Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tough Love

Tough Love
The old man sat shaking, 
Tears running down his cheeks; 
the boy huddled on his lap  trembling 
From the exhaustion of his recent outburst. 
Their relationship was an unusual one, 
He would  never know his biological father. 
The old man had accepted him as his own 
More a grandfather than a father. 
Now four years old 
He was yet to learn that none of us 
Can always get what we want. 
To watch Disney cartoons on the TV.  
Mesmerized, sit staring for hours 
Responding to what he was seeing. 
The old man and the boy returned from the beach
 A broad expanse of almost white fine sand. 
The boy would happily play in it for hours. 
An onlooker could be persuaded 
That he seemed to be engaged 
In a conversation with an invisible friend. 
Later he wanted to watch cartoons, 
The old man didn't have anything against cartoons, 
Marvelled at the skill evident in their making, 
Almost life like movements that the characters made. 
Andrew's mother didn't want him to watch them. 
The stage was set for an almighty conflict. 
Slowly it began with Andrew's attempts to switch on the TV 
When it became obvious to Andrew 
The old man was not going to weaken, 
The paddy began with screams and shouts, 
The sound rising to a crescendo. 
Andrew threw himself on the floor 
Shaking and kicking but the old man didn't weaken. 
'Why don't you go downstairs and play with the other children,' 
A shouted 'I don't want to.'  
The two were at an impasse, 
The old man seated in a chair 
Andrew crouching on the floor
 Not far away, shouting and screaming. 
It went on for a long time but gradually 
Andrew grew tired and his shouts weakened. 
The old man watched and remembered;
Remembered his own childhood.
The many occasions he went into a fury
Unable to get what he wanted. 
He waited and watched beckoning/ 
Eventually and very reluctantly. 
The boy slowly relaxed on the old man's lap. 
He closed his eyes and the two hugged each other.  
The closeness of the boy and the poignancy of the moment 
Reduced the old man to tears. 
At that moment he was reminded
 Of what he already knew 
That he was unlikely to live long enough 
To see this beautiful gracious boy into manhood.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The sting

The Sting
She was standing with the traffic lights on red waiting to cross; wearing a tight black skirt just above her knees, a red top
with a low cut neck showing the swelling of her breasts and high heels that clattered when she walked. Suddenly her 
mobile rang. She knew immediately who it was. 
‘Well, did you get it?’ A male voice asked.
‘Yes, and with no strings,’ she replied with a smile.
‘How much?
‘One thousand pounds.’
‘Well done! You are really getting good at this. Did you have to make him any promises?
‘What sort of promises?’ She retorted.
‘You know what I mean.’ She could hear him sneer.
‘No! Of course not, you know I wouldn’t.’ She said in a low voice. 
‘OK who are you seeing next?’
‘John! I am meeting him at the Black Horse pub.’
‘Right, do your best, keep me posted,’ and he rang off.
The lights changed and she walked rapidly across the road her heels making a 
click! clack! on the stone pavement. It was getting dark and the street lights were beginning to go on. she shivered and drew her 
scarf more tightly around her neck.   Crossing  the road, she  made her way to the Black Horse Pub about a mile away.          Twenty 
minutes later she opened the heavy swing doors and entered the darkened space with the bar at the far end. She stood allowing 
her eyes to accommodate to the gloom and then spotted him sitting near the window. He had seen her and waved and she 
joined him.      ‘What are you drinking?’ he asked standing up as she sat down. He gave her a peck  on both cheeks. She smiled.                                                                                                
‘Something soft,’ she replied.   He looked at her, her dark brown eyes, her high cheeks and soft kissable mouth. 
He could feel himself falling for her.
How have you been?’ he asked looking deeply into her eyes and taking her hand.
‘Not bad, could be better,’ she replied looking down at her drink.
What’s the trouble? Can I help? He asked leaning forward.
‘Oh, its nothing, I really don’t want to talk about it, it depresses me so much.’
‘Come on, it can’t be that bad?’
‘Oh yes! It can, in fact I am getting rather desperate.’ She said looking down at her drink clasped between her two hands
‘Come on, tell John all.’ He said in a child like voice 
‘OK,’ she said in a low tone.
‘I am in serious debt. I can’t pay the rent and I am in danger of being evicted.’  
She began to cry. (This is harder than I thought it would be she reflected as she patted 
the tears from her eyes.)
John leaned forward and held her,  whispering so that no one else could hear
‘How much do you need?’
‘I couldn’t,’ she hesitated, ‘I couldn’t.'
'I couldn't ask you.' 
‘Rubbish, I want to help you, I am very fond of you and can’t bear seeing you 
‘How much do you need?’ 
‘£1000 she whispered,’ burying her face in her hands.
He leant forward and slowly removed her hands 
‘How would you like the money? Cash?’
She slowly smiled and held his face in hers looking into his eyes.
‘Thank you, thank you, I don’t know how to thank you.’
‘It would only be a loan; I will pay you back as soon as possible.’ She promised.
‘Then it’s done, no strings, When shall we meet again so that I can arrange 
to bring it to you.’
They finished their drinks, arranged to meet at the same place on the following day 
and kissed goodbye.
She left the Pub taking a deep breath and feeling the fresh air on her face.
'I’ve done it! I’ve done it!' She said aloud. It was easier than I thought. I’m good at 
this. He will be very pleased with me, and she allowed herself to enjoy the moment.
She let herself in with her key and called out to him. A voice from the kitchen 
replied, ‘How did you get on?’
‘He’s going to give me the money tomorrow.’ and she went over and attempted to 
kiss him. He turned his face away.
‘You mean you haven’t got the money. Why not? You fool. He may not give it to you 
‘He will, he promised you will see.’
‘Shut up you idiot,’ tearing himself away.
And glaring at her he shouted, ‘I knew I couldn’t trust you to get something right,’ 
and with that he hit her, a sudden hard slap across her right cheek.
She stood stunned, unable to speak so surprised at what he had done 
and then she let out a yell,
‘You bastard! You are never satisfied. I have had enough, I’m leaving and I hope I 
never see you again.’
Without waiting for a reply, she grabbed her bag and stormed out of the flat.Once outside in the street, the cold air struck her,  
and she shivered.  She walked swiftly towards the nearby tube station but suddenly stopped. The realisation of what she had done 
hit her. Where can I go?  What am I going to do? She wondered. She suddenly thought of Mark. He would help me, I know he 
‘Hello Mark, it’s me. Can we meet, I need your help’
‘I am busy right now but can meet you this afternoon, same place at 4, is that OK?
‘Yes! Thanks, see you then.’
Wow, she thought, I am sure I can get him to help me . At least I will be OK tonight.
She was waiting in the coffee shop when he arrived. He saw her and came to her 
Table. They kissed on each cheek.
‘What would you like to drink, he asked waving toward the waitress. 
Oh! Just a coffee, please, a white coffee’
Anything to eat? He added
No thanks, just the coffee.
Once the coffee had arrived, he looked at her and asked
‘How can I help? What has happened?’
‘I have been expelled from my home.’ She sobbed, ‘When I got home, the bailiff was 
there and all my possessions were taken and the lock changed. I have nowhere to live. 
Can I come and stay with you?'  She pleaded, trying to keep as serious a voice as possible.   She couldn't tell him that she had been 
kicked out by her boyfriend. He would never understand that.
‘You know I would do anything to help you but staying with me is impossible.’ Sorry!!
And then she realised that he had been deceiving her , he must have another woman.         'You bastard,' she cried, 'just when I 
trusted you.'  As she said the words she was awar of what a hypocrite she had become, playing one man against another.  She 
fought back a feeling of sickness and self revulsion.  What am I going to do she thought as she watched him walk away, not even 
bothering to say goodbye.  Alone deserted and penniless, she felt the sense of utter helplessness.   Outside, the damp cold air 
stung her face and she drew her scarf more tightly around her. For a moment  she didn't know where she was and stood looking 
around for a familiar landmark . She felt like a stranger in an unknown place and then saw the bus stop.  She sat on the narrow seat 
searching her mind, trying to quieten the small voice of despair. Then it was as if she was a small girl again. What did she do when 
she was in trouble, she thought, I find Mum and she always puts it right. Why don't I do that now? Immediately she felt a surge of 
hope, Yes that's what I will do I'll go and see my mum, she will put it right. Finding a telephone, she dialled the number and after 
two or three rings, the familiar voice answered, Hello. At first she was unable to reply, fear gripped her and she seemed to be 
tongue tied. Again, she heard, 'hello,' and then, 'is that you?'  Another pause and she replied , her voice sounding dry and rasping. 
' Yes, Mum its me.' I want to come home,    'Yes, yes,'  and then she heard tears as she put down the receiver. 



I forgive you dad

I forgive you Dad for the many ways you failed,
Now that I am a Dad I understand much more
How difficult it is to be what we should be 
To be there when they need us most
Not finding an excuse to be elsewhere.
To listen to what they say and wipe away their tears.
To kiss and cuddle them when they fall 
And not be angry when they fail.
But just be there to commiserate. 
Wouldn't it be great if we could be like that
And not lose our tempers and smack.
Because we remember our own past
When you thought smacking was all dad's did
I forgive you Dad, I love you even so.
So many years have passed and I am a Dad again
I have been given a second chance
Not to make the same mistakes again
Not to allow my ego to get in the way
So that I listen more and say much less
I hope my sons will not need to forgive me 
But just grow with the love I give
I'll tell stories about the Lion king
And meet you after school and read
I will follow your progress to manhood if Im spared
And be there when you receive your degree
And toast your success in champagne
And organise a slap up meal at your favorite restaurant
You can invite your best friends a girl or two if you so desire.
I love you my son I love you


Just few days ago  I was born
A very small pothole was formed 
 A tiny break, you could mistake   
That you didn't know what I was
An insignificant being, compared
To my grand friends down there..
I had big aspirations to be more
I was not  pleased to be ignored
By the way you  rode over me
I felt that  I didn't exist . 
You conveniently forgot  my presence, 
Letting your wheels crush my very essence. 
Desperately I looked around for other friendly holes 
Trying to make their way in the world, like me. 
Oppressed and alone 
I began to make my plans
The rains became my ally 
and slowly I filled up with water 
Expanding my walls . 
And you began to notice me.
You started to drive round me 
At last  acknowledging my existence . 
That was not enough for me. 
More rains came and filled me .
My walls began to crumble and  .
I became deeper 
But still you drove round me
Ignoring and ostracizing me.
But I was not daunted. 
One night, it rained all the time
and in the morning 
I had become a sizable hole
Although I was much deeper . 
Happily you could no longer sea that . 
Now I was  a real hole almost a small pond. 
Time and again you drove into me 
Jarring your chassis and throwing up a sheet of spray .
 I was especially happy at night
 when you could not. see me and drove right into me . 
I shouted for joy as you bounced and shuddered
 the big trailers with their large containers 
 Couldnt avoid me and would crash into my sides. 
Cyclist and motor cyclists were thrown off their bikes . 
Tuk tuks would stop in mid stream unable to mount my walls.
Then the rain would evaporate,
 I was exposed in all my glory ,
A magnificent deep wide hole in the road. 
It said , I am here you can no longer ignore me.' 
Sometimes I had moments of grandeur 
when I imagined I was a lake, 
with fish and tadpoles and all manner of watery things. 
But then in a moment of reality 
I would see myself for what I was 
A piece of road that had failed,  
Failed to provide the smooth surface 
That drivers could expect, 
That they had a right to, 
that drivers had paid for. 
And then at another time 
I exalted in my power, 
As masters of the road have to bow down to me and acknowledge me.  
 Now in dark moments
 I wonder how much  longer 
I can command the high ground of the road
Pushing you further into the hedge 
Before someone decided to fill me in.