Sorting Bags

She had bags of bags, filled with shoes,
Christmas wrappings,
old cards and new ones.
Bags of overplayed toys and of unopened letters.

We kept clawing into the gloom and dust.
More bags and open boxes,
buried in the insect-shell-carpet,
deep in the fabric of the long dead.
Box after box…
some had bags in, some had letters in,
reams of notes, in bags.

There were more shoes,
a crimson coat of monstrous proportions.
There was a box full of bags from the eighties filled with toys
– battalions of soldiers in disarray
eyeballing
teams of alien muscle men
through the decades.

And last of all,
wrenching the newspaper floor with it,
dragged out from beyond,
a decomposing leather hold-all,
filled with photographs.
Beaming back from their childhood,
tiers of school pics,
camping trips,
instants of birthdays hurried though
and flashes of Christmases.
I clamber back. Kneel back and,
hands on knees,
take a breath.

These treasures are piled in the spare room,
one trove stacked on a chair.
Inhaling the gasps of long ago, hefting.
The chatter of ages fills my nostrils,
hits the back of my throat – my memories
– and I gulp down more,
then she shuts the bedroom window,
which suffocates us abruptly.

Go get a bag then.
Her hands already picking over the bones.

Another bag. This one heavy
with the dark implications of the Black.
The crisp pliable plastic of sacks,
body bags.
I bare my mind as I reach into the
kitchen cupboard, downstairs.
Here dark personal thoughts swim.
So upstairs again I rip
one finality after another
off the roll
as she empties years of what-ifs into these
terrible cocoons.

We stay there for days jogging back
and forth through shared and forgotten
events. All that’s dead is gone, all that’s dust
is dead. In a bag in a box
in a hole. There’s a dream that once
lit up her head.

Alison

My pretty dame.
I will meet you again
again.

Sometime
in distant time
refrain…

I love your eyes
your sweet smile, pretty,
and quietly close
I sing this ditty.

Off The Page

Rivers of rooftops flow
Drowning out windows
with clouds from below.
Down where the noise and malevolence grow!

Whilst daily you claw at your dreams:
taking apart
every thought you believe.

I keep seeing your face –
hearing your succulent tongue lick your breath –
as anonymous people take place.
Stealing a memory
of what your love left.

Cranky Old Man

Having been duped by a touching ‘story’ with a fantastic poem at it’s heart, I made further investigations and found, what I think is, the original source of that poem. It has captivated me so is my first pressing of someone else’s work.

The original version of the poem:

Crabbit Old Woman

What do you see, nurses what do you see
Are you thinking when you are looking at me
A crabbit old woman, not very wise,
Uncertain of habit, with faraway eyes,
Who dribbles her food and makes no reply
When you say in a loud voice –I do wish you’d try
Who seems not to notice the things that you do
And for ever is losing a stocking or shoe,
Who unresisting or not, lets you do as you will
With bathing and feeding, the long day to fill
Is that what you are thinking, is that what you see,
Then open your eyes, nurses, you’re not looking at me.

816px-Elderly_Woman_,_B&W_image_by_Chalmers_Butterfield

Photo by Chalmers Butterfield

I’ll tell you who I am as I sit here so still,
As I used at your bidding, as I eat at your will,
I am a small child of ten with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters who love one another,
A young girl of 16 with wings on her feet
Dreaming that soon now a lover she’ll meet;
A bride at 20 – my heart gives a leap,
Remembering the vows that I promised to keep
At 25 now I have young of my own
Who need me to build a secure, happy home;
A women of 30 my young now grow fast,
Bound to each other with ties that should last,
At 40 my young sons have grown and are gone;
But my man’s beside me to see I don’t mourn;
At 50, once more babies play around my knee.
Again we know children, my loved one me
Dark days are upon me, my husband is dead,
I look at the future, I shudder with dread,
For my young are all rearing young of their own
And I think of the years and the love that I’ve known.

I’m an old woman now and nature is cruel
’tis her jest to make old age look like a fool.
The body it crumbles, grace and vigor depart,
There is now a stone where once was a heart
But inside this old carcass a young girl still dwells
And now and again my battered heart swells
I remember the joys I remember the pain,
And I’m loving and living life over again.
I think of the years all too few – gone too fast,
And accept the stark fact that nothing can last.

So open your eyes, nurses open and see
Not a crabbit old women look closer – see me.

Phyllis McCormack, 1966

*

Amazing right!

It has, apparently long been circulated online as some remnant of a forgotten life of presumed little value, found by nursing staff checking a checked-out patients belongings… However the true history and author are explained via http://www.hoax-slayer.com/cranky-old-man-poem.shtml.

 

Crazy Cat

You crazy puss
Where in our world did
You peruse yo’ Cat-Blues?
How does this noise you make
Grow to crescendo?
What pictures appear on those eyes
that so freak you?

Crazy cat
You mad feline
Give us a clue
that might quieten your mind…
Whistling winds that carry and blur
Darken the hell
of your crazy cat purr
So yell if you need to
you banshee of night
Though we don’t understand
we won’t still your disquiet!

*

This is not a nose-dive over the much coveted pussy-cat-cliff; that space on the web for all you freaking catpic sharers, all of you! (seriously, sometimes I try to use this internet and all it throws up are pussy, porn and preaching!). This is an ode to a greatly admired cat, who through some surreal way, was able to scare the living chips out of any who ever heard her. 

She died a long time ago and the recording below – testament to her howl – was made in 2002.

You feline fanatics online, might also enjoy Ode to Smokey #nomorepussy

#217

Memory dances teasingly out of reach.
Again my mind provides the butt
Of a joke – so elusive
That even humour loses its rasping
Chuckle, when confronted by this plight.
This cowering wreck.
Tortured –
Through a diet of sarcasm
Disrespect and the masochistic audacity
To try this absurd play out again and again and
more.
Until knackered –
Visibly shaken –
Memory leaves completely!
Flicking off
Every
Single
Light
On its swift way out!

 

[from 2011]

Skeletal Beach

dead trees

 

Image: Keith Evans, http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/4669041. Words: Bujonswords.