Alyson Torns

from unresolved journey

arrived safely so quiet here two hours on beach look like prawn see sea woman says this is where locals go perhaps food is good people always stare at me alone at dinner i smile the way i smile at children parents always give me odd looks it’s all changed no going back jug of wine for pound new place to stay Solar breathe

little girl helps old lady along street nearly same size buys her ice cream thinking of Josh Zak monkeys mouse sing on street fluorescent words where do they go grateful exhausted woman on train speaks to me in Portuguese sou ingles her mobile phone goes off answers hello Paul continues in fluent English say no more she’s there and I’m here

little girl pulls train on string a long beach walks with his feet in buckets breathe catching up Joao Lucy baby Lily cleansed water sea salt this time room 10 not 101 or 1 breathe hears footsteps up stairs breathe dogs drink from fountain man fills plastic bottle from water fountain it spills breathe passing out after woman puked over floor in bar breathe balloon man nearly takes off this year fluorescent rings flash cars play same tune breathe battery dogs

man fills up bag with ice to make bottle of water cool take to beach

priaha luz tai chi on terrace good to meet up friends Cristina Hugo out for lunch there are no sardines is it possible

rainbow over sea silence for change will go for blood test wind growls no words left to say only actions bird song abundance man or parrot whistles engaging light lady from mountain spontaneity space breathe let down woman troubled less talk talk more do do can cope being apart need to be apart violet weather change pine cone falls plop first car heard in two hours nine months since connected with sand between toes intensity you wonder why it pisses me off does it matter is it worth ink perhaps not on this occasion I pray

stewardess says no one can eat peanuts or open peanuts on this flight nut allergy

sardines on terrace cloudy day no undressing beach red white wine over beer same smell not enough writing sea view from window chirping outside boat on horizon shut off mobile

another parrot says whit woo black cat doesn’t come night we leave sat outside Hotel Borges seeing you again after two years Fernando boy hands out green tickets train shakes my hand Roma Baixo Chiado stood in Rossio Square boy plays music his tiny dog has piece of string attached to cup round his neck with coins man sells plasters sunglasses sitting at table where James and I had lunch large beer sandwich Lisbon for a day Algarve tomorrow

pigeon takes bath under dripping pipe shown directions for train ending up asking someone escorted to train station by lady engaging fully

up twice in night shits opening windows doors wrapping self in sheet kiss goodbye no words getting to this point

travelling backwards bruise has come out on arm same in each language

argentinean restaurant strawberries tomatoes cheese balsamic vinegar small dog boy music

goodbye good weather says look there are too many swimming pools rabbits teddies on ground watching film with no sound screaming children lost her son in France flew body back to Portugal drove them to France in his cab drove back alone can’t see too many clouds woman says hysterically shake it up baby on napkin 500 bags stolen on beach whilst people swam one man lost his clothes too lost and found in one week always get a map Cristina laughs lost world made of sand

says don’t let mum know she’s started smoking again as her mum’s given up didn’t stop her mum secretly taking ciggie from me at bar-b-que

says like a neighbour we don’t see each other for six months then bump into each other heat consumed like bad friend lying face down another country kissing woman on both cheeks after massage closing shutters storm on its way charcoal painting left in apartment two mosquito bites square of light on ceiling two new backpackers arrive stranger rubs sun cream on back hear trumpet player young girl dies on beach mosquito bite have protection covered in Superbock this nausea is not an illness it’s an answer

visited beach of potatoes soles of feet dirty smile in little girls eyes man keeps playing trumpet bumping into Ze first time seen each other without clothes didn’t recognise each other how we recognise people in clothes man stood outside Modelo picks ticks out dogs back no one puts anything in case fewer gulls this year Ze doesn’t like them they piss him off


Alyson Torns has had poems published in Great Works, Past Simple, Veer off, Poetry Salzburg Review, Poetry London, The Interpreter’s House, Fire, The Wolf, Neon Highway and Tears in the Fence. Her most recent publication is From the Lost Property Office: a quartet for Pessoa (Hearing Eye, 2006). She works as a tennis coach.

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