UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES


One early afternoon at the nadir

or the zenith of the so-called Cuban

Missile Crisis – a good or, rather, bad

two years before ‘Dr. Strangelove’ and ‘Fail-Safe’

were screened – I was waiting in the drear

and white-tiled catacombs of Liverpool’s

Central Station – where it always seemed

as if it were night and the blitz still on

and water appeared to drip continuously –

for the next train, under the Mersey,

to Chester, when I heard somewhere beyond me,

somewhere unidentifiable, a loud,

continuing roar like boulders crumbling

or, more likely, city blocks tumbling

onto the streets above and I feared

that either or both the shoe-thumping

Premier and the tanned President

had advanced Armageddon. I believed,

then, rhetoric and realpolitik

were one so the momentary fear was

visceral.

 

The Soviet Empire has been demolished,

the American reduced, not least

its consumption of Havana Cigars,

but Cuba welcomes all tourists, though those

with only U.S. dollars to exchange

are surcharged.

 

 

 

 

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  1. #1 by John Huddart - November 12th, 2012 at 12:42

    Now here is genius at work – or rather magic! To range from such precise recollection of a distant time [still acutely observed as if today] and to place it so adroitly next to a reference to modern Cuba, is almost beyond mere praise!

    I need hardly add, that this is a poem of the year, as far as I am concerned.

  2. #2 by Alex Cox - November 22nd, 2012 at 19:12

    I remember, very distantly, some huge victorian apartment blocks (is that what they were?) opposite Lime Street Station, where the ‘new’ St Johns Market now stands.

    Was it the demolition of those massive buildings that you heard, in Central Station?

  3. #3 by David Selzer - November 24th, 2012 at 18:47

    They were certainly Victorian, Alex, but I can’t remember their function. What I heard was the collapse of the edifices that line/lined Bold Street, Church Street, Lord Street, Dale Street…

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