In the park the dog was wrestling with a bone. Hey, said the man, throwing a ball into the sky. The dog ran across the frosty grass and the ball soared into the winter blue, rising above the trees. Upwards from the tops of the oaks and birches a bird flew – maybe it was a dove – towards the gold-flecked river; and out in the distance, across the water, was a thin white plume. Aeroplanes. Horizons in Europe, the Indian Ocean, warmer climes, desert sun, heat. The heat – a missile caught in a tragic arc, screeching to earth. Earth, flesh, bone.
It is the 12th of December. The passing of steady time is played out with a handball game in Doha, the King of Bahrain at Downing Street and Iraqi soldiers graduating into action after a mere month’s training in Kirkut. Was it Kirkut? The name remains, lingers like a strange flavour in the mouth. And from behind a grate there is heard a scratching, shuffling sound. Something is coming; some rough beast in a vast image, a revelation in these parts. But now clear, black and white, moving its slow thighs, Tian Tian the panda appears – and we forget all.
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.
‘Pipes’ connect countless channels of overflow from East to West, Agencies say. Politicians have dubbed it a ‘super sewer’ and ‘filtrations’ are due to commence – the cost already upwards of £400m.
A communication from a group calling itself Stop the Shaft claimed, using Securities language, that the channels were only responsible for a tiny proportion of ‘human waste’ dumped into the ‘river of humanity’. The cost to the taxpayer is unjustifiable, they said, and the cost to Rights…
Agencies said the claims were ‘misleading’ and joked that the rest of the world would be ‘piped’ to hit their latest target.
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.