips

Friday, 11 November 2016

Приключенията на една улица/The adventures of a street

Even the trees have some disquiet.
At the slightest disturbance, our dog
takes shelter, growling under my desk.
Circumstances close in. It’s as if,
in that downtown apartment,
the dripping geyser forewarned
apocalypse – or the afternoon music,
blaring out from some distant radio,
was soundtracking a situation
that I would never be able to grasp.

You can see the wood for the trees,
if you choose to – but that’s not
what I’ve been told and told again.
In the shadows of trees in the park,
we've found some space where,
flipping off caps from bottles of cider,
we can talk. Elsewhere, over the city,
the planes fly in and tomorrow
another bunch of people will be here.

The trams ruck and fret across old lines.
Clutching the handrail down into the metro,
I’m pretending there’s been no change.
At the ticket machine, there isn’t.
I bob and weave my barcode at the reader
and then take myself back up to the street.
I can walk home from here and count
the trees which unwittingly punctuate
the journey from downtown to home.

Image: Marina Shiderova; text: Tom Phillips

Friday, 4 November 2016

Ето/Here Is

Doing my best to remember
what's changed, I’m back
at the point before the point
when it happened:
a memory skirts the horizon
like a grace note.

Here is …
the colour of regret,
the geography of loss,
the physics of departure,
the thing that I was doing
just before the moment
you shouted for that knife
and here I am,
handing it over.

From here to wherever,
the flowers cling to granite,
assert themselves, flourish –
like a kind of relief.

Image: Marina Shiderova; text: Tom Phillips