A little video of Early doors, the poetry collective I belong to. Filmed and edited by Charlie Carr-Gomm.
I pour a Fosters.
Look at the clock.
He pays in coppers and tries to hold my hand for too long.
Asks me what I do for my ’ real job’.
’ I’m a poet, I suppose’.
He just laughs,
And moves closer to my side of the bar.
I’m a bit scared of life.
I’m a little bit scared of not getting it right.
It’s the type of table that makes you feel lonely.
Varnished quadrilateral sincerity. Your knee touching my knee.
Are you ok?
You look away.
And I’m reminded of how too many of my childhood days were spent in waiting
Rooms, trying to stay awake.
Your hoody hangs on barely there shoulders.
The thing is, I didn’t notice what I didn’t see.
It was only after it happened that I realised you never wore short sleeves.
As I feed red wine into the cracks of my lips
I dip my fingertips into melted wax and lean back.
Mismatched wine glasses scream from newspaper placemats.
And I cant wait to just go outside and twos a rollie with you
Like we used to.
I hear 90’s beats play from your bedroom, even though its dinner time.
Its been 5 years and now your’re fine.
But my mind always goes back to the days when I chased the sun around the pavilion
Picking up printed knees from grass to avoid the shade
And stamping spliffs with heels
Whilst spraying cans of cheap aerosoles.
The days I spent trying to put you from my mind.
And when the time came to gaffa tape up all my belongings
And move those 60 miles away from that city
I switched the Albert for the Marquis
For my pints.
Swapped the sea for the A32 through New cross
And played pool badly with the new boys.
I tried not to think of you then.
Because those days were so much easier
Without the thought of your pain
And the constant mention of your name.
The slip from the childhood bond to nothingness
Was too real.
From school holidays swimming in the Lake at the Norest
And begging mum to let us stay up late
Enough to finish inventing worlds.
Wooden train tracks running from Attic to basement
And even our knives and forks had invented stories and faces.
We used to sing duets from the Lion King
And I’d never understand why you wanted to be the evil one all the time.
I suppose you knew there was evil in the world even then
And when Mum died you were proved right.
And when we found out I tried to squeeze you tight
But you walked out stern faced
And turned out the bedroom light.
You balled up your fists in the back of the Ford Mondeo
On the way to the city that would fuck you up
Away from the dull mute of the midlands
And to the Dad who’d made another home for our new lives.
With the cat on top of our boxes in the boot. Clinging on for dear life.
And yes, you’d always been difficult.
Chopped the heads off my barbies
And left them, exhaultant, under my pillow.
And I never really did think about the time you put bleach in my bath
And didn’t compute the consequences
Like you thought you were some kind of bond villain.
But difficult had a new face on the days when the police started bringing you home.
Too many times to just put it down to naive White Lightening cider drinking
Early teen park experience.
And as White lightening turned to vodka
And vodka turned to weed and pills
And pills turned to god knows what
I felt your face as I know it slip from my mind.
You kept your hair shaved that whole time.
Stopped telling jokes and watching family guy
With me on a Friday night.
And though I tried to keep you as mine
You belonged to whatever dark corners you found yourself in the night time
To the bits of Brighton parents are scared of.
The ones that give the statistics.
The parts that inhibit the migration of the middle classes
Who’ve always wanted to live by the sea,
Semi bohemian lefties who’ve always supported the green party.
You started to not care about the times I’d wait up for you on the stairs.
The lock would click and you’d look past as though I wasn’t there.
And though I tried to speak my words just buzzed, wasp like, round your ears.
And you just sighed, closed the curtains and slept the days away,
Kept on with those days until
Your cheeks were mapped with the kind of veins that give your secrets away.
But it wasn’t enough. You became closed off.
Richmond superkings and neat whiskey with tracksuit clad friends stopped
And the door to your bedroom was always locked
With only the light from a lavalamp you got for your 13th Birthday shining
And the day that we picked you up from Brighton General, you told me with no words that you couldn’t manage anymore,
And I told you that I would lose myself looking after you.
You said you didn’t want me to.
We stood outside automated doors with cold hands on cold cans of cheap pop.
Its all they had in the shop.
And I told you that anything you asked me to do for you, wouldn’t be big enough.
But you just smiled, looked at me and said ‘ two’s up.’