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3 poems by Belinda Rimmer

Charlie Chaplin –

painted white face, black bowler hat, and stick –

is folded into a cardboard box in front of the cathedral.

He faces me and smiles, tilts his hat and blows a kiss.

I send a kiss back.

He pulls out a red rose and holds it to his chest.

I can hear tourists on their phones.

I can smell the pizza.

The air is still. No ocean breeze.

It's early season but too hot to stand

on the pavements of Palma in flip-flops.

Smeared in sunscreen

like a tribal dancer

and alarmingly brazen in full sun

I stop to stare at Charlie.

I fancy we live together in a villa

with a black pig and wild birds.

We have a waterfall, a terrace, a botanical garden,

a woodland of Yew trees, a natural spring.

We live off the best cheese and wine.

Our lives – a single line of sun –

swimming each day, a bit of dressing-up on the side.

A man shakes me, says he's my husband.

But I live in a villa with a black pig

and Charlie Chaplin in a box.

This night-sky …

might be better than the Northern Lights –

shades of pink or peach.

It's growing fatter; a breast full of milk

and I am sucking. I never was fed this way.

I want to walk through a forest

with my mouth open to catch the rain,

my arms in the air to catch the lightning.

I want a fox to look at me

as if I have brought the thunder.

As if I am new here, learning the wild ways.

I last saw a storm like this in Venice.

Next day everything shone.

On the beach

I was singing along to the Stranglers.

It felt so far from home.

Scaring the Locals in Rural Morocco, 1979

Needing space from the welcoming party

back at Camp Africa, the scoring of points

for the newly arrived singles,

and against advice, I'd taken myself off for a walk.

The men from the local village

like a band of merry dancers

were navigating the bumps and hollows of the dirt track

before I'd had time to work myself out

of their eyeline.

Surprised by their insistence

on following, three steps behind,

and pointing at me with the toes of their bare feet,

I pulled on a cardigan. Stretched it across my flesh.

The air was big with heat and cigarettes,

the sound of distant dogs. I was gesticulating

go away go away

when my hat fell into the dust and sent a lizard,

all scales and tongue and tail, flying.

The men stood dead-still

not looking at the lizard but at me;

the shade of my blonde hair.


Belinda's poems are widely published. In 2017, she won the Poetry in Motion Competition to turn her poem into an award winning film. In 2018, she came second in the Ambit Poetry Competition. She is a joint winner of the Indigo-First Pamphlet Competition, 2018, with her pamphlet, Touching Sharks in Monaco.


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