Pam Thompson has wanderlust


I met her in a bar, a small woman,
in a red sleeveless sweater
and a Laplander's hat with strings hanging down;
a hat that looked like yellow wax.

We were different, yeah, but almost the same.

She asked me for a light, didn't even smoke.
Asked me for a light, whispered in my ear:

Come with me to the harbour.
Come with me to the wide open sea.
I'll take you to the island.
You can hear the sea-birds scream.
I'll take you … to the island.

Then sang a song that slashed at me
like knives.  I looked into her eyes.
She looked into my eyes. A song
like glass mountains cracking.

She wore a rucksack of mud.
I turned to mud
then she carried me on her back
down a river of roots and veins.

We were different, yeah, but almost the same.

She carried me on a raft
propped up by owls that looked like rocks
with eyes and shoulders.
Underwater owls.
Yes, I clung with arms and thighs
to another woman's back on a theme-park ride
with glass mountains rushing past.
A theme-park ride; a river howling.

We never reached the island.
The owls all died. The mountains turned
to ice and melted , pitching us
through falls of freezing water.
We were different, yeah, but almost the same.
One travelling: the other drowning.

* Pam Thompson has had poems published in a range of anthologies and magazines and has written to commission. Her pamphlets are Spin (Waldean Press 1999), Parting the Ghosts of Salt (Redbeck Press 2000) and Show Date and Time (Smith-Doorstop 2006). Her recent collection The Japan Quiz is published by Redbeck Press. Pam is one of the organisers of Word! Leicester’s longest running spoken-word open-mic night which takes place every month at The Y.

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