There Must Be A Name

This stuff is too dark by half, they remark
and I’m inclined to side on the choir’s

behalf, those adherents so decent, so devout
they bow en route to the rostrum to recite

their poetry-lite. How I should like to describe
the blueness of sky, how wet water is

and what a pareidolic planet
we inhabit, perhaps a piano tinkling

in a dim-lit corner, the censor’s antenna
alert for content thought too explicit.

But the past needs must visit, and wearing
dark glasses is the spectre

of Byron Barraclough advancing
from a fire that’s been blazing for thirty years.

Accidental death the verdict, malfunction
of an electric blanket, Byron drunk

again, smoke inhalation, didn’t feel nothing.
That’s how I’d lullaby the sparse funeral gathering,

recalling his lovable Yorkshire accent, ginger beard,
flat cap with check patterns, that look whose moment

would never happen; that occasion he managed
a posh restaurant, consumed a melange

of drink and drugs and turned all the lights off
at 9.21, ushering open-mouthed, unfed customers

into the cold dark night. I’d go on to divulge
how we over-indulged his eagerness

to lose at Strip Poker, those too touchy-feely
games of Twister; the Straw Dogs obsession,

his caution for touching a young girl
on a train, that reluctance to remain in the room

when we changed our daughter’s nappy,
because of the “sexual connotations”.

The stare I shared with my missus, suspecting
a disease more dangerous than meningitis

hovered among us, waiting for
a defence to drop. The confrontation

we shirked from addressing, that feeling a part
of your life has turned squalid, the sense of shame

when his guilt was illuminated,
as if we’d urged some outraged father or husband

to endow himself with a cowboy judgement,
and contrive a murder to resemble misfortune,

so that his death, like his life was just a result
of faulty wiring, biochemistry being to blame.

But there must be a name for this record I spin,
this yearning to share these narratives with

anybody who will listen, where no one comes out
with honour intact and all are under suspicion.

Raymond Miller

If you have any thoughts about this poem,  Raymond Miller would be pleased to hear them