Tuesday, December 19, 2006

from The Poetry Challenge A Bunch of Flowers and a Packet of Condoms

I've had a couple of comments from friends about the blog. As a result I shall be posting a couple of poems from the challenge now and will try to update the blog every two weeks rather than four. I miss the one hundred word project but the poetry challenge is quite demanding. I am working on about twenty poems at the moment.

So here are a couple of very recent poems from the challenge. One friend commented on, A Bunch of Flowers and a Packet of Condoms, saying it was the best poem she had seen from the challenge so far. I'm not so sure its even a poem.

These two poems are a short sequence and were written together.

Hope you like them.

Happy Christmas

A Bunch of Flowers and a Packet of Condoms

That first time at the checkout
he was pissed.
A basket full of condoms, Stella and Whiskey
and his mates
wildly pushing their way
to the front of the queue
shouting slurred and angry at everything.

But her eyes
filled the numbed wreckage
of his thoughts.

When he was outside
he looked back at her
through the big windows.

The second time
just the paper and fags.
Alone he waited –quietly
and choked out a thank you
as she dropped the change into his hand.

The third time he chose more carefully.
Baked beans and a microwave meal for one,
she made her customer smile
but he didn’t believe it.

He thought there was more.

So he came back the next day to check.
Bought chocolates and offered her one.
He said something about the weather
then wished he’d said nothing
as she moved on to the next one.

Once he thought he saw her in Woolworth’s
and he followed her for a while.

Then he came in at the weekend.
Casual, jeans, clean T shirt
The store filled with families
and their juggernaut trolleys, overflowing.
In his basket, CD’s The Kooks and Kaiser Chiefs.
He was serious,
and worried that she was Rap and R & B.

On Tuesday he filled the basket with fruit.
Stuff he’d never eat.
Large Medjool dates, ripe mangos
and small fur green looking eggs
he didn’t know the name of.
But the smell was sweet and rich
as he watched her carefully weigh
and price each one.

He thought about her
with the fruit in a bowl
while he drew a mango to his lips.

He thought about her at work
and driving home.
He thought about her in the pub on Saturday night
with his mates
and Sunday morning in the shower.

On Friday he thought about her
in the long agonizing queue.
In his basket,
red roses, the chocolates
and a packet of condoms
and when he faced her
and looked into those eyes
that seemed to swallow him whole.
He said, “these are for you,
what time do you finish here?”

© David Loffman

I Carry A Knife Now

Once he thought he saw her in Woolworth’s
and he followed her for a while.”

Afterwards I never felt safe. Never!
Even though I moved away.
I ain’t stupid!

I always keep it with me.


Lates is worse!

Though I still wake nights
screaming, tears in me eyes.

No one knows me here
though I’m always lookin over me shoulder.
I can’t be sure.

Like yesterday, lunch.
I’m in Woolworth’s and I see this face.
He looks familiar.
He clocks me.
Can’t place him though.
Looks a’right s’pose.
But I can’t be sure
so I try and lose him.

But he’s following.
And I lose me breath
and I’m all hot n cold
and me heart’s like thumpin hard.
Fuck! I think
and I run out the store.

Razor must ave sent him.
Dunno ow e found me.

When I get back I just wanna leave.
I’m not hangin round here.
I tell Janice, the superviser.

She says if I leave on Saturday
she’ll pay me the week
which is good cos of the rent and stuff.

But I can’t wait.
Maybe I’ll just go.
I’m like so scared.

© David Loffman

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