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.