Darren J Beaney has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Brighton. He is one half of Flight of the Dragonfly a regular spoken word night based in Brighton and on Zoom. He also co-edits Flights an e-journal of poetry, prose and flash fiction. He cuts his own hair. He enjoys music, predominantly punk rock. His favourite author is Orwell and he enjoys the work of numerous poets. He loves Marmite and appreciates a good pint of craft IPA. He lives in sunny East Preston on the West Sussex coast, with his lovely family, Their rescue dog Woody and rescue cats Annie and Eddie.
His debut pamphlet Honey Dew (a collection of 21 love poems) was published by The Hedgehog Poetry Press in December 2020. The follow up to Honey Dew – The Machinery of Life – was published The Hedgehog Poetry Press in July 2021.
He has a website – www.djbeaney.com and he sometimes lurks on Twitter – @DJ_Be_An
Flight of the Dragonfly –
Streets of Hong Kong
Black puddles flicker, with grease floating on the surface of glowing water. Wide-open grinning girls chirping at rubbernecking, fly-by-night Western faces. Throngs of rushing people. Fast locals, shoulders scrunched, heads down lost in screens. Mixed mobs of utterly unaccomplished tourists carried along by tidal waves of masses. Lights fogging out the atmosphere. All neon electric buzz. Bustle fuelling the noise, a constant hum and vibration of people. An odour lingers in the air, nasty, criminal. It cuts the back of my throat. Chokes. Covering my breathing with a hand of malice. Every street is littered with food fenders, selling what? Sea creatures? prehistoric bits and pieces of animals? Eyes, ears, nose, mouth all force-fed and overworked. Senses spin. Sight + sound blurring. Taste + smells becoming one, toxic, nerve shredding. Complete sensory overload. Stomach churning with hunger, lurching at the geography and distance. My mind in freefall from time change and no sleep and culture shock. Jetlagged. Reeling at the excitement of it all.
Negotiating the island by tramway
Clamber on at the back Causeway Bay ding ding. Climb tight-fit stairs, take my pick of rattling seats. The undertone of commuter chatter a fine accompaniment to the noise the trendy tram makes as it trundles along time worn tracks. A distinctive sound I cannot pin a name to. The tram labours along Arsenal Street, edging onto Admiralty Square. Gazing out grubby windows I see no end to the procession of trams stretching like a slumbering Chinese dragon, colonial artefacts left behind by us Brits when we conceded empire. Moving landmarks riding the legendary lines, toiling, now the greenest travel on the island. I contemplate the rise of Cotton Tree Drive as the no holds barred boneshaker fidgets along. Finally, I descend toward the front. Thanking the earnest driver 唔該 (m̀hgòi) leave my single coin fare. Back in the now. Disembark Man Wah Lane ding ding.
View of the mainland
This soulless place reflects its lack of charm in the cadaver coloured water of the harbour. Drab low clouds hang forlorn. Mist dangles like web sprayed from a can, over the summits of the tallest buildings. Towers show off, scraping holes into the Oriental sky, jostle for space. Cramped footings leave standing room only. The air smells like a perpetual storm, drained of thunder. And the rain displays its full force, in the rat-a-tat-tat I hear a military parade.