This half-lit Sunday

Half-lit

 

Nothing much is happening

on this half-lit afternoon.

I’ve re-arranged the Bronte sisters

and Mr Owell’s adventures

and even dusted the spaces

in between.

The plates are now clean

of my attempt at risotto

and most of the socks have been

sorted

into twos. And threes?

I have rounded up the empty cans

and scrunched crisp packets

from the adolescent floor

and put back the toothpaste

(with stripes)

into the cabinet, next to

the acne cream.

Not much left

to do. On a half-lit

Sunday afternoon.

 

My time

My time

 

This is my time;

The first load is doing its rounds

As a gentle snore drifts

From my son’s room.

 

The cat curls, oblivious

(After the night’s foray)

to my key-tapping,

yet stirs for a chirping sparrow

 

flying past my open window.

Emails queue patiently

in black and grey

But I choose

 

To ignore them;

This is my time –

The dust in the corner

Can wait its turn.

 

Carpet-muffled bass tones

From my downstairs neighbour

Creep through floorboards

But do not intrude –

 

Silence filters through

Like the Sunday light

Gently touching the first gold

In the sycamore tree.

 

This is my time;

The timetable is closed for business

And I may decide

To go back to bed.

 

 

A Foxwood 29.08.2015

 

 

 

 

 

The boy, the man

The boy, the man

 

 

Blonde hair turned white by sunlight;

Skin always smothered in factor 50.

I could hardly see you through the mesh

That covered your buggy and blocked out UVA.

It was a necessity, back then.

 

‘I don’t know how we ever survived to be adults’,

My mother said.

Then came the tooth fairy, kept in regular employment

For several years on minimum wage.

Apart from once, when she didn’t show up.

 

Such disappointment at a lost pound coin

(which cost her a job). Then teddy bears were cast out

Only to be resurrected by rejections.

Heavy metal crushed lullabies

And CDs elbowed vinyl to boxes in corners.

 

Acne invaded with no remorse

And filled the bathroom with chemicals

To deep cleanse and eradicate; showers

Increased in duration, accompanied

By broken voices and broken promises

 

And half a can of anti-perspirant.

Now dark locks clog the plughole

And blonde is just a type of beer, before a match.

My turn to use the mobile steps

To kiss your cheek goodbye.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The internet is down

The internet is down

 

This morning as I sipped my bleary coffee

I switched off the swirly circle

And looked out through the window.

 

The collared dove in the silver birch

Was unimpressed by my interest,

Electing to turn its back

 

And exit, stage left,

To its star-billed dressing room.

Then the cobweb caught my eye.

 

Hanging from the curtain pole

Like last year’s tinsel,

It challenged me to a duel.

 

Gloves off, I chose the feather duster,

Rescued from the lost and found

That languished under the stairs.

 

I took ten paces back,

Aimed, and swept.

Caught in one stroke; victory.

 

 

But as my foe died in melodrama

I noticed it was not alone.

Fifty more had joined the ranks

 

And from behind the curtains,

Out-manouevered me.

Dust to dust, I was defeated.

 

Today the internet is down

And I surrender.

 

 

 

 

Photo Grandad

Photo Grandad

 

 

Grandad, we never met

But apparently, I have your eyes –

(Slightly slanted, a bit too close together).

 

You looked dapper in your wedding suit,

Complete with spats.

‘Like Fred Astaire’, said Nana,

 

‘With two left feet’.

It was a modest affair,

Two bridesmaids

 

And Aunt Mary. My Dad was there

Unofficially; you didn’t know

Before you left.

 

You went to Cromer –

A short honeymoon,

Nothing to write home about

 

(it was February, after all).

Too early for ice-cream

But they had good fires –

 

Even one in your room.

It was a bitter winter –

The coal had to last; no money

 

For extravagance.

They shipped you out

When you still held hands

 

But you wrote hasty notes

On smuggled paper

Starting ‘My darling Eve’.

 

I have them, wrapped in white felt

Inside a Coronation tin.

Dad has your smile, slightly lop-sided,

 

And your double crown.

Sometimes we look at you together.

In black and white.

 

Bluebottle

There is a bluebottle with a death wish buzzing around my room

missing my face by a wingspan.

It seems content to frisk me, despite my efforts

to coax it through the open window. Freedom

it seems, is not appealing.

 

 

I have a fly destroyer. It fizzes when it makes contact with a body –

dead or alive. Grotesque, yet the odds are even. Flies are fast.

Still, the buzzing. Damn you fly, this essay will not write itself.

The third paragraph is half done. The fly’s days are numbered.

In fact, it’s hours are numbered, its minutes.

 

 

There’s something about a peaceful evening

to write, to contemplate. A July evening, a gentle evening

where the sun strokes the back of your hand, as if to say

‘Calm down, my friend.’ And I will. I know I will.

As soon as I’ve caught this sodding bluebottle.

 

A K Foxwood   July 2014

 

 

Something about mornings

Something about morning

 

Waking in the white of morning

the cat whispers a ballad in my ear.

Too late for dreams, I cling to the happy ending

 

as engines begin to sing the blues

and Monday kicks me in the face.

I stretch knotted calves

 

and unravel tendons

as I walk to the bathroom,

pull the cord to speed up the rhythm

 

and stare at the peeling paint –a job unfinished.

Stripped of yesterday,

I reach out for the towel

 

still lying like the summit of Mont Blanc;

and realize the floor needs cleaning.

Radio three jumps out from the second bedroom

 

and flies over my head,

missing me by inches. I inspect my wardrobe

for respectability in black and white

 

(but cool enough for UV level 5

by lunchtime). Meeting rooms like ivy

choke the goldfinch as I leave

 

Tick tock – I can straighten out the duvet

later.

 

 

Progress

Apparently I should know

the difference between an I-pod and an MP3

and how to catch up with the latest series

of Mad Men

on the Xbox. By voice command.

 

 

It’s outrageous

that I prefer to feel paper

when I read Lawrence, or Tolstoy

in the middle of a war, to plastic

staring at me with backlit eyes.

 

 

And yet- of the hundred authors

that cosy up to me in piles

in every room, I suspect that most

would have preferred

to use a laptop.

 

The Clock

The Clock     

                                                               

The clock has stopped.

When I look at the hands

They stare at me,

Raised to the heavens.

Not an old clock, with pulleys

And a pendulum

This one takes batteries,

But not the rechargeable kind.

The ones that usually run out

At three in the morning,

Like the smoke alarm

And the remote control

For the central heating.

Which raises the question

Is it the clock which has stopped

Or the batteries?

And if I leave the clock

And go to my day

Will it still be ten past ten

When I come home?

And if it is

Has time stood still?

 

A K Foxwood

For, and after, Seamus

I found you in Iowa

in a blizzard. Then you took me with you

West, I think it was

(but I could have been mistaken).

 

You made me question

the consequence of melting glaciers,

and taught me words like ’tilth’

(now I have something to rhyme with ‘filth’).

 

I learned about Granard

and whispering schoolboys falling foul

of a sally rod

(not allowed today, of course).

 

You taught me history;

even put Sophocles into poetry.

And I loved it when you honoured Auden

(with mass and majesty).

 

Dorothy will always remember you

with Mary, Pablo and me.

You will, after all, be in our words

(in front of your house of life).

 

 

 

For Seamus Heaney, written on his day of departure, 30.08.13