Kate Noakes – Two Poems

Not knowing the difference between weather and climate
.
In my Girl Guide manual
the Beaufort scale said
nought is a calm day, evidenced
not by scudding clouds or laundry
flapping on the line, the bend
and snap of branches or
a noticeable difficulty walking
but by vertical smoke
the perfect signal from a bonfire
and I remember ten is a hurricane
but there being no eleven
needed now to gauge
overheated hydrogen sulphide
and the dangerous blustery air
commonly known as a trump.
.
Gold and mirrors give my wife migraines
.

and we didn’t want to wait for the library

decades before we bind any books
so, we softened the decor.

Chocolate to coffee cream lampshades
go well, don’t you think?

They did a great job, a great job
hiding forearm tattoos in the stitching.

I like the sound when you flick them.
Kind of a drum. Tarum Tarum.

.
.
Kate Noakes lives in London and Paris. Her publications include:
.
Ocean to Interior, Mighty Erudite, 2007
The Wall Menders, Two Rivers Press, 2009
Cape Town, Eyewear Publishing, 2012
I-spy and shanty, corrupt press, 2014
Tattoo on Crow Street, Parthian, 2015
Paris Stage Left, Eyewear 2017
Website archived by the National Library of Wales

Kate Noakes – Brexit on the Askew Road

Brexit on the Askew Road

If we do leave
my upstairs neighbour may return
to France; and the others to Poland.
Snatches of morning chat
will be understood. Pity.

If we do
the wine shop’s stock will be
out of reach, its cheese board
smaller, blander. A pity.

If we
the florist may go back
to Holland; bunches, bouquets
and all. A bloomin’ pity.

If
the taverna, trattoria, tapas
may turn into hipster
bakery-cafés. There’s already three.
More’s the pity.

 

Kate Noakes lives in London and Paris. Her Blog – archived by the National Library of Wales is at boomslangpoetry.blogspot.com

Published works –
Ocean to Interior, Mighty Erudite, 2007
The Wall Menders, Two Rivers Press, 2009
Cape Town, Eyewear Publishing, 2012
I-spy and shanty, corrupt press, 2014
Tattoo on Crow Street, Parthian, 2015

Kate Noakes – Two Poems

Affecting the balance

A loose cobblestone,
fat as a lump of slow-
cooled basalt, a hazard
for stilt-walkers and girls
in the high-high heels
of now, or anyone disabled,
unable, is the pavement
rebelling beneath our feet
rocking from sand
and mortar to flow as if
revivified, a lava stream
coursing the ancient ways
of the city, a rabble
discontented with its place.

Under traffic’s drone
you can hear its troubles
the crack and spit
as hot stones hit the river.

 

Scold

 

All this blah blah is filming my tongue

as if I’ve drunk a litre of full fat
and it’s globules have blocked the pores

slowed the muscle to a milk slug

sliming between my teeth
crying enough, enough.

All this blah blah is stopping my tongue

as if I’ve swallowed plaster of Paris
and its setting heat has fixed the muscle

firmed it for a few weeks, making me rest

then, freed it when silence
has been enough, enough.

All this blah blah has bled my tongue

as if every word is a drop
congealing on the rough post

where it’s been nailed, because I refused

my son, told the recruiters
enough, enough.

Kate’s poetry blog is at boomslangpoetry.blogspot.com

Her poetry books are: The Wall Menders, Two Rivers Press, 2009, Cape Town, Eyewear Publishing, 2012, I-spy and shanty, corrupt press, 2014, Tattoo on Crow Street, Parthian, 2015 (forthcoming)

 

Kate Noakes – Two Poems

Street prince

Phone box boy sleeps in a glass coffin,

knees tucked up round his face,

the booth is steamed by his warmth.

 

I don’t think of him again till the top

of the metro steps at night.

He greets me from under his hood,

with an inky hand shakes

coins in half a Coke bottle, says thanks.

 

He’s not my child, but he needs me today

before he curls up

and waits to be buried in the sky.

 
 

Milk

 Three bottles of thick milk

on the doorstep, day in, day out,

my childhood a race to its creamy

gold top against my sister

and clever blue tits; disappointment

on frozen mornings in lollies of foiled ice

we’d have loved if it were summer.

 

That was when birds were well-fed,

before the unkind woman snatched

thirds of a pint from our recess, before

skinny soya, black tea and forgetting Britishness,

before I knew my body could bring it

forth, could gorge and tingle, burst

and overflow for a tiny mouth

to sore my nipples into hard fruit.

 

Kate Noakes, Welsh academician and poet, is co-founder of Paris Lit Up (parislitup.com). Her most recent collection is I-spy and Shanty from corrupt press (2014). Her next, Tattoo on Crow Street, is out with Parthian in 2015.  She blogs at boomslangpoetry.blogspot.com