He rings me once a year- on my birthday- the old man
I went to school with hundred years ago, after there
had been a long war and our town looked as unpainted
as down town Havana, when no one had cars except
spivs and the police and there weren’t carbon foot print
in the sky; he rings to remind me how old I’m.
Childhood resentment never dies, his mother worked
in a cake shop, mine was putting sardines in tins, so
if I wanted cakes I had to let him win when we played;
now he rings and goes on about our banal illnesses, we
old men have to endure, and when he finally hangs up
I feel depressed and in a need of a drink.
A Quiet Smoke
The train stopped at a small station on a bleak plateau,
I stepped on to the terminus to smoke a cigarette which
I deeply inhaled and enjoyed; so intensely I didn’t see
the train leaving. I ran but my feet wouldn’t move,
at the back of the last carriage my doctor stood, “help,
my feet won’t move, I shouted.” “It’s your own fault,
The doctor said, “For eating so much chocolate.”
At the kiosk- inside the station house- I asked the lady,
selling newspaper, if she could help, but she needed
the number of the train and whether I traveled first class
or not. I didn’t know what number train, but said 112,
and yes, first class, thinking that would help. Since I was
dressed, like an Eskimo, from head to toe in sealskin,
and it was seal hunting season in Canada, people gave
me dark looks and when “Guardian” readers folded their
papers into truncheons I fled, got into a car that was just
standing there, drown down the road in the hope of
getting on the train at the next station, but made a wrong
turn and ended up inside a kaleidoscope, where doctors
and people, who like plastic tables, dare not enter.
In the summer of 1927 when I met Eva
Braun, I was a car mechanic in Hamburg,
and with over-time I had a good wage;
we were going to get married, but during
the October beer festival, she met Adolf,
a budding painter and she left him for me;
but he stopped painting, went into politics;
and in a fit of madness shot her. Had Eva
married me she could have lived to be 104.
The coast of
Memories Late summer, it lasted well into September, when I walked along the pebbled beach in the bay, and saw my uncle and aunt sat on an air-mattress soa
king up the last of the summer light as the sea gently slapped around their feet. I walked passed them slowly in the hope they would turn around, see me and give me coins for ice cream; they didn’t and I was too shy to say halloo.
My aunt looked more or less like my mother, uncle though had big shoulders and muscular arms, something to tell the boys in the street, but since he drove the town’s beer truck, I had to invent a story; he had been a boxer in
Chicago, but had to come home ‘cause his mother was sick, if not he would have been the heavy weight champion of the world now.
Mother says that I mustn’t be alone so much, but I’m here to look at the shiny pebbles just under the surface of the sea, I used to take them home but they lost their lustre when dry. I also like to listen to the sea, it sighs mostly as being fed up of being so old and alone; often it whispers stories I repeat when going home. I can’t bring the boys here they will only be noisy and throw pebbles about.