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Carlos in Mouraria

carlos in mouraria
Drunk and alone
on my way home
I met this nutter
called Carlos
from Amadora

in the narrow
dimly lit alleyways
of Mouraria he said
hello and we
ended up drinking
beers in the little
fado house of
Largo da Severa

and as the bar closed
we stepped outside
and he saw his pretty
‘cousin’ and introduced
me to her

then he approached
another lady and I started
to think maybe
this guy is nuts
or a pimp
or a sex pest
or something

so I said good night
and left the alleyway
and he followed
right after me

yelling wait wait
and I waited

and he asked me if
I had one or two euros
so I gave him two euros
and then he asked me if
I had another euro
and I said
go fuck yourself Carlos
and he said thanks
boa noite amigo!

– Lennie Bezwik

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Mountains in the Kitchen

mountains-in-the-kitchen
From my humble
kitchen window
I see mountains
in the distance

I can only
see their peaks
but it makes
a massive difference

It’s a faded
misty line
far beyond the tops
of buildings

but I see it
and remember
that the city’s not
a prison.

– Lennie Bezwik

Benfica Espresso Cup

broken-mug
My little china
Benfica espresso cup,
a mini handle
on its side,

the eagle soaring
on its body,
still I never poured no drink
inside.

My little antique
holy grail,
a chalice from the rubble
of a Lisbon jumble sale,

empty inside,
once filled for years,
a life span lasting
much longer than I,

surviving the decades
of dictatorship,
never phased or erased
through revolutionary days

or the more familiar
waves of emigration,
throughout all, she sailed on
in one solid piece,

was cold without spirits,
empty and alone
till I found her and
adopted her as my own,

gave her a place
on the shelf in my home
by the living room chairs
her presence was known,

once a friend of men
cheering on Benfica
in front of black and white
television screens,

or among their family dinners
listening in to conversations
through the ever-changing
generations,

that’s why it broke my little heart
to break her little handle
and bring her lengthy life
to a broken little end,

alas, the simple tragedy,
that sight of shattered crockery
leaves me forever guilty
of manslaughter, probably.

– Lennie Bezwik

Loja de Vinhos (The Wine Shop)

wine cellar
So I walked into
the Loja de Vinhos
thinking lucky me,
a lovely little
local wine shop

and as I stepped inside
the sun disappeared
the heat disappeared
and a straight-faced
middle aged lady appeared
before me.

Diga! Speak, she told me
and I didn’t know what to say.

A chain barred me,
the only customer,
from stepping near
the shelves of wine.

Can I look?
I asked
and she told me
nobody can pass

so I walked out wineless
back into the sun
and she stayed there penniless,
no business done.

What an odd little madam
and an odd little shop
the Loja de Vinhos
on Rua Sol a Chelas.

– Lennie Bezwik

Empty Lisboa

empty-lisbon
Empty dining tables
and empty cafes,
empty bars and restaurants
but busy alley ways,

empty tills
and empty banks,
empty hopes
for change,

the once discoverers
of the world,
a lost generation
time has failed,

empty words
from politicians
with empty minds
and empty hearts,

empty dreams
of Sebastião
whose veins were emptied
on desert sands,

empty houses
and empty flats,
only filled
by bugs and birds,

the once discoverers
of the world,
a lost generation
time has failed,

empty glasses
once were full
as failures drink away
on stools

and empty streets
are only filled
by empty souls
whose dreams were killed,

the empty ships
beneath the sea
now share their nation’s
destiny,

the once discoverers
of the world,
a lost generation
time has failed.

– Lennie Bezwik

Império Bartender

cafe-imperio2
Not the friendliest looking fella,
as I enter the café
he eyes me with suspicion
even though he knows the face,

even though he knows the order,
a cold caneca of super bock,
he pours it
and keeps his distance.

Since I’m not an old boy or Portuguese,
he treats me as if I’m a threat to his peace
or a member of Salazar’s secret police
planning to take him away.

For a young English lad in a city that’s old
who arrived for the heat to escape from the cold
to be eyed with mistrust when a beverage is sold
is only an ordinary day.

– Lennie Bezwik

Avenida Almirante Reis

avenida-almirante-reis
No admiral kings,
only cars and traffic jams
through the city’s core.

Car smoke and weed smoke
from runways to the river,
planes land and ships dock.

Typical cafes,
narrows streets and alley ways
hidden either side.

The great avenue
of sex, death and poverty,
my community.

Neighbourhoods haunted
by fallen knights and angels
buried with the streams.

Roaches on the walls,
dirty syringes on the street,
bats inhabit trees.

Homeless drug addicts,
sleeping bags and dirty rags
align the pavement.

The great avenue
of sex, death and poverty,
my community.

African hookers,
watchful pimps and crack dealers,
dirt with death in sight.

Immigrant workers,
Brazilian energy
brings the street to life.

My life in this town
revolves entirely around
my spiritual ground.

The great avenue
of sex, death and poverty
my community.

– Lennie Bezwik

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