Tuesday Poem: Getting By

I’m not
jumping from a burning building with my arms on fire
crawling in the rubble, looking for my hand.
Geography has been so kind.

But a simple wish
can turn a streetscape to a moonscape
turn pink flesh
to whitened ash and bone.

I’m sitting by the window
lofting soundscapes through the heavy air.
Boy racers, parties, sirens — bang!
A bomb? Could that have been a bomb?

I listen harder.
There’s no more sirens, no-one screams.
Just something falling, someone
hitting harder than they planned.

No bomb, no need to worry.
I’m writing
not exploding
getting by
not burning in a burning land.

Credit note: First published in All Blacks Kitchen Gardens.

Tim says: This jittery poem from the early years of the last decade seemed like an apposite one to post tonight.

You can read all the Tuesday Poems on the Tuesday Poem blog – the featured poem is on the centre of the page, and the week’s other poems are linked from the right-hand column.

4 thoughts on “Tuesday Poem: Getting By

  1. I particularly like your line breaks, how they emphasise \”I'm..not..wind..I'm writing…\” as the rest of the poem blows and blusters around those clipped lines.

  2. it made me gasp and read it again (twice more)looking for my hand … and the secret word is phreof which pretty well sums it up

  3. Thanks, lillyanne, rachel, and Isabel.Looking back at this poem after an interval of several years, I can see some places where I think it could be improved, but I think it captures the mood I was trying to convey well.

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