Immigrant

In chill October England
the African waits incongruous
by the grey concrete divide
of a duel carriageway.

He wears a leopard skin hat
and the curly white beard of
an old man. In his hand,
a tool dangles like a nonchalant

machete. He has bare feet
and baggy shorts and has
come from the woods,
filled with cool heartbeats

of high latitudes. He hears
as he heard in his homeland:
the voices are different
but still voices, greener

and more tidal, sleeping
for half the year at least.
Yet his heart beats as full
of blood as when his calloused

feet scuffed red, dry earth,
and though all through his
eyes is a paler brother,
less rich, quelled

rather than vibrant,
the murmurings he feels
through his soles
are so similar in vibration

he cannot help but
accept the meek light
as home, and breathe in
the arrival of happiness.

 

copyright distilledvoice & Ben Truesdale

Cotswold Summer

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There is a moment in the Cotswold year
When the rolling wheat fields
Summon the golden hue of the stone
On which all is built:

It is the baked brown of a village
Ripe upon the history of the hills;
The colour of summer made hay
Adhering to the sparse pasture

And bitten at by shaggy sheep.
It is light to warm the heart
And grow roses from the sun
Still kept at dusk

In the envoys of the warm bricks
Radiating in ochre moods
As the jasmine clad night enfolds
All within its sumptuous scents.

© Ben Truesdale and distilledvoice, 2016

Tourist

At first they’re ghosts,
puffy eyed and white as money,
unpeeling themselves from the cocoon of the plane.

Then they are red as shellfish,
wearing shades and fear
as if their flight hibernation
were still clinging
and predators were crouched
behind every door.

Then after a few days of sun,
stupid in the heat,
they flick notes and order cokes
and beers before midday,
and lie idle with a book rested
on the bridge of their nose.

Then they eat out:
breakfast, lunch and dinner, dispensing currency as if
they weren’t sure what it meant,
fingers fumbling like a stutter’s punctuated speech.

And then their skin
becomes brown and golden
and they find their wits
and barter skill, becoming fluid.
Yet still they are adrift our money, and play careless with phones beyond our reach and watches from TV and jewlery adorning, as if they inhabited another world where affluence is a normal, everyday right
not a rarity for the people.

 

copyright 2016 Ben Truesdale & distilledvoice

 

Authenticity

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With a face from the front cover of the National Geographic the old man carries the burden of paddy baskets with entrepreneurial spirit, balancing his load for each photographer and grinning with a toothy and well practised smile. More than anyone else, he knows the value of authenticity and clucks eagerly for the next shutter click to capture his own in the stillness of film.

 

copyright 2016 Ben Truesdale & distilledvoice