Billy

“Would you like to spit on me?”
Bill asked, the first time I met him.

Some week’s earlier, I’d ranted in a
teenage idealistic, but ignorant fashion about spitting on Freemason’s to
my school friend.

She’d relayed this to her stepfather, Bill,
the local Grand Master, who now with
raised eyebrow and teasing blue eyes
repeated “would you like to spit on me, Hev?”

I wanted to dissolve on the spot,
humorously caught in my own hubris,
as there stood before me a warm,
charming, funny, and caring man,
who I’d hug with great affection
for decades to come.

Here was the man:
who drove 6 hours with me the
first time I went to university,
who when I later dropped out, was the
only adult to visit and check on me,
who wore slippers to my wedding,
who tucked me up, when I was too
drunk and tired to make it on my own,
who would assess whether I “still had
the vibe” after being apart for a few years,
who swam with me at Hartland point,
who I performed a poem for, Ode on a Curious Object, in a local pub,
who would write me handwritten letters,
who soaked me to the skin in a water fight,
my favourite drinking partner, who now
battles dementia.

So I try and hold the memories for both of us.
Separated by 12,000 miles and fading neurons, I wonder if I’ll get the chance
to hug Bill again, and I try and make do
by clinging to the memory of when I last saw him:

such high spirits, we’d been through
the port, the whiskeys and rusty nails
– elation abounded.
The next morning, Bill had gone to work,
leaving me a note (the first time he’d ever done so).
I looked quizzically at it; Chris, his wife, saw my expression and said:
“Well, Bill went to work with his eyes like
two pissholes in the snow.
And he’s left you a note ‘coz he’s not sure
if he needs to apologise for something!”
“Well”, I muse, “blimey, it must have been
some night if Billy think’s there should
be something to regret!”

In truth, Bill can do no wrong.
So no, no spitting, except on the disease
that’s taking him from us.

In my dream we lie,
our backs on the grass,
staring at a pure blue sky.
I say “that’s our mind, Billy,
stainless and full of potential.
Any clouds that appear are just
temporary thoughts, what’s it matter
if they get muddled up.”
Bill, as he always does when I’m excited,
gives me a sideways glance, raises an eyebrow, and says “Is that right, Hev?”,
I say “Yes, Bill it is”,
he says “Okay, Hev”,
and we dissolve our minds into
the spaciousness of that blue sky –
minds that will never part.

A new memory for Mothers’ Day


You are alive still –

just the other day –

a new memory.

Coming home,

hand in hand

with my son

to your door.

The crazy paving

lay beneath our feet

as we stepped onto

the marble topped

granite steps.

Waiting at the caravan door,

with delightful anticipation,

we hear your quickening steps

and there you are:

Bursting with excitement,

blooming with emotion

to have and hold your

daughter and grandson.

Dad is behind you

reserved with pride and pleasure.

Your embrace is the warmest:

offering comfort that can

be found nowhere else.

We chat, play, laugh,

eat, walk, cry, and share

until evening comes.

Tashi settles in his cot,

And I’m in my old bed.

The chill damp air is familiar

and strangely reassuring.

Dad wipes the condensation

from the windows then retires.

When Tashi wakes for an early feed,

you come and join us, taking joy

in watching my love for him.

I might be a mother now, but

you are mine still and you pop

to the stove to warm me some milk.

We return to sleep and when I awake

I’m heartened to have this new memory,

crafted from my childhood impressions,

bringing you back to life with me

again.

(For my mother Sylvia Kempton)

Crazy paving

   
Caravan confinement,

crazy paving wobble –

16 months it took

for me to finally toddle.

Crazed imagination

still touches texture –

paving my way

back home in history.

Granite memory

reawakens senses –

my finger traces

once existing edges.

Cobbled expectancy,

as if it could exist –

Stone cold reality

of everything I miss.

Milk tears

  

[photo found @ Pinterest
]
 

My body cries

milk tears

willing satiation.

In poverty

my body gives a

pauper’s feast:

lacking quantity,

lacking flow,

I lack his latch.

Bottle beckons –

inanimate competitor.

Gradual coaxing then

mother and son meet.

My body cries

milk tears –

joy of early

morning feeding.

It’s been a long time since I posted a new poem, but I’ve been busy with the results of another (pro)creative project! This is an early reflection on dealing with a newborn (who is now 3 months old).

Existential Origami is now on VerseWrights

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My posting has been quiet of late due to other aspects of my life crowding out my time, but I have scribbled a few lines from time to time in my notebook, so at some point new poems will appear here. In the meantime, take a trip over to VerseWrights where my poem “Existential Origami” has just been published. (Here’s the link to more of my poetry on VerseWrights).

An academic dada

Over the last couple of months I have been busily engaged in writing a journal article on physiological effects of meditation. Given the need to write with scientific precision, my poetry brain has been neglected. Having finished the article, I’ve seized the opportunity to try out a Dada poem by selecting a random line for each page of the article, then weaving those lines into the following poem:

Nonbeing, no world, no existence –

continually grasp at our sense of self, as if we were permanent and non-changing.

Teaching “emptiness to the untrained” being a violation of the Mahayana,

providing negative descriptions of meditation experience.

Relaxation response:

potential to harness the placebo effect.

Operational definition – spiritual transformation,

similar considerations of spiritual and contextual practice.

Yoga techniques prepare themselves,

meditators, the more experienced group showed less activation,

telemore maintenance, reduced expression of genes,

yielding improved performance on visual and spatial working memory tasks.

Seize opportunities that offer the potential to increase our understanding.

And if that was hard going, try reading Nanni Balestrini’s novel “Tristano”, where each copy is randomly varied. My copy is #11652, and while it was an interesting experience, I can’t say it was a particularly enjoyable read.