The Flight of the Figs

Once upon a time
I was a fig

(Yes, a fig)

full of little flowers inside,
plenty of endless dreams…

I was born
in a casual tree
of those that nobody grooms,
of those that never get rain,
of those that drain you to death.

Shrivelled,
punished by birds
who picked on my white sweaty sweetness
and left me scarred,
but made me stronger.

One day,
an arrogant orange,
of a garden nearby,
called for a meeting of peers
and suggested the idea
of forming a fruital system.

(Yes, a fruital system)

The rest of fruits agreed.

So, the orange stood in the centre,
cause she was too tangy to spin.

Everyone else
came forward
in a perfect queue
that started to curl
coiling outwards
around the self-proclaimed star.

The apple, the peach, the pear,
the lemon and even the grape
found quickly a place
in a galaxy they called
“The Juicy Way”.

They all looked so lush,
immaculate,
divine,
waitrosy,
as they floated
in their glorious ether
of mechanically smooth subjects.

I want a place in this system,
I said.
I want to be an aster too.
I deserve to be there,
rotating
in harmony
with you.

The apple and some others
started to giggle
with patronising
swivel-eyed disdain.

I am sorry my love,
said the eloquent
smiley
sunny leader,
but this is a fruital system
where everything works
out of our own

combined

accord.

Everyone wins,

everyone contributes.

The magnetic fields
of our respective masses
are already balanced.

That is why we levitate up here,
so graciously.

If we take you on,
we will have to open the floodgates of the universe.

How many more fruits
could we feasibly accommodate?

So, after this rational rejection,
I had no choice
but to become
a zero-hours planet,
also known as a comet.

(Yes, a comet)

So now,
I am a wrinkly wild comet
full of odd rugged cracks.
I am not round,
not even pear shaped,
I have no clouds,
no satellites,
no green bits,
no rings of dust,
no frozen lakes of gas…
but I don’t give a damn!

I am a prince of the universe,
planets fear my freedom,
no one knows my trajectory,
it is hard to land on my surface,
I come and go as I please.

But if someone

if someone on behalf
of that master of creation
messes about with my equations
pushing me out my orbit,
I may end up crashing
on one of their gardenly planets.

And, who knows?

If some shepherds see
my falling tail,
flying in the night
in the skies in winter,
they may grant me godly status
an invent a religion
at my place of collision.

Who knows?

I have nothing to lose.

I am a wrinkly wild comet,

I am a pirate
in an orderly show of stars
who learnt their moves
in the Youtube version
of the Book of Genesis,
in the phallic columns
of The Sun Says,
in the go-home section
of the Daily Mail.

Watch them
as they tamper
with Victorian
time machines!

Watch them,
as they sink
in the black hole
of their Brexit!

Unlike them,
I am my own choreographer.

Only infinite heavens will tell you
what I am made of!

Simple!

Watch me!

Watch me as I fly!
with millions of figs like me
away from a supernova
of stupid national greed.

 

Copyright © 2016. Tony Martin-Woods
Todos los derechos reservados. All rights reserved.

 

Originally published in Poetry Life and Times as “The fig”
http://www.artvilla.com/plt/the-fig-a-poem-by-tony-martin-woods/

 

Image ”Bursting at the seams” courtesy of ESA/Hubble, Creative Commons Licence International 4.0 Attribution (CC BY 4.0)

The Grapes

The grapes
don’t die
in the vineyard
with the harvest
in the summer.

 

They transcend
and translive
victorious
in the wine,

 

like the poem in the song,
like our talent in discoveries,
like parents in their children,
like a nurse in our health,
like a friend in our strength,
like teachers in our wisdom,
like rebels
and activists of the Common
in ordinary
endeavours
and achievements.

 

But our labour,
our paid labour,
is taken away
in corporate cloaks
to private shrines
far in some islands
for cultural worship
(our cultural worship)
and power,
the power hoarded by few
that is used against the many.

 

And the soldier,
poor soldier,
is sent to kill and die,
sacrificed for national pride,
(or political reasons
reserved for great minds)

 

sacrificed
for whose mother?

 

sacrificed
for mother-what?

 

The wine
of the grapes
of the land
of the peasants
is a miracle of humanity.

 

Copyright © 2016. Tony Martin-Woods
Todos los derechos reservados. All rights reserved.

Inspired in the poem “La transvida” (“Translife”), published in Spanish in Los viajes de Diosa (The Travels of Goddess). Murcia. Diego Marín. 2015..

 

Image from Æsop´s Fable 2, “The Stag and the Vine”, in John Ashton (1882) Chap-books of the Eighteen Century (p.465). London. Chatto and Windus, Picadilly. 1882. Found in Flickr.com

A rendition of the Fable:

A Stag, pursued by the huntsmen, concealed himself under cover of a thick vine. They lost track of him. Supposing all danger to be over, the Stag began to browse on the leaves of the Vine with the intention of eating them. The movement drew the attention of the returning huntsmen, and one of them, supposing some animal to be hidden there, shot an arrow at a venture into the foliage. The unlucky Stag was pierced to the heart, and, as he expired, he said, “I deserve my fate for my treachery in feeding upon the leaves of my protector.” (adapted from translation by happychild.org.uk)

The Enemy

A silent needle of pain
reached my most intimate guts.

 

The implant had been successful.

 

The enemy,
the very enemy,
was now living within me.

 

He had travelled far,
leaving behind
his tower of glass so vulnerable.

 

He had penetrated my sacred orifice.
He had installed himself in my fortress.

 

He now survives
of my own blood.

 

When I am happy, he is delighted.
When I drowse,
he dreams of new victims
for his offspring,
to take over,
as my spinal cord
runs out of steam.

 

No battlegrounds in open landscapes to fight him,
no guns or catapults to shoot him,
no visible target,
no struggle outside,
no point in being outside:
there is nothing outside the system, my friend,
just a little plant pot with frozen seeds of insurrection
and a tape-loop player with a Workers’ Power litany.

 

So what’s the strategy?

 

I will travel to the city of Babel,
where languages were made.
I’ll listen to common voices
rejoicing plural routine.

 

I will then climb to their ziggurat
to see the world at my feet
admiring the prosperous valleys,
coveted
by irrational hills,
and all the roads and the rivers,
lines in the nurturing palm
of Goddess’ gracious hand,
which rests when the day turns silver.

 

And when my enemy
is in sleep mode,
the jet black total guardian,
speckled with seminal beams,
will whisper to me
how to challenge our destiny,
how to turn our demise
into the brass of a swing
that will muffle History
with its tales and defeats,
enticing our Future,
to dance away from its fate.

 

And in the morning,
my enemy,
excited by the occasion,
yet concerned by the rarity of the air,
will find his way through my nostrils,
will pop his private head out,
and cast his calculating,
seductive,
chary warm eyes
on the public riches of Earth
claiming hegemony,
imagining business deals:

 

All that wealth to amass,
so much outsourcing required…
planning, measuring, counting…
my saliva tastes like cocaine.

 

And then,
the gentle Zephyrus
embracing the rebel Haboob
will make me sneeze,
launching him out,
all covered in snot:
A projectile to nowhere,
rising,
like nationalism in England,
then dropping,
like the profits of The Daily Mail,
driven away
by the winds of Babylon,
for my enemy,
my very enemy,
to finally splash
on the waters of the Tigris,
drowning,
adrift,
in the Arabs’ River,
as he meets his match
in the lost
under-lands
of the Persian
blue Sea.

 

Copyright © 2016. Tony Martin-Woods
Todos los derechos reservados. All rights reserved.

 

Picture: Two figures representing either Zephyros, the winged god of the west wind, holding his lover Hyakinthos in a close embrace; or an allegorical depiction of Love (Eros) desiring and seizing the beauty of youth. From http://www.theoi.com/Titan/AnemosZephyros.html

Resurrection now

I have decided to start my own resurrection

now,
today,
before I lose my strength
and sense of humour,
before I am told to go for good,
before the scroungers that await for me to bleed dead
jump on me remorselessly
to celebrate my life
stuffing themselves
with my bittersweet flesh.

So, this is the plan:

I will get myself out of my current body
(this requires some effort:
you need to do as if you close your anus tightly
pushing yourself upwards
rotating your shoulders
and inserting downwards your neck,
as your new body needs to be born through your head).

Then I will get rid of all the dribble with nice white towels
and get some new clothes that I would have bought for the occasion
(a red t-shirt and black loose very soft trousers, with cotton pants).

I will then leave my corpse lying on the sofa
with the TV on,
something cultural,
and a very hot drink
in a nice stars wars mug
next to me
on the floor.

Then I will go out,
buy the Private Eye,
to see what they say
about the tory hyenas,
the media liars,
the ukip shit
and the bankers who fund them three,
and get a haircut
whilst I read the magazine.

Then go to a shop
and have a coffee,
and a piece of cake.

Drive to the pool,
in my non-resurrected green car,
and have a swim.
I will come out refreshed
and pampered.

I will then buy some Elvis Priestley sunglasses
and some flowers
and stand round the corner of my house
waiting for the ambulance
and the cops
to turn up
to discover my ex
lying there
with a calm smile
and his eyes wide open.
I will be the first to show my condolences
and say great things about me
cracking jokes on how I used to be.
I just want to be there, you know I mean?
checking out things,
being in control of my own post-mortem history,
and ready for when my wife and the kids come:
a simple blink of my eye.
over the Elvis sunglasses,
shall suffice for them to know
that the quirky looking guy is me

again,
with no rejections and
no strategic silences any more
free to go, and say and do,
free to start the same revolution,
free not to fall in the same traps,
free to look after my family,
and many good friends and strangers,
free to help them to resurrect,
free to help to save the planet,
and free to bypass
my former enemies,
who now,
after all,
remember
that I wasn’t so bad.
???!!!
…Lovely, but too late!

Copyright © 2014. Tony Martin-Woods
Todos los derechos reservados. All rights reserved.

Paradise

I

El paraíso vacío
Is a colourful white universe
Covered in woods
Where rectangular leaves
Of softly creased textures
Secretly stem
From online branches
Of centenary trees.

Limited liability
Unlimited luck.

El paraíso vacío
Is a room-not-to-be Where
One cannot linger
For they will charge you to do so.
No souls live there.
Just cows
And riffles
And chocolates
And briefcases.

Limited liability
For a haven
Of unlimited crime.

II

El purgatorio repleto
Is certainly hot and busy.

Red shores drawn up
By tides of barren magma.

Sexy dudes and babes
With little or no clothes,
Tight cheeks,
Perky noses,
Dark blue eyes,
(Or light hazelnut with sunflower sparks)
Whisper in the toilets
In a cool code
And pass urine,
That goes down a pipe
For it to be mixed
With footballers’ sweat,
Bottled in small vials
And sold in airport lounges,
Shopping brothels
And malls.

image

III

El infierno amorfo
Is not a trendy place at all.

It stinks badly of burnt
old
angels’ hair.

It’s inhabited by the classic baddies,
you know,
Paedophiles,
Murderers,
Corporate hawks and their like
Alongside the dull,
The uncommitted
And a bunch of bought-again Christians,
But you can’t see
Any meaningful faces
Cause they are melted.

The squeaky voice in the loudspeakers
Advertising junk food
And plastic toys
And useless utensils
Cannot fill the air
As there isn’t any left.

When the hour strikes
The flight attendants read out
News and safety instructions
Which eventually drown
In the background noise
Of well oiled machinery.

IV

El paraíso pleno
It’s a place of Love and Action Where
everything matters,
Everyone cares,
But nothing counts.
A place Where
Everyday,
Before dawn,
Wide open full coffins
Are ritually laid
In the gardens
Of pubs
For pagan nuns
Who fought in the War
To break clouds
Of red skies
With yellow songs
Of hope and sarcasm
As the laughter of the people
Raise the purple from their night.

V

Listen to the birds
As they tweet
Come down the tower
Touch
Sing

image

Copyright © 2014. Tony Martin-Woods
Todos los derechos reservados. All rights reserved.

Paintings by Hieronymus Bosch (c. 1450-1516)

 

 

 

Feliz Navidad de parte de Diosa

Cuando los pobres pastores cayeron en la cuenta de que en realidad el cielo albergaba suficientes estrellas para todos ellos y para todas sus descendencias por los eones de los eones, sus corazones se inundaron de amor e hicieron las paces para siempre. Como hacía frío, quemaron unos libros de justicia hipócrita que había por allí. Desde ese momento, dejaron de buscarme. (Diosa 3 12)

Al crecerme la vida

Nos crecen los años. Nos crece la vida. Vídeo tomado en El Campo de San Jorge (Leeds, Inglaterra), lugar mágico que aparece en la fotografía de la contraportada de Los viajes de Diosa. Poema titulado “Al crecerme vida” (Los viajes de Diosa).

La Vida Sociedad Cooperativa

Dedicado a las víctimas de los recientes atentados de París, Beirut y Ankara, así como a quienes han fallecido en lugares más lejanos del mundo como resultado de la crueldad masiva, por acción y por omisión, de tantos seres humanos.

 

La Muerte es una de las directivas más incomprendidas de esa gran cooperativa llamada “La Vida”, aunque, a la hora de verdad, en la asamblea que la organización celebra anualmente los socios reconocen (con cierta renuencia, debo admitir) que la contribución de Doña Muerte al buen funcionamiento de La Vida es esencial.

El trabajo de La Muerte es delicado de por sí, pero en los últimos siglos se le ha complicado aun más y le resulta difícil ya esconder su preocupación:

Un grupo de cooperativistas ambiciosos, por cuenta propia y riesgo de todos, montó una sociedad limitada que subcontrata infinidad de servicios a La Vida, incluyendo algunos que requieren la implicación de Doña Muerte, nuestra rigurosa directiva.

La falta de ética natural y de estrategia de estos emprendedores está poniendo en peligro no solo a su sociedad, sino a la mismísima cooperativa. Lo que en su día parecía un interesante proyecto de deslocalización y diversificación que diera a luz a un nuevo actor empresarial, posible aliado estratégico de La Vida, está resultando ser un desastre total basado en odio y mentiras.

Al principio, cuando se pusieron en marcha, solían reclamar la presencia de La Muerte con avisos caprichosos inesperados, a veces a medianoche, para temas de sexo, asentamientos junto a ríos y hasta platos de lentejas. Esto excedía los servicios contratados en los que participaba La Muerte, que se ceñían en exclusiva a la caza de herbívoros, y nosequé de unos árboles que decían que talarían para construir unas cabañas y que les causaban algunos problemas de coordinación.

Su agenda,
escrita en hojas de hielo
con una pluma de plata,
revienta de citas
de última hora
e inevitables erratas.

Pero La Muerte
siempre acude.

Si la convocan bien alto
de modo infalible cumple.

Algunos siglos más tarde, La Muerte empezó a detectar una actividad hostil hacia La Vida Sociedad Cooperativa: La nueva sociedad limitada rebelde les hacía la competencia con un producto llamado “cielo” o “paraíso”, o algo así. Tan en serio se lo tomaban que incluso tenían varios programas de formación de personal; arquitectos, escultores y pintores de postín; brillantes literatos escribían sus folletos.

Más tarde, cuando este producto parecía empezar a flaquear, montaron una unidad de investigación y desarrollo a la que llamaron “Ciencia”. Aunque sus descubrimientos le causaban a La Muerte crecientes quebraderos de cabeza por la cantidad de visitas que a veces se cancelaban, a ella no le importaba en absoluto. Esta actividad innovadora no era contraria a los valores de la cooperativa.

El problema más grave, las gotas que colmarían este amargo cuenco de divergencia societaria, se le presentó a Doña Muerte cuando un grupo especial del Departamento de Ciencia se puso a trabajar, en busca de plusvalías, en proyectos de producción masiva de eficiencia racional organizada, algo que sus expertos de marketing denominaron astutamente “Progreso Industrial y Modernidad”.

De pronto, la presencia de La Muerte empezó a ser requerida en eventos en masa: bosques salvajes y talas organizadas; vertidos en aguas; hambrunas silenciadas; polución de los aires; campos de batalla.

La Muerte es reservada,
tímida,
las multitudes le hacen sentirse sangrienta,
ruin,
malvada,
de ahí que se empeñe siempre,
ínfima,
sobria,
discreta,
en recorrer silenciosa,
La Vida por su trastienda,
para nunca aparecer
donde nunca se le espera.

Aún recuerda aquel día
cuando unos bastardos armados
con reacciones despavoridas
apresurados la invocaron
en Nagasaki e Hiroshima.

Aún sufre pesadillas
con las gélidas memorias
de sus viajes a Alemania,
a esas cámaras de gas
llenas de vidas en pena,
y a las estepas disidentes
y a los campos de miseria
de esos nortes humillados
por Stalin y sus “guerras”.

Hay quien suele pensar que Doña Muerte es exquisita por tener chófer propio y evitar sórdidos andenes y vagones repletos de gente, pero reconozcamos que esta señora merece un poco de exclusividad. Su profesionalidad, su actitud respetuosa, y su interminable y unívoca lealtad a La Vida, son ejemplares:

La Muerte es solo fiel a La Vida
y no rinde culto a ser alguno.
Si la llaman en nombre de ídolos,
su temple se torna en blasfemia
que retumba en todo el mundo.

La Muerte nunca mezcla
la diversión con su trabajo
y procura no interferir
en el gozo de los demás,
por eso le atormenta
que la inviten a las fiestas,
como hace poco en Afganistán,
donde se presentó en una boda,
o ayer noche en París,
donde la llevaron a un concierto
y hasta tuvo que ir de bares.

Todavía sigue llorando
por lo que le hicieron pasar.

Debido a este déficit estructural, que ya viene de largo, la mayoría de socios de La Vida se sienten amenazados y han propuesto en su asamblea general, indignados, un ultimátum a esa otra sociedad, limitada y paralela, que camina orgullosa, fanática y ciega, a la insolvencia absoluta, a la liquidación programada:

Si en las próximas horas no se aprecian cambios radicales en La Humanidad Sociedad Limitada, se resolverán todos los contratos entre ambas entidades.

También parece ser que habrá una reunión de emergencia entre los directivos de la cooperativa, incluida La Muerte, y todos los accionistas de La Humanidad.

Espero que, al menos, eximan de asistir a este transcendental encuentro a quienes hayan formulado denuncias internas de esta corrupción corporativa. A estos colaboracionistas se les debería permitir seguir siendo miembros de la cooperativa, aunque solo sea como miembros rasos, por su dedicación, valentía y compromiso con La Vida.

Cabe la posibilidad de que La Muerte no haya perdido su conocida aversión a las muchedumbres y que finalmente se convoque a la reunión solamente a los cuadros de mando de La Humanidad, pero esto es solo una especulación mía.

Copyright © 2015. Tony Martin-Woods
Todos los derechos reservados. All rights reserved.

En la imagen, Santa Catalina de Alejandría de Konrad Witz (c.1400-1445) interpreta, solo en este relato, el papel de La Muerte blandiendo su espada y consultando su agenda.

Unresponsive

Nothing happens on the screen of my laptop.
It has turned unresponsive.
My memory of the sounds of my tapping of the keys
Suddenly acquires
A muffled texture of emptiness,
A sour timbre of impotence.
But I keep typing
Our revolutionary manifesto,
Because I am convinced
That I am still alive
Thanks to the pulse of my fingers,
Because I firmly believe
That the words of my letters
Must be going somewhere high
To be received by the Guardians of the Truth,
Who will certify the quality
Of each single sentence,
For them to be fed
To our masses
Who starve in heaven.

Hallowed be their reign.

Copyright © 2015. Tony Martin-Woods
Todos los derechos reservados. All rights reserved.