Last Night Part II

I am putting wax in my hair,

and my brother, suited and debonaire,

calls out to me to sort the buckle

on his black waistcoat.

I fiddle and fuss and make a mess

but its the best I can do

I stress as we wax lyrical in a

slightly cynical way as to why

our mother held us both,

separately,

told us she loved us,

separately,

and would always love us

no matter what happens.

I mime a hanging.

He nods his head.

We both grimace a grin

and try to smirk

as we work our way out of fear

with gallows humour.

He says:

“Sooner or later,

she’s gonna do it,

if she wants to do it.

There’s nothing we can do

so we might as well  go and have fun,

just be done with it,

and leave her to it.”

I wonder if my brother is a sociopath

and bite my barbed tongue.

A little while longer and my brother leaves.

Gets a lift off my Dad

to go and paint the town red

while I sit alone, padding out my evening

with nail varnish, denial,

pensive thoughts and vain preening.

Unsure of what to believe in

I hear the door slam,

I hear the dogs bark

and I start to panic and

search; I call my sister

before my dad arrives home

“Where the fuck is she?” he snaps;

I say I don’t know

“I’m going to fucking kill her”

he says,

before he coldly explains that

She left a note about demons

and pain that wont leave;

she’s aware of the pain she will cause,

‘but be happy’ she pleads.

I tug at waxed hair

this Icarus can’t understand

I try to breathe but I’m melting,

falling apart from this land

that is crumpling under me

like her broken face.

I don’t know how to fix

this woman I love and to make

everything OK and it all spins and I take

a huge breath

but then the door slams

and her howls are heard

as she keens to the moon

like an animal trapped

and he screams in her face:

“Did you fucking take anything?”

“No I promise!”

She cracks:

“I went to the sea.

I just wanted to die.

But then I got scared of the dark

and I thought why

does that even matter now –

why does it even matter?”

I go up to my room

my heart tattered and ripped;

because there is no way to fix

the urge to join the sea.

It’s the world’s biggest bully,

charismatic, it’s free.

What can we offer her,

but a working class life?

With a bored, boring husband

and the end of family life?

Grown up kids are all leaving

and making homes of their own

but my mountain is falling,

growing smaller

alone.

What if she disappears

and enters the sea?

And this huge part of my life

can no longer be seen?

I want to fight nature.

I want to scream in its fat fucking face.

But you can’t fight with nature.

I should accept my place.

If she leaves me she leaves me;

I can’t fight demons I can’t see.

If she leaves me, she leaves me.

And her demons come to me.

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Thirst.

Thirst.

Some people thirst for romance,

like a cherry ghost,

wanting and waiting to be popped.

It is a weasel

that’s been pawned

for a bevvie in the bar;

a different thirst:

a thirst for social acceptance

or an alcoholic need.

It is the unquenchable desire

for success,

and money

over family and love.

It is a thirst for knowledge,

for change,

for the acceptable to become

unacceptable,

to become extinct.

It is a thirst for escape,

as the key locks

and they wonder

just what they did wrong

as the nuns

reign down,

heavy and powerful

with their tiny rocks of fists.

It is a thirst for justice.

For a queer religion

to not fear women

or hate them

for their beauty,

naivete,

and youth.

It is that thirst

for forgiveness.

For the all powerful priests

to bathe their bodies

in the Holy water;

to let them dance in it,

free and wild,

bathing in their love of God.

Drinking Him.

Devouring Him.

Forgiving Him

for a religion that dooms them

at birth.

They wish to throw the water

up high into the air,

watching as it falls

like gravity’s tears.

The Roots of Vines.

Mr. Vine,

a teddy bear of a man,

died alone in his home

of 100 years.

A divine achievement

as he watched the cycles

of time that sweeped by.

The long tender stem

of his loyalty

wrapped around his home,

kept it and his morals

firmly in place

despite the £100,000

cheques that fell on the mat.

Four different monarchs,

eighteen different prime ministers,

a Waitrose where there used

to be a cricket green;

but still the same soggy England,

the same rain

falling on the same house

with only intentions

of cleaning chimneys

and fixing bicycles.

Dying in his sleep,

Ted left in a way others

dream of; leaving

behind him a legacy

of loyalty and history.

The grandchildren of six

and fourteen great-grandchildren

pledge an allegiance

to Mr. Vine, his work,

his history

and what he stood for:

“He was born there,

grew up there,

brought his own wife home

to that house.

You can’t put a price on

100 years of good memories.”

A month later

and there is a for sale

sign on the wall.

Ted’s Vines have loosened;

family roots ripped up,

all for a different green.

Leaves on a Tree.

It’s brought up,

that time,

in the regurgitation of your past

as it falls down the toilet bowl.

In passing comments,

brief,

like little jabs with pins

or a swift burn on the top of the oven.

You can’t cremate the past

and blow it away

with a typical blustery British wind.

A typical English family,

not the last in England

but one of them.

We cling together,

pale leaves on a tree,

whimpering and dying out,

falling one by one

onto an urban cracked ground.

You fell first,

you fell with pills in your hand

and tears in your eyes.

You fell for him

years before

and he repays you

by raping your trust

and shredding your confidence

while enjoying the heat

in the Mediteranian.

Did he ever think of us?

You keened, a wild animal,

destroyed by a sight you couldn’t forget

of young firm tits,

a smiling face

and an exotic background.

Why didn’t he take you,

try and make it work

instead of an easier,

more ego stroking option?

You can only leave him

by falling off our tree

into a soft wind

of whispers and clouds.

It wasn’t the end

and thank God for that

because I love you

and you broke my heart.

My leaf fell too,

the family split in two.

Now there is one less perfect family

in England.

Acceptance.

“We are so happy for you both.”

“We kind of had an inkling, you know.”

“We still love you.”

“Your Dad is fine with it, so laid back anyway isn’t he?”

“Now I’m a trendy Mum!”

“I know you don’t want a fuss but… we are proud of you.”

“You have good taste, you make a stunning couple.”

“We would never have stopped you being Toby’s God Mum,

it makes no difference.

You

were the only one we’d choose.”

“I always said to people there was a deep love between the two of you…”

“If anyone says anything bad I will tell them to fuck off.”

“Now Toby has two gay Aunties and he’s only one years old!”

“Now she is really part of the family.”

“I hope you’re together forever.”

“We could go on a little couples holiday, You and Ali, me and your Dad.”

And after all of this support,

words of love

and camaderie

why do I still feel so anxious and frightened?

Rounders, Sausage, Chips and Beans.

I am six years old and have been called in for lunch with my cousin Alex and my twin sister Gemma. My brother is a baby and is therefore too young to play rounders with us, which thus makes him irrelevant. We are puffing our cheeks out, red in the face with exertion and dispute. Alex had cheated and hit the ball on a “No Ball” and, ignoring our shouts, had ran and kept running as we desperately tried to release the ball from its jail in the rose bush. He had completed five home runs by the time we got the ball and was beaming like a con man who had just ripped off his third old lady that day. The problem was we weren’t doddery old women, we were stubborn six year olds who were not willing to let this go.

“Just let it go, will you?” said my Mum, clearly not understanding the politics of youth. What did she know anyway, with her crazy Michael Jackson perm and checkered lumberjack shirts. No wonder women would wink at her in the streets. We scowled at her as we walked through the salloon doors that allowed us into the kitchen.

Sitting at the table, we saw laid before us was one of our favourite meals: sausage, chips and beans. Unfortunately Alex had a speech impediment that caused him to stutter and repeat the word “and”. When he saw this glorious feast he excitedly shouted “Wow! Sausage andandandandandandandand chips andandandandanandand beans!” With a meal like that, ours was clearly a health conscious house hold.

Ecstatic, we used our fingers to pick up the soft and slightly greasy chips and asked Mum to put the radio on. She obliged, squinting as she fiddled with the radio as the sun glared at her through the window. The radio came to life with the croons of Wet Wet Wet’s ‘Wishing I Was Lucky’. We jumped down from our chairs, united in our love for 90’s music and danced around the table, picking up a chip or sausage as we skipped passed our plates. We never picked up the beans though, what do you think we were, animals?

Alex’s favourite song came on. It was Ace of Base “All That She Wants” which made us dance faster and sing louder despite the low tempo of the song. My Father, who has never been a fan of children making noise, stomped through the salloon doors and looked us all in the eyes, his own slit. With a fag placed effortlessy between his lips he looked like a cowboy about to tell some no good varmints to skeedaddle. In his Scottish voice (which was terrifying for its intelligabilty) he ordered us to “Sit doon” and eat our dinner properly.

We fell silent, sat in an orderly fashion and bowed our heads. The cowboy took stage exit one, sucking the joy out of the room with him, leaving us with a smog of sulleness.

“At least I hit five runs today.” said Alex.