Two new poems by James Howard
When my 1969 play, Astronaut vs. Cosmonaut,
made Broadway, it hit the critics like a rocket.
I was too determined to be judicious, they said,
yet not judicious enough. And Audrey Hepburn!
She was the icing on the cake in the face.
I cast her as the moon: she slowly swings
in a crescent cradle never saying anything.
When the play reaches the top of its trajectory,
Yuri and Neil stare up at her [like children
watching their mother come out of the bath]
and put their arms around each other.
They share a trans-Pacific kiss, the curtain
parachuting down and both national anthems
ushering us back into the vast silence of space.
A disembodied hard-hat
drifts along the flicker
of a steel girder
someone snaps the shot
from another roof-top
and in the rising lift
two tired strangers shift
go to talk but stop.
Someone is talking though
our tour-guide, Glen,
asks us ‘…Wren?’
as the fog moves through
the bells of St. Paul’s
the Italian says no
but takes a quick photo
of the invisible walls.
James Howard is a singer and lyricist with Fiction, a band who released their debut album, The Big Other, in March 2013 on Moshi Moshi Records. He is a graduate of the Creative Writing programme at Goldsmiths University and currently resides in London.