David Cattanach 

A Tale of Two Cities

Marble columns, high grade fascias,
marks the street where wealth resides.
Modern concrete blast, without window freesias,
marks where the poor stalk.
So to our pocket some might balk.
But too right they would not talk
for each world was a stranger to the other.

Even at the market counter
there is a feverish hand,
we cannot avoid to notice
among the bastard brands.
Those that can add wealth at random,
by an accident of the kingdom.
wait with fear for expected cure.

Efforts press the heart many suffer,
emotions run through the body to the mind 
causing a faint tick in the thoughts of the bluffer.
It is said the heart grows fonder but for some it is a bind
for their passion cannot be bound,
striking out when they are constrained by keys.
Wealth passes by unconcerned with unseeing eyes. 

Privilege is marked by secluded access
not the open stall of table-top wares. 
In secret vaults everything is excess,
those with not much are weary at supper,
even best laid plans can be subject to rupture.
To wander forever is the scripture 
but not everyone has to hold up the cross.


It's close company 
like fetching a cup of coffee
or applying the lotion, or just talking.
It's when the phones come out 

that things really kick off; 
he's staring at it - his partner is waiting 
not for the news but wanting to go out - NOW.
Anger rises she storms off

later we see them apart 
on different sides of the street
trying to look discreet 
but you know there is upset.

When does it turn to disappointment 
the sadness of silence.
We are lucky there are no guns 
just large spaces between the recliners.

Women are bright - neon clothes at night 
the men accept the right to be ignored !
Is it the place that does it 
with no job or gym to run too?

Is it the cats around the pool 
mothers with kittens, jumping about 
all at play, approaching tables, brushing legs?
It could be the water of the pool seeding sunlight?

Anyway, something is not right 
kids are figuring out if it is divorce this time.
Which adult do they want ?
Another ice-cream please, they ask in unison.

From behind the dunes a woman appears alone 
Wearing a sea-blue bikini - he's not there 
could he be Mr. Big - we'll never know
for in the last days they make up. 

Maybe, they had a photo-shoot 
his smile and warm words won her back.
I saw another unreconciled 
handing on a plastic bag of ice 

not for her head but for a sprained ankle 
which she may have used to press him down 
into the pavement, when he had called work again 
on his mobile phone - they were on holiday after all.


Today a flat sea reached to the horizon 
projecting a glass light,  on morning calm.
A boat moved taking a chartered line.
I watched.  My toes filtered 
the sand at the shore’s edge.

A mariner shouted ‘Take hold of the rope’.
Others pulled the boat, crunching pebbles,
on board I sighted flapping fish, gasping.
I walked further out, the sea rolled about my knees,
screeching seagulls attacked the harbour quay.

On another boat a man pulled the net,
which had landed fruits of the sea
into an ordered pile of yellow thread,
aside red buoys marked
eyes, scales, fins and blood 

Swaying, face in shade
another dealt with knots in the yellow net
re-stringing for future voyage. 
I waded deeper
among the bright colours, wood and lanyards' ringing.. 

Over the side went the captain
his crew shouted hard.
But he was already in the blue
chasing dolphins.  His necklace 
glinting in the sun.

The waves came on, becoming fierce,
he turned his head.
I saw his eyes - red bitten by salt.
Did I want to swim down 
to his deep locker?

Unaware a speedboat came by 
pulling a skier, in its wake
the captain disappeared. All became 
quiet again, seahorses drifted,
then the pedaloes came bobbing back.

David is working hard to keep pace with the ever expanding range of publishing outlets.  Each month he tries to send several submissions poetry and prose in response to open invitations.  He still engages with online Zoom platforms and local poetry groups, in the North of England.

Flights, Issue Six, September 2022