Flats, by Patrick Williamson

To fill in the flat’s silence
I watch the couple across the courtyard
who’ve just moved in,
then turn round and put on the muezzin.

He was doing the washing up,
she was walking into the kitchen,
in slippers, carrying the booze.

I swig some camel milk, a new recruit
in a kitchen full of electronics,
the flat chock full of sticks and tape;
one of me, many of them.

And I’m waiting for the call home.

In the book, they promise a land of honey
virgins, praise, a fresh start.
But I wish the path would be different.

I nod & tap the floor, the key turns,
& I am relieved,
they’ve come to get me, I can break the silence
even if just to rant.

As I struggle, I want to shout
do y’know what you’re getting into?

He takes a bag down from the top shelf
whips up the pin, shatters the window.

Wrecked, by Patrick Williamson

Rumbling buses,
petal your blouse perks up roadside
you spewing night in gutter.

Stealthy, or not so, they
tracking my clacking heels
jumped me, hand smothering gob.

Bleeding 1 am. I freeze
at the slightest spit,
breathing on the sidewalk

a half wraith, half bruised face
in the grey blue
undergrowth of grit silence

slinky bouncers spat me out
you vermin
you early morning stalkers

you bastard couldn’t tell them
where I was, smashed
sirens somewhere spluttering air

I wipe my mouth again
your rotten breath
never vanishes
touching my mirror
smeared lipstick, sickened, alone.

Mr B, by Patrick Williamson

Mr B
gets out of the private jet
tries to get an Evian
out of the machine.

The VIP
turn their heads
comment
but the coin drops dead.

He tries again,
for his little sister
the lounge is muttering
lost, presumed dead
no matter how many
buttons he presses
she won’t come back

Suave Mr B
thinks of trying for an exit
but the siren goes
he jumps back in
nimbly, must protect your head.

The next engagement is juicy
The relief is audible.

I wrote I spoke I drew, by Patrick Williamson

………………they assassinate him
………………they flee his pen
………………they penetrate the forest
blazing out from rolls of print

that trio in the doorway, that
dancing to the dark blue wave
passes for the experience of love,
tread and nudge bodies aside

curiosities to the Charlie
who does nothing, stirred
& morals aghast, who keeps looking
at the Christian host
isolated among its brothel neighbours
to say I think, I am, I draw

Master of the kingdom, by Patrick Williamson

The master of his phone kingdom
in a swagger, with a selfie,
presents himself to the world
who looks away
& when
the bodies sway
engages a chat on his little crusade
drives off with a newly-bought K
emitting allahs into harsh sun
bending men down in pits, strafing –
the puppet swaggers back
& sits, keys clicking, another homie.

..

Patrick Williamson hails from the Bath area but has been living in Paris for many years. He is widely published in magazines such as Ink, Sweat & Tears, Message in a Bottle, The Blue Nib Press (including special features on translation and found poetry), Poetic Diversity, Ditch, I am not a silent poet, Paris LitUp, The North, Rialto, etc. Six chapbooks out with The Red Ceilings press, Corrupt Press and Palores Publications. Two selected poems in French-English with L’Harmattan, and two English-Italian collections with Samuele Editore. Poems also translated into Russian, Georgian, Slovenian and Spanish

One-way Ticket by Patrick Williamson

We are the brethren in unity

we are the walkers on water see

we are the workers of drudgery

cross out cross-over cross to

bear with me for this is a journey

that often makes little sense

trans-human cross the plain

trans-gender cross the divide

which door that is the question

we are the united rages of the world

recycled end-of-life spare parts

and what reused words are these

on your list to check us off

we stand at your door that

all use by George he’s smart

slipping past me climbing the fence

for the love of God he slipped

the wire under the wheel we are

the brethren of unity my word

they’re crossing shut them out

but it’s no use they keep coming

why not question all you can

I think nothing, just there’s no return

Conflict by Patrick Williamson

It crunches as it enters the roof, cooling.
its shrapnel penetrates legs, chests

its dust smoke palls, quietens
the coughing, destroys any sense left

days hammered into days, decide
your breath is cordite, your tongue fire

how can you bear the stench?
the theatres that never stop, the screams

hands sprout through concrete dust,
they race frantically to extract the living,

they are trying to dig out the boy, and you
scrape your hands raw or scrub them sore?

..

Patrick Williamson is an English poet who also works with music and filmpoems (Afterwords, set to music by Mauro Coceano). Editor and translator of The Parley Tree, Poets from French-speaking Africa and the Arab World (Arc Publications, 2012). Most recent poetry collections: Beneficato (English-Italian, Samuele Editore, 2015), Tiens ta langue/Hold your tongue (Harmattan, Paris 2014), Nel Santuario (Samuele Editore, 2013; Special Jury Prize in the XV Concorso Guido Gozzano, 2014).

Knock on the roof by Patrick Williamson

Non dimentico il passato
Non trascuro il presente
Non temo il futuro
Vivo

Words lost in wind, we shout above
smashing of windows

rise star of danger, sky burning,
take your place in the firmament

knock on my roof

trapped in the enclave
behind the lines

morning uncovers rubble, crunching,
how can you love the spring

the morgues are full
dead children in ice cream cabinets

your bed is a trench, house a coffin,
you are reeds that crumple in the storm

lashed by hell cannon,
this bloody helter the devil stirred,

the school is blasted
the pinpoints are merciless
the ruins hush valleys

blood for blood
one thousand deaths
to avenge one –

I can be found
in the midst of silence

the displaced scurrying
rats in their cage
this
stretches our imagination,

I will
…………..love

Escape, escape, escape

Toppled by Patrick Williamson

Hide behind whitewashed

cracked walls, spew out

over broad streets shafting

between the solemn dives,

the imam’s cry, squares full

of assassinations, a thousand

crowd the pavements, brothers

..

hide in the peeling yards

recon ghosts of the buggers

who invest each dripping alley

shrouds of linen slanting

shadow across Syrian ochre

..

spotlight the heat where steps

stutter darkly through night,

take me away from that sea

of uplift faces, tighten the blindfold

cast me down, cast the first stone

the world is full of the depraved

they said.

Crossings by Patrick Williamson

The swell of lift & descent

in the dark a howling wet wind

here we go, half way up, then

pitch again, toss & plunge,

hold on, for life is not drowning.

*         *

Softly, like a whisper, the surf

releases, o my god,

its tongue reaches, eyes wide open,

its next breath draws in

harsh & rasping, the rush of silence

the sated wind sweeps up, love

clutching fingers break free

sliding back, tugged by undertow.

*

I was a child too, imagined

shadowy creatures reach up

& strip away the covers –

the cold, we are joined

myself, black-blue sea,

swept away, swirling rafts

skating over the fathoms.