Jim Bennett – three poems

landscape

after shopping at Tesco’s
built between
landscaped landfill hills
we struggle to get all our
plastic shopping bags
card crates of cans
and bottled water
in the car boot space

our shopping spills over
onto vacant seats
into foot wells
we maneuver
soft fruit, eggs,
cracker packs
to the top

all the time we
talk about poetry
and what we
leave
for posterity


naming clouds

today I watch clouds
and I name them
stratocumulus is a raincloud
thick closely packed
gray dark to light
it IS raining
but just small drops
they come from that cloud
after falling for ages

if I lie on the ground
I can watch it fall
see a drop
in its last moments
before
the ground makes a point
about solidity
but what is the point
the rain is heavier now
thick cloud thickening
becoming nimbo stratus
dark grey to black

there are only
twelve main names for clouds
but this is black
and brings the night
before its time

today I am watching clouds
naming them
I think I’ll call this one
George


hospice

like Orwell’s crumbs
the disturbed dust moves from
one surface to another
marking time in textured
layers

it covers all the people here as well

the room is cleaned,
the smells masked,
but the dirt is organic
it moves away from dusters
and vacuum heads
escaping to hang
in bars of light
and rest on people.

perhaps this is new dust
perhaps there is more dust here
because skin is dryer
hair looser, more fragile,
in this made up place
than outside
where time still moves
in an understood way

I run my finger along
the dark oak mantelpiece
disturb a million lives
and learn to measure time
as the space between breaths


Jim Bennett has written 74 books and numerous chapbooks and pamphlets in a 50 year career as a poet. Jim lives near Liverpool in the UK and tours giving readings of his work throughout the year. He is widely published and has won many competitions and awards for poetry and performance. He runs www.poetrykit.org, one of the world’s most successful internet sites for poets.

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Jim Bennett – three poems

notes

people are singing in the bar by the station
the lights of the windblown Christmas tree
on the veranda hang like broken strings
no longer looped over the imitation branches

outside people stand on the pavement
shiver in the frost as they smoke
some wrap their arms around themselves
stamp their feet     some wait for a train

in an alleyway two people try to make love
a girl bent over     her hands on a wall
a man pressed up behind her
trousers down to his thighs

a woman’s voice hurry up I’m freezing
a man’s voice keep still then
two others stand at the opening to hide
them and stare out at me

I stop to write in my notebook
I don’t have Charlie as an excuse
so I gaze at a train in the station as I write
pretend to be a train spotter


dust

a new neighbour I don’t know
invites me for drinks
full of smiles and good wishes
I thank him say no thanks
he shrugs     walks off
mutters something

he is the first person
I spoke to this week
probably the last this year
I am ready to tell everyone
I have things to do     I am busy
but no one asks     or phones

even the new neighbour
didn’t really ask me in
he just looked like he would
so I shut the door before
he could come over and ask
people are too damn friendly

the decorations are still up
but everything looks shabby
ready to be dusted     put away
next year I may move to a new place
somewhere no one knows me
where I never put them up again


honesty

I was always told
and I told my students
that as a writer the most important thing
was honesty
not truth, that is a different thing
altogether
but honesty
so in that spirit
let me tell you
that for years I waited for the post
the small packets
containing a book or magazine
and I would search through them
find what I had written
place them on the special shelf
with all the other books and magazines
that had published me
these days when the post arrives
I set the packages aside to be opened later
the thin envelopes are what I look for
the ones that may have a cheque in
or a bill


Jim Bennett has written 74  books and numerous chapbooks and pamphlets in a 48 year career as a poet, the most recent of which being the cartographer/Heswall (Indigo Dreams, 2013).  Jim lives near Liverpool in the UK and tours giving readings of his work throughout the year.  He is widely published and has won competitions and awards for poetry and performance. He runs Poetry Kit, one of the world’s most successful internet sites for poets.