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

 

Fishes

image

In the miraculous fish
That come again and again
Like tide to the table
Forever sustained
And always providing
A predictable nourishment,
We encounter
The earthbound principle
Of abundance
Found in habitat
The world over.

If only we could open our eyes
To the reality of the fish
And discard
All those meagre imposters
Who swim the dark waters
Of our fearful minds,
Whispering demise
Instead of flourishing
On currents
Of forever replenishing
And upwellings of bringing
That swell in offering
Despite our reluctance to see.

 

Copyright 2016 Ben Truesdale & distilledvoive

Slack Faced Thought

I’m on the London Underground. It’s a bit stuffy. The air is friction electricity, rush and surge. The carriage is about half full, I’d say, not more. An assortment of commuters sway with the movement of the train. Screeches and clattering echo in the dark tunnels but the passengers don’t hear. Or if they do, their faces give nothing away.

Strange faces: slack and free of expression. I wonder: who are these people? I look at each one and classify them with a form of mental taxonomy but my only tools are what my mind has used before. I put my memories to their faces, paint personalities, jobs, dreams on to the canvas of their skin but find the pictures to be mine, not theirs.

I have to admit, I have nothing but the thoughts I’ve thought before. I’ve killed these slack faced people even before they’ve uttered a word or made a movement or facial expression. I’ve fitted them up, put them in boxes, labelled them with stereotypes: colours, creeds, sexes, the way they wear their clothes, their hair. Every single stranger judged. The decision as to their identity, conceived and irrevocably made so they become fabricants wearing the fictions I have projected on to the facade of my contrived world.

I wonder if they killed the slack faced me they saw? Or perhaps they did something entirely different?

© Ben Truesdale and distilledvoice, 2015

On The Road

FullSizeRender.jpg

He might be Californian,
Shaggy
In flared denim suit
And long
Sun blond hair
Agitating his eyes.
He wears a moustache
And breath
Spiced bourbon and cigarette.

The days are a sun blanched
Headache while the nights
Are dizzying breakneck
Of life lived fast
With liquor cubed drink
Chinking glimmer in a glass,
Or bottle neat
From a brown paper bag
Hidden in a back street:
It’s all much of a muchness.

There are girls:
All with faraway look,
Smacked up
And drifting nowhere
On the drug of sex
And fleeting break
From loneliness
Found in strange
Bedfellow’s quiver
And alcoholic unburdening
Of orgasm before sleep.

He says – be cool baby –
To whom ever he meets
On the road,
Salutes them
With joint
Marihuana journey
Or acid trip
To nameless places,
Passing in a flurry of faces,
Hard as cold asphalt,
Futureless and travelling
Without name.

© Ben Truesdale and distilledvoice, 2015

Southern French Village

FullSizeRender
The boulangerie
Opens its sleepy eye
To the bird tweeting village
And looks upon
A once neat boulevard
Aged to a trunk lumpy
Old woman, clucking
Pleasantries as she ambles
With white crusty bread
To her shutter clad dwelling
Limp on its hinges
But crookedly beautiful
With time.

Her garden is put to work:
A crop of gnarled tomatoes
Fruiting in pastel lanterns,
Grapes yellowing
And freckled on the vine
And a font
Where honey oozes
Through the faucets
Of voluptuous figs,
Loosened and falling
As purses unclasped
And relaxing
Amid the gravel
In which herbs muster volatile
In air sweetened
To Provençal notes
And excited to fragrance
By a brush past
Or even the sun
Hot in the radiating stones.

© Ben Truesdale and distilledvoice, 2015

Preserving The Catch

Fishermen haul in their net,
Bring in the unseen dimension
While fair skinned tourists
Haul in a delightful authenticity.

The net is wriggly with silver reflex,
Scales shed as a last desperate breath
Bloodies the gills, and tourists snap
In their own reflex to capture the dying light.

It soon quells as each silver fish
Relinquishes and stills on the beach.
Fishermen tidy their nets and
Tiny fry, caught but unwanted

Dry on the sea of sand,
Embalmed in the photograph
In which tourists preserve,
Just as the fishermen salt

And lay their catch in the sun.

© Ben Truesdale and distilledvoice, 2015

Holiday

Just saying the word
Is enough to quell
Its worrisome opposite.

You appear
To have swelled in breath
And buoyancy

Around the chest.
And more,
Your face is full

And your eyes
Are lit,
And your smile

Has spread
So a yellow sunrise
Wells

And the summer
Crests,
And you

Absorb
As much
As you reflect.

© Ben Truesdale and distilledvoice, 2015.

For Mima