Dove sei? by Angela O’Connor

Dove sei? by Angela O’Connor

Sunday morning, at least it was not pouring down. The miserable wetness of this time of year was magnified by the slate timbre tone of those around me. To crack a smile would literally crack their faces. The dourness they embraced was in stark contrast to our shared workplace. I had given up trying to make light of weather, badgers, Corbyn, Brexit or climate change.

Moving the perennials into the new display area, I held a Verbena leaf in my hand. Not long now before these hardy purple beauties would be saving that empty patch in many gardens. Bees would sail through the air targeting their cylindrical head and drink from the fruitful flower.

Hopefully by then I wouldn’t be here, escaping the maddening spring and summer planting clubs. At the bottom of the pallet lay some rubbish, the usual crap – Wispa wrapper, squashed Coke can, two ciggie butts and a Greggs bag. In the Greggs bag, poking out like a stamen, was a dirty A5 piece of paper.

I turned it over. It was his. Definitely his, the handwriting was unmistakable. The quirky ‘w’ that only Italians do. Although stained with water, dirt and snail marks it was legible. A list of necessities; passata, onions, garbage bags, dishwashing liquid, toothpaste, sensitive foam (gilette), milk, crema e gusto café and a goodbye card.

Even with a list you always forget one thing. Four months had passed since we last saw each other. I don’t drink prosecco anymore.

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ELVIS IN MY LIFE by Pete Brammer

Try this with your favourite star

ELVIS IN MY LIFE by Pete Brammer

I was ALL SHOOK UP when my wife, A HARDHEADED WOMAN: ONE NIGHT, gave A BIG HUNK O’LOVE to my one-time mate, Mick Shepherd. Or OLD SHEP. as we called him. As you can imagine, I felt I GOT STUNG. Apparently he had boasted that she was indeed, HIS LATEST FLAME.

Their love exploits had been quite, WILD IN THE COUNTRY. His explanation was; you CAN’T HELP FALLING IN LOVE, and had just presented her with a GOOD LUCK CHARM.

I became so angry that I yelled at her; ‘YOU’RE THE DEVIL IN DISGUISE.IT IS NO SECRET that it has also upset our son’s, FRANKIE AND JOHNNY. The youngest, Johnny looked up at me and said “DON’T CRY DADDY.”

All I could say was, THERE GOES MY EVERYTHING. I don’t think there has ever been, such A FOOL SUCH AS I. I always knew she was like her mother, A HARD HEADED WOMAN. Who was always guilty of TOO MUCH MONKEY BUSINESS.

So now I have the MOODY BLUES, and realised I had to SURRENDER.

In the LOVE LETTERS I found from her lover. He said.

“IT’S NOW OR NEVER – YOU DON’T HAVE TO SAY YOU LOVE ME. We’ve GOT A LOT O’LOVIN’ TO DO – JUST PRETEND you love him – UNTIL IT’S TIME FOR YOU TO GO. -1 know he’ll have a BLUE CHRISTMAS, but LOVING YOU means everything to me. – YOU ARE ALWAYS ON MY MINDI WAN’T YOU. I NEED YOU. I LOVE YOU – your husband will always have his MEMORIES – while we are enjoying a WONDERFUL WORLD – I’ll always give you my BURNING LOVE, and I left the wife telling her SHE’S NOT YOU – she sent me a letter begging me to take her back, so I sent it back, after writing on the envelope; RETURN TO SENDER– I’m so STUCK ON YOU with such a FEVER that I NEED YOUR LOVE TONIGHT – Looking forward to when you SURRENDER yourself again to me….

lots of love,

HOT DOG

I JUST CAN’T HELP BELIEVING she has left me. I keep recalling our honeymoon when we had so much FUN IN ACAPULCO.

Before little Frankie went to bed with his favourite TEDDY BEAR. He asked me, “Daddy, ARE YOU LONESOME TONIGHT? This really hurt me, feeling I had a WOODEN HEART – so hurt and without any feelings.

GIRLS. GIRLS, GIRLS! I’ve had my belly-full! All I wanted was for her to LOVE ME TENDER. Even my HOUND DOGROUSTABOUT – seemed to sense my hurt, and ended up chewing my favourite BLUE SUEDE SHOES.

The house will never be the same again without her. It will be more like a HEARTBREAK HOTEL than a loving home.

Several times I’ve ended up CRYING IN THE CHAPEL after praying she’ll come back to me. I always thought we’d grow old together. Now I’ll never be able to FOLLOW THAT DREAM.

NURSING by Fay Marie Morris

Fay’s response to the June Trigger ‘nurse’

NURSING

Nursing! Nursing is one of my worst nightmares, so I decided to start this piece by stating what a rubbish nurse I am. I simply hate needy, ill people and have very little sympathy, mainly because when I’m ill, sympathy is the last thing I want. What I do want is seclusion and normality. Normal normality not abnormal, cliched, pretentious normality and I don’t like the usual trite, rubbishy, well-rehearsed, overly compassionate stuff that some people love to trot out. I am not unfeeling, in fact I feel things quite strongly and I know how hard it is to say something original when you are facing someone in pain. Pain is a massive leveler with the ability to turn even the bravest, most tenacious person into a babbling, physical wreck although some people seem to get off on being ill, they can ramp it up, turn it off or back on, almost at will…but seriously, I don’t have time for illness.

I remember when my son Danny was about 10 and he’d had to write about what it was like when he was ill and these were his very words. “I try not to be ill because It’s better to be well at our house. My mum’s horrible when you’re ill, even my dad says so. All she says is get your shoulders back and stop whinging.”

I was at a parent/teacher evening when his form teacher felt she had to show me his essay. I should have been horrified, tried to defend my actions or at least have a go at dignifying myself…but I didn’t. Instead I told her that I agreed with every word and as far as I was concerned illness is a state of mind, for wimps only.

I have never been any good at pandering to or pampering and I simply hate feeling pressurised into indulging someone through their insecurities. My French sister in law with her permanently silver lined, soft edged, mushy romanticism says I’m hard and that’s fine by me because I know I am. The thought of me trying to be a tender-hearted, nurturing, caring soul makes me want to throw up…but… I can be if I want to be, although I admit it isn’t pretty.

Anyway, after I’d had my brush with the big C, I felt I needed to give something back and decided that a spot of volunteer work might just do the trick, so I checked some of my options.
1/ collecting money for charity… so not me.
2/ Helping the elderly or housebound with housework or gardening, but I hate cleaning and reckon people who like it spoil it for those of us who don’t.
3/ Hospital visitor or serving in the shop or tea trolley or news trolley or driving people to hospital appointments but hospitals leave me cold so they were all out.
4/ Looking after or walking pet dogs for the elderly…A massive, colossal NO!
My husband, who had been driving people to Royal Perth Hospital for a couple of years told me how desperate Swan Caring were for volunteers to help in the daycare centre, so, I went, just for a look and two days later found myself knocking on the locked doors of the Dementia/Alzheimer wing, where I was welcomed like some kind of Samaritan or saviour, when I knew I was neither.

With wide eyes and hunched shoulders I listened to all Bridget, the care co-coordinator said, but the health and safety stuff made it really heavy going and I wasn’t sure if it was for me. Veronica, the care-centre manager, could see how I felt and told me not to worry as I was there to aid the staff, chat and help with the clients and nothing more. So, for a while I would lay the lunch tables then clear them, load the dishwasher, then unload it, be a Bingo caller and a general dogsbody every Tuesday and sometimes Thursdays too. I quickly learnt the daily routine and the clients all seemed comfortable with me around. [They were always referred to as clients, never patients.]

I wrote an awful lot of poetry at this time, probably my most productive period and one day I told Veronica about it and she said maybe I could read one to the clients. I said I didn’t think they’d understand what I was on about, most people don’t, but maybe, after lunch, during their quiet afternoon time, as they sat snoozing in their chairs, it might be OK. It was something I could do to help, but in my own way and…it would allow me to give my creative juices a bit of an air.

One of my favourite clients was Daisy. Daisy was born in London and her Cockney accent was unmistakable even though she had lived in Australia all of her adult life. But, as her Alzheimers grew steadily worse, her accent seemed to get stronger and she became withdrawn and morose. She was a teenager during the blitz and sometimes it was like she was reliving every second of the horror she had lived through, especially when the International flights from nearby Perth airport were taking off. She’d rush outside and freak out, screaming to her mother that the planes were coming over again but she wasn’t going down the air raid shelter.

One of the best ways to calm things down before the other clients became too upset, was to try and take their minds off whatever troubled them and I clearly remember the day Veronica asked if they would like Fay to read one of her poems.

They immediately sat down and waited, eager for me to start, which threw me slightly as I wasn’t sure which one to actually do. I decided on my earliest poem and while I was reciting it, Daisy went quiet, listened intently and started to smile. When I had finished she asked if I would read it again because she really liked the bit about soft cool spring days and could remember when the woods were full of bluebells and cowslips. Veronica said it was OK because by now all the others were fast asleep.

PIONEER WOMEN WROTE.

Whenever I feel low, my thoughts seem to stray
back, several decades, to a flawless spring day.
Where bluebells sway gently, a carpet of blue
and pale yellow cowslips all dripping with dew.

But that was before I made a new home
in this country of contrasts where kangaroos roam.
So why am I often beset with the fears
of loss and homesickness which bring on the tears?

For I love Australia, and all her moods
from the withering droughts to the ‘wet’ when it floods
and wide open spaces that choke up my throat
with emotion and longing.

Pioneer women wrote-

of hardship and toil in the heat and the dust.
Of living on hope and existing on trust.
So, how did they manage to get through each day
while longing for England’s soft cool spring days?

That was my very first public poetry recital and I must say I enjoyed it enormously. It became a regular afternoon session, requested by the clients themselves. I think it was my voice droning on that lulled them to sleep, although they clearly looked forward to it, because straight after lunch they eagerly placed their chairs in a semi-circle around mine. Luckily, by then I had plenty of poems in my portfolio and although I am still under no illusions about my nursing prowess, I was valued by the staff and clients at Swan Caring because I enjoyed putting people to sleep… but in a nice way.

So, is that snoring I can hear…?

Untitled-Acrostic By Angela O’Connor

Untitled-Acrostic By Angela O’Connor

Now it’s too late, your push too far.

Every phrase and look you make

Guts the flesh of its life.

And you, yes you, desire that explosive reaction.

Tumbling letters of unstoppable emotive fractions.

I’ve known you many years, plenty good and happy,

Vanished they seem in this decade of older depravity.

Early one day I will rise and think of only your smile.

Angela O’Connor

Hebden Bridge Lock by Tony Burrows

Special from one of our ‘Virtual’ Members – cannot make the meetings:

                         Hebden Bridge Lock by Tony Burrows

I stood for a moment to ponder
When did you land in the valley
Was it after the bridge spanned the Calder
And they built the first mill
Or a little later still
With the sprawl of the town and mine
Black Pit Lock number nine
With coal held tales behind
Your spread winged white gloved arms
Cradling watery forces within
The granite blocked locked lichen clad bay
Where a dusting of remembering leaves lay
On the jagged jawed tip toe path
To Pack Horse Bridge number seventeen
Reclining under relinquishing trees that beam
Coloured quince and painted plum
Alight in motion mild canal quiet sun
Deflected dappled down dark and lie
On gradient governed waters that wait
Where only time is unlocked
And just me passing by

Stubbing Lower Lock, Rochdale Canal

http://www.penninewaterways.co.uk/rochdale/rc6.htm

It happens regularly by Angela O’Connor

It happens regularly

It’s always the same, usually on a pay night.
The lime coloured van carefully enters the driveway.
Never any damage done to the bougainvillea.

I steal a look from behind the nylon curtains.
Gauge my performance for the next few hours.
Deliberate steps hold the banister too tight.

Fumbling keys and unrelenting locks accompanied with
familiar sworn statements, confirm my expectation.
Be good, sit quiet, say hello and act like normal-the drill.

He’s drunk, very very drunk, it’s Thursday night drunk.
The aroma of Marlboro and beer hits me hard.
Before his lop-sided smile tries to harness his shadow.

Dinner eaten in silence, interrupted only by his bodily functions.
I pray to myself – who else will listen; ‘please have a bath, please
have a bath’. Hoping the hot waters may assuage any fight within.

I lay awake to hear his cleansed but heavy footsteps carry him
away to his version of dreamland.
And now I go to mine, thankful and yet anxious of the next time.

Light by Michael Keeble

Light

You watched the news and what you found
Was devastation all around
And all one hears now is the sound
Of pain and anguish on the ground
And bombs in flight

In Africa severe drought
And camels corpses lie about
And folks so starved they cannot shout
What’s in their heart “Please get me out
Beyond this Blight”

In makeshift craft they cross the seas
Cramming boats like podded peas
The traffickers ignore the pleas
Of babes and mothers as the breeze
Picks up their fright

And so we watch and can’t conceive
Of horrors such as we perceive
On TV news.  Are we naïve
To hope that they can yet receive,
From darkness light