Tuesday, 13 January 2015

And still, once a week or so,

And still, once a week or so,
the thought comes to me,
"I'll call my Tata today";
and I remember again,
that it's two full years now,
two full years since he died.

And where is he now?
In these tea towels we use?
The photos that hang on the wall?
The electric corkscrew, the saucepans, the side plates,
the pictures, the lamp or the book?

Is he in the memory of a zip wire,
flying kites from a roofrack,
or digging for worms in the park?
Driving at night, or
driving a Zephyr,
or driving a white Hiace van?

Is he in red wine or white,
Benedictine, Calvados,
Italian restaurant or French?
Avocado, strawberries,
salad with dressing,
Fresh coffee, brown sugar and cream.

Boxes of fruit, apples and oranges,
collecting fresh fish from the market?
Coffee and pastries in Drucker's patisserie,
bistros and candles at night?
Beer in a jug in the heat of the summer,

Is he in the drive to Cornwall and Devon,
to Barmouth through Bala,
to Bristol, and Weston and Bath?
To Ashby La Zouch, and Norwich,
and London, and walking through Soho at night?

Maybe I'll call him, I think.
I can't call him,
but maybe his call's all around.
When I drive, how I drive,
when I speak, how I speak,
even how I shake hands,
even that.

Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

The exhaust fell off just outside Glasgow, and we had to drive into the city to find a garage. After that, it was plain sailing, up the west coast, past Oban, and over the sea to Skye.

We camped by some ruins, high above a village, and caught mackerel, and cooked them on an open fire.

I slept a lot, uncharacteristically, and read, and was happy to laze about by the tent. For provisions, we drove to the small post office, mid way between this village and the next.

After Skye, up and up the west coast, then across and back down the east, and finally to Lindisfarne.

Strange secular pilgrimage. White Volvo estate with a dog gate and two dogs in tow. Intimacy and goodbye. We swam in a tern then back to eat luncheon meat and salad in that weird b&b, and giggled to the disapproving stares. Tasted whisky, smoky, with old men in tiny, loughside pubs. Rowed out to the seals, ate mussels and fish, and all the time, I was saying goodbye.

By the time we came back, there was nothing left to say.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

One Hundred and One

I lie in the bed, mainly alone, in this
room that is my last room. I like
the cot sides up, even though
I barely move now. It's safer.
And I like the tray pushed across
the bed, so I can reach things on it,
even though I don't really need them.
I'm thin, and frail, really just the
remnants of a person now. My arms
like sticks, like willow branches, and
my chest as flat as when I was
five years old.

Still, when Eve comes in, I smile.
She wakes me up (I sleep a lot).
She wakes me gently, and asks me,
would I like to see the dog?
The dog climbs onto a chair, and
pushes it's muzzle into my
useless hands, and I
touch it's head, and I laugh.
I laugh and laugh, and my hollow face
fills out, and for a moment, I'm
five years old again. Then I'm tired.
Times for cot sides up ( it's safer)
and time to sink back to sleep.
I sleep most of the time now.
Like a baby.

Sunday in October

Thursday, 2 October 2014


in his arms
all night
taping a matchstick in the diary
floating high
trouble trouble trouble
dripping down
holding hands
and waiting
for the phone
for the bus
and belonging
at a bus stop
at a party
at home
eating ice cream and jelly
held firm
held fast
first love

Thursday, 18 September 2014

The Final Round

Sitting in the hotel foyer for safety,
we talk and talk and talk;
endlessly going over the same old ground;
round and round in circles.

We've been there since nine am.
At three in the afternoon, exhausted,
you fall asleep, leaving me hoping,
believing, we've reached a way forward.

We're in a Marriot, a nice one,
on a golf course, and we've had
morning coffee and lunch, sitting
safely in the foyer.

Time now, when you wake, to go home,
and try to start again (again):
So many new beginnings.
Time now to go home.

This is the last negotiation. We don't
know it yet, but this is the last round
either of us will have the stomach for.
Next step an ending.

I order tea, while you sleep upright,
in the striped wing chair,
and flick through the complimentary paper.
I'll wake you up soon.

I'm exhausted too, and carefully
fold away my lists of issues
back into my bag.
So many issues.

The hotel foyer's safe.
We've both been civilised,
behaved appropriately here,
in the public eye.

I ask for the bill, and fold the paper,
and shake you gently awake,
and we gather ourselves together
for our last new start.

Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Walls Tumble

And now you are connected to everything that ever was and everything that ever will be. And Joshua calls and the walls of Jericho tumble down. A line runs through history, and you are here, and he is there, but both of you have always been, will always be. Joshua cries, and I feel walls tumble, and ages pass, and all things are made holy as this mighty grandchild arrives.

On the arrival of Joshua, 18.8.14