Tim Cresswell: Three poems


They say this glass of London water passed through eight bodies before mine.
Starting near Heathrow. A Sikh cabby. The morning shift.
Then teacher between classes, a young woman, Kiwi, fit to burst.
A Southall market seller, bagging mangoes and bitter gourd.
A man who lives on a Brentford boat, pissing straight into the Thames.
Kevin, who drank six pints last night and has a killer thirst.
A gardener at Kew tending orchids, blooming just one day.
Carrie, just up from bed, still red-raw from energetic sex.
And old man Andy, up the road, downing morning pills.

They say my body is sixty percent this. Blood. Spit. Plasma. Piss.
A constant whoosh and sluice. Tidal. Tethered to the moon
like a walking, thinking sea. I half expect to stretch and flop —
a water balloon about to pop and drench my neighbour
on the Tube with my multitude of juices
in waves — six small splashes then a seventh monster —
enough to drown the Underground.



Sipping my second Bloody Mary, half
way through the inflight movie, crying
again. The kid slips the book to the
orangutan and something snaps. I ponder
the vanity of violence and vengeance
and what I would do in ruined San Francisco
faced with murderous talking primates
in this disease-wracked, decimated world.

I must play more Monopoly with Maddy,
take fewer flights, go for walks around
the Arnold Arboretum, learn identities
of birds from sound alone. But armies armed
to the teeth are sweeping south to liberate
this tired town and time is running out.



A light turns on. Through a window a man in shorts is ironing —

two towers stand dark against the Acton evening —


red tiled roofs, terracotta chimney pots — a line of lights sinking

in strict tempo to Heathrow, beyond the spires and officeblocks.


The man is folding shirts, his life marked by the widespread

presence of mammals and flowering plants —


the rumble of a skateboard, the humdrum of cars on the Westway.

He is a geological force to be reckoned with.


The door closes behind him, the light still on. A cats creeps

along a walltop, across the road, down an alley. Sodium lights pop.


The street submits to echoes and foxes. In the morning

the dustbin men appear with their dayglo and intricate systems


in a place that could spend millions of years buried

and still blackbirds wake me up in spring,


in this city that reveals through crushed structures

that it is unlike melancholy, for instance.

–Tim Cresswell


Come and hear Cresswell read at Concordia on Friday, March 13, 2015
Room LB 646 JW McConnell Building. 1400 de Maisonneuve

Tim Cresswell is a geographer and poet who has been widely published
in poetry magazines in the United Kingdom, Ireland, the USA and
Canada including: The Moth, the Rialto, the North, Poetry Wales, Agenda,
Riddlefence and On Site Review. His first collection, Soil, was published by
Penned in the Margins (London) in July 2013. His second poetry book—a
book-length sequence set in Svalbard called Fence is being published by
Penned in the Margins in 2015. Interviews with him about Soil can be
found at the Wild Culture website as well as SnipeLondon. He is also the
author of five books on the themes of place and mobility including, most
recently, Place: An Introduction (Blackwell 2014).

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