Under the influence

Sun broke through the window, a morning thug to awake the kids. Their faces stayed asleep until after cornflakes and TV, and then, outside.

To write. About? Maybe the sound of the track from that one album, the one they played, him and his brother, over and over except for that one track, the one that made him worry that she would be as dead as …

Words never to be said. Hide that sensitivity and pretend its all a different sort of discord, a fear of more acceptable irrationality, rather than a seven year old’s trespass into existential decline.

Twenty five or thirty five years later, what’s changed? Trapped behind “what if”, “when” and the possibility of what might be. From the corner of the eye he sees hope, but she’s too crafty and slips away, once again.

Next to the bus

Orange plastic lies scattered across the pavement, litter the colour of fruit but without the decay, at least for the next thousand years.

This remains from the earlier, and the present, time gifted in play to the children as they unwrap hope, a goodwill gesture for the start of the new year.

No-one stops me when I walk, wind in my face, leaves blown from invisible trees in the concrete street.

Seasons stack, waiting to pass, but for the moment autumn creeps in.

Old road


There’s a mirror in front, door
and shelves
full to the point of charity
with gifts of old clothes

and the shit
of clutter.

Eyes forward

don’t look back
at least, not
without the props

a motto

that he said, silently
in his guilt
to stay
one step ahead

After words

The blanket of silence extinguishes all about them. All closed down, and shut from residual stimuli

They look at one another, faces glazed with the sheen of a game show title sequence

The dog barks its loudest sigh, then curls up to sleep

Inside the machine, signals are received about the next great entertainment

And they press the remote.

Park Royale

He sat in the car, studiously avoiding the newspaper for fear of missing her pass. On her way home. It was a good day, and he’d finished work early which gave a nice opportunity to catch up. Always the socialite. Maybe they could have a pint. Or a cup of tea.

The waiting game was relieved to an extent by the radio, but there was only so much inane chatter with which he could cope. Let it go on, let it go off… the sounds of 60s pop faded to nothing as he turned off the radio, snapping into silence unlike the valve sets of the music’s own era.

Twenty four minutes.

That’s not too bad, he thought. She must be due back any time now. Any time. Time was forgetting to pass, in the main, but at least it seemed now that it was getting to the point of coming home. So here he was. And there she’d be. ¬†Soon, he hoped.

The sound of a truck horn startled him and he wondered if he’d dozed properly. Had he missed her? Could be. He’d been sat for three quarters of an hour now, and he knew she was nearly always on her way back by now. The window whined as he let it sink and enveloped himself in the stale city air, to keep himself fresh.

And so she was. Walking. Past. No stopping. Perhaps she’d not seen. Perhaps…

He picked out his phone and dialled her number. No reply. Looked at his phone again. There was just the text from earlier. Only now did it seem true.