Lessons in life (Part 2 Smoking kills)
I cut the cricket bat from a plywood sheet,
wrapped tape around its rough handle,
used an old beer crate as a wicket.
The summer had delivered a perfect evening
poised over a memory that set the scene
and started to roll the cameras.
The cliche version would have been
on location in an American suburb,
father and son playing catch on the front lawn
mother filming from the wooden porch
all fit, white teeth and healthy,
sunlight would glisten on the lens.
But this was a concrete back yard with high walls
and a gate that opened onto broken glass,
Dad was a spin bowler due to the short breath and run ups,
each innings uncoiled him, took its toll.
I began to worry, watching the colour slide
down his face, a novelty pen turned upright
to reveal a naked body.
I pretended to miss, and listened to the clink
of empty beer bottles as the ball clipped the crate
relief shouted,out, across his face.
The director wasn’t happy wanting to go again
but the star was already leaving the set,
desperately seeking his trailer, exhausted from
his fifteen minutes of acting, it wasn’t long
before smoke draped its silk jacket over his shoulders.
We toured with that film, I did all the pro-mo
while he snorted oxygen shipped in cylinders,
always away from the public’s gaze.
I was asked once what it was like
working with such a professional.
I lied and talked about his better days,
paid tribute behind a filter of blue and green.
I held his hand for the final scene
but couldn’t find the words at the after party.