fragment of another life

spain I felt

we were walking

a black carriage waiting

horses quiet eating

an archway date AD1786

you walking alongside

this time my mother

not my lover

though your love

felt strong deep

I recall brown sepia

sand colours heat light

the sadness of leaving

as we walked the street

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


no gifts flowers to find

motherless boy

no card to send

on mothers day

no gifts flowers to find

no funeral tears to make

best wishes condolences

to take appreciate

no final words to end

I am a motherless son

never having the love

I read in others cards

tiny notes on flowers

thanking for care

love support appreciation

unconditional regard

a life given held hugged

the bestest friend

not asking for pity or sorrow

save these for things we lose

have taken away

for such we miss

just to understand

when you make your

sweeping generalisations

about how mothers

make the world go round

some of us

must do this ourselves

no warmth


had it just about right

my mother would flit in

out of my life

appear & disappear

leaving me standing

watching her back

vanish into the crowd

tell me she loved me

then be gone

my only evidence of her

for many years

were the holes

made by her high heels

into a fresh asphalt path

I’d see these every day

on my way to school

wondering if & when

I might see her again

leaving nothing

no warmth

nothing at all

but emptiness


crimes of my mother

the first big one

was running away

with the tv repair man

leaving her kids behind

the second was leaving me

with the memories

of her frightened terror’d face

& with the people

who gave those to her

they hoped I had no memories

of her & those times

but I did

there were other crimes

but these are the ones

that matter most

in the life of a frightened kid

& there never came an apology

any understanding from her

that they were the same to us

as to her

& to make the point clear

she ran away again

no forwarding address

no phone

& she was dead five years

before I found out

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

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

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