6 Poems by Bryan Murphy
lead you to your genial host,
of appetite and three fair daughters
place named just “The Place”,
from any alternative.
Sporting Lisbon hero, their green-and-white
wore when that brought fame
fortune. Now he harvests
earth’s bounty in a smallholding,
welcomes guests and advocates
the city’s fast forwarding of time,
them, feeds them, shows them round,
of brighter days in darker places.
malevolence of neighbours.
bloods lounge at wells,
chewing, until they flee abroad.
from modernity seep in:
remittances, ideas, high tech
cast or stay the evil eye.
falls early below the hills.
Against the Odds
Well-trained colonel burns bullet into brain.
widow rebuilds a self, takes flight
ashes unable to bury her.
longer subject to Air Force quack-speak
pressure to echo lies for her country
though wounded, she soars.
Constraints remain: poverty; children
to understand, then unalloyed in loyalty.
Solitude feeds self-doubt: the worm in the rose.
brakes she steadily releases, then
withers codes of obedience with fire
intellect, smashes shackles
safe duty with sensual dexterity
restraint, beyond recall.
worm dies. Phoenix flies free.
Floodlights bathe the unscripted ritual,
unfocused backlight on older temples
indigo city: a stupa, a mosque, a church,
testimony to tolerance in times barely past,
now subject to the whims of a vengeful SLORC,
military mind, that we have armed full well,
condemns free spirit to extinction here.
chinkless bamboo curtains, its soldiers
and fail, fail and try, to execute that sentence.
tonight, Burmese football flair flashes,
a Korean company club privatises fantasy
carelessly crushing the national squad.
Throughout this uncrushed land,
stadia, cinemas, shops and streets,
stoic throng, caught in doldrums
between the tempests of human history,
for globalisation and its discontents.
jacaranda colours the scented air,
wrought-iron benches massage our jet-lag
round village square centred
Lakewards, a man above a shop strikes
blows to the fašade below his feet;
bright brick and stucco crumble. Roadwards,
work-gangs sweat to inch the grey innards
foetus hotel higher. Southwards,
silver water that lures us ageing gringos
recedes to ease the thirst of Megalopolis,
invasive hyacinth stakes out more metres
its final resting place.
celluloid they pounce and mince,
our out-pouring inner-city life,
their fill of fine white cocaine,
all traffic, shut our night-time shops.
slum to conquer box-office cash
tales of immigration, integration,
cross-cultural communication, inter-ethnic love:
thespian preachers endorsing people power.
light a backstreet courtyard
noonday after dark,
two nights’ slow minutes
tape dramatic dysfunctions,
cut and run
more comfortable quarter.
kerbside shards are ours alone;
blood they shed flows warm.
village named for obsolete technology
becomes a logo, a postcard, a curio,
imposing in its way, set amid cliffs above
ocean roar too harsh for casual swimmers,
white houses like cubism without unfamiliarity,
without blood, an urban vision
timelessness beside the sea.
city’s euros reconstruct
skeleton and shell
damage wrought by summer drought
winter storm; their Trojan horses disgorge
hummers, property speculators, image makers.
falls heavy on villa and hovel:
muffles time’s blows.