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.