Three poems by Kate Noakes

Fête de la musique

A capella on the metro Maria hesi-
tates into song, her voice broken;
she eases her throat open
till the notes come clean and clear
as wind over ice-fields; she melts
ipods, floods the carriage with pure sound,
drowns station announcers,
and overwhelms the under-breath
hymns of my neighbour.

I cannot sing, so how could I
channel a living if it was me
holding out the box-purse.

I could warble abuse
like the wrecked man at Bastille,
who, when not watering the tiles,
paces near exit 8 downing beer
and shouting: our duty, him alive;
or stand like the wave-worn granny
at La Défense, buoyed-up
by her shopping trolley, silent,
but rewarded for being there
come rain, come shine.

If you open this box,
the most hideous tattoos will fly
into the heads of artists from here
to the far ends and the earth will be littered
with goggle-eyed aliens, hobbits,
elves, golems and gremlins,
faces made into skulls,
grim grim-reapers,
dots to join, beer, burgers, pizzas
and when or if you slam down the lid,
it’ll be too late for regrets
and excuses over drink;
though a piercing light might wait
in the corners, a laser to erase all horrors.
That is the only hope.
Recipe, or In cook books the final act is how to make a cocktail

Be Russian, dark, strong-armed
with a shine of harvest moon in your eyes.

Clear liquid is absolut
-ely essential and the glass should be long and tall, space enough;
a trayful is communal.

You’ll need a reliable lighter from the West
so the flame can arc as a comet tail
over your chosen patch of sky.

Of course an advantage can be found in the blood;
it helps if your name is Molotov.
Welsh Academician, Kate Noakes’s latest collection is Cape Town from Eyewear Publishing, 2012. She co-edits Paris Lit Up Magazine and hosts the Paris Lit Up Writing Workshop at Shakespeare and Company. She blogs on poetry, writing and random cultural matters at