Sleepless in Lima.

I wrote this poem in 2015 (I think, maybe it was ’14), during our three-year stay in Miraflores, in turn 3/4 of the time we lived in Peru. I sometimes suffer from mild insomnia (although having a small baby has changed that picture somewhat!) and this poem was composed one such night when I thought putting my brain to good use would be a productive use of this bonus awake time and might actually help me get some kip in the end!

I have posted a couple of rhyming poems so far this week, with rhyme I feel you’re definitely on safer ground for critical self-reflection-it’s definitely easier to look at a rhyming couplet and say ‘yeah, that works’. With free verse, you are always running the risk of sounding like you’re spouting rubbish. But then, no-one’s having to pay for these poems, other than their time-I hope it’s worth it.

This poem was originally untitled, I have given it here the title ‘Sleepless in Lima’ for both accuracy and want of a better idea.

Here’s to the great reservoir of words

A critical mass of palabras,

waiting to flow free.

I pace this midnight room,

She sleeps on in the bedroom

As I perform this sentinel’s watch

Up on the ninth floor of this tower block.

No sleep ’til trash truck

It arrives, later than usual.

Soon it will depart,

Street silence restored in it’s wake.

But not quite yet.

Not-quite ant-like figures gather the day’s payload.

Now silence. Miraflores, you could be

Manhattan in this night-time.

Such uncommon silence. Even a city

needs its beauty sleep, as someone said

in a book I read.

But back to Manhattan, for a moment anyway.

Is it true (I think it possibly is) that

places are at their most romantic when

we project onto and into them.

‘Preston is my Paris’ as an ad I once read once said.

Here I am in the heart of Latin America, the heart and yet the fringe.

With these uncommonly quiet towerblocks

and the black void of the Pacific

backdropping these very words.



Walking on a Spring Twilight.

You might call this a counterfeit dawn

The shades of blue across walls and lawn.

The tangible sweetness of the spring air.

The birdsong, from their be-twigged lairs.


Deepening dark (but by the week it grows slower,

the sun is strengthening, no longer getting lower).

A tear in the benevolent cloud-gloom reveals a shaft of sunset light.

A final chorus before the onset of night.


State of the Nations (De-stress).

I’ve written a short poem/rap/blog post in rhyming couplets. It starts off on a local, home-town tip, before quickly veering into the territory of current affairs, both home and abroad. I’ve entitled it ‘State of the Nations (De-stress)’.

From a town with an F.C in crisis

With owners less popular than Isis

I come to talk about the state of the nation

Distorted pictures, aggravation.

When I look at Venezuela, what do I see?

But the Battle of Chile in ’73.

Elections-’16 in Peru, ’17 in France.

You’ve got different dancers, but the same dance.

And if the centre, it cannot really hold?

Is now the time for something bold?

Podemos, Syriza, they thought it was time,

Even Labour took a similar line.

But reaction’s got muscle, too.

Trump and Erdogan, just for two.

Yes, and Brexit’s the elephant in the room.

One wo/man’s euphoria, another wo/man’s doom.

And now there’s a gathering of duds around May.

It’s going to be a landslide, some people say.

My glass is half-empty, but also half-full.

Can things be dismal, but life not dull?