Notes on hugs from my two ladies

All-encompassing hugs from my two ladies. Their weight I admired – me, the mathematician, the calorie wizard, the difficult guest at a dinner party and in general. Their joy and sometimes crankiness in life. The absolute void in their death. The void in my living. Rubbed out parts of the world as to walk around years on is to try to accept the forever change. Their weight, my stress was their love of cooking: jam and jollof. And every part was love. Her laugh was one loud ‘Ha!’ and smiles; her squeeze was to be reassured. You mattered. And her’s – The Big Love’s – were strong, as though to give me more than just my name. The final one was still warm. Gone, but I’d never be hugged again and my last memory is the one I took, knowing it was meant for me.

Chapter One

On a still, silent street it hunches under a dim lamppost. The light drops, rounds the figure’s back and falls to a puddle at its feet. Around, a few lost and wandering rays find their purpose in a deadlock with thickening wisps of mist. A lorry passes; first felt, then heard, then seen. In its dumb trance it turns right at the lights and will shortly become part of the conveyor belt to Dover. To take steps closer is for it to fade from monochrome filter to a palette of sepia and watery pigments. The sky, deep, dark blue with dreams and nightmares is moon and star-less. There is no room for them tonight. The weak, burnt orange of the lamp barely picks out the grass a few metres away. A fly draws patterns in the light while it sleeps. The silhouette bobs and shuffles from foot to foot in giddy excitement. Dribbling and demented from the pleasure of it all, soon it will have the compulsion to remove its cloak. But then with squinting uncertainty it could be carved of onyx. Some small steps closer. Chisel in grip it scrapes a vertical line off a sign, now in view, reading ‘PUTNEY HEATH’. The procedure has the precision and solemnity of a holy ritual. It stops, panting, and some time passes in gargoyle lifelessness before it cracks and crumbles to begin with the same measure on the horizontal. At last the chisel takes its final peel upwards, stripping stark black from naked white and leaving the question mark of an empty space behind. Suddenly the street is deserted. Only the fading clash of chisel on pavement remains. The lamppost stands over it, reluctant in its revealing and unable itself to hide. Its only offering flickers for the letters ‘PUTNEY HEAT’.

Notes on Broken Hearts

If you break my heart
It will shatter into small coloured pieces
That made up my love for you.
They will sadden my body
My veins for their vessel
My emotions intangible
I’ll eat toast at breakfast and cry
And not know why
Until I remember you broke my heart.

If you break my heart
That thin blue line we used to draw for the sky
Will seep down the page
To make it twilight and cold
And I’ll be made up of sticks
No body needed
For now I’m a child and you broke my heart.

If you break my heart
Terror will reign,
Not the kind on the news again and again
But the sort of fear that keeps you here
How sad that you’re scared of breaking my heart
And that it’s already done.