I do not remember Franco’s death. The first transatlantic flight of Concorde, perhaps. I remember the coming of Mike Tyson as if it were someone else’s story, not mine. The withdrawal of Thatcher from the leadership race, smothered in feelings of a time and a place…
a bank of television screens in a shop window, baggy jumpers and long hair, oranges for Christmas, a cold dark house where woodlice and mold would triumph…
There is almost nothing. Almost. Nothing to fix a thought upon. No true memory. No one idea. Just a twinge, an ache, that something happened, once was.
Jim fished for imaginary salmon, out in his back garden with a rod and live bait. We watched him and laughed as the line got caught in the fence between his shrubs and the fields.
Jim smoked a pipe and spoke wryly of the old times and how nobody understood his intentions. He always wore a hat.
Jim liked the children to come round on bonfire night with their lanterns made from turnips and bright smiles, but the mothers always moved them on. Jim was eccentric, creepy, strange.
Jim mourned his mother’s death and never got married. Jim died yesterday.
When I asked for a glass
Of wine and you
Brought back two
Or when you went
To town to window shop
And came back with bags of
I call it mission creep.
Things got out of
Hand – you say –
It wasn’t my intention.
But you knew all along.
It’s the same
And maybe so.
I make the leap
To the streets
Are always mentioned.
First with a higher police
Then with little
Soon unmarked officers and
And now come
Archeologists discovered signs of large buildings here, perhaps a temple. Remnants of weapons were also found, including traces of what might have been poisons. Certainly battles were fought here. A small camp seems to have existed, with broken pots, pans and temporary shelters found all across the hillside near where a river once flowed. We can only guess what calamity wiped out all of those who lived in those times, and at the extent of the destruction, but, what we do know, is that it was the end of an era – of an empire – and of the start of another.
We always went running in fog, early mornings at six, six thirty, at just that time of year when the fields become obscured by the weight of water in the air, so heavy it clung to your face in the pallid light and ran down it like tears, dripping from your nose and chin, and the wet grass licked your shins like a sopping tongue and the birds whispered that it was beyond dawn, their sound so close in the thick low sky, as if perched on your shoulder, but with nothing to be told about who won, who lost.
Your arm around me like you say my belt and braces, oh but I feel the opposite, I say an open hand, the merest brush of a tip of a finger that leads me on, could take me anywhere and we do, we do go anywhere and everywhere.
Your arm around me you say everything you say like a best man’s speech, so witty and warm and I say no, you are feeding warnings like a my old dad, a head boy eyeing me in the corridors of everywhere and thiswhere, herewhere.
Where-erity you go I go, you and me.
It was the early period of the Pacific drought and every day, J___ would walk along the promenade, whether in a summer cold snap or the heatwave of a late autumn afternoon. He would stop and stare at the container ships on the horizon, imagining the imports and exports, and see the plumes of smoke from the refinery. All was well. On the pier, children whooshed down the helter-skelter. Through the haze of sea and sun, J___ saw the faint outline of the wind turbines. Were they nearer than before? There was something in his throat. He felt scared.
Across the sky, flitting light. Not stars as such, but gilded shards. They continue to fall, piercing horizon upon horizon. Some say they will ignite briefly over the deepest darkest parts of the ocean, to be seen only by the whales and the dolphins as they break upwards from the blue. Some say the shards will spark and burn their way through the atmosphere, burying themselves blackly, finally, into the cold tundras of the Arctic north. Some say they will flicker like fireworks over Hawaii. But no human should worry. The death of one more satellite is of no concern.
On the platform, lighting up a cigarette, loosening his tie just a little, looking at the commuters, wondering about their lives. Their lives and his job, these two things that had somehow got themselves entwined. And yet when he’d left college, with those ideas… so determined, so green.
Inhale, hold, exhale. There was ivy weaving round the railings and climbing up the blackthorn, across the end of the station car park and all down the line. That plant could grow anywhere. A pest, people said. Needs cutting back. A good hacking. You’d need to hack for ever and for ever.
Field medics report, come in? come in? [crackles]
We are hearing you. What medicines do you require? Over.
Command suitable retaliation. Use aggressive force. Come in?
Use aggressive medicine? Over.
There has been an interstitial interruption between spaces of matter.
There are holes blown. We cannot hear, clear…
Receiving. Medic coordinates? Over.
10th parallel. There is a…
What medicines do you require? Over.
There is a, jesus [crackles]…
Actioning reinforcements. What medicines do you require? Over.
There is a… action aggressive, come in?
What medicines? Over.
There is a hole, jesus, all the way along.
10th paralell, over?