There is a woman. Sitting by the door. It slides loudly. She wears a blue
jumper. A beaded necklace. She looks out the window. Her features look
fragile. She’s thinking of her husband. He’s away on business. She doesn’t
trust him. She crosses her arms. The train doesn’t move. She turns her head
I know her. I’ve seen her before. At a party in Chelsea. The waiters were
Portuguese. Everyone was rich. Everything was expensive. Even the noise. Even
the smells. Air clogged with entitlement. She wore a long black dress. She
laughed loudly. Her legs were long. You found her pretty. Some music came
on. She swung her hips. So did the others.
Let’s leave, you said. A man came towards us. He was drunk. He spoke of
birds. You enjoyed him. We stayed. You mentioned buzzards. Then marshes.
The sea, I said. No one heard.
We went home.
Your hand was warm.
by Alba Arikha
Two competitions seek entries: for the Dylan Thomas International Poetry Award poets from around the world are invited to submit a single previously un-published poem of a prescribed length in response to the word ‘Harmony’ by 31 March 2014. An award of £2000 will go to the winner and a copy of the poem will be displayed for the next year at the Dylan Thomas Centre. For more details, visit the Prize’s designated website.
And the Poetry Centre and the Ashmolean Museum are still accepting entries for ‘Picture This!’, their Pre-Raphaelite poetry competition, open to all Sixth Formers studying in Oxford. More details can be found on the Ashmolean’s website. The competition deadline is Monday 17 March.
‘from Soon’ is copyright © Alba Arikha, 2013, and is reprinted from Soon (CB editions, 2013) by permission of CB editions.
Notes from CB editions:
Alba Arikha was born and grew up in Paris, and now lives in London. Major/Minor, her memoir about growing up in Paris (where Samuel Beckett was her godfather), was selected among the ‘Best Books of 2012’ by The New Yorker; she has also published a novel and a short-story collection, and has recorded a CD of her songs, Dans les rues de Paris. In Soon, the book-length narrative poem from which the above extract is taken, a train comes to an unscheduled stop an hour outside Paris, and while the other passengers bicker, confide and flirt, the narrator remembers – lovers, disappointments, childhood, marriage. You can read further excerpts from the book on the CB editions website.
CB editions, founded in 2007, publishes poetry alongside short fiction and other writing, including work in translation. Its poetry titles have won the Aldeburgh First Collection Prize three times (in 2009, 2011 and 2013), and have been shortlisted for both the Forward Prize and the Forward First Collection Prize. In 2011 CBe inaugurated Free Verse, a one-day book fair for poetry publishers to show their work and sell direct to the public; the event was repeated in 2012 and 2013, with over 50 publishers taking part, and has become an annual event. The next fair will take place around Easter 2014.
Find out more about the publisher from the website, where you can also sign up to the CB editions mailing list, or ‘like’ the publisher on Facebook to keep up-to-date with its activities.
Copyright information: please note that the copyrights of all the poems displayed on the website and sent out on the mailing list are held by the respective authors, translators or estates, and no work should be reproduced without first gaining permission from the individual publishers.