The tunnel around
The heads of those
“…And a knick knack baddie whack
Give a dog a bone…”
The sound made heads
Look up from phones
And they pushed to find
The words to go
With the song they first
Heard long ago, and so
Out of place
As shoes clipped stairs
From daily affairs
To shuttle and chute
Through the tune in the air
To touch one another
And this time not care.
Making organs flip
Than their own
And the rectangle light
Of their phone.
I watched the sun set over Portsmouth Harbour. It was as though a child had chosen the far-fetched combination of fluorescent orange and neon pink before curling bright waves across the palest lilac sea. I sat on the ground at the front of a boat-house and marvelled at the extreme fantasy of it all. My mother had spent three – by all accounts, mischievous – teenage years here and with the thought of her, the vision’s meaning shifted. Half my age, yet had she felt as I did now, dreamt and wondered with this landscape and life ahead of her?
I had sat for ten minutes, mind free and wandering, colours before me deepening and blending as the sun took its dip in the horizon. A footstep to my right crunched stones and vanquished solitude. One glance and a figure hid behind a column a few metres away. Irritation stamped sharply on my sense of calm. Another look and the shape was a man, who moved around a small area and then hid again. I prepared to leave, wondered whether the world was back in balance. Had my gushing necessarily conjured an ominous encounter? The man appeared, smiled yet said with urgency, “Excuse me, can I go for a wee here?” The question confused; so polite yet so crude a request. “I’m from London,” I said. “People wee everywhere there”.
I turned back. The sun had almost fully set, the sky was peaches and plums. I looked for my now elusive sense of peace. Some minutes passed. The water lapped at the pebbles, a boat crossed the horizon. I wondered where it was going, where it had been and the mind aligned with the scene. I was thankful. Again, worries suspended, fears quietened. I let tears wet my cheeks. The heart must have been full of them. Then – crunch, crunch, crunch – from over my left shoulder.
“HELLO! ARE YOU WATCHING THE SUNSET? I’ve come to watch the sunset.” This new man then ignored both the sunset and my tears and spoke over my reply to ask, “Are you on your own?”
Walking into Boots, a man waiting outside says “hello…” in a picky-uppy kind of way. He’s then right in front of me at the tills, looking a lot like he’s with his girlfriend. I’m then at TK Maxx and the same guy (with the lady somewhere else in the shop) stands right next to me, looking at the clothes, looking like he’s preparing to say something… And let’s out a huge, unmistakable fart! He looks at me and apologises. “Shame on me”, he says. Well, quite.
“Lol” took the space
Where a laugh used to be
Throaty and loud and true,
A reaction to life, not a split second gone,
And setting more snap-laughs too.
A sound that alarms
For it’s rarer these days
And could it be mocking me?
What could be making her laugh that way?
Why is she happy?
Used to the bullies
Used to the “lols”
That forced their brash way through,
And stamped on raw emotion there
Internet over last childhood leftover…
Raucous and affecting,
So that more and more aware,
When something amuses
It goes through five filters
Then is published, stripped and bare.
Meaning is automatic, yet lost
As it’s all on how “I roll”,
Further from real life fun, from love,
I’d laugh if it wasn’t for “lol”.
On the street where the soles of my shoes touch down
I wonder where you paced,
Did you look out upon the waves
And long for your grandmother’s face?
Was the world so different, then to now,
That we would not understand
The other’s view, the other’s soul,
Her journey through this land?
Did you feel the thrill of life and love,
As the boats at sunrise moored,
Before you set sail to somewhere new
With a hand so newly yours?
Did you wonder what would come,
That five from two could be?
Then many more hearts in time
To pace long after me.
Under a sky that’s blue
A mystery comes with every pace
To rival wonder too
To flood the mind and drown the thoughts
That note the bluest blue.
Under a sun that shines
Notions strike along the way
To block the path rays find
So steps are loads that legs can’t take
And eyes are good as blind.
The world, a shock of light and dark
With arcs of colour through
Swoops low to pick you off your feet
To lift the heart, and you.
For chests of thoughts once pulled by chains
Leave ankles free to move
A twist that shifts the mind so that
The soul may push on through…
And the breeze will blow
And the sun will shine
Under a sky that’s blue.