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Burnfort Las Vegas

She is at once emotional and shrewd: hidden behind the rich lace-curtain of her personal charm, her existentialism sings.’ - Thomas McCarthy

Martina’s fifth collection of poems will be published by Anvil Press in September 2014

Burnfort, Las VegasAnvil template 10mm

for Martin Westwood


We move the Sacred Heart lamp

closer to Elvis’s face now in the month

of June. I think that those

billboards of Vegas

could be the Major cigarette sign

or the Double Diamond Works Wonders

in the lounge window round ‘75

or the BP pump shining

in the blue Burnfort evening,

the wood pigeons cooing

as the men come down

from the mountain and fill their vans

with petrol – a violet cloud

with a tantalizing smell and someone

says Burnfort is like New York

to those mountainy men the way

it is all built up with a school

and a church and a post office and us

city slickers running the pub,

shop and petrol pumps

and I believe it is true,

that we are like that to them –

there were stranger things then

to believe in, only now I think

it was more like Vegas, all those

signs, the games of forty-five

and my Elvis tape playing.

A few months ago

the novelty mug frightened us all

by spontaneously bursting

into Viva Las Vegas and I took that

as a sign, did what any

Catholic would do – put up a shrine.