Friday, July 21, 2017

Last day of term

This poem is for my Mum and Dad, who retire from their school jobs today, 21/07/17 x

I see kids this morning,
clutching Cath Kidston gift bags,
babbling on their way to school
on a zinger of a last day,
all blue skies and clearing out your lockers.
I remember that too:
the shine of pride on my face as I went
to the front of the class,
brandishing a card with earnest scribbles,
perhaps a bottle of wine that felt far too heavy
in my primary-school hands.
I remember my Dad coming home with a car boot full
of Parker pens, new ties, boxes of chocolates, whisky, wine,
a feast of gifts on the dining room table,
sweet presents from his Year 6 students,
possibly never to see them again.
Sometimes, a poor but well-meant thing,
a terrible dusty ornament grabbed in haste,
or something already open.
But each could mean the world.
We buzzed around the haul,
asking if we could open the Maltesers; 
save that box of ink cartridges for September
which would feel a lifetime away.

Friday, July 14, 2017


warm nights
picking the best 10 texts to stay in my phone
the trials of van occupanther
on repeat:
we say we'll go to see it performed live
not together
not yet
but maybe we'll see each other there
we'll talk on msn messenger,
up late,
for hours,
my status says 'away' but not for you;
laptop wobbling on my legs
on my bed,
the wire connecting the phone line to my computer
pulled taut,
connecting me to you
via dial-up
that stalls when my mum needs to use the phone,
that beeps and buzzes when it automatically
every 2 hours
it must happen three or four times
in one single chat session with you,
where we divulge our lives
to one another
asking questions,
taking dual breaks to go to the bathroom,
we go downstairs and raid our dads' beer stashes,
back to hot, airless bedrooms
where we talk some more
and drink alone but somehow together
until it's almost morning:
dry-eyed and limb-weary,
laptop lines embedded on our legs
we say our goodnights,
and close our computers down,
and text each other until we fall asleep,
new texts to save in my phone tomorrow,
how young we were,
how patient we seemed compared to now
but how impatient it was in hindsight
that we waited for so long.