Friday, 26 June 2015

Колелото в парка/The bicycle in the park

Misjudging connections, I’d arrived
too soon in that only just known town
and in the last remaining phone booth
the rattling, rejected coins were proof
that I’d not been able to raise you for money,
let alone love.
Yet not so far away,
paths some noble obliged to have cut
opened onto vistas of a municipal park
and a bicycle unchained by a lamp-post
spoke of an irredeemable trust.

Perhaps some couple not unlike us
rode tandem here, or a lunchtime escapee,
brained by air-conditioning,
pedalled out to find the real thing -
who knows? Or perhaps it was yours.

Friday, 19 June 2015

Чайник и зеленчуци/Kettle and vegetables

I learnt the word патладжан early on.
Not long after, amongst refurbished stalls
beyond the central market, aubergine
wasn’t on the list, but I took back
raspberries the colour of arterial blood
and improvised a breakfast overlooking
cafe tables, fronds of urban scrub.

I would be there now. By crevices
of stone walls and tram incursions,
we’d be sipping black coffee
and waiting on friends. But here,
in our kitchen, I’m making tea
and патладжанът on the side
is once again an aubergine.

Image: Marina Shiderova; text: Tom Phillips

Friday, 12 June 2015

Езерото/The Lake

We sat in that garden, just below
mountainous scenery. It was
recognising some words
in his language which got us
talking. It tasted
like the back-end of my life,
like something I’d never expected.
The great gulls swung in
across the distant water.

I’m partial, I’ll admit it.
At the end of the pontoon,
slim bodies dive into the lake.
We walk through town later
and sit in this familiar bar.
The football results are on
and I’m sneaking up an alley
to get a good signal. In no more
than a few days, I’ll be home.

Friday, 5 June 2015


Just above flaked paint and crusted brick
outside the kitchen door, a trio of roses
depends on nothing so much as a string
round which their tendrils twist and grip.

An inclement early summer has turned
our garden feral bucolic – its lack
of austerity’s fecund with motley,
aerial mating damson flies, excitable
finches squabbling. Dripping ferns
splay upwards like invitations.
A helicopter saws the breeze.

From the sun glints on its skis,
it’s apparently protecting us,
sending wildness off to scamper,
and for a moment at least
I can’t remember anything like this
assertion of some right to interference.

My father grew roses, their pink shades
used to hang in our living room.
All he was ever concerned with
was their smell and preventing the blight
which he knew might destroy them.

I can’t speak for him, but I suspect
he would have delighted in seeing
roses painted one day in Bulgaria.