he walks down here in the world
of rustling skirts and bumping shopping bags
a warm hand leads the way between towering racks
he follows curious and compliant
carefree and trusting to her
then momentarily distracted by sparkly trinkets
he stops to see his face in the huge mirror
turning round he is suddenly alone
confused and forsaken
she was there then she was gone
corridors of clothing stretch away in all directions
his future flashes futile before his eyes
in a split second a cold panic grips
tears well up and a tight throat cracks his voice
the cry comes out a whimper
unfamiliar grown-ups scurry past unconcerned
another split second
she steps out from behind the ties
a smile, and warmth returns.
(Linking back to The Poetry Bus hosted by Argent at Delusions of Adequacy, this trip is leaving on Monday 26th April)
the flutter of twittering breaks the day
the notebooks and iPhones calling
a cacophony of voices
into virtual boxes
following each other
in endless circles
of greetings and congratulations
enquiries and consolations
competing for attention
and paying no reciprocation
like the blackbird’s trill
demanding and self-important
you can’t begin without me.
Friends Reunited reunited us
for just a moment,
after 30 years.
We were once best of friends
but I remember very little now.
We did not chat girly stuff
I never saw her in a dress.
I recall doing her latin homework
while her mum vacuumed the bed
(she was allergic).
Her sister had the most beautiful hair,
long, white blond and gently wavy.
I coveted it.
Hers was a harsh boyish cut
and her body always seemed awkward,
her stance almost hunched
fighting against the inevitable blossoming.
She would poke me viciously
with her long fingers
for no apparent reason,
or wrestle me to the ground
then sit on me and hold me down.
All she told me was that
she worked in television,
and had moved to the country
so she could keep a dog.
And she was taking up gardening.
I never wrote back.
All I really wanted to know was
did she ever admit to being gay?
(I counted down from the top of my e-mail inbox and found the name of a former school friend and a very old message, and the title came from my most recent message at the bottom of the inbox.)
(Linking back to the home of this week’s Poetry Bus)
Pitiful kitten squeakings when she yawns
make me laugh gently over my morning cup of tea
as she sits curled still bed-warm
against the kitchen radiator.
The new spikey cut frames her delicate features
making her seem pixie-like
the red dye vibrant against
a face pale and often washed out.
I try not to look
but am horribly drawn
to the scar corrugated skin down her forearm
the entire length would ripple under my fingers
if I dared to reach out and touch.
Other marks are less obvious,
her shoulder, thigh and the faint white lines
that remain on her belly
like some minor childhood operation.
With strappy t-shirts and low slung jeans
she displays them now,
after the years of hiding.
last night she curled upon my lap,
snuggled in like a toddler,
until my legs went numb and arms
could not support her.
My tacit guilt assuaged by
her seeking me out
but I too am helpless
against what plagues her.
In my fantasy
a soft strike of my hand would wipe it all away,
make new the skin that pain has ravaged
repair the damage
this outward sign of deeper wounds.
We only want them to be happy,
we parents claim,
if that is so
then those traces
are the tokens of my failure.
Worse than the day I stood
outside a newsagent
waiting for my son to buy cigarettes.
(Poetry as therapy. The experience of her desperate need for comfort overwhelmed me and to put this in to words seemed suddenly necessary. It is her story but also mine, but I watch as if through a thick pane of glass.)
(I chose this image from the ones that Swiss offered as inspiration for this week’s Poetry Bus. My initial reaction to it was that it resembled a woman’s womb and ovaries, but with a somewhat ghostly quality, or like a wisp of smoke, so that was my starting point.)
down the hall I hear distant echos
the footfalls of children who never were
whispers of existence so faint
the ticking of my watch would drown them out.
My smile reaches out to stroke
the downy skin of babies unborn
the scent of them drifts past just out of reach
a sigh scatters their essence into the ether.
I cannot see their faces
obscured as they are by another history
though my belly longs for each of them.
I inhale and absorb the thought
the idea of what they might have been.
do other people do this I wonder,
read poetry seeking an answer
to that eternal internal nagging thought
that sense of unease
that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach.
to feed a hunger never satiated
I haunt the Poetry Society wesite
seeking new fodder.
I find myself flitting
reading the first line
then passing on
or scanning down
striving to find that word
that encapsulates everything.
I buy books that tumble in piles by the bed
seduced by a random poem
that I flicked past while loitering in the shop.
I shuffle back and forth between pages
afraid I have overlooked the one.
assessing the impact of the title
before committing myself to the time consuming effort
of reading anything more than half a page.
I have this feeling it will be
summing up the answer
in a few well chosen words
any need to waffle on beyond would indicate
excessive justification of the argument
and hence lack of conviction.
sometimes I find one that brings a wry smile to my lips
or a knowing nod of the head
or a sigh
or even a tear.
but I am not seeking emotional release
but an assuaging of my uncertainty
that I am not mistaken.
so if you have found the poem
please let me know.