Archive for February, 2017

The Ungrown

February 27, 2017

The solid room, solid of my life,
the building home of my belief,
larger and longer
stronger and standing
times four and a quarter my duration.

My fears and my boredoms are kept inside it,
the objects that pass, stay and mount up
things of the world of objects
to which ideas, recollections and misinterpretations attach.

Stone in blocks, Georgian looking west.
A house built by a physician, wealthy
with children and servants.
A lost circular carriageway.
A long ridge house divided into four,
the wealthy end destroyed by its recent owners.

I entered it in someone’s arms,
a baby saw that filthy woodwork
and bare broken plaster, blackened cobwebs
signified a fearful underworld of despair,
I sensed, ragged starving children,
a life where all colours were sooted.

Raining in, caught on the sideboard, bucket.
Later years of roof repairs, damp-proofing,
Hand-made wooden windows – double glazing.
Rebuild of kitchen and the second veranda,
stained glass additions, a false renovation.

Now the water runs under it, the handyman is dead.
The floor that he remade needs remaking again.
The roof he rebuilt sags and cracks run the length of the brick Victorian extension where he downstairs and his father-in-law upstairs, competed in fire blazing, bulging the wall.

The structural engineer said:
“It is built on the rock, it has stood for over 200 years and it’s not going to fall down, though brick onto stone is not surprisingly the cause of the cracks.
If it had been too cracked we could compulsorily purchase.
There is some burden of responsibility for the home owner to support the highways.”

This and an opening up of the ground, down to the foundations, to the lead pipes and the seized Victorian stopcock, deep in the highway.
The moving channel where fast multiples of people follow the same topography, around the narrow bend south to north, north to south, fifty-six years of people in cars and lorries, on foot, pushing prams and pushchairs, black bicycles with baskets and panniers, peddled very slowly by ancient tweed gentlemen and skirted ladies. Upright, smart, red-faced drinkers strut the evening, chapel goers on Sunday, pony gigs, horse carts, scrap, rag and bone, coal, dust carts, vegetable carts, electric milk floats, tip-up trucks carrying stone and sand from the quarries and Roy Wood of Wizard in his black “Rave” Rover, engine and music one jangling fairground lurch, roaring distance, rubber tracks and a Doppler effect echo.

Now there are cars more homogeneous, most are silver and driven by teachers or white van double glazing traders or cable media and prescription drug deliverers.

This traffic will stop tomorrow, when the digging begins, to the root and to the flimsy woman who is my mother skimming and hovering over the bulk of this enormous stone sickening burial mound.


February 26, 2017

I am listening,

I listened.

A voice said

The shelves have broken!

I thought it was your voice but it didn’t sound

anything like you.

It was high pitched, sharp and urgent.

I was the most happy

when I was eight.

Every time we saw each other, we automatically

put our near side arms over each other’s shoulders

and joined our outside hands

to make a tank

or didn’t bother with the hands,

just the arms around the shoulders.

In a dream two nights ago,

It was you, not her, who automatically

joined me,

you leant against me,

far too exhausted to speak,

and I carried you everywhere with me.

Shopping Script

February 18, 2017


For me each week looks the same, alone with the time that has no humour and gives back no value. A mountain of fabrication, humanity not quite desperate, but near to the end of function. The choreography of saving and losing of money, isles of holding back and of dull passing – and isles of letting go – to hunger or small hope. Somewhere between egg boxes, washing powder and rows of frozen food cabinets, I loose this mammoth acropolis of false light and dim grubbing, inside a greater city with the power to bring forth voices of the dead with epiphany – and the loved, with tears of un-lived life.. I pull myself back to push and lean the miles unmarked, this pathway, this tank of brief optimisms and mounting fear, as anxiety overpowers the weary last drops of spending… stemmed – slammed shut – aborted! The checkouts ahead – this throbbing worst moment, voices can’t help lift, pack or pay, I alone, sometimes heart racing, head swimming, the fear that I may never pass through.


February 13, 2017

At 4.30 am my alarm sounded and immediately I went to the phone to wake him up, downstairs, I made him tea and put the packed lunch that she had made for him on the counter top. I phoned him again at 4.45 but no answer, at 4.50 he arrived with two bags of washing. He drank the tea. At 4.55 the phone rang, a pre- recorded female voice said: “Your taxi is outside”. He tipped instant coffee into his travel mug and poured in water from the kettle and milk from the fridge. At 5.00 he picked up his rucksack and gave me a one-armed hug. I bid him a nice day then he left the house. I closed the door and wanted to close the thick curtain across it but feared he may come back if something was wrong or missing so I looked through the blind to see the taxi leave then I closed the curtain, put off the light and went back to bed.

At 8.00 am I heard the phone ringing, I got up and listened to a voice message which was him saying someone needed to research his new phone as it is not working. I arranged for her to do it, leaving the handset by her half sleeping body. I went back to bed. I woke later not knowing the time. I put my jeans on over the trousers I was wearing in bed, two pairs of socks, then enclosed myself in a large hoodie that had once belonged to my eldest son when he was 14, this over the tee shirt and two jumpers I had been wearing for several days without taking them off at all. I also stuffed my feet into my trainers and descended the stairs amidst the two circling cats who wanted their breakfast.

Entering the kitchen, I guessed it might be 11.30 am but the wall clock looked alarmingly like 4 pm, which turned out to be 1.20 pm. Either way, it was much too late but the sun was bright.