NEXT STEP

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Never have I lived such a sedentary life,

Hour upon hour contemplating,

navel-gazing, aimlessly vacillating,

Between world and unworldly,

Arcane or basely visceral…

I have no momentum…

Inertia has rendered the body immoveable.

 

Literally immoveable.

Back has seized up like a gate spring.

Frozen in time and space and velocity,

How to move on?

There are no locks in real space,

Just in my mind.

 

All carnality, or thoughts there of,

Are acts of betrayal…

But who am I betraying?

The promise dies with the person promised?

I just don’t have the theological maturity to know.

I’m like a child left to their own devices…

With the admonishing words of lost parents

ringing in their ears…

Do you continue to hold to their social norms?

I cannot hear her voice in my ear,

only in my heart.

always in my heart!


unfettered ramblings of a lost boy.

Dale ‘M’

TOMORROW PLAYLIST

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TOMORROW PLAYLIST

  1. TOMORROW NEVER KNOWS – THE BEATLES
  2. THIS IS TOMORROW – BRYAN FERRY
  3. WILL YOU LOVE ME TOMORROW – CARLA THOMAS
  4. TOMORROW – CLINIC
  5. YESTERDAY, TODAY AND PROBABLY TOMORROW – THE COURTEENERS
  6. TOMORROW – DAUGHTER
  7. WHEN TOMORROW COMES – EURYTHMICS
  8. IS IT TOMORROW YET – JOAN ARMATRADING
  9. TOMORROW TIME – JOHN MARTYN
  10. LIVE FOR TOMORROW – MOBY
  11. MAKE TOMORROW – PETER GABRIEL
  12. SORRY ABOUT TOMORROW – THE REZILLOS
  13. ALL TOMORROWS PARTIES – SIOUXSIE & THE BANSHEES
  14. GONE TOMORROW – THE STAVES
  15. NO TOMORROW – SUEDE
  16. TOMORROW STARTED – TALK TALK
  17. WITH TOMORROW – THIS MORTAL COIL
  18. MY WHITE BICYCLE – TOMORROW
  19. TOMORROW – THE TWANG
  20. ALL TOMORROWS PARTIES – VELVET UNDERGROUND

THE TOMORROW WE FACE LOOKS LIKE HELL… CAN WE CHANGE IT?

DALE ‘M’

LIKE A SORE THUMB 11 P.M.17TH NOV.1978

 

The_Thinker,_Rodin

11 P.M. 17TH NOVEMBER 1978

STAKE-OUT

You know when you get morose drunk? When you have left your friends on the route home, and suddenly thought, I don’t want to go home? That’s the sort of feeling that gets you into trouble. So it’s 11 p.m., and I’m sitting on the stairs one floor above Mary’s flat. It’s been a while since I’ve seen her. In fact the last time I saw her was the wink. As a consequence of that little dalliance, I had caught scabies, and had suffered agonies because the doctor had not told me that I only had to paint the ointment on my skin once. I had put it on every day for a week, with the unforeseen occurrence, that I looked as if I’d been flayed. When I presented my skin for the doctor’s perusal a week later, he thought I was a complete idiot. You only use it once, no wonder you look like a lobster.

Luckily, the skin settled down relatively quickly once a curative balm had been administered. However, since that fateful night, I had decided to stay clear of my Mary, as she wasn’t particularly good for my health. Well, when I say I stayed  away… this wasn’t the first time I’d been sat sitting on the stairs above her floor, waiting to see if she came home alone. I had sat there maybe three of four times before, but as she had a guy, probably the army guy with her, I’d hid above and listened to see if he went in. He did, and I went home.

So this stalking behaviour had become a habit. What did I want? I wanted to make everything and everybody else just disappear. I wanted her to be with me forever. I think I wanted to make one last effort. I had a dream that if she knew how I felt, she would see what I could see, we were made to be together. I know a facile thought, but I was 18 and I loved her. I knew she loved me too. So why not?

I heard steps coming from below. No voices. A good sign. It was a long wait. 12 series of stairs take a while, even when you are young and fit. I looked over the parapet and saw her mop of crazy black hair below. She was alone. As she pulled on the fire door to her floor, I stood up. She stopped stark still, as if frozen in time.

“Hello” I said.

She looked down the stairs to see if anyone was there.

“Come in quick”. She looked afraid.

She shepherded me into her flat.

“You shouldn’t come here.”

“Why?”

“He’s out on Monday.”

“Who’s out on Monday?”

“My husband. He gets out of prison on Monday. You need not to be here.Seriously.”

“It’s Friday, I think it’s safe.”

” He has people watching me. He wrote me a letter, saying if I didn’t ditch the squaddie (english slang for soldier), then he would.”

“He would what?”

“Put him in a ditch. He would do it too, you don’t know the people he goes around with.”

“How did he find out about soldier boy?”

“I told you he has people watching me.”

“For fuck’s sake Mary, why don’t you just leave? You don’t need to be around this creep.”

“I can’t. He’d find me. You don’t know what he’s like.”

I hugged her. She didn’t push me away. She was shaking inside. I pressed my head to hers and felt the tumult inside her mind. We had that kind of connection, we could feel each others emotions. She hugged me so tight, we felt like siamese twins. I stroked her hair. We sat on the side of her bed… still in the living room.

“I’m here, I will always be here.” I said.

She sobbed heavily.

“That’s just it you can’t be here, I can’t bear you being here, don’t you understand?” I held her tighter and kissed her eyes.

“I love you, Mary, you know that, why not just come with me, I will look after you.” She looked into my eyes. I knew she felt the same, how could she not? We had been through so many other lifetimes together… (but that’s for another story)

“He will, kill you. You are still a boy.”

“I know people…”

“You don’t even know how to tie your shoes, my beautiful boy. You are my dream, my hope of happiness. I got myself into this shit, I will get myself out of it. You will go and have a happy life without me.”

An air of finality. She hugged me. I hugged her. I cried. I cried a lot. We undressed. We held each other into the night. We never let go of each other. It was a pure moment, a pure moment in a lifetime of madness. We relished it until finally we fell asleep.

I awoke about eight. My leg across her legs, my arms around her waist, my nose engulfed in the mass of her hair. I wanted to sneeze. I didn’t want to sneeze, I needed to sneeze. I wanted not to sneeze. I wanted the moment to last forever. The watery sun burst through the window, casting her long legs in light and shade… Always with Mary, the light and the shade! She was the most beautiful intelligent woman I had ever met, she was love personified, yet always she brought in the shade… The dark moods, the drugs, the ridiculous lack of faith in me… warranted I grant you, to some extent. She at that age had taken me to heaven and hell. And the men and women she paraded in front of me.

But as always, I wanted to scoop her into my arms and take her away. To look after her all my life. I wanted to protect her. Yet, she insisted on protecting me. I stroked her perfect skin, I held her perfect breast. I tried to slip my hand inside her knickers.

She grabbed my hand.

“No. None of that. Time for you to go now.”

I got up.  I got dressed. I had tears again, I tried to hide them.

I waved to her prostrate form as I made for the door.

“Dale. Don’t I get a kiss.” She leaned on a elbow. I lent over and kissed her on the lips.

“I love you with all my heart, Mary, won’t you come with me?”

“I love you with all my heart, Dale, I can’t come with you. I have to sort my life out, and you do too. Please don’t come around again, he will seriously fuck you up.”

I walked out of her life.

For 33 years.

It’s a funny way to live don’t you think.

DALE ‘M’

 

 

LIKE A SORE THUMB COMPLETE

SORE THUMB

INTRODUCTION

This is a story of life in the 1970’s, and my reason for writing it, is that although it remains real to people of my age, to many of the younger age groups, it is as remote to them as the the first world war was to me as a child. The only reason I have some understanding of the early 20th century is that I had elder relatives to tell me stories of their youth. Even though I struggle to write long stories these days, I feel it is important to share them as much as I can…

LIKE A SORE THUMB

 

FRIDAY 16th June 1978

I had to catch the train into work that Friday. I normally got a lift into work with my Dad, but the rest of my nuclear family had gone away the night before on their family holiday. At 18, I was considered too old to want to go away to Italy with my parents. I didn’t really consider myself too old, but as I wasn’t asked, I accepted the situation. So I had gone to work in Birmingham, with my weekend bag, ready to go straight to Banbury after work. Banbury was where my fiancee lived with her maternal Grandmother. We had a long distance relationship, she would come to my house one weekend, I would go to her’s on the other weekend. It was not ideal, but such was infatuation.

Friday was a good day in the Jewellery Quarter in 1978, We all got paid weekly, with real cash in a wage packet. The calculations were obvious, all details on the outside of the packet. Wages would arrive at 12.45, and then we would go to lunch in the pub. Friday was an early finish, we were allowed to leave at three, after doing resets and specials.

Friday, we would go to the pub from 12.45 until 2.00 pm. Then we would pop back to work for an hour and then the weekend was our own! I planned to go straight down to Banbury, to Kate’s, get changed then get back out on the beer.

At 10.00 am I got a phone call. There was a shared phone in the workshop. You didn’t really want to receive personal calls on this phone, as the rest of the workshop would listen in and basically take the piss out of you.

Kate called.

” Can you not come down this weekend?”

” Er, okay, Why?”

” My Nan’s ill.”

“Oh. What’s wrong with her?”

” Oh just the flu or something.”

“Do you want to come up to me? I’ve got the house to myself…”

“No. She needs me here.”

“Oh, okay. I’ll give you a call back later.”

“Okay.”

“Speak later.”

“Yeah.”

Odd. She didn’t sound like her normal self. She usually insisted on long protracted “no you hang up ” rigmarole, and protestations of undying love, which usually led to ribald piss taking from my workmates.

The Friday lunch time session came and went, and after four or five pints, the summer sun outside hit you like a physical blow when you came out of the pub. I went back to do the least amount of work possible for an hour, then left to catch the bus into Birmingham and then the train to Lichfield. By the time I was on the train, the beer had taken it’s toll, and I fell asleep before we even got to Vauxhall… The first station on the route to Lichfield. I awoke as the train left Shenstone, the last station before arriving at Lichfield…

Did I awake with my head and drool on someone’s shoulder? I can’t remember, but it wouldn’t have been the first time if I had.

I got off the train at Lichfield City train station, and immediately went to the Telephone box out side the station, to find out what was wrong with Kate.

The phone was answered by her Nan. She didn’t sound ill. She said that Kate was out and wouldn’t be back until late. Where had she gone, I asked. Her Nan had answered cryptically that she thought Kate should tell me that.

That did not sound good. I thought of getting back on the train and going down to have it out with Kate. However, The drink I’d had at lunch time, was still swilling through my veins… So I thought Fuck That!

The only problem with the family home was that it was a good mile and a half from the train station. I could, of course just go over the road and get on a bus… BUT… Between the family home and the train station were approximately 52 pubs. I had money in my pocket, beer in my belly, which was fast wearing off. I decided, Chips first, to line my stomach and then a crawl home visiting as many pubs as humanly possible. By 5 p.m. I had 6 more pints in my belly, and I was literally crawling down the back lanes, known as the windings, back home. The journey had taken on the epic nature of the Odyssey… I had been thrown out of two pubs; had an argument with an old school friend about football, been threatened by a couple of drunks, who to be fair were in a worse state than I was… I do not know how I got home but the next thing I knew, it was Saturday and my bedroom floor was covered in sick.


SATURDAY  17TH 1978

There is a false dawn when you wake up on a sunny morning after a skinful of beer the night before… It comes just before you move a muscle. You eyes open on to the bright sunlight which is streaming through your window, and you feel great, how good it is to be alive! This feeling lasts a nano second, because you then make the mistake of moving your head. Big mistake! The room, you discover, is still defying the laws of physics, and spinning around in a crazy Alice in wonderland way. So you shut your eyes again… Another rookie mistake! It is not the room doing somersaults, it is your brain! Your cerebral cortex is completing a spin cycle you didn’t even know you’d started.

Then your stomach joins in. You start those hiccuping movements… like a dog with a bit of bone stuck in the back of the throat… And you know you are going to be sick. The next question is: can you reach the bathroom in time. You jump out of bed…(big mistake – you left your brain in idle mode), step in the sick on the floor from the previous night, slip and fall. And as you fall, you spray the wall with an arc of vomit, reminiscent of Jackson Pollack. Then you just lie there. Sick everywhere, dry retching on your back like a perch that has just been pulled from the river… One hand on your head, the other on your stomach. Under normal circumstances your mum would usually be beneficial at this point. she would hear your plight, would bring a cup of coffee, alka seltzer, a towel… an argument or admonishment… But not on this day, on this day she is 3000 miles away in Italy with the rest of your family and  you are quite alone. Alone and safe to wallow in the detritus of your stomach and your life.

I’d like to say that having been sick, this early version of me, immediately got up, cleaned up and generally took care of business… Like to, but can’t.  This version of me, poor sad young fool, promptly fell back to sleep, right there on the floor, in a fetal position, only occasionally grunting as a movement brought more pressure on his solar plexus to emit more contents from his stomach.

So, two hours later, when the urgent sun had slipped over the roof and away from my window, I awoke again, on the floor, this time with the pressing need to evacuate my bladder. This time, I made it to the bathroom. Having Peed, I made the mistake of looking in the shaving mirror over the sink. I looked like  I felt. I dipped my head under the cold tap and swallowed a gallon of good cold water. I gingerly lapped some of the water over my face. I was alive, in a fashion, and had an endless lonely weekend stretching before me. No Kate, no family, no work, no sport, it being summer, and no thoughts on how I would spend the next 48 hours. Obviously, I was never going to drink again, that was a given.

It is amazing how big the house suddenly feels when you are alone in it. With the sudden crush of parents and brother are removed, it feels like a big aching chasm with nothing to fill it. It doesn’t matter where you place yourself, you just don’t seem to fill the void.

The obvious place to occupy would be my bedroom, I could listen to music, play my albums, on my space age music centre, bought in a moment of inebriation, from a work colleague, renowned as the local Shylock, who happened to catch me at a moment of weakness, and offered exorbitant h.p. rates on a 2nd hand radiogram at shop prices.Money management was never a strong point! I ate some food. Hastily scrambled egg on toast, which of course made me feel sick again. I drank coffee. I drank some more coffee. I went upstairs with a cloth and a bowl and tried to clear up the sick. I don’t really do sick. In effect cleaning up sick makes me sick. I cleaned, I gagged, I cleaned, I retched. I ran to the bathroom and deposited my breakfast back into the toilet. I took a towel. I wiped up the remainder with the towel. Then I shoved the towel in the washing machine. I drank more coffee. I noticed a letter on the door mat. It wouldn’t be for me, I guessed. I didn’t get mail. I hadn’t had mail since 1969, when I had a penpal from Leeds. I went to see who it was for anyway. My heart sunk. The letter was in a hand I recognised.

KATE.

Gist?

Dear John, blah blah blah.

Upshot. Don’t want you any more.

I was angry. Upset? No angry… mostly.

I went upstairs to my old Imperial typewriter. I had wanted to be a writer since I was 11, and my dad on had bought me the typewriter for Christmas in 1974.

I tried to compose a pithy letter back to Kate. The anger and the tears, ok, yes there were tears, made typing difficult. I was smashing down the keys with heavy thuds until the inevitable happened, the keys got jammed. I tried to disentangle the keys which had jammed in my ham-fisted angry way and promptly sliced the top of my right thumb off. Joy of joys.

Blood now gushed forth. What to do, what to do? The A&E dept was a mile away on the other side of town. There were no Doctors open, it was the weekend… Band-aids. I found gauze and band-aids ( plasters). I wrapped up the injured digit as tightly as I could, and looked for another towel to clean up the blood. It found it’s way into the washer. One day on my own, and two towels down already! As the family had taken most of the towels away on holiday with them, I would have to be careful with the thread-bare towels now left in the airing cupboard. Use them Judiciously, or face the wrath of the washing machine. This was a taboo implement which no man had,at that time, ever encountered. No, I would use the rest more sparingly.

(to be Continued)

Dale ‘m’

 


SATURDAY 17TH JUNE 1978 4 PM

Many a slip tween cut and lint. Given that the cutting of the thumb occurred at 10 a.m., and the temporary remedial lint and band aid assembly took around an hour to come up with, after dancing around as if attacked by a wasp nest and showering blood across a large area of my bedroom… so recently sullied by voluminous amounts of vomit, and then hastily cleaned by two moth-eaten towels… Now languishing in the darkest depths of the taboo washing machine, which no man should ever use.

With this state of play, the letter in response to Kate’s Dear John missive, was put largely on a back burner… As by this time it had ceased to be of paramount importance. Of paramount importance at this time, was to anaesthetise the throbbing pain of my thumb. Given that the primary anaesthetic I had access to was paracetamol, whisky and coke, the cola variety not the nose candy, I took 4 tablets and half a pint of whisky and coke.

I sat in front of the tedious  Test match between Pakistan and England on the T.V. In the late 1970’s television consisted of three channels. BBC1 BBC2 and ITV were the full smorgasbord of our in house entertainment. BBC2 had a wide selection of talking beards on open university, and ITV offered the british version of WWF wrestling, which involved fat man rubbing bellies together, the cricket was the only game in town.

I lay on the couch, drunk my medicinal whisky, and fell asleep.

At four, there was a knock on the door. I woke and jumped up. I grabbed the lounge door, with my right hand and screamed. The knock at the door became more insistent.

I opened the door with my left hand. There stood my soul mate. Mary.

“Are you ok?”

I tried to smile.

“Given that I yelping like a beaten dog, and my thumb is the size of a belisha beacon, (in the UK) an orange ball containing a flashing light, mounted on a striped post on the pavement at each end of a zebra crossing. ) I think we can safely say, I’m not at my best”.

“Can I come in?”

“Of course.”

She came in. I shut the door. She hugged me. I hugged her as best I could. I smelt her hair. Is that weird?

“Did you just smell my hair?”

“Maybe”

“Why?”

“Because it smells nice?”

“Still weird then?”

“So it would appear… You still beautiful then?”

“What do you think?”

“You know I think your beautiful.”

“Ok, getting way too earnest already…”

” Would you like a cup of tea? Is that more formal?”

“Yes. I would love a cup of tea.”

“Please do come in sit down, I will make you a cup of tea.”

She sat down. I went into the kitchen and put on the kettle. I got cups out, then realised there was no tea. We, as a family, drank coffee.

“I’m sorry we don’t appear to have any tea. Do you want a coffee”

“Not particularly.”

“Oh…Whisky?”

“No, a bit early for whisky.”

” I’m sorry I’m all out of small talk. What do I owe this pleasure?”

“Just an off chance really.”

” An off chance?”

” Yes, on the off-chance that you still have the acoustic guitar I bought you for christmas.”

Tricky. I did still have the acoustic guitar, but it only had three strings. I cannot begin to tell you what happened to the other strings, suffice to say, they were stretched across a wicker work clothes basket, in a vain attempt to create a bass sound for my musical creations. I was in the process of becoming a rock star. With two tape decks, an electric guitar and amp, a bass made as above mentioned and a drum made from an oil can and spoons… The acoustic guitar with three remaining strings, I bowed with a metal coat hanger. In my defence, I was a fucking idiot and 18, not necessarily in that order.

Did I tell Mary that? No. This is what I told Mary.

” I’ve got the acoustic guitar, but three of the strings were broke by my little brother when he was using it as a bow for his arrows. Little bastard!”

“Oh, that’s disappointing.”

“Why?”

“I wanted to teach my flatmate how to play acoustic guitar, so we could go out busking together…”

“Who is he?”

“Not a he, a she, she is called Deborah.”

“So not a man then?”

“No. Not a man. I’m Married.”

“You’re fucking what now?”

“I got married!”

“You are married? You can’t be married.”

ok. The back story. I knew Mary was my soul mate. Mary knew I was her soul mate… The reason we were not still together… Fucking hormones! I was besotted with her, but I was a teenage boy… And I couldn’t resist temptation… Ever! Not even when my life depended on it. And boy did I have time to repent at leisure!

“It’s no big deal. I got married so that I couldn’t be asked to give evidence against him in court.”

“Seems a pretty big deal to me… So where is your husband now?”

“In jail. They had enough evidence to convict him without my evidence being required.”

“Seems an awful big commitment to me. So what happens now?”

“I wait til he gets out of jail then get an annulment.”

“Is that even a thing?”

“Yeah my solicitors says should be fine, he got sent down the day after we married, so now chance of consummation. So, providing he agrees we should be able to get the marriage annulled.”

“You don’t love him then?”

“God no, he’s my fucking dealer!”

“Your Dealer? What you on smack now?”

“Sometimes, maybe.”

“injecting? You fucking hate needles!”

“Don’t be daft, I’d never inject, just chasing the dragon, a few times.”

“And this is what?”

“Just inhaling the smoke.”

“Oh right, nothing serious then.”

“No, nothing serious.”

” But worth getting hitched  to a junkie dealer for?”

“He’s not a junkie.”

“Well that’s a relief. And you accuse me of making bad choices…”

“You, my love, are led by your dick, you have a good mind but you never use it because your cock is in control… I am led by the desire to experience everything… This is why we are not together. We are bad for each other. You know that, I know that. But you are still my best friend. I love you.”

” And I dream of a day when you have experienced all you need and I have fucked all I need to fuck, and finally, we can settle down together.”

“Chances are fairly remote.”

“Mary, I know the day will come.”

“Ok. I wanted the guitar to sell. How nice am I now?”

“What did you hope to get for it?”

“£20. I hoped too get £20, just enough to get some food for the next week.”

” I can give you a fiver.”

“You can… Why? Why would you give me a fiver?”

“I feel bad I ruined the guitar. I wouldn’t want you to starve.”

“Bless you. You are such a sweetie.”

“What you doing tonight?”

“Oh um… I’ve got a date, But Debs is at a lose end, would you like to take her out for me?”

“Really? You want me to go out with your flatmate?”

” As a favour? She has massive tits…”

” Oh please, that’s your thing not mine!”

” I know. I’ve already seen them!”

“So your fucking your flatmate too?”

“Don’t you find that exciting?”

“Ok. Maybe. Are we normal?”

“Who the fuck wants to be normal?”

“Good point. What chance did we ever have of being normal?”

“We are what we are. So if you come to the flat, sixth floor of Bosworth House, about six, then you can meet Debs, and take her out for a while.”

“Ok. I’ve got nothing better to do.”

“Just one thing…”

“What?”

“Don’t mention that we’ve been together to her, she doesn’t want any one to think she’s a dyke.”

“Oh, ok.”

“And Dale…”

“Yes”

“About that fiver”

” Yes”

“Could you make it a tenner?”


So I had a date. My only interest,the fact that she may or may not have slept with Mary.

Interesting times.

Dale ‘M’


6 P.M.

So I had a date. A date with someone I’d never met. Someone called Deborah. Deborah. Ok, so I walked the half mile between my house and the flat where Mary and Deborah lived, with the earworm of Debora by T.rex ripping through my mind.

It didn’t auger well, oh Debora you look like a zebra… It wasn’t a look I could get behind.

I knocked on the door. Mary opened it.

” Oh you came.”She walked away from the door as if my following her in was a given.

Two bedrooms, a bathroom, and a toilet, were passed down a dark corridor, at the end of which was a door. Through the door was a large living room and a kitchenette. The view through the french window was exciting. It was six floors up. There was a small balcony. The prospect of standing on the balcony terrified me. The urge to jump from the said balcony would be great. I did not have a fear of heights, I had a fear that the urge to jump would overwhelm me. In the middle of this living area, Mary had stuck a double bed. Handy. I looked around and saw no evidence of a Deborah.

“Handy place to keep your bed.” Mary looked as if she might bridle at my comment. Then she thought better of it.

“It wouldn’t fit in the bedroom. Plus I like to lie here and look at the sky.”

A plausible explanation.

“Where is Deborah?” Mary looked a bit vague.

“She went out. She will be back soon…”

Mary started looking for something.

“What are you looking for?”

“My pussy.”

“So true… it’s what we are all looking for isn’t it?”

“Don’t be a prick, my cat, Loki, I’m terrified he will get himself out on to the balcony…”

“That would not be Lucknow would it.”

“Loki not Lucky, you knob.”

So humour was not making this any easier… The cat, Loki not Lucky, was sat on the kitchenette worktop, licking his arse. Nice.

“He’s there.” I pointed. Mary picked him up. She snuggled him up to her neck.

The front door opened, and a shout rang out.

“Only got some weed, nobody’s got anything else.”

I looked at Mary. She’d spent the money I’d given her on Dope. Perfect.

“We’re in here Debs.”

Debs said no more. Both cats were out of the bag.

“This is Dale.I told you about him.”

“Hi.” She said and then crashed into the one chair next to the double bed.

She had acne on her face, and mousy shoulder length hair. She was not a beauty, but had the advantage of not looking like a zebra. She also had a very prominent pair of breasts. In this age before implants, breasts that big were only dreamt of. I tried to talk to her, but she seemed not to be interested in me.

“Shall I skin up?” She spoke to Mary. Mary looked at me.

“You want a joint?”

I shrugged. Alcohol was my poison. Drugs had weird effects on me. Cannabis fucked my head up and not in a good way. I became a spastic in time. Literally. Time ceased to have any linear projection. A second would last for hours and hours would pass in a nano second. A lucky accident. The most prevalent drug of the seventies did not chill me out, but thanks to a freakish chemical imbalance in my brain, it freaked me out instead. I don’t know if this a common effect on other people, I’ve only ever been inside my own head, but being lost in time and space is not much fun, in certain circumstances it becomes a nightmare which you feel is never going to end.

So after the communal toking on the joint, of which I willingly partook, because why the fuck not when it was my money that paid for it, the narrative became somewhat blurred and dream-like.

We talked and laughed, we smoked and talked and laughed some more. At some point in the proceedings Mary got up and went into the bathroom. She was in there for an indeterminable length of time… It could have been  hours, it could have been minutes, but when she came out she was made up, unruly hair calmed and straightened, and she was dressed to the nines.

“He’ll be here in a minute, best you two kids disappear to the pub.” She shooed us out.

I looked at Deborah as we ran down the stairs,or walked, or flew, as I say I wasn’t really in the moment, and I thought… Nothing. She was not of any interest to me. Not very bright, not very pretty… Not my type. I’m sure she grew up to be a perfectly respectable person, but at that time and on that night, she was just a fucked-up kid, led by others. If I try to picture her now all I get is a benign Susan Atkins aka sexy Sadie (Charlie Manson acolyte)… A follower.

We went into town. We drank at the pub which had the vaguest concept of under-age drinking. I was of age, she was not, she was sixteen. She had very little conversation. I drank a lot. She couldn’t keep up. We left after an hour and a half. Walking her back to the flat, a distance of about a mile, was not a merry stroll. She was sick twice. Time began to  return to me, and it turned out I wasn’t having a good one. I thought, as I walked the unsteady Debs back, typical fucking Mary! Playing fucked-up games with me.

We entered the flat. The door to the lounge at the top of the hall was open. A naked Mary, bouncing energetically up and down on a blissful crew-cut soldier. She looked at me and winked. Winked. I grabbed Debs by the arm and led her into her bedroom. I stripped her off.

“Oh right.” She mumbled and lay on her bed. Her large breasts collapsed back into her chest and under her arms, like an under-cooked souffle. I felt repulsed. This is not what I want I thought. I would like to say that I pulled the covers over the poor girl, and left the building. I’d like to say that, but it wouldn’t be true. I had sex with her. Out of anger. Not violently, because violence is not n my nature, but in a perfunctory way. She moaned and held me tight, like a lover… and when I stopped, she was snoring. I dressed. I walked out of the room, out of the flat, without looking around to Mary. I went home.


this is the first episode of this story which is not accurate to fact. A lot of different experiences have been conflated, just to give the atmosphere of the time. In reality nobody was drunk, stoned or fucked without given consent.

 

To be continued.

DALE ‘M’


11 P.M. 17TH NOVEMBER 1978

STAKE-OUT

You know when you get morose drunk? When you have left your friends on the route home, and suddenly thought, I don’t want to go home? That’s the sort of feeling that gets you into trouble. So it’s 11 p.m., and I’m sitting on the stairs one floor above Mary’s flat. It’s been a while since I’ve seen her. In fact the last time I saw her was the wink. As a consequence of that little dalliance, I had caught scabies, and had suffered agonies because the doctor had not told me that I only had to paint the ointment on my skin once. I had put it on every day for a week, with the unforeseen occurrence, that I looked as if I’d been flayed. When I presented my skin for the doctor’s perusal a week later, he thought I was a complete idiot. You only use it once, no wonder you look like a lobster.

Luckily, the skin settled down relatively quickly once a curative balm had been administered. However, since that fateful night, I had decided to stay clear of my Mary, as she wasn’t particularly good for my health. Well, when I say I stayed  away… this wasn’t the first time I’d been sat sitting on the stairs above her floor, waiting to see if she came home alone. I had sat there maybe three of four times before, but as she had a guy, probably the army guy with her, I’d hid above and listened to see if he went in. He did, and I went home.

So this stalking behaviour had become a habit. What did I want? I wanted to make everything and everybody else just disappear. I wanted her to be with me forever. I think I wanted to make one last effort. I had a dream that if she knew how I felt, she would see what I could see, we were made to be together. I know a facile thought, but I was 18 and I loved her. I knew she loved me too. So why not?

I heard steps coming from below. No voices. A good sign. It was a long wait. 12 series of stairs take a while, even when you are young and fit. I looked over the parapet and saw her mop of crazy black hair below. She was alone. As she pulled on the fire door to her floor, I stood up. She stopped stark still, as if frozen in time.

“Hello” I said.

She looked down the stairs to see if anyone was there.

“Come in quick”. She looked afraid.

She shepherded me into her flat.

“You shouldn’t come here.”

“Why?”

“He’s out on Monday.”

“Who’s out on Monday?”

“My husband. He gets out of prison on Monday. You need not to be here.Seriously.”

“It’s Friday, I think it’s safe.”

” He has people watching me. He wrote me a letter, saying if I didn’t ditch the squaddie (english slang for soldier), then he would.”

“He would what?”

“Put him in a ditch. He would do it too, you don’t know the people he goes around with.”

“How did he find out about soldier boy?”

“I told you he has people watching me.”

“For fuck’s sake Mary, why don’t you just leave? You don’t need to be around this creep.”

“I can’t. He’d find me. You don’t know what he’s like.”

I hugged her. She didn’t push me away. She was shaking inside. I pressed my head to hers and felt the tumult inside her mind. We had that kind of connection, we could feel each others emotions. She hugged me so tight, we felt like siamese twins. I stroked her hair. We sat on the side of her bed… still in the living room.

“I’m here, I will always be here.” I said.

She sobbed heavily.

“That’s just it you can’t be here, I can’t bear you being here, don’t you understand?” I held her tighter and kissed her eyes.

“I love you, Mary, you know that, why not just come with me, I will look after you.” She looked into my eyes. I knew she felt the same, how could she not? We had been through so many other lifetimes together… (but that’s for another story)

“He will, kill you. You are still a boy.”

“I know people…”

“You don’t even know how to tie your shoes, my beautiful boy. You are my dream, my hope of happiness. I got myself into this shit, I will get myself out of it. You will go and have a happy life without me.”

An air of finality. She hugged me. I hugged her. I cried. I cried a lot. We undressed. We held each other into the night. We never let go of each other. It was a pure moment, a pure moment in a lifetime of madness. We relished it until finally we fell asleep.

I awoke about eight. My leg across her legs, my arms around her waist, my nose engulfed in the mass of her hair. I wanted to sneeze. I didn’t want to sneeze, I needed to sneeze. I wanted not to sneeze. I wanted the moment to last forever. The watery sun burst through the window, casting her long legs in light and shade… Always with Mary, the light and the shade! She was the most beautiful intelligent woman I had ever met, she was love personified, yet always she brought in the shade… The dark moods, the drugs, the ridiculous lack of faith in me… warranted I grant you, to some extent. She at that age had taken me to heaven and hell. And the men and women she paraded in front of me.

But as always, I wanted to scoop her into my arms and take her away. To look after her all my life. I wanted to protect her. Yet, she insisted on protecting me. I stroked her perfect skin, I held her perfect breast. I tried to slip my hand inside her knickers.

She grabbed my hand.

“No. None of that. Time for you to go now.”

I got up.  I got dressed. I had tears again, I tried to hide them.

I waved to her prostrate form as I made for the door.

“Dale. Don’t I get a kiss.” She leaned on a elbow. I lent over and kissed her on the lips.

“I love you with all my heart, Mary, won’t you come with me?”

“I love you with all my heart, Dale, I can’t come with you. I have to sort my life out, and you do too. Please don’t come around again, he will seriously fuck you up.”

I walked out of her life.

For 33 years.

It’s a funny way to live don’t you think.

DALE ‘M’

LIKE A SORE THUMB 11 P.M.17TH NOV.1978

 

The_Thinker,_Rodin

11 P.M. 17TH NOVEMBER 1978

STAKE-OUT

You know when you get morose drunk? When you have left your friends on the route home, and suddenly thought, I don’t want to go home? That’s the sort of feeling that gets you into trouble. So it’s 11 p.m., and I’m sitting on the stairs one floor above Mary’s flat. It’s been a while since I’ve seen her. In fact the last time I saw her was the wink. As a consequence of that little dalliance, I had caught scabies, and had suffered agonies because the doctor had not told me that I only had to paint the ointment on my skin once. I had put it on every day for a week, with the unforeseen occurrence, that I looked as if I’d been flayed. When I presented my skin for the doctor’s perusal a week later, he thought I was a complete idiot. You only use it once, no wonder you look like a lobster.

Luckily, the skin settled down relatively quickly once a curative balm had been administered. However, since that fateful night, I had decided to stay clear of my Mary, as she wasn’t particularly good for my health. Well, when I say I stayed  away… this wasn’t the first time I’d been sat sitting on the stairs above her floor, waiting to see if she came home alone. I had sat there maybe three of four times before, but as she had a guy, probably the army guy with her, I’d hid above and listened to see if he went in. He did, and I went home.

So this stalking behaviour had become a habit. What did I want? I wanted to make everything and everybody else just disappear. I wanted her to be with me forever. I think I wanted to make one last effort. I had a dream that if she knew how I felt, she would see what I could see, we were made to be together. I know a facile thought, but I was 18 and I loved her. I knew she loved me too. So why not?

I heard steps coming from below. No voices. A good sign. It was a long wait. 12 series of stairs take a while, even when you are young and fit. I looked over the parapet and saw her mop of crazy black hair below. She was alone. As she pulled on the fire door to her floor, I stood up. She stopped stark still, as if frozen in time.

“Hello” I said.

She looked down the stairs to see if anyone was there.

“Come in quick”. She looked afraid.

She shepherded me into her flat.

“You shouldn’t come here.”

“Why?”

“He’s out on Monday.”

“Who’s out on Monday?”

“My husband. He gets out of prison on Monday. You need not to be here.Seriously.”

“It’s Friday, I think it’s safe.”

” He has people watching me. He wrote me a letter, saying if I didn’t ditch the squaddie (english slang for soldier), then he would.”

“He would what?”

“Put him in a ditch. He would do it too, you don’t know the people he goes around with.”

“How did he find out about soldier boy?”

“I told you he has people watching me.”

“For fuck’s sake Mary, why don’t you just leave? You don’t need to be around this creep.”

“I can’t. He’d find me. You don’t know what he’s like.”

I hugged her. She didn’t push me away. She was shaking inside. I pressed my head to hers and felt the tumult inside her mind. We had that kind of connection, we could feel each others emotions. She hugged me so tight, we felt like siamese twins. I stroked her hair. We sat on the side of her bed… still in the living room.

“I’m here, I will always be here.” I said.

She sobbed heavily.

“That’s just it you can’t be here, I can’t bear you being here, don’t you understand?” I held her tighter and kissed her eyes.

“I love you, Mary, you know that, why not just come with me, I will look after you.” She looked into my eyes. I knew she felt the same, how could she not? We had been through so many other lifetimes together… (but that’s for another story)

“He will, kill you. You are still a boy.”

“I know people…”

“You don’t even know how to tie your shoes, my beautiful boy. You are my dream, my hope of happiness. I got myself into this shit, I will get myself out of it. You will go and have a happy life without me.”

An air of finality. She hugged me. I hugged her. I cried. I cried a lot. We undressed. We held each other into the night. We never let go of each other. It was a pure moment, a pure moment in a lifetime of madness. We relished it until finally we fell asleep.

I awoke about eight. My leg across her legs, my arms around her waist, my nose engulfed in the mass of her hair. I wanted to sneeze. I didn’t want to sneeze, I needed to sneeze. I wanted not to sneeze. I wanted the moment to last forever. The watery sun burst through the window, casting her long legs in light and shade… Always with Mary, the light and the shade! She was the most beautiful intelligent woman I had ever met, she was love personified, yet always she brought in the shade… The dark moods, the drugs, the ridiculous lack of faith in me… warranted I grant you, to some extent. She at that age had taken me to heaven and hell. And the men and women she paraded in front of me.

But as always, I wanted to scoop her into my arms and take her away. To look after her all my life. I wanted to protect her. Yet, she insisted on protecting me. I stroked her perfect skin, I held her perfect breast. I tried to slip my hand inside her knickers.

She grabbed my hand.

“No. None of that. Time for you to go now.”

I got up.  I got dressed. I had tears again, I tried to hide them.

I waved to her prostrate form as I made for the door.

“Dale. Don’t I get a kiss.” She leaned on a elbow. I lent over and kissed her on the lips.

“I love you with all my heart, Mary, won’t you come with me?”

“I love you with all my heart, Dale, I can’t come with you. I have to sort my life out, and you do too. Please don’t come around again, he will seriously fuck you up.”

I walked out of her life.

For 33 years.

It’s a funny way to live don’t you think.

DALE ‘M’

 

 

THE GOLDEN PATH

cropped-cropped-me-and-you-m

THE GOLDEN PATH

For  a decade we trod the Golden Path,

hand in hand, arm in arm,

We crossed the treacherous roads,

following a singular route,

Guided by light and love and care,

Sharing a vision of Nirvana,

Sharing a soul full of joy,

We etched a track across the mires,

The trickster could not find us,

We lost him at the fork…

 

But in the dark a trap was set,

No light could enter,

No light could fall…

And you were lost my angel…

And I am left to trace the Golden Path alone.

Follow softly my lover, follow…

Shine your love down on me,

So that my feet do not falter,

And I will meet you there.

Yes I will meet you there.

 

DALE ‘M’

WATCHING LORRAINE

IMG_4032

WATCHING LORRAINE

Glenn was sharing a room with Lorraine. It was the first time he had lived with anyone other than his family. Twenty years old, and this was the first time he had awoken with a woman sharing his space…. Without a mad scramble to hide the fact that they had been in the same bed. An ecstasy of fumbling and ferreting around… But not here and not now. It had happened as a matter of expediency, he had needed a flat to live in, and Lorraine had needed a person to share with. They had been introduced by mutual friends, and Glenn had been game… Lorraine was not so sure, but when Sue, the girl who had let her sleep on her floor for the last few weeks, kind of insisted, Lorraine had agreed to give it a go.

They found a room in a semi-detached house at the top of La Pouquelaye, although it was quite a walk from the centre of St. Helier, that was probably a bonus. Both of them had felt stifled living in the town, all of the friends led a very incestuous life, living in each others shadows night and day, Glenn was quite pleased to have space to breathe and Lorraine was always over-shadowed by her more gregarious friends.

The room consisted of two single beds and a t.v. set. A small two ring stove and grill sat precariously underneath it.

So they moved in on a Friday night, had a few drinks and went to bed quite early. They sat watching a horror film, and talking across the divide of the chimney breast. They did not flirt, though Glenn was quite keen… She had a lovely Glaswegian accent and once she got over her shyness, she could be quite funny.

Come Saturday morning, Glenn was awoken by a fully dressed Lorraine and a nice cup of coffee.

Come on Lazy Bones, up you get, We have things to do.”

Glenn groaned. He looked across at his travel clock and saw it was only 9:30.

He rolled over and turned his back to her, he didn’t usually get up until 12 on a Saturday.

Hey you wee scabby b’stard, Get the fuck up! We need to go shopping, right? It’s all 50/50 right? So that means we go shopping together. I’m not playing Wifey… I’m not going on my own!” He rolled over and took up the coffee cup. He gulped it down. Then he rolled over again… Within seconds he was asleep. A minute later he was awake again.

What the fuck?” he spluttered. She had rubbed a wet cloth across his face. She looked very wifey, he thought as she stood over him with her hands on her hips. He looked closely at her face. She was cute when she was annoyed! her page-boy cut black hair with its long fringe… She had a mannerism, she kept brushing the fringe out of her eyes…

He felt a frisson below the duvet… Olive brown eyes, large lips and freckles… For Fuck sake… she had freckles. Again, She pushed away the fringe, she looked stern,

Are you getting up or do I have to pull your duvet off?”

He smiled.

I wouldn’t. You might get more than you bargained for?”

What?”

Down below… The old man is awake…” he smirked.

Oh My God, Men! one track mind. I told you we are not having any of that! You promised, strictly friends, you said, your very words… I need a friend more than a shag…You said that just last night… When You were talking about some Cathy or whatever.”

Katie. Her name was Katie. I’m not hitting on you Lorr, just telling you of my state of arousal. I have no control over the little man.”

You and every other man I ever met! And don’t call me Lorr, my step-father used to call me That! If you have to shorten my name it’s Raine. Ok?”

They went shopping. Raine met a friend in the market, and started making out that she and Glenn were an item. Most peculiar. She invited her friend and the boyfriend she had with her to come up to the flat for a drink later. Glenn said nothing. He thought maybe she did want to play wifey after all.

Before the couple came, Lorraine asked him to pretend to be her boyfriend, as her friend was always going on about having a boyfriend… So she had lied. Just to shut her up for a bit. Glenn went down to the off-licence and bought a bottle of Vodka, his own tipple and orange squash.

The couple came with a cheap bottle of plonk. Blue Nun. They drank that, and half the bottle of vodka… And seemed settled for the night. Lorraine sat next to him on his bed. She draped an arm around him, and pointedly said that she was tired. The couple took the hint and made excuses. When Glenn had seen them off the premises, he returned to the bedroom to find that she was asleep in his bed.

Now… What to do? She was in his bed, that must be an invitation surely? But what if she was just trolleyed? What if she had snuggled down because she was drunk? He didn’t want to make an ass of himself, and he didn’t want her screaming blue murder because of a misunderstanding. He turned off the light and stripped down to his jockeys. He climbed into her bed. he lay there in silence. Looking at the orange glow on the ceiling, from the street light outside. He listened but he couldn’t hear her breathing. Was she really asleep?

Glenn.” A small voice called.

Yes?”

What the fuck are you doing in my bed?”

I was about to ask you the same question.”

I don’t know about you, young man, but I’m lying her thinking what’s wrong with me? Doesn’t he fancy me?”

I do.”

Then what are you waiting for?”

An invitation.”

Do you want a written invitation?”

Verbal will do fine.”

Glenn get your arse over her now!”

That will do it.” He leapt across the three-foot divide like Nijinsky on steroids.

Sunday morning, the anticlimax. Saturday night she was a live electric eel, all sensory and sensual desire. A flagrant and fragrant departure from the shy girl that Glenn had met just a couple of days before… She was a shocking sensation. The sex, it was always the sex… it was beyond the aching amateurish first-time delving of all his prior attempts.

So beautiful, so soft and tender, but also something else, something broken. He didn’t think this at the time but… in the morning when the madness had faded he realised that She had a need. Put Glenn in mind of the line in the song Dossier (of Fallibility) By The Skids.

He played the album just to hear the lyrics.

I never said never
I only said can’t
Move over move over
It’s unjustified romance
No more affair
It went on too long
No more communication
Time I was gone
Put down receiver.
Time I was gone.
Move over move over
Time I was gone.

The blood lay spilled on the receiving end
The wrists were cut unseen to all
The blood lay spilled an ancient blend
The wrists were cut during this call.

You are such a martyr
You leave such a taste
You are a disciple
You are such a waste
No more intimacy
Only footage news
Rejection of religion
Cascaded with blame
No stricken conscience
Attendance at the ashes
Sorry for the family
See you at your grave

A situation built round this plight
I no longer seem to require my greed
All these ambitions severed in flight
Just realised love’s more than a need
Inside and outside
Caught in between
The method that killed you
Was mine it would seem
A situation built round this plight
I no longer require my greed
All these ambitions are severed in flight.
I’ve just realised love’s a need
Should I endeavour to reset the wire
To reset the wire of life
This mental torment with nowhere to rehire
Please let my Dossier-grind-shoot-and
HALT
The blood lay spilled on the receiving end
The wrists were cut unseen to all
All these ambitions are severed in flight
And I’ve just realised love’s more than a need.

Why did he have time to contemplate? Because when he awoke on Sunday morning, she had flown the nest. there was no sign of her. He got up and went to the toilet. She was not in the bathroom. She was an enigma. She had issues, that was for sure. Glenn went back to bed. He slept. He woke again. It was lunch time, she was still not present. He got up and went down to the town, in search of food and hopefully Lorraine. He went to the cafe and ate a hearty all-day English breakfast. He went to the flat where Lorraine’s friends lived. She was not there. No-one had seen her. Now, he was worried. He went to the bar and drank. He was alone on this Island, he had found a girl he liked and promptly lost her again. What is wrong with you? He didn’t understand anything.

He went back to the flat. It was still empty. He went back to bed, switching tapes in his tape deck. He played Bowie Live at Philadelphia. He drifted in thought… and then sleep.

When he woke up again, it was dark. He didn’t know where he was. He had a stiffness in his member. He couldn’t remember what had caused it? Was it a dream? No. It was a full bladder. He got up and turned on the light. She was there. Sleeping in her bed. He went to the toilet. Cleaned his teeth. He turned off the light and went over to her and kissed the top of her head. She screamed.

It’s ok. It’s only me. Go back to sleep.” She grunted. She turned her back towards him. He went back to bed. He lay on his back, and stared once more at the ceiling. She was totally weird.

A small voice.

Glenn I’m sorry.”

It’s ok. I get it. You don’t want me.”

I do want you… but not yet. Let’s forget last night. Start again. Start slowly. I will be fine eventually. I’m just not ready yet.”

Where did you go?”

I just took a trip around the island. I needed space to think.”

The island isn’t that big that it can take you all day!”

I sat on the beach, had a drink in a bar. And I walked. Then I got another bus home.”

Did I do something wrong?”

Male EGOS! You were fine, a masterful performance. I give you a ten out of ten… It’s not you! It’s me!”

Really ten out of ten?”

Lorraine laughed. A bitter all men are such idiots kind of laugh, that Glenn had heard before.

I don’t know what to tell you… But I’m damaged goods, Glenn. I like you, and I know you have a good soul in there somewhere but I haven’t got the energy to find out where. So it’s back to the start ok? We are flatmates not lovers.”

Really? Ten out of ten.?”

I can’t tell if you are joking or are really that fucking crass… Either way, I need to sleep! I have to go to work in the morning!”

Bloody show-off…”

night Glenn.”

Night, Raine”

6 a.m. Monday morning. get that? 6 a.m.! Lorraine has to be at work for NINE. Now Glenn never got up before twelve unless he had to go to work. If he had to go to work he got up ten minutes before he had to leave… Quick swill, smell the clothes to see which are the cleanest… Grab a cup of coffee, and the sandwiches left out for him by his Mum, and he was away. A simple routine. Lorraine was up at Six to leave at eight thirty. What was she going to do with one hundred and fifty minutes? He groaned. She ignored him. She made tea. She sat watching him as she drank her tea.

You need to find a job. And quick, the way you drink your money will be gone in no time!”

I will look for work later.”

You need to get up early and look properly. you won’t find one in the pub.”

What about bar work?”

Too easy. Get up and go find a job… Pronto!”

Is this you taking a backward step? Just Flatmates? Jeez, Not even bloody milkmen are up at this time of the morning.”

You know I’m right. And as a flatmate, I need to know you can pay your half of the bills… I’m not going to have you sponging off me.”

I’m asleep.”

He rolled over to face the wall. She went into the bathroom. She took a shower. He rolled back on to his back and looked at the ceiling. She was right, he did need to find a job. he was shedding cash like a dog sheds hair. She came back into the room, hair wet and dressed in a toweling  dressing gown. She took out her hairdryer and began to dry her hair. Glenn watched closely the ritual. She brushed with one hand and dried with the other. The noise of the hairdryer went through Glenn like a dentist’s drill.

Thank God you have short hair!”

What?”

THANK GOD YOU ONLY HAVE SHORT HAIR!” he shouted.

She turned off the hairdryer.

Sorry if I’m disturbing you, sir!”

Not at all… Your dressing gown is gaping, and what I can see is most interesting.”

She looked down and saw her breasts were peeking out.

Pervert!”

Exhibitionist!”

She hit him over the head with the back of her brush.

Oww!”

Turn the other way you pervert, I don’t have time for your nonsense.”

He turned away but as soon as the hairdryer started again, he shifted around to get a better view. The hairdryer stopped and she put the kettle on for another tea.

Do you want one peeping tom?”

Coffee please, Mata Hari.”

What does that mean?”

Come on you must have heard of Mata Hari, she was a spy for the Germans in the 1st world war. Don’t they teach you scotch anything?”

Ok Clever bugger, firstly, scotch is a drink, I’m a Scot. Secondly, the first world war was 60 years ago, so why would I know of a spy from the dark ages?”

Good Grief, there is no talking to this girl.”

She sat on her bed. She looked so cute, he wanted to eat her. He drank his coffee. He thought, is this what it’s like? To be married? To live with someone? A constant back and forth… It was not what he’d expected. In fact, he didn’t know what he expected. He just walked into situations blindly… Fatalistic to the nth degree. No wonder his life was never plain sailing. That and the fact he was drunk most nights.

She got up and painstakingly began to put on her make-up, in the mirror which was set upon the chimney breast. Fascinated as if by a boa constrictor, Glenn watched as she put on her foundation. She then rouged her cheekbones. She put on her blue eye shadow and finally stroked her eyelashes with mascara. It was a long and laborious campaign. She cursed when the mascara smudged on the corner of her eye. She took out a cotton bud and slowly and carefully, stroked away the smudge. It was as if she was creating a mask.

Hiding her youthful looks for what reason? To make herself look more professional?

You don’t need make-up, you look beautiful naturally.” He said earnestly.

It is expected. You have to look the part when your job is dealing with the public. You should take note, you need to smarten up if you’re going to get a job!”

Don’t you hate it? I mean, taking 2 1/2 hours to get ready? Do you go through this rigmarole every morning?”

Yes. I do it every morning, and no, I don’t hate it. It helps me prepare for meeting people. I feel I am at my best.”

Dear GOD.You are only shop assistant !”

I have a job, you do not. So fuck you!”

Sorry, didn’t mean anything against you Raine, just that the job is not what you are worth… You are much better than being a shop assistant.”

It is a job. A start. You have to make concessions, you can’t just walk into the job of your dreams. Now, go and have a piss or something so I can get dressed in peace.”

Glenn got up and walked across the room. He paraded his erection proudly, pouched in his y-fronts.

For god sake, boy, stop swinging that thing in my face!”

That’s not what you said Saturday!”

We’ve forgotten Saturday, remember?”

Very Irish, you sure you’re scotch?”

She smacked his arse with the hair brush and he scooted out of the room, sharpish!

When he came back, she was fully dressed and stood in front of the mirror, applying her lipstick. She left at 8.30. am. Glenn had a leisurely stroke and thought about her naked.

THIS IS HISTORY -1980. MOSTLY TRUE. FUNNY TO THINK OF YOUR LIFE AS HISTORY…

FORTY YEARS ON.

LIFE IS STRANGE.

DALE BELOVED PARTNER OF ‘M’

EVERY DAY

IMG_4204

EVERY DAY

EVERY DAY I TRY TO FIX YOU IN MY MIND’S EYE,

I KISS YOUR PICTURES AND SAY I LOVE YOU,

JUST AS I SAID I LOVE YOU EVERY SINGLE DAY,

WE WERE TOGETHER,

JUST AS YOU SAID YOU LOVED ME…

EVERY SINGLE DAY.

 

AND WITH EVERY ACTION AND EVERY THOUGHT,

OUR LOVE WAS APPARENT,

SO ALONE I CARRY THE TORCH,

AND ALONE I’M NOT EVEN HALF THE MAN…

YOU MADE ME.

I SCUTTLE FROM DAY TO DAY,

LIKE A SPIDER SCUTTLING FROM CORNER TO WEB…

WITHOUT A FUCKING CLUE!

 

THERE’S A THOUGHT?

DALE ‘M’

POETS FOR THE DAY ARCHIVE

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SORROWS OF THE MOON

Tonight the moon dreams in a deeper languidness,
And, like a beauty on her cushions, lies at rest;
While drifting off to sleep, a tentative caress
Seeks, with a gentle hand, the contour of her breast;

As on a crest above her silken avalanche,
Dying, she yields herself to an unending swoon,
And sees a pallid vision everywhere she’d glance,
In the azure sky where blossoms have been strewn.

When sometime, in her weariness, upon her sphere
She might permit herself to sheda furtive tear,
A poet of great piety, a foe of sleep,

Catches in the hollow of his hand that tear,
An opal fragment, iridescent as a star;
Within his heart, far from the sun, it’s buried deep.

CHARLES BAUDELAIRE


The Rose Family

The rose is a rose,
And was always a rose.
But the theory now goes
That the apple’s a rose,
And the pear is, and so’s
The plum, I suppose.
The dear only knows
What will next prove a rose.
You, of course, are a rose –
But were always a rose.

Robert Frost

He Is More Than A Hero

 

He is more than a hero
he is a god in my eyes–
the man who is allowed
to sit beside you — he

who listens intimately
to the sweet murmur of
your voice, the enticing

laughter that makes my own
heart beat fast. If I meet
you suddenly, I can’

speak — my tongue is broken;
a thin flame runs under
my skin; seeing nothing,

hearing only my own ears
drumming, I drip with sweat;
trembling shakes my body

and I turn paler than
dry grass. At such times
death isn’t far from me

 

Sappho

Chuang Tzu in dream became a butterfly,
And the butterfly became Chuang Tzu at waking.
Which was the real—the butterfly or the man ?
Who can tell the end of the endless changes of things?
The water that flows into the depth of the distant sea
Returns anon to the shallows of a transparent stream.
The man, raising melons outside the green gate of the city,
Was once the Prince of the East Hill.
So must rank and riches vanish.
You know it, still you toil and toil,—what for?
Chuang Tzu And The Butterfly
Li Po


 

PICTURE OF CHILDHOOD

Elbowing our way, we run.
Someone is being beaten up in the market.
You wouldn’t want to miss it!
We pick up speed, racing to the uproar,
scooping up water in our felt boots
and forgetting to wipe our sniffles.

And stood stock-still. In our little hearts something tightened,
when we saw how the ring of sheepskin coats,
fur coats, hooded coats, was contracting,
how he stood up near the green vegetable stall
with his head pulled into his shoulders from the hail
of jabs, kicks, spitting, slaps in the face.

Suddenly someone from the right by the handcart
pushed his teeth in,
Suddenly someone from the left bashed his forehead with a
chunk of ice.
Blood appeared-and then they started in, in earnest.
All piled up in a heap they began to scream together,
pounding with sticks, reins,
and linchpins out of wheels.

In vain he wheezed to them: ‘Mates,
you’re my mates-what’s the matter? ‘
The mob wanted to settle accounts fully.
The mob was deaf with rage.
The mob grumbled at those who weren’t putting their boots in,
and they trampled something that looked like a body
into the spring snow that was turning into mud.

They beat him up with relish. With ingenuity. Juicy.
I saw how skillfully and precisely
one man kept putting the boots in,
boots with greasy flaps on them,
right under the belt of the man who was down,
smothered in mud and dungy water.

Their owner, a guy with an honest enough mug,
very proud of his high principles,
was saying with each kick: ‘Don’t try your tricks with us! ‘
booting him deliberately, with the utmost conviction,
and, sweat pouring, with a red face, he jovially called to me:
‘Come on, youngster, get in it! ‘

I can’t remember-how many there were, making a din,
beating him up.
It may have been a hundred, it may have been more,
but I, just a boy, wept for shame.
And if a hundred are beating somebody up,
howling in a frenzy-even if for a good cause-
I will never make one hundred and one!

YEVGENY YETUSHENKO -1932 – 2017


FOR JOHNNY POLE ON A FORGOTTEN BEACH

In his tenth July some instinct
taught him to arm the waiting wave,
a giant where its mouth hung open.
He rode on the lip that buoyed him there
and buckled him under. The beach was strung
with children paddling their ages in,
under the glare of noon chipping
its light out. He stood up, anonymous
and straight among them, between
their sand pails and nursery crafts.
The breakers cartwheeled in and over
to puddle their toes and test their perfect
skin. He was my brother, my small
Johnny brother, almost ten. We flopped
down upon a towel to grind the sand
under us and watched the Atlantic sea
move fire, like night sparklers;
and lost our weight in the festival
season. He dreamed, he said, to be
a man designed like a balanced wave…
how someday he would wait, giant
and straight.
Johnny, your dream moves summers
inside my mind.
He was tall and twenty that July,
but there was no balance to help;
only the shells came straight and even.
This was the first beach of assault;
the odor of death hung in the air
like rotting potatoes, the junkyard
of landing craft waited open and rusting.
The bodies were strung out as if they were
still reaching for each other, where they lay
to blacken, to burst through their perfect
skin. And Johnny Pole was one of them.
He gave in like a small wave, a sudden
hole in his belly and the years all gone
where the Pacific noon chipped its light out.
Like a bean bag, outflung, head loose
and anonymous, he lay. Did the sea move fire
for its battle season? Does he lie there
forever, where his rifle waits, giant
and straight?…I think you die again
and live again,
Johnny, each summer that moves inside
my mind.

ANNE SEXTON


Toads

Why should I let the toad work
Squat on my life?
Can’t I use my wit as a pitchfork
And drive the brute off?

Six days of the week it soils
With its sickening poison –
Just for paying a few bills!
That’s out of proportion.

Lots of folk live on their wits:
Lecturers, lispers,
Losels, loblolly-men, louts-
They don’t end as paupers;

Lots of folk live up lanes
With fires in a bucket,
Eat windfalls and tinned sardines-
they seem to like it.

Their nippers have got bare feet,
Their unspeakable wives
Are skinny as whippets – and yet
No one actually starves.

Ah, were I courageous enough
To shout Stuff your pension!
But I know, all too well, that’s the stuff
That dreams are made on:

For something sufficiently toad-like
Squats in me, too;
Its hunkers are heavy as hard luck,
And cold as snow,

And will never allow me to blarney
My way of getting
The fame and the girl and the money
All at one sitting.

I don’t say, one bodies the other
One’s spiritual truth;
But I do say it’s hard to lose either,
When you have both.

by Philip Larkin


ALONE

Lying, thinking
Last night
How to find my soul a home
Where water is not thirsty
And bread loaf is not stone
I came up with one thing
And I don’t believe I’m wrong
That nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

There are some millionaires
With money they can’t use
Their wives run round like banshees
Their children sing the blues
They’ve got expensive doctors
To cure their hearts of stone.
But nobody
No, nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Now if you listen closely
I’ll tell you what I know
Storm clouds are gathering
The wind is gonna blow
The race of man is suffering
And I can hear the moan,
‘Cause nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

MAYA ANGELOU


LOSS AND  GAIN

When I compare
What I have lost with what I have gained,
What I have missed with what attained,
Little room do I find for pride.

I am aware
How many days have been idly spent;
How like an arrow the good intent
Has fallen short or been turned aside.

But who shall dare
To measure loss and gain in this wise?
Defeat may be victory in disguise;
The lowest ebb is the turn of the tide.

HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW


HENRY V

 

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour’d rage;
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
Let pry through the portage of the head
Like the brass cannon; let the brow o’erwhelm it
As fearfully as doth a galled rock
O’erhang and jutty his confounded base,
Swill’d with the wild and wasteful ocean.
Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide,
Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit
To his full height. On, on, you noblest English.
Whose blood is fet from fathers of war-proof!
Fathers that, like so many Alexanders,
Have in these parts from morn till even fought
And sheathed their swords for lack of argument:
Dishonour not your mothers; now attest
That those whom you call’d fathers did beget you.
Be copy now to men of grosser blood,
And teach them how to war. And you, good yeoman,
Whose limbs were made in England, show us here
The mettle of your pasture; let us swear
That you are worth your breeding; which I doubt not;
For there is none of you so mean and base,
That hath not noble lustre in your eyes.
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game’s afoot:
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry ‘God for Harry, England, and Saint George!’

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE.


BEAUTY XXV

And a poet said, ‘Speak to us of Beauty.’

Where shall you seek beauty, and how shall you find her unless she herself be your way and your guide?

And how shall you speak of her except she be the weaver of your speech?

The aggrieved and the injured say, ‘Beauty is kind and gentle.

Like a young mother half-shy of her own glory she walks among us.’

And the passionate say, ‘Nay, beauty is a thing of might and dread.

Like the tempest she shakes the earth beneath us and the sky above us.’

The tired and the weary say, ‘beauty is of soft whisperings. She speaks in our spirit.

Her voice yields to our silences like a faint light that quivers in fear of the shadow.’

But the restless say, ‘We have heard her shouting among the mountains,

And with her cries came the sound of hoofs, and the beating of wings and the roaring of lions.’

At night the watchmen of the city say, ‘Beauty shall rise with the dawn from the east.’

And at noontide the toilers and the wayfarers say, ‘we have seen her leaning over the earth from the windows of the sunset.’

In winter say the snow-bound, ‘She shall come with the spring leaping upon the hills.’

And in the summer heat the reapers say, ‘We have seen her dancing with the autumn leaves, and we saw a drift of snow in her hair.’

All these things have you said of beauty.

Yet in truth you spoke not of her but of needs unsatisfied,

And beauty is not a need but an ecstasy.

It is not a mouth thirsting nor an empty hand stretched forth,

But rather a heart enflamed and a soul enchanted.

It is not the image you would see nor the song you would hear,

But rather an image you see though you close your eyes and a song you hear though you shut your ears.

It is not the sap within the furrowed bark, nor a wing attached to a claw,

But rather a garden forever in bloom and a flock of angels for ever in flight.

People of Orphalese, beauty is life when life unveils her holy face.

But you are life and you are the veil.

Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror.

But you are eternity and you are the mirror.

KAHLIL GIBRAN


A Star Without a Name

When a baby is taken from the wet nurse,

it easily forgets her

and starts eating solid food.

 

Seeds feed awhile on ground,

then lift up into the sun.

 

So you should taste the filtered light

and work your way toward wisdom

with no personal covering.

 

That’s how you came here, like a star

without a name. Move across the night sky

with those anonymous lights.

Rumi


TIME

Unfathomable Sea! whose waves are years,
Ocean of Time, whose waters of deep woe
Are brackish with the salt of human tears!
Thou shoreless flood, which in thy ebb and flow
Claspest the limits of mortality,
And sick of prey, yet howling on for more,
Vomitest thy wrecks on its inhospitable shore;
Treacherous in calm, and terrible in storm,
Who shall put forth on thee,
Unfathomable Sea?

PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY


Celestial Music

I have a friend who still believes in heaven.
Not a stupid person, yet with all she knows, she literally talks to God.
She thinks someone listens in heaven.
On earth she’s unusually competent.
Brave too, able to face unpleasantness.

We found a caterpillar dying in the dirt, greedy ants crawling over it.
I’m always moved by disaster, always eager to oppose vitality
But timid also, quick to shut my eyes.
Whereas my friend was able to watch, to let events play out
According to nature. For my sake she intervened
Brushing a few ants off the torn thing, and set it down
Across the road.

My friend says I shut my eyes to God, that nothing else explains
My aversion to reality. She says I’m like the child who
Buries her head in the pillow
So as not to see, the child who tells herself
That light causes sadness-
My friend is like the mother. Patient, urging me
To wake up an adult like herself, a courageous person-

In my dreams, my friend reproaches me. We’re walking
On the same road, except it’s winter now;
She’s telling me that when you love the world you hear celestial music:
Look up, she says. When I look up, nothing.
Only clouds, snow, a white business in the trees
Like brides leaping to a great height-
Then I’m afraid for her; I see her
Caught in a net deliberately cast over the earth-

In reality, we sit by the side of the road, watching the sun set;
From time to time, the silence pierced by a birdcall.
It’s this moment we’re trying to explain, the fact
That we’re at ease with death, with solitude.
My friend draws a circle in the dirt; inside, the caterpillar doesn’t move.
She’s always trying to make something whole, something beautiful, an image
Capable of life apart from her.
We’re very quiet. It’s peaceful sitting here, not speaking, The composition
Fixed, the road turning suddenly dark, the air
Going cool, here and there the rocks shining and glittering-
It’s this stillness we both love.
The love of form is a love of endings.

John Donne


Summer Dawn 

My sleeping children are still flying dreams
in their goose-down heads.
The lush of the river singing morning songs
Fish watch their ceilings turn sun-white.
The grey-green pike lances upstream
Kale, like mermaid’s hair
points the water’s drift.
All is morning hush
and bird beautiful.

I only,
I didn’t have flu.

Spike Milligan


Everyone Sang
BY SIEGFRIED SASSOON
Everyone suddenly burst out singing;
And I was filled with such delight
As prisoned birds must find in freedom,
Winging wildly across the white
Orchards and dark-green fields; on – on – and out of sight.

Everyone’s voice was suddenly lifted;
And beauty came like the setting sun:
My heart was shaken with tears; and horror
Drifted away … O, but Everyone
Was a bird; and the song was wordless; the singing will never be done.


 

Ignorant before the heavens of my life,
I stand and gaze in wonder. Oh the vastness
of the stars. Their rising and descent. How still.
As if I didn’t exist. Do I have any
share in this? Have I somehow dispensed with
their pure effect? Does my blood’s ebb and flow
change with their changes? Let me put aside
every desire, every relationship
except this one, so that my heart grows used to
its farthest spaces. Better that it live
fully aware, in the terror of its stars, than
as if protected, soothed by what is near.

Rainer Maria Rilke


Despair

Who is he?
A railroad track toward hell?
Breaking like a stick of furniture?
The hope that suddenly overflows the cesspool?
The love that goes down the drain like spit?
The love that said forever, forever
and then runs you over like a truck?
Are you a prayer that floats into a radio advertisement?
Despair,
I don’t like you very well.
You don’t suit my clothes or my cigarettes.
Why do you locate here
as large as a tank,
aiming at one half of a lifetime?
Couldn’t you just go float into a tree
instead of locating here at my roots,
forcing me out of the life I’ve led
when it’s been my belly so long?

All right!
I’ll take you along on the trip
where for so many years
my arms have been speechless

 by Anne Sexton

PERPETUAL WINTER

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Will the sun ever shine again?

I don’t see how…

You made the sun gleam with wonder,

You made the world a magical place…

Now all the magic has gone,

And I am left with the nothing…

Empty pages flickering in front of my eyes.

 

I’m emotionally chilled to the bone,

Nothing can warm my half -soul,

But the match of yours.

A half-life in half light,

Always winter and never Christmas.

And yet it is just weeks from your smile,

And your joyful love…

Which I can never share on this plane again.

 

It’s the nights, always the nights,

When the yearning cannot be abated.

I wake and sob every night,

And know it will never stop.

The days can be contained by action,

But the night just drags on forever.

 

first time I’ve been able to look at these blogs since I wrote them, Back when grief was new and all consuming.

Dale