Alistair Noon coordinates the annual Poetry Hearings festival in Berlin, is
poetry editor of Bordercrossing Berlin and publishes flash pamphlets (see His poems and translations (from
German, Russian and Chinese) have been published in Oasis, Shearsman,
Noon (no relation), Magma, The North, Blatt and Chimera, among others,
and online at Nth Position, Litter, Cipher Journal and

Wuhan Incidents

1 /The East Lake/

When the sky's blue, the far shore's a blur
where heat, fumes and humidity slur.
Complete with cloud, the day makes clear
where a smokestack and cementworks confer.

2 /Learning to complain/

The loudspeaker begins with keep-fit chores,
forwards to midnight and the circular saws.
Rewind to the churn of washing machines.
Repeat, repeat to drill the jaw.

3 /Photographic/

Unravelled film and cardboard packaging in a heap
beside orange peel and cabbage stalks at a twist in the street.
Two blokes squat, sort through it for plastic spools.
A crow drops down, pokes about with its beak.

4 /Vigilance/

A shuttlecock arcs across the dusk of the yard
to the racket of an uncapped security guard.
His opponent hides behind the wall.
Above the dark tiles, a loitering star.

5 /Block Five/

In the lamplight that flutters down to a puddle
leaves flicker and slim branches paddle.
The soaring bars have rusted some more.
Wet tyres. The click of a padlock.


Far from the regions in ruins,
the sudden retreats,
and the sentries under bare lightbulbs
in housings draped by urgent spiders,
on a street whose breath is shallow,
whose tendons don't tighten,
rails run on to the horizon
and the front of a yellow tram,
noise-reduced, low-floored,
gleams round a corner,
on time.

And nocturnal documentaries
repeat their routes, like darting flies.
Reports are defused mines.
No one dreams of a truck in flames.

Transition economy

/Romania, 1996/

Rusted hulls on a riverbed.
The jammed elbows of cranes.
Carpathian logs
lounging on barges.
Moonshine smothered by cloud.

The sun still low they load their things,
ready for their business incursion.
They know what price each piece brings:
honey melons, beer and detergent.

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