Sunday, May 3, 2020

I Will Remember the Time When...


Life halted.
We were locked down.
I didn’t go to work.
I didn’t leave the house.
I compared death tolls between countries.
I listened to repetitive daily briefings.
There was no other news.
I couldn’t get any shopping.
Toilet roll and flour were like gold-dust.
I couldn’t see my lovely sister.
I got creative with random ingredients.
My kids felt utterly lost.
I wanted to do things but lacked motivation.
Nature reclaimed territory.
Bluebells filled my garden.
The weather was annoyingly glorious.
We clapped our hands on a Thursday night.
It felt like Groundhog Day.
I missed my friends.
I yearned for cafes, the library, company and chat.
I didn’t wear make-up.
I lived in my dressing gown.
I wrote things like this because I didn’t know what else to do.



Lockdown Neighbourhood Watch.


He’s cutting the grass again.
It can’t have grown much since yesterday.
Incessant whir of the lawnmower.
My neighbour’s Lockdown OCD.

Another fucking barbeque.
Time to close the windows.
Goodbye, Fresh Air,
I will try again tomorrow.

Gaming teen screaming obscenities
Through paper-thin walls,
As I try to relax
In these “unprecedented times.”

The five thousand grandkids
Arrive to visit their Nan.
The rules don’t apply to them.
What Lockdown?

Someone has a supermarket delivery.
I see the van, and I want to cry.
How did they get that slot?
The bastards.

Every little domestic gripe,
I hear,
Simply because,
I am here.

If this ever happens again,
I’m blasting out Green Day.
Throughout.
Fuck it.





Monday, April 20, 2020

A Family in Lockdown.


My son concentrates
At the whirr of the sewing machine,
Thread making wondrous patterns on fabric.

My daughter paints her trainers,
Acrylics in blue, red and white,
Making something unique.

My youngest daughter giggles,
As she designs and develops online,
Constant calls from magnificent, chatty friends.

I bask in a glory
That my words will be published again,
That I still have something worthwhile to say.

We are a creative team,
Struggling, sometimes, in this lockdown,
But united in our imagination.




Thursday, April 9, 2020

It's Been A Year



It’s been a year
Since you left us.
I listen to your funeral songs
On YouTube.
That used to hurt.
Now, it makes me feel better.
Since you left,
The world has gone quite mad.
We are in “unprecedented times,” you see.
We are cooped up
In our house-cages.
We are socially distancing, isolating.
You would hate this shit:
Being told how to wash our hands,
By politicians,
Who clearly don’t know
How to wash their hands,
Because they all have this virus.
I think about how you would rant,
And I laugh.
And cry.
We’re all afraid
Scared of sickness and death.
You were not scared of death.
I am writing again,
Words scribble and spill
All over pages.
Just not the same words
I was writing when you died.
They are locked away,
In a drawer,
My eyes cannot see them.
Not yet.
Apparently, we need to come together
As a country.
But families still hold grudges
And will not speak.
I miss you.
I wish I could have
An hour with you.
We could laugh
At the stupid shit I have done.
You always made me laugh,
Until my belly hurt
And tears would fall down my face.
This world needs chuckles.
And hugs.
This world tries to go on.
This world is so much more shit
Because you’re not in it.



Wednesday, April 1, 2020

The Little Things I Moan About. (That I now miss.)



Alarm clock.
School mornings.
Why isn’t it Friday yet?
“Where are my shoes?”
“I’ve lost my purse.”
Going to work:
Menial tasks.
Cut, cut, cutting
Jacket Potatoes.
Wipe the table.
Wipe the table.
Wipe the table.
Frantically dashing.
No time for lunch.
Waiting for the 76 bus
In the pissing rain.
No 76 bus.
Oh, fuck.
Noisy children.
Instant headache.
Low blood sugar.
God, I’m tired.
Clock-watching.
Finishing work.
To go home,
Which means more work.
Washing pots.
Making dinner.
Lunch boxes.
Permission slips.
Money for this, and that.
“Have you seen my PE kit?”
Washing machine full
Of school uniform.
Sit down.
Struggling to keep eyes open.
Defiantly watch Netflix
Until the crawl to bed.
Alarm clock.
Repeat.


I can’t promise that I won’t moan about these little things again, once this surreal time is over.
If I do complain, I will remember that I am fortunate to do so.





Monday, January 21, 2019

John


“Time is a great healer.”
Except that it isn’t.
And all the other hushed platitudes,
Probably meant well,
Are also pointless lies.
Because, nineteen years on,
The pain is crushing and unbearable.

You should be opening birthday presents.
You should be going out tonight,
To celebrate with friends.
Who would they have been?
But there are no balloons,
Nor banners,
Nor nineteen candles on a birthday cake.

There is nothing.
Silence.
I hear my own heart beating
And remember when yours stopped.
Born too soon.
Gone too soon.
Never forgotten.

So little time with you,
And your delicate skin,
And doll-like frame.
Charlie looks like you.
And your sleeping position was the same as mine.
You are still here.
In us.

This is no celebration.
It’s Hell.
It’s the eternal wondering
Of what could have,
Should have been,
But never was.
So many missed birthdays now.

I never took you home.
I never pushed you in a pram.
We never fed the ducks in Graves Park.
I never heard you laugh,
Or cry.
I only heard the silence,
Which still suffocates me.

I never took you to school,
And cut crusts off lunchbox sandwiches.
I didn’t meet teenage you.
You never met your siblings.
I went to your funeral,
And I think I might have been brave,
Though that has become a blur.

January comes and goes,
Each time leaving another scar.
I am covered now,
My heart slashed repeatedly.
Tears splashing down my face
As I remember you,
For the short time I was your mum.




Friday, August 3, 2018

Take Me Away


Take me across
The heather-topped hills.
Let’s drive, window down,
So, my hair tickles my face.
Take me to
The sandy beach.
Toes dipped into North Sea.
Collected shell mementoes.
Take me to
The cobbled streets
And hidden yards.
See the living history.
Take me down
Henrietta Street.
Strong smoked kipper smell.
Imagine we live there.
Take me up
To St Mary’s.
I will read the gravestones
And think about what life is.
Take me to
Visit Whitby Abbey.
Let me feel small and insignificant
Against the ancient walls.
Take me down
The pier.
Hold my hand.
Watch the pink-gold sunset.
Take me to the harbour.
Look at the colourful bobbing boats
And feel serene.
Take me across the swing bridge.
Be lost in the sea of faces
And familiar football shirts.
Take me to
The Whalebone Arch.
Pose for photographs
In front of dramatic views.
Take me to
Our cottage.
Sea-air induced sleep
And dreams of tomorrow.