my momma

had ice cold blood like a stone

named me after my daddy’s brother

& just before she skipped town

she let my father know

his brother had called around

so every time my dad

visited his mothers house

he had to walk past his brother’s place

shoulders set head held up high

raising this kid mother had run away

who just might not have been his


& they asked me in later days

after the old man had passed on

if I knew who my father was

there was no hesitation stutter

I could answer straight

of course

& I had some ideas

on who my mother was


entertaining in low hill

I’d always drop by

if I was in your country

sometimes stopping over

kipping on the sofa

clogging up the bathroom

sometimes it’d be years

between visits

but still feeling like yesterday

come by you said on the phone

this time I have a surprise

& there he was: Charlie

Bowie fan now your husband

the joy of him in your face

we talked we drank

listened to his Bowie outtakes

as he struggled to work out

just who the fuck I was

taking your attention away

& too soon I was gone again

hearing over the wire

you divorced him in a year two

turned into just another prick

your father chasing him

down your streets hammer in hand

give him the abuse he gave out

more low hill entertainment

I’d never say I loved you the most

more that I loved you a longer time

mix it up some

I got concerns she said

all solemn on a Sunday afternoon

we’re not adventurous

not going at it

like we did before

hows’about we mix it up some?

& you have to try a little

when stuff like that gets said

the underlay being she’s bored

specifically with you

& later not that much later

I slapped her ass

grabbed her hair

said: now who’s your daddy?

she took a breath at that

I actually have a father

& I do not need another


I felt crystal clear then

time would not be

weighing out

on my side

she wants answers

I worked with her dad

now deceased

some years ago

& she has just found out

he was not her biological father

& wishes to know stuff

I tell her he loved her

what else is there?

her mothers’ infidelity

that he bore it well?

but she wants answers

I suggest she talk to her mother

but that don’t sit right


I just want to talk with him

she goes

& I gently suggest

your mother is the actor

in all of this

go ask her

she gets all upset she says

but no

she loved her dad the best

& wants to know


from the one who

stayed silent so long


being the

smuggled bird in the nest

my mother ran away

when I was a toddler

& later they told me

as if that was not enough

I was not my fathers son

leaving me the cuckoo

struggling in their nest

an orphan with parents

doing their best

to convince me

that I was the mad one

the cuckoo bird

that didn’t belong

they loved him

my father there

at the end

red rose on the coffin

all that jazz

people at the funeral

talking up the man

one guy there

worked with the old man 30 years

never knew he had kids

tho’ he’d been to the house

many times over their friendship

I guess like us all

he’d mellowed in his years

but y’have to comprehend

there was something

had made my mother leave

holding us two kids

while she skipped away

with what she can

& I have no memory

being held in love

only hurts from those big hands

I guess we made our peace

finding some grudging tolerance

in the each of each other

we could never understand

to fall silent

nothing to say

no bragging rights here

& all this is

a conversation between adults about parents

grandparents longevity life

& all I can do is to fall silent

an absent father

now dead

abandoning mother

dead for five years before I found that out

a half brother who never speaks

a half sister who will not speak

to talk of this is to drown out others stories

highlight the missing in mine

better to fall silent

for the scratched scab to itch later

as the clock crawls to four

being my father

too many years much effort was spent

being different to my dad

whatever he originated

I did the opposite

to never be the same as him

until I got the good advice

you will never be you

until you fully accept how much of him

is in you

is you

& that required thought

decided the way through

I spent a weekend being my forebear

doing everything in the way of him

impersonating my pere all the ways I could

channelling the energy the drive

his half chuckle

that I found to be nerves in a crowd

the half dance he did on the spot

waiting for the phone

to connect

hiding behind the door in company

doing the dishes while listening to every word

to be around but not in conversations going

& found much that I am my father

my dad is in me

& by the end of the weekend

I began to see the real differences

between me & my originator

how I shy from crowds people

but also i

can be there expressing my thoughts

in a room of friends

open to feelings

& fully present

as me

the hardest part

mind wandering fixated by glow

staring into a coldening fire

which part is you

whose part are you dealing with

your concerns

own philias fears

or those of your mother father

their unresolved id

then it clears

it is just another BBQ fire

& somebody asking

if you want any leftover meat?

the madness of parents

wanting their kids to resolve

their relationship shit

this guy who shouted

if I moved the torch helping fix the car

she using me to gain some fake advantage

in their fixed match game

no, no burger please

but I will take another beer

as the coals die that bit more

& the night begins to pull in