Peter Hughes


it’s hard to start
new notebooks
so I usually fill
the first few pages
with my new addresses
& the name of the local
bar & station
which is Sonnenallee
quotes are also good
while the sun on the floor
of the library
creeps all the way up
to my shoes
I should’ve brought water
as well as a pen
the city’s full
of verdant spaces
but by the time I leave
they’re turning grey
& changing demographic
all the dirty lights come on
& sing among the heartbreaking
fragrances of hot vegetable oil
night walks
across the squares
& pages & a map
of the last town
I found in my back pocket
crossed with worn out creases
that open into gaps



a bunch of pink & nosy roses
climbs in through the bedroom window
looks around in late May breeze &
wonders where you are while Jack
O’ Metty our lemon geranium falls
out of the bathroom window whenever
I open it to song courtesy of this fabulously
normal blackbird on the aerial opposite
& way above the place we put the bins
the day after we’re supposed to & somewhere
you are wearing clothes & talking
to the neighbours as the Brad Mehldau Trio
sways its way around a bend of its own making
before mooching along Eden Street Backway
the name of my first album
the days go by for the survivors & you
are now reclining in a European garden
relishing asparagus & Grüner Veltliner
well it’s nice to take the weight off your head
shoulders knees & toes to reflect
upon another complex spa experience
& all those layered shadows in the forests
dank & spongy airmax footfalls       
hush: all ECM & siskin      I nibble seasoned timber
nameless seeds & dented nuts & sample woody herbs
& as I water ravaged salad
I have the thought: why don’t we whistle too
you know just whistle whistle
whistle back

Peter Hughes was recently the Judith E. Wilson Visiting Fellow in Poetry at Cambridge University. He runs Oystercatcher Press. Recent publications include a Selected Poems (from Shearsman), versions of Petrarch’s complete sonnets (Reality Street), and Cavalcanty (Carcanet). His versions of Leopardi have just come out from Equipage. Peter currently lives in Cambridge.