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CONFLUENCE

To dominate the conflux of the rivers,

the Minnesota with the Mississipi,

a place inhabited for ten thousand years,

Bdote in the local language,

Fort Snelling was built on the bluff above.

The confluence of the rivers was sacred

to the Dakota Sioux, who believed

that their first ancestors had come as spirits

from the stars, and had been made human

from the clay along the riverbanks,

with life breathed into them like a newborn’s cry.

 

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PROPHETS

The evangelist – spiritual aide-de-camp

to Old Glory’s Commanders-in-Chief,

and nostrum-monger of eternal life –

in white shirt, black shoes, socks, trousers, the Good Book

open in his hands, sits astride a donkey

near the Garden of Gethsemane

on Mount Olive. Below him on Temple Mount,

in noonday brightness, is the Dome of the Rock

and the Al-Aksa Mosque and, out of sight,

the Western Wall. He looks at the camera

as one who might say, ‘Behold! When the Jews

hold Jerusalem heaven will open.

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THE WRONG TROUSERS?

Found among the effects in the bullet-pocked,

blood stained rooms of Bin Laden’s hideaway

in Abbottabad – named for Major Abbott

of the British Raj – was a journal

describing Osama’s time in the UK

as a young, ultimately disillusioned,

teenager. For some reason, unexplained,

with his hosts he visited Shakespeare’s birthplace

every Sunday. ‘Here’s a knocking indeed!…

How now? A rat? Dead, for a ducat, dead!’

 

Also found: ‘Mr Bean’s Holiday’

dubbed in Pashtu;

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FOUR SCREEN PLAYS

I wrote the screenplays between 2001 and 2008. They are presented below in the order in which they were written. Each is set against the background of armed conflict.

I was inspired to learn how to write screenplays as a result of a number of conversations in New York in August 2001 with Annabel Honor-Lissi, a fellow creative, and digital tutorials with her which followed.

 

THE MEMORIAL

The Memorial is about redemption through kindness, compassion and love.  Set in the immediate aftermath of the 1st World War, it is a love story that explores class,

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CAPTAIN TILLY PARK, QUEENS, SEPTEMBER 2001

‘The park is named for Captain George H. Tilly, a local son of a prominent family who was killed in action in the Philippines while serving in the Spanish-American War, and a monument to the war is prominent in the park.’ New York City Department of Parks & Recreation.

 

From the park’s Memorial Hill one can see

Manhattan, and the World Trade Center’s

Twin Towers. Below, this Labor Day

early evening, the benches round Goose Pond

are filled with families – Sikh, Jamaican,

Hispanic.

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THE GUN EMPLACEMENT

For Doreen Levin

 

He was on duty the night Liverpool burned.

They watched the orange glow over in the east.

He remembered the convoy earlier that day

strung out along the horizon, waiting

for high tide. The Lance Jack, Scouser One,

told them where it was. One of the Taffies said,

‘My brother’s there too’, leaving things unspoken.

 

In the silence Saul wondered if Tilbury

was being done as well, the bombs drifting,

as usual,

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