The creative writing tutor asks
why I don’t write in abstract
Origins: father’s legacy of chaos began way before his death.
Behind the nice house, nice car, nice clothes,
mother buying time from bailiffs with good looks and tea.
Father uncontactable as an undercover vice cop.
Covering the tracks of his own top-shelf titillation with
Mother, after watching cancer’s alien possession husband’s body,
too PTS-stricken to find employment to feed demanding bills
that swallowed modest life insurance in one gulp.
Bad luck bred bad luck then. Brother-in-law’s bounder advances
triggered feud that lead to casting-out from family and friends.
Searching for refuge in remarriage, she lost heart and head
to someone else’s husband, funded the affair by making
brother-in-law pay, subsidised further by lodger who in turn
made her pay.
Fling's end flung her into a bedlam of alcoholic days,
then a slow surrender to untreated cancer.
Thinking chaos had blown itself out with her death,
good luck, like a secret benefactor, enabled university and
Then slapstick fall in snow unleashed riot of symptoms in my
Flicked between frowning consultants until one caught and
No cure for body’s disorder but experimentation meds like a lab
When strong arm drugs caused a ceasefire with my symptoms;
you whirlwind into my life. First dates I am fed fantastical
then slow reveal over time by slips of tongue or your hand
forced by troublemakers,
to surrender censored secrets; your Henry VIII marriage count,
endless dipso driving made example of by short stretch.
But always the wheel of fortune's favourite. Arriving in Oz
eleventh hour chance meeting man in a bar who needed engineer
Contracts for Arabs meant Concord twice and 5 plus star hotels.
Blowing your wedges lotus drinking on paradise islands.
Prodigal son home visits ,
busied self as bookies’ runner, debt collector, East End pub
Now you try to make up for my lost time, so I shake my head
as if concussed standing before Duomo, Pyramids, Ephesus…
Set about transforming my ramshackle décor
with same taste you once used creating bespoke dolls' houses,
preening at visitors’ What a lovely room!
Sometimes pottering at some domestic task,
I in breath, catching sight of this new life as if in a mirror.
And although you are grounded now by age and ailment,
worries rub blister raw that Ulysses bored, you are searching
on your off-limits laptop, for one last hurrah…
If you have any comments on this poem, Fiona Sinclair
would be pleased to hear from you.