Archive for Leeds

Closing Down

Posted in Poetry with tags , on October 13, 2012 by belfastdavid

I call in to see my favourite shopkeeper.
Last week he asked me what I knew.
This week his shop is closed down, boarded up.
In fact the whole market is closed down.
“For Refurbishment” the sign says.
Clearly he knew something, but was not telling.

I ask a lady in the next arcade;
she tells me he has closed down for good,
will not be re-opening anywhere.

The whole city is showing
signs  of closing down;
empty shops, boarded up shop fronts:
it is no longer possible to visit
the up-market arcades
and yet ignore the desolation:
pound shops, pawn brokers
and extortionate money lenders.

Leeds City market, once bustling,
exciting, now a depressed, sullen,
hold-tight-to-your-handbag sort of place.

I eat my lunch among the middle classes
at the Playhouse Theatre
because  I get a discount there.

Return home to my flat
where I have to keep
my windows closed
due to dust from building work below.

What I do know is
that there are better uses
for the money spent
than building another
bloody great block of student flats.


There is a Stillness in the City

Posted in Poetry with tags , , on December 14, 2011 by belfastdavid

Greyness dulls the sounds
which would normally define
my Sunday morning.

I lean out my window,
drink a coffee,
smoke a cigarette,
contribute to the gloom.

A young woman with a pony-tail
appears, disappears,
jogging through the mist.
I wonder what benefit
she hopes to gain from breathing in polluted air.

I answer my phone; did not mean to – just did. Why on earth do bloody salesmen cold-call me on a Sunday morning – I am not remotely interested in anything they have to say – resist the temptation to tell him to fuck off – replace the phone firmly and remind myself that I have an answering service – if I don’t pick up, my own voice will invite you to leave a message .Friends will leave a message, salesmen never do. I have a friend who, on certain occasions, would rather talk to my answering machine than directly to me – she knows she can talk to it without fear of interruption, censure or rebuke – this is not a call for help on her part, rather just the opportunity to rant out loud.

She calls to see me today,
needing more than
an answering machine
or a telephone call can provide.

We sit together,
side by side,
take comfort
in the peace,
the stillness
of Sunday morning
in the city.

Seasons in the City

Posted in Poetry with tags , , on November 7, 2011 by belfastdavid

I stand on my balcony
gladdened by the sight
of leaves losing their green,

being replaced by yellow,
orange, brown, even black.
There is sadness too

for soon they will fall;
leaving me exposed to a view
of unrelenting blocks of flats.

Autumn is here:

The Lady Boys of Bangkok
have arrived in Millennium Square.
I meet a friend for coffee

who wants to know when
the Lady Boys will be
replaced by the Germans:

it is one of her traditions
to bring her husband and son
to the Christmas Market

and early in the New Year
the outdoor skating rink
will appear in the Square,

whether a sign of winter
or a bringer of spring
it is difficult to say.

But, for me, I will know
winter is here when the rink
is forced to close for the day.

Snow is falling on the ice.

Living in the City 3

Posted in Poetry with tags , on October 18, 2011 by belfastdavid

Go with a friend for breakfast
to the café by the river;
it is not the sort of café
which offers a fat-free option:
my breakfast is delicious.

Walk past the Blood Donor Centre
as I go up the Headrow
on my way to the dentist,
wonder if I call in
would they offer me a top-up.

Visit a bookshop
on my way back,
I deserve a treat I tell myself
pleased to have found
such a good excuse.

I am behind a young lady,
as we approach the crossroads
the wind picks up her skirt,
forces her into an impression
of Marilyn Monroe.
I compliment her
0n the attractiveness of her bum,
she smiles, says Thank you.

Call in at my doctors,
the girl on reception
expresses surprise
when I tell her my age,
says I do not look it.
I must call in, see her,
more often.

Red Bus Cafe

Posted in Poetry with tags on May 22, 2011 by belfastdavid

Diesel fumes, motor cycle growl,
screech of brakes, over-revved engines,
generator chuntering in the background.

And penetrating it all
the smell of bacon cooking.

I could be a vegetarian
if bacon grew on trees.

The red bus cafe is in a layby about ten miles outside Leeds on the A64 between Leeds and York. It has been there for as long as I can remember and, according to Leeds natives, for much longer than that.
This poem was selected to be included in a project whereby poems were printed on boards and hung in the waiting rooms of Leeds hospitals – they were moved round every few weeks. I have no idea whether they are still there – perhaps I will take a walk down this week and have a look.
I was prompted to post it because it is to be included in an anthology of work by the Leeds writers’ Circle to be published later this year – in time for LIPPfest we hope.