Monday, March 15, 2010


This week's Poetry Bus assignment is to riff off the lines:
She was wearing Stella McCartney
I was drinking Stella Artois



A long, exhausting week
a long, exhausting day
rather than go straight home to dinnermaking and the evening news
a glass of beer and a vague unthinking pause at the corner bar seems just the thing.
(maybe Prince Charming will be lifting a golden brew of his own)
These french small town bars
they're alright now they've banned smoking and you can breathe
they're good for an aperitif, a kir, a cloudy Ricard, a glass of mysterious porto
but they suck for beer.
All lagers, thin as piss
not an ale or a stout in sight.
no body, no bite, it's summertime beer, this.
a fermented species of iced tea, or soda,
not anything to hold you when the cutting wind is full of ice.
but it'll do, has to.
The people here are working-class
they're meeting the guys before trundling home to their wives and kids and bills.
one or two have been here all day,
nothing better to do than keep the barkeep company.
And then she comes in.
not exactly with a saunter, but a particular walk
like she's mistaking Clermont-Ferrand for Paris, le quartier le plus chic.
What on earth is she wearing
All the guys turn and look,
like they've never seen such a creature before.
She looks back at their crumpled jackets and worn out shoes,
at their working hands and rough haircuts,
like she's never seen such creatures before either.
Then she pulls out her phone
a tiny, bejewelled marvel,
and calls a taxi, to whisk her away from this strange planet she has landed on by accident.
Somebody must have made a mistake.
We turn back to our evening beers, and the racing results, and the lottery ticket dispenser,
not much wondering what we're doing here ourselves.


Bagman and Butler said...

When your imagination takes off from a cue -- photographically or poetically -- its always worth watching. Great poem. I knew that bar well.

Tabor said...

I really like this. You managed the assignment and also captured me as a reader.

Niamh B said...

Full of atmosphere, an interesting take...

swiss said...

i like the evocation in this so much i'm actually going to have to wait and read it again and get back to you

Totalfeckineejit said...

Yeh, I'm with Swiss, needs reading again.I like it though, you took the prompt a mile away from home and went with it.A real snapshot/portrait/slice. Trés bien!

Titus said...

Really interesting, first one I've read that's taken the lines just as a start point, and made them real life. Loved it.

NanU said...

I tried starting with the lines, but never got any farther. They have too much character of their own.

Peter Goulding said...

Yes, the lottery tickets!
The prompt took most of us down the humorous route but this was very different and very atmospheric.

Argent said...

Oh, I liked this, so different from all the funny ones. I think I've been in bars like that in deepest, darkest Brum. Great atmosphere.

Poetikat said...

Nice story-telling with this. I enjoyed the "what on earth is she wearing"; it really summed up the experience.

(I hope you'll forgive my liberties with the French language in my piece.)


Karen said...

You were able to take this seriously - one of only two I've read so far who managed to do that! I raise my glass to you! This is good.

the watercats said...

wow! fantastic! I was hooked. I absolutely love moment in time prose thingies, just swift, snippets of characters and scenarios and possibility, this is so cool! :-D

Reya Mellicker said...

What on earth IS she wearing? Wow.

That pink bunny of yours gets around!

Totalfeckineejit said...

I liked this on first reading but love it on the second! Apart from being a descriptive vignette and flouting atmospheric detail it has darker undercurrents.I think it's a real neat piece of writing.