Category Archives: My Poems

Disparitions Mystérieuses des Civilisations Méso-Américaines

(Listen to the poem here)



Après le repas à Oaxtepec

le patron du restaurant

nous dit d’un air de satisfaction agaçant

que toute sa viande

vient du Texas.

Je trouve que ce n’est pas normal

de manger tellement hormonal.

Au Mexique on trouve

partout des traces

olmèques, toltèques,

aztèques, mixtèques,

mais qu’en est-il

des Bixtèques?


Phillip Hill 2008



(After the meal in Oaxtepec/the owner of the restaurant/tells us with an/ irritating manner/that all his meat/is from Texas./I find that all this hormonality/is somewhat an abnormality./In Mexico everywhere/one finds traces of/Olmecs, Toltecs,/Aztecs, Mixtecs,/but whatever happened to/your Beefxstecs?)



(This poem is included in my book The Observation Car which is available from


(Listen to the poem here)

tope.gifThe sticker on the window tells us YAUTEPEC

although the rope-haired lad

who is jutting from

the bus’s door into the foaming crowd,

much like a figurehead in stormy seas,

is shouting, “Yaute, Yaute,

Yaute, Yaute.” Read more…

Recipe no. 1 – Sweet and sour rememboree

(A poem with instructions on how to cook memories)

(Listen to the poem here)



Start with the and.
Select a photograph of someone you have
lost or crossed,
shared days then parted ways with
and watch it softly
(think of a gaze on tip-toes),
five minutes for each side,
first at the picture, then
at the picture gone,
turning slowly, clockwise,
like time itself
until you have
a good emulsion in your mind.

Read more…

The Art of Conversation

listen to the poem

The art of conversation isn’t rugby,
I must remind myself at times,
or even shooting grouse, deer, moose or peccaries
If anything it is a bit like dominoes
with tiles you didn’t know you had,
whose shapes do tricks with space and time . Read more…

Baristi d’Italia

(listen to the poem here)

Sometimes arriving time-zonked, tweedle-kneed and nearly dumb
in Frankfurt or in London or in some other airport
where people seem to have been stranded many
months ago on strangely molten furniture,
I stumble into a counter which claims that it provides
espresso. As I go grimly inching up the North Face
of my jet lag I pay for one and then I grimace
through the blizzard in my head for two or three
hundred seconds until I come upon a patch of clearish-
mindedness  from where I see  them frownandfumbling
with the filter basket  and realize my coffee is
beyond the rocks, beyond the trees, beyond  the hairpin bends,
beyond the chiming of regret, among those rainy clouds,
still miles along the path to the slippery future.
Back home in Rome, any barista worth his sugar Read more…

But Soundly Sailing

Listen to the poem

Last night, down in the street, the kids were there
till after three, singing and shouting till
they’d had too much to drink and disappeared.
Not near enough to keep me up, the noise
lapped at my bedclothes all the time, tugging
so that I felt I wasn’t quite in bed
but with one leg still stranded on the floor. Read more…


(Listen to the poem here)

Gringos don’t know how to whistle,
the bus driver tells me on the way
to Puebla.
Once in North Carolina,
I whistled at a dog,
the owner told me off. He said
It’s got a name, that dog,
you oughtta call it Chuck”.
But we in Mexico, we have

forty-eight ways, or more,
of whistling.
There’s one to say hello,
one which sounds like a teasing joke,
one which will set a man reaching for his knife,
there’s one to say I’m turning left,
and one to say I’m turning right-
and here he swerves a little,
for he gets excited,
because, he says,
then there’s one whistle which
is mine alone
just for when I get home.
The parrot answers,
the tortoise suddenly wakes up,
the children all come running out
and my wife whispers
“Mi amor”.


                                                                                                    Phillip Hill 2003


(This poem is included in my book The Observation Car which is available from

Somewhere in Sichuan

(Listen to the poem)

Whenever youngsterscabbages barrows
out from school
catch sight of me,
they cry,
Read more…

The Umbrellas of Colombo

 (Listen to the poem here)

These girls I see
all day
with their lithe ways
and plaited hair,
all with umbrellas,
black, ungainly ones,
cousins to rusty bicycles—
are they, just them, expecting rain? Read more…