on time

Friday, what the F
break open the bub-ber-ley
birthday train ride

~

n.b. Not mine. Happy Birthday, mush. “Twenty past Ten; get the Scooby Snacks owat!”

n.n.b. “Owat” translates to ‘out’ further south in Englands.

CLP

on white lights

intermittent wipers
broken lines
marking where to cut
through naked trees
clawing at the sheet
of clouds
bright red triangles
black on white
warning darts
sharp bends
white on black
approaching one-eyed car
wobbles past close enough
to make me wince
and I hear you
"Slow down.
Watch out for the deer."
And this is what happens;
you become part of my world
as I drive toward yours

~

CLP 10/01/2022

on memory

how does it happen?
looking at you
in your old photos
I elsewhere in my own
yet here we sit
as happy as
if we'd never been apart

~

CLP 09/12/2021

on time

we would jump on board
be in Paris in three hours
just catch memories

~

n.b. Time was when the passing Eurostar was a symbol of freedom, opportunity and hope. Now it is simply a relic of days when Europe was a place we shared with our Continental cousins, a symbol of loss.

CLP 30/1/2021

on Reception

copier repair
man career change to motel
no two days the same

~

n.b. Stopped for a very late night keep-myself-awake-on-the-drive-home cup of tea at a motel in The Fens, heard a life story from boy soldier to village brass band. Classic! Nice one Dale.

on the street

walk on gold paving
countless, not unlimited
transient riches

~

CLP 21/11/2021

on light

we, who came from stars
are sure that we will return
to from whence we came

~

CLP 10/11/2021

Husband

“She’s married?”

“Yes, but…”

The feebleness of the ‘but’ died in his throat.

He had never met that person, just seen him accidently in passing during a late summer storm on some street. He hadn’t missed a beat when that happened. Just kept walking, having recognised the man, knowing that he himself was invisible to the face he recognised from her shared photos.

He tried to move the conversation on with a shrug. The best he could come up with was “So?”

“So, she’s married.”

He had let that go. Her affection to him was genuine. Her pain on parting affecting. It was a joint adventure, both complicit, both old enough to vote. He wasn’t going to be pinned for her infidelities. She would have to deal with that when she was ready. 

Planes, trains and her family people carrier. Hotels, restaurants, swimming, hot spring baths, walks and talking. They travelled, slept and dreamt together. He was looking ahead, not at the present; avoiding the past.

Free of his obligations, he’d paid no serious regard for the juggling she did to make all this possible for them. It didn’t occur to him, not until she decided their affair was done, that she had been twisting herself silly to keep up appearances. Although he had begun to question whether her duplicity was particularly well disguised.

“You always knew I was married. What did you think would happen?”

She had said something about collateral damage being likely when she found the courage to admit she wasn’t playing the wife at home anymore, or indeed anywhere.

He’d always thought that collateral damage was a particularly callous term, but she seemed to like it. It was like when she started talking about Marie Kondo’ing her friendship groups, or even her close family. In retrospect it seemed strikingly obvious that she had ’empathy issues’ his mate observed.

He recalled she had been talking emphatically about people being either winners or losers in life the day they met in the café. He had found that a little distasteful then, but ignored it for various selfish reasons. He didn’t think of people like that, although sometimes he didn’t think of people at all; like her husband, for instance.

~

CLP 04/11/2021

Oyster

A hotel in a small town at the foot of the Jura mountains, a small town just stretching over the frontier, a frontier that drew a line between domesticity at home and adventure abroad.

With Christmas over and the sparkling street lighting gathered in for the foreseeable future, the worst of the weather arrived. Snow warm enough to turn to sleet, sleet to rain, rain to fog, but still cold enough for ice underfoot and kerbs to be indistinguishable from gutters in the grey slush.

The Saturday morning market did brisk business, quite cheerily for the prevailing conditions and time of year. Every customer welcomed heartily, every purchase, whether of vegetables, fruit, hats, gloves, scarves, umbrellas, genuinely and warmly appreciated.

What was noticeable, in addition to the chatter of stall holders and customers, was the noise of the rain on canvas and the occasional sploosh and splash of a pool of water being displaced by a trader using a broom handle to relieve an awning bulging over the produce, the rushing of the culverted streams channelling snow melt under foot bridges, behind houses, under the roads. The sound of moving water saturated the air, echoed off the granite buildings.

Oysters were being sold from an occasional stall where the market was more open to the weather.

She wanted to try an oyster, not buy a dozen and of course her offer of one Euro was accepted for the single sample of the salty bivalve. She glooped it down with a shiver and turned to her companion with a familiarity born of intimacy.

“As if you needed an aphrodisiac after this morning’s performance.” he remarked.

“Every little helps.” she replied.

~

01/11/2021

Malta

The wedding was held late on the Saturday afternoon. The church bright from the low sun beating through the open west door, was a place of calm reflection as the guests waited for the bride’s arrival.

A wedding held after the bulk of the day has been spent by attendees swimming and sunbathing, followed by afternoon sex and a sleep has to accept that a certain torpor will befall the congregation, or at least two of the party.

Our heroic couple had flown in on separate flights the day before and had set about each other as lovers do: savouring the moment of rediscovery; the remembrance of each other’s scents; the refreshment of mutual tastes; the heaviness of shared sleep. By the time of the wedding, sitting beside each other on a solid well-polished pew holding hands, (of course), they needed to be still.

A friend of the bride and groom, flown over to the island to sing, sang beautifully. The priest spoke enthusiastically about marriage and the fruit of the loins. The vows were expressed sincerely and enunciated proudly before friends, relatives and plus ones. The open-top vintage Rolls Royce over-flowed with joy as it moved off toward the chosen hotel. The sun dipped toward the sea warming the backs of the cheering people.

Before the wedding reception dinner and dance under the stars across the harbour commenced, our unmarried couple slipped into the water of the town beach after another quickie to cool down in the slight ebbing tide.

Floating on his back, spread-eagled staring into the darkening blue of sky above, he thought of the afternoon’s ceremony, his own wife and why he had travelled to this island. In a moment of startling clarity he realised that he was out of his depth.

~

CLP 31/10/2021