on the radio,
of this time last year,
of the rust and the algae beneath the
the smell of burnt sugar and
so you turned up the volume,
and spoke about her curly hair,
and how in the mornings you’d get there early
because you always knew she’d be there.
And then, no direction,
you said that we’d just drive but
you followed the signs for
and we arrived just in time
to walk along the waterside,
I wore the wrong shoes,
I don’t do much right.
She can be your Daisy,
I’ll be your green light.
I already really liked that song.
When I closed my eyes I already saw the rain and felt the cool air on the nape of my neck. It already took me to a place where I could smell the late night, late summer air and the way it filled my lungs and I knew that I’d be 23 forever because that song would always take me there.
We were in a hurry. We ran from the marquee.
The ground was muddy and the neon lights from the t-shirt vendors and pop-up bars were reflected in the tiny puddles that had collected in the grooves left behind by hundred’s of pairs of wellington boots. The Sunday morning was only minutes old and we were 23.
The crowd poured out of each side of the tent and we were about to squeeze our way through when I heard it begin.
And then I felt the rain. I felt the cool air on the nape of neck. I could smell the late night, late summer air and the way it filled my lungs. I looked at the both of you and we knew then that we would be 23 forever, because that song would always take us there.
I closed my eyes. I faced the sky. I sang along.
I was there.
I really like that song.
When I was young I never liked to run.
When the teacher blew the whistle I would walk to the line having spent my hour beneath the tree by the playground fence, talking to my friends about things in the news that scared us or watching the boys in our class run around after the other girls, the nicer girls, the girls who loved to run.
As I grew up I learned to love running, too. I learned to run without ever moving my feet. I loved to get as close as I could and then as far away as possible; to chase and then be chased.
The years ran by too, and with every race I won I found only a new starting line, another whistle blown, another face on the terrace watching as I ran away.
I glued the medals in a scrapbook; the envelopes resealed, my name in black ink.
No postal address. No stamp.
And, now, I try my best to be still.
My mind no longer runs. Though she wanders from time to time.
When I Get Home
I remember the way in her saddle shoes
she sat, Mr Moonlight beneath her
tongue and swinging slowly on a children’s
park for the last hour, burnt
amber, of an early March evening,
and how she smiled as though I
hadn’t worn my best skirt only 3 hours ago
for him to just
stand on the doorstep while his brother sat waiting
in the car, telling me was the fault, really, of the
boy who did push ups at 4 in the morning
in the hallway but only brushed his teeth
twice a week. I told him it was the fault, really,
of the books I used to read and the noises I could
hear through walls while he was asleep.
But, sat swinging as she smiled I realised
how strange it felt to wear
somebody else’s ring,
and even though my mother said it would
keep me safe all I could feel was the fresh rain
soaking the linen drying in backyards
of Tipperary, and the cobbles of streets I had
never walked over,
and her sepia smile in a café that became a bank
seven years before I was born, and the Christmas presents
for her 10 children, chosen in a post office in
July and stored in a box beneath the counter
for months until she paid the total, and
her youngest son stealing sips from the
milk bottle before bringing it
in from the dark December doorstep, and
Frank Spencer on the TV every Thursday
night at 6,
and the smell of church windows cleaned with
vinegar and newspaper, and the red
hair clogging the shower drain because
she had six daughters,
And I thought to myself,
“when I get home, I’ll take it off”.
So I did.
It was not nostalgia I felt when I
heard the news, because
I never knew you
though I knew your face
I knew you came
from Vojvodina though
that wasn’t where you found
I knew about
the $50 in your father’s
wallet; of the year 2000
in New York City with only
what you could fit inside
your tiny pockets. And I
see your face behind my
eyelids as both a blonde
and a brunette which is a strange
thing to do of someone
I have never met.
It was almost nostalgia I
felt on Sunday; homesickness
for a place I’d
never visited nor
left behind. I’ll borrow
a word, Hiraeth, as
it’s the closest
definition I can find.
December 16th, Your Red Car
We were both almost grown
but your hair was gone,
and I laughed because
I’d never seen your
forehead before and
with you I was
because we drove
to a new place
before all the old ones,
past our old school then
down Dagger Lane
in the fog, at midnight,
when I had work the next day.
And I’ll remember that
night, after the turn in
your mind, because I
spoke of the scars on
thighs and it was only
for looking that I saw
the trouble I’d left for
in your eyes.
I liked the word (at first) because the shape
that my mouth made when I repeated it
suggested that I could have used it as an insult,
and that I’d appear refined
and well-read to those who heard it at a quick (note; strategic)
speed (because, unsure of definition, I’d have said it quickly with no desire to mislead)
And I know there’s much to be said about those
with graces and airs, so for occasions such as these I kept
a dictionary in the airing cupboard at the
top of the stairs;
Shining radiantly; resplendent.
and I thought the word to be
lovely, and almost
nebulous (which is, by chance,
another word that I like the sound
of – if only because it defines not a cloud of dust.)
That was on a Thursday,
which are a little different for me now –
because I don’t take a bus past your work
every morning anymore,
or feel comforted (almost wanted,
consoled, accounted for)
by the pungent (not unwelcome)
and words don’t always mean what
they appear to,
so I’ll call you a heartworm –
I know that you will
find something in that
If I remember anything about tonight,
I hope it’s the way that I felt like Lux Lisbon
when I swung too high,
because the sunlight fell
down through the
leaves and grazed my eyes
and that’s what
Jeffrey would have wanted,
even though i’m not blonde,
and my bed never had a
canopy to hang my
and we don’t ever get fish flies
where I come from,
and I’ve got the correct amount of
teeth in my mouth.
And how strange it had seemed to me
that I should feel like her,
when it was
Bonnie who swung from
Therese whose name I