Open Link Night for dVerse

Can you believe that dVerse has reached its #191 Open Link Night? Please join me there for a celebration of poetry in all its forms, sizes, themes and approaches. I’m attempting a list poem this time.

 
Shopping List

Bell peppers
Peeled plum tomatoes
A healthy interest in red-blooded stuff
Onions
Garlic
Vampire teeth well-hidden
Till at least the third date
Puff pastry
Because I don’t like flaky
But not too puffed up either
Grated cheese
A winning smile
Ah, always forget the milk
of human kindness…
There’s got to be more than asking:
‘Need help with your packing?’
While looking elsewhere.

The Sadness of Bookshop Closures

Bookshop Haul
Bookshop Haul

I wish this could be a light-hearted piece about my latest book purchases and what I am looking forward to reading.

Instead, it is with great sadness that I show you my last purchases from the local independent bookshop. Unfortunately, the wonderful Librairie Centrale in Ferney-Voltaire in France is going to close this coming Saturday. Despite French policy on fixed pricing for books, and despite the fact that it was the only bookshop in a region of 27 villages and 80,000 inhabitants, it too fell victim to online retailers and the rise of e-books. It had been operating at a loss for about a year, although I personally never left the shop empty-handed. I loved chatting to the owner, who would recommend books or order those hard-to-find editions for me.

It made the national news (you can see a short clip in French on You Tube, see the link below). The local inhabitants did try to form an association to save the bookshop. We organised bring-and-buy book sales, literary events, word-of-mouth campaigns, but it was all too little too late.  Late last week we were told that the court of Bourg-en-Bresse has ordered the cessation of commercial activity (forced bankruptcy).  As the video says, it is ironic that in the village founded by writer and patron of the arts Voltaire, there should be no bookshop. Market forces, I suppose, but I still have a leaden heart about it!

 

Beautiful Day in London Town

One free day in London after a rather tricky session with a difficult client.

1 bright clear sunny day.

2 pairs of shoes to try on – and bought one.

3 Pudsey bear bracelets.

4 bookshops to go in.

6 books to buy (3 second-hand, 3 poetry).

A favourite cousin to meet for lunch.

Crumpets, Devon custard and breakfast cereal all packed into suitcase to take back to feed hungry little mouths into the wilds of rural France.

Which all equals a much revived, happy Marina. Bring on Round Two in the boxing rink!

Lost Among the Carrots

Lust is not red, it is orange.

It lurks among the carrots.

It shows its immaculate, shaven head,

teeth boasting intimate knowledge of orthodontics,

in a broad grin to say

it’s found its prey.

 

He advances and asks if I shop here often.

I stop with cabbages clutched to my belly,

lettuce leaves trailing, wondering if I dare

make a grasp

for the cornflakes on special offer that day

without collapsing the display.

 

As I let it all tumble down in my trolley

he asks if I’m buying things for my family.

A mere basket for him, tucked in with chocolate, cheese, champagne,

the three shushing sounds which have been my undoing before.

 

‘Yes, my family.’

But still he persists.

All sibilant juices, he emotes and he twists.

Not crass enough to ask for my number, he gives me his card instead,

all debonair and gallant, he waves goodbye,

swaggering on to his next attempt.

 

No string touched,

I lose the card among the courgettes.