Early dark afternoons
Wet leaves cling to winter shoes
High clouds catch late sun
Early dark afternoons
Wet leaves cling to winter shoes
High clouds catch late sun
Winding old Italian streets
on bruised and battered, sandaled feet
Narrow crumbling ancient walls
echoing street vendors calls.
Scorching sun and folks in hats,
shabby steps and narrow cats
Cauliflower clouds in blazing skies
of rich Madonna blue
and sunlit artist’s light
paints every lovely view.
Crazed ‘mosquito’ Vespas chase
tourists with surprising haste,
from dusty stones and littered walkways
to wide Piazza shaded doorways.
While nightime in the bright Marina’s gleam
chrome encrusted boats reflect the harbour’s sheen
The foreshore glistens with balmy light
sleek yachts inhabit and dazzle the night.
Leaf patterned paths breeze in late summer’s last events
fragrant with October’s early autumn scents.
Books and words, scenes overheard, crowded spaces and eager faces; The chattering classes clinking glasses, full of intent at each event, to get a good seat to see the ‘Names.’ So in cafes and nooks surrounded by books they decide where is best to get a close look at the noted writers who came.
In the splendid hall where the authors were speaking, a hundred punters noisily gather, clutching their programmes and jostling the seating. Sponsors were mentioned to get ones attention it seems that without them the whole thing can’t function. The compere proceeds and discussions begun some serious, some erudite and some are just fun. The speakers take turns in an orderly way, though audience questions are quite stilted I’d say.
There’s Politics and Science, and Linguistic Appliance. There’s novels of history, mystery and fiction and factual biographies chock full of friction; there’s tragedy, travel, and several ‘ologies, humour and satire – I make no apologies. There’s memoirs and thrillers or poetry tomes to add to your growing collection at home.
So hyped up now with ‘Festival Fever,’ the queues just build at the signing tables. Here writers who never thought they were able, work through stacks of their latest hard-backs and dedicate books to dozens of fans; faced with such droves of culture chasers the beleaguered authors can hardly relax, (if that had ever been part of their plans.) For ‘Sales and Profit’ is the name of the game if you’re on the path to Literary fame.
With fall of dusk on silent wings
The secret guardian of magical dreams
of inner light which wisdom sometimes brings
Image copyright Kim Lane
The house photographer, hand on hip, waits impatiently drumming his fingers on the windowsill. The same old story, the model’s late.
“Supposed to be here half an hour ago! The set’s ready, lighting sorted and carefully arranged, everyone else here. Where the hell is the damned model?”
He grabs his phone for the third time that morning and is just about to shout at the recorded message when the agent rushes in – all apologies and peace-making.
“Nearly ready! Just dressing, looks a treat; so sorry, got held up back there…”
The photographer’s exasperated face suddenly transforms into a gasp of admiration and delight as they wheel her in from behind the screen.
“Wow, gorgeous! I could just eat her up” he salivates.
“Thought you’d be impressed,” quipped the agent. “So sorry about being late, but wasn’t it worth it?”
“OK, OK but let’s get on with the shoot; client wants a whole lot of options out of this one. It’s their main promotion of the season.”
He checks the space and places the subject at the table set-up, carefully re-adjusting the lighting. Spots and diffusers in exactly the most flattering positions to bring out the best features. Even a rostrum camera somehow fixed for an aerial shot in the rafters. When he’s finally happy with the arrangements, he demands silence, picks up his favourite camera and prances round the studio. He takes dozens of shots from every conceivable angle; full length, close-up, portrait, landscape and profile, shouting directions all the time. Even lying on the floor to test the possibilities from there.
Three hours in and he finally allowed a break to let the team rest for a while; photo-shoots are exhausting especially as one’s supposed to be capturing a fresh and appealing look all the time. Everyone was feeling the heat – not just from the studio lights, but from the excited demands of the photographer who’d really gone to town on this one. Hoping the session wouldn’t go on much longer, they eyed him up as he paced the studio floor. His hair was wild and his eyes darted to and fro in an agitated way.
“What I haven’t got yet,” he shouted “are some really good ‘Bun Shots’. Seen the model dressed, I need to take away all the frippery. Just the plain, natural basic truth of what the customer is getting!”
The somewhat irritated stylist set to work on undressing the model and refreshing ‘the look.’ The photographer then arranged some additional props, mostly comprised of china and paper serviettes, carefully positioned to suit the situation without losing the enticing ‘mood.’
At the end of the long day when he was satisfied with his images, everyone was able to relax. The agent and the stylist had collapsed on a sofa and the model was left slumped on the table; just a cold, greasy burger surrounded by a discarded pile of flaccid Dill and limp lettuce.
“It’s a WRAP” shouted the photographer, “There’s some great shots here for Burger City’s new menu!”
We always welcomed you
loving your wit and style
Though not always here
we missed you even then
and when you made us smile
with humorous words so dry
You often made us laugh
with that twinkle in your eye
Now they say you’re leaving
and it doesn’t make much sense
But something bad has happened
Oh, that one! Back to the wall type him. Never communicates with anyone as far as I can see. Not one to contribute, just rigidly looking on with that blank expression. Completely aloof and defiantly closed against the world.
It’s a mystery he’s still in that position too. Seems utterly pointless when he doesn’t do anything or perform any useful service or function. Presumably he did once; he obviously had the official title and insignia – but now… All you ever get from him are those crazy notices he displays!
I ask you? ‘NO COLLECTIONS’ – so neither at 8.30 am nor 2.45pm (NOT SATS) OR 4.45pm (ditto) or even 12.00 noon will one’s correspondence be attended to. Other tantalisingly suggested times of 5.45pm and 8.00pm are also included in this strange curfew; not to mention, tucked in furtively at the bottom of the notice in bold type we are told – ‘SUNDAYS’ – post would definitely NOT be collected nor would there be a collection on Good Friday, Bank Holidays (not Boxing Day) or Christmas Day at 3.30pm.
Of the fate those unfortunate letters which may inadvertently have been entrusted to this capricious and errant character, we have no knowledge.
The mirror showed, in starkest terms, a sagging jaw-line and a furrowed field of wrinkles which stretched (or folded) across the entire landscape of her face and neck.
“Who the hell is that?” she screeched at the glass.
“It’s you, you dreamer ” said the little voice on her shoulder.
” Can’t be, I’m not THAT old ! Am I ?”
“Well, when did you last take a good look at yourself – and more to the point, when did anyone else take a good look at you?”
“Oh, shut up, there must be a mistake. I dance and sing. I jog and swim and dig the garden, culture, art and music things; but you’re right, I sometimes feel I am invisible. In the street some folk would just walk through me – step aside, or get mowed down is how I feel out in the town. I just thought it’s ‘young- people-with-no-manners’ again…”
“… Now there’s a refrain from an ‘Oldie Talking’ if ever I heard one !”
“Well, dammit, I refuse to be an ‘Oldie’ as you so inelegantly put it. I shall rebel against it before it’s too late. ‘Look out World – here I come!’ I am, if nothing else, an inventive and creative beast. If, as you say this is old-age on my doorstep, I shall make sure she goes down fighting!”
So saying, she headed for her wardrobe and flung open the doors. Some tired geriatric moths staggered out as she grabbed a handful of beige Crimplene dresses and flung them on the floor. There followed a procession of pastel ‘cardies’, pleated skirts and flesh coloured tights. Soon the bedroom floor was a battlefield of obsolete and moribund attire.
“All this has got to go – NOW! I’m going shopping…”
After dumping several over-stuffed bags of the despised clothes in a Charity shop, she headed for Primark with a renewed determination of purpose. She’d never been there before and was initially stunned by the enormity of it all. What seemed like acres and acres of clothing lined the walls and endless racks and piles of colour met her astonished gaze. Taking a few deep breaths she regained her composure and soon became acclimatised to this ‘alien’ environment. The feverish buzz of her fellow shoppers infected her brain and she set to work filling a large basket.
Now unfazed by the vibrant colours and multitude of designs available, it was poetry in motion;
T-shirts, blouses and cut-off trousies
Skirts and dresses and things for one’s tresses
Coats and jackets and things in packets
that looked like tights but sparkled in the lights
Luckily they came in many sizes
sometimes they fitted, which added surprises.
So three hours later, and still not tired
a whole seasons outfits she’d now acquired
As she paid her money and left the store
catching sight of the shop next door,
her stubbornness completely undiluted
accessories next and then she’s suited.
Hats and scarves and such they sold
none of which you could call ‘old’
Wacky colours, styles and shapes
and arty things in silks and crepes.
They even had a make-up counter
with many things that did astound her
Another hour here of mega-spending
She needed a cab as gravity’s pending.
Home at last with a pile of goodies,
including some red and purple ‘hoodies’
Now at the Hairdresser’s she’d once read
a magazine article that stuck in her head
Make-over’s was what it was all about
and now’s the time to try it out.
Was it clothes, then hair and make-up ?
I think I need a tonsorial shake up –
Her stylist had a free appointment
So straight to town she smartly went
She chose a shade of bright magenta
to emphasise her new persona
It looked amazing they all said
like a vibrant pompom on her head
While she was at it, got her nails done
and the tanning suite to get the ‘sun’
“What a day, I feel outrageous
all this excitement is quite contagious
What’s needed is a cup of tea…
no, wait this is the brand new me !
Once that would’ve been just been fine,
but I think I’ll have a glass of wine –
a toast to celebrate my splendid spree ”
… to ‘Carrying on rebelliously’
I met a toothless, tailless toad just walking blithely down the road and when accosted by two enquiring lads who’d never seen a toad before – as they were city boys whose main delight was at the floodlit skateboard park each night; in fact it was from there they just had come and so surprised by meeting such a lumpy but emphatic gent who ambled with such a firm intent; they stopped me to inquire what manner of beast was this which met their eye.
Familiar as I was with things amphibian I could see this was indeed a common toad and though they’d thought to see him hop as does his cous’ the frog whose nature is both like and similar; Mr Toad prefers to walk which may be easier with his portly bulk which had not deterred him from his evening stroll – Though maybe he’s not headed for that famous ‘hole’ ( in which a more culinary toad is rumoured to reside,) but something more appropriate to his kind. A shady garden fern or damp, dark corner; or a pot with overhanging lugs – some place where dinner waits in the form of slugs !
‘I have the very thing right here ‘ I cried, ‘ and there are others of his kind in my back garden where they hide.’ So said I, and prompt picked up the unexpected guest. ‘Wow’ screeched the lads, ‘we thought it was a pest!’
They squirmed a bit but then I showed a closer view of Mr Toad whose dignified and lugubrious stare quite surprised that young pair. ‘Hey it’s really cool’ said one, ‘like an Alien with little hands and a big fat tum.’
‘He’ll be quite happy in a gloomy garden nook, much safer there than on the street away from cars and clumping feet, and passers by with curious dogs who may incline too take too close a look.’
‘That’s great’ they said as they went on their way, ‘we’ve learned a bit about an animal today.’ I said goodbye and gently carried Mr Toad to introduce him to his new abode. So in my garden now reside a little group of frogs and toads, my greatest hope of eco-problem solving – that of slugs, of which there’s loads and loads!