April In New York
Jan O. Hansen
April In New York
Spring in the big city
had been to Radio City Music Hall,
seen a movie and a line up of dancing girls.
Later, so many bars and bright lights, thing got a bit confusing.
Suddenly it was morning and I was walking in a street that suffered
from a constant lack of sunlight.
The robber showed me his pistol and demanded money- gave him my wallet,
$20 - he wasn't impressed.
Asked him if he would give me $5 back since I had the shakes and needed
He took pity; we went to a liquor store and he bought a bottle of booze
and two cans of col.
Sat on steps and drank brotherly.
When the bottle was empty I was so grateful to my
new friend that I gave him the change I had in my pockets - and my wristwatch.
He was so pleased that he gave me his pistol only later did I discover
it was that it was a fake one.
In The Absence Of God
The presence is there at five in the morning
I'm cold then and shudder under the duvet.
It's waiting for me to speak or act and I, at
times, feel an electric surge between us and
an incredible lightness as freed of my heavy
body, yet the presence has no evil intention,
it's just there to help if needed.
Poetry & Drama
Through the skylight a shaft of pure sunshine
falls into my room and I'm alone on a stage,
handsome and brave. The audience cough and
restless shift, in posh seats, wait for me to begin.
I wait for the moment when silence is audible
Read a long, epic poem by Ibsen. (The only one
remembered from my school days) Applause is
generous and there are shouts for more.
Try some of my own poems applause is less
enthusiastic and feet shuffle, first act over.
A cloud switches off the limelight, when
the shaft of merciless truth is back dust whirls
endlessly and silent. The audience have gone
home and I wonder if it looks odd if I take
drama lessons at sixty five
The long distance
marched towards me,
had passed the boring
some time ago and
as usual it was pretty
and had flowers in
We finally met outside
the bar it had taken
If flying I wouldn't
as it would have been
too short a distance
The Inebriate Woman
She was only forty five, rich but looked like
a bag lady her face a ruin, but kind eyes could
see that once she had been a beauty. Female
alcoholics lose their allure early and etched in
their haggard faces the abuse they often receive
by men who think they are easy prey
Every time she was sober she was drunk with
joy, this time it was going to last forever;
it never did and now she had drowned when
trying to have a bath. A friend called and gave
me the news asked if I would attend he feared
there wouldn't many
and he was right.
Her husband had come over from England he
wore a blue blazer, grey slacks and looked as
his yacht was anchored just around the corner.
My friend and I and two women from AA came.
Short the sermon, the yacht skipper thanked us,
we parted and the summer day continued.
Dance Around A Race
The doctor was popular and had a big practice,
nevertheless he was told to get out, since he
was of the wrong race, and replaced by man of
the right race and he didn't think it odd that he,
was taking over someone else's practice, not that
he lacked compassion but he was bewitched
by an empire based on hate. The older doctor
survived the plague that swept over Europe
the younger one was killed in an air raid, and
went to live in the middle east where he and
his race, now in vogue, took over a whole country.
Poetry is thoughts
Split and punctuated
A Gallery Painting
It was Sunday morning after drizzle and
an ownerless dog was so lonesome that
it wagged tail when looking at its own
image in a rain pool where cobblestones
are uneven; a muddy/brown fleck of water
with a sheen of diesel oil on its surface.
Men in black came out of the old church
carrying a coffin, a priest, in pink, waved
his fat hands about, behind him middle
aged sniveling female mourners dressed
in expensive dark lilac and off they drove
leaving us alone in a Sunday empty street.
The Café Lady
Where the narrow road ploughs through the Iberian landscape and before
turning westward there is little café, a few table, chairs, a
sink bar and on white washed walls a religious prints
marked by fly droppings.
The lady who runs the place has a vegetables plot and keep pigs, makes
an excellent stew for
lunch, full bodied,
cellar-cold red wine and lately ice cream for
the little nut-brown old men who can no longer till the land.
Her name is Tania she has generous hips, her bosom is pointing forward,
her black hair is streaked by grey, which she doesn't try to hide,
her eyes dark brown where, occasionally
a fire flickers deep within.
The gnarled old men love her like they would their mothers. Except one
that is taller than the rest,
has soft hands and uses cologne, he stays over twice a week, but not
on Saturdays - that day is reserved for the bus driver who is young,
strong and helps her repair the roof and slaughter the pigs.
Last time it rained she had to move the bed. Women are not welcome to
Tania' café they have sharp minds, not naïve like men, and
will find out that she has spent eight years in jail for
killing her husband in a fit of dark jealousy, boiling him, except for
his head, which she salted and put in a glass jar.
A local sausage factory had bought her prime pigs. The judge was lenient,
only gave her eight years because he suspected that her husband had
slept with his wife.
Where the road turns westward and ploughs through rustic landscape,
Tania in her café, is happy, but she grew worried when the young
farmer married a tart from the town, that woman had winked and smiled
at Tania like they shared a secret.
Happily she disappeared.
Tania sighs looks at her watch; time to feed the pigs.
On my afternoon walk I heard tiny cries and found
in a sack under a carob tree
five blind kittens,
two were already dead.
Picked up the three and hastened home, but they died in my palms. Laid
the side of the lane amongst poppies and buttercups
and when the night came rats slunk in to eat them.
The day had lost its lustre and filled by existential
misery I screamed my anguish across a field painted by Van Gogh,
the cry echoed amongst olive trees and
for a fraction of a second
spring stopped humming.
The Beauty and the Spy
in Antwerp walking back to my hotel from a late night bar
slightly confused I found myself in a backyard lit
by light from a kitchen window that fell onto waste ground. And there,
the kitchen by the sink a huge
naked man stood washing himself
his whiteness so blank against yellow walls that he cast no shadow
and it appeared that a strange phosphorous light lit him up from the
His hand movements where slow and in harmony with his giant body.
He was looking inwards and smiled as if recalling a pleasant memory.
The intensity of his privacy made him, like the blue whale that swims
Walking to The Beach
When we began walking the morning was cold but
since it was July we said the weather was frisky, in
the forenoon it got warm and by the time we came to the seaside it was
very hot and we hadn't brought
Decided to walk back home and fetch them, although there was a nudist
beach nearby we're working class and modest and anyway, one
needed to be a member.
The way home was long so many things happened and by the time we made
it we were tired and needed a nap.
We did get back to the seaside by nine thirty, the beach was then people
vacated and filled to
the brim with cold water and
the kiosk that sold ice cream had shut for the day
We used to bathe where the river ran slow -
it was wide and reached to the chest (except in the middle where it
was too deep for us who couldn't swim) but we often talked of crossing
it later in the summer when it had shallower water.
After bathing we sat on a blue blanket, drank lemon tea from your mother's
thermos flask and ate cheese sandwiches and admired your tanned
One day Fred came along. He could swim even under water, swam to the
other side and brought you flowers.
You were mightily impressed and went with him to the coast next day
so he could show you a real beach made of soft sand.
The rest of that summer I bathed alone, and in early September waded
to the river's other side, but the flowers were already picked and there
was a chill in the air.
He was a vast hulk of a man a narwhal
thrown ashore by the tide, sat drinking
beer in his garden of spare car parts and
"It's too late now,"
" if I had gone to America
I'd be rich by now, but what could
I do someone had to look after mother."
Raised his useless hands in a gesture
of resignation and wore a dark cape of
self inflicted sorrow, turned slightly
towards the small house behind him -
the one that needed a coat of paint and
"Mother bring us some more beer.
And my sun hat!"
An Ordinary Thursday
The rail track that led up to the cold north where posh ladies wear
arctic fox fur as scarves even in summers,
has been torn up and made into a gigantic statue that
represents man's longing for peace;
but there was a lot of iron left over and for that cannons were made.
Funny thing is that no one in the village can remember the tracks and
that's sad for they have nothing to miss then.
A flock of sheep walk passed my open widow,
I can smell them and one stops, dreamily gazes in but doesn't understand
what it sees.
The oldest man in the village, who claimed that he had been a trapper
when young, tells me that posh ladies never wore arctic fox fur around
their necks and that the tracks never existed.
The man is deluded, never was a trapper but
worked in a shop selling delicate China to posh ladies,
some whom still come to his house where they sit on silk sofas, drink
tea without slurping and look down on us locals.
An elephant walks passed my open window,
sticks its trunk in and trumpets, I pretend to be shocked.
This, the elephant thinks is funny and giggles as it walks into the
forest to carry logs for its strange owner who has a girlish fear of
The route up north is no more,
and I look back not so much in anger as in sadness.
||To fall in
They said that you stole antique things from empty houses where the
owners had died or left the country,
old things you later sold in your shop.
People are bad.
I chose not to believe them, then or now.
Me, you gave a big mirror, to better see yourself when you stayed overnight
at my house, yes and an expensive vase I put red roses in when you came.
But I can't forgive your cruelty, you stole my heart and dropped it
on a fag strewn floor, under a table full of dirty dishes when you took
off with the Turkish truck driver and phoned me, asked if I would run
your shop for a week?
I have forgiven you, now that you're sick; a surgeon cleaned my heart
put it back, and it is as good as new,
a bit sadder, but that's normal,
and I have to be careful
not to fall in love with you again.
Carved on an oak
Deep in the black forest,
: Adolf loves Eva.
The Man Who Flew
Sven, wheelchair bound after a childhood accident,
was a funny guy always ready with a witty remark,
on Fridays he went drinking ale with us but when we later went to dance
he drove home in his electric chair joking about being over the limit.
Our town is a hilly one and steep roads lead to the town's pride - the
On top of one of these roads Sven let go and began rolling down faster
and faster till the wheelchair toppled over and Sven went flying through
the air happy and free as an eagle.
At last his flight was cut short by a building
and for a moment, that had eternity's dream within its grasp,
arms outstretched he merged with a wall,
a crucifixion as seen from behind, the world paused.
Waiters stopped serving ale and barmaids' reflections in gilded mirrors
Then, the engine of life revved up and singing, laughing, crying and
dying carried us into an uncertain the future.
If a bat, in a dark cave, losses its new born
babe does it lament the loss and grieve or
does it shrug bat wings and keep hanging
upside down? Does an army of rats feed
off fallen bat babies or is the smell of their
dropping so strong that even rats have fled?
Terror is the new weapon of mass child destruction,
used by thugs who demand a freedom they are not
capable of handling.
Demanding a state founded on
the corpses of the innocent and turning the world
against good Muslims and soiling the name of Islam.
I have no more understanding for the preachers of
violence, be they raw or hidden behind a veneer of
democracy, you are emotionally corrupt and history will damn you.
Lest we forget
Winter 1944, the camp guards had drenched
a human pyramid with petrol and set it ablaze
laughing uproarious when logs tried to run
away. Their commander was angry, petrol to
expensive to be wasted like that, but it was
Christmas, the season of good will, he forgave
and invited them for a drink in his office.