“I am old, I am old
I will wear the bottom of my trousers rolled”
(T.S Eliot Prufrock )
Light lies harsh on facial lines
garden hangs it’s head with emptiness
life flickers it’s pulse like breadcrumbs
sadness sweats: it has no smell no aftertaste,
leaves behind a silver trail in unexpected places.
Inside I hide like virgin bride,
like bloated corpse on unfound beach
washed up from too much of everything.
I’m a platelet scouring the blood of this city
I’m an antibody strictly fighting serial flu
this unknown strain of letting go, a flicker of hair
a baby’s gaze, a diving into anonymity.
Father 1937 -1996
My father always used to say, “If I reach the age of sixty, shoot me….” He never did, so we never had too. When he got sick he still had that sweet veneer of youth and beauty, he still had his young whore by his side with her family grouped around the bed, asking when the old man was going to die. The whisky had taken a slight toll, under the eye bags were apparent but it was during a game of tennis that the tumour made itself known, a slight tingling in the wrist that was all. How to cope with you in sick bed, how to look you in the eyes and say , “well maybe you are useless as a father , as a human being, and yes look you’re going to die.” The chemotherapy made you look sunburnt that was all, as if you’d just come back from a skiing trip and we treated you with foie gras and vintage brandy.
I don’t want to talk about your tears and I don’t want to tell of the bargains you tried to make or how you told me you loved me, for the first and last time. We spent a lot of time looking into each other’s eyes as we’d always done; there was never anything to say because I had been born the daughter who fathered you, and you had been looking for a lover in all the wrong places. Afterwards there was your voice from the darkness, and this isn’t a metaphor, afterwards there was you looking beautiful, afterwards there was me alone as I always had been.
There’s a shrine in my mind
which burns incense to your youth
keeps pictures of a small boy
keeps picturing my small boy
crafted through a mystical creation
into the small blonde smiling echo of you.