poring away

poring away
a tottering table a toddler
a teapot a reaching hand
a fast vast scalding scarring flood
a stick-waving young boy shouting
with tears ‘stop fighting stop swearing’
ignored by screeching mum and dad
eyes tight-shut out of sight
under a kitchen table until discovered
fingers at his throat squeezing
the orphanage window afternoon stroll
of the first black people
to enter his entire universe
eleven-plus growing tall
Munich air-crash morning seeing
the playground over the primary wall
grammar school days rubbing shoulders
with high-flyers failure is success
of sorts come last it’s best
annual cross-country race whole school
lining the course first place shock win
shock applause hero for a day of smiling
teenage jobs teenage crushes
typists’ laps kissing tonguing lips
but never breasts no never those
smoking hash dropping out hitching
anywhere mushrooms bombers
a lift to Southport meeting Shirley
her gradual unbuttoning
a climbing into bed a doing of that
that mysterious wonderful thing
wet-eyed watching her walk away
hand-in-hand her future secured
by a surer better lover
girlfriends jazz northern soul
marriage children fatherhood
 l.s.d Glastonbury finding god
a dice-rolled train-ride north
preaching Jesus long-haired penniless
despised by sinners and godly alike
university reading English churning
ornate essays on acclaimed mediocrities
learning much to no good purpose
marriage derailed by poverty 
no blame no time for that
children to raise women to love
black women white women
fat women thin women
married women single women
strange women sane women
holy women profane women
hippie women straight women
profound women shallow women
smoking non-smoking women
Greenham wimmin women and god
lazy afternoon love-making with
a beauty in Whitby half-watching
Hillsborough unfold on tv
cloistered in silence
seeking out self sifting elusive dancing
splashy phantoms of memory
wave-dancing moments erupt
vie for attention submit to inertia  
fall away are replaced
he stares hard at a droplet
it bears a likeness
but it isn’t him

© coolhermit 2023
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