passed by an old man
who looked about as old as anyone could.
bent up double, one hand on stick ,other on wall
crawling along, you could sense his determination
to move along. every small inch forward counted .
stopping me, he looked up, his eyes appeared bloodshot
at the bottom, almost gone
like they were on their last legs as well
he asked if I had any matches
I said I had a lighter but he said ,
showing me his fifty pence
that he was off to get a cigar.
he called at my door once
asked me if he cleared away
some of the rubbish and weeds
if I could spare some change
I told him not too bother
gave him some change anyway.
so I guessed he’d got fifty pence from someone
for clearing weeds
and had decided he was going to live it up , for a change
and buy a cigar and probably did not have enough
for food ,tobacco or even matches.
would have offered to go get his cigar for him
but figured he wanted to make the journey himself
and that just being outside getting some air
and seeing some sights must mean a lot
when you know their won’t be that much more
air, rain, sights and ugly funny people to take in.
hoped it wouldn’t be his last smoke ,
everyone needs a perk
now and again, to keep them going ,
especially when almost their,
looking for half forgotten memories
of better times
amongst weeds and rubbish
their only real friends left.
at the top of the stairs
three or four maybe , sitting, huddled
with elder brothers and sisters
in semi darkness
shush they say, keep still they say
stop fidgeting they say
trying to hear it all
tiny head on scabby knees
arms clung tight around legs.
shouting , crashing , coming from kitchen
mum screaming. dad back from pub
back from going to see a
man about a dog again
more screaming, banging.
what had I done ?
everything was always my fault,
I was just plain clumsy and stupid,
or so I had been told.
the dim light shining from the kitchen
illustrating the source
of the disturbance,
in the shadowed dust trail light.
is it the kitchens fault
and not mine, it sounded so angry,
I mused.putting my hands over my ears.
then leaving the fold for Grans.
what had I done ?
maybe it was the kitchens fault again.
returning to the fold, un-noticed
years later to a Saturday only dad.
what had I done ? I thought,
wishing the kitchen
would take the blame
for a change.
years later,once, upon drinking too much,
I would find myself, attacking a kitchen,
in a blind drunken rage.
as though I were still mad at it,
for letting me get the blame ,always,
for scabby knees, separations, arguments
broken plates and lurve dreams
turned ugly again.