Wednesday, April 15, 2009


A handful of photographs,

all I have to link to my past.

No photographic army of relatives

no reminders of a

or connection to the generations

that came before my parents.

No thick, brown, spiral bound family albums

losing their stickiness,

photos slipping out from

behind their protective film.

No anecdotal stories

of my parents’ childhoods.

No tales of what their parents did.

No pictures of the places they lived

or the holidays they took.

As if they appeared

Parents - Ready Made.

With no life, no existence

before we arrived.

No boxes of family photographs

linking me to my past.

No one who looks just like me,

staring blankly out from

creased, faded photographs.

No one reaching out

to show me how I got here.

Only half remembered photos

in the front rooms of relatives

I’ve long since stopped visiting -

whose names I can’t remember.

Where are they?

The photographs, the people.

If I knew they would just be

So many nameless faces

for the many faceless names.


Wintersun through the kitchen window,

it feels like spring.

The heat presses against her,

holds her close as she listens to

the tinitus whine of the fridge;

the grumble of the bypass;

the birds she can’t name who live to shit on her sheets.

The sun highlights remnants from last night’s snowfall.

Alone in the morning darkness of the backstreet,

she harvests the snow from her husband’s car.

Leaving pock marks over the once perfect surface,

her hand like a starfish,

fingertips barely touching the brittle crust.

Then grasping, eating mouthfuls of clean, pure snow.

It melts as it hits the warmth of her mouth.

Enough to satisfy – at least for now.


These words

don't want to come out yet.

Hiding behind quiet tears

that don't want to be seen.

My head fizzes gently as

they float around

Looking for a safe way out.

I won't imprison them too long;

They'll make sense soon enough.

But I'll keep these words

Hold on.

Until they can be changed.


My Father

With a voice softer than

the stirring of a sleeping child

and words gentle rain at dusk.

With the hope of a grandfather’s

stories of love and desire, wanting

to share more than just the hard times.

Fear and anxiety hide beneath his smile.

his forgotten childhood half-remembered

in softly spoken conversations.

His voice has a smile when the pain lets up.

The voice I strain to hear

at the end of a distant phone line.


There is something different in this hot yellow school summer. The heat and sweatiness of friends distorts in the intense August light that still fills the living room. An album cover balances delicately between my skinny brown fingers. Against the white background two figures. A man. A woman. Each half naked, his torso/her belly, rump and thighs. Outside, their shoulders, legs and arms bare, friends play in the dust of the estate.

Wearing a Groove

How often I walk this route,

wearing a groove into the hard concrete

of Newcastle’s pavements.

I see the same views

the same people

as I walk from home

to nursery to work and back.

Exercise the same muscle groups

over and again until

I just want to stop.

But then I think -

how trim my bum is becoming.

This Love

Her alarm call of “mamma” sounds through the night.

Tiredness clings to my body as I work

out how to convince her it’s too early for play.

I avoid the gaze of the clock; ignore how soon til morning,

In the half darkness I wonder how long to leave

before going in with a gentle “shhh, my love”.

There’s no time to shower before breakfast. I’d love

to take five minute’s - instead I clear last night’s

left overs and somehow plan the time left

in the day to tackle the mountain of housework,

when all I want is to sleepwalk through the morning;

and all she wants is to play.

As she sleeps I slip the earphones into place and press play.

I sink down and down and listen to the songs you love

and suddenly the soundtrack to my morning

brings you home to me. The smell of last night’s

sex fills the air. Clings to my body. A sleepy tryst worked

into a schedule when there is often no time left.

On Wednesdays she cries when I leave

her . She’s in good hands, she’s in good hands - guilt plays

on my mind as I close the door behind me. I go to work

dismiss the stay at home alternative where love

alone can’t carry me through until the night

and the same old begins again the next morning.

But there is no sense mourning

the independence and freedom I willingly left

behind, when each night

chemical euphoria would play

with perception and loved up masquerading as loved...

was never going to work.

It’s my breathing space, work,

not my reason to get up every morning

It isn’t the job I love

but the slight return to my old self. By the time I leave

it almost feels like play

I arrive home refreshed, ready for the night’s

work to begin. Thoughts of tomorrow left

until morning. Time to enjoy now and play.

This love keeps us safe at the end of each night.

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