Chris Hemingway – three poems

How it Starts

as a prompt,
a current,
mis-spelt glances
borrowed words.
Like a spot of dust,
surrounding itself with ice.
Which will melt,
unless chilled to paper.

But writing “a snowflake”
isn’t easy.
“It’s like this” you say,
tracing honeycomb webs with your fingers.
And hail is harder still,
attention-seeking.
tapping at the tightwound windows,

So you document the flakes and stones,
and hope to be discovered,
stored and catalogued,
in a prestigious freezer.


5.45 pm, The Cross

Neustift Goats have gone.
Now it’s more tumbleweed
than artisan cheese.

Terry lifts up his collar
to keep out the rain.
Thinks about Susan, and the evening ahead,
the Early Bird Special at the Korma Chameleon.

Each passer-by is darkened by the dusk,
he tries to find the middle ground
between alertness and eye contact.
Cashpoint vigilance.

He glances down
at the rainbow streaks in the gutter.
And wonders what a diesel spill
is doing in a pedestrian zone.


The Twist

“Ok,” he said,
“we could dream of childhood homes.
Till some miserable vicar
bashes on the cell door
with a bible and breakfast.

We could hide from shadows
in misty mansions,
or oddly-magnetised islands.
More haunted than haunting.

I could be a giant statue
buried in the sand .
As you approach
with a horse and loincloth.”

“Steady on mate,”
she said,
“I was only asking you for a dance.
It goes like this.”


Chris Hemingway is a poet and songwriter from Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. He has self-published two collections on lulu.com: The Future, a prose collection, and Cigarettes and Daffodils, a compilation of song lyrics and poetry.

He is on the organising Board for Cheltenham Poetry Festival and co-runs the Squiffy Gnu blog and Facebook poetry prompt group.

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Chris Hemingway – three poems

The Digital Diceman

My phone has unpredictive text
and I go with the flow.

Each day is an adventure.
Every update is pulled from a brantub.
Every answer sits on a fortune wheel.

I’ve had marriage proposals,
And received injunctions,
sometimes within the same day.
Libel lawyers invite me
to fundraising dinners.
I’m now an MEP.

The phone company
keep offering me replacements,
(apparently there is such a thing
as bad publicity).
But I couldn’t accept.
It knows me better
than I know myself.


In a Doo-wop Night

Caught in a mirror,
Johnny stalks the pool table
in shortening circles.
Light catches candles
in the chapel window.
Somewhere there is satin.

Kohl smudges on screenprint pillows.
Terri’s face pressed against the window.
Miles apart, held in splitscreen.
It’s raining, both sides of the town.

Bass, tenor, syncopated,
she straightens the sleeves.
Though he still sings
“What Kind of Fool am I?”
I guess she always knew.


Unmapped

An orbit, as December ends,
the cloud cover parts to show
brief ersatz stars,
cheers of celebration (and relief).
Circling the globe,
midnight by midnight.

365, 366, a point.
Unfixed, uncharted.
It’s not rocket science,
it’s better than that.


Chris Hemingway is a poet and singer-songwriter from Cheltenham. He’s self-published two collections, The Future (2016) and Cigarettes and Daffodils (2012) and his work has appeared in The Stares Nest, Three Drops from a Cauldron and Lunar Poetry amongst others. Chris helps with the running of the Cheltenham Poetry Festival, and he’s read at both the Poetry and Literature Festivals in Cheltenham.