All entries for June 2010

June 20, 2010

The Waiting Game

The Waiting Game

1

Childbirth smells like anti-septic,
and tastes, for some
like gin and tonic.

Her nails pierce the mattress,
her mouth fills with saliva.

“Push, yes that’s it...”

She’d always been so terribly punctual
(terribly, because it was ruining her life,
hours wasted being early)
and it was so typical
for her first child
to keep her waiting.

2

“She’s stupid, I’ve given birth to a stupid child...”

Truly, she didn’t mean it,
but she found it unlikely
the repetition of “Dodo”
was the first sign
of her daughters penchant for zoology.

She offered her an apology
in the shape of chocolate yoghurt.
The smears never came out of the carpet,
tears a futile stain-remover.

“Say something... please, say something for mummy.”

A quizzical look,
and tiny fingers wipe away saline outbursts
and offer dessert in the crater of a petite palm.

“Yoh-urt Mummy?”

3

The sound of heels in the porch
was as joyous as that first wail
from newly-born lungs.

She conceals her happiness however
behind the yells.

“It’s 3am, where the hell have you been?”

The worst thoughts had tormented her sleep,
the worst possible conclusions,
not even worth mentioning.

Yet innocence prevails
in that apologetic, yet nonchalant smile,
before innocence vomits across hallway tiles.

4

Twelve cups of tea
made waiting for the bathroom
slightly difficult.

It was the nerves,
curtain-twitching, nail-biting, postman-scorning
nerves.

The metal clatter of the letter box,
footsteps down the stairs,
crying... blissful crying.

A place, to study veterinary science
(not zoology)
at university.

Two hundred miles away.

“I’m so proud of you, but wait before you accept...”

Eighteen years waiting to not to be a parent
came too soon
landing on the doormat
as though out of the blue,
as though it wasn’t expected
as though there was a God
who answered Mother’s pleas

“Don’t let her pass...”

5

“It’s just cold feet, he’ll be here baby, I promise”

Tears in a chapel,
the photographer yawning,
pictures of the happy couple
looking less and less likely.

“Your Father was nervous too!”

“He left you on your honeymoon!”

She takes the punch to her pride
as daughterly love,
screams as the car pulls up
and sobs the whole way through the ceremony.

Push-pineapple-up-a-tree,
a Grease medley,
made bearable for the chance
to stand on her son-in-law’s foot
when he offers his new Mother a dance.

6

The hospital years:
baby scans and miscarriages.
A redundant womb waiting to be a Mother,
a Mother waiting to be a Granny,
interrupted by out of date magazines,
“It will never happen to me”
and a room full of coughing OAPS.

A daughter thinking
“Is Mum really that old? She can’t be.”

A letter from the hospital
confirms the wretched news,
“It will never happen to me”
swallowed like a bitter pill.

7

Waiting for the curtain to touch in the middle,
she tries to stand up and rip them down
but the little girl next to her holds her hand.

“Will I never see Grandma?”

She doesn’t answer
but nods
and cries
and smiles,
knowing she will,
but it will be a long wait yet.


Question 9, Part B

Love hearts in biro stain your weak efforts
Already sealed and stamped with a large ‘F’
Shakespeare mocks you and Einstein simply points,
Naked likes in an exam hall fool you.
You regurgitate equations and toast.
Your education starts to taste sour
And everyone stares with red pen in hand
Legs are shaking – anticipate the grade.
Your failure of a Mother downs her fifth
And the babies scream out for some comfort.
A hundred teenage pores drip with worry.
Life is an essay awaiting judgement,
Why bother? No one marks it anyway.


June 15, 2010

Sermon on the Mount: Harrow–on–the–hill

Radio Play: The Revolution

Luke – teenage boy, fairly well-spoken
Eve – teenage girl, strong London accent
Teenage preacher – London accent
Matt – teenage boy

[Background laughter and screaming of teenage kids]

[Luke, panting slightly as he is walking]:
We could all feel the movement coming; perhaps it was the knock-off cider diluting our blood, making every step up the hill just slightly more purposeful, or that just one week before a kid from Whitmore had been stabbed outside the bus station. I could see Matt, eagerly trying to make it to the top first, in all his intoxicated glory, tripping over tree stumps and abandoned wine bottles.

[Sound of glass smashing and boy yelling OW!]

The sun was flickering into nothingness, like a cigarette being feverishly puffed, lungs determined not to miss a single dose of nicotine.

[Sound of lighter being flicked numerous times until cigarette is lit and voice inhales]

We all anticipated the blue lights of the law illuminating Hillspur Road soon, to take the underage stoners back home. I was surprised to see such an impressive crowd forming, a hundred flies on a carcass. I immediately wanted to leave, made anxious by the presence of some of the Whitmore kids who were a little more rough and ready that the Queensmead and Field End lot.

[Eve]:
I dunt even know why we came though yeah!? Look at these freaks. It’s like some kind of juvenile asylums broke loose yeah.

[Luke]:
Yet something made me stay. Something was in the air, something of a revolution. I so badly didn’t want to be part of it, not another sheep in that crowd of blurred faces... but I stayed. That’s when I heard him speaking.

[Teen Preacher]:
Don’t hate on the poor, for their currency is the air we breathe, their pennies are experience and they will not succumb to the dictator that is capitalism.

Bless those whose brothers have fallen, they did not hold the knife but it cut them the deepest, and we will do all we can to prevent such reckless violence. Our respect goes out to the Whitmore crowd that is here tonight.

[3 Seconds silence]

[Luke]:
Everyone bowed their heads, some even took off their baseball caps and a few of the girls could be seen crying. There was some laughter, at the ridiculousness of it all, but a few of the more intimidating lads shot vicious looks at those of us who dared to mock them.

[Teenage Preacher]:
Celebrate the sober, for their livers are probably in a fitter state that our Father’s, and theirs are the paths we follow home (in the back of Ford KAs that have no road tax).

Thank God for the peacemakers, who endeavour to make sure we only return home with one black eye and not two, and prevent us from jumping to ludicrous conclusions (sorry John, could have sworn I saw you getting off with my ex Mary that time).

[Luke]:
The tension broke, and we dared to laugh, some of us even called out in agreement.

[Teenage Preacher]:
And what would we do without those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, who take bullets for us in the court because they just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and “owed us one.”

[Eve]:
Yeah like James man! Stabbed just cos of his postcode yeah? It ain’t right man.

[Teenage Preacher]:
I hear you sister! And it’s people like James we owe our lives to. They are the light of our world, the matches that ignite our cigarettes, the flame that burnt down the science block.

[Cheers from the Field End crowd]

So forgive each other your wrong-doings, forgive the boy who stole your girlfriend, forgive the friend who never answers your texts, forgive the parents who didn’t send you to private school and have thus dashed your hopes of a future, forgive the drunk Uncle and the mentally ill Aunt.

[Matt]:
Don’t forget my slag of a sister!

[Laughter]

[Teenage Preacher]:
And your slag of a sister of course Matt, we all know here well.

[Matt]:
Oi! Too far!

[Teenage Preacher]:
And do not be led into a life of temptation; resist the evils of this world. We shall not fight with knives or guns; we shall fight with words, with the sacred dictionary.
[Cheering]
Do not judge or you shall be judged in return, and we’re all self-medicated or slipped anxiety pills by our Mothers.

[The sound of police sirens begin quietly in the background, growing louder]

And we will not be jealous of each other! You can also get a girl as hot as your mate! Girls, you are worthy of a boy with brains and brawn (I’m single by the way ladies), and you can get that job, you will buy those Topshop jeans, because you are incredibly special and no one has such impeccable taste as you.

Turn the other cheek, but if you can’t, outwit them with your words and not your fists.

And love your neighbour! Enough of the postcode wars yeah guys?!

[Cheering and applause, sirens very loud now]

[Luke]:
That’s when we ran, free into the night, knowing we had heard it first, that we were the revolution. Some got arrested, others beaten by their Mother’s for being home late but we all knew it had been worth it. It had begun


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