moving story

moving story
 
mum rolled up the kitchen oil-cloth
on the morning we moved out
and found a photograph,
dad, me, and baby Cissie
at the Dove Row, Hackney
Coronation street party
 
(Cissie died later of the scarlet fever)
 
dad whispered as mum went to lock the door
‘there’s nothing left to nick no more’
 
mum sighed inside to stand and breathe
the theft-proof mist of memories
 
she came out with a jigsaw (framed)
of ‘Trooping the Colour’
and her dead canary’s birdcage,
 
‘ain’t leaving these for bastard looters’
 
birdcage in one hand,
Queen in the other,
mum rode proud like Boadicea,
atop the furniture piled on the dray
day-rented from Watney’s brewery
 
dad broke wind and blamed the horse,
waved two fingers at the neighbours
waiting their turn to be relocated,
‘see you later, alligators’
 
our brand new tenth-floor council flat
was clean, bright and airy,
on a clear day we could see the river…
nearly
 
they built a skate-park
on the site of the local
where Saturday nights
mum played tunes on the ‘old Joanna’
and dad sang, “you are my heart’s delight,”
in half-cut lounge bar Tauber tenor
 
(the park is now a free-trade zone
for muggers, druggies,
and ketamine dealers)
 
mum and dad stayed safe indoors
drinking off-sales Mackeson
holding hands on the vinyl sofa
watching Take Your Pick, Jukebox Jury,
singing the jingles – best things on telly;
 
“The Esso sign means happy motoring”
“Murray Mints. Murray Mints. Too good to hurry Mints”
“You’ll wonder where the yellow went…”
 
mum never got over dad dying –
his choking on a satsuma
spoiled Christmas for her
 
she blamed her arthritis,
‘I couldn’t do that Heinze’s Manoeuvre’
 
‘mum, you’ve got your pension, dad’s insurance,
you’re free to do what you bloody well like
fancy a weekend trip down Margate?’
 
‘do what I like? Margate? free?
all I want is Dove Row back,
me own front door
family round for Sunday dinner
and a canary bird what sings’
 
‘bye mum, gissa kiss’
 
I left her humming, ‘Beanz Meanz Heinz’
forcing through the child-proof lid
of her repeat prescription Mogadon
 
and high on the wall,
the Queen looked down,
still trooping.

© coolhermit 2021
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Sweetwater

Gosh that pulls at the heart strings. I could feel every word.
Love the Pepsodent reference, be humming it all evening 🙂
Happy New Year, sue.

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