When you told me it was over
it had only just begun
the clock had ceased its ticking
and we still felt very young
Those everlasting children
were taken from their villages
and nothing they could do
While concrete jungle architects
constructed city spaces
we thought we were invincible
in a middle Earth oasis
But history snatched our shoes away
and filled our hearts with fear
so soon our safety set upon
and dragged us out of there.
And now our broken spirits
seek an everlasting home
where innocence is not a crime
and we live (once more) as one.
Girls with thick lashes
Kissing boys with moustaches
Under trowels of foundation
Beautiful children, insecure and afraid
Hiding behind expectations we made.
When the fear bites
When the tears sting
When they’ve tried too hard
They simply remember we asked them to fly
and then they don’t feel …
and we wonder why.
Lying in shallows
Letting waves wash over her
pregnant young body.
This storm reminds me of Jaybee, my first friend, who was there to welcome me to school, with toy bricks
and a mean brother who chased us both and threw her in the pond.
At weekends, once upon a summer, we hung out with our Chinese pals, at a boating lake in the park. Jaybee had achieved her gold medal, and was a great swimmer, just as well, because
she fell in, on the way out of a row boat.
The next weekend, we met our Chinese pals again. Jaybee stayed safe, sat on a rocky wall, and me beside her. I said wouldn’t it be funny if…
and I pushed her, in jest.
In a beat which broke the surface of our friendship, Jaybee fell into the
water. Splash! She was angry and it began to rain. Lightening quick, monstrous guilt thundering down on me, I said let’s go to my house and get dry.
We ran – Jaybee, our Chinese pals and me, pouring through the rain,
shivering, laughing, each almost as wet as Jaybee. When we got to my door, we spilled through it like a flood of young forgiveness,
But Dad told our Chinese pals they
were not allowed in. Those words
rang louder than the splash, louder than my heart beat. Incomprehension roared louder than the storm.
At the shiny 8am traffic island,
two freshly employed and eager
young triangular flamingoes arrive
pressed between hardboard, balloons
on their backs announcing deals of the day.
At 5pm, they stuff pale clipped wings
back into hooded jackets and wade
away through pollutant traffic haze,
deflated balloons bobbing, filtering
disappointment through turned down beaks.
So mounting life we’ll screech and ride and burn
careering round the country without lights
we’ll roll our bikes get up and spit and learn
and dash on through the dark dragging our rights.
When we are younger helmets guard our thought
as down those lethal hills we shift and fly
our heads are strong our muscles flexed and tort
as hairpins bend and buzz us round and by.
Chicanes defied we leap our faith and nerve
and pay no heed to riders left or felled
unhindered by the boulders and the curb
past flags and friends as though we are propelled.
When whipped and lapped by attitude we swear
at step and crossroads, brake and all but chunder;
footfaulting in our sudden wheel of care
we grip the bars to stop us going under.
A lamb in a lion suit
and smaller than it seems
my youth is corruptible
but infinitely adaptable
To those who believe in
its perfection and worth
my youth will reveal
its true identity.
Twenty or so if youth declares,
out of fuel on a parky night
blanked by eery-lit unforgiving
dry stone walls, trudged doggedly on,
mile after mile, youth’s gift to push
home through fear with salmon-like
fortitude, back from the godless moor,
like Scott, I boasted, or Kathy,
without a hint of irony.
Fifty or so if age discloses,
an independent woman timed it wrong;
clinging to cliffs pitched deep in night
petrified last rocky reflections
damned by awareness, inadequacy and
grazed knees; sliding towards
the unforgiving sea, mouthing –
I am old, mistaken, stupid, cold.
ENOUGH. Please rescue me.