List sonnet on justice
Striking north over Brooklyn, Sam reads billboards
laughing at one which says – for justice call
( 3 1 8 ) 5 6 8 – 1 2 3 4
kicking off a kind of catalogue
For peace… Send a stamped, addressed envelope
Equality….25% off, one week only
Beauty!…like us on Facebook!
Well, I know you know how that poem goes.
So perhaps I would let myself ramble
Like Ginsberg. Like Whitman. Like America.
Billboards, oversize flags, sincere
New England apples, brown bodies and red barns
maples in fall, the calls of children with yarmulkes playing softball in the parking lot.
But I was left with a sonnet and a sad refrain
We’re not in right now. So please leave your name….
Karl Marx in Tesco (after Allen Ginsberg) I saw you, Karl Marx, stateless, lonely aged prophet, in Tesco, wandering the aisles looking for a bargain. I heard you muttering to yourself: “What are sun dried tomatoes? Where is the sauerkraut? What price potatoes? I followed you between the detergents and the ice cream as you read the Ben and Jerry’s carton chuckling gorgeously. Together we strolled down lines marked “ethnic foods” imagining a world without labels, possessing everything we need and never paying once. Where are we going Karl Marx? The store closes soon. Which way does your beard point tonight? Will we march through the years down tree-lined suburban streets? Two cars to every perfect house, warnings on the lawns of dogs, alarms and closed circuit television? And us alone? Ah dear prophet, greybeard, stubborn old courage teacher, what history did you foresee when Lenin stormed the citadel as you lay dead in Highgate: was it this?
Life in the Anthropocene
We loved the Jurassic with its ferns
and stegosaurs, charismatic megafauna
on cards in teabag packets.
All that hum and blunder squeezed and stacked
till liquid and thickblack
for us to suction out and burn.
Ozymandias has nothing on us!
Choosing shades on colour charts, installing
shelves with plumb bobs and spirit levels.
Scattergrams and isopleths, lattices
of halogen across the plains. Protons looped
under Switzerland. Measurements in milliseconds.
Dendrochronology here the factories came alive the era of trains ozone and petroleum Hiroshima contrails across the sky the week in Magaluf humvees the end of elms the rise of rhododendrons recession and recovery a summer when the rain held off an unexpected frost a year that lingered a year that flew steady rise of isotopes fate of honey bees here too was love when rain dripped through the canopy on lovers taking shelter in each other in its bark my mark once freshly knifed and full of love and sap now gnarled and whorled but visible. Look.
Tim Cresswell is a geographer – poet who has published widely in poetry magazines in the UK. Since moving from London to Boston in the summer of 2013 his work has started to appear in American and Canadian magazines including Riddlefence, Spiral Orb and Soul.Lit. His first collection, Soil was published by Penned in the Margins in 2013. He is currently working on his second collection – erratic. He is also the author of five books on the themes of place and mobility.